I ended up cooking some pasta for the group while we discussed plans. It was interrupted when Pete and I got a mass text from our boss. It seemed that he was going to be back in town on Friday and wanted us to meet to discuss the next project that we were going to work on. I probably need to think of a good excuse to stay out of work for a while, considering the military could show up at my house anytime. There was no way that I would leave Layla and George to deal with that by themselves, let alone my Mom. And thinking of her, I would need to let her know what plans were as well.
We made a list of supplies together after dinner that would be necessary if we had to leave, and another list of what we could store in the cellar if we finished it and camouflaged it in time. If I could get enough dirt and brush, install a ladder, and seal it off properly (while adding spaces for using the restroom and installing ventilation), it would be out of the way enough to hopefully go unnoticed. That being said, I had no idea how thoroughly the military would search the area, or for how long. I wouldn’t ask my Mom to lie either, so they would have to search for the troglodytes. She wouldn’t have to tell them about the dead ones, just that they attacked her and got scared off when I came over. I’m not a very good liar, but I know that they are the most believable when they are actually half truths.
If and when they came, it would likely be from town. The road further into the woods led through the national forest and eventually led out to the highway and to other inland cities, but it was a long trek. Escaping that way wouldn’t be fun or efficient, but I don’t know that they would be able to track us from the air through the trees, so we would have that going for us. If we needed to defend my house… I still wasn’t okay with the thought of fighting the military. The Royal Guards, while in all likelihood no more fun, were a more palatable opponent if they were behind things. That said, I would like to avoid any fighting if at all possible. I wracked my brain, but I couldn’t come up with all of the answers on my own.
After a long silence with everyone nearly ready for bed, I asked one of the many things that I hadn’t been able to decide on. “If I remember any of this and am visited again in a dream, what should I try to share? Do we want to lure him here, or should I try to send him elsewhere?”
Layla sighed. “How long would it take a person to reach us here?”
I thought for a moment. “Well, there’s the Coast Guard station in town, and an airstrip. If they were properly motivated, we could have soldiers on the doorstep in less than a day if they had my address.”
George looked aghast, then shook his head. “It is still difficult for me to imagine how quickly people can move from one location to another in your world. You live in constant contact with the outside world through your television and internet and telephones, and when your presence is needed you can simply ride a mechanical coach, watercraft, or flying machine and be somewhere hundreds of miles away in mere hours. I imagine that it’s both a blessing and a curse.”
I nodded. “For many people it is. There are plenty of people on the world who live dozens of miles away from where they work every day and have to drive or use a train.”
George thought for a moment. “Train… the large caravan that moves along lines of iron and steel?”
“That’s right. They were really popular a hundred years ago, but now most people use cars.”
George shook his head. “It seems like such a waste of time and effort. Why not work closer to your home?”
I shrugged. “There are dozens of reasons.”
Pete leaned forward, chiming in himself. “The most common reason is that they want to do something that isn’t offered where they live.”
George raised an eyebrow. “Moving where there is demand for one’s trade seems to be a simple enough task. Is it that much more difficult here?”
“Let’s leave it by saying there are a lot more factors to consider. Life in the modern day can get pretty complicated.” I concluded placatingly.
George shook his head. “It seems that your people go to great efforts to complicate their lives and make day to day life as difficult as possible. And from what I see, you complain about it during and after. What’s the point?”
I blinked, not sure what to say. “I guess..” I started, then did my best to sound convincing. “That having the types of freedoms that we do in general makes it necessary to keep things complicated.”
George shook his head again. “It sounds like far too much effort. A simple, happy, fulfilling life is not difficult to achieve in general.”
I raised an eyebrow at him. “Why the sudden interest in our lives?”
“Like you said,” he added without skipping a beat “We need information. Gathering intel on how people live is an important step in knowing what they will do with their lives in a given situation.
Having talked about a conclusion but unable to come to one, we all went to bed. I was left with the uncomfortable position of not knowing how to deal with the current state of affairs, though I suppose that’s just been my life as of late.
Before I knew it, I was in bed and drifting off to sleep. Del had come to join me on the bed, sensing my unease and doing her best to comfort me. That night, I had another dream. This was a very strange, very vivid dream.