(Author's Note: This week I have decided to give a treat to some of my faster readers. I have posted two chapters this week, and so the first one you see listed is chapter eight, but remember to read chapter seven first. Or else you will have a big blank spot and not a lot of stuff will make sense. I would also like to state at this time that I have just finished reading the entire manuscript so far, and there are a few continuity errors which I will correct in the editing phase. They still appear in the online version, as I am just copying and pasting from the Word Document of my manuscript. So please enjoy, know that I will fix some of the errors, and if there are any glaring ones which you would like to point out, please leave it in the comment section and I will take it into consideration. Thank you all, who have bothered to get this far. I hope you're enjoying thus far.  -Sam)

Chapter Eight

     The only sound Laura could hear now was the steady dripping of water. She didn’t have the foggiest clue where water would be coming from down so far beneath the mansion, but she supposed that maybe it could have been a broken pipe deep in the walls somewhere. They were in pitch darkness, and the only way Laura knew she was still with Fusa was by the feel of his belt beneath her fingers. He had told her to hold onto it so they wouldn’t be separated in the dark, and she had obeyed diligently, clutching harder each time she heard another unrecognizable noise.

     About five minutes prior, the screaming had slowed to a stop. Either whoever was being tortured finally got a break, or had died. Laura shuttered at the thought, and tried her best to push it from the forefront of her mind. Right now she just wanted to have hope, hope that this could all turn out right somehow eventually.

     A few times Laura had been sure she had heard someone sneaking around in the dark, but she was never quite sure. It could have just been her own footsteps echoing off the unseen walls. But on one or two of the occasions, she had thought momentarily that Fusa was hearing it too, for he had momentarily halted, listening for just the briefest moment before resuming his confident stride forward into the darkness. She would be scared if he didn’t keep moving forward, but so far he had never stopped for very long at a time.
     The gun was still clutched in her hands, both of them wrapped around it as if to bring herself more security. She had strange mixed emotions about the thing… part of her never wanted to have to use it if she didn’t have to, and part of her actually kind of wanted someone to jump out and attack just so she could use the damned thing. It felt very much like money did…for one purpose and ready to be used. She ran a finger over the chamber, feeling its round sleekness, the cool of the metal beneath her finger. She had never really fired a gun before, and especially not a pistol. She felt a little bit stronger now that her body had grown into its proper age, but she still feared the recoil that would be waiting after she pulled the trigger.

     Suddenly Fusa stopped dead in his tracks and even put out an arm to make sure that Laura came to a stop herself. He had his head turned to the side and seemed to listening with all his might, and Laura almost chuckled as she got an image in her head of Fusa listening so hard that the veins on his neck began to show. But then she heard what Fusa must’ve, and it wiped the laughter clean out of her mind. This wasn’t just something moving in the dark.

     This thing was slithering.

     Or at least that’s how it sounded to her. Something smooth was definitely sliding along the ground, one unbroken sound, moving closer from ahead the whole time. Instinctively she raised the gun and stood ready, just behind Fusa. “You might need to use that thing, so be ready,” he said, without taking his eyes off the darkness. He must not have noticed that she was pointing it straight ahead from his right hip. They continued their slow trek forward, and they eventually came to an area that was subtly lit by a single light far above. They stopped just outside it and waited.

     The slithering noise had been growing louder, but it hadn’t shown itself yet. Laura was beginning to think that whatever it was had been considerably farther away than she had originally thought, and now that it actually was approaching, it seemed to her that it must be considerably larger than she had originally thought, as well. But she began to think that the noise wasn’t really slithering at all…

     “There are going to be a lot of them,” Fusa said suddenly. “I want you to just keep shooting, and stay behind me, but try not to shoot me too, okay?”

     “O-okay,” Laura stammered. A group?

