Fall of the Risen – Week 21- Dave
Today’s guest post comes from Maxwell Davidson, a midwestern sci-fi/mythology writer with a penchant for taking things apart just to see what they do. Let him hear what you think in the comments below, then hit him up at his Facebook page.
I looked out of my office window. Jansen had them mostly rounded up. Like cattle, the good citizens of Sisco just needed someone to tell them what to do, who to be. I was happy to be that someone. I stepped out of my front door and walked down toward the crowd at the gate.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. As many of you know, recent events have left us without a supply crew. We still have the truck, and the MegaMart in Madison has yet to let us down. All we need is a few volunteers.” I swept my gaze over the crowd. No takers. “I won’t lie to you, this job is dangerous, but as long as you don’t take any unnecessary risks, like some of those in the past have, you will come home every single time, keeping all the good people of Sisco alive and well with the treasure you bring.”
It might have been a bit much. Several people were looking away, staring at their shoes, the dirt, anything but me.
“So, do we have anyone willing to serve?” I held out the truck keys.
“Ramonda!” Jansen barked from behind me. “Step forward!”
He snatched the keys from my hand and side armed them to Ramonda. They ricocheted off her midsection and fell to the ground.
“Ferguson, you go with her.”
Ferguson stepped forward, his eyes never leaving the ground. “What about my security duties?”
“You’re not on the security team. Not anymore. Everyone, congratulate our new supply team!”
A smattering of applause and a few murmurs of ‘good luck’ and ‘nice to know you’ went up from an already dispersing crowd.
Ramonda bent down and grabbed the keys, all the while shooting a fiery look at me. I had to hold back from shouting back, “it wasn’t me” because, in a sense, it was. I hadn’t stopped Jansen, because the truth was we needed a team. Still seemed like a poor way to handle it.
“Yeah, that’s right, everyone. Great meeting, or whatever. Back to work.” Jansen spun on a heel and started to walk away.
I grabbed a shoulder and pulled him in. “What the hell was that?”
“What?” He didn’t yell, but he wasn’t trying to avoid being heard either. “A decision needed to be made. You think you can just wall half the supply runners and put the other half on garbage burning and everything will be fine?”
“Ok, ok,” I tried to calm him down. Most people were meandering back to their lives, but a few were watching. “But why them?”
“What else are we going to do with them? If one week they don’t come back,” he shrugged. “Less mouths to feed, am I right?”
I stared him down. If it came to a fight, he had 50 pounds and a year of guard duty on me. Not to mention he probably spent his life gathering experience in bullying.
“All good points. But you should have asked. Don’t step over me again, got it?”
Jansen grinned and gave a mock salute. “Yes, sir! I’d hate to have the head of the guard after me. Oh, wait…” His grin got even wider as he turned and sauntered off toward Dawn’s. “Gotta make sure the truck is in top shape, eh?”
“Jansen!” I barked. He ignored me. I started to call again, but thought of how that would make me look. Ignored once? I could claim he just didn’t hear me. But twice?
What had just happened? The good citizens of Sisco just took his word as mine. I watched them, milling about. Some were even chewing the gum Jillian had requested on her last preferential—gum that Clark had probably found—which just completed the image. Cows, just looking for someone to herd them to the barn, to the field, to the slaughter. But they weren’t cattle, they were people, dammit! What right did Jansen have to impose his will on them?
Then a sobering thought hit me: What right did I have?