The Believers – Chapter 3

The carriage train moved along steadily. Calvin estimated that they had another three hours of travel time, and five hours or so to get where they were going.  Too close for his comfort, but he’d sent Kira to ride ahead to the village.  She’d returned, and everything there was fine.  Knowing that your destination had not been over-run by the Turned was a good feeling, but he couldn’t really be sure until he could see the village itself.  It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Kira.  He just couldn’t relax out in the wild.  Never could.  He hadn’t gotten old by being careless.

He would be 60 years old this fall, he thought to himself.  He was in relatively good shape- he still helped the younger men load and unload the carriages, but his back wouldn’t support quite as much as he remembered.  The grey that had started at his temples had invaded most of the rest of his hair now.  His joints ached at night- especially when it rained.  He’d lived a traveler’s life for more than 40 years now, and had seen more of the world than most people ever did.  He’d given his fair share of advice, helped plenty of people get what they needed to survive from one place to another.  He’d also seen plenty of horrible things- you couldn’t escape that in this lifetime, not in this world.  He thought he’d seen it all.

They had come to a merging of roads – a fork, if they’d been traveling the other direction.  As his carriage approached the intersection, he noticed a rider-less horse down the other fork, only a few meters away.  A dark-colored mare, it just looked at the carriages as they approached.  Calvin would have missed it had he not been looking back over his shoulder, down the other road.

He pulled the reigns, stopping his carriage.  The others stopped behind him.  He climbed down, and slowly approached the horse.  It didn’t startle, didn’t bolt, and let him approach.  Kira was beside him a few moments later.  He took hold of the harness, caressed the animal’s head, then looked back at Kira.  The question in his eyes was easily read.

“I didn’t see him when I came by earlier,” she said.  “But I was moving pretty fast.  She might have been down the road farther when I passed.”  She held a hand on the horse’s side as she circled her.  “Calvin, there’s a lot of blood on the saddle.”

Calvin nodded, looked down the road farther, and saw dark shapes almost off the road itself.  Large, boxy shapes, parked in the shade.  He turned the horse toward them, and began leading it down the lane.  The shapes were definitely carriages of some kind, but they were much bigger than his own.  They were the Turned-proof kind, the kind he had been hoping to trade for- or build- someday.  The kind large enough to live out in the wild over-night.  There were four of them, in a line, as if they’d been traveling toward the same village he was headed for, and then just stopped.

He was 15 meters from the nearest carriage when the horse began to resist.  At first, it just dug in it’s hooves, but when he began to pull harder, the horse neighed loudly, and pulled backward and away from him.  It turned back towards the fork in the road, trotted a few meters, then stopped again.

Calvin could see at least three dead people, slumped against the sides of the nearest carriage.  They had been gnawed down to the bones, completely picked clean, their chests pried open.  Others lay scattered around among the other carriages.  Instantly, he began looking around him, but the part of the road he was on was well-enough lit that the Turned wouldn’t venture out here.  He turned to call over his shoulder at Kira.

“Would you ask Stephen to come up here?”  She nodded, nervously, then turned back, leading her horse toward their own carriages.  Calvin knelt near one of the dead.  He couldn’t even tell if it had been a man or a woman- the Turned had left hardly anything.  He walked between two of the other carriages, and found more dead.  He was about to knock on the door of the second carriage when Stephen and Kira joined him.

Stephen walked slowly, choosing his footing as if each step was avoiding something.  Calvin realized that this was precisely what the younger man was doing- once he’d seen bodies that had been eaten by the Turned, he was immediately wary of stepping in a puddle of blood.  If it got on his boots, he would bring contamination back to their own carriages.  Calvin silently chastised himself for not being more careful during his own approach.  He brushed his black hair back from his face, his green eyes already picking out details from the scene.  He’d warned Kira to watch her step, apparently, because she was moving much slower now, watching the ground carefully.  Her young face was etched with horror as she saw the bodies- skeletons would be a better word.

“My God-“ she whispered.  “How’d they get caught outside their carriages?”

Stephen knelt beside one of the bodies, drawing up the grey-green sleeves of his shirt.  He reached between the grass and weeds, carefully, then pulled the broken shaft of an arrow out from the mud.  He held it up to the light that found its way through the trees.  Though he was much younger, he, like Calvin, had spent most of his life traveling, and had an eye for roads and trails that never stopped impressing the older man.  His eyes and mind went to work immediately.

