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Six: Lacrimosa


What a horror it was, even to the one that took the hit. Her own blood seemed to even stand out on her bright-red tie. She was close to shedding a tear from her eye before she fell backwards. Her friends just stood there, trembling in fear. They were helpless in front of the many guns.
The first mobster shouted, “THAT WAS OURS!” He fired at the officer who had shot Embla, in the neck and that officer fell to the side. Then, everyone scrambled.
Primrose said on the headset, “Open fire. Focus on the mob men.” She and Kenshin each aimed their rifles. The first mobster that seemed to be the leader was the one to fall from a headshot by the brunette. Kenshin focused on the ones that each held two guns, those ones trying to restrict their enemies’ movements, until they each fell down with bullets in their side.
All police officers and mobsters were distracted with their opponents, which left two men in business suits forced into a melee fight, for Filomena, Egon, and Vasco each disarmed one and engaged them. Filomena engaged with a short club and a pocket knife, Egon using a long staff, and Vasco wearing a set of brass knuckles on each hand. As for Hallam, he strode up toward the fighting crowd, but he was hesitant even when pointing his gun with one hand. He watched the young woman with the reddish-blonde hair beat one of the mobsters with her club and knife. However, he noticed one of the mobsters hiding behind a table that was flipped. That man was aiming at Filomena when Hallam walked up, and Hallam pulled the trigger. He fired twice at the mobster in the side, who instinctively turned to look at the young blond man. Hallam fired three more shots and that mobster was no more.
Vasco had already taken out one mobster, and disarmed an officer with a gun on him. He punched that officer twice squarely in the face, and then swung a hook to the side of his face, which knocked him out.
In only a matter of minutes, the conflict seemed to be resolved with all officers and mobsters laying on the ground. Only a few would be waking up but a few hours later. The rest wouldn’t be waking up at all. The rebels seemed to have no choice but to face both sides. Much to Primrose’s aggravation, none of those mobsters were the one in control. Seeing as more would likely arrive at the coffeehouse, Primrose said on the headset, “Fall back. Immediately!”
That still took a while as Godelieve and Berljot couldn’t leave without their instruments. Neither did they want to leave their late friend behind. Egon, always doing the heavy lifting, offered to carry Embla’s body and keyboard. She meant much to everyone in the group.
-----

It was a sad day for all. The young diverse people coming off as a cult stood outside the front entrance of the establishment, staying on the estate, and looking down somberly at the girl laying before them, her eyes closed, never to open again. The ones most overcome with that sadness were Embla’s oldest and dearest friends Godelieve and Berljot, as they were arm-in-arm and weeping. A yellow rose was on Embla’s chest, but that didn’t seem to be enough.
Hallam couldn’t believe that a week earlier, he realized his hope for the young musician. Embla’s dreams died with her. He would never again hear the voice of spirit that she didn’t let others break. It seemed that with her gone, everyone’s spirits were broken. Even though she tried not to show weakness, Primrose really hated that she had to hold a funeral. It brought back her worst memory. She was especially bad at coming up with a speech. She couldn’t sleep at all at night when getting back from the disaster, and she failed to write a good speech on how much Embla meant to her and the others.
Vasco, who stood next to her, could tell what her struggle was. So, he slowly and quietly took the page from Primrose’s hands, to read aloud:
“Too little is known about our dear friend Embla Kron. What we know most is that she was one of us: a child feeling unwanted; like the world doesn’t care about her. And yet, she endured what pain was brought upon her and didn’t let that keep her down. That was what brought us together. We let her be one of us, and we hoped that she could serve for a good cause.
“To view Embla as a useful asset is meaningless. She was as human as any of us here. She had hopes and dreams. To have singing and playing an instrument as outlets is a good way to deal with the bad days. We will know no girl like her, and we will miss her.”
Primrose rubbed his shoulder as her way of thanking him. She didn’t feel like talking at all after announcing their moment of paying their respects to their friend. It was obvious that someone literally broke Embla’s heart. With that, the hearts of the others broke.

