MY WINGS HURT WHERE I lay on them, staring at the ceiling. Once again, there was very little compelling me to go to sleep. I knew too much. And every time I slept, I learned more of what I didn’t want to know. So I stared at the ceiling and listened to the wind outside the window, warning of the gradually approaching storm.
But there was more than one storm for me to worry about.
Across the river, through the fields, and under the cover of the tree’s branches, Sameela O’Klurn lay in her bed, staring at the ceiling, waiting and thinking. Tomorrow would be her first big assignment. Despite all the things everyone said about it, the Harvest Festival was no laughing matter. Security was top priority, ever since the sabotage several years back had led to the biggest food shortage of the century.
But there was more. Sam’s boss, Chief Locknut, had given her a special mission in addition to her normal duties as a Guard. Given the current circumstances, Sam thought it peculiar that the Chief would pay such strong attention to a low-life, pig-headed nobody, as her.
As Emmaline O’Meern.
The alarm clock went off. Obeying strict protocol, Sam took her meds, and after the expected short headache, fell asleep.
Chief Locknut strolled around the hall. Workers were everywhere setting up sound systems, cameras, and decorations. It was nearly dawn, and the party wasn’t until an hour before sunset, but he needed all the time he could get. When nobody was looking out for anything.
A buzz in his pocket alerted him of a message. He pulled out his phone and answered it.
A familiar drone on the other end told him it was the Senator.
“Have you got the tackle equipment ready, Locknut?”
“And what of the net? Have you got yours ready?”
Chief Locknut tightened his jaw. He knew there was little time left to be prepared and any delay now could unfold a chain of catastrophic events that, at best, would lose him his job.
“Nearly there, sir, however…”
“I’m not sure about the equations, sir. From what I calculated, that amount of explosives could make a crater the size of the mountain, if all in one spot. Perhaps we should, ah, give everyone their fair share?”
There was a long moment of silence. Locknut gripped the phone tighter in fear of dropping it from his own sweat. He jumped at the eruption of noise at the other end. It was laughter. The sound reminded him of nails on a chalkboard.
“Locknut, you old devil! Yes…that will work very well, very well indeed…giving ‘everyone their fair share,’ as you put it. Good work, Chief. Reroute the supplies as needed. Report when finished.”
There was a loud click and a dial tone. Locknut hung up, refocused on his surroundings, and yelled at a newbie worker for getting the camera wiring backwards.
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