Outcome of Chapter 8 Plot Hinge: The cost of oil on March 26th at noon was $106.98. As a result, Captain Dirge will not be able to afford to take Will with him to Canada. Will must now figure out a new way to get home without being captured by the Windigos.
“I’m sorry, Will,” Captain Dirge said over the din of the rowdy patrons. “I simply can’t afford another mouth to feed.” With that, Will’s best hope of getting home got up from the table and headed for the door.
“Sorry, lad,” Gable muttered, adding a few coins to the pitiful tip the Captain had left for their waitress. “If I knew what kind of tightwad Dirge was, I’d never have suggested it.”
Will drummed his fingers against the rough wooden table. Getting out of the city was proving a bit tricky. “Gable?”
“Mm?” Gable said as he lifted his fourth pint of the night to his mouth.
“You know anything about the Windigo Group?”
Beer sprayed across the table as Gable choked and sputtered at Will’s question. Will used his hideous t-shirt to wipe suds from his forehead. “I’ll take that to mean you have heard of them.”
“Heard of them?” Gable said, wiping beer from his beard. Although the tavern was too loud for anyone to eavesdrop, he lowered his voice anyway. “Mother of God, man! Are you mixed up with them?”
“Apparently so,” Will said. “Who are they?”
Gable studied Will for a long time before responding. After looking around the tavern, Gable chugged the rest of his beer and leaned in closer. “The Windigos are trouble, Will, plain and simple.”
Will shook his head. “That’s not helpful.”
“Fine. They’re a corporation. A big one. You won’t find them in any Google search but trust me: they’ve got their fingers in everything. Weapons development. Politics. Pharmaceuticals. Gold. Oil… wouldn’t surprise me if they were the sickos behind Justin Bieber. Deep pockets. Lot of influence. I don’t know much more about them than that. And that’s fine by me.” Gable leaned back in his chair. “You do not want to get involved with these guys.”
“I think it’s a bit late for that,” Will said, grabbing his shoulder. “The guy who gave me this tattoo made sure of that.” Between what Gable had told him about the Mark of Ma’chavu and the photographs Dr. MacGregor had shoved under his nose, Will had no doubt that this all revolved around his stupid tattoo.
“Listen,” Gable said, leaning in again. “If these guys really are after you, you gotta get off the grid. And fast.”
“Hey, no arguments here,” Will replied, jerking a thumb toward the door. “Hence my pathetic attempt at hopping the fence.”
Gable waved at the waitress and held up two fingers and his empty glass. “I tell you what,” he said, turning back to Will. “I know a guy—“
“Of course you do,” Will replied with a smirk.
“—who can get you set up with some new documents,” Gable continued, ignoring Will. “You meet me at Pier 113 tomorrow morning and we’ll see what we can do.” The waitress arrived at their table with two full pints in dirty glasses. “But for now,” he said, holding up his beer, “we drink!”
“Awesome. But can I go to the bathroom first?” Will asked, pushing his chair back. “If I’m not back in five minutes, assume that somebody beat the crap out of me for wearing this shirt.”
Will made his way through the thick haze of cigarette smoke in the tightly packed tavern and headed for the washroom in the back. Even over the noise he could hear his shoes going schlick schlick schlick on the sticky floor. He was grateful for the dim lighting so he couldn’t see what he was walking through.
After relieving himself, Will stared at his reflection in the grimy washroom mirror. What a mess. The blow to the head he suffered in the car crash had started to heal over. But the rest of his face was peppered with fresh bruises courtesy of Agents Mills and Coghlan. The dancing monkey and crocodile on his too-tight shirt completed the look. “Lovely,” he muttered, washing his hands and wiping them on his jeans.
Will exited the washroom and started walking down the short hallway leading to the main bar. Halfway there he stopped abruptly. Squinting through the smoky cloud, Will watched as a newcomer entered through the front door. In walked the only thing more out of place in a tavern like this than a man in monkey and crocodile shirt: a man in a suit.
The room suddenly became much quieter and the patrons who had been hanging around the front door quickly dispersed, giving the newcomer a wide berth and Will a clearer view. Will’s insides turned to ice.
Agent Isaiah scanned the room with eyes that no one dared to meet.
Will dropped his head down and ducked back into the washroom. Despite the drinks Gable had been feeding him all night, Will was now sober as a judge.
Cursing a blue streak that would make Tina proud, Will frantically searched the washroom for a window, a vent, anything. There were none. No exits that he noticed from the hallway either. The front door appeared to be the only way out.
Cornered or not, he was not going back to Dr. MacGregor. Will scanned the washroom to see if he could find a makeshift weapon. Unless he planned on beating the Man in Charge with a urinal puck, there weren’t a lot of options.
Will opened the door a crack and peered down the hall. The once-lively patrons were now quietly studying either their glasses or shoes; even the burliest of sailors wilting at Isaiah’s inspection.
And then Will saw it: a fuse box on the wall, a few feet down from the washroom door. If he could just get to it and kill the lights—before Agent Isaiah killed him of course—he may just have a shot at slipping out in the dark.
Will took a deep breath and opened the washroom door fully. Please don’t let me die in this t-shirt.
Plot Hinge: Earth Hour – March 31, 2012
For this week’s Plot Hinge, we turn to WWF’s Earth Hour campaign. Each year millions of people, businesses and governments around the world turn off their lights for Earth Hour as a way of raising awareness about energy conservation and climate change. This year, Earth Hour falls on March 31st from 8:30-9:30 pm. How many people have their lights out on Violet Street in Ottawa, Ontario (where I’ll be this Saturday) will decide if Will can successfully kill the lights in the tavern.
- If, on March 31st at 9 pm, more than 50% of the houses on Violet Street have their lights turned off for Earth Hour, then Will will successfully flip the main breaker and plunge the tavern into darkness. He will then be able to escape undetected and meet Gable at Pier 113 the next morning.
- If, however, less than 50% of the houses on Violet Street have their lights turned off for Earth Hour, then Will will not be able to reach the fuse box before Agent Isaiah spots him.
Chapter 10 goes live on April 5th! How do you like the story so far? Feel free to leave comments below or email me your thoughts, questions and ideas. And if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe in the top right of the screen to receive email notifications whenever a new chapter is posted.
And don’t forget to turn your lights off on March 31st for Earth Hour!