Volume 11: Part 1- Moenia Prima: Wednesday, September 21st, 6:49 A.M.

Wednesday, September 21st, 6:49 A.M.
Every other time I've approached Valerie's home early in the morning I had an illicit through in my mind.  This time I didn't.  This time I needed help, and I thought Valerie was the person who could help me.  I needed someone to help me get to Dha Chathair.  I needed someone to help me see my parents again.
I didn't get much sleep between what I found at Delany's apartment and getting over to Valerie's house.  The sound of Valerie turning on her radio to listen to the news awoke me from me nearly forty-five minute slumber.  Approaching the front door wasn't a good idea because I didn't want to take the chance of being exposed.  Instead I knocked on Valerie's back door just as she was finishing her shower.
"Hello," Valerie implored at the mysterious knocking.  I knocked again.  "Hello?  Is somebody there?"
In a small strong voice I said, "Valerie.  It's Hato.  I need your help."
"Hato?"  Valerie walked over to her back door and opened it up.  "What are you doing here?"  All Valerie has on was her bath towel.
"Um, I'm sorry about disturbing you before you got dressed, but I need help and you're the only one left."  I don't know if it was my fractured speaking or my sad complexion, but I somehow got through to Valerie.
"Take a seat in the kitchen while I get changed real quick."  The Velas Broadcast News Service was playing in Valerie's kitchen as I took my seat in it.  They were reporting about green technology and new techniques to make pasta for Velasian cuisine, not a word about what was going on in Moenia Prima.  Valerie started talking to me as she was changing in her bedroom.  "So, why are you coming to me for help?  Where are Solanin and Belle?"
"Last time I saw them they were getting in their car and heading for Dha Chathair.  I don't know if they've made it or not."
"Why didn’t you go with them?"
"I wanted to gather some of my friends and go with them."
"Okay, so where are they?"
"I'm pretty sure Sparra is gone, the manager at Wanda's strip club told me that, although I hesitate to believe him.  I just came from Delany's apartment."
Valerie came out of her bedroom.  She was dressed and struggling to put on her watch.  "What about her, why can't she help you?"
My face turned downward as I responded to Valerie's question.  This is something people do when they're about to say something bad.  "I found Delany in her apartment.  She was in the back bedroom, behind what looked to be a mountain of hastily put together obstacles.  The bedroom looked to be brutally ravaged and torn to shreds.  Delany looked the same.  The difference between Delany and the room I found her in is Delany looked like she had put up a fight as those savages did what they did to her."
I looked up and saw Valerie standing before me.  The look on her face betrayed the sunny sundress she was wearing.  "Oh God.  I'm so sorry Hato.  I can't imagine what it's like.  Between your brother being killed and now your friends, I'm just so sorry."  Valerie gave me a hug as I sat at her kitchen table.  The warmth of her body as she embraced me made me feel good.  I think I felt a couple of tears fall on my head and Valerie held me.  Valerie let me go, wiped a couple of tears from her eyes and said, "Okay, I'll help you.  What do you need?"
"I need to get ride to Dha Chathair.  I think I can figure out how to get there, I was just counting on either Sparra or Wanda having a car."
"So you need my car?"
"I need a car.  Whether it's yours or somebody else, I just need a car to get to Dha Chathair."
"Do you know how to drive a car?"  There was a playful accusatory tone in Valerie's voice as she said that.
"I'm aware of how to drive, but I haven't done it in a couple of years."
"So, how were you planning to drive to Dha Chathair?"
I thought for a moment then responded.  "I think I can use the skills I learned in that racing game I suck at to help me get there."
Valerie lightly chuckled at that comment.  "I'll take you to Dha Chathair.  Let me go dig out my road maps and we'll be off."
Hearing Valerie say maps, I started fishing around in my pockets.  "Wait, I have a map program on my Hipster."  It was when I was digging around when someone knocked loudly on Valerie's front door.
"I wonder who that could be this time in the morning?"  The person knocked loudly again.  "Whoever it is certainly is impatient.  Who is it?"
"Valerie!  Open up, we need to talk."  The person at the door was Mr. Furcifer, his loud booming voice sent Valerie into a panic.
"Shit!  Hato, we need to hide you."
I didn't see the need to panic.  "Why?"
As she jerked me out of the chair and shoved me into her bedroom, in a stifled tone Valerie said, "Because Allen is one of the people going around killing opfers.  If he finds you here, I'm toast."  Once I was in her bedroom, Valerie yelled back toward the door, "Hang on, I'm not decent."
