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Assimilation



 
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Gideon Abernathy

The commune was quiet, reserved in the face of their newcomer. They collectively held their breath, waiting for the outcome that would mean a new member of the Grove or a ritual. Sacrifices in this community meant a time for celebration, a break from their work load, and the only reason they were permitted to consume alcohol.

Ignatius would not be thrilled with their preferred outcome, undoubtedly.

As for Gideon, he was still uncertain toward the man. He was pleasant, willing to help at every turn, and he seemed to get along well with everyone he came into contact with. The building on his house had been ‘delayed,’ as it were, which was a calculated move. Ignatius needed to be watched, and what better way than to house him under the Abernathy roof. It was a little more work on Quinn, but nothing she couldn’t handle. With her husband’s help, of course, whenever she needed it.

Surprisingly, Ignatius had an affinity for cooking, and he helped as much as he could in that regard. Rather, as much as Quinn would allow, being the somewhat prideful caretaker that she was. Seeing as there were no real cooking roles in the community, aside from rare, special occasions, Gideon took him under his own wing and gained in assistant in the garden. Not an easy feat, either, considering how private and secluded he preferred to be in this particular domain.

It proved a good way to get a read on the man, and as much as Gideon didn’t press his personal life from before, Ignatius didn’t seem keen on bringing it up. A good sign indeed, as they didn’t want him missing it and attempting to return. No one left, not if Gideon had any say in it.

And he did. All the say, in fact.

That particular morning, they were in the garden checking the vegetables for picking. They were expecting a bountiful harvest; the California soil had been good to them and provided a good yield, though Gideon had been scrambling at the beginning of the year, late as he was for planting. Chalk it up to uprooting an entire village in the space of two weeks.

The talk was idle chitchat, and the psychopath found himself strangely easy-going around Ignatius. Strangely, considering his role in this community, and who he was to these people. It was an uncomfortable feeling, and it made him all the more cautious.

He heard the commotion before it even reached them, and a commotion it had better be. The Grove knew better than to disturb their Shepherd when he was in the garden; it was his safe haven, a place where he did his meditation. That’s how they understood it anyway, so suffice it to say, the glances afforded to Ignatius were a little more than curious as the pair was set upon.

A boy, probably fourteen at the most, was thrust at Gideon, where he stumbled and fell to his knees. A quirked brow was offered before that blackened gaze rose to the leader of this mob, Rosco. Gideon suppressed the urge to roll his eyes; but of course. “What’s so important that it couldn’t wait?” There was a definite note of coolness to his tone.

“Caught him stealing, a whole notepad from the school.” How mundane, and yet, how dangerous. Anthony came to them as a child runaway from an abusive foster family, some five or six years prior. There was no clear reason as to why the kid would steal a notebook, except perhaps, to secretly communicate with the outside world.

“Is this true, Anthony? Did you steal it?” This procured a nod from the boy, who won’t look up from the ground. Annoyed, Gideon hooked a hand beneath his armpit and forced him upright, gently as his temperament would allow.

Anthony’s shaky visage rose upward until they locked eyes. Manipulation being a key trait to who Gideon was, he donned a disappointed look before turning to Ignatius and waving him closer. “If you don’t mind...”

An encouraging smile was extended, and he prompted the man with a question. “Could you tell this young man what this community offered you, that day at the market when you and I first met?”
September 06, 2018 05:43 pm

Ignatius Reed

Shepherd's Grove had invited Ignatius with an openness that was entirely alien to him, but something had shifted in the atmosphere. There was a sudden sense of reservation in everyone around him, almost as if they anticipating something from him, but he couldn't put his finger on it. It was only natural, he convinced himself, that nobody could be so open to a stranger until they learned the content of their character.

The garden was a good pick for him. Ignatius had a sense for plants that was nearly uncanny, and he could tell that this crop would yield generously. He would dig his fingers through the loamy soil at the base of their tomato plants, trying to discern what made this plot of Earth so fantastically fertile. While he was tempted to ask Gideon if they used any special fertilizers, he felt that maybe prodding him with so many questions would annoy him. The last thing he wanted was to alienate the man who'd extended his roof over him.

Gideon Abernathy seemed like a dependable man, the longer he chatted with him. He had kept his digging shallow and sincere, and felt relieved when the man seemed to take to him some. His mother had been an excellent conversationalist, and imparted on him the secret behind learning things... She might have been a terrible gossip, but she knew that a person would spill their heart to you if you would only allow them to.

When the boy was brought before Gideon, Ignatius felt himself tense up. You could judge a leader based on how he handled his subordinates, and it appeared he'd have that revelation thrust upon him early. His stomach threatened to lurch when Gideon called on him, but he'd swallow his anxiety about the situation and clear his throat. "A set of knives that I'd never be able to afford." he explained, trying his damnedest not to seem disjointed.
September 16, 2018 02:19 pm

Gideon Abernathy

“A set of knives that he’d never be able to afford.” Gideon repeated the statement, his blackened eyes flashing a dangerous glint as they bored into the boy’s own frightened hues. Dancing just behind his stare was the truly gratifying sensation that came with this sort of power. The psychopath fed off it, needing it almost more than the air he breathed.

“You stole from your community, your family.” There was a collective murmuring of agreement, some going so far as to jeer in the boy’s direction. Animalistic in their basest nature, given the opportunity, they would and could turn on the most loved of the commune. Not having been sated in quite some time, their bloodlust made them all the more feral. Anthony would have known that, and still took the risk; his fire must be stamped out. “Anything is yours, if only you ask. But you chose to steal. So I’ll give you one chance.”

He took a single step toward him, relishing the chain of emotions that flitted across Anthony’s face. Gideon remained stoic, a learned and perfected poker face having been essential to this sort of life. “What did you want it for?”

Something akin to a whimper prefaced the stuttering explanation, but he couldn’t seem to get his words straight. Rosco swung a hand into the back of his head, as if trying to get a television set to focus the picture properly. To an extent, it worked, and Gideon almost laughed at the hilarity of the gesture.

The boy tried again. “I-I-I... I just wanted... To tell my foster siblings that I was okay... I w-wanted to... maybe help them... to tell them about this place...”

A quirked brow set the tone for Gideon’s thought process, but it was the only indicator. The mob was hinged on his judgment, the hive mind holding their collective breath. The ensuing silence was a symphony, soothing a mind that craved quiet.

Had the boy been telling the truth, it was still a dangerous move. Anyone knowing about their community and its whereabouts was a threat, and one that wouldn’t be tolerated. But Gideon couldn’t find a grain of truth in such a contrived story; he hadn’t cared about his foster siblings before, so what changed?

The answer was a resounding nothing.

Finally, deliberately, he leaned forward ever so slightly, if only to force Anthony’s coveted gaze to his. The desire for that fear was a heavy weight, only alleviated when their eyes locked, and the boy saw the verdict before it was even delivered.

“You’re lying.”

Anthony hung his head, shamed, before he was carted off by the rambunctious, sneering collective to his punishment. Gideon wouldn’t follow, not immediately; they knew to wait.

An inconspicuous glance was cast toward their newcomer, and he found himself wondering how he would take this. Only time would tell, and Gideon wasn’t concerned with how well he could stomach it. No, his interest was staked in how well he could assimilate. His life depended on it, after all.

A sure gait would lead them away from the garden, and toward the distant noise that indicated a disturbance in the Grove’s day to day life.
October 06, 2018 12:21 pm
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