     All of a sudden three beings came into the light that Laura at first thought were children. I can’t shoot children, she thought. Then Fusa began screaming “Shoot, damn you!” and as he did, two of the creatures lifted their beady little black eyes to face them, the orange light casting eerie shadows on their green faces. One opened its mouth and let out a loud hiss, and the others followed suit. They darted forward and as they did, Laura saw two more emerge from the darkness. Her body thought much faster than her mind, it turned out, and good thing too. The gun went off right as the first one was lunging at her, and somehow Fusa managed to rip the other one in half. The blood was barely hitting the floor before he dropped the carcass and grabbed the next one.

     Without another hesitation, Laura began shooting the gun, focusing on the movement of the creatures, feeling her arm slowly become one with the gun. After a few rounds she began to understand the bullets, and how they flew. They were….telling her how to hold the gun. She couldn’t quite understand how they were telling her, and she didn’t hear any voices or anything, she just somehow knew what the bullets were telling her they needed. It was almost as if they were telling her what to do to them to make them do what she wanted.

     Three creatures were now dead by her hand, and each one oozed some sort of dark fluid that only vaguely resembled blood. She could see the gun glowing, that sweet bright blue that meant she understood the gun, and the gun understood her. She thought with all the will she could muster, telling the gun and the bullets where to go. As one creature after the next darted out, she swung around to meet it, usually either landing the bullet somewhere in the neck or chest. She kept trying for a head shot, but it just didn’t seem to be happening.

     But dead was dead, and she didn’t need to have the satisfaction of perfect kills. Fusa had moved away from her slightly, and was using a mix of some flowing version of karate and the manipulation of energy to make the creatures fly out of sight. For a moment they seemed to have stopped going for Laura, and she knocked open the barrel and pulled out some of the bullets she had managed to stash. The rounds were hot and she burnt herself on the first but with the rest she just dumped them out.

     She began fumbling the new rounds into the chamber, but was once again burnt by the chamber itself. Three of her fresh bullets went onto the ground, and the other two that she had pulled out fell back into her pouch. She quickly knelt down and tried to find one in the darkness, but the light wasn’t quite enough for her. She heard a hiss from towards Fusa and she looked up to see one who had lost interest in the impenetrable warrior begin to run headlong toward her. The feet of the creatures looked like boneless frog feet, flapping along the ground, barely keeping the things up. This made their dash comparatively slow, but their jump was still pretty formidable for some reason. She saw it jump over the carcass of one of its mates, and she fumbled even faster on the ground for one of the fresh cartridges.

     Come on, come on, she thought frantically. The creature had momentarily been stopped when his foot got stuck in the belt of one of his fallen companions, and this gave her a brief window of opportunity. She made a large sweeping arc of the floor, and felt two of the bullets bounce off of her finger tips and into the darkness farther. But suddenly she knew that it didn’t matter where they were anymore… she had felt them, and somehow in that brief second she had been able to sense what they were like, how they were formed, how it would feel to be one… she suddenly saw one of them glowing blue in the darkness, and she instantly willed the bullet into the chamber. It moved with a stealth she had not expected, and her hand actually jerked a little from the force when the bullet met with the chamber. She slammed it shut and looked up. The creature had already freed itself and was just feet from her, but its foot seemed to have been hurt when it had gotten stuck in his friend.

     She had always been against execution, but right now it was kill or be killed, and she knew of one quick way to take care of him with one bullet. She raised the gun and it lunged. She managed to compensate just enough that its teeth missed her fingers, but went firmly around the barrel of the gun. The thing bit down hard, apparently thinking the gun was an extension of the girl, and Laura heard a few of his teeth crack. She would have shivered at the sound under normal circumstances but right now her reptilian complex and her muscles were working of their own accord and at their own rate. As soon as she heard the teeth, she pulled the trigger, and the back of the creatures head burst outward, a good portion of it landing on Fusa’s back. The cloud of blood back sprayed some, leaving several droplets on Laura’s face.

     There was a dull thud as it hit the ground, just inches in front of Laura’s outstretched arm. Fusa threw one last dead creature off to the side, and then turned to face Laura. “You did well,” he said, flicking blood from off of his face. “I don’t know if that was the last of them or if we just got a break, so lets keep moving.”

