[Mock-Fiction] III - In Amore et Bellum

Note: Please read the Formal Notice movella. It should be on the list on the right hand side.

Protest piece. Third in the series after 'I - Requiescat in Pace' & 'II - Memento Mori'. Enjoy x

Cover by Secrets Unfold

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10. Eight - Homecoming

~ In memory of Dann Fairface

 

 

The cab driver was a maniac. He had to be. His car drove on-road, off-road, and, hell, maybe the thing would fly if the insane driver drove off a cliff. He seemed to have no sense of direction, and it was a miracle that the car hadn’t crashed yet. Dann Fairface sat rigidly in his seat, both hands holding tightly to the seat in front of him. He looked to his side and watched as Rogue sat, bored – no seatbelt on – staring out of the window pensively.

 

“How do you manage to be so calm?” he said, his face red from constant worry.

“I have four uncles that drive like this,” she replied, she looked at him, “You look constipated.”
Dann furrowed his brows and relaxed a little, “It’s just… never mind. We haven’t talked since I hailed this cab. What are you doing here?”
Rogue laughed a little, “I’m Bengali. I was born here. I spent part of my life here. Technically, I belong here. What do you make of all that?”
Dann waved away the remark, “But what happened to your lip?”
 

Rogue sighed an explained everything that had happened – from the top; the assassinations of Horan, Styles, and Malik’s death at the train station, and then the ‘tests’ run on Payne, Tomlinson and Bieber – and then she explained the ambush, and the unnerving return of Zayn Malik, her imprisonment, the escape, ect, etc.

“That’s amazing,” said Dann dreamily.

Rogue stared at him, “I’m sorry, what?”
“You got imprisoned! And tortured!”

“Why are saying this with a smile on your face?”
“How many people would get that opportunity?”
“Dann?”
“Yeah?”
Rogue pointed at her mouth, “Do you see my face?”

Dann frowned.

“Does it look like I had fun?”
“No, it’s just…” Dann hesitated, “How many people would get imprisoned, tortured, and sentenced to death, but then escape and live to tell the tale?” he paused, “All I can do is pretend I’m in those situations. Life is boring. But yours is interesting.”
 

“Mine is deadly,” said Rogue, “The things I’d give to go back to the boring, normal life,” she shook her head, “I like you, Dann. You’re crazy.”
He smiled, “Why, thank you.”

“I’ve told you why I’m here; what’s your excuse?”
“Excuse?”
“Yes. Why are you infecting my country with your positive madness?”
Dann laughed, “I’m a movie-maker, Midnight, and a story-writer – what do you make of that?”

“Ah, Smith kicked you out of the UAF?”
Dann nodded, “He said I either make religious movies, like remakes of Christ’s Passion, or I’m exiled.”
“And you chose to be exiled?”
“No, my re-make was awful; so he kicked me out anyway.”

“Aww, that’s a shame. And you came here?”
“I went to Bombay first, see if I could work with Bollywood; but they said my themes were too serious.”

“Typical.”
“So I came here. Bengali actors have potential.”
 

Rogue snorted, “I know. My mother’s brother used to be one.”

“Why is that funny?”
“Because every time I watch a Bollywood movie, I laugh at him. The romance scenes are ridiculous, the action is too over-the-top, and the actors over-act. And my uncle was no exception. Though…” Rogue paused, pensive, “I have to hand it to Bollywood, the choreography is astounding.”
“You seem to be so cynical about your own culture.”

“Cynical? I’m cynical about everything, Dann.”
“Well, some might find it offensive.”

“And I care because…?”
“You’re a nice person?”
“I’m a nice person, but I’m not going to stop laughing at something that’s funny under that title.”
 

Dann sighed and shrugged, “Okay, fine, whatever.”

“But you know that this place is going to get sucked in by Smith’s Empire?”
Dann sighed again, “Yes, I know. That’s why I was out getting all those supplies until you came an knocked me over.”

“I’m sorry… I was running, er, and climbing and jumping and… stuff.”
Dann laughed. The car swerved and his face hit the window.

Rogue helped him up, “Are you okay?”
“Quit smiling.”

