Classic Round Robin ~ Chapter 3

by Brittany Stem

 

Earlier that day Mouse had been tinkering with some new gizmo and had wanted to show Vincent his new neat “toy” but Vincent had been busy all day though and wasn’t available. Mouse also knew that Vincent would most likely be out with Catherine tonight, so he decided to go back Uptop to find some more stuff for his new gizmo. Everyone always came to Mouse when they needed something and tonight was no exception. Jamie brought Eric who needed his glasses fixed; Father needed a lamp fixed; Cullen needed a screw for a tool; William yelled at him about Arthur…again, and it was more than nightfall by the time Mouse was able to slip away.

He had heard the two homeless people talking and knew that he needed be careful when he left the entrance. As he quietly and quickly made his way up to the street, he was stunned to see Vincent in trouble. Mouse could help! Mouse made a gizmo just for this kind of thing!

Mouse swiftly ran over to the group, making chattering noises and waving his arms in the air.

Vincent had heard the sounds but paid no heed to it and was hit above his right ear as he turned away from the noise.

NO! Mouse saw Vincent drop to his knees. He picked up speed and felt as if time were slowing down.  He saw the homeless man running in the direction of Vincent’s group, and way in the distance, he made out two forms walking towards the park. Have to help Vincent now! He palmed his little gizmo. It was just the size of a baseball, he supposed. He tossed it a little and caught it, sizing up his distance and noting that Vincent was on the ground being pummeled.  Catherine?! Have to help them!

******

Charles shivered and was looking ahead, thinking that perhaps it was time to head home when he realized that Wyeth had stopped walking and was frozen in place a few steps back.

“Wyeth?” he asked.

The stunned Wyeth’s eyes were peering out in the park, and he quietly spoke, as if afraid he would be heard. “Do you see that, out there?  Mr. Chandler, we need to get out of here.” He was still pointing in the direction of the park when a homeless woman came running to them, yelling for help.

Charles saw the group beating someone, and he knew that Wyeth was right. He hadn’t intended to step toward the homeless woman; but he couldn’t seem to stop himself, especially when he saw the smaller form rush out from the trees. He shivered again, this time not from cold but more from that sense of recognition. That couldn’t be . . . could it? What was she doing? No. No, it couldn’t be her. Could it?


******

Chuckie couldn’t leave that man to be beaten or killed. He couldn’t. That just wasn’t who he had been . . . once. And how did he know that it was a man that those young boys surrounded? Well, he just had a good sense about that kind of thing.  What didn’t make sense though was why that man even stepped out there to help him. And Chuckie knew that he was being helped.

He saw another man running in that direction, and he knew that this young man was going out there to help too. Then, of all the crazy things, that young man started yelling and waving his arms, and even crazier, he saw a smaller form run out of the trees. What in the world? What did that lady think she was doing? And Sally…where is she? I told her to stay put; what does she think she’s going to do? Who is this man that we are all going to rescue anyway?

He had just gained enough ground to see the group and the man on the ground covering himself and could hear the young men when he saw something sail through the air.  What happened next really blew him away. If later asked, he might be hard pressed to remember the events as they happened.

******

The blow to Vincent’s head left him nearly unconscious. His vision kept going, and his world was spinning. He also felt sick to his stomach. He tried to stay upright; he even tried to stand back up, then one knee faltered and slammed to the ground. How did the evening go so awry? 

He was still growling, still swiping his claws when he managed to slash one of the boys. He felt the hot blood spurt, and one of them yelled, although he was unsure if it was the one he hurt.

He heard the boys howling, he knew they were getting nervous. He must have severely hurt or killed one of them. He could smell the blood, and he also knew he was bleeding. He had to get up. He had to keep himself and Catherine safe. He vaguely heard others yelling in the distance; then he heard a whistling sound, and Catherine screamed Mouse’s name. Mouse? Wasn’t he Below?

The very next thing he knew was that the shouting became unbearable . . . and then nothing.

******

Catherine rushed out and stopped still and took in the scene before her. Vincent was down, a boy was down, maybe even dead, and Mouse and someone else were running in their direction. Three people were off in the distance. She heard a whistling noise and saw something hit the ground. She stumbled back, and as she hit the ground, she saw smoke and heard the thugs coughing. Mouse, the homeless man, and Catherine began shouting as the thugs took off as quickly as they could. She watched the homeless man turn direction quickly toward the three people coming in their direction. She couldn’t waste time on them. Vincent was down on the ground and hopefully was able to move, and quickly at that.

“Mouse, what was that?” She didn’t wait for his answer but leaned down to check Vincent.

“Neat huh? Mouse made new gizmo to help sentries. Came Uptop to find some other things and saw Vincent in trouble.” Mouse looked out over the park and was happy to see that the homeless people were distracting those other two men. But he was getting nervous.

“Catherine, Vincent all right?” He hugged his arms around his chest and squatted down beside her.

Catherine was going to suggest that Mouse go get help, then Vincent rolled over and groaned in pain. She looked up at Mouse with hope.

“Vincent?” She spoke quietly but with urgency. “We have to get out of here. I don’t know who those thugs were, but we need to get you Below. You’re bleeding. Can you stand and help Mouse and me  get you to Father?

He was sitting up, feeling the world coming to rights. He must have passed out.

“How long have I been out?” He looked at Catherine, then to Mouse waiting for answer.

“Not long, but if you can move, we need to get Below as fast as possible. I’ll try to explain what I know as well as I possibly can.” She grabbed Vincent’s arm and moved underneath it as Mouse did the same for his right arm. She grunted, as did Mouse and Vincent, as they hefted him up and began to move as quickly as possible to the Tunnel entrance.

She began by relating that she wasn’t entirely certain why those young boys showed up or why Vincent stepped out of their safe place among the trees; but when she decided to help, she saw Mouse running toward them, or rather she heard him running towards them. “What made you make all that noise Mouse?” she asked.

Vincent peered down at Mouse too.

“Dunno. Arthur makes noise to keep Mouse away from food, sometimes. Mouse makes noise to keep bad guys away from Vincent. Worked!” Mouse beamed at them.

Catherine smiled and replied, “Yes, and so did that smoke bomb.”

Curious, Vincent spoke softly, “Smoke bomb? Mouse, where ever did you get such a thing?”

Mouse sure hoped that Vincent meant that in a good way. Vincent was glad to be rescued, right? He would be happy to hear that Mouse made neat gizmo for the Tunnels, right? Mouse decided to stay quiet for now and leave the answers for later.

“Vincent okay?”

Vincent breathed and nodded his head. “Yes. Thank you, Mouse.” He stopped them short of Father’s chambers and stood upright. He clasped Mouse on the shoulder and thanked him again.  He did not want to worry Mouse nor Catherine, although he suspected that Catherine knew he was in pain.

They watched as Mouse moved away from them down the passage way, and then Catherine turned to him.  “How you manage to put him at ease when you yourself are anything but, I do not know. I saw you do it; and yet, I still do not know how you do it.” She wasn’t expecting an answer and she wrapped an arm around his own and moved him into Father’s candlelit chambers.

“Father?” They both called out. Just as Catherine finished helping Vincent sit and was pouring hot water in a basin, Father walked down the steps into the chamber.

 

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