Chapter Two: That Fateful Day.
Belle was allowed to keep the kitten, and soon it was as if they'd had Meow their whole lives. She had the bad habit of chasing Woof, much to the amusement of many.
School soon started, and both children were enrolled into the local private school. Unfortunately, the Jones siblings were also enrolled, as were their posse, and soon Belle and Charlie came to dread school. Worst of all, Mr. Jones, their father, was filthy rich and often donated funds to the school, which made the teachers brush a lot of the siblings behaviour under the carpet. Still, Belle and Charlie had each other, and they had their tree, which the Jones siblings found impossible to scale.
The years went on, the arguments between the Masters men continued, the world continued to be envious of Thomas Begly, and the two children grew into young teenagers. Life was pretty routine, until the day that changed everything.
The children were sitting in the school auditorium for the weekly torture session, a.k.a the Friday Assembly. Belle stared at the principal, trying to remain conscious while he waffled on about school uniform policy.
“You're drooling.” Charlie whispered. Belle shook herself.
“How are you awake?” She whispered back, keeping an eye out for the teachers.
“I heard something outside.” He whispered back.
At the age of 13, Charlie was already starting to grow muscular like his father, helped by his karate and ju-jitsu classes. Unlike his father on the other hand, he looked like he was going to get his mothers height. As Peter said, “The boy will be built like a brick out-house!”
Belle, at 12, while not as muscular as Charlie, certainly had an athletic build, thanks to being a gymnast and her father insisting she learn how to use a gun properly. She was also very fast, and still looked like a clone of her father. As Betty said, “That girl is going to knock 'em out all over the place!”
“I think you're just hopeful.” Belle replied, just as a teacher spotted them.
“HEY, you two, want to share with the rest of us?” He snapped, glaring at the pair. Sunny Jones, sitting next to Belle, smirked. She knew there'd be tears.
Belle stammered. "Uhhh…"
What would have happened next no one could say, because there was a loud bang, and the room was stormed by men in balaclavas and wielding machine guns.
“Oh no. The DVG!” Sunny groaned. “DVG” stood for Death Valley Gang, a thuggish organisation that specialised in robbery and drugs. The thugs quickly knocked out the teachers and one of them held up the principal, while the others kept their guns pointed at the children.
“Masked Revolver!” Sunny shuddered again. Masked Revolver was the leader of the DVG, and a superior marksman. His modified Colt.45 was special, in that instead of six chambers, it had a “lucky number seven” chamber as well. It was said that he never had to use the seventh chamber, as he could destroy any opposition in 6 bullets. The only people who had seen the face behind his black and red mask were dead…yeah, you get the picture. He's a real bad guy.
Masked Revolver only stood by the door however – it was the boy who was holding up the principal who seemed to be running the show.
“Pick up the phone, and call the Head of the School Board. NOW.” The boy commanded. He followed the principal to the phone that was on the wall near the stage, his gun pointed at the older mans back the entire time.
Belle was terrified. She gripped Charlies hand tightly. Were they doing to die?
“Nawww, how cute is this? The Dumb Valley Gang are holding up a SCHOOL!” They heard someone gloating.
“Rack off Marcus you clown!” Masked Revolver snapped at the new intruder. Mobster Marcus with his long, flowing hair was sitting on one of the skylights, peering in at the action.
“Oh great, not the Mob too.” Sunny was really starting to get on Belles nerves. Everyone knew who the Mob were – the Mobsters of Misneach were lead by Mobster Marcus, a proficient swordsman whose five-foot blade was just as feared as the Lucky Seven Gun that Masked Revolver held. It was rumoured that if you dared blink in front of him you'd find your head gone before you opened your eyes again.
Rumours in Pleasantville have a habit of being far fetched.
“My my, such temper! Such petty thuggery.” Mobster Marcus chuckled. “Well, while you play with the kiddies, we're going to go and play with the big boys. Around about now, the Pleasantville National should be overrun with my men.”
“We'll see who's gloating after your men have been shot down by security, whereas I'll escape with a decent ransom from parents who are scared for their little babies.” Masked Revolver grinned.
Mobster Marcus smirked and left.
Charlie looked at Belle. Who had disappeared.
“Belle? Why are you under your seat?” Charlie quickly ducked under the chairs with her.
