Exhaustion quickly overwhelmed Wilson’s feelings of guilt and shame, forcing him into a dark, dreamless sleep. Soon he imagined the sound of harsh voices in the distance, telling him to get up and come with them. A sensation of falling jolted him awake in the same instant his body struck the cold, hard ground.
“Wake up sleepyhead,” A soldier mocked, “Nap time’s over!”
“Get up and get outside now!” Another barked, emphasising his words by grasping Wilson’s collar and pulling him violently to his feet, “The Boss wants ya!”
Billy-Ray’s groggy protest was cut short by a fist landing on his chin. Calloused hands grasped both their clothing, roughly guiding them out of their tent and over to a parked Military Jeep. Wilson could hear movement on the other side, hidden from view by the Jeep’s brown form.
A little voice in his head told him something was very, very wrong.
Quickly cored checked his surroundings. They were atop a small hillock, making them visible to the soldier’s camp which stretched several hundred feet behind his back. Coming up the slope to his right were three men, carying themselves in the martial, commanding way one would expect an Army Officer to. The man in the middle was much older than his companions, with a chillingly determined look on his weatherbeaten face.
Those warning bells in Cory’s head were now ringing all the louder.
“Ten’hut!” The enlisted men snapped to attention in their Officer’s presence, a guesture which was relaxed by a single, sharp wave of the older man’s hand.
“Major Greene, sir,” A Sergeant stepped forward and saluted, “Everything is ready as instructed.”
“Move the Jeep.” Greene’s curt response effortlessly carried through the air. As if waiting for just that order, a soldier inside the vehicle turned on the engine and drove away from the scene.
Billy-Ray’s groaned as he recognised the man who had been forced to kneel behind that Jeep. Cuffed and gagged, Baalaark Parmar’s dark eyes widened in recognition, sending out an unspoken plea fo help. Such a desperate look, flitting rapidly between Cory and Billy-Ray, left no doubt what this they had been brought here to see.
“You have all seen the pictures,” Greene raised his voice, “You all know who this maggot is. Public enemy number one – a terrorist and bigot. Murderer of not only our Great Nation, but the whole damn world. This, gentlemen, is the scum who put out the sun.”
The soldier who had been guarding Parmar grabbed him by the collar, dragging him kicking and screaming to the Major’s feet. Once more he was forced to kneel facing Wilson and Billy-Ray.
Greene went on, “By law we can decide his guilt and his punishment. Now you all will see the sentence be carried out – a clear message to all what will happen to those who think they can bring their filthy terrorist ways to our shores.”
With a swift, well practised motion Greene drew his sidearm, aimed it at Parmar’s head then pulled the trigger.
Frustration, anger, desperation and fear had mixed into a potent emotional cocktail which treatened to make Jenny Edwards lunge screaming at Thompson’s throat. She silently begged him for an excuse to do so -all she needed was one more stupid word out of that man’s stupid mouth.
“Where in the hell did those – those – Hillbillies get a Military Grade weapon – one even they aren’t allowed to use – like Infrasound from?” Jenny shook her head, “And worse still – why haven’t you warned any of your listeners? They’re following your damn riddle straight off a damn cliff!”
“Castle’s riddle…” Thompson corrected.
“Oh sue me!”
Jenny cut him off, “I’d better like your answer Radio-Boy or so help me…”
Thompson took a step back, “Look. I know this journey has been dangerous and that can create a few emotions that-”
“Can it and answer the question!”
“Well,” Thompson sighed, “Here’s the deal. Nobody’s really put it on the news yet but this country is under Martial Law. I could have troops coming here and shooting me for broadcasting information like that, they’ll say I’m in league with these Rebels and-”
“Rebels?” Edwards arched an eyebrow.
“That’s what the Government are calling the Soldiers of Liberty.” He explained, “Who they claim are trying to incite a Civil War.”
“So you’re not helping anyone because you think the Military will come kill you for it – in short?”
“Coward.” Jenny spat the word with every ounce of hatred she could muster, “You spineless, lousy foil-hat wearing coward! It’s not like the world is ending or anything!”
It was obvious that she’d insulted him. Thompson’s gaze refused to meet hers, wandering around the room as an awkward silence fell between them. Several long minutes passed before the haze of emotion cleared and Jenny was able to muster up the courage to apologise.
“You need to figure out that last clue.” He muttered, “Use my computer. Get your answer.”
