Tristan and the Apocalypse 4

By Asa Montreaux, pen name Andrew James

By the time winter came, more people had come to the community from all over the world. Six months had gone by, and there was much more for us to concern ourselves with. The city was much more busy.
Maisie and I were at dinner in the hotel. ‘You’re face is still flushed.’ She said.
‘We were walking for a long time.’
‘I didn’t think you noticed.’
‘I did have some knowledge of just how far we walked.’
‘And briskly.’
‘My face is not flushed.’
‘No. Not really.’
‘Unless it is the wine. Then I could be flushed.’
‘You’re a lightweight.’
‘Please don’t encourage my alcoholism.’
‘You’re so sad. If I were to read your novel I am not sure if I could believe anything you say.’
‘I didn’t tell you I wrote a novel. Have you been going through my things.’
‘Oh. Well no, of course I haven’t been going through your things.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘I don’t know. Maybe I might have come across it looking for some makeup or what have you.’
‘I’m lying. I remember telling you.’
‘I remember too. I wasn’t sure if you were having some concussion issue or something.’
‘The food is good.’
‘Pretty good. Pretty good.’
‘We should say thank you.’
‘What’s the point?’
‘I don’t know. So they can make the meal good more often. So there hard work is appreciated.’
‘What if the chef isn’t a nice person, just a good cook?’
‘Well. We don’t have to say thank you.’
‘No. I guess not. You look very pretty. That is worth mentioning.’
‘I wanted to look sexy.’
‘You can sure do what you have set your mind too.’
It was only about eight o’clock. We were almost finished.
‘I love you.’
‘That’s reassuring.’
‘I miss you when you are not at my side.’
‘I love you too. So much.’
I took my last bite of my meal.
‘Tristan. Who is this Daphne?’
‘She’s an assassin. For you, maybe. I’ll have to further investigate.’
‘Well, sure. But who is she?’
‘She’s my friend. My best friend. Someone who has my interests. Someone who I want the best for. Someone who I trust completely. Almost completely.’
‘You need those kinds of people.’
‘You’re being facetious.’
‘Thanks to you I know how to be facetious.’
‘Thanks to me you know what the word means.’
’You are very funny.
I was content with this.
Later on in the evening, we were sitting around the fire with Daphne and Allister. It was very cold outside. This evening snow blizzarded past the windows. It was going to be minus 30 degrees by midnight.
We shared a big sofa, and two blankets. This kind of weather made us feel the world was a little insane to begin with. Allister gazed at Daphne with fascination. She was from Ontario, and seemed perfect for this moment. I think he felt close with her, in his heart, closer than with us in some ways. Sometimes it takes something, someone I suppose, new, for us to have the experience, the awareness, of bonding to.
He fell asleep there. It was quiet and above the crackle of the fire, I could here his breath, very settled. He had his feet on the coffee table so that he was almost laying down, sliding off the couch a little, with his head off to his right side some. His face looked very young. It had moved a little more in the direction of weary. But on the whole there was the beginnings of a manliness.
In the morning he went off to get some exercise. I made some tea and sat down to write until about 1. I wasn’t having as much success as the day before. The plot wasn’t coming as easily, but I wasn’t ready to use the word writer’s block yet. When I got up my head hurt a little. But I felt better after a glass of water and a snack.
Maisie and Daphne had been next door. I went over to see them. Maisie was a little concerned. If I was perturbed, something must be wrong. But things seemed to be getting better. The weather was different here and she was still dark from the summer, and all the time we had been outdoors. I felt selfish suddenly because she looked infinitely sad. I couldn’t hide from all the of the darkness we were now educated in. The past was a far away place, drifting father away, gone.
Dad said it was going to be safe for him to come over now. There was flight in a few days. I looked forward to having her. He should bring comfort. And he might recover a feeling in me of being truly young. It’d been a long time since I had seen him now.
We seemed to have a bunch of things to do and time flew so that before I was aware of it, night came. After we had walked back over from next door, and spent some time mulling around, feeling hungry, we couldn’t locate Allister. I wasn’t worried, but I thought he’d have been back hours ago.
Another hour went by, and he still hadn’t returned. The congressman was concerned, and he sent several people looking for him. We hoped we’d find where he was by the end of the night. And all of the sudden we really wished no harm had come to him.


