Book Of Lost Memories
Chapter 8: Repercussions
A/N: Sorry I took so long on this chapter. I've had a math class to deal with and me and Algebra don't particularly care for each other. Anyway, here is chapter eight. Hope you all like this so far. Let me know if you have any suggestions, seeing as I'm pretty sure I'll hit a roadblock pretty soon.
I set in motion the events that would lead to Josh's demise at that moment. When I let my father back in, agreeing to walk Joshua to and from school, I slowly let him back into y life. I know that I shouldn't have played with fire, because I sure as hell got burned, along with Margaret.
Alex left his father's office feeling as though the man's eyes were still on him. Adam had managed to get him to accept responsibility for Josh again. Feeling bad that the kid had been roughed up going home from school, Alex had accepted. He knew what it was like to be teased about his father being the chief of police. People had beaten him up because of Adam catching their friends or family committing a crime. He could only guess that as what happened to his brother. Leaving the station, he decided on going home for a few minutes. Having gotten his clothes the other day, he had no real reason to do it, but he had already made up his mind.
Seeing as he had just taken his last midterm, Alex realized that Thanksgiving break had begun. Knowing that he still meant something to his mother, he walked up the path, hearing Josh laughing about something upstairs, through the open window. He opened the door, expecting to see his mother's sewing room door open, but instead, he started smelling food.
"Got to admit, Mom knows her way around a kitchen." He headed through the house and into the kitchen, seeing Lillian looking over a roast. Hearing footsteps, she looked up.
"Alex, you're home?"
"Yeah. Dad called about meeting me. He said that we needed to talk. Did Josh get beaten up coming home?"
"Yes. Two boys made fun of him, and he tried to act like his father. He said something about their parents getting cited for domestic violence, and they snapped. I've always told Adam to leave his business at work, not to bring it home and discuss it with Joshua."
"Figures, Josh would try to be like him, I mean. Cookin' a big dinner?"
"Not so much. Just a roast, potatoes, and other vegetables. Your father requested it. He's got to go out of town late tonight to deal with a riot that is going on. Why'd you ask about your brother?"
"Dad wanted me to walk him to and from school from now on. I should have said no, but I guess I felt like I know how to deal with those punks. I was teased for awhile too about his position."
Immediately, Lillian realized just how little Alex referred to Adam as his father. She caught herself doing it as well. Making sure the roast was done, she pulled it out of the pot she was cooking it in. Covering it, she sat it on the table, along with the steamed vegetables. Going out into the living room, she sat down motioning for him to do the same. "It's good to just talk."
"Yeah, it is. I never really thought about it like this before. I always just thought Dad had coached you and Josh to pretend I didn't exist." He said this in a joking voice, knowing that there would be a twinge of guilt where his mother was concerned. He squeezed her hand reassuringly, and didn't miss the footsteps coming down the stairs. "So, how long will he be gone?"
"Not sure. He said something about being gone through the holiday. Short of help up at Overlook Penitentiary."
"Well, whether he's here or not, I'll come by for the holiday." Alex was about to say something else, when Joshua came in, standing right in front of him. "What?"
"Dad says you have to walk me to school and back here every day."
"I don't have to. I chose to. Anything else?"
"Why would you come here anyway?"
"Because I can." He turned back to Lillian, completely ignoring Josh. "I hope this mess doesn't stress you out. Let me know if it starts becoming more of a problem."
"I will." She looked right at him, and Alex saw something that worried him. Lillian had never been one to really display just what she was thinking, but Alex could see everything. The stress from the past few days was really showing. From the corner of his eye, he saw Josh head back upstairs.
"What's been going on? How has he been?" His voice sounded urgent right now. Lillian's eyebrows rose at his questions.
"He's been manageable. He's just realized that I am not shutting you out."
"Look, I don't want to cause stress on your relationship-"
"You're not. It is not your fault. Adam has made some choices, and now he has to deal with them, just as I am dealing with the ones I made. He chose to favor Joshua, and now he and your brother have to deal with it."
"Josh can't stand not having all your attention."
