“Is that all?” Tennyson asked, leaning on the table.
“No,” I said, taking a deep breath before I continued. “I wasn’t the only one who entered the house. Andrew – the gang leader – had followed me that night. He was following me at a distance, but once he realized where I was going, he rushed after me. He was too late. I had already killed his brother.”
There was a minute of silence, then Tennyson asked, “What did you do?”
“Why do you want to know?” I screamed, wiping the tears from my cheeks.
“I don’t, but you need to tell someone,” Tennyson said gently. “Don’t worry. I won’t let this affect what I think of you.”
“Andrew attacked me, so I fought back. I really didn’t mean to kill him. He moved too quickly. I stabbed his chest instead of his arm,” I sobbed.
“Making you the new leader of the gang,” Tennyson said quietly.
“The gang was divided into two. After a year had past, all parts of the gang had fallen apart, lost to gang wars and the cops. There was only one other person who survived in my gang. That person was the person who urged me to get out of town. The cops and several gangs were after me,” I said.
“Then, you came here,” Tennyson said. There was a long silence until he said, “That story only increases my faith. Now, I know you have experience.”
“I think I’m ready to sleep now,” I said, pouring out my glass of water.
“You still haven’t answered my one question. Do you think the strategy will work?”
“If Strutter plays by the rules, we should succeed,” I said, shutting the door behind me.
I walked down the empty halls, passing my room door and continuing to wander. I didn’t really want to sleep; I don’t think I could if I tried. Images continued to run through my mind’s eye of the results of the gang wars and the murder of Andrew’s older brother.
In the end, I ended up in the doorway of the gym where everyone else was sleeping. I watched the blankets move up and down. I realized that this may be the last time that some of them might ever wake up. Tears filled my eyes.
I turned away and walked back to my room, unable to stay and watch my troops. My troops. I sit on the edge of my bed, thinking about how many I actually knew. Thinking of who I would notice was gone if they died.
“I was too self-centered to even get to know all of the people in my troops. They are all trusting me with their lives when I haven’t even met one-third of them,” I said out loud to myself. “I’ve already failed before the battle has even begun.”