It was probably around midnight. The air was cold, although it could have simply been my own state of mind that affected my feeling for the temperature. There was very little light in that moonless night. Yes, darkness has truly risen.
I was worried. Well, I guess the reasons were legitimate. I wasn’t sure if I would live until the night tomorrow. I could either still be breathing, alive and well, or I might have been shot with my body full of bullet holes. It was not very hard to see which would be a better outcome.
It was a lunatic plan. Either that, or it was a very well-crafted one, even if it is not foolproof. I was sincerely hoping for it to be the latter, but a better suspect would be that it was both. Anne’s plans were usually rather smart, but when Toby helps add in ideas, there was always that shred of craziness.
I hate you Isaac, I thought to myself. How fast people’s lives can change. Just a few weeks ago, I was on a nice happy camping trip surrounded by innocent students. Now, I am in a deserted town, waiting to be shot down by soldiers. Hopefully I won’t, but it seemed very unlikely.
Jesus, how did I ever get myself into this mess?
The plan sounded simple (although they were never simple to execute). Anne had figured that there must be buses coming to pick up the prisoners (including Isaac) to deliver off in different directions.
And this was why I was hiding behind this small bush. There were only five roads that led out of town, in which two were completely blocked. This meant that there were three roads. The plan was that when we saw the buses coming through the road towards town, we would then proceed to put our bicycle in the way, or create some sort of blockade. When the buses came back, it would have to stop or hit the blockade we’ve made, and we would, somehow, rescue Isaac.
Toby and Anne decided that they would guard the largest road, strangely called Northern Lane. Sophie had been put on the road which was least likely to have any buses come by, which was the one leading towards the national park. I was put on a lonely track that I did not know the name of.
I frankly didn’t think the plan will work. What was I to do if the bus came? I block the way, then what? Yes, the driver would come down, and ask something along the lines of “what the hell do you think you’re doing?” and then take out a pistol. I wouldn’t survive the encounter for very long, let alone the hope of saving anyone who’s inside the bus.
I thought of the weapon I had strapped behind my back. It wasn’t going to be a lot of help.
Wait, or would it be?
I thought of someone throwing bamboo sticks at some sort of agent with a gun pointing, and that was exactly the situation I would be in.
Oh well, I thought. It was the only thing that fate had allowed me.
Soon enough the sun gave its first shine that reflected upon the Earth. It had been a miserable night, spent in a lonely bush, trying to make plans that racked my brain with confusion and despair.
Waiting seemed like an eternity. It was so boring. I realized how boring life would be if there were no friends, no one to talk to. How did the first humans ever get by with life? Did hunting and making fire occupy their lives so much that they didn’t need friendship?
I glanced at my watch. It was six o’clock. No, the buses probably wouldn’t arrive this early. I had spent the whole night riding and waiting. It was probably time for a well earned break.
* * * * *
I didn’t know how long I’d slept. I knew, however, that it had been a very long time. The little bush that I hid behind offered little protection from the horrible sun. I’d been sleeping in the blazing light for some time. I felt ill.
Taking a look at my watch, I found out that it was already 10 pm. I’d already slept for four hours. Damnit. Four hours! How did I sleep that long? I hoped that the bus hadn’t yet made its way into town, and I desperately hoped that if it had came, the bus hadn’t already left, especially not through this road. It be such a failure to bear; sleeping while Isaac was carried off to some unnamed settlement that was little more than a giant human cage that locked in dreams and hopes.
As if answering my call, I soon heard the sound of a car engine. Brrn-brrrn. My heart simply froze mid-beat. The last time I’d heard of a car engine, it led to a locked-in-bathroom situation. Now, there were no locks nor bathrooms for me to hide in. Only a bush, surrounded by empty plains that offered zero percent protection.
I quickly ducked behind the bush and looked. It was a black van, an in front were the words “for official use.” It was still at least ten or twenty meters away from me. I quickly gathered my senses, unfroze my heart and ran to the road, dragging my bike and leaving it right there.
The van immediately stopped. It paused there for nearly a full half second, as if paralyzed at the sight of seeing a fourteen year old teen stand in his way, opposing his driving.
The driver stepped down.