“Don’t worry, girl,” he said.  “I’m sure all these people were dead long before the Turned came out.”  He shook his head, gravely.  “There isn’t enough left of these people to Turn and stand up.  The light would have driven them off by now.  Even so, don’t touch ‘em.”  He stood, looking at the other remains.  Then he stepped toward the door of the carriage, and gave it a gentle push.  The door swung inward, with little resistance.  “There’s probably one or two inside there, Calvin.  We’d better presume there is, anyway.  You thinking about taking these carriages?  The previous owners don’t seem to have much use for them.”

Calvin smirked.  “The thought crossed my mind.  But first, I suppose I’d be interested to know why they’re dead.”
Stephen nodded his agreement.  He moved back toward the other carriages, pushing open all their doors as he passed, but careful to keep his hands out of the shadows.  The Turned could tolerate the sunlight just long enough to get a grip on him, he knew.  He’d seen it happen before.  Calvin and Kira began walking back to their own carriages.

“We better let everyone know what we’ve found here.  We’ll come back and get the carriages before nightfall, and park them outside the village.”

“Think we can get the Turned out of them safely?” she asked.

“Oh, yes,” he said.  “Once the sun comes up tomorrow, we’ll climb on top, open up the top hatch, maybe pull the roofs off of them, and the sun will chase them out.  Ever seen one of the Turned caught in full sun?”

She shook her head.  She’d only gotten a good look at the Turned once, and didn’t want to repeat that experience.

“They’re not harmless, but they don’t think about eating people- least it doesn’t seem that way.  They try to get away from the heat and light, but can’t see well enough to figure out which way to go.  They stumble around a bit, then fall over.”  He shrugged.  “We’ll have to take the entire roofs off these things to use them, really.  We’d have to let the sun bake the inside for at least a day, maybe longer.  Otherwise we might get infected by whatever they leave behind.  But that’s ok – the valuable stuff is the wheels, the frame, and the heavy sides.  It’s pretty rare that the Turned get on top of one of these, so they don’t make the top very heavy.  Just enough to keep out the rain, that’s about all.”

Kira sighed.  “Sure would be nice to be able to stop anywhere you wanted without worrying about getting eaten.”

“That it would,” he said, reaching the place where his own troupe had stopped.  “Ok, everybody,” he called.  Most of his people had gathered near the intersection, wondering what was happening.  They stopped chattering amongst themselves, and gave him their attention.

“Looks like another group of travelers got hit by bandits, and left out for the Turned to eat.”  He paused.  “The carriages are sturdy enough to keep the Turned out at night, but they were left open, so there’s probably a few of them hiding from the sun in there.  What I think we’ll do is continue on to Lumber Town, up there, and then bring back a few teams of animals to pull the carriages back there with us.  Could be we can put them to use, but we need to see if they’re carrying anything that belongs to the people in the village first.  So mount up, let’s get moving.  Jerod, Grant,” he pointed to two of the young men in the group, “I want you to go help Stephen out, and stay with him until we get back.  That pretty much means make sure none of you gets hurt.  Keep your horses close, and if you start getting nervous at all about us coming back here before dark, you ride into the village.”

People began to follow his instructions.  The two men Calvin had instructed to stay had moved their horses out of the way of the others.  Calvin began walking back toward the derelict carriages, meeting Stephen about halfway between the two trains.  He was shaking his head.

“Odd thing, Cal,” he said.  “I don’t know where that horse came from, the one standing over there.”  He nodded his head toward the mare that had first attracted Calvin’s attention.  “But what I do know is that there were six carriages here when it was hit.  The tracks near the back of the line are hard to mis-read.  But right now, there’s only four.  So whatever was on those last carriages, that’s what the bandits were after.  Those carriages were heavy, so they were the ones loaded with trade goods, would be my guess.  But of the ones that they left behind, the last one,” he pointed his thumb over his shoulder, “was loaded with trade goods, too.  Lots of steel on it – fifteen sheets, at least 30 ingots, plus a few flame weapons.  Now, in my opinion, there isn’t much that a merchant can travel with that’s more valuable than that.  Only one thing I can think of, in fact.”

Calvin nodded.  “Cement blocks.  They only wanted the cement blocks.”

Stephen agreed.  “But the other thing is that all the animals are gone.  They weren’t left hitched up- there’s no remains, and the Turned would have eaten them to the bone, same as the people.  The animals are valuable, but why take the animals and not the steel?”

