Allies of Ignorance
Book One: Allies of Ignorance
A Losing Race
Ketan Doss was on his way to the Grouping Room when a flash of black and white fur nearly scared the pants off him. An animal? It couldn't be. The Ensurers said they'd killed off the animals.
But Ketan wasn't the only one who saw it. The animal, as it definitely was, crept out from the small hedge. Ketan gasped in harmony with the boys nearest him. Most of the students fled for the safety of the Grouping Room, beyond the twisted steel and wooden doors. The rest of the students gawked curiously or panicked and scattered.
"No way…" Ketan whispered. He'd seen pictures of animals other than birds but he never imagined that he'd actually see one. Somehow, despite the constant warnings he'd been given regarding the danger of animals, he didn't run. This one didn't look vicious. It's bushy, black and white tail looked like an enormous quill. The black beady eyes shone with intelligence.
The magic of the moment shattered as the Ensurers sprinted over with drawn daggers. Their sea of black tunics converged on the small animal like a wickedly fast storm. "Everyone, get indoors!" they commanded.
Ketan's feet rooted to the spot. At least fifty Ensurers made a circle around the animal.
The lead Ensurer jabbed one of the skinny ones in the shoulder and directed, "Get Greech."
He nodded and ran past Ketan, past the Grouping Room, and right on past the temporarily vacant entrance to Civilian Cerkel.
Curiosity would have kept Ketan right where he was, within earshot of the Ensurers, close enough to smell the animal, but Lead Mentor Witt herded him back inside. Inside to safety. Inside to the Grouping Room.
Lead Mentor Witt showed Ketan to an open seat and then stood before the entire school.
"I know you're all very scared right now," she announced. The chatter subsided. "It appears that this single animal was rogue. It wasn’t a part of a bigger attack and I doubt there are more coming. We are safe here. You are safe here."
Ketan looked through the small window. His seat up front afforded him a sliver of a view to the outside. The tall, menacing silhouette that was Greech passed Ketan's line of sight only for a second. Just long enough for him to see a metal cage in tow. He hoped they wouldn't kill the creature right away. The tail was bushy; not spiny. It's face looked peaceful; not malicious.
Was it at all possible that some animals weren't trying to annihilate humans? Would they torture it for information on other animals?
"Where's Peter?" someone shouted from the crowd. "Peter!" Ketan, and everyone else, looked to the boy. Rhett. Rhett seemed to think that he was more important that other students. He'd been labeled a rebel, by Mentors and students alike.
"Sit down!" One of the Mentors directed.
"Peter!" Rhett shouted, louder than before.
Witte sucked her bottom lip and widened her eyes. "Peter?" she called. "Peter Tred?"
Everyone looked around but not one answered.
"Peter!" Rhett ran for the door, but two of the Ensurers grabbed his arms. "He's outside!"
Was it possible that the small, innocent-looking animal hurt Peter? If it hadn't where Rhett's roommate?
Rhett and Witte both started shouting at the same time. Rhett's shouts were pitchy and he thrashed in the Ensurer's arms. Witte's shout was clear.
"Everyone get to their rooms. The Ensurers will escort you there. Classes for today are cancelled." A few people stood up slowly and Rhett's desperate cries grew louder. Witte stood taller and bellowed this time. "Get to your rooms now!"
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