I burst into the room, stopping dead in my tracks as every eye turned to me. I cursed; I clearly didn’t have the gift of timing. My father waved his hand as a signal for his second & fourth in command to restrain me from rushing in further. I struggled.
“What’s going on?” I demanded.
“I’ll deal with you in a few minutes.” He turned with a sickening smirk on his face towards my cousins & their tattered accomplice. “Now,” he began, addressing the three, “which of you will go first?” He motioned to a guard outside, who scurried in with a syringe. He considered the point pensively. “I’m in no real hurry, but I would like to move along.”
My eyes widened in realization. “You… you can’t!” I stuttered. “They’re family! You can’t just…!”
“Silence!” he boomed. “First of all, you will not give me orders. Second, these two are traitors and a blemish to our cause. I have not considered them family nor will I consider them family any time in the near or far future. Have I made myself perfectly clear?”
In those words, I lost all respect for my father. Enemies or not, “traitors” or not, family was family.
I held that close.
It was apparent my father didn’t.
I could only stare at him & fume. I almost burst into a screaming barrage, but someone harshly gagged me.
“Fine,” he continued, looking at the twins and the accomplice, sizing them up. “I will choose for you.” He paused, his eyes trailing between the frightened siblings, the tensed partner & that lethal point in his left hand. His manner was almost casual, as if he was considering a pair of curtains. “Ezra,” he said finally in an almost-avuncular tone that made me cringe. Ezra held Lily by the shoulders, nodded to her, & stepped forward.
“You are the eldest of your pair, are you not?” Lex (I couldn’t call him “father” anymore) asked in a sickly-sweet tone.
“I am, but why should that matter?” Ezra responded evenly.
“You’re right, why should it?”
They struck at each other.
He tried to plunge the needle into Ezra’s strong forearm, but Ezra held off his uncle’s wrist. The wrestled for a few nerve-wracking minutes, eyes ever vigilantly watching that point of death.
A strange feeling was welling up inside of me. What am I doing? I thought. Am I actually sympathizing with my sworn enemy? The ones I always believed to be traitors and obstacles? Was I going against my people?
No, I decided finally. They are on that side, and I am on this side. The rift between us is far too great. I will stay with this cause. It has served me too well to turn against it. But one way or another, I'm going to get rid of this blemish. Of this I am sure.