Disclaimer: See Part 1
“It's Friday. That means they're coming home.” Olwyn jumped and down while clapping.
The front door opened up. “Olwyn,” Sadie said. “I'm going to put our dirty laundry in front of our door. Follow the directions on the tag. Do it now.”
“Hi, Momma,” Olwyn said. “I macro missed you.” Olwyn attempted to hug Sadie but was stopped.
Sadie held Olwyn at a distance. “Do it now. And get cleaned up. Put on your pink sundress with the white shrug. You have thirty minutes.”
“Momma? Are you interested in what happened? That…that crazy lady kidnapped me.”
Sadie carried the suitcases into her room. Oliver came in with more suitcases. “What did your Momma tell you to do?”
“To do the laundry. But I macro missed you, Daddy. I have to tell you what happened. Then I'll do it.”
“Talk later. Chores first. Did she tell you to get cleaned up?”
“That's, yes sir.”
“We don't have time right now.” Oliver continued to the bedroom, closing the door behind him.
Olwyn bit her lip as she picked up the laundry. “I love you.” A moment later, I think they're done. I don't see clothes being thrown out anymore. They're home now. God brought them home. Thank you.
The washer swished and the clothes piled the kitchen floor. That says it'll be forty-four minutes before it's done. That'll give me time. I bathed already. Olwyn went into her room and closed her door. The water's on. I bet Momma is inside. I'll scrub her ba—The door's locked. Olwyn attempted to turn the knob, pulling on it.
The requested dress was put on. She heard the door unlock. “Momma, you locked the door.”
“Wait until the steam clears, then fix your hair. Pull it out of your face.” Sadie left the bathroom and locked the adjoining door.
“They're tired and sick. They need time and lotsa love. That's what I'll give them. They'll be better in no time.”
Olwyn left her room to check on the laundry. The tags says gentle dry only. Where's gentle dry? Maybe delicate? I'll use that. That'll make them happy. Maybe nobody did anything for them that's why they're like that.
Dryer going, she returned to her room. The mirror is clean. No more fog. Picking up a brush, one two three four five. . . ninety-eight ninety-nine one-hundred. Now I can put it up. I'll do a braid and have it hung in the middle.
“Olwyn are you done?” Sadie asked.
“Yes, Momma.” Olwyn left the bathroom.
“Close both bathroom doors and your door too.”
Olwyn turned around to do as she was told.
“Now come with me. I want you to meet someone.”
Olwyn followed Sadie out to the front porch.
“This is Beth Morrison,” Sadie patted another woman's shoulder.
“And this is her son, Tucker Morrison.”
“We met at school already, Momma.”
“Really?” Beth asked. “He never told me any such thing. I would've remembered him telling me about meeting such a beautiful young lady.”
“Thank you, ma'am,” Olwyn said.
“Well,” Beth said. “Since you two already know each other, how about a date tonight. He'll pick you up at seven o'clock and take you to Seashore Restaurant.”
“Mom,” Tucker said through clenched teeth and wide eyes.
“Good then it's settled,” Beth said. “And wear that dress. It's perfect.” Beth tugged on Tucker's hand, both leaving Sadie and Olwyn on the front porch.
“Remember young lady, a boy doesn't like smart women. When in doubt, say I don't know.” Sadie leaned back into her seat, and rested her hands on her stomach.
That sounds strange. “You are coming along with me. We could--”
“We will stay home,” Sadie said. “You and Tucker will be going out. He knows how to drive a car. Never assume he doesn't.”
“Yeah but, Mr. Tillens said--”
“Go inside and stay there until Tucker comes. I don't want you getting dirty.”
Oliver stepped through Olwyn's door. “You are seventeen now. Today is your birthday as a matter of fact. Your Momma and I will be leaving again the day after tommorrow.”
“I'm coming along too right? It'll be macro exciting.” Olwyn bounced on her feet.
“You are staying home. I know it's a big change for you, but the fact of the matter is…we've been coddling you too much. This summer is about teaching you how to be on your own.”
Oliver walked out of the house. Olwyn stared at the door with shifting feet. She turned around and went into her bedroom, sitting on the bed while staring at the doorway.
The sun shone a tunnel of light when her door opened again. “Olwyn,” Sadie said. “It's time for lunch. Make us something.”
“Yes, Momma.” Olwyn looked in the refrigerator, I'll make sandwiches . Three sandwiches were laid out on the table with a bowl of salad to pass around. “Momma, Daddy, I have sandwiches and salad ready.”
Everybody sat down at the table looking at each other. The clinking of forks and the clattering of glasses on the table were the only noises. Oliver and Sadie left the table while Olwyn watched them leave.