“I’m sorry,” said Rogue, “I’ve never seen someone so careful hitting a car window like that.”
“Shut up,” Dann grimaced, rubbing the side of his face.

Rogue smiled at him.

 

“All I’ve heard so far is ‘The Brotherhood this’ and ‘The Brotherhood that’,” said Dann, after a pause, “How have you been?”
“Me? Fine, just… you know, a little too banged-up for my own good,” replied Rogue, looking a little uneasy.

“Don’t you think you ought to move on a little in life? Do something more worthwhile?”
Rogue raised her brows, “What are you saying?”
“You’re hurt, Midnight,” said Dann, “Do something else. Lodovico’s forces will overwhelm you. You can’t possibly think you’re going to beat him.”

Rogue shook her head, “I fight for something I believe in, whether I see the fruits of my work within my lifetime or not, I’ll continue to fight. The change might take years, but it will come to pass. Smith’s kind will die, just as all tyrants do.”

Dann nodded like he understood, “Well… I suppose that’s explanation enough.”
 

“Thank you for helping.”
“Hmm?”

“You seem to be the only person who believes that I’m the Midnight Rogue – other than the Queen’s guards, of course – thank you. And for paying for this cab. It’s going to be a while until we reach Sylhet and–” Rogue paused, “Dann, you look a little green…”

“Stop, the, car. Now,” said Dann.

Ghari banh karo!” Rogue yelled at the driver.

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

 

“This place is amazing!” said Dann, as they stepped out of the car.

“It’s a house, Dann,” said Rogue, shaking her head.

“But it’s so big!”

“Can it!” Rogue snapped, “Before you call the whole village over!”
“Why would they come?”
“Are you kidding? You’re speaking English! They’ll rush you and take your passport before you even knew what hit you. Now – Shhh!”

 

Rogue rapped on the big, blue gate. Dann looked passed the gate, and saw a huge front yard. On either side of the pathway, was well-kept greenery. It would be wrong to call it a front garden. It was more of a front miniature-forest. There were coconut and olive trees, and mango trees ripe with fruit. To the left was a shed-like structure; holding goats and cows. They looked up and stared at the pair by the gate momentarily, and then continued munching on the greens that were laid out in front of them. Beyond the shed was a far-too-big-to-be-called-a-house building. It had a wide veranda furnished with weaved basket-chairs and a table. The house within was obscured by intricate barred-windows, and tapestry curtains behind it.

 

A man rushed out of the house. His skin was as dark as ebony, but flawless and smooth, like coffee. He had small watery eyes, a bare head and big beard. He smiled at seeing Rogue.

“Who is that?” asked Dann, softly.

“Our house-keeper,” she replied, as the man undid the locks on the gate.

“You have a house-keeper?”

Rogue stared at him, “Yes… you haven’t been here long, have you?”
The man got the gate open and conversed with Rogue shortly. She smiled a whole lot and said the words ‘Chacha Shauheed’ often as well. After they were done, Rogue led the way into the house.

 

“What did the two of you talk about?” asked Dann.

“Oh, just catching up,” replied Rogue.

“But he’s your house-keeper.”

Rogue laughed, “He’s practically family. My grandfather said he could stay in this place as long as he took care of everything, and it looks like he’s done a marvelous job,” Rogue looked around, “I wonder if he’s still getting paid by my grandpa… I should tell him Uncle Shauheed needs a raise.”
“Uncle?”
“Figure of speech. Everyone’s an uncle around here.”
“He pointed at me a couple of times.”
Rogue nodded, “He said you had funny hair.”

“Nonsense! My hair is amazing.”
“He’s a villager, Dann, very few new ideas impress him.”
 

Dann stopped walking, “You’re keeping something from me, Midnight.”

Rogue turned to face him, “He asked who you were,” she said reluctantly.

“And you said…?”
“You are my nephew.”

“By who? Your imaginary older brother?”

Rogue shrugged, “Well, Uncle Shauheed bought it, so act like a nephew or he’ll throw you out of here.”

“What? Why?”
“Like everyone else in my family, or acquired family, he’s protective over what’s his own.”

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