The afternoon was spent quietly. The rebels had lunch consisting of items that made up Scandinavian cuisines while listening to a stereo system play a CD with all songs performed by Lady’s Ghostly Beats. They had recorded their own cover CDs and sold them to whatever stores would stock pop music by teenagers. Though a select few sold those CDs, the pop trio had become a trend, but one that lasted long.
These young people didn’t know how to set up funerals or memorials, but this was how to think of their fallen comrade. Everyone ate their lunch very slowly, and socializing was non-existent as all the rebels were lost with words. The bassist and drummer, who weren’t crying at that moment, didn’t resist mouthing a few lines as the songs played. One of their own having died gave the feeling that they all died.
Primrose and Kenshin just entering the chamber used as their dining room wasn’t enough to break the silence. They brought in something that they had worked on together. Primrose went to one of the empty walls, a spot of which Kenshin covered with a sheet of plain wallpaper, and then a large sheeting of printing paper filled by a photograph of the late singer-musician. While the brunette set down Embla’s keyboard, the narrow-eyed young man left several bright-coloured markers.
No one even asked what that was, but the epiphany arrived to each within seconds. There was still no talking, not even with Primrose having joined for the group lunch to think of their comrade. Another thing to share was the assumption that Primrose didn’t want to join the gang for this. Hallam could see the emotional turmoil in the young woman. He took her for someone tough as nails within minutes of meeting her, and since before the speech she’d been acting too much like a ghost, making no sound at all. She didn’t even look at her best friend, the one she’d been collaborating with the longest. There was a much bigger reason the demise of the young musician hit Primrose hard, and she chose not to say.
-----

It was late in the afternoon of that same day when Hallam went to the doors of the headmaster’s office. Based on what Hallam was hearing along the way, Embla’s friends were weeping together again, while someone—possibly Primrose—ran the obstacle course on the third floor of the east wing.
He knocked on the door and said one of the code words. A voice answered, “Come in.” The blond opened and entered, seeing the narrow-eyed genius just finishing with threading something, which was handed to the dark-haired and grey-eyed young man. He just put it on as he noted Hallam to say, “Sit down.”
As Hallam did what he was told, he stated, “I just wanted to know if anything of our concern has happened.”
Vasco replied, “A lot has happened today, believe it or not. Social media’s been exploding with ‘R-I-P Embla’ as a tag.”
Hallam gasped, “You mean people saw her getting shot?”
Vasco looked at the narrow-eyed genius to say, “Show ‘im what you found, Kenshin.”
On the wall, with the projector, Hallam and Vasco watched a split screen of four videos, each one of a crowd harassing various police officers. Kenshin stated, “These were recorded by Traffic Cams at noon today.” The first of the split screen showed people shouting protests outside a police station. There were several signs made of Bristol board, but what they said was obscured. The man watching over the station and a few officers walked out, but failed to make the crowd disperse, for they were all tackled to the pavement. The second recording was of people using pipes and crowbars to beat up two police cars. The officers lay there, knocked out. The onlookers were chanting something. The third video showed parked cars cutting off a road, and those standing atop waved hateful signs. The fourth video was of an angry mob circling a large fire with dummies hanging over it and just catching the licks of that fire to burn themselves.
Hallam, looking at the projected screen in disbelief, asked the obvious question: “This all happened just today?”
Vasco added, “No doubt more. There’s so much we can do, but everyone has their limits.” He turned to Kenshin, to say, “Show the other thing you caught.” The narrow-eyed genius did so, closing the window of the split-screen videos. Within seconds, a new video was shown, and what marked it was the screenshot of the solid-faced man with a tombstone mustache.
The man spoke, “All of you may have enjoyed watching the unexpected broadcasting of the pop trio known as Lady’s Ghostly Beats. To make that happen, an unknown hacker had access to our signals. What you saw was not in fact what disturbs children. It was really a preview and shooting of a beginner’s movie, featuring the teenage cover band. The girl is alive and well, as are the other two teens in the video. And if you hear people saying that the police did kill a kid—heh, they’re just nuts.”
“Is this for real?” Hallam spat.
“It’s exactly what the anchorman said”, Kenshin answered.
“He’s a bloody idiot to think that everyone buys that bullshit!” Hallam shouted.
Vasco spoke, “That’s why I’m considering leading an attack on the Channel One Station. We already saw an angry mob outside the gates of the studio. Everyone saw that cop shoot Embla dead. That’s why everyone is so furious. To call it a scandal doesn’t sound like enough to describe it. There have been several police scandals in the past, but this time, there’s the perfect video proof.”
“Has Primrose seen this?” Hallam inquired.
Vasco answered, “She’s been trying to look preoccupied.”
Hallam objected, “Vasco, she has to know.”
“The others will”, Vasco said coldly. “And we will storm that studio. We mustn’t wait anymore to cripple our enemies. The face of parents sugar coating serious issues is the first line of defense. Without such an anchorman or such a studio, the police commissioner and the mayor can’t hide behind the wall.”
Hallam sighed, “Vasco, I know you mean well, but we can’t rely only on brute force. If Primrose has taught me anything, it’s that for the hardest things, a plan is needed.” He paused there, and waited for Vasco to say something. All Vasco did was look around, quietly. He was stumped. It was like he was actually lost without his friend.
Assuming that the conversation had reached its abrupt end, the blond turned and walked out the door, leaving the other two young men to their own thoughts. As he walked, he loosened his tie and his thoughts went back to the moment of Embla falling backwards after the bullet pierced her heart.
-----