     “Wait!” Laura hissed. “I need to reload. I didn’t manage to get ‘em all in. Just give me a moment, will ya?” She had already begun doing it, fishing the bullets out of her pouch and finding the other one she had touched on the ground. She only had five bullets, but by the time they were done being loaded, they were all glowing that pretty blue color that she was coming to appreciate so much. Even the gun itself gave off a faint hint, and to her it felt like it vibrated right along her wavelength, like an extension of herself. No longer did it feel like a cold weapon of death in her hand… it now felt like a warm and welcome tool of survival.

     Both her and Fusa had considerable amounts of the black blood on them, and it smelled heavily like old axle grease or something of the sort. Laura had sometimes smelled a similar scent when the Cart Men of Hayvan would stop to grease up a squeaky axle now and then. As they moved forward cautiously into the darkness, Laura pulled the small handkerchief which had been wrapped around the bullets in the pouch. She used it to wipe the dark, thick liquid off of her cheeks and almost gagged as some went on her lip and out of reflex she accidentally licked it. The taste instantly filled her mouth, and she could think of nothing in the world to compare it to. It was simply the worst thing she had ever tasted, and hoped inside that she would never taste anything worse, god forbid.

     Meanwhile, ahead of her, Fusa was coughing lightly into his hand. “Are you okay, Fusa?” Laura asked with genuine concern.

     “I am fine, young miss Laura,” he replied. “I just swallowed some of the blood and it makes you sick very quickly.”

     “What were those things, anyways?”

     “No time to explain entirely,” he said, “but I can tell you they are creatures that are created. They are created here in the lower realms when immense amounts of pain are being inflicted on people up above. That maniac must be making trouble up top, as well as down here. To make those things we just saw, to make a Feerel, as they are called, is entirely forbidden by all the supreme councils, at Valence and all the other High Places of Order. His insanity goes further than I would have ever guessed if we are facing these. They are very dangerous to create, you see, especially to the one creating them. Only a man who fancies he has nothing to lose will try such an atrocity. It just pains me to know that each one of those things we just killed probably took two or three human lives to create. Augment that with the pain of a dozen and you have one Feerel. Now imagine the scale of pain and misery he must be inflicting up there if he has hordes of these things to throw at us. Its sad that creatures which take so much to create can be killed so easily.”

     Laura began to feel a little less proud of her kills. Each of the Feerel she had killed came at the expense of at least one human. She looked around at all the carcasses of the beings, and all of a sudden tears began to leak from her eyes, mingling with the little bits of the dark fluid that was still on her face. She could no longer support herself as her legs became weak, and she sank to the ground, soaking the clothes around her knees with the dark blood. She dropped the gun and just sat there, weeping and looking at the creatures.

     How could I be proud of this? She thought. Was stuff like this what it would take to save Ku and help Benny? Now that she had tasted death, and felt the realization that somehow, through obscure association, she had killed other people. Even if it was merely taking the lives of creatures that were created from the lives of humans, she was still taking that life, and she felt the coldness of it sinking in. She began crying harder and harder, the tears no longer leaking but flooding. Fusa came to her and put a hand on her shoulder. “It is why these things are forbidden, Laura. They are used only for evil, and come only from evil. I have only faced them once before, long ago, and it was the same situation. They will tear you to shreds if you do not attack them first, and quick. You did what you had to or you would have been just another pointless death in a long string of them. By saving yourself and killing them, you halted the chain of death and freed the souls used to create those beings. You should remain proud, Miss Laura. You did just fine.”

     He tilted her head up and wiped her cheeks with his hands (which, Laura noticed, were impeccably clean for having just torn apart a dozen black blood-filled creatures,) and when she looked at him he smiled. It always caught her off guard when he smiled. He was so pretty. Him and his father both had beautiful eyes. They were a bright blue that contrasted with the tan complexion of their skin. She half heartedly returned the smile and picked up the gun from the ground. She stood up and began wiping it off.

