Liam could not remember when he had last slept.
Maybe it had been years. Who cared?
What he did know was that when others chose to close their eyes, he wandered.
Everything had taken place as he had been told. He had a sanctuary of his own that had been provided with a computer. He had a chance to catch up with both his homework and the present world. He was a boy who should have been given the chance to do well. Now he would seize the opportunity.
Liam attended school on a drip-feed basis.; whenever he needed to feed, he dripped. If all went well, he would become a bricklayer or something else that would require him to work with his hands rather than his head. Good physical labour would be his saviour, either that or a stint in the army. The boy who sat in front of the computer knew that the army would be his destination, but it would be an army that answered to him and not one that fought wars on foreign soil for the betterment of all.
At first, it had been the television with its late shows stretching off into the morning. He would then sit through the endless nonsense of chat shows and re-runs. Sometimes he would watch The Learning Channel and that was more rewarding. He found himself drawn to programmes about history, physics and especially religion. He loved religion and would pity those who now chose to ignore it.
If there was one key to the secrets of everything, then the Internet would provide it.
Since its beginnings, men had worked tirelessly to give their knowledge for free. At school, the teachers placed restrictions on access to this, believing that the boys would try to find sites for sexual yearnings. Many of them appeared obsessed with the female form, naked and defiled and Liam thought this was good, but he didn’t waste his time on such matters. Liam was a learner. He had always been one yet showed nothing of this to those who called themselves teachers or adults. Liam learnt in secret, scouring the world for everything that could be of use to him.
Since he had moved in with The Leatherman, Liam had grown in understanding. The body in the armchair had fascinated him. Its controlled preservation was nothing short of a miracle that awaited his own coming. During darkness, when only the light from his monitor fell across the room, he felt the eyes, long since turned to dust, watching him, pleading for release. Time would come.
Somewhere along the way, he had mastered many skills that enabled him to quietly contact others who had been waiting for him. He established websites that reached out insidiously across space, drawing in those who too didn’t sleep. Many were young like himself, but a significant number were older and some were very old. They had been waiting for him and word was spreading of his arrival like echoes in a sewer.
Soon, his nerves tingled,soon.
Liam had recently taken to wandering the streets. Moving like a shadow along the unwanted hours that people threw away. He loved the illicit mutterings of this time, of the groans of sleepers, the scuttle of feet belonging to creatures that ventured out beneath sight, the plotting of acts whose names could only be whispered. Liam was a nefarious tourist, glimpsing a kingdom that could soon be his. The Piper had been right. Everything was turning towards his promise. Everything was moving along the lines that had been drawn so very long ago. Everything, that was, until the two new boys turned up.
He knew of them before they had arrived. He had been warned many years before but had forgotten.
There are those who will not follow you. They are afraid of you, but they will stand against you. If you let them live, they will attract others from both sides of the void. You must find them before they find themselves. I have tried. There is something protecting them, something stronger than I have encountered before. You must break them.
Now those words flooded back, filtered through his plans and forced him to act. The night was his and he moved with the assurance of a nocturnal. He developed his other senses for detection. Sound and smell became his allies as he moved about the streets. He had checked the obvious routes, but someone had been at the school files and had ensured that there was no address for the boys. He had decided to have them followed, yet they seemed to pre-guess his plans and always managed to avoid their pursuers. It had never occurred to Liam that they would come with their own assistance. If you want something doing well, do it yourself.
Anyone who may have been on the same street as Flowers at this time would probably not have seen him. They would have heard the rush of movement as the floor became alive with sleek, dark bodies, but they would not have sensed their death. The city was alive with the whisper of vermin and a flood of expectation. Where he walked, there was a vague tune which entranced them to the core. A shared memory was being revealed and their gatherings were moments to rejoice.
This was what had been foretold, the bringer of The Piper, and now he wanted something from them. He wanted those who would stop what would happen, he wanted to end the line of those who had inherited the hesitancy of the lame boy so long ago. He wanted the Resistors.
Before long, he would have them.