Sunday, July 22, 2012

New Middleport: The Senses of Weiland Kershaw - CH 6, Free Preview

Welcome to another free preview of New Middleport: The Senses of Weiland Kershaw. You can catch up with the first five chapters that have been previously released on my blog. This is chapter six for your enjoyment.

Chapter 6 (Safe Haven)

The door widens and she hastens me and my friends into her apartment.  She goes outside with a couple wet rags to clean up the blood and begins shutting us in before anyone knows the difference.
“Bring the injured boy through here.”  The cracking sound we heard earlier turns out to be a secret passage that was hard plastered so anyone that did break into this place would not know that anything was amiss.

As soon as we are all through the entry way, the protector pulls a lever and shut us back in.  She pulls out a remote control and presses a button and the current I heard before is back.  We head downward through a couple doorways and she locks them all behind us.  We’ve come a long way and I have to estimate that we’re at least three levels down when we enter a huge cavernous space.

“Whoa.”  It’s the first time Cole has said anything since the death stage.  It’s understandable that he’s completely lost with all of this.  I’d never told Cole anything about me having a protector, so obviously he wouldn’t know anything about where we were going.  He has Cassidy to look after and I didn’t want to burden him with more information that might take his focus away from her.

The room has multiple hallways, doors at multiple levels, and ladders to reach those that are up high.  This protector pulls out a mattress and has Jay and Cole place Lawson on his stomach.  She’s moving quickly to gather towels, alcohol, needle, thread, and some jars of stuff I’ve never seen before.  Some of these glass jars have pills, while others have stuff that look like some sort of mushroom paste.

Jay and Cole sit down on some chairs off to the side as she silently works on Lawson.  She quickly pours alcohol over all of his wounds.  She’s cleaning very rough as she starts with his hand in an attempt to get rid of any germs that may have come from the weapons that caused his injuries or from the trip here.  After she’s cleaned his fingers to the best of her ability, she starts pulling his skin upward from his hand to sew shut his empty digits.

She’s very quick and all three areas are sewn shut faster than the time it took to clean them.  The focused woman now concentrates on his back and does the same alcohol rub for all of the lashings.  There are plenty of openings on his back from the whip, so it takes more time to clean it thoroughly.  After she is done, she takes out the mushroom paste and starts coating every one of his injuries, including his sewn up hand.  She places bandages over his back and wraps his hand, and finishes by putting a wet cloth on his forehead.

Our protector comes over to us and speaks calmly, “He’ll be fine.  His bandages will need to be changed regularly and he should probably take some antibiotics once he wakes.”
“Okay.  Now that he’s okay, can someone please tell me what’s going on?” as Cole whispers with some heightened intensity.
The protector allows me the grace to answer his question by going through one of the cavern’s hallways.  Cole takes my explanation without any questions and finally slumps down into his chair, while looking around the room.

There are plenty of books, diagrams, and what I imagine are medicine jars all throughout the room.  There’s a low amount of light, but sufficient enough to where you don’t need to squint.  She comes back into the room with a tea tray and something else.

We’ve had all of an hour and a half with this woman and I still don’t even know her name.  The tray is set down next to a table close to the chairs occupied by Jay and Cole.  She sets it down and turns to face me, sensing my anticipation.

“My name is Marna Dey.  And I’ve been waiting 16 years for you to knock on my door.  Although I wasn’t expecting so many guests, I’m sure your father would have been happy knowing you’ve come across what appear to be good friends. ”

The mention of my father distracts me quite a bit.  She goes over to extend a hand to Jay or Cole.  Cole being closest stands up and shakes her hand, “Cole Harrington ma’am.”
“It’s nice to meet you.”
Jay stands up next and takes her hand, “Ma’am.  I’m Jayden Leeds.”
“It’s a pleasure.”  Marna sits down across from Jay and grabs a cup of tea.  It’s not until I realize that the other empty seat completes a circle around the table.  I take a seat as I think about my father, and then I realize that Jay introduced himself by his full first name.  He has never done that since I’ve met him, it has to do with his name being similar to one of the rulers and not wanting to have anything remotely in common with the tyrants.

