True Memoirs of A Liar 2: Sacrifice
Author: C Lawson

Chapter 16
Acceptance pt.2

At two-forty-five a knock sounded on the door and I answered it quickly.  A new goon was there and his gaze flew to the man on the floor in my living room.  He didn’t say anything though; his eyes scanned my form appreciatively.  I rolled my eyes and waited for him to lead the way.

            The mess hall wasn’t far, but I wasn’t really walking with the goon.  I was walking with Alex, somewhere anywhere but there.  We were smiling and holding hands, with no threats of assassins or death.  It wasn’t hard to stop thinking about him; I had a very disciplined mind.  The slam of the mess hall door snapped me out of my euphoric illusion and I shook my head.

            “Are you ready for lunch?” Mr. Stone greeted, waiting by the door for me.  A horde of goons entered from the other end of the mess hall and seated themselves in various places along the long tables that stretched from wall to wall.

            I kept my mouth shut and followed him to the head of the table.  We both sat down and a hush fell over the mess hall.  I looked over the goons who were soon to be under my command.  Mr. Stone cleared his throat and everyone began talking.  Three separate doors opened on the opposite side of the room which I guessed led to the kitchen.  People started to hobble out of the doors holding trays and trays of food.  I nearly cried watching them.

            They were all dressed in thin, tan, cotton robes.  The robes were torn and dirty.  Some were too short, some were too long, but most were too large for the thin bodies inside of them.  All of the women, men, young teenagers, were starved and weak looking.  They carried huge trays of food; turkey, chicken, ham, salads, corn, fruit salads, and more.  I could see some of the younger ones nearly watering at the mouth at the feast.  I wondered where they would sit to eat, but fearing that I would already know the answer.

            They sat down the trays and waited behind the tables.  One of the older ones, about thirty years old, set a plate down on Mr. Stone’s place.  It was a lobster platter.  A young one wobbled up to me.  She was probably around thirteen years old.  She put a plate full of various meats and vegetables in front of me.  She looked up at me with woeful but curious green eyes and I gave her a pitying smile.

            “These are the people who cleaned your room.  Moved your furniture.  Picked your flowers.  Made your meal.   These are your servants.  Whenever you need something other than protection, you can call for them and they will provide.”

            “Minions?  You have minions do your evil will?  What kind of sick, twisted—”

            “It’s humane, really.  We are paid to get rid of selected persons.  And we do just that.  The stronger and older victims, if you will, are brought here.  They work for us.  We let them live.”

            “You call this living?  Do you even allow them to eat?” I asked, appalled.  No one should be treated like a slave.  No one.  I made the decision to take the job on my own.  But it would be a cold day in hell before I let someone else live this prison life because of bad luck.

            Instead of answering me, Mr. Stone looked at the little girl next to me carefully.  She looked down at her feet. “Apparently, this one doesn’t think we feed her enough.” I was confused. “Or else she wouldn’t have stolen chicken and have the crumbs on the sides of her mouth.” Another hush covered the mess hall. “Deal with it.” He ordered someone unknown.  A goon immediately charged out of the door I had entered through and stood in front of the little girl.

            “Down,” he commanded harshly.  My heart began to beat faster.  My nerves began to crackle to life.  The little girl started to cry but she knelt down on her knees.  No one spoke.  I didn’t know what was going on but I knew that I did not like it.  The goon took out the gun and aimed it at the girl.

            In a flash I was up and out of my chair.  I whisked the girl into the crook of my left arm and kept whirling.  In one move I grabbed the goon’s hand with the gun and raised my leg so that his air supply was almost cut completely off by my foot.  Then I applied a little bit of… pressure.  He screamed in pain and I cradled the girl tenderly.

            “What the hell do you think you were going to do?  And what the hell were you thinking that I would sit here and let you do it?” I retracted my foot then kicked hard.  I sent the goon flying back at least seven feet.  I sat down and set the girl on the ground.  She gripped the edge of my chair fiercely.  She was obviously a mix of Hispanic and Caucasian.

            “Are you alright?” I asked.  She didn’t answer, she was shaking and crying too hard.  I smoothed back her hair and then looked out over the dining hall.  Everyone was gaping at me.  I turned my head to Mr. Stone and he didn’t appear pleased. “They do anything I ask?” he seemed to brighten.  Mr. Stone nodded.

            I stood up and the girl immediately looked up at me.  Everyone else already had their eyes trained on me.  I stepped out from behind the table with the girl close to me. “I need as much food as you can cook.  I need it as fast as you can make it.” Nobody moved. “Now.” I didn’t have to ask twice.  All of the people dressed in rags ran to the kitchen.  I held the girl back from going. “Why don’t you sit and talk with me?” She sat down on the ground.

            I stared down into her eyes. “When was the last time you spoke to anyone up here?” She shook her head. “Never.” She nodded. “What’s your name?”

            “Lena,” she answered in a very small voice.  Then she covered her mouth quickly with one hand.

            “Lena is a very pretty name,” I told her.  She smiled underneath her palm and I smoothed down her hair. “Do you talk to anyone?” She nodded. “Who?”

            “My friends.  They are in the kitchen now.” I nodded.  I could almost hear Mr. Stone’s disapproval steaming in the tense thick air.  A few of the goons had gone back to talking.  I caught Samuel’s eye as he speared a steamed broccoli.  He nodded to me and I extended the same courtesy to him.  I talked with Lena for the next forty or so minutes until the kitchen doors swung open.

            All of the minions marched out feebly with identical silver trays.  I stood again. “Now.” I took a deep breath. “Eat.” They didn’t move at first.  Lena just stared at me. “Go on, Lena.  Go eat.” She dashed down to the other end of the table and to a group of teenagers.  They all began to dig into the food.  Little by little others followed.  Soon they were all eating and smiling.  Some were even talking to each other; in hushed voices of course.

            Again, I turned to Mr. Stone. “Things are going to change,” I informed him coldly.  He held my stare for a long time.  He turned his head and looked out over the people eating.  The goons had gone back to their meal as well.

            “You’ll learn.  You’re still weak,” he retorted with a warning tone lacing his voice.  I smiled then, for the first time since I’d walked into hell.  I’d show him weak.

 

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