| Frona |
“What you’re telling me is absolutely possible, Karl. You only have to give it another try, this time with a different ratio.” I paced the room where my most trusted circle was gathered.
“Frona, I understand your frustration and desperation,” Karl was interrupted by his twin, Heidi. “And impatience,” she added.
“Yes, that, but you have to know that there are over a billion possibilities and ratios that we can still try however, already a million that we have tried and failed at. I just think this is a waste of our time and resources.”
“Both of which we are short of, and can spend doing something else, like amassing help,” Heidi completed.
“I hate it when you two do this,” I said, frowning at the twins.
“What? When we are always right?” Heidi cocked an eyebrow.
“Or when we complete each other’s sentences?” Karl added.
“Both,” I harrumphed, looking more like a five-year-old throwing tantrum rather than a person my age.
“This combination,” I pointed, totally gambling on just a random ratio, “try this, and I would put an end to this research if it doesn’t work out.”
“And what makes you so sure that this would be it?” Heidi asked, being her sensible self.
I straightened my back with a confidence I didn’t feel, “call it a hunch.”
Hope was leaving me as the days passed. The results of our research were nowhere in sight while time kept slipping from my hands like the grains of sand, no matter how tightly I tried to fist it.
‘If something doesn’t work soon enough, it would be too late,’ I thought to myself.
The concern must have shown on my face because Graham, the quietest of the circle sighed, “something will come up soon, Frona.”
“Soon?” I threw up my hands in exasperation, “what if this ‘soon’ is after everything gets out of hand, Graham? You all know how precarious the situation is. Just yesterday -” I stopped short, rolling my lips in.
“Yesterday what?” Leonie, the final member of our group, inquired.
All four of them had me pinned to the place with their intense stares.
“He sent a message through one of ours yesterday.”
The room fell silent as if a bomb had just dropped and they were taking in its aftermath. Which, in a way, it had.
“What did he want Frona?” Leonie asked again.
“Surrender or our heads.” I sat on the chair, slumping with the weight of the secrets that I carried.
Despite having these four people whom I trusted the most, I kept a lot inside to protect them. But I wondered now if that would be enough to keep them safe and alive.
It was not that I didn’t want to live or didn’t want them to live. I knew what kind of person our enemy was. I knew that even though surrendering would keep us alive, the weight of all that the world would have to face because of our failure and our cowardice would be too much to carry. Not forgetting the fact that the enemy might not keep their word and still carry out the threat of taking our heads even after we surrendered.
So I was equally relieved and tormented that they agreed with my thoughts.
“He knows full well that it is not going to happen. We’ll never surrender,” Karl said to which I nodded.
Heidi asked what everyone must have been thinking, “how long do we have?”
The four of them stood up abruptly. Signs of distress clear in each of their body language.
“We have to do something,” Graham pulled at his already messy hair.
I had this weird urge to smirk, even if it wasn’t the right time for such a reaction, “why do you think I have been pushing you so much today?”
“Well you shouldn’t have left this important piece of information back, Frona,” Karl retorted back.
“Five days,” Heidi said cancelling her brother’s anger with her calm, “we will try all the combinations possible, day and night.”
“But-” Karl interrupted, not ready to let go of his rightly placed anger.
“What, Karl? It’s not like we have to eat or sleep. However, we have to succeed in this or we’re all dead either way.”
“Okay then,” Leonie rubbed her hands together, “let’s not waste any more time arguing over this.”
I felt something akin to pride spread through my undead body as I took in the four of them get to work so diligently.
“Are you gonna help or not, missy?” Karl, ever the sass master, chided, not taking his eyes off of the flasks and tubes.
“Hand me that flask,” I smiled as we all got down to work.