“Think they were just unhitched, left to wander, and got eaten by the Turned farther down the road?”

“It’s possible.  I just can’t imagine that anyone who’d go through the trouble to kill all these people would leave behind that much steel.  It’d have to be someone who either has no use for it, or has so much of it that this wasn’t worth the trouble.”

Calvin shook his head.  He’d sort it out on the walk back to the village.  They’d work out a deal on the cargo, and he could afford to be generous.  The carriages were worth about half the value of the cargo all on their own.  But he also thought seriously about hiring a few more fighters the next time he had the chance.  Travel had always been dangerous, but it seemed to be getting more so all the time.

*****

Donovan arrived for the meeting late, but was forgiven immediately. This put him on guard- usually Gina would have at least an admonition for him, but her thoughts were obviously elsewhere.  She motioned for him to sit, and then she took a chair across from him.

“Dana has shared what I think is an outstanding idea to complement Troy’s idea of a new city,” she said, without preamble.  “I want your opinion on it.”  She didn’t need to remind him that all this was meant to be kept secret- these meetings always were.  She outlined the idea quickly, deliberately leaving details out to see how he would react- and how he would fill them in.

He drew a deep breath when she finished.  “It’s certainly a bold idea, ma’am.  It could be made to work, but many little things need to be figured out first.”

She nodded.  “But it could be done?”

“Yes.  Do you want me to put together a plan?”

“I do.  Dana has come up with some of the details for how it would work, and has done quite well, but I would like you to take the basic idea and create your own plan.  We’ll see if you find any problems that she missed, or vice versa.”

He nodded.  “But I would think that, in the meantime, we should begin to mobilize for the construction of this new city.  Has Troy spent any time on designing it?”

“Yes, but it needs to be kept very secret.  Meet with him, find out how his design is going, and start to look for the people we’ll need to build it.  One other thing, and I’ll let you get moving.  How are our scout teams doing?”

Donovan smirked.  They hadn’t been able to come up with any better name for them but ‘scout teams’.  “They’ve identified three villages in the early stage of building a new perimeter, and one more that has just taken shipment.  This last one is important, because if we can get there before they get much built…”

She nodded.  “Yes, we could use the blocks ourselves.  Prioritize that one, but make sure there will be enough time to hit the others as well.  And their other mission?”

“Two so far.  I’ve instructed them to, well, to hunt, a good distance away from our city.  The less suspicion aimed our way, the better.  And along those lines, we’ve sent messengers to Tarense to purchase a few shipments of the blocks to use in Hammerhand and Bluefield.  They’ve started building in Riverbend, and will be done with the wall there in perhaps another two weeks.”

Her eyebrows rose.  “That quickly?”

“The walls are easy to build, apparently,” he said, shrugging.  “The first time estimate we got was before they had much experience building like that, and as it turned out, the wall was done in half the time estimated.  And all they’re really doing there is building a wall.”

She nodded.  “By the time they get done with those three villages, they’ll have plenty of experience that they can lend to the building of our new city.”

*****

Lincoln sat by himself in the shade of his carriage. He’d drank all the water in his bottle, and was debating whether or not he should get himself more water, or some of the wine he’d brought for himself.  The introspective debate soon turned to whether or not he really wanted to get up just yet.  He was by no means a lazy man, and while old, he was a long way from infirm.  His eyes still had both the youthful sparkle and cunning spark, and he had plenty of strength left in his body.  But having seen as much traveling as he had, he knew the value of a short rest, and was enjoying it while he could.  He knew that soon he’d have plenty to do.

He had dressed lightly, due to the heat, in loose clothes of light browns and greens.  He’d never stopped utilizing the skills to make his own clothes, and over the years had gotten quite adept at it.  His mother would be proud, he thought.  Boots he could never get right, though.  He could trade for those when he needed to.  That might be pretty soon, judging by their condition.  Not worn through, but getting close.  It was also about time to have Sherry McCandles cut his hair again- the coarse, black hair would get unbearably hot over the summer.  Drat, she’s staying in Tarense now, he reminded himself.  It had been inevitable, but he would always think of her as family.  The McCandles children had adapted to the loss of their parents very well, and Jacob in particular was a fine man in the making.  Sherry was 18 now, and getting married to her long-time sweetheart in the big city.

The wine could wait, he finally decided, but it was hot enough that more water would be good for him.

