Caitlin
wrinkled her nose at Trent, who was sitting on his backside, his legs straight
out in front of him and his hands behind him on the floor holding him up. He
rocked slightly as he continued whimpering. Caitlin saw sweating continually
rolling down his pasty face.
The
henchmen walked a few paces away from them again and back to their posts. Caitlin
crawled away from Derrick and Trent. "What are you doing? Just stay where you
are!" Derrick said to her as loud as he dared. He grabbed at the sleeve of her
dress but she shook him off. She kept crawling until she was nearer to Brindin,
Yolanda, and Mi.
"Stop
moving around," Brindin told her as he sat crossed-legged.
Caitlin
took up a new position near Yolanda and Mi, her legs pulled back to the side of
her. She grabbed the bottom of her dress with one hand and pulled it down as
far as she could before she came to a rest. She looked over at Yolanda and Mi
as they sat next to one another holding hands.
Yolanda
wiped tears from her eyes. "Do you think they’re going to kill us?" she asked Caitlin.
Before she could answer they saw Josh enter again and take the megaphone from the henchman
at the front of the room. But before he could start talking again, a man and
woman arose from the hostages and started walking towards him. Henchmen
intercepted them but Josh stopped them. "No. Let these two brave people come
forward and speak."
The
henchmen backed off and the man and woman walked a little bit closer to Josh.
They started speaking, loud enough that Caitlin could hear all of what they
said.
"We know
you’re in pain — you’re hurting," the woman said. "And we understand that, and
we’re both doing everything we can to right all the wrongs you mentioned."
Josh
looked at her and then the man for just a moment before slinging the megaphone
onto one shoulder and walking towards them. "And just how do you think you’re
doing that?" he asked as his walk turned into a strut.
"I- I
work for an organization called the North American & International
Symposium," the man said, his hands at his side as he rubbed his fingers over
his palms. "You might have heard of us. We’re one of the biggest public policy
organizations in the U.S."
"Oh,"
Josh said, his eyebrows raising as he nodded his head. "So you’re one of those traditionalist
snobs who hates the little man."
"No! No!
No!" the man insisted as he put his hands up in front of him and took a step
backwards. The woman loudly objected too.
"My name
is Elise Peasall, and I work for the Institute for Progressive Advancement. We
are the ideological opposite of NA&IS–of the public policy group he works
for," she said while gesturing at the man. "We fight for the little guy. But
Linus does too. I promise you he isn’t anything like the rest of the
traditionalists."
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