As a child, Mathew Lawrenson had always been taught to play with fire, unlike most safety guidelines. His parents gave him a match and watched him play with it. He was free to do anything he wanted, burn the dog’s tail, burn some newspapers, and even let the matchstick burn until the end, while he was holding it.
Eventually, his early training paid out for Mathew. He was inducted into FEAR. Later on, he’d gotten married and had two kids, both of whom were … disappointing. Conan, his older son, had been disowned. Huh. Like he didn’t know the consequences.
Jake, his younger one, had been expelled. Purposely, by the looks of it. He sighed. It had been a week since Jake got expelled. And on top of that, there was another Board Meeting. Normally, Mathew liked them. They were a chance of getting away from his mansion and kids, but this time, the circumstances were different.
“Why?” he asked himself after Jake’s expulsion, “Why did he want to be expelled?” In his perspective, training at SCAR was the best thing for a FEAR member. Mathew himself never got to go, but that was because SCAR was established after he joined FEAR.
Never mind that. He had to get to the meeting. Mathew and Kiara, his wife, stepped into their Rolls Royce Phantom and drove off. After half an hour of driving, the couple came across a man in a red suit. Mathew got out of the car and said,
“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” the man replied. Those words were codewords used to know if a person was a part of FEAR.
The man led them to a brick wall. He tapped on three of them, and voila! The bricks slid away from each other cleanly, revealing a dark passageway. The man led them into it. After ten minutes of walking, they saw a large door.
Mathew opened it and the group was greeted by a large, dark room, only lit by lanterns standing on waist-length pedestals. Two cloaked men were standing in the middle, on a raised platform with a red carpet. In the middle was a fire, lighting up the cloaks the other two men were wearing. The light from the flame exposed small white dots on the cloaks.
If one looked closely, they would see that the dots were actually stars, printed on the cloaks. Mathew, Kiara, and the man moved closer to the platform and stood there.
“Welcome,” said a voice that sounded like steel, “High Councillors and Agent Sparrow. We must wait for the others to arrive.”
Mathew did not reply. The minutes passed by until a bright light shone through the room.
Mathew, Kiara, and the man covered their faces hastily, for their eyes felt like how you feel once you come out of a movie theatre.
“Why is there such a bright light?” asked Mathew through his arms.
“I couldn’t see very well,” answered a voice, while keeping his flashlight in his pocket. He closed the door, thereby returning the room to darkness.
“Let us start!” said the man who had told them to wait, “Is everyone here? Good, write that down Elliot,” he said to the man next to him, “As we all know, Mathew and Kiara’s sons are both … failures.”
Mathew bowed his head down. This was the reason he was dreading the council meeting. The topic of Jake and Conan would surely surface. “Therefore,” the man continued, “They shall be demoted from their High Council status. Is everybody in favor?”
Everyone apart from Mathew and Kiara nodded. “No! Please Councillor Dermont!” begged Kiara, “Let us have a second chance! I am-”
“SHUT UP!” shouted Elliot, “You do not have permission to speak!”
“Settle down, settle down,” Dermont said, “Now, we must close this topic once and for all. Kiara and Mathew do have a chance of regaining their former power. They must succeed in another mission. It shall be to burn the White House down,”
“Do I have permission to speak?” asked Mathew. Elliot nodded.
“Thank you,” Mathew said, “If I may ask Councillor Dermont, why do we have to burn the White House? What shall FEAR get out of it?”
“We will get money,” Dermont replied, with a manic glint in his eyes, “An organization has paid us very well to burn the White House down. Just imagine it! History shall be repeated! FEAR shall play the part that the Britishers played in 1812. And you will be considered, to be reinstated as High Councillors.”
“Now that the matter is closed,” started Elliot, “We must acknowledge the fact that we need two new High Councillors. I have already made Clyde Reyora a Councillor,” he said, pointing to the man with the flashlight, “but the other post is open. That post will stay open until and unless the Lawrensons succeed in their mission. And if they do not, then Elliot shall rise to the post of a Councillor.”
“Onto our third matter today,” said Dermont, “We need a headquarters. That is actually the reason Elliot recruited Clyde to FEAR. He has found us a suitable location. It is located off the coast of the Canary Islands. We are also considering a location in Mauritius, but I do not think we shall choose it since it is just a single island.”
“How much will ze island cost, Councillor Dermont?” asked the man in the red suit. It was his first time speaking throughout the meeting, and one could notice that he was from France.
“It will require around four or five million dollars, Councillor Fern,” answered Dermont, “That is why Mathew and Kiara need to succeed in their mission. When they do, then we will have enough money to build the HQ.”
“I have another question Councillor Dermont,” started Elliot, “What will the Lawrenson’s punishment be if they do not succeed?”
“That will be discussed later, Elliot.”
“If I may, I do have a punishment for them,” Elliot suggested, “It will be that part of their house shall be burned down. And their beloved Rolls Royce!”
Mathew got a feeling of dread. That Rolls Royce Phantom had been the only thing that was left to him after his father had died. It was a very sleek, vintage one, that Conan had been particularly fond of.
Mathew was flooded with memories of his sons that would have made anyone shed tears, but he held them back, for it would make the Councillors think that he was sensitive and unsuitable for the mission. That mission was the only chance of their status being regained.
“Yes,” agreed Dermont after a few moments of careful thinking, “that will be a good sentence. Now, that is all for this meeting. The next time that we will meet, it will be only after Mathew and Kiara succeed or fail in burning the White House. Goodbye.”
And with a swish of his cloak, he exited the room. Fern (The man in the red suit) followed after him.
Only Kiara, Mathew, and Elliot were left.
“Okay, I’m going. I’ll wait for you in the car Mathew,” said Kiara while heading out.
Mathew nodded. Elliot waited until Kiara was out of sight. “I’ll do everything I can to make sure you fail in your mission,” he said. He was only an assistant councillor and had always wanted to become a councillor. He saw Mathew and Kiara’s demotion as a chance of achieving his ambition.
“You don’t deserve to be a part of FEAR,” Elliot continued, “just like your children.”
“Don’t talk about them like that!” shouted Mathew. He was angry at both his sons, but he couldn’t tell Elliot that. He had to stand up to him. “As for your threat,” he continued, “I don’t think much of it. You won’t be able to do anything.”
“Oh, will I? I can make people hunt you down. I can make the police chase you. I have all the evidence, and you don’t!”
Mathew and Elliot stared daggers at each other. Mathew was the first to break eye contact. He hurried to the exit and reached his beloved Rolls Royce. “Is everything fine?” Kiara asked.
“No,” Mathew replied, “Elliot just threatened me.”
“It’s okay,” she said, “we’ll get through it. We always do.”