It’s as if he’s looking right through me when I’m wondering why he introduced himself as Jayden.  “You trusted your dad and your dad trusted Mrs. Dey, and I trust you.  It’s a full circle, hence the chairs, and I figure that a woman that’s in the circle of trust should know my full name.”

I nod in understanding and give my attention back to Marna.  “You mentioned my dad and that he’d be happy with my friends?”
“Of course.  He knew at some point the end would come for him and it would be a lot sooner than he would want it to be.  That’s why he was preparing you for all those years.  He started as soon as he could until you were seven.  It was the only thing that he thought would matter in the end, leaving you with the ability to fend for yourself and find company that you could rely on.”

“Why…How would he know his end would come sooner than he’d want it to be?”

“I’m surprised you haven’t guessed at that yet.  Look around you, would there be a need for this place during the previous ruler’s time.  And why would your father know of this place if he didn’t help to build it.” And it hits me like I should've known it all along, "Because my father was part of the rebellion."

© 2011 S. T. Lakata

New Middleport: The Senses of Weiland Kershaw is NOW ON SALE.  It is available on the Kindle and Nook.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

New Middleport: The Senses of Weiland Kershaw - CH 5, Free Preview

Thank you for joining me in sharing another free preview of New Middleport: The Senses of Weiland Kershaw. If this is your first visit, the first four chapters are in my previous blog posts. Here is chapter five for your enjoyment.

Chapter 5 (1013)

Jay and Cole are looking at me in disbelief, wondering what I’m doing staring at a blank wall.  The section of wall is midway between the last condemned apartment and the corner connecting to the adjacent hallway.

One of the last things I was ever taught was the location of my “protector” and why the apartments were boarded up.  The rebellion came to its highest point right before I was born, but there turned out to be many spies within the OCP.  These spies gave locations of where rebels were all over the city.  It was a unified strike to attack all of them at once, with many of them in 1013 Lockport.  Some fled, most were killed, and all of the residences were boarded up and labeled condemned with some type of paint.  This helps thugs presently, because they would know if anyone broke into any of these heavily fortified and empty places.

I ball my hand into a fist and start swirling it around in a small circle on the plaster.  It made a slightly annoying noise, but it was quiet enough not to draw any attention.  It’s this location that I could always hear a slight surge of electricity, in the place I was told kept my protector.  My fist continued to swirl my skin raw for a few minutes until I heard it.  It was the sound of an electrical current being shut off.  My hand dropped down to my sides and I stepped back, truly not knowing what to expect.

I almost forgot that Jay and Cole were there holding Lawson up with blood spewing onto the ground.  There was a noticeable cracking sound coming from the wall and I stood back further.  The wall was still in tack, but then I heard movement beyond the area I had just been rolling circles.  Someone has moved to the door of the condemned apartment to my right.  The boards that cover the door and what I thought were nailed shut begin to slide into the wall, while the door cracks open.

Jay has realized that this location is the one thing I never told him.  He knew that I was designated a protector from my dad, but I was never truly sure if he understood why I never told him the location.   “I’ll be damned for sure now that I’ve seen this.”  Jay’s whisper widens the eyes of the woman I’m now facing in the doorway.  She pauses slightly at the sight of more people than she’d expected at her door stop, but she returns her gaze to me and looks at me expectantly.  The day has finally arrived and I’m facing this woman who has been waiting years to open her door for me.  I can’t help but smile to have such a feeling of connection with someone I’ve never met and ask the question my dad prepared me for, “What kind of day should all people fear?”

With a subtle and quiet voice, I hear my protector’s voice for the first time.  “Sunny ones.”

