And so the poison is released
“Let’s kill him!”
“We can’t kill him! Are you mad?”
“Then what do you propose we do?”
‘Such a heated argument,’ I thought, rubbing my temples, ‘And all over one man.’
I looked around the oval table I was sitting at. There was Hearth, standing out of her chair, with her hands placed firmly on the table. She had her auburn hair tied back in a ponytail today. I assumed she knew that there would be quite a bit of work to be done. Then to Hearth’s
right, I saw Croc, calmly sitting in his chair with one foot on the table that was pushing him back so that the chair was resting on its hind legs. His light brown and very tattered cape covered the majority of the chair, but not his face. He very rarely put his hood up, hiding his short, dark brown hair and sunken in cheeks. Sitting next to Croc was Well. He sat on the edge of his chair, resting his elbows on the table with his fingers laced together, supporting his head. He was not planning on getting overly involved in this debate, but he was not planning on sitting out either, that I could tell. He scratched his head, ruffling his brown hair while he opened his mouth to say something that was never heard over the others. Spark was standing next to Well, waving his arms about, trying to get his point across I suppose. His face was slightly reddened from all the yelling he’d done. Directly across from me sat Memory, the incredibly creepy leader of the Ghost gang. He was sitting up straight in his chair with a large black cape covering almost all of his body and face. I could only tell that he was pale and was somehow enjoying this because he had a slight smile on his face. Spear sat to the right of him, acting as the voice of reason. I’d say he is the wisest of the leaders, possibly because he’s the oldest. Today his eyes were especially stern and seemingly very impatient. Then to the right of him was the glorious, or I suppose, grand, Grand. Do I even need to say anything about him? Gust sat next to Grand, swishing his light brown hair back every so often and offering snide and rude remarks all around. ‘He’s just trying to pick a fight’ I thought. Then sitting in between Hearth and Gust sat me. I felt quite unwanted even though I was requested to attend this meeting. While all the others bickered amongst themselves, I just sat there, feeling awkward. I just knew this meeting would be loads of fun.
“He’s going to ruin us!” Spark yelled out.
“Not if we kill him, he won’t,” Gust said.
“We’re not going to kill him, Gust!” Hearth shouted.
“Hearth is right. If we killed him, the people would rightfully assume it was us and attack,” Spear added.
“And?” Gust said, requiring more explanation.
“What do you mean?” somebody asked. I wasn’t able to catch who had said it.
“I mean, what’s the problem with that?”
“You’re sick!” Hearth declared.
“What, Hearth? It’s just a little war. Surely you of all people would love to see some fire,” Gust said.
“You!” Hearth began, leaning forward.
“Alright, alright, let’s be decent now,” Well said, trying to keep a fair amount of peace, “If we fail to reach a decision on this then the Tunnels are doomed.”
“Well is right,” Croc said, speaking for the first time at this meeting, “Let’s figure out what we can do and then we will weigh the consequences for each option.”
“I propose we wait it out and see if he is actually a threat and if so, fight him off by overwhelming him with our combined power,” Hearth said, pulling her chair closer to the table and sitting down in it. The others who were standing followed her actions as well.
“Alright, that’s one way,” Croc said.
“I propose we kill him,” Gust said.
“That’s another option,” he said, “Anybody else?”
“We could just leave him be and watch what happens,” Well said, “I’m not in favor of that, but it is an option.”
“What kind of option is that!?” Spark exclaimed.
“No, he’s right. That is an option. You may not like it, but others might,” Croc said.
“I don’t like it at all,” Spark said, almost pouting.
“Shocking,” Croc laughed.
“You’re funny, Croc,” Spark said rather venomously.
“In any case, we seem to have two realistic options. Wait it out and exterminate if needed, or kill him now,” Croc explained.
“If we wait it out, it’ll be too late and the Tunnels will fall,” Gust said, almost maturely.
“But if we kill him now, it will enrage the public and pit them against us,” Hearth said, resting her head on her fist, “We can’t fight the public.”
“And why not?” Grand asked.
“Because there’s children up there! Those people are innocent! We can’t kill them, it’s not right!” Hearth said, appalled that anybody would ask such a thing.
“They ain’t innocent if they’re fighting us,” Grand countered, “Besides, there’s kids down here too. We all know you take in any kid on the street.”
“That’s not true!” Hearth declared. ‘And it’s getting loud again’ “Right, Rat?”
“What?” I asked, snapping to attention.
“I don’t take in any kid off the street, right?” Hearth asked.
“Oh, let’s not drag me into this, please,” I said kind of quietly.
“Speak up, Rat,” Grand demanded.
“Um…I,” I began, trying to think of the right answer that would make everybody happy. “I don’t think you take in just any kid,” I said. Grand looked stunned and Hearth looked victorious. “But you do take in quite a few children.” Then they switched expressions, before fading into a mild one. ‘Phew, that was close.’
“Anyway, shall we put it to a vote?” Hearth suggested. Several of the leaders nodded yes or said something quietly to signal approval. “Alright, those in favor of waiting it out?” Hearth raised her hand along with Well, Spark, and Croc. Half. “Those in favor of killing him now?” Grand, Memory, Spear, and Gust raised their hands. Half. Before I even had time to think, all the heads that weren’t mine turned to look at me.
“Can I help you?” I asked with somewhat of an attitude.
“Ha, sure can. It’s a dead tie, Rat,” Croc said, laughing a little.
“And?” I replied. ‘Surely they don’t expect me to vote, too?’ I thought, ‘They can’t. I’m just a rat.’
“And you’re the only one who hasn’t voted,” Grand spat. ‘I thought wrong.’
“You can’t seriously expect me to vote,” I said, almost as a declaration.
“Listen, Rat. You’re the only one here who hasn’t voted, so we need your input as well. You have the exact same right to vote as we do,” Hearth said to me.
“No buts! Just do it,” she snapped. “Are you in favor of killing him or waiting it out?”
Suddenly I felt like I really was a rat and all the others were looming over me as if I’d just chewed my way through their wall. ‘This is not good,’ I thought, ‘If we kill him, the Tunnels will be safe for sure…but then again, how can I just let a man die? Even if he is our enemy, I can’t bring myself to kill him.’ I sighed deeply. ‘Here’s goes nothing.’ “I’m in favor of…waiting it out,” I said.
Grand immediately threw his hands upon the table, creating a huge thud. “This is ridiculous!” he boomed, “The Tunnels are doomed!”
“Even if they are doomed, this is the decision we reached,” Spear said with his arms folded across his chest and his eyes closed tightly as if he could block out Grand’s presence just by not looking at him.
“These Tunnels are going to fall,” he declared, “They will crumble into nothingness with all of you idiots in tow, whether it’s by the government’s hands or mine.” Then he stormed out of the room and started barking orders. ‘That went well,’ I thought.
Hearth sighed and leaned back in her chair. “Grand can be so difficult,” she said.
Croc laughed, saying, “Difficult is an understatement.”
Hearth adjourned the meeting and all of us went our separate ways with our minds clouded with worry and anger.