He’d seen the other carriages arrayed outside this village just after he’d been able to see the wood rooftops.  It was always a blessing to roll into a village just after another group of traders came through.  In some ways, it seemed a contradiction; the people here had most likely spent the last day or two doing business with another group of merchants or gypsies- the former, he had correctly guessed, as he approached, but the difference was minor.  One was a group of hirelings, the other was family.  The basic supply needs that the village would trade for were probably satisfied, and business here would be understandably slow.  But instead of competing with each other, traveling groups would more often than not share information and news, helping each other out.  Villages would get what they needed sooner, and the merchants had a better idea of what to expect at their next stop.  There were always a few groups that were selfish, over-competitive, and greedy- but travelers talked a lot, and word would spread quickly when a troupe or family began to act unfriendly.

The other group was packing up their carriages, just as Lincoln’s friends were unpacking and getting ready for business.  Most merchant groups and gypsy trains would move into the village, but these people in particular had big enough- and solid enough- carriages to keep the Turned out overnight, so they stayed outside.  Lincoln had made eye contact with the troupe’s leader, Marius, and gotten a wave, but he knew the old man would be busy for a while yet.  His old friend and his troupe wouldn’t leave for another few hours, and Lincoln knew they’d have a chance to trade news.

Marius surprised him by approaching him just as he was getting to his feet.  The two men shook hands, smiling, and Lincoln offered him water.

“Thanks,” Marius said, accepting.  He took a long pull from the canteen, then handed it back.  He was ten years Lincoln’s senior, and almost a head shorter, but wide in the shoulders and still strong.  His hair had gone completely grey now, but it had been a light color before.  The change wasn’t so drastic.

“I see you’re leaving the heavy work to your people this year,” Lincoln chided him.  Marius had never shirked from the big work- it had earned him his place and his reputation.

“Finally getting old, little man.”  Marius had a sense of humor about his height.  “Besides, that’s what I pay ‘em for.”

“Profitable spring so far?”

“Very much so,” Marius replied.  “These folks here have been hard at work, and had lots to trade with.  They haven’t spent it all on us, either- it’ll be a good stop for you, too.”

“I heard your singer earlier- she’s very good.”  A young woman had sat on a small stool just outside the gates, playing a small stringed instrument and singing for most of the morning.  Her voice was very clear, and her songs attracted many of the villagers outside to listen.  “I’ve missed having music travel with us.”

“Well, if you’re heading toward Riverbend, there were a few people there who know how to make good music.”

Lincoln shook his head.  “I thought they were becoming part of Carter’s Hill.”

“It’s true.  They’ve started building a block wall, and all the fighters are wearing the uniform.  It’ll probably make them better fighters- the Cartersons sent a force to watch the place while the local boys and girls travel back to train with the hard-hitters back in the city.”  Marius shrugged.  “I know you don’t do business with that family, but the people are still decent people.”

“Yeah, I know.  It makes me feel bad for them.  I bet they’re being- well, being encouraged to stay close to home, aren’t they?”

At this, Marius grimaced.  “Nothing was said, but you can tell by talking to them.  They know they’ve got a bad deal, but what choice did they really have?”  Lincoln knew Marius well enough to know that freedom to travel was one of the ideals he would fight for.  Seeing it denied to other people would bother him.

Lincoln nodded.  “Besides, you know Marlena is traveling with me.”

Marius returned the nods.  “I spoke with Leon Richards earlier.  He said there’s three Immune with you on this trip.  Anything unusual?”

“Very much so.”  Lincoln outlined Xeren’s idea, but left out where it had come from.  He knew Marius would be interested, and would keep the plan to himself.  There was no love lost between him and the Cartersons.

“I’d be happy to be part of it.  Will it be anything formal?”

Lincoln shook his head.  “We really can’t- the Cartersons would have us killed.  Next time you’re out that way, see if there’s any rumblings about it.  Even if you can only get one family out at a time, it could make a difference.”  He paused for a moment.  “So which way are you headed after you leave here?”

“We’re almost out of our original goods, so we’ll stop in Windhaven, but I believe we’ll head back to Tarense directly after.  These folks need steel, if you’ve got it.  I’ve been out for two stops now.”

Lincoln nodded.  “We have some, yes.”  The old gypsy rubbed his chin, thinking back to his stop at Marius’s next destination.  “Someone in Windhaven needs a couple of stud pigs.  They only had one left, and he’s not mating anymore.  If these folks have one or two they’re willing to trade, make the deal and take ‘em there.  They’re desperate- five or six good sows, but no births until they get a male.”

