A sort of sequel to yesterdays story. It's more of a continuation, a part two, of it.
Pandim paced around the detention room with his hands clasped behind his back. Those hands couldn’t be seen most of the time because of how he was walking around that room. When they were seen they looked like they were connected. But it didn’t appear they were.
“What am I doing here. I’ve been here for hours since I was brought in illegally. I haven’t done anything wrong.”
“That’s not what we have discovered against you.” A female voice could be heard all around that room.
Pandim stopped pacing and darted his head about that room. After about a minute he finally zeroed in on what he was looking for. He walked up and came face to face with a small communications size box in the upper corner. “I know what you are thinking. But I didn’t kill Braind.”
“It sure does appear like that’s exactly what you have done.” A second later three Locals came into that room. The last couple of words of that comment could be heard coming from both that box and one of the female Locals, Chandi, who just came in there.
“I don’t know what happened to Braind. At least I don’t after he went under that sand.” Pandim turned to face his accusers.
“Please, be seated. We need to talk about this problem.” Sinde, the other female Local, gestured toward a single chair on one side of a table. Pandim sat down in that chair while the three Locals sat opposite him.
“What do you want to talk about? I have nothing to be afraid of because I haven’t done anything wrong.”
“It would go a lot easier on you if you just admit that you killed Braind.” Deant, the male Local, sat between the two female Locals.
“We don’t know why you did it. But we know you did kill him. The proof is still caked on your arms.” Chandi leaned forward and spun Pandim sideways toward them.
“I got that sand on me because I tried to save him from going under it.” Pandim jerked himself free. And ended up on the floor. He needed help to get back in his chair.
“Why did you do it?” Sinde asked. “Was it a revenge prank going wrong or did you do it because you got mad at him? Is that it? You like to pull pranks, but you don’t like to receive them.”
“It wasn’t me this time. Braind tried to do a prank against me. And as usually he fell into it, literally, himself. Then he said something touched him and he went under the sand. I thought he was still trying to pull off the prank as best as he could – until he went completely under it.”
“We know you killed him. And sooner or later you are going to admit to it. The sooner you do that the better. You also need to tell us where you hid the body. Is it still in that sand trap?” Deant leaned forward to join his partners.
Dead, no pun intended, silence happened for several minutes. The three Locals stared at Pandim and he stared back at them for several seconds each. Suddenly, Pandim had a big smile on his face. “Braind has finally done it. He has pulled the ultimate prank on me. That’s it isn’t it. You are all part of it aren’t you.”
“They aren’t. But I am.” Jarre sat back in an overstuffed chair and looked at the video monitor in front of her. On that monitor Jarre saw Pandim and the Locals. From the angle of them the feed must have been coming from the box on the wall.
Muffled mumbling made Jarre turn around – and take the mouth shutter out of Braind’s mouth. “Why are you doing this? Where are we? How did I get here?”
“This is my Retribution Day. The day the revenge pranks stop one way or another. I am getting tired of this prank war that you and Pandim have been doing for several years now. It ends today.”
Braind had been sitting up in the corner of a military sleeper. Also with his hands behind his back. Which made it difficult to wiggle his way off that sleeper. He also had a lot of trouble stand up. Braind fell back down four times before he finally got to his feet. “I’m not the ultimate prankster. You are. How did you do all this?”
“With a little help from my friends in the underground water system. You were right about the government cover-up. But not about the ‘monsters’ living underground. They are just disfigured humans thanks to the Pollovine Plants.”
“You have been underground! I thought you said you were afraid of the ‘monsters’ living here.”
“It was all a lie. I have known about the underground village for years. At least the one here. There are others like it all over this planet.”
For several minutes, no one said anything. Then Braind spoke first. “How did you pull this prank off?”
“The same way you put the sand into that hole. Through the access tubes that lead to the surface.
“Don’t you have a Local relative in a nearby village? Is that the reason why the Locals here are helping you with this prank?
“The Locals here aren’t helping me. They really do believe Pandim killed you.”
“How is all this going to end?” Braind asked.
“All Pandim has to do is say that he will never pull another prank again. Then you will suddenly come back from the dead.”
“What about me?” Braind asked.
“Since your pranks usually end up with you being the victim I figured you wouldn’t mind stopping doing them. Am I wrong.”
It took Pandim several more hours. But he finally said those magic words. Pandim was tempted over the years to pull just one more prank. He never did it though.