Hello Allan

I typed quickly. I had heard the others come up behind me and read his e-mail over my shoulder, and their collective gasp. Then I changed my mind and deleted the draft. Maybe it was better to just not reply at all, then he might leave me alone.

Then a screen popped up, flashing a few times. It was an IM from Allan.

Are you going to tell me

I knew what he was getting at. Well, obviously I didn’t know what he wanted specifically. It was better for me to go along with him and find out exactly what it was before I did anything that might lead him on to us. Though I didn’t see how that could happen, since I was pretty much sure that he was on to us already.

That depends on what you want to know

It was three seconds before a reply flashed up.


That’s hardly specific

I don’t have to be. You know what I’m talking about

You’ll have to tell me

There was a long pause for about five minutes. I heard Willow whispering agitatedly to Meena. She sounded as if she was getting aggressive.

“Come on, calm down.”

“I don’t know what his game is, but we have enough to deal with right now. There’s four of us against what seems like the world at the minute -”

“Exactly, and you’re going to let the world win if you let him get at us -”

“All we have to do is track him down and shut him up, it’s not that hard now we have William on our side -”

“That’s what he wants!” Meena shouted. She had a hand against Willow’s shoulder as if stopping her struggling forward towards the door. “Get a grip, Willow! You can’t take everything out on the people willing to get in your face!”

“What are you saying?” Willow demanded, shrugging her hand off. She was wearing a light blue vest top and washed-out denim three-quarters, but with her tangled dark blonde hair and large biceps she was intimidating enough. Meena was taller and more stringy. I wondered who would beat the other in a fight. I hoped it wouldn’t come down to it. The computer pinged again and I turned back to it.

I’m tired of your feigned ignorance

Let’s turn this the other way

I think you should tell me everything you know and what you think you’re doing

That made me angry. I was tired of his playing around with half-submerged threats.

And why would I do that?

I waited angrily for his answer, not really caring, because I knew I wouldn’t tell him anything.

I propose an exchange

An exchange of what?


You tell me what I asked for

And what would I get in exchange for that?

I wasn’t feigning anything this time. I didn’t know what he was trying to get at. There wasn’t really anything he could give me.

Your story

I don’t know what you’re talking about

Of course you do. Think harder

What can you tell me?

Your family

What do you mean?

You know how much I have

There are some things that you don’t know

Your mother won’t ever tell you

And your father

I waited, but he didn’t type anything else. I hated to have to prove that I didn’t know anything about what he was talking about. I typed with trepidation.

What about my father?

I could imagine his smile.

Have you never wondered what he’s doing?

I can tell you

I know what he’s doing

You think you do. I know better

This conversation is over

I decide when it ends

I don’t think so

You’ll regret this

I signed out quickly and smashed my hand against the socket, switching it off at the wall. Two seconds later, downstairs the phone rang.

It kept ringing.

The End

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