Swift knocks on the door were heard. Without waiting for an answer, the door was opened by Hallam, without his tie, his collar open. The chamber was just where he remembered, where he heard the pop trio rehearse. “Oi”, Hallam said lowly. “Just thought I’d check on you.”
Neither of the two girls chose to return a statement. He folded his arms and added, “This may not help, but…” He sighed before continuing, “I know the feeling of never seeing a loved one again. I didn’t know how to cope with it then, but you have friends that can help you there.”
After another moment of silence, the brunette with the white stripe spoke, “We just can’t believe how cruel people can be.” None of the three in the chamber at that moment didn’t need to be told that others thought exactly that as well on that day. However, there was another subject, and the girls really wanted to avoid it.
To try again to break the silence, Hallam gave a food for thought: “Are the homeless ones the only children to grow up to hate a place like this? For the scandals? To recognize all the crooks?”
The auburn-haired girl was the one to get the ball to roll, replying, “Don’t forget about the orphans or those with parents sounding tyrannical whether they do drugs or not. Because parents try to sugar coat sex, I can’t imagine what else they sugar coat.”
Berljot added, “Based on how the churches here have major bad blood between each other, the religious parents could be much worse, trying to poison kids’ minds. What kind of God made the city this way?”
Godelieve extended, “Also, that stupid saying: ‘God only helps those who learn to help themselves’? Who buys that shit?”
Now they were getting philosophical. Hallam was content that the girls at least weren’t wallowing over Embla’s murder. There was no vengeance for this. The cop that had shot Embla was gunned down by one of the mobsters. There was only moving forward. Hallam sighed and left them to their thinking. If they wanted to stay a band, they would need a new keyboardist, which would lead to the argument, “They’re not the same.”
-----

The day to follow the silence over the abandoned orphanage was spent in silence yet again. At least, that was for Primrose. Over breakfast, she was the only one to not talk, and she wasn’t in the near-empty cafeteria for long, knowing that the others started staring at her. They watched Vasco stand up, to catch up to her, but the brunette stopped suddenly, holding up a hand and looking away. That just made him feel worse about his friend. He had once thought of action the only way to speak, but not talking about what bothered someone is unhealthy. It made him feel useless, watching her shut him out with a simple gesture. This was also the first time when Hallam noticed Filomena express, noting her brows and mouth. She could relate to the issue, but didn’t know how to verbalize such. Like Vasco, she was better at acting than speaking.

