by Kiwi

Part 5

The rooms were all different, but all the same. So much softness, richness and luxury. He'd never seen anything like it, except in pictures of the old-time palaces of kings and queens. There were no kings here, or, there wasn't supposed to be - it looked like the Elders didn't know that.

How did they get away with living like this? Amos had never dreamed that their lives up here were anything like this. It was a whole different world. How had they kept it secret?

All the 'little' people, like his mother, worked so hard for so little reward and the Elders lived like kings.

There were rooms full of electronic gear, computers even. There was even a small cinema with a huge tv screen - the biggest he'd ever seen. He didn't know tv's were made that big. There were hundreds of dvd's and they were not the wholesome uplifting teaching tools that everyone else watched. Some of the people in the cover pictures had very few clothes on.

And, the poses! They were all very immodest, the Elders would not approve. And yet - it seemed they did when in private!

There was a separate dining-room too, with a polished-wood table and an attached kitchen and store-rooms. Shelves in there were bulging with food, the likes of which he'd never seen.

He was intrigued and fascinated and a little disgusted. How many people knew about all this? The Elders did, obviously, but someone had done all of the cooking and cleaning for them. He couldn't see them doing that themselves. That would be too far below them.

They lived like this and leeched on the Community. Unbelievable! The Dirty Pigs.

"Rotten Bastards!"

Where had that come from? Somewhere deep in his memory, but it fitted - the Bastards!

It had taken a while, but his temper had finally boiled-up and surfaced and he was mad! How dare these bludging, leeching thieves sit in judgement on him? Or on anyone? How dare they!

He roared around, venting his temper and yelling as if they could hear him, which they couldn't. He flung chairs over, flipped tables, threw and smashed ornaments and generally made a huge mess in several rooms. It was a lot of work though, a lot of effort, and he soon tired of it and stopped.

He stopped to wash his face and cool down a bit in a bathroom. Every bedroom had its own individual bathroom. Every one of them did! He was amazed. They had toilets too.

The water ran strongly, as it would - the community's water supply was gravity-fed from a dammed up creek high on the hill behind them.

The running water gave him a wicked idea and he left the taps running, put the plug in the sink-hole and clogged up the overflow with a face-cloth. The hand-basin soon filled and overflowed, water ran out on to the floor.

"There. Clean that up, Bastards!" he yelled at the absent elders.

That was a much better idea. He could really mess up their palace with no effort at all. Hah!

'If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well' or so he'd always been told. Okay then, he would do it well. He went along the corridor, into room after room, started water overflowing and left it running.

It would take a while, but the water would run down and flood the whole building. And make a mess of everything. The Elders would have to fix it themselves or everyone would know just exactly how those thieves lived off them.

Downstairs and outside, it was getting dark and he still hadn't found anywhere to sleep. It was time that he did. Okay, he decided, he'd sleep in the car again. That was safe and secure, he could lock himself in there.

He needed a pillow though. In fact, he could have have two or even three pillows, so he would. Every dormitory bed had one, there were lots of them and no-one else was using them.

Next morning, he sat up, looked out and grinned. A small stream of water was pouring out of the front door and cascading down the steps, like miniature waterfalls.

However, it was running across the road and down to the dormitory buildings. That wasn't part of his plan, he wasn't going to flood them too. The people down there weren't the ones who'd been stealing from him. Or, were they?

No, they weren't. He went inside the Community Building, paddling in his bare feet. The water wasn't even ankle deep but it was cold. He went up to the top floor and got some duvets off the beds up there. They were still dry, but they wouldn't be for long.

Back down at the front entrance, he closed the doors and laid the duvets across them to stop the water and damm and divert it into the main hall. It would run through there, into the dining-room and out through the kitchen. Hah!

It'd be a while before it got there, so he went and cooked some breakfast before it did. He ate in the kitchen and walked out leaving more dirty dishes and utensils. He was leaving, so it wasn't his problem.

The car was still loaded up with food and drink. He hadn't used any of it yet, so he didn't bother taking any more. All that he took was some more containers of petrol, from the car sheds.

He drove away and didn't look back. If they all came back or not didn't matter, he was done with the place forever. He wouldn't miss it and they probably wouldn't miss him either.

