Welcome to the end of the story. Hope everyone has had a wonderful week.
The Talented Part Three
Alex moved to follow.
“I hate you! Where is she, you stupid—“
Something thudded and the words cut short.
“Colt.” Brianna sounded strangled. She stepped forward but Alex held her back.
“Wait,” he cautioned.
She blinked at him—click, click—and then relaxed. They waited around the corner of the bunkhouse. Brianna twitched, her gears clicking softly every time she moved to peek at the doors.
“Stop,” Alex pulled her back, “you make too much noise.”
“I—“ she clicked her teeth shut and settled against the wall with her arms crossed.
Finally, after night had fully fallen, the man reappeared with an empty tray. He closed the doors gently to avoid sound and then returned to the house.
Only then did Alex move. He found the doors unlocked. Laying them open, he motioned for Brianna to go first. A friendly face would hopefully keep the boy from screaming again and giving them away.
Following her down the ladder, he left one door open for the little bit of light it offered. It was indeed a small cellar but a second door had been added before one could enter the actual underground chamber. This one was locked.
“Colt,” Brianna whispered.
Something shifted on the other side of the door.
She slumped with a sigh.
“Give space,” Alex nudged her.
“Why?” She shot him a look.
He held up a small pouch. “Would you like to see him or is knowing where he is enough?”
“Oh.” She moved.
Pulling a few picks from the pouch, Alex inserted them into the lock. He’d always had a feel for lock picking, kind of had to when one was a thief, but this was the first time someone was watching when he did it. It made him second-guess the feel and it took him a few tries to get the thing open.
Finally, with a soft click, the door swung under his touch.
A boy rushed out, knocking into him before catching sight of Brianna and enveloping her in a tight hug.
In the faint light Alex made out his shock of dark hair and pale skin. He couldn’t be older than Brianna but neither could he be younger.
“Twins?” he muttered.
Something twittered behind him.
“Watch out!” he swung around but missed the rat by an inch. It skittered away with what he guessed was an irritated whirr. “It followed us.” He lunged for it again.
“Wait!” Brianna cried.
Alex tried to stop, tripped, and landed face first on the ground.
“It says there are Barviddian spies on the estate. One killed Waylin.”
“You trust it? This is sweet uncle Marrell we’re dealing with.” Alex pushed to his feet with a groan and brushed himself off.
“Who’s h–?” Colt fell silent as voices came from above.
Alex understood not a whit of what was said. It sounded like someone swallowed hot sauce and was speaking through the aftermath.
“They’re looking for me,” Colt whispered.
The rat whirred.
“It insists it’s the Barviddians,” Brianna translated.
“Why are the Barviddians here?” Alex asked
“They found out about your sixth senses. Their spy network wants you,” Brianna continued to translate. “Just as our spy network wanted you. I never sold you. They stole you.”
Both kids stared at the rat.
“I saw the bill of sale,” Brianna said but there was a question in her voice.
The rat whirred. Brianna shook her head and took a step away.
“You sold us,” she insisted.
Colt wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “For now just trust him.”
Alex crept forward to the ladder while the two dealt with their familial issues. He should never have gotten involved. The Barviddians were not kind to those who got in their way. Plus he’d stolen something from his own country’s spy network, which didn’t bode well.
Checking over the top of the ladder, he spotted two men dressed in mottled black and gray outfits. If they hadn’t been walking, he would have missed them.
“Uncle Merrell says to climb out and make a run for it. He says he’ll create a distraction.”
Looking at Brianna, Alex wanted to argue but he couldn’t think of a better option.
Climbing free, he stayed tight to the ground until both kids were out too.
“Run for it,” he said and took off his own direction.
A concussion to the air made him trip. With it came a wave of heat that threatened to singe his hair. Glancing over his shoulder, he gulped and ran harder. Merrell certainly went all out on his distractions. The whole house was on fire.
Alex sat at a back table in the tavern, enjoying his last drink before he skipped town. After the fire, he’d lost track of the two kids. When he went to Merrell’s house it was empty. Kid’s, old Master Merrell, and his payment were gone. He’d gone out of his way without earning a cent.
His Mama would be chuckling at him, asking why he wasn’t simply happy for helping, if she knew. Well he’d done his one good deed for the year. She could rest happy, wherever she was.
A man stumbled across the tavern carrying two drinks. At first Alex thought him destined for the booth to the left of him but then the man stumbled again and made a seat for himself at Alex’s table.
“Good ol’ Mister Alex? Gotta be, here.” He thumped the second mug in front of Alex. “An’ here,” he pulled out a small leather bag and thumped it next to the mug. “Compliments of the twins.”
Then the man shoved to his feet and ambled on to the booth.
Alex contemplated the mug and bag for a second. Was this a joke? He peeked inside the bag. A shiny rock cut at exact angles glittered blood red in the faint light. It was the size of his palm.
Tucked next to it in the bag was a slip of paper.
-Payment as promised. We were stolen for our talents by our own country. Now we run. You might want to also. Regards, B & C.
Leaning back, Alex pocketed the bag and sipped from the mug. It was good ale. He’d planned on running anyway. Things were looking up again.
P.S. I love feedback, so if anyone has suggestions, questions, or comments on what they like or what doesn’t seem to work, please let me know. Just be gentle to my poor thin skinned feelings. Thanks.