The Fox and the Pigeon hole Chapter 2
By M T M
Snap. Lance sits bolt upright, he has been recalling that awful day in his mind, wondering about Dawn and if she escaped and how, if she has been killed it will be entirely his fault. When he hears it, the snapping of a twig, a tell tale sign of an animal nearby, or a person. Lance looks around, as far as he can see he is alone but he has a feeling of eyes ,watching him, he looks all around left, right, up in the trees, there is no one. Its best to get out of here, Lance he says to himself heading off in the opposite direction .His main priority is still putting as much distance between him and Collen, but as he walks through the forest, which is lit by the bright morning sun, he cannot shake off the feeling that he is being followed. He notices that the further north he travels, the more rocks and boulders seem to litter the landscape, until finally he happens upon a solid wall of rock, looking up he sees that it is a cliff and looks about seven or eight metres tall, it looks natural but strangely as if it has been thrust up out of the earth. It also seems to run for miles in either direction, to his left and right, but the forest appears to carry on at the cliff top just as it is down here. How can he get over it? It is late autumn, there are no vines he could use as rope and the cliff face is smooth and at an angle towards him, there is no way of climbing it.
Just as he is wondering what on earth he is going to do next, he notices it coming down the cliff face, If only he had a flask to collect some water he thinks, suddenly realizing how thirsty the heat of the sun and his days walk has made him. He approaches the picturesque trickle of water and seeing that it is clear, thinks it is probably safe to drink, opening his mouth under it he laps in the cooling water, it fills him with hope and determination, he is not going be thwarted by a cliff. He steps back looking up and down the cliff trying to find something, anything that could help him scale it. Snap, again Lance is frozen to the spot; it cannot be coincidence, something is following him, or someone. Slowly, very slowly Lance turns around, he looks and again sees no indication that anything is near him, but they could easily be hiding, he thinks. Moving a little way back from the cliff, into the dense trees of the forest, he looks all around, straining his ears for any sound that might give away the position of his shadow. For now he is sure that it is a person following him, no creature is this intelligent and any animal would have pounced at him by now, at least any that Lance can think of, he jerks his head around getting more anxious by the second, when a man steps out in from of him.
He is very large and is wearing a fitting black velvet jacket, black jeans and solid boots. The scarf around his neck which comes up to form a hood is also black and looks tattered and ripped, he is dirty and has a nasty, deep looking cut above his left eye. He does not have time to dwell on the man’s appearance however, he is thinking fast, Is this all an act, or has he been through a rough time too, the man has the same build as the officer that had ambushed him and Dawn, muscular and rough.
For a moment Lance stares into the man’s eyes, they are a deep blood red; piercing into him, the eyes remind him of; he has never seen anyone with eyes like this. The man stares back and then, after a moment of hesitation Lance turns and pelts back towards the edge of the forest, he can hear that man in pursuit, but he doesn’t stop even though he is sure that the large man will be able to catch up. When he is just about to change direction with the thought of confusing the man and losing him in the bushes, Lance comes upon the cliff face, at the sight of the man he had completely forgotten about it, whipping around so that his back crashes hard into the cliff he sees that the man is facing him he has stopped as well, just a few paces in front of him. Holding up both his hands he says “stop” in a commanding, deep, powerful voice, Lance is breathing fast staring up at the man, who has no weapon but could easily overpower him in a fight. “Who” says Lance still breathing deeply, “Who are you?” Lance is not even considering trusting the man but he can’t think of what else to do, maybe if he can keep him talking then he will be able to catch the man off guard and escape somehow.
“My name is Rafiel” says the man, in the same powerful voice “I was a friend of your fathers”. This completely catches Lance off guard, a friend of his father’s? How? He has never seen this man before and he knows for a fact that nobody as escaped from Collen in years, so how could the two of them have ever met? First the farmer and now this, It is too much. How much doesn’t Lance know about his father’s life, and now that his mother is dead, will he ever find out.
The man is still looking at Lance his hands raised “Please” he says, a startling to hear the note of pleading in his voice “Please, you must believe me, I’m on your side”.
Confused and scared Lance doesn’t know what to think anymore, he was so sure that this man could want nothing other than to hurt him, but now, with the revelation of the unknown life that his father must’ve led, he is starting to question everything.
