The horses are coming in hot.
Yeah, I know, they really sent horses after me. That’s ridiculous, but it’s also terrifying. And there’s no chance I’m going to outrun them.
A look out on the hazy horizon and I can see them. There’s really no more point in running, is there? Just to wear out my body further? These guys aren’t even on foot, so all I’m doing to them is pissing off their horses. Their defenseless horses who probably haven’t even seen the light of day in years.
I fall to my knees, tears streaming from my face now. I put my hands over my head after turning the volume on high. A Day in the Life by the Beatles. I hate this stupid music player!
“So, where are we going and why?” The Geek reminds my dad of the need for an answer.
“First,” Dad replies as he comes to sit next to us. “we want to make sure to separate ourselves from everyone else. Mackenzie-Lena appears to have a way of tracking you kids, so if we can take you in the opposite direction, that will ensure their safety. Second, The Gardners might have some information we need to figure out how to stop the Illuminati.”
“The who?” I ask.
“Oh, sorry, that’s right,” my Dad corrects himself. “We’ve always referred to them as the Illuminati as an inside joke. I’m talking about Mackenzie-Lena.”
“Why would my parents have any information on M&L?” Eve asks. “They were just simple old rebels.”
“So was Alvin Alexander, right?” Mom says as she sits down across from us. “And he ended up being a part of Mackenzie-Lena. Wouldn’t it stand to reason that your parents may have some connections to M&L as well?”
“Maybe,” Eve answers. “But I doubt it. There’s no way they would ever have gotten involved with a group like that.”
“Maybe they didn’t have a choice,” The Geek says.
“What do you mean by that?” Eve asks.
“These M&L people are pretty ruthless. And they run everything. Doesn’t it stand to reason that they may have something they could have held against your parents to keep them under their power?”
“Well, I guess, um, maybe,” Eve stammers. “But they still wouldn’t have stuck around.”
“They did go into hiding,” I offer.
“Fine,” Eve gives in. “But I still don’t see what you would hope to gain from them if they were working with Mackenzie-Lena.”
“I can’t say I’m all too sure what we might get,” Dad agrees. “It’s a total shot in the dark. But it’s a start. And at this point, we can use any lead we’ve got.”
“What’s the endgame here?” I scowl. “Are we now going to try and take out this Mackenzie group? They’re supposed to be all super powerful, right? How in the world are we supposed to stop them? We barely survived taking out Miss Nile.”
“This time you’ll have the entire backing of Golden Dawn. Besides, we don’t have to take them down, we just have to figure out what they’re up to and stop them.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard that one a couple of times now,” I frown. “And why in the world do you need us? Can’t we just take a break already?”
“You could,” Dad agrees. “The only problem is, we can’t assure you’re going to be safe anywhere. One of the biggest things M&L is interested in is stopping the three of you. Not that I have any real idea why they would care so much about what you’ve learned.”
“It could be that we’re the sole reason for their success,” The Geek answers. “Seeing as they’re using the rebellion as a front for their activities, all of their supporters among the populace consider us heroes. As long as we’re alive, we have the opportunity to call them out and cause a coup. But if they can claim that we died in one of the explosions, then we can become martyrs and make their efforts that much more powerful.”
“We had certainly considered that,” Mom says. “And if that’s the case, they won’t rest until they’ve captured and killed the three of you.”
“Kill?” I ask. “But they were going to throw us into prison.”
“This all sounds pretty ridiculous, if you ask me,” Eve snorts. “M&L is already the most powerful organization in the country. Now that they’ve taken out the federal government, there shouldn’t be anything stopping them from doing whatever they want. Why in the world would they even care if we told anyone what we know? Which, for the record, isn’t that much.”
“All good questions,” Mom smiles. “And all things we’re hoping your parents might have some information to help us answer.”
“Okay,” I say, tired of this conversation. “So what do we do now?”
“Right this second,” Dad replies, “nothing. We’ve got a couple hours before we arrive. I’m pretty sure you could all use a few days of sleep, but you could at least get some shut eye before things start up again.”
“Sleep sounds great,” I answer. “But even better would be some food. Is there a dinner car on this train?”
“Unfortunately, no,” Mom replies.
“Well, if we’re really going to find my parents,” Eve says, “I’m sure they’ll have quite the spread they can set for us.”
“Awesome!” The Geek cheers. “I’m starving!”
“There’s a sleeper car in the back. You three get some rest. We’ll wake you when we get there. And make sure to put on your roll belts before you fall asleep.”
“Roll belts?” I ask.
“Yeah, you know, so you don’t go flying when the train stops,” The Geek smirks.
Go to Chapter Twelve