"I've noticed." Alex looked up, seeing the front door open. Adam came in, saw Alex, and headed upstairs to shower before dinner. "Well, I'm pretty sure I'll ruin his appetite if I stay here. I'll see you tomorrow, Mom. Take care, ok?"
"I will. Don't worry."
"Alright. Night, Mom." Hearing Adam say something from upstairs, he headed out the door. Main Street would be packed with people getting off work, so he headed for the cemetery. It was an easy way to get across town without any hassle or traffic. Entering through the cemetery's back gate, Alex made his way through the different small crypts and family plots, taking solace in the simple silence of the cemetery. Hearing a noise to his left, Alex turned. What he saw was a man in a mining suit. He stared at Alex, and then started speaking.
"You're jeopardizing everything, Shepherd!" Taking a long piece of metal that had come from one of the family plot fences; he swung at Alex, hitting him in the ribs. Alex' senses kicked in, and he dodged the next hit.
"What the hell, Man!"
"You will fulfill your duty!" He kept swinging, but Alex managed to duck behind a collapsing wall, and get away. He could hear the muffled cursing coming from the man behind him. Ducking down to get under a wall, Alex went through, climbing back up and out onto solid ground. He was near the founders' garden now. Stepping out into the clearing, he saw the Holloway and Fitch family mausoleums. Heading straight through to the outer garden, Alex exited the cemetery and went back out on Main Street, where he saw Elle coming out of a coffee shop.
"Hey, why'd you come…? You okay?" Elle saw him lean against the wall that separated him from a parking lot, clutching his ribs. "You look like crap."
"I'll be fine. Something really weird happened while I was coming through there. To answer your first question, I did it to avoid the traffic. The less questions about my anti-father, the better."
"I understand that. So what happened in there?"
They started walking back to her place, Alex filling her in on the weirdo in the area just before the Founders' Garden. Upon finishing, Alex saw Elle staring at him. "Seriously? Some creep in a mining outfit was just standing there?"
"Yeah. Looked like he was watching me too. He just started in on me, saying that I was jeopardizing everything and the ne started swinging. I asked him what the hell he was doing, and he just said that I would fulfill my duty." I don't get it."
"Yeah…" Elle thought on it for a few minutes. This was nothing like she had ever heard of happening. They had gone through the cemetery several times, and nothing like this had happened. "Wow. Maybe Mom was right about us going through there. So, how'd the meeting with your old man go?"
"Great…" His voice was dripping with sarcasm. Elle rolled her eyes. "Well, he told me that I had to walk my brother to and from school every day. This was after he tried to blame Josh getting beaten up on me."
"Lovely. You didn't have a choice, did you?"
"No, not really. It was either do it, or I'd be hated even more. I don't want my mother to think I'm just some cruel bastard who doesn't care."
"Unfortunately, you care. That means that you said you would, right?"
"Yeah…" He stopped on the porch, sitting down on the front step. "What other choice did I have?"
"I went home today too. Mom said something about him having to go to Overlook Penitentiary. They've got some sort of riot going on."
"Wow. Wonder if Mom knows anything about it."
"Anything about what?" The subject of Elle's statement had just pulled up in the drive. Elle mouthed something about perfect timing, and Alex laughed.
"Alex said that his dad was going up to Overlook penitentiary to deal with a riot."
"I heard. Adam will have a good bit to deal with over the next few days. Surprisingly enough, they should have closed that dump down a while ago."
"Why, rusted out?"
"Good guess, Elle. It is looking rather shabby as far as prisons are concerned. The walls were starting to show signs of splintering concrete, some of the cells are falling apart, and well the general hygiene is terrible."
"It's a prison; it's supposed to be a hole to shove people down, right?" Elle said this while Alex held back laughter. "I mean, if people knew just how bad it was to live there after getting caught, wouldn't they be less likely to commit crimes?"
"Now there's a thought… I wish the system worked that way. It would make mine and your father's job easier, Alex."
Hearing something move in the bushes behind him, Alex turned quickly with a wild look in his face. Elle watched him with a concerned look on her face.
"You still thinking about that nutbag from the cemetery?"