He exited the property, crossed the bridge and back to the main road where he stopped. Where was he going? He had no plan now and he needed one.

Hebron! He'd head north to Hebron. Hebron was the capital city and was the only real city on the New Salem. All the other so-called cities were just over-grown towns, or they used to be. There was nearly a million people living in the Capital and that was where the Temple was. There must be someone left there out of all those people, they couldn't all be gone. Besides, anyone else in the country would most likely head for there too.

So, Hebron was where he was going. Which way was it? North, of course. He turned right and headed north. There were more and more towns along the way, all empty. Most of the people lived in the north of the country, when there were people.

Early afternoon, he turned off the road and stopped in a picnic/lookout area where a couple of tables under shingled, peaked rooves looked down the hill, down the long valley and all the way to the sea in the distance.

The sun shone, the air was clear and it was an impressive view. Hebron was not far along the coast there. He'd been there once, when he was little. He thought that it was further away. He might even get there by nightfall if he hurried, but why bother?

There was a big town just down at the foot of the hill, that would be Bethany. He'd get some fuel there and check the place out.

A stone fireplace had a stack of dry firewood next to it , so he lit a fire. He couldn't cook anything for lunch, he hadn't brought any pots or pans. That was yet another mistake. How long was it going to be before some stupid mistake got him in real trouble? Like he wasn't already in trouble?

Once the fire was burning well, he heaped lots of green foilage on to make it smoke.

He ate some snack food for lunch, washing it down with a soda, and he decided that he needed to get some fresh fruit, he liked fruit - some of it. Should've thought of that sooner too.

The fire was now pushing a tall column of gray smoke up in to the windless air, which was good. That would be easily visible for miles if someone was out there searching like he was. He hoped that there was someone - anyone! He loaded the fire up again and covered it with more smoky green stuff. He got back into the car and continued on down the hill.

The town at the bottom spread part-way up the hill, as towns below hills often seem to do. The highway morphed into a town street as he went down and into the business district and the 'high-risers'. (The buildings were about 4 storeys at the most, but that's high. It's all relative).

He stopped and sounded the car horn, over and over. It sounded very loud in the quiet street. Then he got out, stood and looked around - nothing!

Behind him, back at the top of the hill, a pall of smoke still rose from his fire. It could be seen for miles and miles and that was good.

And? Was that what he thought it was? Yes! It was. Another column of smoke was was building and climbing from the top of the hills down the valley and to the left. Another fire! Another person?

More excited than he'd been for days, he jumped back in the car and roared off down the street.

'Wait up.' After a couple of blocks, he stopped again. Exactly where did he think he was going? Well, to the fire,of course. He was going to the hill where the fire was. But he had to figure out how to get there. Was there a road up there? Where was that book of maps?

It was not in the glovebox where it should have been. He searched frantically through the car but couldn't find it anywhere. There was so much stuff in there! Maybe he should think about getting a bigger vehicle? Yes, but not now. This wasn't the time to be worrying about cars.

Where were those blasted maps? When did he get so untidy?

'Aha!' He spotted a sevice station along the street. He didn't have to find the maps, he'd just get some more. Easy.

He walked along there, prised the door open and took another book of maps, identical to the one he'd lost. This one would stay in the glovebox!

He opened the maps on the front seat of his car, studied the local one and worked out how to get up that hill. There was a secondary road all the way up there, so that was good. All he had to do was to find it and follow it. He would've walked up there if he had to, but was glad that he didn't.

After back-tracking on a couple of wrong turns he got on to the right road and wound his way up to the top of the hill. The further up he went the bigger the fire seemed to be. He soon saw why.

This was not contained like the fire that he lit, this was a grass fire, out of control and spreading rapidly. The road went past below the burning area; he drove along slowly, sounding the horn again and searching anxiously.

No-one around. Blast it!

He finally had to admit defeat and drove away, back down the hill leaving the fire burning and spreading, there was nothing he could do about it. Another sunshine through a glass fire? Probably.

Back in the town, constantly checking the map beside him, he found the way back to the highway, continued north through the town and was soon back in empty countryside.

The smoke from the fire he'd lit was still visible, away back in the distance, and that from the other fire was behind him too. A Micro-light suddenly appeared over the valley. Wow!

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