Thursday, October 29, 2015


  “You say you saw Christopher Williams, moving rocks behind Utility Shed Three before the incident?” Constable Kidd was an imposing man; had been his whole life. He could still remember when they had first landed here, building the wall, and even the first exile. Many folks didn't think that far back, leave history to the greybeards they'd say. Well, he might be grey in the beard but he was still as fit and clever as any of his men and more than most.
“Yes Constable, clear as glass.” The younger constable, Wilkens, had taken off the dark helmets they wore on patrol. Why they needed helmets Kidd did not know, the settlement was a fairly peaceful place. Even before the wall had been built there hadn't been enough dangers to justify wearing the stupid things on patrol. They were clearly meant for combat, not public safety. At least the rest of the armor was fairly comfortable.
“Has the Overseer been told?” He knew the answer before he asked. The Overseer, damnit all now he was doing it, Fred had passed a rule requiring all reports of 'unnatural activity' be directed to him first, before reporting them to the Chief Constable. Edward Kidd did not like that policy one bit. How could the constabulary be expected to dole out fair and balanced justice if things just kept being passed over his head? It was bad enough that the Overseer had taken over the job of Judge when Her Grace had passed away, now he was trying to usurp the authority of the Chief Constable too.
“Of course sir. Rules are rules.” Wilkens was a good kid, and bright too, but he was still too naive to see what was going on. The Overseer was turning the settlement into a personal tyranny, and he was eliminating anyone who could or would oppose him. All this nonsense about 'unnatural activity' was just a front, and Kidd wasn't buying it one bit. Maybe if there were still a few scientists left in the settlement, they could explain some of the odd goings-on. Sure enough, they'd all been found 'committing unnatural acts', and now it was poor little Chris Williams turn.
“Damn. Well, head down there and meet him. I'll get things set up for the exile.” After Her Grace's exile, Chief Constable Kidd was going to keep his head down and his neck in. One child was not worth giving up any chance he had of fixing things. In fact, a proper public exile of a mere child would probably improve his chances of making a few more allies. They'd stop this madness yet.

“Christopher Williams, by my authority as the Overseer, acting in the interest of the safety and well-being of the colony, you are hereby Exiled to the untamed lands. May your unnatural power help you survive.” The greasy man on the podium motioned for the gates to be opened. Kidd and Wilkens stepped up and removed his chains.
“Sorry Chris. Rules are Rules.” He wanted to comfort the kid, but he couldn't shake the feeling that even if he didn't agree with the rules, he was still the one standing there enforcing them like a faceless thug. He and Wilkens, who stayed silent, walked Chris to the gate. The boy was crying, but as the gates began to close Kidd saw something in his eyes. He was determined. That boy was going to survive, and he was going to come back. When he did, they might just need those helmets after all.

Later, in his office, Kidd found himself haunted by that last glance. Chris Williams probably was possessed of some level of power. He was a smart kid, and he'd learn to use it. He needed guidance though, or he'd go down the wrong path and become something dangerous. He should have been allowed to stay, given a place to train his abilities where he could have the support of friends and family. The wilds did things to a man.
“Constable Kidd?” It was Wilkens again. He'd taken off all of his armor and wore only the gray jumpsuit of a civilian. Good, it wasn't another report to file. “Sir? I was thinking.”
“My Pa always said that was a dangerous activity. What can I do for you son?”
“I was just... The boy, Chris Williams, he didn't really do anything wrong, did he?” Wilkens looked pretty broken up about it. You were supposed to try not to take the job personally, that's what they were all told in training. Kidd knew better.
“No son, he didn't. None of 'em did.” Kidd stood up and closed his door. He let down the window blinds, and he poured the junior constable a mug of coffee. “And by jove we're gonna make it up to them.” He held up the mug as a gesture of brotherhood. “Welcome to the resistance.”
Wilkens took the mug and looked up at him with confusion and admiration. Kidd smiled, in his own gristly way. And now there were nine.

Author's Note:  I wrote this as part of a series of short fiction stories about a year ago, and must apologize for only now uploading them.  

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