The laundry was folded and put on her parents' bed; Olwyn walked to the living room and turned on the TV. Channels were flipped five times before settling on a documentary about the history Augustus Caesar. Two hours later, the TV turned off and she walked outside feeling the breeze blowing through.
“I guess you're ready,” Tucker said.
Olwyn opened her eyes at the source of the voice. “I though you weren't coming until seven o'clock.”
“Go now or not?” Tucker put his hands on his waist. “This wasn't my idea.”
“We will go now I guess.” Olwyn walked down the hallway, “Momma? Daddy? Are you here?” All of the doors were opened, and the clothes were gone. Looking out the back patio, “Oh there you are. Tucker's here, and he wants to go now.”
“Go now then,” Sadie said, sipping a glass of wine.
“I love you,” Olwyn said. “I know you're tired and maybe a little upset because no one took care of you like I can. But that's okay, because you're here now. Tomorrow we have time to spend together.”
“Go now,” Oliver said. “We'll talk about your birthday tomorrow.”
“Good night, Daddy.” Olwyn went to her closet and picked up a purse. Placing her keys inside, she left the house.
Olwyn follwed Tucker to the driveway and waited on the passenger side of the car.
“What, your hand broken?” Tucker asked.
“A gentleman always opens the door for a lady.”
“Get in.” Tucker slid into the driver's seat.
After getting inside the car, “You need to behave like a gentleman. Daddy always opens the door for my Momma.”
“That's the way it works. We're here.” Tucker turned off the engine and got out of the car. Olwyn watched him walk up the steps to the front door going inside.
She walked through the front door and up to the hostess desk, “Excuse me, ma'am, but there was someone who walked in here. Light brown hair just below the ears, he's about a head taller than I am. He was wearing a black t-shirt and baggy tan pants.”
“Oh yes,” the hostess said. “I remember him. Come with me.”
They snaked their way down steps and between tables, stopping at a table in the middle of the restaurant.
“Excuse me, ma'am,” Olwyn said. “But could we get a table by the window?”
“I'm sorry,” The hostess said. “Right now, there are none available. It would be about ten minutes. Did you want to wait?”
“No,” Tucker said. “This'll be fine thanks.”
“All right,” the hostess said. “Enjoy your meal.”
“I wanted a window,” Olwyn ground her teeth.
“And I want to eat,” Tucker said, putting up the menu.
Olwyn picked up her menu. Nothing spicy. Eww, spicy Cajun shrimp. No thanks. Teriyaki glazed salmon. No thanks. Shrimp Scampi. Eww, too much garlic.
“Good evening,” the waiter said, putting down cocktail napkins, “Some iced tea, a lemonade perhaps. We make our own root beer.”
“We'll have a Cola thanks,” Tucker said.
“I'll have a water instead. Thank you,” Olwyn said.
“I'll be right back.” The waiter nodded his head before he turned around to leave.
“You should have asked me,” Olwyn said.
“Slam jam time.” Tucker hit the table. “You are no angel. You have everybody believing you are. Spouting the words of God. Oh, look how smart she is. Ain't she terrif? That don't work with me because I know the truth. The only angel you are is the devil's angel. That's it toots. Take it.”
“I demand to go home. I macro hate you.”
“I'm macro terrified so much I wet my pants. Shut up and pay attention.”
“Here we are,” the waiter said, putting the drinks on the table. “Are we ready to order?”
“We'll have the teriyaki salmon with rice pilaf,” Tucker said.
“Soup or salad?”
“We'll have the salad,” Tucker said. “Ranch on both.”
“Actually,” Olwyn said. “I'll take the steam pot of seafood instead please wth lemon and butter. I'll have the salad with viniagarette dressing please.”
“I'll be back with the salads.” The waiter left the table.
“I'm going to the bathroom.”
Olwyn looked at her watch, five minutes passed.
“Here are the salads.” The waiter put the food on the table.
Is he going to come back? He already macro irritates me. Well. I'll eat anyway. I am major hungry. Salad plate finished, the waiter came back and picked up the plates.
“He won't be coming back. Could you cancel his order please?” Olwyn asked.
“I'll take care of that.”
A few minutes later, the waiter returned with her dinner.
The bill paid for she left the restaurant. At the edge of the parking lot was a set of steps. At the bottom, she turned left and continued to walk down the street.
The trees shielded the moon, though strands of light shone between the leaves. She walked into a powdery mist, coughing and waving it away. Five more steps and she collapsed alongside the road.
“Mmm. Where?” Olwyn turned her head, it's two-fifteen in the morning. The ground is soft. Time to sleep.
A noise sounded . Why is there knocking on the tree? Olwyn lifted her head looking at her pillow. “I'm home? How?”
“Time to wake up,” Oliver said. “It's six-thirty. We'll talk when you get to the kitchen.”
