The Sentries

Unexpected guards to the rescue

They were placed at the top corners and the roof edges for a reason: to watch over the people below. The people below didn’t notice them, and just as well, for they might have been alarmed at what they saw up there.

The lead sentry, Toby, was tasked with calling out orders throughout his shift. The sentries spoke in code.

Silence meant just that, silence.

One yell and all was well.

One short and one long yell, a child was in danger.

Two shorts and a long and an elderly was in danger.

Three long blasts was a call for reinforcements from neighboring buildings.

There were other less frequent and less important calls, but the sentries could look those up as they needed to.

Unsung heroes they were. They made coincidences happen without people realizing it. They’d be cussed out for their actions, too, by the people below. For instance, when the three-year-old escaped his parents’ clutches and ran into a busy part of the parking lot, Samson was dispatched to blind the sight of an unaware driver. The driver honked and hollered a few choice words at Samson, but the child was safe and in the arms of her parents. Incidents like that were what the sentries lived for. It was what the Boss gifted them to do, and they were glad to be of service.

The chatter was loud and active among the Rank and File. Something was going down, the rarest of events. The call went out to be on extra high alert for the immediate future.  

The Rank and File were spread out in the parking lot, chattering as if nothing were the matter. No outsiders were able to detect a difference. How could they? When the chatter had picked up, an old man, stooped over and shuffling his feet, looked at his surroundings.

Perhaps he could tell something was going down. Who was he? Or perhaps he was keen to what was going down.

Naa, false alarm. He was just checking the traffic to cross the street.

Toby called out again to be on the alert. They needed more help desperately.

The yellow school bus pulled up to the entrance, and bingo, that was the beginning. Toby knew from experience that more than 60 kids of all shapes and sizes could exit that vehicle. At this point, Toby had no idea their ages or how many there were. If they were older than 10 or 11, the Sentries could go back to regular vigilance.

Field trip.

There really wasn’t a code for a bus, but the Sentries saw it, the Rank and File in the parking lot saw it, so they knew to shake off any slumber or feeling of sleepiness, and hone in on those kids.

Then Toby saw it.

Off in the distance, yellow school bus after yellow school bus. Nineteen buses total.

That was the reason for the heightened alert. That was the reason 422 crows were summoned to protect the museum parking lot that day.

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