Runner – Part IV

This is the new episode of my ongoing serial narrative “Runner.” (Here’s a link to Runner – Part I if you haven’t read that yet.)

Read the post below, or you can download a PDF from the link here. (The PDF will contain Parts I-IV.)

***

Part IV

After the initiation, Deacon brought me and the other recruits to the House. It was a grand, old building that served as the society’s headquarters. Deacon told us more about the society as he drove, “We’re not a secret society. You’re allowed to visit the House, but let us know if you’re bringing friends. Several members live at the house including me.”

He stopped the van in front of a large Victorian-style house.

“Structurally, we’re similar to fraternities,” Deacon said. “We have officers that settle disagreements between members … we’re family, but this isn’t paradise.”

The building was old and ornate. No garage door.

Evan met us when we walked inside.

“Welcome to the House!” he said. “Come on inside. We’ve got drinks in the fridge. Help yourself.”

He shook hands with the other three recruits. He shook my hand then guided me into the house. We passed by a stone fireplace in the living room.

“I had a good feeling about you,” he said. “I’m an unofficial recruiter for the society, and over time I’ve developed a precognitive ability to find the right people. Some recruits fade after a couple of months. They get bored. But if you stick with it, you’ll find out how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

Evan told me that a senior member would teach me the basics of parkour. Gradually, I would learn the tenets of the society.

“We’re dedicated to community,” Evan said. “Isolation is a slow-working poison. Together we are strong.”

He pointed at a thin man with dreadlocks.

“That’s Paulo. He’s one of the best traceurs I know. He’s not afraid of pain. He was a meth addict before. We took him in and helped him quit. Deacon stayed with him while he detoxed.”

He gestured upstairs.

“Paulo was driven crazy by the withdrawal. One night, he snapped. He attacked Deacon, arms flailing. Deacon just seemed to absorb the blows, and then he grabbed Paulo and pulled him to his chest, holding him in this huge bear hug. Paulo was screaming gibberish, spittle flying everywhere. It was the craziest thing.”

Evan shook his head, “He despises the Hatters.”

“What are the Hatters?” I asked.

“The Mad Hatters are a gang that controls the drug traffic in town. They’re like a fraternity for students previously involved in gangs. The Hatters were the ones that supplied Paulo with his drugs. You’re a freshman so I’m not surprised you haven’t heard of them. Watch out for those hombres, they’re vicious.”

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