Saturday, February 7, 2015

Fence Jumpers: Part 33

(Image courtesy of Pinterest.)

As they walked back to the hideout, Skyler felt like he was flying. His heart felt lighter, and his step was eager. They had a new place to live. The cemetery had been bigger than Skyler first thought, because of debris that the homeless had piled up for shelters. The place could be fortified. They had a chance.

"Hey." Grace came up.

"Hi." Skyler felt embarrassment rush over him. "Sorry, for snapping--"

"It's okay." Grace smiled. "We're all tired. But now we have a new place. This new Skyler ought to have a bit of hope now, right?"

"He does." Skyler grinned. "Things might actually work, Grace."

"We're Jumpers," Grace laughed. "When things don't work out, and we want it bad enough, we make it work. And we did. Even if you had to nearly suffocate to do it."

They made it home within the day and night, arriving early the next morning. The Coyotes on duty waved as they came through. Skyler hurried down the steps and through the tunnels. He had nearly reached the cavern when he ran into Conway.

"Hey," Skyler said. He did a double take. "What're you all dressed up for?"

"Going out." Conway hurriedly shoved what looked like a cell phone into the pocket of a pair of dress pants. He wore a collared button-up shirt, and Skyler glimpsed a bow-tie before Conway shoved that into his pocket too. "A bit of recon."

"In a suit?" Skyler tilted his head. "Why the phone?"

"So I can keep in touch." Conway rolled his eyes. "Now I have to go or I'll be la--"

Conway cut himself off. Skyler frowned. "Conway? What's going on? You've never done recon in a suit.

"It's called spying, Skyler," Conway huffed. "You know, the way Claire spied on the Jumpers."

Skyler stiffened. Red flags went up screaming the alarm. He stared at Conway hard. "How do you know about Claire?"

Conway's expression changed. "I... I heard about it."

"We've never told you about Claire," Skyler said. "How did you find out?" Suspicion rose, and Skyler desperately tried to fight it back. This could not be happening.

"I..." Conway waved his hands. "I heard you guys talking about it."

"We've never talked about it. At least not around the Coyotes," Jonah said. Skyler slammed Conway into the tunnel wall and pinned him there.

"How do you know about Claire?!" He demanded. "How do you know what she did, Conway?!"

"Let go!" Conway tried to twist away, but Skyler slammed his fist into his gut. Conway groaned.

"Start talking!" Skyler yelled. "Right now! How do you know about Claire?"

Conway coughed, gasping for air. Jonah forced him to straighten and pinned him against the wall again.

"Guys--"

"How do you know?!" Skyler yelled, glaring at Conway.

"Not your business." Conway glared back. "What does it matter if I know?"

"Because we never told you," Skyler hissed. He turned as Hannah came running over.

"What is going on here?" she asked. "Jonah, what are you doing?!"

"Conway knows about Claire, Hannah," Grace said quietly. "We've never told any Coyote about her..."

Hannah stared at Conway as Kate came running. Conway looked away.

"Jonah, let him g--"

"No!" Skyler whirled on Kate. "He's not going anywhere until he answers us!"

Conway avoided Kate's eyes, and Kate's expression of concerned confusion made Skyler think Conway was the only Coyote he needed to be concerned about.

"I know Claire..." Conway said quietly. He looked at Skyler. "She's my sister."

He was met with silent stares. Jonah backed up, letting him go. Conway looked at them. "But guys I swear--"

Skyler lunged for him, bringing him down and slamming his fist into Conway's jaw. Conway struggled, trying to throw him off, and jerked his knee into Skyler's stomach. Skyler vaguely heard Kate shout something, but he didn't care.

"Listen to me!" Conway said, but Skyler punched him again. Conway twisted sharply and managed to get on top of Skyler. "Just listen! I'm not like her--"

"I don't believe you." Skyler shoved hard and pinned Conway down again. The other boy swung his elbow into Skyler's neck and shoved him back down. Skyler twisted and managed to connect his foot into Conway's gut. "You traitor! You're not doing recon! You're spying on us!"

"I'm not!" Conway tried to pin Skyler down, but Skyler shoved him back. "Skyler, just listen to me!"

"No!" Skyler lunged for him again, but someone looped a strong arm around his waist and yanked him back. Skyler writhed, but he was pinned to the wall, an arm laid across his throat just enough to make him cough and stop struggling. The face was one he didn't recognize. The man had dark skin, and he was huge. Behind him Wes and Jonah were restraining Conway.

"What the heck is going here?!" Wes asked. "Can we not leave you two alone together without someone getting beaten to a pulp?"

"He knows about Claire." Grace looked distressed. "Wes, Conway is Claire's sister."

Wes stared at Conway. "...What? Is that true?"

Conway made no reply. Wes shoved him against the wall.

"Hawk," the man restraining Skyler snapped. "Chill, kid. Who's Claire?"

"She's the one who ratted on us two years ago," Wes hissed, glaring at Conway. "And--" Wes's face blanched.

