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When Terror Comes Full Circle

Chapter 6: Turnabout

The guard could hear them coming for a full five minutes before he saw them. And the night was not foggy.

They supported each other, singing loudly, laughing, every once in a while aiming a badly-aimed punch at each other. One seemed especially incapacitated, as his comrades practically had to carry him down the street . . . his feet dragged upon the ground, instead of taking steps . . .

"Halt, citizens!" the guard called out as they came close. With much stumbling of step and collisions among them, they obeyed.

"Papers for all of you."

"Here's our papers, citizen . . ." one murmured thickly, handing a dirty sheaf of crumpled documents to the guard. "All in order, papers for five."

Smelling the eau de vie on the man's breath, the guard took a single step back before continuing with his routine interrogation. "Your names, all of you?"

"Philippe Dallien."

"Martin Soliere."

"Francois Bourier."

"Jean Menier."

Shuffling through the papers, he checked the names against them. Four names, matching four documents. "The fifth? Can he not speak for himself?"

The tallest of the group, the one who called himself Menier, nudged his friend roughly. "Jacques, here, Jacques . . . wake up, tell the guard your name . . ."

The drunk stirred slightly, but it was only with a great amount of shaking from his friends on all sides that he could be roused enough to speak.

"Jacques . . . Rebalin," he finally mumbled. The guard nodded.

"And your business, passing through the gates?"

"Going home, citizen," Menier said. "We've got our homes, our families to see to, what?"

"Why did you not leave the city when the gates closed?" the guard asked sternly. "I must have a special pass, as well as good reason, to let you through now."

"The pass is in with our papers . . . and as for the reason, why, it's Jacques' birthday. We've had us a holiday . . . he's been sick, but we don't let that stop us . . ."

The guard looked cautiously under Jacques' hat--sure enough, the man looked a bit pale, and his breathing wasn't quite right . . . shuddering, he took a good three steps further back from them before giving the order to pass.

The men could still be heard loudly singing long after the gates swung shut after them.

* * * * * * *

Wallescourt was waiting with the carriage five miles outside of the gates. At the signal, he clambered down from the box.

"You have the bandages?" Percy asked quickly as they lifted the unconscious Chauvelin into the carriage. Wallescourt nodded.

"And a bucket of water. How bad is he?"

"He's not good." With a gesture, he gave the word to go; all their orders had been given beforehand.

Wallescourt and Hastings would take the horses that were waiting a few yards away and ride with all haste to the coast, to let the crew know that they would leave at first available tide, once the citizen was on board.

Andrew and Tony would take the reins of the carriage in turn, driving as fast as they could to where the Day Dream lie in wait.

And Percy would keep watch over Chauvelin in the interior. This was understood by them all . . . for there were certain things that had to be said, certain promises that had to be kept . . . because of the woman that waited expectantly on the Day Dream.

New rules had to be set now, for nothing was going to be the same from now on.

Continue with Chapter 7
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