© 2011 S. T. Lakata

Stay tuned for another free preview this Sunday.  New Middleport: The Senses of Weiland Kershaw is NOW ON SALE and available on the Kindle and Nook.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New Middleport: The Senses of Weiland Kershaw - CH 4, Free Preview

Welcome again for another free preview of New Middleport: The Senses of Weiland Kershaw.  This is the fourth chapter and you can catch up by checking out the first three chapters in my previous blog posts.

Chapter 4 (Ruling Forces)

Inna throws the scissors down toward the girl’s feet so quickly that she jumps back and an enforcer has to grab her before she falls from the stage.  The twisted smile comes with a hearty laugh from the death show ruler as she must have gotten the answer she was looking for.  There’s such satisfaction with what she has done that I know it’s one of the few times Jay and I ever question a good laugh.

“Someone must claim this man now that this one has ended his display.”  There is a bellowing from the crowd, but no one comes forward to the wooden steps of the stage to accept responsibility.  Normally, anyone that is claimed is too far gone to survive, but the rulers do not want to waste hospital space so they want the citizens to keep the soon dead until they can be tossed in a designated alley for trash disposal.

Inna feigns surprise to the lack of support for the bleeding mess on the already stained deck of the stage.  She reaches to her holster to snap loose her pistol.  It’s not often that you see a gun, especially since the current rulers have banned all firearms to those not deemed responsible.  I have only seen guns a few times in my life and the majority of the time they were within a ruler’s reach.

I do not question Jay’s motives when he mouths “Jay Leads” and starts walking toward the stage.  I look to Cole to signal pursuit as we follow Jay’s lead toward the stairs.  The sudden movement gathers notice from everyone, and even I must admit that I do not appreciate the attention particularly from a ruler.  “I see that a few men are willing to take this man in until he bleeds out or infection takes him.  Here, for your duty to New Middleport.”

Inna notions for some enforcers to throw a sack down to the ground once we’ve gotten to the foot of the steps.  It falls with a clank and I already know that there are canned vegetables inside, and possibly some bread.  “And don’t forget why you came for your food.”  The enforcers don’t need any motivation to pick up the Lawson kid and heave him down the steps.  He’s airborne halfway down the steps until he makes contact and rolls to the bottom.  At least the fall knocked him unconscious.

The display is over and the enforcers are binding up the girl to take with them, while others break down the stage.  Why do all of that to take a little girl?  Jay and Cole are already helping Lawson up before I can think about it anymore.  “Where to Jay?” is the only thing Cole gets out before I realize what he had in mind.  Jay glances at me and I realize that there’s no time to debate if we’re going to save his life.  It’s forbidden to take a display to a hospital unless you want to be put on display yourself, so I answer for Jay, “I guess we’ll all find out together.”

We head back toward building 1013 in Lockport.  It’s one of the only times I’ve ever heard Jay confused in my life, “Why are we going back to your apartment?”  I give a tired smile to Jay and Cole as they both stare at each other for a second as they hold a near lifeless body.  I’ve told Jay everything about me, with the exception of one thing.  “Let’s go,” is all I say as I hold the door to the building open.

We all walk down the main hallway toward the elevator.  The main hallway has nothing but condemned apartments, an elevator that stopped working before I was born, and another hallway.  The other three keep going around the right corner down to the end of that hallway that has a side stairwell before they realize I’m not following them.  At least one of them has a good excuse not to notice my absence.  There is a pause as I can tell they’re waiting for me to open the stairwell door when I notice the shuffle of feet to turn and notice I’m not there.  There’s another pause and then a quick scurrying down the hallway back toward the elevator.  They turn the corner to find me leaning up against a wall with, I can only imagine to them is, a wicked smile.  I must admit that it’s almost unbearable to contain my laughter.