     “Here,” Fusa said, holding his hand out with the thumb and index finger pinched together. “Lets try this.” He sprinkled some powder on the gun and on her hands, and then took the gun gently from her. At first she instinctively became defensive, but he assured her that she would get it back promptly and that he would bring no harm to the gun. After he had the gun, he told her to clap her hands as hard as she could. She obeyed and as soon as flesh met flesh, the powder seemed to burst and give off a bright flash, and when the small puff of smoke was gone, Laura was pleased to find that so was the blood.

     “I rather like that stuff,” she said with a grin. But Fusa did not hear. He was hunched over the gun, mumbling with his eyes closed. The powder on the gun was slowly beginning to glow, and eventually small tendrils of smoke were issuing from it on all sides. After about a minute, his hand was consumed in smoke, and it drifted up around his face, making him look quite creepy to Laura in the dim light. His chanting slowly came to a halt, and after a few moments of silence, he began blowing away the smoke. The gun was gleaming and beautiful, and Laura thought it looked much more clean and flashy than when she had first acquired it. My father would have killed for that stuff, with his silly gun collection, she thought. But then she remembered that her father was no more than the man who had raised her, probably under the sight of the Vonwell creep the whole time, and his memory now only brought bitterness to her heart as she became more understanding of the fact that he was only a puppet.

     “How did you do that?” she asked Fusa. “Doesn’t it require an impact of some sort? Or heat or friction or something like that?”

     “Yes and no,” he replied, standing up and beginning to move into the dark once more. “It takes a great deal of energy, and the force of the kinetic energy of motion suddenly stopping and be changed into heat energy is usually the easiest and most effective way, but when you are dealing with weapons such as guns, which can be set off sometimes by an impact, it is best to use the will to gather the Ch’I, and to direct it through the hands and into the powder. As you do this, heat will flow to the area you desire, and if your will is forceful enough, you can affect the same change as with a collision or spark of some kind. It’s a little slower, but it works in tricky situations. I don’t know how old those bullets are or how touchy either, so I did not want you or myself to take any chances. Here you are.”

     He handed over the shiny, newly polished weapon to Laura. She almost felt bad wanting to shoot it again, because that might dirty it up. It just looked so damned pretty right then, like something that truly deserved to be up on a mantle for everyone to view. Yet inside she knew that soon enough it would be called forth to bloody itself up once again, and it would react in the same cold, obedient way that it always would until the end of its mechanics. Some sort of bond is developed between owner and weapon when the owner knows their life is only continuing because of the aid of the weapon. She never wanted to let it go again, or ever go anywhere even slightly unsafe without it.

     “Now come,” Fusa said, lighting a cigarette. “I think we have more yet to face before we find my father, and we need to hurry up and face it as soon as possible so we can get to my father before its too late. I fear that the Madman may already be trying to draw my father’s powers, even as we speak.”

     “Draw his powers?”

     “It is a long and complicated story, Miss Laura. Maybe a tale for another time. For now we have some walking to do, and since I want to somewhat enjoy this cigarette before my hands are tied again, I regretfully ask you to stop talking and humbly offer my apologies for being so bold.”

     Laura laughed and began walking with him. She had always thought it was silly when people treated her like she was some high and mighty princess who would run to daddy and have them hanged for offending her. She liked Fusa, and she was more than positive he had saved her plenty of times tonight without ever asking for recognition, and in her opinion, it would take something pretty atrocious to make her want to seek any sort of retribution from Fusa Gon Ku.

     But right now the gun felt more like money than ever… Burning a hole and craving to be used as soon as possible.


     Brun had just kicked Benny square in the stomach, and now Benny lay on the ground clutching the spot, longing for more blood flow in that area. “Get up, you weakling,” came the high pitched voice of the small man. “I told you to believe in the advantage, not lie on the ground as if all hope was lost.”

