THE SLATE OF VALE PART 11
The journey begin
“So you are actually going?” Matt asked. His black training jumpsuit had streaks of gray running down the side, the cuff and collar. No weapon was on his gray belt because the Grays’ were not allowed to carry weapons, as it was useless to them. But somewhere in his black boot, Matt always keeps a small knife.
He picked up a pen from the desk and sat down on the soft chair. Matt fiddles with the pen worriedly, before his blue eyes left the pen to rest on Jeff, who was busy arranging the few cloths on the bed, inside his bag.
Jeff’s room was in the first floor of the Grays’ dormitory. The room was quite large with a single bed on the red carpeted floor, which compliment the color of the open curtain and the double cushion chair. There was also a tall mirror at the eastern side beside the closet, which reflected dimly, the light of the blue moon swimming into the room from the open window. Close to the closet was the bold picture of a gray hoe standing gracefully on the pink color wall. The room was familiar with his room back home, even though it was four times smaller and the picture of his family was missing. Fresh soapy fragrant filled the warm air but decreases as it swerved out of the window; swimming away with the moon light. The view from the window shows the twinkling of the stars above the earth, and white florescence bulb scattering everywhere in the academy, as far as the eyes can see.
“It’s just for two days Matt, we would be back before you say the word ‘Tyrust’” Jeff smiled.
He zips his bag and picked up his H-board. He was used to the H-board now than ever. It was the only thing of his father’s he had. The school had initially made him dispose his father’s Baggy jumpsuit, but Jeff insisted on keeping the H-board, even though the school had provided him with a new one. Sometimes he found himself clinging to the H-board, as though his life depended on it. He had even woken up one morning only to realize that he had gone to bed with the H-board in his arms.
“This doesn’t seem right, am I the only one seeing the holes in their explanation or are you guys just too adventurous to admit it. How do we actually know if all the things Raz and his friends told us are credible?” Matt raked his shaggy blond hair irritably. For one thing, Jeff stared at him as though he had lost his mind, but feeling suspicious and lacking the ability to trust people, was Matt’s way of showing how angry he was.
“There is only one way to find out. Just as the saying goes ‘know your friend, but your foe, make him your greatest allay’. Right now, I actually want to find out what is going on out there, if our families are okay, if Anadan is still safe. And I can’t do that if I stay here in school” Jeff flung his bag behind and straightens his red shirt, just as Matt stood up and turned to him with a weak frown.
“But it’s not your burden to bear; it’s not your cross to carry”
Jeff was a little annoyed the way Matt said it, it was as though he was talking to a five-year-old kid. Matt shouldn’t forget his nineteenth birthday comes in two weeks’ time, he wasn’t a kid anymore. If all Raz said were true, then people could be dying out there, their friends, their families and so on. They had seen from the picture Raz had showed them that the king was no more in power, though the school never said a thing. Jeff was happy he had volunteered to go; at least he would be rest assured that Matt and the others are still safe. He really wished Ema would stay along, he had tried convincing her yesterday but she would not listen. She was excited as ever, thinking she was going out for an adventure, an avenue to skive classes.
Jeff shook his head with a slight sigh that Matt didn’t notice. Deep down, he was glad that his best friend was watching out for him. Matt wasn’t just his friend, he was more like a brother, more like a piece of him that he was afraid to lose.
“Matt, I would be careful. I promise.” Jeff said and pulled Matt into a tight hug. “And I also promised to look after Ema” He smiled as they pulled apart and walked out of the room.
“Oh, now he’s jealous”
“Didn’t cross my mind” Jeff said and chuckled. They walked down the empty hallway, tracing their way with ease to the school farm.
“So you finally figured it out?” Matt asked and smiled sheepishly, showing perfect dentition which sparkled when the rays of light, hanging on the hallway caught it.
“Off course I did, I was just wondering when you will tell me.”
“Until I spell her the L-word I guess, not anytime soon though” Matt said and they both laughed heartedly.
“So you would have kept me waiting?”
“Maybe, keeping a secret for just once would have been fun”
“Too bad I found out”
They strode through the night, sneaking as usual, passed the night guard whose snore could be heard ten miles away. The guard was in charge of the first gate. There were three gates in total which any other day would have been heavily guarded, but not this nosy night that was necked with music coming out from the graduation party. They passed the corn field and came into to an open clearing which had the second gate. The light of the moon was bright, but dim enough to enable the guards who were drinking away and playing cards to spot the two people sneaking behind the shadows.
“I want you to have this” Matt whispered and slotted an envelope into his friend’s pocket.
“What’s that” Jeff asked flippantly, he was sure that there were no guards in this area, but he kept looking over his shoulders, just in case the other two playing cards, had noticed them and decided to pursue.
“Well, let’s say it’s my way of telling you to return in one piece and also a birthday present.”
“Silly, my birthday is two weeks away. You should have said you are invariably buying me to protect Ema.”
“The girl is tough; I don’t think she would need protecting.”
“I hope so, because I don’t need baby suckers slowing me down”
They were coming close to the shadows of the second fence, the place where they had schedule to meet with the others. Even from this point the music from the graduation party still filled the air.
“I just want to be the first to wish you a happy birthday.” Matt said softly, but Jeff didn’t hear.
They were close to the wall and both boys were now able to make out the features of someone moving stealthy, as though she was born with the blending nature of the night.
“You are late” Sandra complained when she saw them. Her torso bore the black jumpsuit, perfectly marching her camouflage. The red streak running down the side, the cuff and the collar of her clothe, appeared blue in the moon light.
“It’s better to be late than to be a late, do you remember that saying?” Matt said with disgust, not minding the sarcasm in his voice.
“Mind your tough, am in grade three in this academy and still a prefect that could send your a-s scrubbing every toilet in the school if I have to, never forget that.” Sandra replied darkly. She moved a little pace and picked up her phone which had been ringing.
“Wow, what are you, a toilet prefect?” Matt asked sarcastically but Sandra was too engrossed with the call that she hadn’t heard him.
Jeff was glad she hadn’t heard. They would have just ended up arguing like two birds struggling for peak order. He turned a whisper to Matt who was still looking at Sandra.
“I know you don’t trust this people Matt, but can you just place a tiny fragment of pretense in your actions? We can’t actually figure out what they are up to if you go around pissing them off.”
Matt lowered his eye brow with a frown and muttered something under his breath, but remains silent. Just then Pinna, Ema and Ham came out from the opposite direction and they all followed the skinny Sandra who took the lead.
“We would soar north, not so high as to get burnt by the electric orb above, but high enough to pass the second gate. There are no guards here but be alert, follow my trail and do not put on your touch light” Sandra instructed and soared away on her H-board.
Jeff hissed. This was it, the journey begins here, and there is no going back now. He stepped on his hovering board and soared behind the others. It was difficult to concentrate, his mind keeps telling him that something was wrong, but confused as he is, he couldn’t tell what. So he soared with the others, wondering if he would ever see this place again.