“Who are you?” he asked unpleasantly.
“Who are you?” I replied.
He snarled. “I ain’t got any time for this stupid crap. Move your bike and get out of my way or I’m gonna run you down.”
“Who have you got inside your van?” I asked, trying to sound confident.
“Why the hell do you need to know? Get out of my way, now, or I’ll take you up to my van and take you right to prison!”
“Who have you got inside your van?”
“For heaven’s sake, move the goddamn bike and get out of my way!”
“I asked, who have you got inside your van?”
“I ain’t got nobody inside my van. Now move!”
It was my turn to be paralyzed. I didn’t have a plan for what to do next. The driver swore at me.
“Are you deaf?” he shouted. He started to move towards me. I took comfort from the thought that he didn’t reach for a gun, probably meaning he didn’t have one, or if he did it was in the car. I did have a weapon however. I quickly reached for the bamboo spear at my back and quickly hit him right on the head.
The driver let out a horrendous roar and started shouting words that should not ever be printed. I grabbed the advantage and quickly hit him again, which was followed by another roar. This was repeated a couple more times, until he was simply unconscious.
I ran into the van and looked at who was there.
It was Isaac.
His hands were tied to his back. He just stared at me, stunned. I quickly went to him and untied him.
“Quick, follow me. We’ve got to get out of this place.” I grabbed Isaac by the hand and led him to the door of the van.
Right before I stepped out, the driver was back.
“What in the world do you think you’re doing?” he shouted at me, enraged. Flecks of spit hit my face. “Is it proper for you…you little wretch…you bastard…to come and simply block my way? I am goin‘ to take both of you to some security hole and lock you up in there for the rest of your goddamned life!”
“Not so soon”, I said quickly, and once again brought the great bamboo cane right into his face. He fell back onto the ground. I tried to advance on him and bring down the stick again, but he came up soon enough and grabbed me by my shoulder. I hit him right on the nose, and the man howled in pain, swearing.
“How dare you!” he screamed, and lunged himself upon me. I quickly ducked away, but this man of monstrous energy was now impossible to hold back. Again and again he charged into me, and I had to continue to hit him.
He finally began to grab stones and chuck them at me. Two hit me right on my head, and I felt dazed. This man was a lunatic! Then, he grabbed a stick. It wasn’t much of a weapon, but it wasn’t so fragile as to break upon contact. He started to wave the stick like a sword and advance towards me.
It became a sword fight. The man, in his furious rage, swung his little stick on me as if he was possessed. I had to keep ducking, and I only managed to score a few hits on him, and only barely when I did. Where the hell was Isaac gone? That guy needs to learn some gratitude!
“Isaac!” I yelled. “Help me!”
“Isaac! I need help!”
Still no one.
Finally, I fell down onto the ground. I was too tired to continue to duck from this crazy driver. The man laughed unpleasantly.
“Finally you’re down, huh, little guy?” he snarled. “Lots of energy you’ve got there. Now wait here. I’ll go get my little gun and I’ll finish you off here. No time for a proper burial, of course, but it’ll have to do, my little friend.”
As he turned and broke into a sprint, I gathered the last of my energy and jumped on him. I brought my cane right into the middle of his head, followed by another howl.
There was no mercy this time. The driver threw me right off him, and I fell to the ground, hard. He ran up to me, and I brought my cane up to protect myself. I braced myself. This is it. He’s gonna hack me to death now. No need for a gun.
The man picked me up, and threw me again onto the ground. My skin felt like it was fire. It was bruised all over. I no longer cared what the man did. I desperately hoped to become unconscious as soon as possible.
But suddenly, someone leapt up on the man. No…two. Two people. Wait…three! They hit the man again and again, and after a few minutes, the man was lying on the floor.
Someone came up to me. It was Toby.
“Toby…” I gasped. “How did you get here?”
“I’ll tell you the whole thing later. Where’s Isaac?”
“He’s in the van.”
Toby didn’t have to ask. Sophie was already bringing him out.
“We have rescued you from an evil regime. No greetings at all, Isaac?.” Anne said, smiling.
Isaac didn’t return the light expression.
“Why did you guys rescue me?”