His father's words hung like dread in the air. It was certainly an honor to have been chosen by his father to watch Taylor during his stay in Toronto, but it was also burdensome. Harru enjoyed his solitude and silence much more than company. Both of them were out of Otto's tent when his orders were given.
Harru sighed in defeat. How in the world was he going to entertain his guest? Taylor looked like a maniac ready to do just about anything to feed his ego. In a way, he reminded Harru of Bruth, but Taylor was more civilized and maybe wouldn't stand a chance if Bruth decided to pick a fight with Taylor. Bruth didn't welcomed strangers into the settlement easily.
Well, I'm not planning in having a bloodshed on the steps of my house!" Harru thought. They were both walking through the settlement, it was modest but it sufficed their needs. There was a communal fire pit in the heart of the Toronto where they would cook the meat of wolves and other creatures if the hunting had been successful. Every family lived in their own makeshift house made out of wood and metal parts they found scattered when they first came to inhabit Toronto.
"So, what was your duty at Hailstrong?" asked Harru. "Certainly a man of your physique and abilities had to do something."
"I gave maintenance to the wind turbines," he answered. "Pretty tough work, especially since I had to climb almost 50 feet above solid thick ice. What do you do?"
"About the same." Harru pointed to several turbines along the borderline of the settlement. We have four tall turbines and a lot of small ones. Our dependence on energy isn't as much as our dependence on food. Our community grows every month and it's hard to feed so many mouths."
"Every settlement has it's own problems." Taylor unconsciously scratched his neck and bumped into the collar he had around it, like a chain around a dog.
"That's a really strange device you have attached to your neck."
"Yeah, when I woke up I found it there. A remnant from my abduction." He said bitterly. "Dammit, if I ever see my attackers again, I will shred them."
"You're still at it with your crazy little theory," Harru rolled his eyes.
"Hey, it might sound crazy to you but it's real. I experienced it. I can't say the same for your sun theory."
Harru was furious. "You don't get to talk trash about my project. And for the record, it's not a theory. I have scientific proof that the sun is out there, not a dead star. It is not just fairy tales the old tell."
"How about we make a deal? You believe me and I believe you?" Taylor extended a hand. "Come on, you have nothing to lose."
"Fine," Harru took his hand. "I guess I'll have to let you in on my findings." He sounded more excited that he anticipated. Which was understandable because for so many years, everybody looked down on him and considered him a madman for seeking the sun. Nobody wanted to hear him talk about the sun or his inventions, that more often than not, ended up being just another pile of junk.
"Hey, who's she?" Taylor nodded toward a solitary little house, with a young girl looking at them through the window.
"Oh, she's Alice, a friend of mine," said Harru. "Her story is a most unfortunate one."
"I think she wants you to talk to her."
"Don't be stupid," said Harru hotly. "She's extremely quiet, I cannot get her to talk."
"Have you tried?"
Harru ignored him completely. When he turned around, he noticed Bruth entering the settlement, with a cocky and triumphant grin plastered in his face. Harru cringed. Bruth had been successful again and the community would rejoice for his strength and bravery.
"Hey Harru," a sweet voice said behind them.
Harru turned and saw sweet Guinevere Tall
"And who's she?" Taylor asked.
"She's just another friend. Guinevere, Taylor. Taylor, Guinevere." Harru made the proper introductions.
Guinevere was eyeing the artifact on Taylor's neck with curiosity.
"I think your brother brought back a lot of meat," Harru said.
"Oh, yeah, he did," Guinevere said and sighed. "He's coming this way."
"Hey Harru, you missed the fun," Bruth said, shoving Harru aside. Bruth's crossbow was still attached to his arm, the smell of blood was strong.
Taylor observed everything in silence.
"Bruth, why do you always have to treat Harru like that?!" Guinevere protested. "He hasn't done anything to you."
"He was born," Bruth snickered. "He doesn't deserve to live in this community. His fantasies come first. If our future were in his hands, we would be starved to death already. He's just another mouth to feed, that is all."
Harru reacted to this, and he didn't care that Bruth had his weapon with him. Harru jumped on Bruth's back, holding tightly to his neck. Bruth dropped the wolf and grabbed at Harru from behind, punching him first on the back. Guinevere screamed, shouting at Bruth to stop. Alice had run out of the house.
Harru was thrown onto the snow and Bruth kicked him on the gut. Harru yowled in pain, bracing his stomach and panting.
"Little bastard," Bruth curled fingers into a fist, ready to strike. Harru covered his face with both his arms.
A hand grabbed Bruth's wrist firmly and stopped his attack in midair. Harru uncovered his face, wondering when Bruth's fist would smash his face. It never happened because Taylor was holding Bruth down. Bruth had a face of incredulity about him.
"What the hell? Who are you?"
"You're a coward. How can you hit somebody that is already down? Why don't you fight someone who can fight back?" Taylor seethed.
Harru quickly scrambled to his feet. "What are you doing Taylor. He's going to hurt you. Let me handle him! Bruth, let him go, he's a guest!"
Bruth scoffed. "Another mouth to feed? We can't get enough of them these days, can we?"
"I don't need your charity," Taylor said.
"Yeah? Well, why don't you prove what's your hide made of?"
Taylor dropped Bruth's wrist, and circled him like a predator would to a prey. Harru was in big problems.