It was midnight and there was no one that had found him. The congressman came and knocked on my door regretfully. His face was grave. I’m sorry. We’ve heard the story. He was betrayed by an older man, and turned over to a group of hostiles. We are not sure what his present condition is, or where they have taken him. We know the roads they took exiting the scene, they were headed east, but further than that, we have no idea where he is. We’ve activated a team to pursue his whereabouts outside the city. I have to ask that you stay here, and wait until we’ve apprehended the suspects. There is a chance that Allister might be okay. This may develop into a hostage situation. If they want something for his release, I’ll keep you posted.
I thought about who might want something to do with him, though nothing came to mind. Those invaders in Scotland were so far away. What could anyone want from us, now. We had been involved in too many important matters, and Allister was the most vulnerable of people, and in his new found quest for independence, he had strayed just outside of what we thought was safe. I decided I would leave Maisie and Daphne right here, and I set out on my own, perhaps knowing what it would take to find him, or what would lead me to him, more than the special forces.
Walking in the street with my scarf and jacket bundled, my face burned in the cold weather. While the Congressman’s men swept throughout the city, I went to where he had been, to find clues. And as I ran, I wondered about my well-being there as well.
I could tell none of his friends had been here with him. It was cold inside, and there hadn’t been anyone there since mid day. The first floor was mostly empty, and I didn’t see signs of anyone there, no signs of any struggle. On the second floor, The floor was dirty. I noticed bits of glass, and a window was open. I went to it and looked out, and across the way was a flat rooftop. I went in the second bedroom and there was disarray. The dressers were open, the bedding was on the floor, and the window pane was broken. I looked down from the window. It wasn’t very far. I could see ways to climb to this level. I didn’t find anything in the house that would tell me who it was that had taken him, but I had a sense of what we were up against.
I went across the way. I hesitated at the door, and thought about who might be inside. I went inside the shop. When the bell rang, the owners were jumpy. They looked at me, as if they had knowledge of me, and sensed I would be coming, and they looked somewhat guilty. Hello, I said.
Can we help you? As you know, we will be closing our shop soon.
I’m just going to have a look around. Did you notice what was happening across the street.
Afterwards. The police said they took the kid off in a grey vehicle. Said they’d been around all day looking for someone. Then they broke in, and they kidnapped him real quick.
What had the boy been doing?
He was waiting. He had ordered supplies to protect his group. He was worried the special forces weren’t doing enough.
And then.
He was more right then he thought. No one saw them, until we heard the car speeding off.
I tried to picture it all in my head.
And where did they go?
East. Who are you that you want to know this.
I’m his brother.
He didn’t say anymore. I looked at him and saw that he didn’t want to get mixed in. Anything he told me could have been found in a newspaper. By tomorrow, I would suppose.
So you don’t know anything more.
No, sorry.
And you didn’t see who did it? No one saw anything until the car took off?
We’re sorry, no one thought this would happen.
Okay, I said. I couldn’t bear it for a moment. I hadn’t found enough information. I don’t think the disappointment in my face could have been hidden in the moment. I turned around to leave.
I walked towards the door, and as I opened it, Wait, I heard.
I know who took your brother.


The resistance.
The what, I said quietly.

They are the group behind all of this. They are not from around here.
All of this.
All of the things that have happened to you, I mean.
Who are they?
They’re a rogue group. They want power. They are in Quebec City.
If I go there, I’ll find them.
Yes. But,…
What is it?
I don’t know if you will find your way out of there again.