“They got distracted. So I hid.” Belle replied.
“YO, TJ, over here!” Daniel called to his friend.
“CATCH!” TJ bombed the football in Daniels general direction. Daniel grinned and was about to grab it, when little Sammy leapt up on his back and took a speccy.
“Sam!” Daniel laughed, chasing the boy around. He quickly handpassed the ball to his twin sister, Tammy, who kicked it to her best friend Petunia.
“Come on guys, you know I can't play football!” Petunia groaned. Poor Petunia was rather on the overweight side, and much preferred reading about medicine and practising to be a nurse than roughing around with her friends.
“Yes you can 'Tunia, you just got to get up and run!” TJ thumped her back.
“Thanks, Theodore.” Petunia shoved the ball back into TJs stomach.
Daniel sighed. He was the oldest at 14, with short brown hair, thick glasses and bright blue eyes. TJ was next at 12, a pale kid with dark black hair who liked to dress in a Gothic style. Petunia was 11, with long red hair, freckles and green eyes. Finally there were the 10-year-olds Tammy and Sammy, with jet black hair and dark skin. The five were inseparable, and were some of the few students who attended the run-down public school.
“DON'T call me Theodore!” TJ snapped, snatching the football away.
“Naw, don't fight guys!” Sammy whined.
“Yeah, how about we all go and get some ice-cream? I still have my pocket money.” Daniel suggested.
“I love ice-cream!” Petunia cried.
“I can't complain about that!” TJ grinned.
“Ice-cream! Dan, you're the greatest!” Sammy hugged his hero.
Tammy smiled and clapped. A car accident when she was little had robbed her of her voice, but she was highly intelligent.
“Remember, we need to stick together, even if it's daytime there are some Gangsters and Mobsters around.” Daniel reminded them of the ever-present crime threat.
“Actually, I haven't seen any of them around today. Must be bank-robbing day.” Petunia piped up.
The five made their way along the street, when they saw why the coast was clear.
“They're holding up a school? How low can they go?” TJ fumed. He looked towards the small police force gathered at the front of the school. “Why isn't the whole force here?!”
A loud explosion came from the city.
“I'd say because the Mob robbing a bank.” Daniel pointed out.
TJ glowered. His father was an officer in the police force, and TJ thought the world of him. Alas, unfortunately the senior constable was a man called Wallace Dingbat who was completely useless.
“I can't believe it. The DVG will more than likely get away with this because that MORON is in charge!” Petunia looked at the school building. Parents were starting to crowd around the school, all of them in various stages of fury and fear.
“My little girl is in there! I have to save her! Let me GO!” Peter Masters was trying to pry himself free of Bill and Joe, who had him pinned down.
“Mate, you can't do anything, if you get killed what will she do?” Bill tried to calm his older brother down.
“She's my little girl!” Peter cried.
Joe looked towards the building and growled. “We have to wait.”
Peter sunk to his knees and put his scarred face in his hands. Two scars adorned his face, one across his eye and the other across his nose. Both were earned defending Belle. His father had three scars, one across his eye, one across his nose and the other across his lips. Bill got the one across his eye while climbing out of a womans window trying to escape her husband.
Daniel and the others walked away from the scene. None of them felt like ice-cream any more.
“I wish we could do something.” Petunia said.
“Anything!” Sammy kicked at a stone, missing and stubbing his toe. “OW!”
Daniel looked back towards the building.
“Maybe we can sneak in around the back, get the Gangsters attention, and maybe then the police can come in and save everyone?” He suggested. “Nah, too dangerous.”
“Yeah.” Everyone agreed.
So they went and did it anyway.
Belle was thinking. It was the family fault, her father told her, they were cursed to be forever thinking. It was a symptom of rather high IQs.
“Anything yet?” Charlie poked her.
“No.” Belle snapped. The DVG hadn't noticed the two children out of hundreds missing thankfully. The two remained hidden behind some old stage props while the Gangsters kept an eye on the kids, waiting for their ransom.
“If they got distracted again, we could sneak up behind them and take them out.” Charlie said. “Then everyone else could escape and we'd be heroes.”
“Charlie, there are at LEAST ten of them out there! There is no way on Earth we stand a chance.” Belle pointed out. “You're only thirteen, and I'm younger still.”