"Yeah. Can't shake that guy's words out of my head."
"What happened?" The elder Holloway sounded rather confused. Alex looked back, seeing nothing in the brush behind him.
"I was headed back here through the cemetery and some creep just came out of nowhere saying that I was jeopardizing something. He said I had to fulfill my duty. Next thing I know, he's got a piece of metal and starts beating me with it. I know we have some real nuts around here, but I didn't know it was that weird."
"Neither did I. Does your father know about this?"
"No. I saw him right after my exams and then went home. On my way here was when that guy showed up. What'd he mean? What duty was he talking about?"
If I had known then that duty was going to get me possibly killed, I could have confronted my father. I would have done something… All this could have been prevented, but I was seventeen, soon to be eighteen. What did I know…?
"No idea…" He could see that she wasn't being completely honest with him. Straightening up the paperwork she had been glancing over in the car, Margaret headed into the house, leaving Elle to look after her. "Dinner in an hour." She said this as the door swung shut behind her. Elle rolled her eyes.
"Something about that seemed wrong. You think so?"
"Yeah. I want to know who that creep was and what he was talking about. I don't like this, Elle."
"I know. Something's up." Both looked out at the empty streets, realizing it was abnormally quiet. Elle shrugged when she saw Alex' questioning look. "Man, I don't remember this town being so quiet... I always heard something making a good bit of noise. Today, there's nothing."
"Yeah… Usually Curtis is always making some sort of racket around here. It's like everyone is trying to stay inside. What's going on here…"
Heading into the house, Alex heard Nora laughing about something. That immediately brightened his mood. She was a lot better than Josh. There was no favoritism to taint her innocence like at home. He and Elle looked into the living room, seeing her laughing at old cartoon humor. Both settled for joining her on the couch. This was where they stayed for the remaining afternoon, acting like little kids watching comically funny shows on television until dinner was done. All three left the room still laughing but there was a slight change of mood when they saw that Judge Holloway was leaving.
"Mom, what's going on?"
"Nothing. Town meeting. I'll be back in about an hour." She headed out the door, and three pairs of eyes watched in slight concern. Alex looked back at Elle.
"You don't think this has to do with that guy, do you?"
"I don't know. No point in asking, either. You know they clam up faster than anything when we bring this kind of thing up."
"Yeah… I guess we'll find out when they're ready to tell us."
"Yeah, if ever."
All three finished dinner in silence, not knowing what to say to each other. Te meeting was on all their minds, even Nora's.
In the silence, the founders' heirs were entering Town Hall. All the children were still at home, away from the burdens of their parents. Sam Bartlett was the first to enter the center chamber, having been in his office. The next was Martin, having been in his doctor's office on Main Street. Lillian and Adam entered next, and finally Margaret. They looked at each other without really making eye contact. Sam had called this meeting, and it was clear why. He crossed his arms, steeling himself.
"You all know it is becoming painfully close. I don't like it any more than you all. The question I must ask is are you ready?" Looking around the room he saw that no one but Adam was ready to answer that question. The elder Shepherd nodded sharply, receiving a cold look from his wife. Sam looked to the others. "I am really not ready to be honest. I feel as though I am really getting to know my son, and well…" Martin interjected, picking up where Sam left off.
"I agree. I am just now really getting to know my Scarlet. I'm not ready for this… How can you say with certainty that you are ready?" He directed this question toward Adam, but Lillian answered, beating Margaret to it.
"He hasn't bothered to get to know Alex at all." Everyone looked at her, seeing as she had usually been silent during the meetings. "He would rather shift his attentions to Joshua and completely forget he has an older son."
They could see Adam visibly clench his jaw together. He said nothing and continued to look at the portrait of Issac Shepherd on the wall. Martin frowned. "In a way, I can understand why, but how could you completely shut him out like that?"
"We don't need to get into this debate here. We have more pressing matters." Margaret said this while joining Lillian, shooting a death glare at Adam.
"What pressing matters?" Sam said this while straightening up. He too had been looking at his ancestor. "What is more pressing than our children?"
"The Order is here."