I started looking around for a place to hide.  "Should I hide underneath your bed or squeeze in behind your dresser?"
Valerie was moving clothes around in her closet.  "Will you quit joking around."  A sound came out of the closet.  When I looked at it I saw that Valerie had slid the back panel of her closet away, revealing a compartment behind her closet.
"What is that for?"
"Does it matter?  Get in!"  I stepped into the compartment and Valerie slid the panel back into place.  "Don't worry Hato.  I'll get rid of Allen then we'll be on our way.  It won't take long."
"Okay."  Settling into my hiding place, I started using my Hipster to plot out the course we would take to Dha Chathair.  The light from my Hipster allowed me to see what Valerie kept in her secret compartment.  For a teacher, Valerie had some good booze.  There was a small hole in the panel which allowed me to look into Valerie's bedroom.  I could see only her bed, her dresser/vanity, and the outside edge of her bedroom door frame.  I couldn't see much but I could hear everything.
After she turned off the radio and fiddled with her hair in her mirror, Valerie entered her front room and answered her front door.  "Allen, what do you want?"
I could hear Mr. Furcifer loudly and clearly.  "Get out of my way."  Mr. Furcifer forced his way into Valerie's home.
"Please come in Allen."
Mr. Furcifer was stomping around Valerie's house.  He would take a couple of steps, stop, take a couple more steps, stop, then take a couple of more steps and stop.  "Where is he?"
"You know who."
"That secret boyfriend you think I have."
There was the high pitched sound of something going through the air before I hear something hit like a ship against Valerie's hardwood floor.  "Don't fuck with me."  Mr. Furcifer walked around and peered into Valerie's bedroom.  He gave me a good fright as he looked around for what felt like a long time before retreating back into the front room.  "You know, I ran into Hato's parents yesterday, you know Sakoshi and Belle."
"Hato's father's name is Solanin.  Sakoshi is the name of the boy you killed, who incidentally is Hato's brother."
"The fuck I care.  Anyway, I ran into Solanin and Belle yesterday as they were leaving their house.  I wasn't the only one that ran into them, there was a group of us.  After we took care of them, I walked-"
"Wait, what do you mean by-"
The high pitched sound was heard again before I heard something thud against what sounded like Valerie's couch.  There was a lot of anger in Mr. Furcifer's voice when he said, "Don't interrupt me.  Anyway, I walked up to-"
"Is that the pointing stick you used to kill Sakoshi?"
This time something hit one of the walls.  "Yes it is!  Interrupt me again and you'll taste it's sting.  Anyway, after we took care of Solanin and Belle, I walked up to their house, looking for Hato.  I looked all around that house for him.  I went through every room, the attic, the cellar, turned some things over for the fuck of it, but couldn't find him.  I was thinking over it was I watched all those damn fretons play outside, then I remembered something.  Who is someone that Hato can go to for help?  Who is someone that has helped Hato before?"
There was a short tenuous pause.  "What are you looking at me for?"
From the effect Mr. Furcifer put on his voice, it was clear he was trying to sound intimidating and evil.  "Valerie, you are going to tell me where Hato Shurtleff is, and you are going to tell me now."
"I don't know."
"Valerie, tell me where Hato Shurtleff is."
"I don't know."
"Tell me now."
"I don't know.  I haven't seen Hato since Monday when you killed his brother."
"Liar!"  Mr. Furcifer then used his pointing stick, the pointing stick he killed my brother with, to whip and smash what sounded like Valerie's front window.  "You lying bitch.  How dare you betray your people.  How dare you help that freton.  How dare you protect that criminal opfer scum.  You're hiding him, aren’t you?  I bet you're hiding him in this house!"
"How?  Look at how small this place is.  Where am I hiding him, the roof?"
Mr. Furcifer whipped the wall again, this time causing something that hung on it to fall to the floor.  "Then you sent him off.  Sent him off to one of your friends.  Sent him off to a reporter from that damn news service you always listen to, a news service that slanders the glorious work we verbrechers are doing to protect Dolore."
"I haven't sent him off somewhere because I haven't seen him."
"Liar!"  This time, after Mr. Furcifer whipped something, Valerie called out in pain.  "Don't you lie to me again, bitch.  Where is he?"
"You think I won't fight back, don't you?  That I'll just give in to what you want.  I'm not changing my story because it's the truth.  Hato isn't here."
