Chapter Ninety: How Long Must We Sing This Song?

“So, do I really want
to know the logic behind kidnapping Belle?” Daniel asked one sunny
afternoon as he stood with Judith Jofrey on Pleasant Dam.
“Demon wanted revenge
on Peter for alerting the authorities to the presence of the Ruby
Suit.” Judith replied. “He put a hit out on Belle.”
“And your sister just
happened to be the first to get to her?”
“Not really. It's a
long story. Suffice to say your friend annoyed quite a number of
people during her ordeal.”
“Knowing Belle I'm
not really shocked.”
“She's your friend!”
“Doesn't mean she
can't bore me to death.”
Judith did her best to
suppress a giggle. “Anyway, you're in luck. Everyone seems to be
united in their annoyance with her, for now.”
“And that means?”
Daniel raised an eyebrow.
“No mischief for a
while.” Judith replied.
“I doubt that.”
Daniel frowned. “The Troupe are always looking to sell their drugs
and cause trouble. The Crusaders will probably be looking to strike
you guys first. Roger will still be pissed about Mark.”
“Do you EVER take a
break?” Judith wrapped her arms around his neck. “You don't have
to be the big leader all the time.”
“Can't help it.”
Daniel hugged her back. “Unfortunately when you're the oldest of a
rag-tag group of kids, you become their leader and you'll always be
their leader.”
Judith looked up at her
boyfriend. She felt like there was something that he wasn't telling
“A-And then…Roger
just shoves me into the Trouper…and he's all “She's YOUR problem
now!” and ran off!” Belle howled with laughter as she told
Charlie how she had talked herself to freedom. “And the Trouper
just looks at me, which is when I told him all about the beginnings
of the Haunted Maze Trouple fifty years ago in Brisvegas…”
“Which I do NOT need
to hear about!” Charlie laughed with her.
“I honestly don't get
them.” Peter shook his head, looking up at the tree where the
friends were chilling out.
“I don't either.”
Thomas sighed.
“I'm glad you're safe
though. I was worried there for a while.” Charlie said as the
laughter died down.
“I was fine. I just
figured if it was enough to get you to tune out, it would work on
anyone.” Belle grinned. The grin slid off her face as she turned to
look at the slowly flowing creek.
“You okay?” Charlie
Belle sighed.
“The government
doesn't care. No one cares except us. Why are we even bothering?
Nothing's going to change.”
Charlie blinked.
“All the government
cared about was getting their suit back. The people here are still so
willfully ignorant. Why don't we just give up?” Belle continued.
“Belle, these things
take time.” Charlie told her. “The government might not care, but
they can be made to care.”
“The government has
people campaigning in the opposite direction to us. People with money
and power and influence. We can't fight against that.” Belle
“We CAN!” Charlie
cried. “It's been done before!”
“Everything is
working against us.” Belle sighed. “And what do we get for our
trouble? Attacked. Kidnapped. Ostracized.”
“We're gaining allies
Belle! It's hard, it's slow, but we have to do it!” Charlie took
her hand. “We have to make a difference. This isn't just a
Pleasantville problem, but if we can fix it here then maybe others
will take heart and fix their problems too!”
Belle turned to look at
the creek again.
“We need to do this
together Belle. You, me, the Knights, your Dad…we all need to keep
working together.” Charlie begged her. “If Chuckles and Giggles
give up, your Dads arguments start ringing hollow.”
Belle sighed again.
“Please Belle?”
Charlie looked quite pathetic. “Without you, I'm nothing.”
Belle laughed, scaring
“YOU are nothing
without me?” She scoffed. “Charlie, if it wasn't for you I'd
never get off my butt to do anything! I'd be too busy procrastinating
all day!”
“You got your degree
by yourself!” Charlie pointed out.
“As a form of
procrastination. If I had a choice to stay at University and do
nothing but study I'd take it in a heartbeat. Alas, I have a best
friend who keeps me on my toes, who motivates me and who keeps me
optimistic.” Belle grinned.
Charlie smiled back.
“You're right of
course.” Belle looked towards the creek again. “I just get
disheartened so easily.”
“It's not going to be
a quick process. You've said so yourself.” Charlie put a hand on
her shoulder. “I mean, you've told me a million times about how
certain interests lobby the government and that most people don't
care as long as it doesn't affect them. Well, we're gonna make them
Belle grinned at him.
“Wanna go out and
make ourselves visible?” She asked.
Charlie replied.
So Chuckles and Giggles
headed out into Pleasantville…a wise move in the end!

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