"Wes?" Hannah said warily. Skyler suddenly realized.

"He's Horatio's nephew."

Wes nodded. Conway wiped blood from his lip.

"Yes." he nodded. "Claire is my twin. But guys I swear--"

"Save it," Wes snarled. "So that whole stunt we pulled with Emma in City Hall. How you went up to Horatio's office. That was because you're the murderer's nephew. That's why it worked so well."

Skyler tried to lunge at Conway again, but the man held him back. "Easy, kid..."

"Let go," Skyler snarled. "Who are you?"

"He's my friend," Wes said. "Introductions later."

"Is this true, Conway?" Kate asked quietly, looking right at him. Conway looked away, and Kate drew a knife. "Answer me. Look me in the face and answer me."

Conway raised his eyes to hers. "Yes, it is..."

Kate's expression was usually impossible to read, but now the betrayed look was clear as day. Conway looked desperate. "Kate, please, just lis--"

Kate's knife sliced across his cheek, making a shallow cut. Conway hissed in pain, and Grace pulled Kate back. Skyler snarled and tried to lunge for Conway again, but the man pushed him against the wall. Skyler struggled.

"Skyler, calm down." Hannah hurried over. "Hey, look at me, look at me." She took his face in her hands. "Just calm down, okay?

Skyler shook her hands off and glared at Conway. "Get him out of here."

"Skyler please just listen--"

"No!" Skyler shouted, angry tears in his eyes. "Get out! Go on back to your penthouse suites!"

Conway glared, but Jonah shoved him away. Conway looked at them all desperately. "Guys, let me just explain--"

"Get out, Conway," Kate said quietly. "Just go."

Conway looked at Hannah, and she looked away. Skyler struggled again and nearly escaped. Conway backed up hurriedly, then he fled. The tunnel was quiet for a long time. Kate followed Conway to make sure he left. Skyler swallowed back the lump in his throat, banging his hand back against the wall in frustration. The man slowly released him, and he slumped against the wall, his legs giving up. Everything in him wanted to give up.

"It's happening all over again..." he murmured, panic threatening to overwhelm him. Wes gripped his arm and pulled him upright.

"Easy, Skyler," he said. "We need to go tell the others."

"Kate should be the one to the Coyotes," Grace said. "They'll take it better coming from her."

"We need to move out," Skyler said, forcing himself to not crumple. "Pack up and move now. We can't risk another Nabber invasion."

Grace nodded. "I'll let Madi know we need her car. You guys start packing what you can."

"Guys, slow down," Hannah cut in. "We have no place to go."

"Yes we do." Skyler nodded. "We found a place outside the city. It's in a cemetery, and we even get neighbors."

"What?"

"There are a bunch of homeless guys out there," Grace replied. "They want to help. They've read Madi's articles."

Fred James was then introduced to Skyler, Grace, and Jonah. Wes explained that Fred would be able round up a few members of an old drug ring and get them spy out the facility, and maybe even get one or two do them on the inside.

The Coyotes took the news about Conway really hard, even with Kate to tell them. Skyler knew how they felt: their world being yanked out from under them. They just lost the leader they all had trusted whole-heartedly. The person who promised to keep them safe and help them make the city a safer place for them turned out to be one of the bad guys. That kind of news couldn't be softened.

Kate and Tag rallied the Coyotes, encouraging them and getting them moving. The Coyotes helped pack all they could. Madison arrived later that evening and helped load their stuff and as many kids as her car would fit. Emma arrived even later after work and helped, shuttling Jumpers and Coyotes to the cemetery. Emma confessed she had known about Conway, but it has come as much of a shock to her as it had to them. Both Skyler and Wes were suspicious, but Grace vouched for her. Even Madison did, saying when she met with Emma once after the visit to the Hall, Emma had seemed different.

Skyler barely spoke a word as he helped direct baggage and kids to the cemetery. Kate and Tag left with a few Coyotes to grab whatever they could of their stuff from the Coyote hideout and would meet up with the others at the cemetery. When the rest of them arrived at the cemetery, the guys there took the shaken up kids in kindly, already having made room for them and fortifications.

"Hey, kid." Victor pulled Skyler aside. "You sure that fellow you chased off won't come here?"

"Yeah." Skyler nodded. "We didn't tell him. Thanks, for letting us come so soon..."

Victor clapped him on the shoulder. "You sure this boy is playin' for the other team?"

Skyler hesitated. "I don't know... but I can't take the chance. We lost people last time this happened."

Victor nodded. "Well, get yourselves settled in now. We'll keep an eye out for those others you mentioned."

Skyler, Hannah, and Wes made sure the others were settled in. They comforted the younger kids, and encouraged and talked with the older ones. Tag and Kate and their team came back with a few things from their old hideout. It had been ransacked, but they had been able to recover some things. They split watches with the homeless group, and they passed the night without harm.

2 comments:

  1. Gahhh! :( Poor Conway.... *wail*

    I hope this doesn't make him turn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ^_^ Guess we'll have to wait and see... B)

      Delete

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