consequences of your actions. Then you will go home to your husband tonight. You will remain together as long as you don’t break any more rules. Do we have an agreement?”
“Yes, that seems fair.” Her heart galloped with a mixture of anxiety and excitement.
“Good. It’s settled then.” He stood up and grabbed the chair, but before walking away, he leaned into the bars and spoke softly. “And one more thing?”
“Yes?” Her heart skipped a few beats.
“No more stirring the pot among your fellow scientists. We’re not kidding around with this one. If you’re caught doing it again, ve vill expel you. You think it’s tough here because ve have rules, but it’s far worse out there.” His accent often came out when he was being a hard-ass. “There” sounded like “zair.”
Her heart was pounding. They had her dead to rights and there was nothing she could do about it.
“Finally, my boss, Mr. Westerling, would like to meet with you two personally at sunrise tomorrow. Just go to the top floor of the tower. Do you know how to get to the tower?”
“Ye-yes.” Her head was throbbing.
“Good. And Dr. Reid?” Lunder said, again leaning forward like he had a secret to tell; one that involved her.
She felt nauseated, ready to vomit. “Yes?”
“Get some sleep tonight. Tomorrow is a big day for you both.”
“I believe we’re almost there, Teacher,” John offered as he led them through a forest of mostly half-dead pines and aspens.
“John, this is good news. We will be patient,” the Teacher reassured him, only a few steps behind. More than a dozen others surrounded the Teacher, wearing robes which had once been pure white, now soiled from their long journey. They listened attentively, waiting for more words. When they were sure that was all he had to say, two of the apostles, elected to that purpose, slowed from the pack and waited for the first cluster behind them to catch up. They spread the Teacher’s message to a few of that group. “We’re almost there. Be patient.” The two apostles in their gray-white robes then raced to catch back up with the others and wait for the next Teacher proclamation. The message traveled to all in the cluster and from it, three or four held back to spread it to the next cluster, and so on, until all two thousand followers heard the same message. This was their message-delivery procedure every time the Teacher spoke, every day they traveled.
When the current message made it to a cluster midway through the multitude, a little boy near the front of the group looked up to his father, tugged on his red cloak and asked, “What did the Teacher say?”
Frank ignored him for just a moment, doing his part by telling the man behind him. The boy watched his father, a brawny man of honor within the Teacher’s followers. His hair and beard were Santa Claus white, a stark contrast to his red robe, the lower third of which was stained black, like all the robes, from their many miles of walking.
Finally, he lowered his head to see his son’s expectant eyes. In a move more graceful than his bulk should have allowed, he hoisted the eight year old into his arms, not slowing his pace with the cluster. As their guard, assigned from the heralded God’s Army, his job was to keep them safe and make sure they maintained their pace. “My, my, you’re getting big now.”
Zachary furrowed his eyebrows and pouted, unhappy that his question wasn’t being answered. He pleaded again, “What did he say, Father?”
“He said we’ve almost arrived at our new home, but we must be patient.” His face was so full of joy that even the ugly scar that ran around his neck, just under his chin, looked happy.
Zachary perked up and gazed into his father’s loving eyes. “Tell me again about the Teacher and our journey.”
“Son, you’ve heard this a thousand times a thousand.”
“I know, but tell it to me again.” He loved this story, at least this
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