It has become a rule with us not to talk within open spaces of a building.  Hallways in particular have a nice way of echoing noise to those that may be near enough to be listening, which is why I hold a finger to my smiling lips to make sure they don’t go berserk with questions of “What the hell are you doing?”
I’m three quarters of the way down the hallway in front of a condemned apartment.  This apartment, like all that are labeled condemned, is boarded up with so many boards that you can’t see any part of the door.


“Why are all of the doors boarded up dad?”
“That’s a very important question son.  Do you think you’re old enough for the answer?”
My dad holds a finger to his smiling lips as he laughs at my youthful exuberance.  I can already tell that he questions telling a seven year old the information he’s about to tell me, but he whispers it to me just the same.
“Weiland, you need to understand that the world we live in is not the way a human being should be living.  We’re not meant to be walking around afraid for our lives.”
“But I’ve never seen you afraid.”
“That’s because everything I do is to make sure you are safe.  Now I will continue if you don’t interrupt, because I can only risk telling you this one time.”  My only recognition is an encouraging nod, so he knows that I will be nothing less than attentive.

“The rulers do not care about the citizens of Port.  They have only two interests; power and doing whatever it takes to keep it.”  He tells me about the previous ruler when he was a teenager, and how everything was different.  They used to have non-processed meat, real vegetables that don’t come from a can, showers that don’t automatically turn off, and amazingly no displays.  There was a time when people could feel safe, and not only in their homes, but walking down the street.

“I used to walk down the street with your grandfather to the local market to buy food for dinner.  Food wasn’t handed out as wage for working or for turning in a suspected rebel.  No, everything was very different.  People were free to speak and laugh loudly, play music and dance, walk a pretty lady to her door after going for a long walk in the country.”

My eyes grow in sudden fear of what was being said. “Yes Weiland, we were allowed to leave the city as we pleased.”  The very thought of leaving the city just wasn’t within my comprehension at such a young age.  I knew from the age of three not to go beyond any pylons that surrounded the city.  A bright red glow comes from the pylon tops throughout the day, but is most distinguishable during any evening hour.

Dad continued by telling me the rulers had these pylons installed as their first act of “civil ordinance.”  The rulers did not state what these pylons did and it only took a few deaths for the entire city to realize that the city was encased in an invisible field of electricity.  Once my senses were good enough, he took me to the fence.  He wanted me to recognize the sound of the fence and continued to take me to various areas of the city until I could recognize the fence from a quarter mile away.  This took months of trips all over the city, but once I satisfied my dad that I could hear the fence before seeing it, I wasn’t to return until I was older.

The conversation with my dad took all night long.  There was so much for him to tell and there was so much that I wanted to hear.  He tried to get me to rest so he could tell me more in the morning, but I insisted he tell me everything.  It was the only time in my life I had noticed him hesitate about anything, but he finally agreed to tell me the rest if he could take a shower first.  I was already under the sink before he could get into the shower and he did something he’d never done before.

He opened the sink cabinet and spoke softly, “Now son, I want you to stay underneath there until I tell you otherwise.  No speaking or questions until I say it’s okay, alright?”  I think that might’ve been the first glimpse of seeing fear in my father’s eyes.  I didn’t understand so I just quietly shook my head without a word, so he knew that I’d already agreed to stay silent.  The door shut and I heard his clothes hit the ground and the shower curtain go back.  The water turned on and I began my normal trend of listening beyond the water.

My father never finished his shower that night.  I didn’t understand why he didn’t get out when he must’ve heard the men come in.  I heard them almost as soon as the shower started, so he must’ve heard them right?  There were at least three sets of footsteps. I was so confused when the bathroom door blasted open with a thug’s boot and I didn’t hear any response from my dad.  The room was very narrow so he could’ve taken them one or two at a time, but the careful steps of the thugs proved that they were cautiously moving on the shower.

The curtain was ripped from its rod and no commotion followed.  It was the quietest moment of my life and the next thing I heard was the most devastating.  Somehow they’d gotten to him before they entered the apartment because the next thing I hear is the sound of the lifeless body I used to know as my father being taken from the bathtub.  I heard him being dragged passed the sink, through the living room, out the front door, down the hallway to the stairwell, and the lack of forgiveness they showed my father let me hear the sound of his head smacking each of the stairs as they tossed him down.


