Andrew tried as quickly as he could to get away from the clearing. He was, to say the least, spooked out. Thankfully, it was only a ten minute walk from the forest to his house. Andrew let himself in, as the door was never locked if his mother was home. Since she didn’t work at all, she was always home at three o’clock or whenever Andrew found himself home.
“Hello, Mother.” He found her in the kitchen, going over the newspaper again.
“Hello Andrew. School okay?” He had asked her to stop asking the How was school question, but she always found a way of phrasing it that got around those three words but still asked.
He opened the refrigerator and looked for something to munch on. “Yeah, I was in the library after school doing some research for a project.”
“Honey, don’t hold the door open for too long, you’ll waste energy.”
“Sorry Mother.” He closed the refrigerator without finding anything that looked good. All the half-truth and half-lying made him not hungry but he needed something to settle his stomach. He rooted around in the cabinets, searching for something that would satisfy his craving. “Father came to school to ask me some questions. He said that he would call in the afternoon to say if he would be home in time for dinner. Has he called yet?”
Mrs. Entschied looked at the clock. It was almost four. “No, he hasn’t and it’s really too late to put something fancy for three on. How about we order out today?”
“On a Tuesday? You’re sure Mother?”
“Yes. I don’t feel like cooking at all actually.”
“Okay. Why don’t you order Pizza around six then.” Andrew stopped looking for something to eat. “I’ll be in my room. Got a lot of homework again.” He carried his heavy bag up to his room. Once he closed the door, he dumped his bag on his bed and went straight for the hiding place of his journal. He made sure to be quite and gingerly got it out for the second time that day. He flipped to the page he started that morning and decided to spend the time before dinner filling in all the details he remembered still from his dream as well as all the new information and questions he had from meeting the Voices of the Right today.
That night was a quiet one. Mrs. Entschied was right that Mr. Entschied didn’t bother to show up for dinner. This was the second straight night he didn’t make it but the first time he even forgot to call from work to say he wouldn’t be coming home in time. Both Andrew and his mother assumed that he was tied up at work and tried not to let their disappointment show on their faces.
After dinner, Andrew retreated once again into his room. He struggled with his homework for maybe two hours before giving up and going to bed a little early. Once ready for bed, he slipped under the covers and fell fast asleep…
He was in the triangular room again, only his perspective had changed. Instead of watching the whole scene from above, he was standing where Miles and the others had stood before. The benches before him were filled with the judges and officials all chatting to themselves and ignoring Andrew. Finally he heard a loud bang, and Lord Duffy called out “Order!”
He saw Lord Duffy in his usual white, sitting in the same seat as before. He was studying a scroll intently in the flickering light. “Andrew Entschied, you have been charged and found guilty of plotting acts of terrorism as well as treason. Do you have anything to say?”
It felt like his whole body had suddenly gone numb and tingly all over. “What? What? No! I’m innocent! I didn’t do anything. You have to understand! You have too. I didn’t do anything! I’m innocent!”
But his cries were only met with cold high laughter. “Take him to be Exiled.” Lord Duffy simply said. Andrew could see a huge grin on his face.
“No! You don’t understand. You got the wrong guy! I’m innocent! I didn’t commit any crime!” The guards that had stood at the doorway in the back of the room came forward and grabbed Andrew on either arm. When he resisted, their grips became even tighter and they dragged him out of the room. He was screaming his innocence the whole time. They took him to the smaller room that was a cross the hall from the tribunal room. Andrew knew what was coming next, but he didn’t want to believe it. “No!” he wailed as soon as he saw the Exiler.
“Oh yes!” Lord Duffy had come in behind him. “What did you think happened to boys who get caught up with political dissidents? They get punished!” He laughed again, only this time is was a much more frantic laugh. Alvis and the other man in the lab coat – did it look like his father? That was impossible! – joined in as they dragged Andrew up to the machine and held him in place as the energy snaked out of the globe and down the bell. They held him in position as he could feel the cone vibrating above him and the floor below made his feet hurt. Suddenly there was a sharp pain that the top of his head and he screamed. The pain spread down his head and he could actually feel himself disappearing.
Andrew woke with a start. What a way to go. His legs were all twisted in his blankets and he felt his heart racing. When he rolled over and looked at his alarm clock, he groaned. It was three in the morning and after a dream like that there was no way he would get any more sleep.