Twenty – 01

[This post is from Thom’s point of view.]

Anselm smiled.  “You’ve grown bolder,” he said, leaning back and studying Matt with an appraising gaze.  The smile suggested that he’d agree to whatever plan Matt proposed, but watching his eyes, Thom found himself uncertain.  There was just something tugging at him, setting his guts churning.

He hoped against hope that he’d be wrong.

Matt inclined his head slightly.  “There’s a lot to lose if I hold back,” he said, his voice quiet.  “Things I can’t afford to lose—things that none of us can afford to lose.  If we don’t do this and if somehow we do things wrong, we’ll still lose.  That’s why I need you and the Hunt on board with this.”

Anselm nodded slightly, still watching him.  “So you need all of our fighters as well as more information.”

“More information to start,” Matt said.  “I have to hope that a preemptive strike is feasible.”

“And if it’s not?”  Anselm’s brow arched.  “What then?  What do we do?”

“We bunker in,” Matt said.  “We martial everything we can muster to meet them and hopefully turn him back.  The only problem is that I don’t think he’ll stop.”

“Others did,” Anselm said.  “What makes him different?”

“We have things he wants.”  Matt’s hands curled into fists on his knees.  Thom swallowed hard, watching him.

I have a bad feeling.  God, do I ever have a bad feeling.  This isn’t going to go the way Matt hopes it will—that he expects it will.

He almost laughed at himself, swallowing the bitterness that welled up.  So what else is new?  I always have a bad feeling about something.  Thom almost—almost—shook his head.  I could be wrong.  I have to be.

Instead, he stayed still, watching Anselm’s face.  His expression had barely changed.

Was that a good thing or a bad thing?

His heart said one thing while his gut said the other.

Thom kept on hoping his gut was wrong.

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