She tried to smile and thank him, but the gesture was shrugged off. Having crossed a line she lacked the time or willingess to reconcile, Jenny took up the man’s offer and started thinking about the riddle.
For a River and a Country you must head…
How many countries had the same name as a river?
Eleven. She shrugged. That answer really narrowed it down.
The latter’s Capital – Amman…
Amman was not a city Jenny had ever heard of though a web search brought up the answer in seconds. Jordan. Which meant they had to reach -
“The town of Jordan!” Jenny exclaimed, “I know where that is!”
“Yeah, good for you.”
Something about Thompson’s unenthused response brought her back to Earth. Why would Castle build a dome in the middle of a medium-sized town? Jordan had grown significantly since the turn of the century, now home to nearly ten thousand. A project like The Doomsday Dome would have attracted a lot of attention if it were in a populated area .
“Are there any more riddle bits?” Jenny asked.
Tense silence dominated the room once more. She could see Thompson’s lips part, move slightly and then shut tight again – he was having difficulty answering. Three times the process repeated before she ran out of patience and asked again.
When Thompson finally spoke, his voice was weak, hoarse, “No. That’s it.”
A lump began to form in Jenny’s throat, “The Dome isn’t in Jordan, is it?”
“Well, then how are we supposed to find it then?” It hit home in that moment just what this could mean. Jenny Edwards – for the first time since she left her Husband to die in her sister’s arms – started to consider the worst. Hands now shaking, she forced herself to ask one final question – already starting to brace herself for the answer.
“Tell me the truth.” She whispered, “Did he ever want us to find it at all?”
The body of Baalaark Parmar was left to freeze where it fell. Without another word to either of them, the soldiers hauled Cory and Billy-Ray off the hill, throwing them into an APC crammed full of bruised and bleeding civilians. Not one of them looked at their new companion, instead they chose to stare listlessly at the vehicle’s thick armoured hull as if they were windows.
Cory could feel the hopelessness in the air already begin to weigh upon him, beckoning to resign his fate to match these people on their date with death.
“Anyone know where they’re taking us?” Cory ventured, “Anyone?”
Not even a blink of an eye. These people seemed to prefer the oppressive silence they wallowed in, ignoring every attempt he made to reach out.
Billy-Ray tapped him on the shoulder, “Chances are, we’re going back to Jordan.”
“I know that,” Cory shrugged, “I think. But we’re never gonna escape if we’re crammed in with all these people just starin’ into space.”
“It’s a Forlorn Hope.”
Cory blinked, “A what?”
A Forlorn Hope was an old Siege Tactic, Billy-Ray explained, where a breach in a fortress’ walls was attacked first by a small group of soldiers who would force the defenders to detonate any booby traps they had laid which could decimate the main attacking force. Casualties were usually massive among such groups, so they consisted of volunteers who were promised promotion and lavish rewards for surviving such a mission.
“Bet they had to keep that often.” Cory sighed.
“Easy to make a promise you know you’ll seldom have to keep,” Billy-Ray gestured at the other passengers, “But that’s what this is. We’ll trigger their defences, allowing the soldiers to pinpoint and eliminate before the attack begins.”
Something in Billy-Ray’s tone sounded like he almost admired what they were doing, “And you’re okay with this?”
“We’ll get out of it- just like before.”
The memory of those agonising final moments in the last APC made Cory panic. In his mind’s eye he could see the people around him – there must have been at least two dozen of them – crashing into one another screaming and writhing as an invisible force tormented them to death. There was no way he was going to do that again. No way.
“Yeah, sure,” Cory blurted out, “We got plenty of folk you can use as bait this time!”
A handful of faces turned to see what the commotion was about, prompting Billy-Ray to lean in close and hiss, “Keep your voice down! Look, if I have to, yes I’d do it again. I’d do it a hundred times if I had to.”
“Because,” Billy-Ray met Cory’s gaze, “You have a debt to repay me.”
Suddenly Cory felt sick, “You killed Red just so I could pay you back for saving me?”
Billy-Ray nodded firmly. The cool way he maintained eye contact left Cory in no doubt the boy meant what he said. After everything that had happened, seeing a teenager being so composed and determined about murder was, in his opinion, the most unsettling experience of his life.
“Right back at you,” Billy-Ray said, “Whole reason I made that deal was because I saw the way you killed those Militiamen. You do what it takes to survive, to reach your goal. So do I.”
“What kind of goal would drive you to murder a friend?”
Billy-Ray sat back and closed his eyes, “You’ll find out when we reach Jordan.”
According to the Kubler-Ross model of grief, normally there are five stages to dealing with being told you’re going to die; Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Thompson’s failiure to answer Jenny’s question told her that the Dome was out of reach and therefore she was doomed. Only when her mind processed that new information, she skipped four out of the five stages and instead added a whole new one.
First came Anger.
“Go to Hell.” She snarled at Thompson, storming out of his studio and marching down the hall to the lounge where the rest of the group were sleeping. Like a tornado she tore open sleeping bags and kicked every single one until she was faced with an angry crowd of survivors.
“What are you playing at?” Maitreyi Parmar emphasised her words by stabbing her finger in the air, “My children are tired and trying to sleep!”
“We can’t find the Dome.” Jenny announced at the top of her voice. The group fell silent.
“What kind of a joke is this?” Maitreyi snapped, “Tell that Thompson friend of yours that he is not funny and the only reason we listen to his garbage is because he is the only one with Castle’s riddle!”
The group seamlessly went into stage one – Denial. After Mrs Parmar’s angry words came a flurry of similar statements. One of the few surviving men, Dan, cracked his knuckles and announced his intent to beat some sense into Thompson – only being stopped by his partner’s pleas for calm. Jenny waited it out in stone-faced silence, giving her time to make the unusual move of going from Anger to the stage of her own making – Defiance.
By the time the group had turned its attention back to the messenger, Jenny had a proposal in mind. But before she could get to that, these people needed to know the truth.
“Castle’s Riddle ends with a clue leading us to the town of Jordan.” She said, “There are no more clues after that. Thompson has no idea why. Here’s the thing; I really don’t think the Dome is in a town of ten thousand people. It would be impossible to hide it there,”
A handful of nodding heads told Jenny she was starting to get through. Good. She continued.
“But I think he’s sending us there for a reason. I plan on finding out what. Thompson does know that Jordan is the headquarters of those Militiamen we encountered in Lewistown. He also says the National Guard is heading there to wipe them out. These Militia folk are a damn sight better armed than the ones we met. It’s going to get ugly. If you’d rather stay here, there’s plenty of food, water and space for all of us. You can be comfortable here and no-one will blame you. However, if you want to chance coming with me. I’m leaving. Right now.”
Funny, Jenny thought as she turned her back and left the room, her speech felt like one of those Hollywood movie moments, where the hero gets up and makes a rousing speech and everyone cheers, claps and heartily follows that person to the glorious ending. her moment had none of that. No applause, no tears and she doubted anyone was even following her.
So much for that cliche.
As she approached Thompson’s studio, Jenny started to wonder how she would say goodbye. Although her anger ruined what would’ve been a perfectly good rapport, she realised Thompson had been good enough to give her the final clue while giving food and shelter to the group. The least she could do would be to thank him – no matter how awkward that exchange promised to be. She was unaccustomed to thanking anyone for their services. Until recently, the way she saw it, people were just doing their job. Knowing they’d done it should have been good enough. Times and people change.
To her surprise Thompson stood waiting for her at the studio door, leaning nonchalantly against the doorframe with his arms folded across his chest.
“Nice speech,” He said, “Looks like you really rallied the troops in there.”
Jenny turned around to see at least half the surviving group – including the Parmars and Dan – following in her wake.
“I guess.” Was all she managed to say.
Thompson spread his arms out, “I want to wish you good luck.”
“I’m not the hugging type.”
“Come here,” Not one to take no for an answer, he crossed the gap between them in two strides and took her up in a big, friendly hug. He purposefully kept his face close to her cheek, leaning close enough to whisper something in her ear.
Jenny’s eyes widened, her surprise first at being hugged against her wishes overwhelmed by what he just said, leaving her slack jawed and short on words. Unable to pick something to properly say in thanks, she settled with a croaked, ‘Thank you’ before breaking off the hug and marching weak-kneed down to the Reception and the cold world beyond.
As she started the Parmar’s minivan, Jenny took a moment to think about what Thompson had whispered. It made her heart flutter, caused beads of sweat to break out on her brow and made her want to lean out of the window and vomit. Maiteryi, sensing something was wrong, placed a hand on Jenny’s shoulder and asked if she was all right.
It was all Jenny could do to take a deep breath and whisper, “It’s a Game Changer.”
Four Soldiers moved steadily and silently through the scrubland outside of Jordan. Hand picked by Major Greene for their skills in Feildcraft, each man was equipped with advanced Active Camoflage suits which mimiked their surroundings well enough to render the wearer invisible to the naked eye. Night-Vision was provided by pairs of NiteOwl Glasses, which used a matrix of light sensitive cells in the lens to project an image of what the landscape looks like in daytime to the wearer.
Confident in their skills and the equipment to hand, the Scout Party climbed a nearby hill that promised an unparalleled view of their objective. From there they hoped to report on exactly what size, armament and mobility these Soldiers of Liberty rebels had – though they did not expect much. Since when had a Militia Group ever had much of anything?
They moved in a line abreast, allowing them to see a larger area ahead in case the rebels did possess the presence of mind to protect this approach. As they neared the top, they chuckled among themselves at the lack of sentries. Amateurs. This mission was going to be a piece of cake.
Undetected, a set of electronic eyes were watching them, tracking every movement despite their advanced equipment. A tiny camera switched between enhanced night vision and thermal imaging, sending those images to an on-board computer which determined that yes, these were people and no, they were not friendly. In a micro-second that same computer determined the formation these intruders were in, how many of them there were and worked out a firing solution that would kill them all quickly and using the least amount of ammunition possible. All it had to do was let them get a little bit closer…
Thirty seconds later four shots rang out into the night.
If there was one thing Cory wished the Military would finally bother with, it was cushioned seats. After almost an hour spent being tossed about like a twig in a hurricane, his rump felt like it had gone ten rounds with a cage fighter. Sore, miserable and frightened, Cory wished he had just done the right thing and stayed at work this whole time.
It was in moments like this, where discomfort and nervousness threatened to overwhelm him, that Cory let his mind wander to the first non-related thing he could recall. In this case, he started to think about the rest stop in the woods and the conversation he’d had with Edwards – Jenny. A frisson of excitement coursed through him at the mention of her name, much to Cory’s surprise.
He liked her. She was strong, beautiful, determined and clever – so many great things all rolled into one incredible woman. Even though it felt like a month ago, he felt there was a spark – a connection forming between them that made him wonder about the possibility of…
Was this even a good time to think about this?
Cory sighed. He could have sworn he picked up something in her voice when last they spoke – an invitation? Warmth? Love? Of which he couldn’t be sure. What Cory was certain of was how close he had been to kissing her, something he felt she would not have objected to.
Years before, someone – a teacher – once told him to follow his heart. It was only now, decades later, that he finally got what that really meant.
With that in mind he decided that the next time they met, he would tell her how he felt – a decision that was both exciting and terrifying at the same time. Of course, it would only happen if they ever saw each other again.
Such realisation sent Cory into despair. With a sour expression now firmly etched into his face he turned to see Billy-Ray eyeing up the other prisoners – most likely to judge which one would be sacrificed next to save them both. If it wasn’t for the fact he had no desire to pick up from their last ‘discussion’, Cory would have had something to say about that.
A fresh, hard jolt made Cory wince, cursing the Army for the thousandth time as he bent double in pain – a move which unwittingly saved his life.
Screeching at seven times the speed of sound, a large projectile tore through the APC’s hull straight down the left side of the vehicle destroying everything in its path. Cory felt like his back had been punched by the gods as pressure waves, created in the projectile’s wake, struck him. Agonised screams filled the cabin, followed by the horrified wails of civilians now covered in ragged chunks of the people once sat beside them. Two more shots tore through the cabin, leaving carnage in their wake. Something warm and wet slapped against Cory’s cheek, which he batted off without daring to see what it was.
Now the screams were paniked. The APC was speeding up, tossing limp bodies around like rag dolls as the bumps became more violent. People were finally waking up to what was happening, having watched others disintegrate into gobs of flesh before their eyes. The instinct to flee was taking effect, starting a mad scramble which would have been comical, had it not been in a life or death situation.
Cory resisted the temptation to throw up and wedged himself against the bulkhead in the hope it would prevent injuries as they seemed to gain more and more speed. Cold tendrils wrapped around his heart when someone near the front screeched that the driver was dead.
“Hang on!” He found himself yelling pointlessly as that horribly familiar weightless sensation took hold. They were falling, how far was anyone’s guess and -
A deafening crash. The force of impact rippled down the vehicle with bone crushing force. Cory found himself flung atop the remains of three other men, which he found himself thanking for cushioning the impact. Clouds of dust billowed through the cabin from the holes punched by Anti-armour weapons, threatening to choke those still able to breathe. He saw Billy-Ray lying in the gangway, his right foot twisted at an unnatural angle. Groaning and squirming, he semi-conciously tried to get up and back into his seat as the sound of footsteps outside suddenly drew near.
“Ah, crap.” Cory muttered, grabbing his companion by the collar and pulling at the handles to the emergency escape hatch. The boy’s hip had been covering it a moment before.
Unsure if the soldiers had welded the hatch shut, Cory gave a small cry of triumph as whatever sealant had been used gave way, allowing him to quickly pull himself and – more awkwardly – Billy-Ray out of the cabin before the footsteps turned into SOL Militiamen.
“I’m saving a psychopath…” Cory said with a shake of his head, pulling the hatch closed as quietly as possible in the hope that the noise made by the Militiamen’s forced entry would mask his exit. For a moment it seemed like curiosity had drawn those men in, then the clink of boot heels on metal made Cory’s heart sink. They were inside the APC.
Struggling to control his own breathing, Cory listened in horror as gunshots started to ring through the APC’s cabin.
Less than twenty minutes into their renewed trip and already the hand-held radio was abuzz with group members – each one voicing their ‘concerns’ about the route Jenny was leading them on. Personally she would have been much happier if they’d all shut up and let her drive. Being in the lead car meant a missed turn would see the minivan tumbling off a cliff. The road was unlit, unmarked and without concrete barriers to stop cars going off the steep slopes on either side. Fearfully she wondered if this high road was any safer than risking Militia booby traps on the Highway.
“Is this the change gamer you spoke of?” Maiteryi said, mercifully turning the radio off.
Jenny shook her head, “It’s Game Changer and no, just a quick tip I was given.”
“To come up a dangerous road where you can’t see where you’re going?”
A sudden hairpin forced Jenny to focus her attention, hastily slowing enough to make the turn. When her heart rate returned to something resembling normal she said, “It’s less dangerous that trying to get into town via the regular roads. By all accounts those are heavily guarded.”
“Ah,” Maiteryi rubbed the back of her neck, “Well in that case, this is a lovely road.”
Jenny muttered a stream of curses, being forced to swerve around another tight bend, “Yeah. Sure, if you like driving off cliffs.”
Cory started to wonder if there was something desperately wrong with him, lying as he was underneath a crashed APC barely able to breathe with dust clouding around him – good thing he didn’t have allergies. Yet despite all that, he felt not a shred of fear. Maybe it was the constant stress he’d been under since starting this trip desensitising emotions to the threats that just kept on coming. He hoped so, even though a little voice in the back of his mind said otherwise.
Billy-Ray slowly raised four fingers, signaling how many SOL members he could see. The kid must have X-Ray vision or something, Cory couldn’t see a thing.
One by one those fingers got lowered as the Militiamen became satisfied the APC’s occupants were all dead. Soon enough, four became one – a lone wannabe soldier who stood around seemingly doing nothing until the smell of tobacco smoke wafted into Cory’s nostrils.
There wasn’t any time to consider how rare smokers were these days before a series of loud crashes shattered the peace, followed by the soft pitter-patter of debris raining down from above. Gunshots cracked through the darkness, the first screams of wounded men drifted on the wind, tell-tale signs that the battle those Gaurdsmen were expecting had just begun.
“Watch my back,” Cory muttered under his breath, so quietly he could only pray the kid had heard him as he carefully crawled out from under the vehicle. Frustrated by the lack of a real weapon to hand, Cory gingerly picked up a hand-sized shard of broken glass. Then with every nerve tingling in anticipation, he stole up behind the smoking SOL and rammed the sharp, jagged edge into the unsuspecting man’s throat.
Surprisingly the man did not simply gurgle and die like they did in the movies. Instead he turned indignantly as if to say ‘how dare you?’
“Ah crap,” The words slipped out of Cory’s lips even as he desperately pulled at the Militiaman’s weapon, trying to keep the muzzle away from his body.
‘Smoker’ – a name Cory ridiculously coined mid-fight – yanked back hard, almost tipping both of them onto a pile of broken wood and drywall. The indignance had changed to rage as they viciously fought, astonishingly still with a shard of glass jutting out of his neck.
“Billy!” Cory grunted as he fought, “Little help here!”
With surprising force, Smoker managed to yank his weapon free of Cory’s grip. Triumphantly taking a pace back, the Militiaman levelled his weapon for the kill. Then confusion suddenly spread across his face, mouth now silently flapping open and closed like a landed fish.
A patch of blood, looking like a crimson bib, spread rapidly down Smoker’s chest. Uselessly gasping for breath, the doomed Militiaman looked accusingly at Cory – a wordless acknowledgement of his killer. If there was anything Smoker wanted to say, it was lost by the rapidity with which death claimed him. Giving Cory exactly what he wanted – the SOL’s gun.
“Nicely done,” Billy-Ray gave a low whistle, “Oh yeah.”
Somehow after what happened, that callous remark just didn’t sit well with him, “That’s it? This man’s eulogy is ‘oh yeah?’”
“Yup. He murdered all those innocents, so why not?”
Cory cursed. Then cursed again and a third time for good measure. Profanities spewed forth until there was no more anger and self-hate left to curse the fact he felt no reason to argue that point. With what sounded like Armageddon raging all around them outside, he forced himself back to reality and to think.
“We’re in Jordan,” Cory brainstormed aloud, “Lights were on all over town so there’s still power. Maybe we can get to a house with a computer and pull up the latest clues online, from the Radio Station’s website?”
“While a major battle rages around us?” Billy-Ray seemed a little distracted, gazing around as if searching for a landmark or person he might know, “Really?”
“Kid, I’m trying to get to the Dome. Whatever twisted ideas you might have can wait ’til I’ve got my directions.”
Billy-Ray didn’t answer, instead he gazed silently out the ruin of a nearby window. For several long seconds Cory waited patiently for the boy to say something. Not a word came from those young, cracked lips. Billy-Ray Johnson may as well have been on another world.
Long unlit dirt roads finally yeilded to light in the distance, quickly fading away again as the gradient started to climb. For Jenny Edwards, that tiny glimmer of civilisation was the landmark she so desperately needed to silence the doubters who had once again flooded the radio.
“Man,” She shook her head, “For people who volunteered to come with me, they sure didn’t take long to lose faith, did they?”
“Welcome to people.” Maiteryi chuckled, “I thought you knew this already?”
“Some of us never learn.”
Unbidden, both ladies burst into laughter. Neither of them understood why, the joke wasn’t even that good, but took full advantage of the sudden break in mood. Jenny could barely recall the last time she laughed like that. The weight of the world seemed to just fall off her shoulders.
It was a nice feeling.
As they reached the slope’s crest, all laughter faded away. The town of Jordan, Montana came into full view, a diorama of glimmering orange lights spread out before them like an old painting. The sight would have been beautiful if those lights had been the smaller, star-like spots of houses occupied by families and people living in peace and safety.
Instead there was nothing but flames leaping hungrily into the dark sky, encouraged by small flashes of white sprinkling what looked like sparks at this distance. The dull thuds that followed left no doubt those sparks were actually burning debris, falling from the explosions now tearing up a once quiet town.
War had come to Jordan.
One of the group’s younger members, Dan, spoke incredulously down the radio, “Do we seriously have to go through that?”
Several other voices muttered assent.
“Can we not go around?” Matieryi suggested.
Cory’s down there so no, we damn well can’t, is what Jenny really wanted to say. So long as he got that final clue, she would be able to find him down there. Honesty, in this instance, probably would not be the best policy here, “Because that last clue says to go there,” She said, “There’s a reason why the clues stop there. Castle wants us in that town. So I plan on being there, war or no war, ‘coz down there is our ticket to the Dome. I just know it.”
Patience was wearing thin. Worried that more SOL troops would pass by and see the body of their buddy with a big piece of glass sticking out his neck, Cory had no intention of hanging around the crash site any longer than he had to. Each moment wasted only increased the risk.
“Look,” He snapped, “I’ve waited long enough. I’m going. Want me to help in your psycho plan? Then foll-”
This new, unexpectedly authoritive tone in Billy-Ray’s voice took Cory by surprise.
“It’s time,” The boy solidly met Wilson’s gaze, “I’m calling in your debt.”