     Benny wasn’t as dumb as Brun was assuming though. One thing he’d learned in the few Karate classes he took was that an unsuspecting enemy was an easier target, and if you can convince the opponent that you feel defeated when really inside you’re just as confident as ever, then the opponent will be that much more easy to beat. Finally, Brun turned his back, just the opportunity Benny had been waiting for. “Get up,” Brun said over his shoulder, unaware that Benny was already up and moving toward him with a stick. He raised it and was just beginning his downward swing toward Brun’s tiny head when, with a speed Benny had only slightly anticipated, the warrior slipped around Benny and cracked him on the back of the legs with his own small staff, bringing Benny to his knees. The blow to the back of the knees was followed quickly by one to the back of the head, and Benny fell forward onto his face.

     Things were out of focus and slowly going black, but he was determined to not black out. He had passed out so many times in the last few days that he was beginning to doubt his own strength and integrity. Through the blur that had become his vision, Benny saw some small, moccasin covered feet moving around to in front of him. They stopped in front of him and Brun stood there over him, feet together and looking smug.

     One thing Benny knew for sure was how a fighter should never stand…

“Rule number one,” Benny said, his breath kicking up small puffs of dirt. “Never stand close to an enemy with your legs close together.”

     Benny lunged out with all the speed he could muster in his weakened state, and apparently it was enough. He just barely managed to get his arms all the way around Brun’s legs before the small man reacted and tried to retaliate. But Benny already had enough of a hold on his legs that his attempted kicks became mere jerks of the legs. Benny bear hugged them like he used to do to his little cousin, squeezing as hard as he could to make sure Brun couldn’t wrestle free, and with one big heave, he rolled over, pulling the little man with him. Short as Brun was, it wasn’t a far trip from standing to the ground. Benny had managed a pretty decent spin, and the man hit face first in the dirt, just like Benny had done just moments before.

     The clearing seemed to be filled with an ominous silence as the dust settled around the two dirty fighters. Benny gathered himself for a defense as he saw Brun slowly lift himself to his knees and begin dusting himself off. Benny knew that he was no psychic himself, but even from the short distance, he could feel the shame and embarrassment that was coming from Brun. Benny started to stammer out an apology when the little man began clapping. He turned his dirt covered face toward Benny and there was a large grin shining through the dirt and darkened skin. “That was truly good, my friend!” Brun exclaimed, moving over to clap Benny on the back. The thing that scared Benny was that even though he was just clapping him on the back, if Brun had been trying to attack him, the movement would have been more than fast enough.

     I can’t even foresee his friendly strikes, Benny thought.

     “I am a most formidable foe, Benny from Away,” Brun said. “Many have fought me and never even touched me, much less gotten me to the ground. And somehow you managed to keep me from knowing that you were going to pull that little stunt. A clever combination of psyche and soma, my friend!” Brun clapped him again and let out a hefty laugh.

     “I think it was just because I was about to pass out,” Benny said.

     “Nonsense,” Brun said. “I was getting all of that about passing out from you, I felt as if you were afraid and defeated, and never once did I feel that you were planning an attack. Very nice, very nice.”

     “Well…thanks, I guess,” Benny said as he regained his feet. “I wish I could be as fast as you.”

     “That will come with time, training, and exercise,” Brun replied with a slightly smug look on his face.


     “I want you to run, Benny from Away.”


     “I said run…”

     “Right n—“


     A small but sinister looking bolt of electricity sparked from Brun’s larger, magical eye. It hit the ground right near Benny’s feet, making him jump, and the soil there instantly dried out and set on fire. As the bolt left his eye, the color temporarily faded, and Benny was already beginning to see the blue light slowly building back up there, and he didn’t want to wait to see if Brun would be a better aim this time around.

     He turned and ran, and Brun followed after him.

     Benny turned around a small thicket of trees, and thought that somehow he could pull the old cartoon gag and hide while Brun still thought he was running. But as soon as the idea had been formulated in his head, the tree behind which Benny was taking shelter shattered low to the ground, and with an ear splitting crack it began to fall toward Benny.

     “Hey!” he shouted as he ran to the side, out of the line of the tree. “What the hell? Is this a training exercise or are you tryin’ to stamp me out, Brun?”