“How do I know you’re not lying?” He says, trying to sound confident, but still full of the terror ensued by the sight of the man. Staring into Lance’s eyes, Rafiel says quietly “your father was very important to me, and that makes you important too” There’s something, something in his eyes, those brilliantly shocking red eyes as he says this that makes Lance change his mind in an instant. He relaxes slightly and seeing this, the man lowers his hands slowly, “I am from Collen” he says
“No you’re not” says Lance, getting suspicious again “I’m from Collen and I’ve never seen you before in my life” He is staring back up at the man, starting to get tense once more.
But the man waves his large hand impatiently, saying “All the villages in this area are called Collen; It just shows how lazy the government is.” saying the last few words with increasing malice he continues , “They do not give a second thought to us, we are nothing but vermin to them, to be contained or killed for the enjoyment of their officers” The man has gone red with rage, he obviously has the same views against the government as most people in Lances Collen which up until now, was the only Collen. The only difference, thinks Lance, is that nobody in Lance’s village would ever normally speak out about their rage at the government; they would normally stay in their houses, do their jobs and send their children to school. This was the life set out for them, no festivities no wealth just lives full of fear and anxiety about what the government could possibly do to worsen their already pitiful lives. Just thinking about it now, enrages Lance. They occasionally sent officers to the village to make sure everyone is as miserable as possible, but these officers come more for entertainment. It was one of these events that had initially sparked the village wide protest, which had ultimately caused the death of his mother and sister, along with most other people in the village, and maybe even Dawn.
The group of officers had come on a routine check up, roaming around the village and shouting insults at anyone and everyone, no one would talk back or it would be straight to the village square for a beating in front of everyone. It was around noon just as the schools where finishing, the town square was busy again and officers were lurking in a back alley drinking and smoking. It was a small girl who the officers had seen and intoxicated with liquor decided to grab her and take her to the town square ,people where rushing around and filtering away, through side roads and alleys, they wanted nothing to do with it, but before most people could leave, a woman had come screaming out of the crowd, her eyes were full of tears as she watched the drunken officers tie her daughter to a wooden post and take out their knifes, the girl screamed, then the mother lost it, screaming and swearing she ran up to the man who had hit her child and kicked him hard between the legs, the officer keeled over and another officer punched the women hard across the mouth, making her fall backwards onto the floor, her lip bleeding.
Then the first officer cut the girls face laughing, the girl screamed again, with pain this time, so one of the officers pulled off his glove and stuffed it in her mouth forcing her to be quiet. People in the square had stopped leaving, the mother had been helped up, she seemed to have equipped the people with a sort of confidence, and they were standing their ground. The officers were taken aback but they soon disregarded it and went back to their torture of the little girl, when the second cut was made something seemed to click in the minds of every person in the square, there were five officers and about a hundred and fifty of them, the only difference were their clean perfectly tailored uniforms and their neat short cropped haircuts.
The officers didn’t seem to have noticed anything until one man ran at an officer and tackled him to the ground, at first the officers laughed at the man but their smiles faltered as first one then another, men, women and children were running at the officers. Years of hatred were bursting out in just a couple of minutes, and through a mixture of punching, biting scratching and kicking, all five officers had been forced to the ground. The people picked them up and locked them in the stocks as they gasped with terror and astonishment. The people celebrated their success and when the officers were let out of the stocks they pushed and prodded them to the village gate with brooms and rakes, they were covered in bruises and cuts, their uniforms were ripped and dirty and they had been stripped of their look of terror and authority. A truck was waiting at the gate to collect them, the one last humiliation was that the truck was holding all the officers who had done check-ups on the all villages in the area, the other officers crammed against the window laughing and jeering. When they reached the door they were pulled inside and taunted for their untidy dirty hair and repulsive appearance, the door was slammed shut and the truck drove off quickly, the officers would surely be punished, severely.
Lance explains all that has happened in his Collen, while he and Rafiel sit on the soft earth in the shadow of the cliff, Rafiel has made a fire with his neat and experienced hands, listening to Lance’s story the whole time. It also turns out that Rafiel has many useful supplies such as a copper kettle and some raw fish that he says he caught in a river on his journey here, the two of them sit on the soft leaf covered earth eating their fish, Occasionally asking questions about Lance’s story Rafiel sits, staring into the fire which is reflected dramatically in his vibrant eyes. When the story has finished Rafiel just sits there, clearly deep in thought.