An hour later, Olwyn trudged into the kitchen. “Good mor--”A large yawn later, “Good morning.”
“Good morning,” Sadie said, smiling. “It's your birthday celebration day. We'll spend time on the beach today. Then tonight, we'll grill up some food.”
“That sounds major good,” Olwyn said. “Uhm. I had to use my card last night.Tucker left me at the restaurant.”
“Hurry up and eat,” Sadie said. “Then change. Then we'll go out. Hurry hurry.” Sadie ruffled Olwyn's hair.
“Yes, Momma.” Olwyn ate the pancakes set on the table. Her dishes washed, she changed clothes.
“Which way do you want to swim, Momma?”
“How about if we circle the house?”
“That's difficult to do,” Oliver said. “Unless you were granted the gift of moving mountains.”
“Ok,” Sadie said. “Wiseguy. As much as we can. How's that? And to make this more interesting…we'll have a race. The loser has kitchen duty.”
“I guess that means I better major win.” Olwyn ran into the water and started swimming. Up and down both sides of the house three times and up on shore. Olwyn hit the banister, “I win!”
“You win huh,” Oliver said. “I guess that means we get kitchen duty. It's not too late to trade though.”
“Nuh uh,” Olwyn said. “I am major not trading.”
“Okay,” Sadie said. “Let's see. Grilled vegetables with a fresh green salad.”
“That sounds major good.”
“Hey! Where's my steak? A man's gotta have beef.”
“It's Olwyn's day,” Sadie said. “We agreed.”
“Not even a burger?”
“Come on Ollie,” Sadie said. “We'll get cleaned up. Then you can help me get the food ready. I'll shower first.”
Olwyn sat on the bed facing the bathroom. Laughter and banging echoed through the closed door. A half hour later, the water turned off and both doors unlocked.
“It's your turn,” Sadie said, standing in the doorway.
Olwyn closed both doors and locked them. It's what Momma did and she seems happy when I copy her. That's what I'll do. It's what God wants me to do.
“Oh, I love the smell of roasted vegetables,” Olwyn said. “It smells major good.”
“Well,” Sadie said. “We have zucchini, asparagus, tomatoes, and onions. We'll let these cool a bit, then mix them with a dressing. It'll be good with the fresh greens.”
“Oh that sounds major good. I can't wait. God made vegetables for ladies to eat.”
“Yes he did. He created vegetables for the ladies and meat for the gentlemen. Because it's the gentlemen that needs the extra weight to support his family.”
“God does wonderous things,” Olwyn said. “I remember you telling me that the reason there are rules to follow, is that God…in all his wisdom…needs rules too.”
“That's why we have them,” Sadie said, removing the vegetables from the grill. “We'll set them aside for a few minutes. Then we'll mix.”
Three people sat around the patio table. Sadie smiled while Oliver smirked. “Mmm, oh, Momma,” Olwyn said, pushing away her plate. “That was major good. As usual.”
“It would have been better with meat,” Oliver said, drinking beer.
“Come on,” Sadie said. “We need to get cleaned up.” Sadie moved her eyes in the direction of the kitchen.
Oliver stood up from the table with plates in hand.
Olwyn followed him inside.
“We need to--”
“We need to what, Momma?”
“Nothing for you to be concerned about,” Sadie said. “Go to your room and stay there. Your daddy and I will be leaving very early tomorrow morning.”
“I could come too. You know I--”
“You heard your momma,” Oliver said.
Olwyn bit her lip and lowered her head when she walked down the hallway.
Olwyn dropped her towel on the chair before going out into the ocean.
“Before you go in.” Kallistrate approached the front patio. “There is something I'd like to show you. Something that I believe will change your mind about a lot of things.”
“Why are you here? You macro ruin everything. Why?”
“Yes you major do. Go show your major useless daughter.”
“That won't work this time. Why? Because I learned that when you can't push back physically you push back verbally. For most people it does work and with me it did work for a time. Until I stopped to analyze.”
Kallistrate approached further. “You hit the most sensitive areas, knowing the kind of reactions you will receive. Fear? Your parents aren't here for you to hide behind. To run to when you feel you're being threatened. I'd say fear is the most likely answer.”
“No I'm major not. Just. . . just get out.”
“Ah,” Afton said. “So you would be the one that caused all of this upset.”
“Afton, I told you to stay in the van.” Kallistrate turned her head in Afton's direction. Olwyn could see Kallistrate's fingers clench the waistband of the shorts she was wearing.
“I came to help.”
“There are some things that take time. I thought you learned that.”
“Fine.” Afton threw up her hands and walked away.
“You know where Pipperelle gets her patience from. Let's go in and get changed.”
“God will throw down lightening bolts and burn you,” Olwyn said.
“Come on.” Kallistrate held out her hand.
