Carpe Diem, Page 25

Time to get out of there! The burning granary has alerted the whole city, and guards are patrolling the streets at double time. It’s also not a smart idea to go about on the rooftops, as the guard tower will surely spot you. You need to find a spot to hide and wait all of this out. You haven’t been compromised yet, so you have anonymity to your advantage.

A thought comes to your mind. “Hmm, the best disguise has always been the most obvious one.” If you stow away yourself in someone’s cellar or some other hole, eventually, you’ll be discovered. That’s not good. You have to reconnect with your fellow collaborationists: that is the only way you’ll survive.

So with that plan in mind, you begin your descent down the cliff. The descent is challenging as you can’t see where to place your leg half of the time. But eventually, you reach solid ground. You then dash in between the streets, as it’s not a smart idea to stand in the open. It’s also most likely that a military curfew might be enacted soon. There’s no time to wait around to find out. As you dash between passageways and small causeways to get back to your wagon, you can hear the sounds of the metal sabatons hitting the pavement. The guards are on full alert looking for a culprit, and they’re willing to accuse anyone — especially someone skulking around in the dark.

Eventually, you reach the square where the festival is being held, and it’s in total chaos. The guards are dashing through the crowd, the crowd is confused as to what is going on; some performers continue to play while others end their performances abruptly. In this situation, the direct route might be the best. So, you risk everything and go out into the open, merging with the crowd as you make your way toward the wagon.

Pushing people away while going in a straight line will only draw attention, so you bob and weave with the crowd as it makes its way around the square, narrowly avoiding the guards’ attention each time. Eventually, you make it back to the wagon and get behind it. Guy and Tobias spot you and end their act. The curtains close.

Guy enthusiastically comments, “You’ve done it! We saw the smoke rising from the stage. Good job.”

Tobias replies, “We’re not out of danger just yet. We still need a way to throw off the pursuers from our arsonist friend here. Luckily, I have an idea.”

“What is it?” you ask.

Tobias, without answering just hands you a blue gown and begins wrapping a white cloth around your head.

“What are you doing?”

“Put that gown on, and get in that box. We’re going to pretend that you’re our baby boy.”

“This is ridiculous.”

“This is how we’ll save your hide! Now hurry up!”

The silliness of the situation is apparent to everyone — Guy even cracks a smirk as you put on the gown — but this is as straightforward as a disguise gets, and the only way of saving your life. So, you do it anyways.

Once everything is ready, they heave you over to the stage and get in character. As soon as the curtains open, Tobias winks at you: your cue to begin crying.

When the tears start rolling, Tobias begins. “Darling, look at how beautiful our baby boy is. Is he not?”

“He is.”

“This is no way to raise a child: always bickering about everything.”

“No, it isn’t.”

“Let’s make peace then, for his sake.”

“Let us.”

Tobias then hits Guy over the head with a pan one last time. “The last one, for old times’ sake!”

Guy begins rubbing the side of his head and stomps on Tobias’ foot. “Yeah, for old times’ sake!”

They end the scene by hugging you. The crowd bursts into a mix of emotions: some are laughing, others are commenting on how sweet of an ending that was, and yet others are crying.

There’s no time to rest though. Moments after the curtains close, armed guards pull them up again.

“You! The child. Where were you this whole time?”

Sweat starts dripping down the back of your neck. This is it. You’ve been discovered.

Or have you?

The crowd begins to boo and heckle the guards to stop harassing you. They throw carrots and tomatoes at them to get them to stop, which forces the sergeant of the guard to tell his soldiers, “Leave them! We have more important work to do. The crowd is getting out of control!”

With that order, the guard gives you one last glance and closes the curtains…

You’re safe. Finally.