The arendt files, p.15
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       The Arendt Files, p.15

           Ivan Rosemblatt
He kept them there for a half an hour, crouched down waiting to be sure that no one heard them and that if they did that they had fallen beack to sleep, which felt like an eternity to Mike as his thighs and calves cramped. Once they started moving progress was quick. They were able to skip taking off the bottom hinge by pulling the top of the door out and squeezing their way through into the basement. The porch light had eliminated most of their night vision so they waited again to make sense of the heavy darkness of the basement. After a couple of minutes they were able to start to start the outline of a maze of boxes, furniture, scrap wood, kids toys, and garden tools.“What a mess.” thought Mike. He almost said it out loud, he wanted too just talk and break the tension. “Well, I’d bet my last dollar that I have psychic powers and everybody else is having the the same thought. Can't stand a guy who keeps a fucking messy basement or garage for that matter.”

  He heard the sound of rustling and a hand fumbling through a backpack then the flashlight came on, Stacey had dampend the beam by holding a piece of oilcloth over it. It didn’t give off much light but they were able to see hand signals again. They put a hand on each others shoulders and made their way through the obstacle course until they were at the foot of the stairs. Stacey held his palm out and they stopped. He spread out his fingers looked at each of them and started to lower his fingers counting down. Mikes heart began to pound ferociously and sweat immediately started to pour from his under arms. Each of them had a specific task. The had gone over it countless times and practiced as much as conditions would permit.

  As soon as Stacey last finger went down tucking into a fist everything changed. From extreme caution and silence reality shifted to a massive charge of energy. Just the sound of the four of them climbing the stairs sounded like the roar of a crowd, like it would wake up the whole neighborhood. Over the long night his mind had wandering back and forth from present to past to future, now it was focused completely in the moment and heard his own breathing loud and clear and could see the entire space around him shift around him with every step he took, then they were in the house.

  He looked over to the left and saw the front door and the living room for a moment. They rounded the basement door turning to the right. Ahead, just past the steps to the second floor, were two doors at the end of the hall. Slim, who had been just behind Stacey, detached himself from the group. It was his job to keep the kid in his room and he stood tall imitating every guard he had ever seen in a movie.

  “Jesus lord help me be able to do this.” Stacey was already heading up the stairs, shifting into high gear, taking the steps two at a time. Rick was right behind him. Mike dipped a little and put spring into his foot to catch up with them. Stacey slipped at the top of the stairs, he recovered quickly but that put the three of them right on top of each other as they rounded the the top flight of stairs.

  Stacey grabbed the round finial on top of the post where the last step met the railing to pull and pivot himself around. Mike craned his neck to see past them. He saw the mayor walking through the bedroom doorway out into the hall, he had been looking down at his hands tying his robe; as his head came up Mike was able to make out the succession of expressions that washed over his face. There was only the slightest trace of confusion which quickly shifted through deepening levels of comprehension, loss, and despair. He did try to turn back into the room to warn her. Stacey was on him before he was even able to turn all the way around, punching him right in the solar plexus hard. Mike heard the breath rush with a distinct gushing sound he remembered well from his days on the high school football team.

  Rick had been a wrestler in high school; he took the mayor's legs out from under him, dropping him right down onto the floor. Stacey stumbled and fell on top of them both giving Mike the space he needed. He rushed forward reaching his arms out, using the door jamb as a support to jump over his friends and push off, so that he was able to pivot and shift in mid air in such a way that he was already moving right for the bed when he landed. It was his job to neutralize the wife. He had seen her around town. She wasn’t a small woman; just about as tall as him and pretty thick, she also had maybe a hundred pounds on him. He knew she was capable of making a ruckus, he had seen her around town in different stores being indignant and complaining loudly. If she started to do make noise it was his job to silence her and he was terrified of what he might do, or not do, if that happened. He didn't known whether he would be able to hurt a woman on purpose like that She was sitting up in bed in her nightshirt wide eyed with terror.

  He had heard her a moment earlier asking in a confused voice what was going on, now she opened her mouth to yell and he dove. He landed on top of her, one hand over her mouth. With the force of his jump his head inadvertently, slammed into his own hand snapping her head forcefully back onto the headboard. He hadn’t intended it but was grateful it happened. She was disoriented, hurt and scared, which made her docile. She started to whimper. He reached back with one hand and grabbed the thick strip of cloth he had saved in his back pocket as he pushed her head back and down with the hand he had over his mouth, forearm leaning hard against her jaw. She wasn’t struggling, at least not yet. He put the gag in her mouth and tied it behind her head, reached back and grabbed the rope from his other pocket, turned her onto her stomach straddling her with his legs and tied her arms behind her back.

  Stacey had made him practice tying techniques to the point of exhaustion. It had annoyed him to no end but now he couldn't be more grateful as his hands moved efficiently and without thought. That was that, in a moment he was done. He pulled her up, holding her with one hand by the arms tied behind her the other one grabbing her hair, opened up the double doors of the closet directly behind them and shoved her down on the ground into it. He pointed his index finger at her signaling for her to stay there. Once he closed the door he pinned it shut with chair wedged under the handle like he had seen in the movies.

  A wave of relief rushed over him. “I did it. Thank god.” There was a moment of pause. How strange. He was still there, in the house, everything was still happening. He took a deep breath. He was trembling, shaking, elated and disgusted with himself. He had seen the terror in her eyes. She was frozen like a deer in the headlights. She had no idea what was going to happen. He locked her in a closet. What was about to come was probably worst than she imagined. Out in the hall that they had the Mayor under control, hands tied behind his back as well, and were lifting him up off the ground, moving him into the bathroom through the door on the other side of the hall. Mike moved forward to join them. Rick went going in first this time, guiding the mayor in his purple robe with with white polka dots through door, Stacey followed and turned on the light.

  That light changed everything. It was like they snapped from a dream world back into reality. They were the people they had been their whole lives. The bathroom was big but with the four of them in there it was cramped. Rick had the mayor kneel in the big claw foot tub and then stepped in as well and stood behind him. The kneeling man looked back at and fort at them, eyes and head darting, terrified. Before he had been the mayor he had owned one of the bigger hardware stores in town, a plain, boring, self important numbskull. Stacey got down on one knee as he took off his backpack and set it in front of him. He pulled out large bowie knife, a small hacksaw, and a folded up piece of paper. He stood up and unfolded the piece of paper, then, after hours of silence he spoke.

  Chapter 16

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