     The small warrior man was nowhere to be seen, but clear as ever, the words came into Benny’s head, If you ever expect to defeat foes who live in a world which is composed sixty percent by your thoughts, then you had better learn  to close your own chunk of that world off to everyone else, or I and every other slightly telepathic being will be able to see your every plan long before you even know you’re formulating one.

     Benny jumped behind an already fallen tree as a thick bolt of blue light whizzed over his head, missing him by mere inches and setting a small group of bushes aflame. “Unfortunately, pal,” Benny said. “I don’t exactly know how to do that, or else I’d be more than happy to!”

     Stop making excuses and find a way to lose me, came Bruns powerful mind voice. Benny imagined that Brun was using the mind voice because he would not have been loud enough at a distance with his normal speaking voice, and also for the dramatic effect one needs to thoroughly drive home a point.

     Benny wasn’t exactly sure how he was supposed to keep Brun out of his thoughts, like he had during their previous sparring match, so instead of trying to think he tried the opposite. He allowed his eyes to see and process his surroundings, and for his body to react to what was seen by the eyes, but did not allow the thoughts to become much more than impressions. It was difficult trying to keep his thoughts from forming into words and pictures and schemes, but he was determined to be successful.

     Suddenly the trees in front of him took on a blue hue and before his mind could even think about it, his body ducked and got him out of the line of fire. Instead of falling to a stop, he attempted a sort of barrel roll, but it went sadly awry when his pants caught on a fallen branch and sent him head long into a log.

     Get up.

     “Ah, come on—“


     Another flash of blue light, except this one was clearly only meant to scare him. It hit the log by his head, and with a hiss the wood began smoldering. Benny hopped to his feet and bolted over the log. This is never going to work, he thought.

     Stop thinking so much, its quite annoying.

     “Ah shut up,” Benny murmured as he jumped off a small ledge.

     This day is going to be quite fun, came the deep voice echoing from nowhere into Benny’s mind.

     “Yeah….I bet.”


     The Crazies were gathering at what used to be a Masonic Lodge, #313 to be exact, in order to hear the first of San’s anticipated speeches. Most of the people there had never seen the man, and had only heard by word of mouth that he was there to rid them of their bad reputation and help them restore their place in the town of Minde. No one knew what his plan was, or exactly what he was going to ask them to do, but all those who had met this San fellow had guaranteed everyone else at the meeting that he was as close to a Messiah as they were ever going to experience, and that now was the time to heed his warnings and take his advice.

     The atmosphere in the room was one of reserved anticipation, and everyone seemed to be buzzing to everyone else. There was only one man who didn’t seem to be talking to anyone else, who was off by himself and seated in a corner, quietly awaiting the words of this new Prophet of Minde, talking to no one and not attempting to start any conversations either. No one seemed to be paying attention to him anyways, because everyone had noticed the subtle dimming of the lights and were now proceeding to hush each other, knowing that the time must have come.

     As the room finally died down to an eerie silence, a dark figure slowly approached the podium which had been set up on the small stage. The light was too dim for anyone to really make out much, but all could tell that this man was dressed from head to toe in black. He wore a hood as well, and as he approached the podium, the light slowly spilled onto his pale skin. He pulled back his hood and if anyone had been close enough to them, they would have seen him smirk as more than just a few of the ladies in the room audibly took in breath at his beauty.

     The stranger in the corner chuckled to himself, unimpressed.

     “My fine friends,” the man on the stage began. “Many of you know me or know of me, and have heard why I have come to you in this time of need.”

     There was a barely audible murmur of agreement throughout the room.

     “It is true that I am not from your wonderful town,” the man continued. “And it is true that I know hardly any of you. It is also true that I have no attachments or ties to this town whatsoever. With all this being true, you might ask ‘why would this man desire to help us then?’ My answer to you, those who question, is ‘Why not?’ I came to this town almost dead, with no money to my name and having been without food or water for three days. Several of you took me in, heard my thoughts, and made me feel welcome. Then I was told of a great wrong done to you fine folks.”

