We ran to my house. I expected to have a chase, but the tall man must have held his suited goons off.
We stumbled into my living room, and I locked the door. I ran to lock the back door as well. Kristy and the guy stared wide-eyed in confusion.
“Oh Brynn! I feel so weird! I don’t know what came over me, I heard myself say those things, and it felt right to say them, but then I got jealous of you, of him talking to you, and I couldn’t stop myself.”
“Kristy, it’s okay, he was controlling your mind.”
“Yeah. He can do that,” I said sourly.
“Wait. How do you know?” Kristy asked accusingly.
I grabbed some kitchen shears and cut the guy’s zip-tied hands.
“Look we haven’t much time. What’s your name?”
“Hale, we have to run.”
“I know. I’ve been running from him for a year, thanks.”
“WAIT! WHAT IS GOING ON!” Kristy shrieked.
“That guy is bad. I don’t care if he works for the FBI; he is the reason my Dad is dead. Okay?”
“W-What do you m-mean?” Kristy’s voice shook with sudden fear.
“He came here before, when I was little. I answered the door, and he scared me. He wanted my Dad. He took my Dad, to wherever. At first it was okay, he worked a few days a week away from home, made great money. Then he started staying away longer. One day we get this news. Dad was killed in a car wreck; burned beyond recognition. He was working for that guy, so that guy killed him.” It was the simplest explanation I could make it.
“So they want Hale to work for them?” Kristy was piecing it all together. Not only could she talk fast, but she could think fast. We looked at Hale.
“I guess so.” His eyes were confused.
“And I think they want me now,” I said.
“Why? You’re in high school!” Kristy was exasperated. She thought age would save us.
“Because I know too much! He doesn’t care if I’m in high school!” I grabbed a huge duffle bag from the front closet. I stuffed two blankets, one flashlight, and some food inside, running around the house with Hale and Kristy following behind blindly.
”Well you can’t leave now, those goons are watching,” Kristy pointed out.
“Crap.” I went to close the kitchen curtains.
“Girls? Is that you?” my mother called from down in the basement.
“Crap!” Kristy whispered, her eyes big as saucers. What would my Mom think of Hale?
“Yeah Mom!” I yelled. Best to just come out and introduce the newcomer, “Hey Mom, come meet Hale, his family is thinking about moving into Mrs. Lindley’s old house!”
My Mom trundled out from her room. “Oh hello! I’m Mrs. Washington, Brynn’s Mom.” She held out her hand for a shake. He took it. “I’m Hale. Nice to meet you.”
“Hale actually goes to our school now, and has the same science assignment. He’s going to borrow Kristy’s camera for his project. But we need batteries! I think I have some in my room.” The three of us made a hasty exit.
“Whew!” Kristy exhaled in relief. “Girl, you are good! Where’d you learn to lie like that?”
“I learned from the best!” I declare. “Now, to plan our escape.”
“Those suits will catch us if we leave right now.” Hale restated.
“No, I got it. First, we pack up bags for Hale and I, with food and such. We hide it inside this huge tote of mine. It is so heavy we ask if we can back your car into the garage, Kristy. We load the provisions, telling Mom they were for your 'project', and peel out of here, Hale and I hiding in back, ducking down.”
Kristy held my tote like it was full of bricks and eloquently told my Mother a lie. I was almost proud of her. “So may I borrow your garage?”
Oblivious to the dangerous men, Mom moved her car out and Kristy backed hers in. Overprotective as always, Mom walked beside her car to make sure she pulled in right. We shut the garage door.
Mom entered the house. I realized this would be the last time I saw her. “Mom?” I paused. She turned to me. “I love you.” Our eyes met. Surprise and joy mixed in hers, while sadness and worry invaded mine. She saw the worry and her aura dimmed. She knew we were up to something. “You kids be careful,” she warned. She had no idea how significant those last words were. I knew if I hugged her, I would spill out the awful truth. So I acted casual and turned towards the car. The door between the garage and my home closed behind my mother and I felt as if I were just shoved out of the nest too early.
I climbed in as Kristy opened the garage door. Hale and I ducked low in her back seat as she pulled out. The suited men were none the wiser.
Hale’s arm and leg were pressed close to mine. Despite the stress of hiding from enemies, I still got goose pimples thinking about his warmth against me. I tried to find his aura, being this close, but there was nothing. I stared at his arm. “Kristy, tell us when you’re on the highway.” My leg started to cramp, but I waited until we were safely out of the neighborhood and on the highway to get up.
“Where are we going?” Kristy asks as we climb up into the back seat.
“Train station.” Hale answers.
“Where’s that?” Kristy looks worried, “And why there?”
“I know how to get around. You can let me out there.”
“Hey, what about me?” I was not going to be left behind.
“We should split up. We’ll be harder to track.” Hale reasoned.
“You want to ditch me? I saved your bacon!”
“I don’t know why they let us go. They could have come inside your house and talked to your Mom..”
“No, they couldn’t have.” I was somber.
“They took my Dad! My Mom would know what was going on, would recognize that man.”
“Was that his name? He’d been to my house before. And she would turn him away. She would not let them take me.”
“You see how he controlled Kristy? He would do that to your Mom. He stopped chasing us and I don’t like it. It means something much worse is on store. The government never gives up.”
“Hey why didn’t his power work on you?”
“He said I was a shield.”
“Oh. That makes sense.”
“Does it? I don’t even know what that means. What’s an aurist?”
“Kristy calls it my intuition, but really, it’s a gift like yours. I just never tell anyone about it because they won’t believe me.”
“I didn’t know I had any ‘gift’.”
“What do you mean, Brynn? You’ve been keeping secrets from me?!” Kristy interrupted.
“No, Kris. It’s how I know what people are feeling, or who they like and stuff. It’s more than just a relationship radar. I can see what people are feeling.”
“And you never told me?!”
“Would you have believed me?” We faced off, my eyes begging her for mercy. Hers squinting behind a bright red aura that faded as she calmed down. She thought as she drove, her mind racing.
“So, this guy Jasper, could tell that?” Kristy asked, turning away from me, upset now that she had reacted so quickly, and a little jealous of Jasper.
“Yeah,” Hale explained. “Jasper is the leader, but he can only influence your mind. They have another, a lady. I think she steals your power.”
Kristy pulled into the train station and parked the car. We both turned to look at Hale, the only one with a plan now.
“Hale, I’m wanted too. Let me escape with you. Teach me how to hide.” I grabbed his arm, begging him to take my offer.
Hale considered this. He thought for a long time, and I wished I could see his aura to know if his thoughts were in my favor or against. Finally he sighed, “Brynn.” My body tingled at the way he said my name. “It’s a lot easier to look out for and hide one person, but you have a point.”