Tristan and the Apocalypse 5

By Asa Montreaux, pen name Andrew James
 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.        
 Several hours later, my pain had subsided. My shoulder was bruised, though I figured I could move it if I could untie myself. The grogginess I felt from being banged around subsided a little. They were watching us, though they were shaken by the sudden appearance of the special forces. In some way it would seem it was all over. And yet it had just begun, as they had us, and as long as they held our lives in there hands, the hands of the special forces were tied as well.
 They had surrounded the bank. Most prominently they were positioned on the front lawn, behind their vehicles, lately in front of shield, closer to the entrance. Anyone who stepped outside would be under the pressure of gun fire from all directions. They strangely still had hoped that they would receive some ransom, and still not be shut down. I thought to myself that if they tried some escape, maybe they could continue, and it might be possible meanwhile to get something out of the congressman, but they were surrounded, and the exits in the other buildings were covered as well.
 I put my mind on to how to free myself. My hands were tied behind me, and my feet were tied to the chair. They had done the same thing to Allister.
 I looked over at him, and I think he was thinking what I was thinking. They were watching us. If only they would have to leave their posts, their guns in hand.
 The time went by agonizingly. Our lives were in peril. Another hour went by, and I could tell from there talk that the special forces were moving closer and they were thinking of entering. If they did so, I thought they might kill us right away.
 More time went by, and it was more and more likely that the special forces might try to enter. The Resistance seemed to accept this now, and they were less hostile towards us, and I was more and more confident now. Suddenly it occurred to me that the Congressman was probably wondering what I was thinking at this point, as much as whether I was okay, and if I could get in tune with him, then maybe I could know what was going to happen.
 As we waited to see what would happen, the Resistance tried to take position, and get ready for gunfire. They weren’t going to run at this point. Though, all in all, with the special forces here and nearby, they were outnumbered. 
 Another hour went by, and by protocol something was going to happen soon. I could look at Allister, and I could communicate to him to get ready.
 Then, with no warning, there was a huge explosion. A bomb had gone off in the front of the building. We flew back in the air in our chairs, and everyone was shaken. There was dust and gas in the air. 
 More than the door was open now, half the front wall was gone, and shots were fired in, accurately, at the front of the Resistance, who were stunned, barely knew what way was which. One man watching us had gone to the front. The other had fallen unconscious. Allister was closer to me, and I wiggled my way over to him, and he untied me. After we were both untied, the special forces were about to make there entry, cautiously, as some of the Resistance were still alive. Allister and I ran towards the back. The back door was barricaded. We tried to break through but it was too noisy, and then we tried to hide there, with the gun shots very audible from through out the bank now. I don’t think the Resistance was concerned at the moment about our whereabouts so much, as they were concerned about their lives, or there freedom. 
 Then someone grabbed us, and he dragged us by the collars to get us moving, and we ran threw the front, as he pointed his machine gun at angles where they might be more Resistant, and we broke through onto the lawn. 
 There was still the sound of some gunshots, but I don’t think there were any more Resistance that were not shot or apprehended. I was a little shaken and we got into a car, and I covered myself in a blanket. I was hungry and I wished to drive away from here, right away.

 When we were safe again inside the building in Toronto, we knew, Allister and I knew, and everyone knew that we were okay. Things were fuller now, and it was strange that Dad was someone I could talk to, that I knew, and he was very empathetic, and assuring that everything would be okay now. He looked a little older, though in spite of everything he seemed a little more at ease than in the past few years. He said his trip had been fine, that he had been safe overseas, and that there was nothing pressing for him to return to there right now.
 He was smiling a lot, and it was strange. Maisie had been so sad, and everything felt so horrible, that he offered a different feeling, and his paternal air, not in the dark about the surrounding tragedies, was proudly comforting.
 When our emotions settled, Allister and I ate together, and Dad and the congressman chatted some about how the situation had been. My father listened very attentively, while the congressman explained some things, I imagined talking about his plans, as he often did.
 Later that evening he was reading at his desk in his room and I went to visit him.
 What happened? I asked him.
 I’m not sure, he said. It was all very scary and not enjoyable.
 Yes. But you knew we were okay?

 Always. I believe in the the two of you. I wouldn’t leave you to have adventures on your own if you didn’t. But I admit, this wasn’t supposed to happen, and this is no fault of your own, certainly.
 Is this stuff on t.v.?
 Hardly. They were concerned about a virus spreading on the continent. Now I think there is more t.v. coverage. I did receive updates via radio, and occasionally by phone, as you are aware.
 I guess so. I feel very shaken. But I want to appear confident. I can’t make up for what I lack in years with poise, but without either I feel more lost. How do you find yourself after you go through tragedy?
 I’m not sure. Consider each day and then the next. Think about the things in front of you, and not how you relate to the large whole. A big part of life is accepting wonder, that you can’t know everything, and you can’t control reality.

 The day spun through my head in an uncomfortable way. I tried to let go of some of the visions.

 He said, what do you and Maisie have planned for tomorrow?

 Nothing special, why? We were going to look at some more of the surveillance.

 Because I want you to stay here tomorrow. Don’t go outside for the next while. I’ll be keeping an eye on you for now.

 Is that something you and the congressman talked about?

 Yes, that is something we talked about. Everything else okay?

 Yeah. I guess. I’ve been wondering. Well. I’m not sure if. I’m not sure how truly Maisie loves me.

 He took his glasses off and smiled at me. I think you should stay together now. You need each other.

 But is that what she wants.

 Yes I think so. She is very young and maybe she wants lots of things, like you’re scared about. In more time she will trust you, and she will love you then. You forget sometimes, I think, that your just a boy, a young man for real, and she is watching you in motion, so be patient with her, and try to worry about being safe, for the time being.

 I trusted what he said, and I didn’t expect anything that someone could say to answer all of the searching questions in my soul. Are you tired yet?

 I was just going to give up my reading about now. You should go to bed. I’ll see you tomorrow. Alright?
 Okay. Good night.

 It was very dark outside, darker than Vancouver ever was. It took a few hours for me to fall asleep though thankfully I eventually did, and I slept a dreamless sleep.


Popular Posts