Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Chance in Hell

Day 10 Assignment

"Why are we doing this?" Twyla, aka Twig, squeaked at Sam. Sam's eyes stayed hard as they slid from the lock she had silently picked. "Because they're stealing food."

"But how can you know that?" Twyla continued as she came through the door on Sam's heels. Somehow, Twyla had managed not to wake the Village. The two women crept through the dark house as quiet as the air. Almost. "I mean really. How can you know that?"

Because Matt knows the combination to the storeroom.

Because this is Matt's house.

Sam just shook her head. There were things she liked about Twyla, but they were mostly things she liked when Twyla was quiet. Sam had originally considered her worthless; being that Twyla was terrible at most forms of combat and defense. But she was a fantastic archer, and she could sew.

Twyla sighed at Sam's silence and followed her friend through the kitchen, where five nights ago Sam had sat on the floor in the dark and sanded the benches' legs until they wobbled. It was no longer physically possible for all four of either bench's feet to be on the floor at the same time. Sam had chosen one of the house's longer patrol nights for that one. Twyla hadn't spent enough time in this house to notice the doorknobs Sam switched around during the house's last patrol, but even she stopped when she passed the mirror in the hall. It had taken much more time than Sam had thought to move it just a couple of inches and fasten it back to the wall. She had left the top left screw loose enough that the full length mirror hung at a slight angle while ending low enough to cut of most reflections at the forehead.

Twyla shifted her sewing kit and cocked her eyebrow at Sam, who shrugged and kept moving down the hall. One hand flapped over her head, waving Twyla on.

When she peeked into the bunk, Sam hissed at her "hurry up! We have a lot of work to do." Sam pointed at her eyes and then picked up the ratty hem of a blanket. In her other hand, she held the bottom foot of the blanket. "I'll cut, you hem." Twyla shrugged and watched as she moved to the next bed and sawed at the rough blanket with her bowie knife.

"Explain this to me, please," Twyla whispered as she worked in the dark. Sam paused and the house was suddenly empty without the sound of tearing fabric to fill it.

"They're getting greedy. If they're hording food they could be planning mutiny, and it could kill us all. I can't confront them, because it could just make things worse. I don't want to threaten the security of the Village, I just want them to stop."

"But why would this make them stop?"

Sam's eyes flash in the dark. "This is a test. An opportunity for their consciences to work at them." Sam shrugged her shoulders in the dark, "they don't stop, somone dies on the next patrol."

She was so matter of fact.

Twyla whispered, "That doesn't even make sense! Their own unease is supposed to make them stop stealing...or you'll kill them off?"

"Look over the wall, Twig. We live in hell. There may not be any way to survive this, but we're not going to damn well starve to death. If they're getting greedy, if they think they are more important then everyone else, if they think they can decide who lives and who dies....then they are a threat to the rest of us. If we don't stop this now, we might not have another chance. At least this way they have the opportunity to do the right thing. I had to give them a chance."

A low sigh came from the doorway and Twyla startled onto the floor, almost crawling backwards as Sam strode forward, knife in hand.

"Matt," she almost sighed. As if even his name hurt. "Aren't you supposed to be on patrol with the rest of your house?"

He seemed pause and then decide to ignore her question. He pressed his frame forward through the doorway, dagger held lazily at his side with the casualness of obvious dominance. "This is ridiculous Sam. You know you can't save everyone."

And then he breathed "oh," softly, as if surprised. Sam's arm was across his chest with a backhanded grip on the bowie, hilt-deep in his chest.

"No, I know I can't save everyone. I just have to give them the chance to save themselves."

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