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The air was missing from Quentin’s lungs. They were stretched raw as he pulled his sister along. His mind silent. Ignoring the pulsing thoughts that were urging him to fall to his knees and curse at the heavens. But that couldn’t happen. They had to move. They had to keep going, not for the soul of living, mainly for the purpose of out running the firing shots. “Duck!” Quentin harshly whispered. Diving behind a blue bush with even dark blue leaves. It had the sweet aroma of honey and radiated warmth – which was to their advantage; the footman couldn’t find their body heat – or Rosa’s suit. The just marched right by. “Were getting close.” He said. “To crazy Earls. Just one more street.”
Rosa giggled, slapping her hand over her mouth as one of the footman turned and looked in their direction. “OH jeez.” She said. Quentin gave her a warning glance. “I sure hope you don’t call him that when we find him.”
Quentin didn’t smile. He just picked himself off the ground and glued himself to the shadows. As did Rosa. He doesn’t know much about what was going on, but there was no reason to concentrate on the unanswered questions.
Just simply moments before his world was bland, tasteless and average. Now, it was still tasteless but it wasn’t bland.
“Psst!” A voice said.
Quentin glanced at Rosa who just shook her head.
“Psssst! Children!” The voice said again. It was deep and crackled. “For the moons sake, ppssstt!”
Quentin looked around. The small clothed and metal homes were in rows. With the occasional guardian standing guard out front. He had to reframe from shouting, ‘what!’ until his eyes met a glimmer twenty feet in front of them. “I think that’s Earl?”
Rosa squinted. “I can’t smell him.”
“That’s because he’s a distance away.” He chuckled. Which made Rosa grin. It was nice to see her brother making jokes. He’s always too serious for his age. Right from walking, he would wear his proper running shoes, and community badge – even though no one wears them anymore. If he was given a snacaket to look after (a creature with a snake body, but the head of a kitten. Grows no more than five feet – lives off of germs exhaled from two legs, two arm bodies) it would most likely be wrapped around his arm right now. She followed Quentin who turned around and briefly pinched his nose, “It’s crazy Earl all right.”
“This way!” Earl clapped once when Rosa and Quentin reached him. He wore grey overalls with red patches. That made a clink sound when he walked, moon only knows why. His facial hair needed to be groomed and his teeth needed a brush. “I heard what was going on at your home, minutes before the guard came bashing in. I was able to make plans for you.”
“Care to share?” Quentin asked, taping him on the shoulder as they all walked hunched over to what looked like a junkyard. Scraps of metal, heads from old guardians and miss-matched wires were strewn about.
“Huh? Right, well – your parents are fine. They are just imprints of their life force. So that’s part is okay. Don’t worry about them.”
“What do you mean?” Rosa chimed in. Sweat rolling off her cheeks. “You’re telling me that our parents were holograms?”
“Precisely!” Earl agreed. “For the past two weeks.”
How did we not notice? Quentin thought. Scrolling back to all the conversations and sights he shared with his parents. Mistakenly, he could believe it. Earl was whispering instructions on how to walk through all of the junk until we reached a rotted tarp. It was black with mold. “Under.” He said, pulling up a corner.
“Ah.” Rosa said. “We have to?”
Earl shrugged dramatically. “Duh.” He replied.
Quentin ducked under, his eyes widening at the sight. “This is illegal.” He said.
“And you running isn’t?”
“You have a…”
“Spaceship!” Earl grinned, his yellow teeth glowing in the green light. “And it’s all yours. It can only go one place – the shower doesn’t work – but it’s yours to leave.”
“Where’s our Mother and Father?” Rosa asked, scratching her nose.
Earl hesitated. “Dear, dear Rosa.” He walked over, patting her head. “They broke our law. Almost all of them really. Which is quite impressive in my books – and now you have to clean up their mess.”
“Excuse me?” Quentin grumbled. Sitting down in old orange foam chair. Earl rushed over to him, clicking in his seat belt. “Hey!” He shouted.
“For your own good.” He nodded to Rosa. Who abruptly sat down next to Quentin. A little patch of dust lifted into the air.
“Rosa, no!” Quentin screamed.
“Oh, hush!” Earl spat. “And stop struggling! I made these seats.” He said proudly, as if that was a reason to be tied to it. “It’ll let you go once you are in orbit – then off to that one other..place.”
Earl shifted. “Two weeks ago. Your parents found a place a new place to set up camp. Only problem – we can’t live on it. It’s full all ready. So, so – your Father dropped a plant on the east side. It’s a red, bush vine thing..”
“And?” Quentin demanded. Watching as Earl turned to a wall, where a panel of flashing lights hummed. He continued to flip switches and turn dials.
“And, it makes that particular atmosphere rain…”
“That is a bad thing?” Quentin asked. Still trying to tug out of the seat.
“It is, when each millimetre of a drop absorbs the closest oxygen.”
“They dropped a plant that’s suffocating some one else’s world?”
“To say the least.”
Written by A. Writes.
Read Part Four Here!
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