© 2011 S. T. Lakata

Stay tuned for another free preview within the week.  New Middleport: The Senses of Weiland Kershaw is available on the Kindle and Nook.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

"She Just Roundhouse Kicked My..."

What are things that a pregnant woman says?  Yes, my wife is pregnant. She sometimes expresses herself in creative and funny ways.  For example, during a long car ride she might describe her need to use the bathroom as "mind over bladder."  It's not often that she says these things, but they serve her very well.  She really can laugh at anything and I'm glad that she can make light of things that might or should make her grumpy, cranky, or downright rude.  So how does this woman that's pregnant take charge of our baby girls' kicks of fury?  She describes them to me the best that she can and sometimes provides facial expressions that are an explanation in their own right.  There are "whoas" and wide-eyed "she's taking turns on the punching bag."

In most cases, I can provide relief for my wife.  Our baby owl decides (most of the time) to go into meditation as soon as my hand reaches the stomach.  I don't think of it as anything disappointing.  I consider it a gift.  And while I try to provide my wife some relief with my "gift" when the kicks are painful, I do my best to offer any words of encouragement that will help to ease the pain.  Now there are many things that are amazing, but so few (even ones that are painful) that provide such a sense of personal attachment.  One of those things is seeing your wife's stomach move and sometimes feeling your soon-to-be-baby kick.  And other amazing things just happen to be the words that fly out of my wife's mouth when she tries to describe that feeling she gets when our baby owl goes on a kicking spree.

"She just roundhouse kicked my vagina."  Yes, my wife is pregnant and she said that.

New Middleport: The Senses of Weiland Kershaw - CH 3, Free Preview

Welcome back for another chapter of New Middleport: The Senses of Weiland Kershaw. The first two chapters have been posted in my earlier blogs.  Here is chapter three for your enjoyment.

Chapter 3 (Demonstration of Loyalty)

I met Cole in the streets of Lockport on my way to a display in our district.  Cole was outnumbered four to one in an alley behind the death stage.  He was shielding Cassidy, trying to protect her long enough to let her escape or until he was dead.  These brutes were trying to take advantage of the crowd’s noise to take Cass and do all the things a brother knows he can’t allow.  They didn’t have any weapons, which stayed Cole’s ability to fend them off.  She turned her head looking behind them with desperation in her eyes with what seemed like furious hope; hope to either see someone help him fend off this rat pack or die just as quickly to avoid the onslaught of offenses these men had in mind.  I’d never seen such determination before.  It was when Cole shouted, “RUN!” that her eyes met mine as I continued walking in their direction.

I don’t know if it was instinct, morality, or those eyes that led me to his side that day, but there was no hesitation once the decision was made.  I held the heel of my knife so the blade hides underneath my jacket.  The first two don’t recognize that their throats are open until I’ve stepped back from their initial rush attack to see the blood coming from my sleeve.  The coughing and gasping cause enough confusion to incapacitate the other two before Cole can even understand that it’s over.  Cassidy was holding onto Cole as if his life depended on it.  It was this moment that made me realize how lonely my life had become, although I couldn’t understand if it was the thought of family or Cassidy that drew out this desire for another person’s touch.


“Do you remember where you should go when you’re in absolute danger?”
“Yes dad.”
“Good.  You’re only to go there when you are being hunted relentlessly or are severely injured.  This person is close to me, so you know you can trust her.  She knows who you are and will help you without question when you knock on her door.”
I didn’t always understand everything my father told me.  “If you’re so close, why can’t I meet her now?”
My dad smiles because he always welcomes my questions and never makes me feel ashamed for asking anything.  It prepared me for the world.
“She is in hiding and can’t risk being seen unless it is absolutely necessary.  And you are the only one she’ll risk that for, so do you understand how important that makes you to her to risk so much?”
“So, she cares for me like you do?”
“Very good son.  Now you understand the importance of depending on yourself more than anyone else.  It will be your judgment that protects you more than anything, which will keep her safe until you have no other choice but to seek her out.”