Marius lifted an eyebrow.  “That’s a good tip- thank you.  We’ve got a stud, but I may see if we can get a second before we leave.  Thank you.”

Lincoln nodded.  “We’re headed toward Carved Rock and Starhill next.  Did they ask about anything in particular?”

Marius’ demeanor darkened.  “We didn’t come through there.  We stopped in Tower Hill, and heard some things that made us change our route.”

“Like what?”

“Something’s happening west of us, and no one is sure what.  Tower Hill had a young couple ride in from Starhill, saying the place had been attacked.  They didn’t know who it was, but there was at least a hundred of them.  They said it looked like the Believers at first, but they attacked just after the sun came up, and didn’t go after the fences at all- they attacked the people.  Not the usual routine we’ve seen from the Believers, not at all.  Carved up their fighters.  That couple got out of sight before they saw anything else.  But whether that’s true or not, Tower Hill has been saying they haven’t had any traffic from that direction this spring- none at all.  Now, you know Guinevere, right?  The old girl that made glass sculptures?”  Lincoln nodded- he had some of her work in his carriage, a trade for some clothes he’d made for her.  “She and her family had gone out there, and they would have come back through Tower Hill, but no one I’ve met has seen her since she left Tarense after the thaw.”

Lincoln nodded, his expression grim.  “Thanks for telling me this, Marius.  I may ask Marlena to head that direction, and see what she can find.”

“There’s plenty of people who’d like to know, and I’m one of them.  Carved Rock is the home of some old friends.  Repay me for the information by letting me know what you hear.”

“I’ll do that.  Take care, old friend.”  Lincoln extended his hand.

“Always,” Marius smiled, shaking the hand, then turning to get his carriages ready to move.

*****

They met in one of the older houses. The wood walls were rough, the floor boards warped and uneven.  It was only a single level house, and the roof would have a half-dozen leaks when it rained.  For now, it was dry, and the sun was up outside. Four families lived under this roof- mainly just slept here, then carried out their days elsewhere- but at this time of day, the place was empty aside from the meet.  There were 9 people in the circle, all old friends who had absolute trust in each other.  This was evident in their expressions- they were uncomfortable with a new face joining them, and if it had been anyone other than Sarah who introduced this new woman, they would have left as quickly as they could.  It was Sarah that had helped many of them organize, helped give voice- and in some cases, action- to the discontent and desperation they all felt.  She wasn’t just one of them, she was one of their leaders.

Sarah sat down, as did her guest, and looked around at her friends who had been brave enough to make this meeting.  She’d only been back to Carter’s Hill for a short time, and her great adventure in the wilderness had earned her respect from many of the common people of the city.  Very few knew the details, and very few would believe it all if they’d been told.  While Sarah had not found her father before he’d Turned from a bite on his arm, she’d found his journal.  And with its guidance, she’d found the secret he’d discovered- the recipe for making cement, and the techniques needed to cast it into blocks.  It had been in a building built by the ancients in the time before the Turned had appeared, and nearly exterminated the human race.  And with the help of Lincoln Graddal and his traveling ‘family’, she’d gotten that secret to the city of Tarense.  Now, many small villages were building cement block walls to replace their wire fences.

Not many people could claim to have done something that had made so many people safe.  Those who knew Sarah’s part respected her for it.  Now, her goal was doing something to help the people of Carter’s Hill.  And of all the people who could have suggested their plan, Xeren was the least likely.

Even less likely was her agreement to accompany Sarah to Carter’s Hill.  The guards would kill her without a thought if they learned she was Immune.  But Sarah’s friends and accomplices would never believe the plan would work without knowing for sure that the Immune would help them.

Most of those who had come to this meeting were in fear of vanishing in the night, or worse.  Each of them had spoken out in public about the Carterson family, and its way of governing the city, and all of them had friends that had one day disappeared without a trace.  But they were past being concerned about their safety- or had accepted that they were in danger, whether they acted or not.  They were ready for action, as long as the plan wasn’t completely crazy.  Sarah inwardly hoped they wouldn’t find it crazy- she’d presented far crazier plans than this one.  She cleared her throat, and began to speak.

“My friends, we may have found a way to release ourselves from this place. I think we’re all past the point of being sentimental about our home.”  There were nods all around.  “Many of our friends amongst the gypsy clans have agreed to transport us to Tarense.”

