In the beginning, after the world had thrown itself into chaos, surviving the madness was a horrible struggle. Death was everywhere. The smart ones quickly joined gangs and made alliances.
Our gang formed when a dozen friends moved into this school. Our numbers have increased steadily over the years. We are a family even though sometimes we are loud, annoying and dysfunctional. When we first moved into the school our conference room was a blank space with a couple of tables and a few chairs. The children have decorated the walls with drawings, banners and posters of bears. When we have something important to discuss we hold a meeting in the conference room. Today was no exception.
“Thanks for coming! I said. “I don’t want to take up too much of your time. I only have one thing on the agenda today. As everyone knows, the Central goons have taken most of our oil. We need to replace what we have lost. I’m looking for volunteers. I need four or five people to travel to Wolf Valley. “
Matt jumped on top of one of the tables. “Why travel all the way to Wolf Valley?” We know where the oil is. Xavier has it. Let’s take back what’s ours!”
To my dismay, the silent room suddenly broke into rumbling chaos with most of the people agreeing with Matt.
“Wait… QUIET!” I yelled. “Did anyone here not see what the Central goons did to Tony? He may not survive.”
I took a deep breath “I know everyone here wants to pummel Xavier and take back what’s ours. I want that too! However, we are not strong enough. Andre came by earlier today. He promised me, he would take care of Xavier and his gang.”
Jonas leaned against the back wall. “What’s the pretend Sheriff going to do? Slap Xavier on the hand and say play nice with others?” Everyone in the room laughed.
I looked around the room and spoke slowly. “I don’t know Andre’s plans. He didn’t say, but risking the lives of the children in this school, to fight Central, to take back the oil, we can simply replace with a short trip to Wolf Valley is stupid.”
Marty spoke up “It’s not that short of a trip, it’s nearly 12 miles from here; Longer, if we travel around the Red Hyena territory instead of going through it. “
“Look, I know it’s a pain and inconvenient.” I jumped up on the table next to Matt. “If it was any other gang I would say, “Let’s fight and take back what’s ours.”
“Why don’t we fight?” Matt said in reply.
“Because…if we fight one or more of us will die. I don’t want to die. Do you want to die, Matthew?” I said as I stepped up face to face to my good friend.
Why don’t we vote on it? Cecelia said from across the room.
“Yes, why don’t we vote on it, Madeline?” Matt said in reply.
I stepped away from Matt. “Fine, we’ll vote.” “Everyone that wants to fight Central and possibly die a horrible painful death raise your hands.”
Matt, Jonas and a few reluctant others raised their hands into the air. JT counted aloud and wrote the number 6 on the black board.
I smiled and cleared my throat. “All those in favor of making a trip to Wolf Valley please raise your hands”
I looked at the sea of hands. “It looks like I am going to need those volunteers.”