“Power and Chaos” is the new Tribe book. It is based on the Tribe and tells a pretribe story of Martin (Zoot) and Bray. Over the next few weeks we are going to put up a chapter of the book for you – a few pages at a time.
Power and Chaos by Paula Boock – Chapter 8 – Part 4
Thankfully, inside the hall things appeared more normal. If you disregard the teachers standing around the edges in their face-masks, of course. But the DJ was calling the moves from the stage, the lasers were spacey and the sound was great. Troy and I grinned at each other. This was a good thing to do. I knew lots of people and as long as I steered clear of Bray, who I’d glimpsed at the other end of the hall, and the teachers decided to open the doors. That encouraged the Brotherhood to renew their chanting, but soon the music drowned them out. We’d only been there for about three-quarters of an hour when I saw Trudi walk through the open doors, and Troy shot me the big wink. She looked fantastic. She was wearing a sleek low-cut top and had done something to her hair so it shone black in some lights and deep red in others. And she hadn’t come with anyone. Which meant that Bray hadn’t asked her. Maybe Troy was right I had jumped to the wrong conclusions, was losing my perspective when it came to Bray. I eased my way through the other dancers to her. She was looking around, lost and a bit worried.
‘Trudi!’ I called.
She saw me, smiled and came over.
‘You came after all,’ I said, and she nodded, a bit embarrassed.
‘Do you want to dance?’
Apart from sort of putting my arm around her at the basketball, I had never really been able to touch Trudi, let alone enjoy her touching me. We were a bit awkward at first but it was like heaven having her that near. Her hair had a kind of sweet nutty smell and I could feel the warmth of her body near mine. It was heaven, and it was hell too, if you know what I mean. But for now, it was enough. I just smiled and smiled, moving with her and breathing her in. The DJ must have been sent from heaven too because just as I felt Trudi begin to relax he played a smooth sexy number and she nuzzled my shoulder as I held her close. Mum and Dad, Bray and the virus and sectors and codes and JarvellŠit all melted in the music and the moment. It seemed to be made of nothing, as brush-awayable as Trudi’s soft hair in my face.
And that, I think, was one of the last happy truly happy moments in my life. I think of it now and it seems so fragile, so false even, all that music and colour and sweetness. But at the time it felt strong, as if nothing could ruin it. I really thought all those good feelings could be trusted, like a corny American sit-com, that good would win out over evil in the end. But that was Bray’s way, Dad’s way. It wasn’t the way of the world, as I was about to find out.
I felt the tension in Trudi’s back first. Just under her shoulder blade a muscle spasmed, then her whole back went rigid and she stopped moving. I pulled away and saw what she had seen; Bray dancing with Ebony. There was no mistaking the feeling behind that dance; Ebony’s whole body was a curve into Bray’s, and his arms encircled her hips, which moved in a slow, sensuous figure eight.
Trudi’s face turned from shock to hurt; she wrenched herself out of my arms and raced out the door, through the mob of protesters and into the night. I did one of those cliched trots after her, calling her name pointlessly, before turning back to the open door. Against the kaleidoscopic lights of the hall stood Bray, Ebony beside him.