“Mommy, can I please go to the meeting tonight?”
“No, honey. You’re not old enough.”
“Elora, conversation is closed.”
Elora awoke to her alarm buzzing fiercely. It was 7:00 in the morning, but it was still too early for her. That dream, that memory; she didn’t remember it at all. She sighed. It was all the past. Look towards the future.
Elora got up and had her morning cup of coffee. Black, with a splash of cream. Just how she liked it. She went outside and relaxed on her front porch.
Elora finished her cup, and went back inside. She had the day off from work, so she was not in any particular rush. She worked as a nurse in a nearby hospital. She loved her job; it was her dream.
Elora would have a nice day. She would read, and maybe sew. A relaxing day. Of course, she was wrong. Her day would be anything but relaxing.
A few hours later, she saw a mysterious man cloaked in black right outside her mailbox. She frowned. Her mail always came in the afternoon. This was strange. The man put something in there and then strolled away. Elora got up and walked to the mailbox. Inside, there was a letter. Well, it looked like one. She opened the envelope. She pulled out a piece of dark paper.
On it, in perfect handwriting, was a note.
Hello, Elora. We have lost in touch with you over the years. We have finally caught up with you. How are you doing? Oh well, it’s not the time for conversation. I’ll go straight to the facts. We haven’t had our meetings ever since the, ahh, the unfortunate accident of your parents. But, we have to come back together. I know you will have many questions. But, simply listen. We are having a meeting tonight. 8:30, where your mom used to take you as a child. Please come.
Elora was frozen. She quickly went back into the house and reread the letter. What accident? She thought. My parents were killed in a car crash. Would she go to the meeting? She really didn’t know.
Was that the meeting in my dream? Were my parents in a secret gang or something? Thousands of questions ran through her head.
She took a moment to calm herself down. I’ll go. But wait. Where was that location? She took a moment to think of all her memories. Let’s see. There was the park, the Chick-Fil-A, the library. Wait. The library. Her mom had taken her every single day. Elora loved books, and her mom knew it. Elora knew it was the library.
So Elora got ready. She would go to the meeting.
The man cloaked in black held a walkie-talkie to his lips. He was standing behind a tree near Elora’s house.
“Package delivered,” He whispered. “Coming back now.”
The man looked back at the house with a slight grin on his face. I can’t wait to see you again, Elora. He thought.
The man in black had traveled all around the world. His clan was the most famous in the world. Well, not that famous. All the people in it were sworn to secrecy. If they told, well, it wouldn’t end up well for them.
Elora took one last deep breath. She was standing right outside the library, at exactly 8:25. Of course, the library was locked up. Elora didn’t know where to go, until she saw a short woman beckoning to her from behind a bush. She walked toward her, a little scared. When she got behind the bush, the lady was already gone. Elora noticed a little trap door. It was propped open to one side.
Elora stepped tentatively through the gap. There was a ladder, so she calmed down. She carefully went down. When she got to the bottom, she noticed the man cloaked in black as well as the short woman. They, as well as a few other people, were sitting in wooden chairs. They were sitting in a circle.
“Welcome, Elora.” The man cloaked in black said. His face was shadowed, so Elora couldn’t see it well.
“H𑁋hi.” Elora said. She faintly recognized the voice, but she couldn’t remember who he was.
“We were just waiting for you.”
“Now,” The man announced to the whole room. “We’re going to wait a few more minutes for one more person. Ahh, here he comes now. Welcome, Oliver.”
A young man, Oliver, was slowly climbing down the ladder. He looked confused, just like Elora.
“Hi.” Oliver said.
“Now, we have two new additions to our clan.” The man cloaked in black said. “Please welcome Oliver and Elora.”
“Welcome.” The whole room murmured.
“Now, I’ll get this meeting started.”
“We haven’t had a meeting in 10 years.” Another man growled. “Why now?”
“Because it has become very important to meet. Now, to Elora and Oliver, we are all strangers.” The man cloaked in black stated. “I’ll introduce myself. I’m Abner.” He moved his face into the dim light.
Elora gasped. “Mr. Abner? I haven’t seen you in a while.”
“It’s been a long time, Elora.”
“I know.” Elora asked.
“Uncle Abner?” Oliver asked.
“Yes, my dear nephew.” Oliver opened his mouth to speak. “Not now, Oliver. I’ll answer all of your questions you may have in a little while. Now, we know there is a dangerous world out there.”
“Talk about it.” A woman named Nancy muttered.
“Will you just shut up and let him speak?” The short woman asked.
“Thank you, Florence. Like I said, this is a dangerous world out there. People are getting hurt. And it’s our job to stop that.”
“Really?” A man named Sheam asked. “Is it our job? Please correct me if I’m wrong, but for the past 10 years it has been all your job, Abner. You made us go back to our normal lives, doing all the work yourself.
The room murmured in agreement.
“I know, I know. I haven’t been so good. It’s been hard to put all of you in danger. But,” Abner raised his hand as some people opened their mouths to protest. “I have now seen that this job is too hard for one person. I need your help.”
“Well, for what exactly?” Sheam asked.
“I’ll answer all your questions after I explain everything. Abner responded. “Do you understand me?”
“Yes, Abner.” Sheam said.
“M𑁋Mr. Abner?” Elora stuttered. “I have just one more question.”
“What does all this have to do with me?” Elora asked. “I mean, I’ve been living my normal life until you, well, dropped off a message that had barely any information! I𑁋”
“I’ll answer all of your questions in due time, Elora. Now, please let me speak.”
“Before we had stopped having meetings, our job was to protect. Protect, not kill. Our clan is called S.N.K. Stop national killers. For a little while, our job was safe.”
“Huh.” Nancy muttered.
“Well, safe-ish.” Abner added. “Until people started taking notice of us. Many people saw that most of the murderers were slowly disappearing. Of course, they didn’t know it was us. We had been the ones who were taking them down.”
“T𑁋taking them down?” Elora stuttered.
“Brainwashing them.” Abner assured. “Never hurting them. We kept the peace. Until, of course, the accident of your parents, Elora. And your missing mother, Oliver. After those two things happened, I stopped our clan. I didn’t want any more of my people hurt. For a while I was doing the work. Until, I found out something.”
The people leaned forward in expectation.
“Your parents aren’t dead, Elora. Your mom isn’t missing, Oliver.”
“What?” Elora and Oliver both asked.
“They aren’t gone. They were kidnapped.”