Chapter 18

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The loud roar of thunder woke me up. I groaned, the noise ringing in my ears and peered around the dark room.

"The electricity's out." I heard my mom whisper from beside me. I sat up on my elbows and threw the hot sheets off of me.

"Where's George and Alyssa?" I murmured, still trying to wake myself up. The rain pattered loudly on the window frame and lightning would flash every three minutes, lighting up the whole room.

"They went out into Sissy's room. She had ordered pizza and said something about having a pizza party." My mom coughed and I heard the sheets rustling as she moved around on the bed.

"Would you mind going downstairs and getting a glass of water for me?" Mom asked after another fit of coughing. She sounded reluctant, but I reassured her, reaching around on the bed and patting her hand.

I got up and slowly made my way out the bedroom, wincing when I stubbed my toe on something hard. I limped down the hallway and into the kitchen, the lightning which flashed across the rooms helping me slowly guide my way.

I finally reached the fridge and opened it. Grabbing the jug with filtered water I poured it out into a glass and then slipped it back inside.

"Rebecca?" Someone whispered my name and I gasped, almost dropping the glass. I whirled around to see Penelope holding a candle in her hand.

"You scared me." Penelope muttered. I raised my eyebrows.

"You scared me." I hissed. I sighed, glancing over her stiff shoulders. "Where are all the others?"

Penelope's eyes widened briefly. "They're in a meeting."

My curiosity reared it's head. I tilted my head. "Really? In Xerxes's office, I assume?"

I watched as Penelope swallow nervously. "Yes. He doesn't want to be disturbed." She blurted anxiously. I glanced down at the water in my glass, forcing a smile.

"Of course. I'll just give this to my mom." I gestured to the glass in my hand and brushed past her. I could feel her eyes watching me suspiciously as I left.

The water was warm when I gave it to my mom, but she didn't mind. She had found a torch light in one of the bedside drawers and had turned it on, so light was now in the room.

She licked her lips afterwards and placed the glass on the table.

"How are you feeling?" I asked.

"A little tired and weak. I'll be fine." She released a tired yawn and laid down on her pillow. "I could do with a few more hours of sleep."

I got up from the bed after watching her fall asleep. I took the torch light and left the room, closing the door behind me. I walked down the hallway, towards Xerxes's office. I could hear the noise of voices coming from inside and I quickly switched off the torch light, less someone realizes it.

I pressed my ear to the door and listened to the conversation. Immediately I recognized the voice of the mayor. He sounded frantic as he rambled on. Xerxes's deeply irritated voice cut him off abruptly.

"Keeping all of that money for ourselves isn't needed." Xerxes snapped. "You've seen how they work. They deserve some sort of pay so they can eat and continue to work."

I heard the noise of someone banging something on a table. "What made you change your mind, Xerxes?" My skin crawled as I recognized the voice. It was Gary.

"We had a deal, with specific rules set down. You went against it. You both did." Xerxes growled. "I am the Alpha and I say that they will have an increase in pay, starting from tomorrow evening. The other rules shall still be in place, such as punishment for disobedience and crimes they commit towards their employees." The noise of a chair scraping against the floor signaled that he got up.

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