Friday, August 10, 2007

Story 23

[NOTE: This is part of a progressive story. The first entry is here. Check the blog label 2007Story for all entries]

Tony stood slowly, exaggerating his movements to drag out the time it took him to reach the door. He could see the anxiety in the face of the student sent to retrieve him. As his eyes adjusted, Tony recognized him as someone from his drama class. Brad something.

It still amazed Tony just how much authority the Commander wielded. His workers, such as this boy before him, followed his requests not only with unquestioning obedience, but also with such severity and seriousness that reminded Tony why he hated the Commander and his organization so much.

It was one thing to play at espionage and underground government. It was another thing to take it all so serious that you enacted real and lasting effect on people around you. The Commander organization had begun as a small game played by a few close friends. Over the years, it had grown into something almost sinister in nature. Tony acknowledged to himself that there had likely been some decent Commanders over time. He tried to believe that his brother had been more playful and less overbearing with the role. Tony looked at what he knew about how the Commander behaved and what some of his actions were, he had to believe that this was a game that needed to end.

And yet here he was, following a crony of the Commander on his way to meet with him and ask to be allowed to rejoin the group. Somehow, he had a tie to the current Commander. He had received notes from either the Commander or someone high up in his ranks. He hoped that this would be enough to get him admitted into the group. Even if the Commander wasn’t directly involved in the disappearance of the Johnson family, it was likely that he had some idea of what was going on. Tony agreed that Blake’s decision to send him inside the organization made sense. He just wished it didn’t make him so nervous.

As he emerged from the dark room, Tony glanced at his watch. It was nearly five o’clock. After a brief meeting with someone who introduced themselves as the “Commander’s Ambassador”, Tony had been placed in the black room. That was just after three.

Tony knew the routine from his days with the group. The Commander was all about intimidation and ensuring that he had the upper hand. Forcing Tony to wait for over an hour in a dark room was just his way of making sure Tony knew who was in charge. Whether or not the Commander knew Tony or had any compassion for him, one thing was certain, this Commander wasn’t going to give him a break because of it.

Brad led Tony silently through the halls of the school and then stopped in front of the closed door of the library. Brad knocked out a sequence on the door and then waited. After a moment, the door opened slightly and Brad whispered to someone on the other side. Brad nodded and stepped back from the door.

“You will not approach unless prompted.” Brad’s face scrunched up as he spoke, as though trying to emphasize the seriousness of his message. “You will not speak unless spoken to. When told to leave, you will leave immediately and not press for more time. Enter the room and sit at the table in front of you.”

Brad pushed open the door. Tony could see a table a few feet inside the door. Beyond that the room was blanketed in shadows. He could make out another table with a few figures sitting at it towards the center of the library just in front of the shelves of fiction books. The windows were covered with paper or blankets, Tony couldn’t tell which. A single lamp was turned on just inside the door. Playing the game, Tony slowly walked inside the room and sat at the table. Behind him, the lamp flicked off and the door closed.

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