the left pipe. He heard more voices. Jackpot!
Will happened upon an open grill. He leaped out of the duct, and landed on his feet in the Student Council's Office.
Among the TSF inner circle.
"Look, it's Will!", shouted Scott Gibb.
"Let's kill him.", suggested Jamie Gibb.
"Wait now...", cautioned the TSF leader. "He could be a useful captive. He could ensure our escape."
"You wait now!", exclaimed Will. "If you don't surrender to me now, I will destroy this building with me, you, and everyone else still in it!!"
"And just how do you plan to do that?", taunted the leader as Jamie and Scott proceeded to restrain him.
"Watch me. As I have said to your cronies before, you learn a lot in the Staff Room. I'm giving you one last warning... do as I say now."
"Fat chance.", commented Scott.
"All right, you leave me no choice. Computer!", he shouted.
The regular bleep sounded.
"Begin Auto-Destruct Sequence. Authorization Matheson Gamma Five. Thirty second countdown."
"Unable to comply. Secondary Command Processors are inoperative.", replied the computer.
skylights in the (former) Student Support Room had long been broken and
through one of them protruded a ladder for convenient roof access. Julie
Brownell quickly realized why the TSF operatives had brought her here.
She climbed the ladder and stood on the roof of Charles Pillsbury Allen
The bright early afternoon sunlight made her squint. But she did not squint enough not to notice Will Matheson in stocks on the other side of the roof over the Solarium.
The TSF leader ran up to Julie. "Good to meet you! I'm told that you and Will are bitter enemies!"
"You could say that.", she replied.
"Well, I was told that you in particular would enjoy administering Will's... punishment."
"I suppose I might.", she agreed.
Julie walked towards the stocks. The leader spoke up. "You may do whatever you wish to him before you kill him. You can chose how to kill him to."
Julie coolly walked in front of Will and looked down at the Solarium and Concrete Yard below. Both the Solarium and Yard were filled with TSF soldiers and students who expressed an interest in Will's demise. So it wasn't the entire school per se. When everyone looked up and realized what was going to happen, they all cheered for Julie.
Will, having no food or drink since breakfast on tuesday, was very parched and weak, but not quite enough so to stop him from uttering some last words. "Julie... I... know I've been a real jerk... but I hope you'll just kill me and maybe you could say a few words to the crowd to inspire rebellion. Please... do that for CPA... the TSF is not... worthy..."
Tiring of pretending not to listen to Will, she coolly slid her hand inside his mouth and ripped out his tongue. The blood flowed freely from Will's mouth as he looked at Julie in pain, shock, and horror. Julie boldly cast his tongue down on the yard. Some starving students tried to eat it, but the TSF soldiers humanely stopped them from doing such a low thing.
"You'd better finish the job.", advised the TSF leader. "We need to retain some sympathy. I think there's a media helicopter around here taping this."
Julie took the advice and removed the bleeding, pathetic Will Matheson from the stocks and quickly threw him in the general direction of the CPA driveway.
On his way down, Will had one semblance of a thought in his mind. I should have paid attention to that computer readout in the Staff Room... BZZT He landed in the middle of the Yard rather violently. He died instantly. The pain was over.
People cheered. For the first time in over a day, it seemed to them that something nice happened.
Julie was among those cheering, briefly. The TSF leader grabbed her by the arm and dragged her to the edge of the roof. She gasped. "What are you doing?"
"Will was supposed to be executed today. To avoid having another assembly that would encourage rebellion, we just thought we'd arbitrarily kill you for today's execution. The TSF always means what is says. Goodbye!"
He threw her over the edge. She let lose a high-pitched scream as she traveled inevitably towards the concrete. She died instantly.
"I sure hope the cameras taped that.", said the TSF leader to an aide.
CPA itself was a total loss. The building was damaged so badly in the
Armed Forces assault that it could no longer support any students. All
of the windows were broken, 50% of the walls had been demolished, and even
some of the support beams had been knocked out. The building looked as
if it could topple any minute. The building was promptly imploded.
the ending you have just read is indeed grim, but what would have happened
if Will had chosen another way at the junction?
To find out, click here. Or maybe you've had enough and it's time to view the Afterword. I suggest you do, it's a good insight into this novella.
Goto Main Page.
Goto Ending Index.