Gill looked around the table, noting every face and person present. Many of the Peak’s elite citizens sat around the table. Several shot him dirty looks. Others glared at him and looked away. Some nodded and went back to talking amongst themselves. Gill swallowed hard and looked back to the head of the table where Dante sat. To his left, Vernon sat along with Delvezio who gave everyone at the meeting the once over twice.
Dante rapped on the table drawing all eyes to him. He raised his glass and drank. Everyone at the table followed suite. Gill drank a second time savoring the flavor coating his tongue and taste buds. The rich mineral water came from the well deep within the mountains surrounding the town. Having gotten used to the taste and flavor lemon juice added to the liquid, Gill knew what this precious commodity meant to the town and its surrounding farm lands.
As Dante lowered his glass, he spoke. “Many of you believe Gill is siding with the enemy. The outsiders as we refer to them.”
Murmurs sounded and heads nodded. Dante tapped on the table drawing attention to him again. He continued speaking. “For a while now, we’ve grown in size and population. New species of shifters call the Peak home as well as other supernatural beings. Our human citizens’ numbers are increasing too.”
Vernon cleared his throat as Dante paused. He glanced at Dante who nodded. Vernon rose, speaking as he made his way around the table. “To survive and thrive, we’ve got to come together. Separation of species is tolerable to a point. Some are crossing lines and forming families. Uniting is in our best interest.”
Vernon flipped open the flip chart setting on the easel to Dante’s left. “This is a topography map of the town and surrounding land holdings.”
Dante pushed back from the table, flipped to the next page, and spoke. “Recent rumblings at the state capital want to use the eminent domain to start fracking for oil not far from here.”
“There goes the water table,” Gill said as he rose, making his way around the table. “Also strangers. Not ones that pass through or decide to stay because they found a place to call home. One that will snoop and dig.”
Murmurs started. The noise grew. Dante leaned on his hands, growling low. Many of the wolves present silenced. Vernon moved between Gill and Dante. “Gill, Dante, and I covertly met when the first state agent drove into town and approached Gill.”
Dante righted himself. “We knew getting the state to leave us alone would take some doing.”
“I prefer an open door policy,” Gill offered as he spoke in his defense. “That wasn’t an option this time.”
“Why not?” a voice called out. Others added their comments until the fervor grew intense.
Dante and Vernon rapped on the table until quiet filled the room. Dante spoke first. “Because sometimes you have to surprise the enemy. Aka the blasted state. “
“Yes spilling everything isn’t good policy and you all know this.” Vernon sat down as he said more. “How many of you would have scared the crap out of the state agents and personnel in hopes of running them out of town?”
Heads began to duck. Many looked away. Vernon chuckled. “Believe me the thought crossed our minds more than once. This time there was no easy way out.”
Gill tapped the flip board. “The state will declare our area off limits if we can show them certain pieces of information. The good old statistics that lead to hash marks.”
Dante stood raising his hand. “So a united Peak working together can fudge some wonderful numbers and show off our organic farms. Lovely pesticide free orchards and gardens as well as our solar powered sewer system.”
“Oh man that place stinks worse than road kill on a super-hot asphalt.” Laughter followed.
“Very true,” Dante added. “So Gill didn’t sell us out. Instead he lit the fuse that got many talking and ready to act.”
“So now what?”
“We start informing the city about the next phase. Damn state agents and personnel roaming around.” Vernon leaned back in his chair. He winked at Gill who stood behind Dante.
Gill reminded himself to take deep breaths and count with each one. Brainstorming how to get the word out was next.
HAPPY WEEKEND GANG!
Well the truth comes out. Or is there more to come?
Hope you and yours are staying dry and safe with this bout of weird summer weather we're dealing with. Even the spice homestead had to deal with crap from it. We're on our way to bouncing back. Let's hope the next round is a stalemate. If this is what we got now, what is our winter going to look like?
Keep a few good books handy to share with your loves and spice. I've got a few to do that with myself.
Until next week,