     Many of the people were shifting around in their seats, either because they were uncomfortable or because they were anxious. To the stranger in the corner, it was obvious that this man named San was speaking to a split audience of believers and wanna-believers. Maybe it would be harder than San had anticipated to get this crowd in the palm of his hand.

     “It was told to me that certain misfortunes have befallen this town.”

     A few snickers and sarcastic you-can-say-that-agains.

     “And it was also told to me that many of the fine folks I see here before me have taken much of the blame for said atrocities.”

     ‘You bet your ass,’  and  ‘damn right we have!’

     “But you know what I think? I think the blamers are to blame, not you upstanding citizens!”

     ‘Here Here!’  ‘You said it man!’

     “Now they hole themselves up, hording their food and pretending they’re the real town. But really, in all honesty, you are the town of Minde, you are the ones out here making sure your streets are safe, you are the ones who truly deserve to inherit this town and rule it as equals, brothers in the glory of a New Minde!”

     Loud cheers this time, with some of the people actually stamping out their agreement on the ground, just for added emphasis.

     “We must take back what is reasonably ours,” the man said. “We must take it like we took the things that they’ve dared to charge so much for over these years, the things we couldn’t afford and which would’ve helped us support our families. But we have only started the process by taking what has been kept from us through inflation; yes, folks, we must go further still.”

     Murmurs and excited chatter as people whispered to each other excitedly.

     “We must take the City Hall, and all the food and supplies they’ve been with holding from us!”

     More cheers.

     “We must cast out the fiendish people who once dared to call themselves our friends but who now treat us like worthless scum in our own homes.”

     ‘YEAH!’  ‘Preach it, brother!’  ‘They deserve to be outcast, not us!’

     “Go, my brothers. Go my sisters. Gather your weapons, whatever you may have, and bring them before me. Together we will march on City Hall, and take back what is rightfully ours! Damn anyone who gets in the way!”

     Many of the people in the crowd were now on their feet, clapping and cheering their new leader on. This man understood them. He knew their pain, and he wanted only to ease their suffering. They could all feel it. He had come to save them.

     A voice suddenly came out of the crowd, “What happened to your eyes, San?”

     “Oh that is a boring story,” the man they called San replied. “Surely not for a meeting such as this.”

     The people in the crowd seemed determined, and many joined in, wanting to see and hear more about this beautiful man who stood before them.

     “Well then,” he said. “I suppose I can give you the brief summary then, if you really want.”

     Several cheers for him to go on.

     “I tried to stop a man from killing his own child, and he scolded my face with hot water. Luckily my skin was saved, with a little work, but sadly my eyes were ruined, and I can no longer see.”

     There were several ‘awwww’s from the crowd, followed by various questions along the lines of ‘How do you get around?’  ‘How can you tell where things are?’

     “Friends, friends,” the dark haired man continued. “Don’t get excited. Its all very simple. I just simply learned to hear things, that’s all.”

     The stranger who had been sitting by silently in the corner suddenly betrayed himself by letting out a small snicker. Several people turned and glared at him, but he was still looking at the ground.

     “Do you doubt my words, young son?” San asked.

     “Oh not at all,” the stranger replied, still looking at the ground. “I just don’t need to hear any more of this garbage, that’s all.”

     He got up and turned his back on the crowd and the man on the stage. “To each his own, young son,” the dark haired prophet said. “You can go join the others at City Hall, if you’d like.”

     The stranger paused briefly, snorted, and walked out the doors.

     “Well now,” San said. “Wasn’t he an optimistic little bundle of sunshine?”

     The crowd laughed, and the attention was once again brought back in full to the man on the stage.

     “Would you like to see the damage that can be done by evil, selfish people like those who hole themselves up at City Hall?”

     Agreement from the crowd.

     “Then I shall show you.”

     The man with the dark hair whom they called San slowly raised his hands to his glasses. He slowly removed them and revealed his white strange eyes. The expressions of the people in the Lodge became completely devoid of anything resembling free thought. They sat staring forward at their new master. Their savior.

     Their New God.