“This definitely doesn’t seem like a rosy situation.”
“Sure it does Cole, just wait until they flower the tombs of these two.”  And there it is, the reason I trust Jayden more than anyone else.  I can’t help but give a quick smirk, which never goes well with Cole.  “Okay, the situations are never rosy,” as Jay tries to make sure Cole doesn’t go into overload thinking of himself being up there with Cassidy.
“The guy looks familiar, but I’ve never seen the girl,” I admit.
“That’s the Lawson kid.  I work with him up in the mines.  He started a couple of years after me, but he’s probably put in more hours than anyone has.”

The conversation stops with the rest of the crowd as another whip lash comes down on his back, but that’s not what the mob goes quiet over.  Inna walks over with a pair of scissors to the device holding this poor soul upright.  All of his extremities are stretched out.  His arms are being held up by his fingers, as each finger is twined around the tips and wrapped around the hanging bar.  The hanging bar, another thing I’ve never seen used until today.  Hangings are too quick to try and pry loose any tongues of the mob.

None of us have to ask why that girl is up there being made to witness this horrific scene, because we don’t know, and it is normally the girl that would be on display.  All of us look at each other knowing the question that we all dare not ask aloud, “Has the rebellion done something to invoke this change in tactics?”

Up to this point, the young man has displayed great strength by not crying or screaming or pleading for his life to end.  His resolve seems to come by keeping his eyes fixed on the young girl.  This doesn’t make sense, why torture him when the girl will more than likely get a response from the crowd?  The awful sound of bone being cut brings about some noises of those in the crowd losing their boiled turnips they had for breakfast all over the street.

It’s only when two fingers remain to hold up his right arm that he finally turns his face away from the girl.  Even though he doesn’t make a sound, I can only guess that he doesn’t want her to see the tears that have boiled over from the pain.  This small action seems to break what’s left of the little girl’s heart.

“STOP!” shouts the courageous girl.

© 2011 S. T. Lakata

Stay tuned for another free preview later this week.  My book is currently available on the Kindle and Nook.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

New Middleport: The Senses of Weiland Kershaw - CH 2, Free Preview

Welcome back for another chapter of New Middleport: The Senses of Weiland Kershaw. My last blog included chapter one and here is chapter two for your enjoyment.

Chapter 2 (New Middleport)

“Knock it off Sam!” whispers Lizzy.
“Take it easy sis.  I can’t help it if I want to take charge of this city and turn the rulers into puppets.”
“It’s no wonder that you talk like a child, because you are still waiting to grow up.  What if someone hears you?”

The apartment is filled with coal dust.  Sam finally takes a seat in the musty chair near the window and submits his quietness with a sigh.  It’s been a long shift and there’s no memory of the last day he had off.  Talking never did seem to be so threatening to him, and working endlessly for little food was a much better prospect then missing work and getting lashed.  Working was also the best way to keep his sister from the dangers of the city or having to work herself.

“Tails,” he calls trying to end a fight before it begins.  “Tails, you take a shower and I cook and clean.  Heads, I shower and you cook and clean.”  The simplest game between the two breaks a smile on Lizzy’s face.  She pulls the old coin from the small pocket in her jeans and gives it a flip toward the couch.  Its soft landing shows tails and Sam gets up to start the stove.

“Go ahead and shower,” Lizzy speaks.  “You’ve had a long day.  I’ll let you cook next time.”  Sam shows relief on his face, because he always seems to burn the vegetables even when they’re somewhat rotten.  “Thanks Lizzy.”

