Amy had been right. Sam and Brian sat around a table at the coffee shop with a few other young men, a pair of acoustic guitars and an acoustic bass between them. They finished playing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, complete with vocals, as Peter and Amy stood by watching.
“They sure don’t make music like that anymore.” Peter said, and then realized what he had just said. “I mean…”
Brian set aside his guitar and hugged Peter.
“Sorry, it’s just good to see you up and about.”
“Thanks.” Sam was next to approach and he just shook Peter’s hand and winked.
“Guys, this is Peter,” Brian said, adding “This is Jamie, Timothy, and Brian,” indicating each of the other men at the table in turn.
“We can hardly handle one Brian,” Peter quipped.
“What would you like to drink?” Sam asked.
Peter looked at Amy, shrugged.
“Get whatever you want, they’ve got just about whatever you want.” He held out his hand to Amy, who pulled one of the pennies from her pocket.
“Don’t bother, I’ve got this one,” Sam said, pulling a large fistful of coins from his pocket. He fished a few out, “Amy?”
“Oh if you’re buying, I’ll take a latte.”
Peter followed Sam up to the window cut into the side of the shop and was greeted by a young man with tattoos on his cheeks and large plastic holes in his ears. “Some things never change. You know what, a latte sounds good.”
“Make that three latte’s,” Sam said, handing the tattooed man three of the leisure chips.
“So how’d you come by so many of those?” Peter asked as they waited for their drinks to be made.
“I’ve been doing raids into cities a few days out and bringing back supplies in the car.”
“This is absurd,” Peter said as his hot drink was handed to him in a red paper cup.
Sam laughed, “You don’t know the half of it. And here comes the buzz kill.” He said as he set his drink down at the table with the rest of the guys. “Mayor Clemens, this is Peter,” he said as the mayor walked up to them.
Peter extended his hand, “Peter Graham.”
“Samuel Clemens,” the mayor took his hand and shook it. “Why don’t you have a seat with me and leave these men to their own devices for a few minutes.”
Peter took the invitation as it was meant and sat down at a table slightly removed from everyone else. Amy switched tables, dragging her chair to theirs.
“Graham, huh?” The mayor asked first. “Any relation to,” he pointed, Peter guessed, in the direction of the gates.
“Long story short? No, but the jersey he’s been wearing is mine. Right down to the number and the team logo.”
“Ok, they had neglected that part of the story,” he looked at Amy.
“Sorry, a lot’s happened.”
“I understand. Do you have any idea why they have not attacked yet?”
“No, I was going to ask you that myself. Any idea what we’re up against?”
“I’d say three or four thousand easy.”
“And how many people do you have here?”
“Eight hundred and thirty two as of this morning. And that includes children.”
Sam sat down at the table beside them. “How much ammo do we have?” He asked, despite the look that the mayor gave him. “I’m sorry sir, but we’re all in this together.”
“Yes, you’re right. I just feel like we’ve gotten so far here.”
“You really have, now about the ammunition?”
“Ammunition, and guns for that matter, are one thing we’re not short on. You brought enough in yourself…”
“We need to get it to the guards. Is there a plan in place should you be attacked?”
The mayor looked worried. “No, I mean, well, Darrel might have one.”
“Ok, then we need Darrel here.” Peter said. He looked at Sam, “Could you go get Zach for me?”
“Ok, mayor, where might we find Darrel.” Peter asked, then shouted for Brian. Both men showed up beside him.
“I think Darrel is off inspecting the northern wall.”
Peter looked at both Brian’s and told them to go.
“What’s the plan?” Amy asked.
“Well, it will depend on what Darrel says, but I think our best bet is just to man the walls and pick them off as they advance.”
Peter finished his coffee as he waited for Darrel. He spent one of his own coins on a second one and was halfway through it when the man finally showed up.
The first words out of his mouth were “Thanks.”
“For what?” Peter asked.
“Helping keep my family safe. Kyle’s told me a lot about you.”
“He’s a good kid, and they did their share of helping too.”
“Anyways, the Brian’s said you wanted to discuss something.”
“Yeah, the impending attack. Mayor Clemens does not seem to know your plans, so I wanted to get them from you straight away, because I can not believe it will be much longer.”
Darrel looked at Mayor Clemens and shook his head. “No, he deals more with the people aspect of this town. The gear is on standby to go out to the posts along the walls.”
“What about soldiers?”
“We’ve talked about it-“
“Darrel, Samuel,” Peter said purposefully forgetting Clemens’ title, “I do not think you understand what this army that is camped at your doorstep is capable of. Whether they have guns or not, they have burnt nearly everything in their wake. I watched them slaughter a community that would not run from them. We passed countless buildings they had burned down. Mayor, you need to call the people together and tell them they need to be ready.”
“But it might incite panic. We can’t let fear behind these walls.” Samuel said.
Peter slammed his fist on the table, ignoring the pain that shot down his arm. “I’ve lived in fear for nearly a year now, do you think those walls are going to stop me from doing so? The fear is already here. What we don’t need behind these walls is hopelessness. Call the people together Mayor, or I will.” Peter stood up and began the arduous walk back to his new apartment. “Two hours,” he called out over his shoulder.