An eerie silence filled the room while they waited for the two men to arrive and Melinda caught herself breathing more deeply to counteract the oppressive, suffocating feeling enveloping her. There were so many things she wanted to say but for whatever reason, couldn’t bring herself to open her mouth. She was still in awe of Tulkoy’s domineering presence and the malevolent look in her eyes. It was as though she was looking at an alien instead of her sister.
When the two men were brought in, Tulkoy turned to face them. They were so intent on focusing on Tulkoy that neither man noticed Melinda standing off to the left.
“You wanted to see us?” the taller of the two asked.
Tulkoy cleared her throat. “Have you found the woman?”
“No,” they replied in unison.
The taller man spoke up again. “We couldn’t get through the passage that she used and by the time we discovered she was gone and got to the entrance, she was nowhere to be found.”
Tulkoy extended her right arm and pointed. “Is this the woman?”
The two men glanced at Melinda and the shorter man said, “You’ve caught her.”
Tulkoy laughed. “Caught her? We didn’t catch anyone. She ran right to us.”
“Why would she do that?” the shorter man asked, turning his gaze to Melinda again.
“Because she’s my sister, you idiot!”
The two men looked at each other their mouths agape. They turned back to Tulkoy their faces expressing shock and fear. “But…..”
“But nothing!” Tulkoy snapped at the taller man when he tried to speak. “On your knees now,” she commanded and waited for them to kneel before speaking again.
When Tulkoy spoke again, her voice was drenched with venom. “Do you two imbeciles have any idea what you have done?”
Neither man spoke.
Tulkoy nodded to the Overseer. He stepped up to the two men, grabbed a handful of hair in each hand and yanked their heads back.
With their heads pulled back, Tulkoy reached out and squeezed each man’s face, her fingernails digging into their skin. “You dare to remain silent when I’ve asked you a question?”
“No,” the taller man grunted through gritted teeth.
She let go of his chin. “Then speak up.”
He moved his arm up to rub his face, thought better of it and dropped his hand by his side. When he spoke his voice was raspy and strained from where the Overseer had his neck stretched back.
“We have set the observance behind schedule now and we apologize.”
“You disgust me,” Tulkoy spat angrily.
She glared at the smaller man. “Can you do any better?”
He swallowed hard. “We didn’t know it was your sister. Had we known, we ….we wouldn’t have ……”
Tulkoy slapped his face, the loud crack resonating off the walls. She started to walk away then whipped around with a vicious look on her face. “Take them to the vault and give them a taste of their own medicine until I can decide what to do with them.”
“Please, Tulkoy, don’t do this. We didn’t know. We still don’t know. Don’t punish us for something we didn’t know.”
She glared at him and put her hand up to stop the others from dragging him out of the room. “I’m not punishing you for that, you fool. You have jeopardized every one of us. You and your sorry friend have jeopardized the Dalkum by your stupidity.”
She waved her hand and the other men in the group hauled the two men away.
One of the women in the group stepped forward and when Tulkoy looked in her direction, she bowed and said, “If I may?”
Tulkoy waved her forward. “What is it?”
“I understand how those two may have ruined the Double Moon Observance, but how have they jeopardized the Dalkum?”
Tulkoy took a deep breath. “Have you not heard anything? That is my sister standing there. How do we continue with her now knowing what she does?”
The other woman looked past Tulkoy at Melinda. “Maybe she will join us and all will be fine.”
Tulkoy thought for a moment then nodded. “She just might at that. You have done well. Maybe I should put you in charge of the vault instead of those …..” she let her voice trail.
Tulkoy turned to the three men behind Melinda. “Bring her to the spare utility room.” She faced the others. “Wait outside near the windows and doors, just in case.”
The three men escorted Melinda to the spare utility room and stepped aside to let Tulkoy enter. Tulkoy reached for the doorknob and said, “You three position yourselves out here to where you can see this door and block the entrances either way. I’m going to have a talk with my sister.” She entered the room and closed the door behind her.
May 1, 2014