As I took the ramp onto the highway, I had an eight hour drive ahead of me. I hadn’t told Maisie I was leaving, there hadn’t been time. With good time, most of this wouldn’t have to be explained, and I could hopefully forget it with the relief of safety and rest.
There was not a thing that perturbed me while driving, but the mood, as if it were in the very weather, was wrong. The sky above me was dark and grey for hours.
The roads were wet and slippery, and my desire to make good time had to be weighed against the danger of an accident. I thought about what kind of conditions he was in right now. They could have done anything they wanted to him. He was very vulnerable. But a voice in my head said they didn’t want to hurt him, so much as they wanted to use him as leverage.
As I passed Trois-reveres, my anxiety rose. So many things could happen now. Everything was evacuated, emptied, everything was lifeless.
In Quebec city there was not a settlement set up. I didn’t detect any signs of a group for the first twenty minutes of driving when as I entered the cities outskirts.
The shop owner said the resistance had set-up and remained in one area, moving only a few blocks each time they were challenged. There hideout was suspected to be on —— street. The area was light now, it was almost ten in the morning. The streets were very white with snow. Many of the buildings were crumbled. I parked some distance from — street, and then slowly made my approach on foot. There were three buildings on the street, facing south, that still stood. It was said they were in one of these three. They had connected them underneath the ground to conceal which building housed the leader and his high council. I hid behind a wall and I considered the three. One was a residential building. The other two were a shop like the one in Toronto, and the other was a bank.
The bank was a nice building. It was the nicest of the three. As I looked on at them, it occurred to me very easily, that it was also the most secure. I was quite sure they were inside the bank.
I thought about how to go about this. I had brought no one with me because of how dangerous it would be, but now I did wish I had back-up. If I tried to sneak in and they caught me, they might kill me. If I were to confront them, if I were to knock on the door and make it seem as if we were going to be civil, as if this weren’t really such a big matter, maybe I could negotiate his release. The question still, was what would they want. What would be the ransom. It filled me with dread to think of how much they ask for, but there was not much I wouldn’t give to rescue Allister.
I look around and there was no one as I walked up the steps to the bank. There was a big glass door, but it was blacked out. I hesitated, but I gathered courage inside and knocked resoundedly, so they couldn’t fail to hear it. Nothing, though I think I sensed motion. I knocked again, just as forcefully. And after a short wait, the door opened swiftly, and there was a man standing there, and another, standing next to him, with a machine gun.                                                                                            


I tried not to panic, and they spoke first. The man said.

Who are you?

I’m his brother.

Who the hell you talking about?

I put my hands up, almost all the way, to show I was unarmed. I think you know who I’m talking about?

While he was looking at me, he said to the other person, it’s him. This is him?

I wasn’t sure what they would say. They didn’t look happy? I spoke first. What would it take for you to give him to me, and let me leave and go home with him?

We don’t want to give him back.

Is he okay, I asked.

He didn’t want to give the answer right away. We haven’t hurt him, he said eventually.

We don’t mean any harm to you. We don’t mean to be so important. That said, we can certainly have your interests taken into account, moving forward, in the new parliament.

We can’t put our trust in what we say. You’ll have to leave him with us. You’ll have to trust him with us. We want him. He will be on our side eventually. It is time for you, whoever you might consider yourself speaking for, to say goodbye.

It is hardly the time.        

You won’t be able to give us what were asking for. You won’t be able to do for us what we plan to do with him.

What could you possibly be trying to do?

You are aware of some of what we want to do. But our ultimate plans are to remain secret?

What can I give you for him?

It would take a whole lot, a whole lot of something special for us to let you have him back.

I was flustered, I was nervous. What would it take?

I don’t believe you could give me anything. You can’t promise the things we want politically. We want power. But we don’t trust you to actualize it for us. Now the power needs to be in our hands. The money. We want all of it.

I thought they had stepped past psychotic and entered a new realm for us to evaluate. Done, I said.


However much you want, for my brother back. Just give him to me.

Give me the money.

How do you expect me to do that right this second?

I don’t know, but you better figure it out.

He wasn’t very handsome. I stopped looking in his eyes. I made movements with resignation. I’ll make the call.

They looked hungry and greedy as I dialled numbers, as it rang, as the congressman answered.

He says okay, I said.

Good. Tell him to bring it here. Then you can have him.

Fine. He says for you to let me keep my eyesight on him, and for you to not hurt him further.

We will wait for the money then.

But then, in the sky a helicopter flew above us, beginning to circle. It seemed that the congressman, the special forces, had been on to some of the same hunches, and they were already there.

The man screamed and was swearing and he grabbed me and the other hit me with the butt of the rifle.      



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