Matt, Jonas, Lisa and I took refuge in this abandoned school a few years back to escape the fighting and bloodshed on the streets. In less than a year, our little gang of misfits grew from four members to twelve.Today, we have 28 active members, plus a few other drifters that hang around from time to time. As a member of the original four, I was unanimously elected leader. There was no fighting or posturing for the role of leader; No one else wanted the responsibilities.
I try to make good sound decisions for the good of us all. The only person who ever opposes these decisions is Matt. Sometimes, I think he disagrees for the fun of it. Today was no exception.
“Thanks for coming! I said as I welcomed everyone to the meeting. “I don’t want to take up too much of your time. I only have one thing on the agenda today. The Central Sharks have taken our winter fuel. We need to replace what we’ve lost. I’m looking for volunteers. I need three or four people to travel to Wolf Valley. “
In a display of “I am king of the warriors”, Matt interrupted the meeting by jumping on top of a center table. “Why travel all the way to Wolf Valley? We know where our fuel is. Xavier has it.” He raised a fist into the air. “Let’s take back what’s ours!”
To my dismay, the calm silent room broke into cheers of “Fight!. .Fight!.. FIGHT!” with a majority of the people agreeing with Matt. “Wait!..Stop!.. QUIET!” I yelled.
I attempt to bring everyone back to reality. “Who hasn’t seen what the Central Sharks did to Tony? He’s one of our best fighters. The sharks almost turned him into hamburger. Most of us in this room couldn’t fight our way out of a paper bag! You’re all idiots with a death wish! Every one of Xavier’s goons is twice the size of our biggest man.”
I took a deep breath. my face felt like it was on fire. I was probably a bright shade of red. “I know everyone wants to pummel Xavier and take back what’s ours. I want that too! However, we are not strong enough. Sheriff Pete stopped by for a visit. He promised me he would take care of Xavier and his goons.”
Jonas stepped forward in support of his brother. “What’s the Sheriff going to do? Slap Xavier on the hand and say play nice with others?” Everyone in the room laughed. I wanted to laugh too but I was trying to be serious.
I looked around the room and stared into the faces of my friends. “I don’t know what Sheriff’s Pete’s plans are. He didn’t say but risking the lives of everyone in this school is stupid. We don’t need to fight the Central Sharks. We can travel to Wolf valley and replace the fuel.”
Marty spoke up “Wolf Valley is nearly 8 miles from here; Longer, if we travel around the Red Hyena territory instead of going through it.“
“Look, I know it’s a pain and inconvenient.” I jumped up on the table next to Matt. “If it was any other gang I would say, “Let’s fight and take back what’s ours.”
“Why don’t we fight?” Matt said in reply.
“Because…if we fight one or more of us will die. I don’t want to die. Do you want to die, Matthew?” I asked as I stepped up face to face to my good friend.
“Why don’t we vote on it?” Cecelia said from across the room.
“Yes, why don’t we vote on it, Madeline?” Matt said in reply.
I stepped away from Matt and throw up my hands. “Fine, we’ll vote.” “Everyone who wants to fight the Central Sharks in a fight to the death raise your hands.”
Matt, Jonas and a few reluctant others raised their hands into the air. JT counted aloud and wrote the number 6 on the black board.
I smiled and cleared my throat. “All those in favor of making a trip to Wolf Valley please raise your hands” I looked at the sea of hands and smiled at Matt.
“It looks like I am going to need those volunteers.”
Matt, Jonas and a couple of their supporters stormed out of the room.