Whip.  "Liar!"  Whip.  "Bitch!"  Whip.  "Whore!"
There was a collision and a crash.  "Yeah!  How do you like that?  How do you like a woman standing up against you?"
There was a more violent collision and a louder crash.  "Now you're going to get it!"  The sound of Mr. Furcifer driving Valerie into a wall and Valerie crying out in pain.  Then Valerie being driven into the wall again, and again, then the sound of clothing being torn, then the driving sound again.  Each successive sound of violence kept on getting closer and closer and closer.  "You are going to fucking tell me where that fucking freton is hiding or I will fucking kill you.  Don't fuck with me."
It was after Mr. Furcifer made his murderous threat that Valerie stumbled into her bedroom and into my field of vision.  She did not look good.  Her sundress was torn, tattered, and barely hanging on her.  She was bleeding from cuts on her arms and face.  There were welts from Allen's repeated whippings on Valerie's face, neck, and chest.  Valerie stumbled over to her dresser when Mr. Furcifer entered the room.  Based on his physical state, Mr. Furcifer clearly had the upper hand in this fight.
Valerie was gasping for air when she saw Mr. Furcifer behind her in the mirror.  There was a deadly terror in Valerie's eyes when she saw him.  "Allen, you don't have to do this."
"Yes, Valerie, I do."  In a flash, Allen closed the distance between him and Valerie, grabbed her head and slammed it into the glass mirror.  The first impact didn't break the mirror, the second did, the third broke it further, and the fourth even further.  "Where is he?"  Smash.  "Where is he!"  Smash.  Seeing the violent combination of skin, blood, and glass made my stomach turn.  As Valerie was pawing around on the top of her dresser, Mr. Furcifer said, "If you don't tell me where Hato is, I'll kill you just like I killed his parents!"
Hearing that made just about caused me to get involved.  I was preparing to try and move the panel that concealed me in the compartment I was hiding in when Valerie made her move.  Valerie mule kicked Mr. Furcifer, sending Allen stumbling backward, then Valerie picked up a piece of the mirror that had just been broken and slashed Mr. Furcifer's face.  Being wounded by Valerie caused Mr. Furcifer to scream out in pain for the first time in this confrontation.  Rather than feeling the pain and recoiling from it's sting, Mr. Furcifer saw Valerie turning around to slash him as an opportunity.  The opportunity he had been waiting for.
After she had finished her slashing arc, Mr. Furcifer grabbed Valerie by the throat with both hands.  The first outward expression of the kind of hold Mr. Furcifer had on Valerie is when Valerie’s eyes opened wide, nearly popping out of place.  Valerie kicked and punched and flailed around, but the grip remained.  Mr. Furcifer's hold on his victim became more strong, more secure, more intense as he lifted her from her feet.  Once he got his victim to a sufficient height, Mr. Furcifer pivoted untill he could slam Valerie on her bed.  This gave him more leverage.  Valerie tried like mad to stop what was happening, but slowly her back lost its arch.  Slowly her arms fell limp.  Slowly her legs began to dangle off the edge of her bed.  Slowly Valerie ceased.
It was a long time after Valerie stopped fighting that Mr. Furcifer loosed his grip.  He stood in front of his victim, arms covered in blood, breathing as if taunting the Valerie that she could not.  Among the blood on Allen’s face, both his and his victim’s, was a smile.  A smile that grew as he looked upon his fallen prey.  Allen left Valerie's bedroom, traveled through the front room, and opened the door.  Before he left, Allen said this: "Hato.  I know you're here, Hato.  I want you to know something Hato.  We will find you.  We found your brother.  We found your father.  We found your mother.  We found them and we killed them, just like we will do to you.  You opfers are a scourge, and we verbrechers and here to cleanse this world of you."  Then, mercifully, he left.
I don't know how I feel right now.  There's an element of fear in what I feel but there's also a feeling of defiance in me.  These people, these verbrechers, seek to kill my family, my people, my race.  I must survive.  No, I must do more than that, I must stop them.  How I can stop them is a question I haven't answered yet, but I do know this: I can't stop them here.  I can't stop them in this compartment.  I can't stop them in Moenia Prima.  I must leave this place.  I must seek out people who will help me help my people.  I must do this.  I.
I don't know how I will stop the verbrechers from slaughtering my people.  What I do know is that what Mr. Furcifer said about finding a reporter from the Velas Broadcast News Service does sound intriguing.
Hato Shurtleff

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