“That’s been tried before, Sarah,” one of the others replied.  He was middle-aged, and had seen many ideas to shake the power from the ruling family come and go.  All had failed.  “They don’t even let gypsies near the city anymore, not that any have tried for years.”

“True, but they do still stop in Riverbend and Hammerhand.  They have to- those villages need the trade, and the Carterson’s know better than to cut that off.  Too many of their wealthy friends and cousins go there to trade for things we can’t get here.  So they can’t just stop it all- at least, not yet.  And there’s other places we can meet them as well.  But here’s the important part.”  Sarah took a deep breath, then outlined the plan she and Xeren had created.  Some were skeptical, but most were optimistic.   When the group dispersed, they felt more confident than they had in a long time.  This just might work, they told each other.

*****

In another part of Carter’s Hill, Malachai sat in Brogan’s office. He was grumpy- he’d had only one day with his family, and was being called out on another trip.  He just knew it.  He was one of the best builders in Carter’s Hill, and they treated him like a damn pack mule.  It didn’t matter that his team had finished the new wall in Riverbend so far ahead of schedule.  Not even a pat on the back- just given a day, and no idea how long he’d be gone this time.  He shook his head.  The Carterson’s had to know they were driving him too hard.  His team would be furious, but he wouldn’t tell them until tomorrow, no matter how much they pressured him.  He’d get the rest of the day, after this morning’s meeting, to play with his two children and relax with his wife.  She deserved better.

Brogan entered the room late, but showed no sign of apologizing.  Usually when he was late, the bastard has the manners to show some regret for wasting my time, Mal thought.  He flexed his large hands and forced himself to relax.  The city’s Work Representative looked as average as always.  Mal often wondered if he did it on purpose, to try to be un-noticed.  His clothes weren’t rich or poor, his brown hair was long and just a little unkempt.  He could probably disappear into any crowd he wanted to.

“Welcome home, Mal.  I’ve been asked to extend you an offer of more work.  You’d leave tomorrow morning.”

“I just got home yesterday morning,” Mal complained.  “I’m going to need at least a week before I can go out again, and my team will need it too.”

Brogan shrugged.  “All right, I’ll go over the terms, but if you can’t do it, you can’t do it.”

Mal paused, looking askance at the smaller man.  They’d always given orders before, never asked, and certainly never acted like he actually had a choice.  Brogan wasn’t a very imposing man- he looked about as ordinary as a person could.  Mal often wondered if the city’s work-master deliberately tried to look nondescript in the hopes that no one would remember him.  Mal was a fairly big man, and physically had no problem intimidating Brogan.  But Brogan spoke with the authority of the Cartersons, at least as far as he and Mal were concerned.  But something was different here.  If they truly were giving an opportunity to choose to skip this job, either they thought to pressure him another way, or the deal would be too sweet to pass up.  He nodded for Brogan to continue.

Brogan leaned forward and rested his elbows on the desk.  “This is a big project, Mal.  We’ll need five teams to work on this, and it’ll be at least two months of work.  That’s an estimate based on how Riverbend and Hammerhand have gone.  But they’re nowhere near the scope of what you’ll be doing now.  It’s away from here, and its being kept so quiet I can’t tell you any more about it.  Your payment will be double our normal rates, food and lodging for you and your crew paid for by us, and a new home for you and your family.  By the way, if you like, you can bring the family with you for this job- their food and lodging will be part of your payment.  If you turn the job down,” Brogan shrugged, “we can find other people to do it.  Like you said, you just got back home.  But it wouldn’t be so bad to be away from home if your family was with you, would it?”

Mal had to fight to keep his jaw off the floor.  “I’m going to need this in writing.  It sounds too good to be true.”
Brogan nodded, smiling.  “I’ve given this speech three times, and the other two said the exact same thing.”  He lifted a long paper from his desk.  “I can’t send this with you, but you can look it over.  Then go home, and talk to your family about it.  See what they think.  I’ll need to know by noon today, or I’ve got to find others to do it.  If you do take it, you’ll have to tell your crew pretty fast.  The offer extends to their families, as well. ”

Mal left the office a few minutes later, still shaking his head in confusion.  It was a fairly generous offer, coming from the Cartersons, but something was nagging at him.  It was almost too good to be true, and that idea just would not let go.  He walked slow, trying to figure out how he would tell his wife.

One Response to “The Believers – Chapter 3”

  1. Sounds fishy to me. I say you go with your gut.

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