Coal drips from his hair as he dries off from the shower.  He walks around in his towel, throws on a shirt, and comes back into the living room.  “How long was I in the shower?”

Smiling her sister says, “Two minutes just as always.”  It amazes Sam how much cleaning this girl can do in such a short period of time.  Coal dust has all but disappeared from the chair he’d just been sitting in, which has always been his favorite spot to rest.  There is always coal dust around since he started in the mines two years ago, but Lizzy wants to make it feel like a home as much as possible.

“Mom and dad would be proud sis.”  The mention of their parents almost always brings tears to her eyes, but he’s never seen her shed one tear since they were killed.  Even though Sam’s been doing all the hard labor, he has always thought that she’s been the toughest.  Maybe she feels that being strong will keep the two of them together and stay a family.  Maybe she doesn’t want to show weakness by allowing herself to cry and therefore avoiding the fates of their parents.  Lizzy thinks that she will always be in control as long as her tears don’t boil over.  She has always promised Sam that she would never do to him what her mom did to their dad, “I will never end your display.  Never.”  It was comforting to Sam knowing that Lizzy would never kill him.

There’s a demonstration somewhere nearby.  I can hear the crying and despairing chants of what must be a large crowd.  It seems to be less than a mile away, so it’s still in the Lockport District.  I’ve lived in the same apartment in Lockport my entire life.  It’s possibly the poorest district of New Middleport and probably why I’ve gotten used to surviving on so little.

There are many that die of starvation in Lockport, but we’re not the only district that has this problem which is why so many join the OCP.  The rebellion has been around for as long as I can remember, but my father always told me to keep to myself to keep from getting killed.  “Being a member of the Oppressed Citizens of Port can only lead to death or worse,” he’d say.  Unfortunately, you don’t have to be a member to be caught in some of the traps posted throughout the poorest districts of Port.  Traps are put in various different places to catch supposed members of the rebellion.  These traps can be anything from stun darts to giant nets to explosive devices.  You can meet a very painful end if you’re not careful.  There have been many of all ages that I’ve encountered all throughout the city that are missing limbs and waiting for death in agonizing pain.

The rulers do make an effort to remove most of the traps during a display, so that all witnesses can understand the suffering that come to those that have been brandished as a rebel, thief, or bait.  The rulers, particularly Inna Kendrick, enjoy taunting the crowd with those that are being tortured simply as bait.  She won’t hide the fact that they’re bait.  Inna wants the crowd to save the bait and there’s only one way to do that.  The mob must turn in a member of the OCP.  The crowd doesn’t always turn, which means the bait will be killed, but bait is never let go until someone takes her place.  Bait is almost always a girl.  Some will volunteer to take a girl’s spot before the whips, blades, or scissors are even brought out.  These volunteers are usually not rebels, which makes those that aren’t members of the OCP despise the rebel cause and forget the tyranny of its leaders.

Those that hate the rebellion will usually earn more food by working for the rulers.  Enforcers are always anti-rebels.  They come in large numbers to protect the rulers, all demonstrations, and of course the transportation plant.

I see Jay before he calls out my name, “Weiland!”  Jay and Cole are already out and about today, which is a good sign that they haven’t gotten into any trouble.  “Jay.  Cole.  What’s the display?”  I could easily look around the corner of the building, but it’s a simple show of trust to let them tell me before I see it for myself.

“It’s not good W.K.  Inna’s got a pair of baiters up on stage.”  Jay’s lack of humor this morning leads me to believe this is definitely not a normal death show.  “I don’t recall there ever being more than one person on display before.  Do you?”

Cole sounds understandably nervous.  He would do anything to protect Cassidy and anything outside of the twisted normalcy we've grown accustomed to puts up an alarm for all of us.  No is the only response I give to Cole to try and present as much calm in my voice as possible.

© 2011 S. T. Lakata

Stay tuned for another free preview within the next week.  New Middleport: The Senses of Weiland Kershaw is available through the Kindle and Nook.