I hope you have been enjoying the continuing story of Jerome. If you have missed any of our editions you can catch up on our Stories sub-page, The Good Shepherd here: http://wp.me/P39vIx-j1
The Good Shepherd Pt.7
I watched the shadows swinging across the fire station lot with a mixture of satisfaction and guilt. Scott had warned me the price would be high. Conflict boiled my insides as I watched the streetlights wink on in the summer twilight. The crowd around me applauded even as my soul emptied its light into the yawning abyss of the back and forth shades hanging from the scaffold. The increase of wickedness had cooled my heart to stone since that night in Acton.
I remember staring down on the lights of Boston from the Belmont Hills on Route 2. Months in the dark made the city’s shimmering radiance look like something out of OZ . Scott stopped the horse and buggy just at the top of a hill near the Mormon temple so Oliver and I could receive the full impact of the first electric lights we’d seen since the New Year.
“It took them all this time to rebuild the city grid,” Scott explained. ” When the God pulse started it shut the lights and totally fried every circuit in the world. Power’s up here and in the biggest cities across the world but rebuilding the entire network is going to be a slow process.”
“The God pulse?” Oliver asked.
Scott explained, “It’s what their calling it. It’s not like anything else the world has ever seen. Whatever it is it’s more like a radio wave than a pulse. It started in January but it’s still resonating today. Weirdest thing is it seems to have a mind of its own. It’s like it has chosen to let us rebuild the power grid but it still kills every car engine we build.”
“Chosen?” I queried.
“Like I said, it’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before.”
That night we spent in Scott’s apartment in Cambridge. Our chauffer turned out to be an engineer with MIT. The black out had propelled him to a position of some power on the Boston City Council of Restoration, a goverment agency begun within days of the darkness. While towns like Winchendon had focused on maintaining order larger municipalities had been able to work on rebuilding infrastructure.
“I’ve begun going out to the surrounding towns to survey the power grids with my team. We plan to have the state up and running again by next summer.” Scott explained.
I tensed at his optimism,”Your biggest problem is not going to be the power grids. It’s going to be getting the local councils to relinquish their hold over the towns. Power brings freedom and I know for a certainty there are those who will not want either of those things back where I come from.”
“I thought perhaps that was why you had come.”
I raised an eyebrow.
“You’re not the first to come to the city for help with an out of control town government. The whole state is having trouble with local militias. Unjust arrests, suspension of trial by jury, even assassination of political opponents are commonplace complaints. Our committee is charged not just with turning the lights on but with restoring order.”
The knot in my belly loosened as the voice within said again, “Trust.”
Scott didn’t wait for me to speak, “It won’t be pretty. The town people may blame you when we roll into Winchendon with the National Guard. You may not be able to go home again.”
I had nodded my head then in what I thought was understanding. As I met with the City council of Restoration the next morning to share my story, I realized it was a little more complex than I had thought. Oliver and I were arrested. Charged with malicious treason against our town government we were relegated to separate cells in the Charles Street Prison. A rider was dispatched to Winchendon to summon Tyson and any witnesses he deemed necessary for my trial.
Scott walked in two days after my incarceration. I resisted the urge to rise and ram the meerschaum pipe he was smoking down his throat.
“I gather this is what you meant by ‘You may not be able to go home again.'” I groused.
“It could have turned out many different ways my friend.”
“I most certainly am not your friend.” I shot back.
He shrugged, “When the council had you arrested I took the liberty of hiring you and Oliver a lawyer. You understand they have to do this in order to restore the law to communities that have forsaken it. They can’t very well just go in and convict a full police force for suspending trial by jury without having a trial by jury.”
I understood the concept. I still felt betrayed.
“So where’s this lawyer?”
“Meeting with Oliver first. He has to get a picture of what happened in your town that caused the Bone Brothers to form.”
“Then why are you here? Why didn’t you just wait to come see me with him?”
“I think you should sit down.” Scott’s eyes glistened with a watery hardness, a mixture of sadness and fury I had seen too many times in the eyes of funeral goers in the last months.
“I think I’ll stand.”
He nodded, “I have been verifying your story. I sent riders to your friend’s house in Ashburnham, to Silhouette’s.”
I gripped the rod iron window brace with my right hand.
“The house had been burned. We found two bodies. Elderly ladies.”