Sunday, September 30, 2007

Story 25

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

Blake burst through the doors of the school and headed first for Tony’s locker. Finding nothing, he raced to his own locker hoping that Tony had left him a message or a trail or something.


Blake knew that Tony had scheduled a meeting with the Commander. He knew that the Commander was often prone to extreme theatrics to exaggerate the air of power and the cloak of secrecy.

But Blake was having a hard time believing that the Commander would do anything to Tony, especially if it turned out that the Commander had nothing to do with the Johnson family disappearance. In spite of all the underhanded and shady things the Commander undertook, Blake had never known him to cross the line of legality. The line had been bent and stretched to the breaking point on numerous occasions and Blake admitted to himself that there were likely times the line was crossed slightly, but to go so far as to kidnap or truly harm a person or an entire family seemed beyond the scope of the Commander’s reign.

Blake methodically walked through the halls of the school, hoping that no one was monitoring the video cameras at the moment or he’d have another chance to come up with an outlandish explanation for his behavior. Tony’s meeting with the Commander would have happened at the school. Blake peeked through the darkened windows of the cafeteria and library after he pulled on the locked doors. In the darkness beyond he saw nothing out of place and no movement.

The gym doors were open. A janitor hunched over a large push broom slowly ambling back and forth across the shiny hardwood. At the far corner of the gym the locker room door opened and the basketball coach stepped out. If Tony had been in the gym for his meeting, he was either long gone or would have been discovered by now. He turned and started back towards the front of the school, discouraged at the emptiness, unsure where to look next.

As he slipped out the front door and walked to the parking lot, his cell phone beeped in his pocket. A text message from Tami let him know that Tony hadn’t gone to the movie with them and that both he and Tony missed out on a great show. She promised not to spoil the ending but was sure he’d hear all about it in school tomorrow. Blake shoved his phone back in his pocket and thought about the prospect of school tomorrow. It was late and he was tired. But worse than that, his best friend was missing and it was his fault. He expected Tony’s mom to call back in the next few minutes and ask about her son. Blake didn’t have an answer for her.

The world was a blur around him as he began driving home. The traffic light in front of him went straight from green to red and Blake slammed on his brakes to stop. The tires squealed causing Blake to cringe and look around hurriedly to see who may have seen his quick stop. The streets were empty, bare of any sign of life. All the houses around him were black and cold, staring at him through darkened windows. Looking back out the front window at the traffic light, he noticed for the first time a piece of paper trapped under his wiper blade. He put the car in park and stepped out to grab it from the windshield.

The signal flashed a bright green and lit up the text he had been struggling to read.


Blake whipped his head around to search the streets again. His eyes strained against the darkness for some sign of life. A cat scrambled over a fence and into the darkness of some trees in the distance but otherwise, he was alone. He instinctively knew he was alone. The Commander had left this note while Blake was wandering the school. The instructions were clear enough. He wouldn’t have waited around to follow Blake home and keep an eye on him.

Blake climbed back into the car and slowly continued the drive home, his mind spinning like a top. The Commander knew that Tony was in trouble. He knew that Blake was looking for him. He believed that Blake had information that might help find Tony. If he knew all this, why didn’t the Commander contact Blake earlier? Why wait at the school for someone to come looking for Tony? Maybe the Commander didn’t know who Tony was working with and he just waited to see who showed up.

Blake quickly dismissed that idea. In spite of any moral or ethical shortcomings he believed the Commander possessed, Blake knew not to underestimate him. The Commander was smart. Perhaps not smart as an individual. That was something Blake didn’t know for certain. But he did know that the Commander had a network of information and assistants that made him very smart and a formidable strategist and planner.
Blake sat in his driveway, unsure what to do. His parents’ light was on. It was 10:30 on a school night. If he went inside, he’d be lectured about being out so late and would have to promise to go right to bed. He could sneak out again after the fact, but he hated being dishonest with his parents.

He wanted to do what he could to help Tony, but the instructions required him to contact the Commander via his blog. Which meant Blake had to get on his computer. He thought about calling Sam, James, Paul or Tami but he didn’t want to worry them. The one he really needed to talk with was Arnold. Arnold could do his high tech trickery on the Commander’s blog and turn the tables in their favor. But Arnold wasn’t around to help.

Clouds rolled over the moon, making the darkness even thicker, sinking over the idling car like a shroud. Blake shuddered in spite of himself and then turned off the car and slowly walked for his front door sighing with frustration, unsure what he could do next. Pushing open the door, he walked inside, knowing that any action on his part would now likely have to wait until morning.

No comments: