The Broken Way – A Short Story by Lucas Bennett

Episode 8 – The Final Episode

“We’re not ready…no…we’re not ready,” Terre whispered.

The light in the sky was still distant, but it was no star. Fane stood, knowing he had to leave immediately to execute the plan.

“You two stay here and protect yourselves, just in case they attempt to destroy the village,” Fane said. “If they leave and you can’t find me anymore, talk to Ditinshare. I have left a detailed plan for how to train the whole village if I cannot return.”

Shade and Terre stood up, and Shade took Fane’s hand in her own. “What are you going to do now?” she asked.

“I need to go negotiate with them. I’ll give them Paddler if they leave Gredahk alone.”

“Let me come with you,” Shade said.

“No,” Fane replied. “You two need to stay here, just in case.”

“But they won’t make a deal with you!” Shade exclaimed. “They’ll just kill you for attacking Paddler.”

Terre looked straight into Fane’s eyes. “Actually, Shade,” Terre said, “his plan is a good one. We need to stay here and let him go. There is little time.”

Fane nodded, wondering how he would say goodbye. Terre threw his arms around Fane and whispered, “sorry, I lied.” In an instant Fane was on the ground with Terre pinning him down.

“What are you doing?” Shade cried.

“Making him tell us his plan,” Terre said. “I make plans here, not him. So he isn’t going anywhere until he tells me what he is doing.”

“You’ll never let me go if I tell you,” Fane said.

“I’ll never let you go if you don’t tell me,” Terre said.

Fane sighed and struggled under Terre’s weight. There was no way to escape. Fane always ignored training strength, because he had so much speed he assumed it would never be necessary.

“I’ll tell you,” Fane said. “I made a deal with Paddler. I’m going to let him go and fly me up to their ship. Then, he will tell them I was the only person in Gredahk who fought back, and that no one else knew about it. Also, he will tell them he fought his way out of the prison and managed to imprison me. That way, Paddler doesn’t look as bad as before and they spare his life. That’s his part of the deal. My part of the deal is that they blame all of the mess on me and leave Gredahk alone. If they don’t believe it was all me, they will destroy the town.”

“That’s the dumbest plan I’ve ever heard,” Terre said. “It leaves you relying on Paddler and assuming you know how the men of the stars will react.”

“Then what do you suggest we do?” Fane asked.

“Not act like martyrs and save ourselves. Shade? Go run and tell Ditinshare to come to us out here. Fane, will she listen to Shade?”

“Yes. She will listen.”

“I’ll go now,” Shade said.

“And Shade? Get Paddler too. Bring him here. He will follow you without causing you any harm. And bring any supplies you can manage. Just hurry. When that ship decides to come down, we are all in huge trouble.”

“It’s too dangerous!” Fane shouted. “You’re going to let the town die! No!”

Terre held Fane firm against the ground and looked to Shade. “Go.”

 

***

 

Ditinshare arrived first with five packs full of food and clothes slung over her back. She laughed at the sight of Terre holding Fane down. “Looks like you aren’t the leader anymore, are you, Fane?”

Shade arrived with Paddler and the best tech from the ship. Paddler looked more frightened than ever and shook from head to toe in fear. “Thank you…” he said. “Thank you for saving my life.”

“Would they really have killed you?” Terre asked.

“Yes. Fane’s plan was my only hope, and a slight one at that.”

Something fell from the sky near the ship. It landed in the middle of Gredahk, then Fane heard it and felt it at once, vibrating the ground with its impact.

Terre finally loosened his grip on Fane, who looked out in shock. The explosion decimated the town. Everything was gone. It was impossible that anyone had survived. All of Gredahk was torn into a billion pieces.

“We told them we were all in the town,” Shade said.

“What have we done?” Terre asked.

Silence crept over the group as the light in the sky left. They all waited there for a time, not knowing what to do.

Fane turned away from Gredahk and looked across the rolling fields of Endian.

“It’s only us left now,” Shade said.

Terre nodded. “It’s time to fight back.”

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