The End:Story One
By: David K. Montoya
Finally, we reached where the Emperor was sitting. He was an older man, possibly in his seventies, who was dressed in a white toga and accented with a gold shawl. He looked up with a weak smile and welcomed us to ‘HIS’ city. Patrick stepped forward to face the Emperor and explained the reason of his visit that we were newcomers and he recommended residency for all of us.
The Emperor did not speak right away, he only stared at us, I could tell by the motion of his eyes that we were being examined. (And he did so for quite some time when it came to Renee). I can only assume it was to determine if we were worthy to be a part of his little community. After a further wait, he finally introduced himself in a quite raspy voice. He went on to say how he founded Palace City (we went with it even though we had already heard it before) and how he would not let just anybody become a part of his society, that we would be assigned daily duties, and in turn receive credits (which was their currency), as well as rooms to reside in.
He pulled several of what looked to be credit cards out from underneath his toga; he explained that by taking these cards we agreed to become a part of his empire and consented to follow all of his regulations as they were set forth. So, we did the only thing that seemed feasible—we accepted.
All of us were separated as we walked into the hotel lobby and I followed my escort down a hallway that lead away from the others. A bit farther down I noticed that we had passed a glass door. I could see an old pool outside, which seemed to be in use as the clear blue water waved back and forth, at times splashing over the edge. I became hopeful at the thought of taking a swim it been so long since the last time, I don’t even remember when it was.
The man stopped just a few rooms before we’d reach the back exit. I looked to see what number my room would be and it was 219. Stepping inside I found a tiny cubical—a basic hotel room, one with twin size bed next to a window that overlooked the pool. I was surprised to find a T.V., though I asked the man about it and he explained that they used old videos for entertainment.
I walked over to the bed and all I could do was just collapse down onto it. As I lay there, I found myself thinking and I could not believe all we had been though and that last day in a half. With all of the death and carnage, I questioned if this expedition was a good idea after all. We were tired and weary and there are still hundreds of miles yet to be traveled. But at least we are here in Palace City. We could take this time to rest and within a day or two all of us should be ready to get back on the road.
But I’m a bit worried about Tina--I think it might take some effort to get her back on schedule. I could tell by the look in her face that she was really excited about coming here. And, yes, I am pleased to be in a place that has running water, as well as air conditioning, but something is not right with the Emperor. I don’t know what it is just yet, but I am positive that we will all find out soon enough.
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