If anyone was to know, they would’ve been surprised. Of all people to search for Primrose after lunch, which she didn’t join for, Hallam was the one to go seek her out and not tell. His first choice and the most obvious one, Primrose wasn’t there at all, and he doubted that the others had seen her. However, he would wait for her there. To pass the time, he rummaged through whatever was kept at the desk and read through a scrapbook filled with issues that were cut out from newspapers. Based on what Hallam gathered, these were written by people to not lie or sugar coat.
The young blond men read through the scrapbook for longer than he would’ve assumed, by the time he looked at his watch, which was the second he heard the door open. He was almost done reading all the collected issues before he closed the book, to look up and see the brunette with the violet stripes on her left. She wasn’t wearing her tie and her jacket was over her arm. She seemed to have self-control, not commenting on Hallam reading her idea of records.
Hallam spoke as Primrose approached the desk, “Wha’ ull happen with us if you don’ intend to talk?”
“I’ve been thinking a lot”, she replied monotonously.
“Abou’ what?”
Primrose sighed, “The past… including that day at the coffeehouse.”
After setting the book back where he saw it, he joined the brunette on the couch and looked at her intently. He had his eyes narrowed, and she understood the reason. Hallam pressed, “It’s more than grief, isn’t it?”
“It’s about my regret”, Primrose clarified. She sighed before looking at Hallam and continued, “I’ve been thinking: if I didn’t order you and the others to hold fire, Embla wouldn’t have been murdered. So, I’ve been questioning if I can even lead anymore.”
Hallam commented, “Not all people from history are known for their achievements, and some are known for what others did to them.”
The young woman left her mouth slightly open at that. After another pause, she said, “You might be right, but I don’t want Embla to be remembered as one of many for being shot by some arrogant or incompetent cop. I know that he’s dead, too, but I hope she understands that she shouldn’t care about vengeance.”
“What else did that made you think about? Embla’s death, I mean.”
She paused yet again, before explaining, “I looked backed on the days when I was with my family. I’m the first-born of four kids. I was left to look after my sister and two brothers almost every day as my parents worked late. The first thing I learned in order to tend to my siblings was to cook. By the time I got good at it, they looked forward to the dinners that I learned to make… Made me consider learning to be a chef for a restaurant…
“We were just like any family. We had the regular arguments and tussles. The highlight was that I would anticipate each and intervene before anyone got hurt. It affected my grades, too. I knew that I was good, but my grades didn’t show it much. I was considered average in school. I did achieve my potential eventually, but that was in all classes except for my morning ones. I may have been a good listener, but I had no advice to offer my siblings…”
Primrose paused, possibly to let that sink in. She then looked at Hallam again, her sadness more than evident that moment. “One day… about three years ago… some strangers barged in to our house. They attacked each of my siblings… and threatened to kill them in front of me if I didn’t give the strangers anything of value… Instead of looking for items to give, I just paced around the house, trying to think of what to do. I still looked around, but for something that I could use. The robbers gave me thirty minutes to give them anything.
“I played a ruse, coming off as cowardly. I put a kitchen knife in a vase that I intended to offer, and I pretended to be scared out of my skin. I took my chance… I broke that vase on one robbers head and quickly grabbed the knife that I hid in it, with which I stabbed another in the gut… The next thing we all knew, I beat each robber with the knife, even after they stopped breathing… I was close to attacking one of my brothers…
“We looked at the robbers’ faces, and I spotted one of them having a cross necklace, which made me wonder about their motivation to threaten to kill a bunch of kids… I knew we wouldn’t be safe—ever. Our school sugar coated the situations with the cops and the crime. In order for each of them to live, I myself insisted that we take off and live far apart from each other…
“I swore that I would never give in to any threats the world had in store for me.” She scowled when making that last statement.
More silence was to follow as Hallam let the story of the young woman’s life sink in. After that he asked, “What are your thoughts on God, Primrose?”
She looked away, but her scowl still obvious. The young woman said rapidly, “That he doesn’t exist at all. That he’s just some delusion an idiot got others to believe, which led to all the conflicts in history, all the prejudice, and all the hate crimes today.”
Hallam was shocked by that as an answer, and thought for a moment, before he finally commented, “I never believed in God at all, either.”
Still not looking at him, Primrose told him, “I think we’re overdue for a meeting.”
-----

It was before they would have dinner when the biggest members of what had been named the Resurrection Battlefront were gathered in the former headmaster’s office of the abandoned orphanage. They had all taken their usual seats in a couch and desk chairs. Their jackets each now had a symbol on the sleeve: a silhouette standing atop a tombstone, with “RB” in square writing. Now they would be viewed more like a cult than before.
With everyone’s attention, Primrose stood up from the desk and made sure that all eyes were on her. She still wore that scowl. She orated, “What we need now is a plan, which will take time, but it’s time we get more serious. In fact, we’re not gonna play around anymore. No more being seen doing petty crimes. We’ve been attacked and lost our line of defense. There is but one option for this: retaliation.”
If I get one comment about me insulting religion, I say you have nothing better to do. The characters don't believe in God. And you know I'm right about religious people possibly coming off as deranged. On another note: take a wild guess on where I got the subtitle for the chapter.
Adding this to your favourites or a collection means nothing to me. I want comments. I don't mind if you criticize my writing, either.
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:iconjuliusspeyton:
JuliusSPeyton Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2017  Professional Writer
Its weird. I don't know all of what going on because I haven't read the series, but I like it.
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:iconagent36496:
Agent36496 Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2017   Writer
Thank you.
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:iconmegbeth:
MegBeth Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Hoo boy... that was intense :O_o:
I love it!

I could feel that fire in belly, but also tension rising too; a good mixture!
And very believable and understandable conflicts :thanks:
it happens in real life...
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:iconagent36496:
Agent36496 Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2017   Writer
This part was pretty hard to write. Because of my choice of title, I wanted to capture Primrose actually blaming herself for Embla's death as much as the others grieving. The moment of Hallam with the two girls, I sort of copied a moment from "The Big Bang Theory". Their philosophy is simply all the more reason to rebel.
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