“I have the Improbability Clause on my side though.” Charlie said. The Improbability Clause was the term the Begly family used to describe their often sheer dumb luck, usually after a Masters had pooh-poohed their plans.
“You're kidding me.” Belle facepalmed. “And would you mind telling me where this distraction is coming from?”
Suddenly there was a loud banging on the windows. Someone was throwing rocks at the South wall!
“TAKE THAT YOU GANGSTER SCUM!” Daniel called out from underneath the bucket on his head, obscuring his face.
“Leave us kids alone!” TJ threw rocks behind his hockey mask.
“You're mean and cruel!” Petunia called from behind her surgical mask.
Sammy and Tammy just threw rocks as hard as they could, both wearing handkerchiefs over their faces.
“Get 'em you Mighty Knights of the Last Order!” TJ cried, hitting the DVG boy who was running the show squarely between the eyes.
“You were saying?” Charlie grinned at Belle. “They've left one of their guns over there, you can shoot them!”
“You might have the Improbability Clause, but you know that the Masters Code says I'm not allowed to kill!” Belle hissed back. The Masters Code was five rules that every Masters lived by – no killing, always respect your elders, always wear something nice, never hold back and believe.
“Yeah, but the Code says to never hold back too, you can still take their legs out!” Charlie pointed out.
“Oh dear…CHARLIE!!!!” Belle hissed as Charlie rushed out to attack. She followed him, grabbing the gun he mentioned and firing wildly.
“What the-?” Masked Revolver cried as he ducked underneath a barrage of bullets, only to have a rock fly through the window and smack him on the head.
“It's working!” Sammy cried.
“Sir Dark, get the door!” Daniel commanded, looking at TJ.
“Sir Dark? As you command, Sir Lionheart! Sir Hyper, follow me!” TJ grinned at Daniel and beckoned for Sammy to follow him. Together, the pair managed to get one of the doors open.
A barrage of kids streamed out of the room to their relieved parents.
“Watch out!” Petunia knocked Tammy aside as one of the Gangsters fired. “That was close Lady Silent!”
“Thank goodness for you Lady Luck!” Daniel helped the both of them up. “Knights retreat!”
Meanwhile, Belle and Charlie were trapped, taking on Masked Revolver and the boy, who turned out to be Masked Revolvers son. The other Gangsters, sensing defeat, had bolted, most being apprehended by the police outside.
Charlie was making short work of Revolver Jr, the other man having run out of ammo. Belle meanwhile was in trouble. Masked Revolver had pulled out the Lucky Seven Gun, and had already fired two bullets.
“You have Stormtrooper Syndrome or something?” Belle asked.
“Not cool Belle! We're Trekkies here!” Charlie snapped.
“Yeah!” Revolver Jr. looked annoyed.
“My apologies.” Belle bowed her head, before taking off with Masked Revolver in pursuit. Charlie was about to follow, when his foot was grabbed by Revolver Jr.
Belle foolishly climbed up the ladder above the stage, before realising she'd sold herself into a dead end. She looked at Masked Revolver, terrified.
Masked Revolver was having difficulty himself, he couldn't properly balance on the narrow walkways. He steadied himself to fire at Belle.
“It's over now brat!” He grinned. He fired, just as Belle dropped, hanging onto the beam for dear life. The bullet unfortunately hit one of the supports that held the beam up, dropping it about a foot causing Masked Revolver to fall.
He landed head first into the stage, killing him instantly.
“NO!” Revolver Jr. cried, running towards his father. “Where is it?!” He quickly searched the body, pulling off the broken mask. “Where is it!?”
The police quickly swooped in. Belle carefully climbed back down to the ground, when she noticed something shining under one of the curtains.
The Lucky Seven Gun. Without thinking, she shoved it into the pocket of her skirt.
She ran over to where Charlie was answering Officer Dingbats questions. It was mostly rubbish, Dingbat was clearly incompetent.
The two children were swamped by their parents, who proceeded to fuss over them.
“It's not fair Dad! How come Charlie and his family get the ability to completely circumvent logic, but all we get is a silly code of ethics?!” Belle complained as the group made their way back home.
“You're still young yet little one. One day, you'll come to appreciate the Masters Code.” Joe patted her head.