She has long fingers. I bet her hands are cold. No I won't go. Olwyn headed in the direction of the water.
Kallistrate put out her arm and held her close. “It's okay. Come on. We'll go inside and get changed.” She nudged Olwyn from behind. Olwyn looked back at every step, closing the door after Kallistrate.
“Let's see what's in your closet.” Kallistrate looked in the closet. “Here's a tank top and khaki shorts. It's a hot day today. These will keep you cool. I suggest tennis shoes. The ground we'll be walking on may be a bit rough.”
“I don't wear those. They're not lady like.”
“That's what Pipperelle told me. Afton couldn't stop laughing when she heard that. You have ballet flats though. That will do, although you'll probably need to wash your feet later.” Kallistrate picked up the shoes. “Size three. I have size three. At least Georgie does.”
“Put your flip flops back on. I'll tell Georgie to bring her old shoes. Good thing I didn't donate them yet. She hadn't worn them and she grew out of them.”
Olwyn got inside the van, sitting in the backseat, Kallistrate in the driver's seat and Afton in the passenger seat. The car was silent. The occassional tick of the blinkers was the only noise.
The wooden sign read Zianis State Park . The engine stopped and Afton got out of the van. “There are many people living here,” Kallistrate said, as she held the door open. “The people you see outside… and the ones you will hear below. They are the forgotten ones that use the tunnels as their shelter. Let's go.”
Olwyn stepped out of the van, following Kallistrate into a tunnel that reached over her head.
“I have the shoes, Mom,” Georgie said.
“That's my girl. Olwyn, come up here. There's enough light for you to see. Take off those shoes and put Georgie's on. They are clean.”
After a moment, Olwyn walked around Kallistrate and took the shoes.
“How do they fit?”
“They fit fine. Thank you ma'am.”
“I'll pretend you said, Mom.” Kallistrate's shoulders shook as she held out her hand.
Olwyn heard footsteps running ahead. The space got narrower as she bumped into Kallistrate, stopping to let her walk ahead. The light dimmed into nothing. Water splashed at her feet and ther was an odor that permeated her notrils, even though she was breathing through her mouth. She felt the wall, smooth and cold, a little damp. Somebody stopped as a grinding noise rose.
“Come on. It's a little bit further. These tunnels are dark. It's that way for a reason though.”
Banging and tinging surrounded Olwyn, the deeper she went.
“Do you hear that?” Kallistrate's voice echoed.
“That's one person talking to another. It's their own telephone system so to speak.We'll talk more when we get there.”
The odor disappeared but the air hung on her like a wet blanket. She could feel goosebumps on her arms and legs.
Olwyn bumped into something.
“It's all right. It happens.”
Something made a grinding noise, Olwyn stepped through, feeling her way with her feet. She looked ahead and a dim light shone at the end of the tunnel.
“This is where the forgotten live. This is their home. Despite what history has taught you, Zianis was not founded by a greedy businessman. It was founded by a woman.”
“No it wasn't.”
“As a matter of fact it was. A woman by the name Blythe Zianis, daughter of one of the most powerful families in her time. She left home because of the differences between her and her father. One night, she told her family that she found someone. She didn't mention the name, but right away her father assumed it was Archibald Carstairs. He was set to be the next Governor. Power and money always go hand in hand. The two together would be a terrific match. Blythe couldn't take it any longer, and told the truth.”
Olwyn stood on a platform overlooking a great room. Red velvet draperies hung in front of her. Classical music in the background, and candles lit the space. “Wow. I never knew.”
“Nobody does. To continue the story, Blythe finally told her father at a dinner hosted by the Carstairs. Her father stood up and said, ‘I am very proud to announce the union of my daughter to your wonderful son.' According to her logs, it took everything within her to keep the wine down instead of spraying it on Archibald, who too wanted to shower his guests. At least so she guessed. ‘Father, this is not the proper time to make such announcements.' Her father didn't hear her plea, so she stood up and said, ‘Father, I cannot tell a lie. It is with honor in my love for another that I say it is not Archibald. It is with Madelyn Hays.' There were screams and ladies fainting.”
“A lady would never make such an announcement at a dinner like that.”
“She felt she didn't have a choice. Something needed to be said.”
“Why are you telling me this? What would be the reason?”
“I'm getting to that. Be patient.”
Olwyn blew her bangs, and leaned on the railing.
“Her father threw her out of the house. She lost her family and the family fortune. In desperation, she went on board a pirate's ship. She rose through the ranks by learning and doing anything and everything.”
“What happened to Madelyn?”
“Madelyn found her later. They needed to be together. So, using the art of being obvious, they cut her hair short, and put her in men's clothes. She went from Madelyn to Matt. Nobody realized there were two women on board. If they did nobody cared. They spent five years at sea. Only going on shore when necessary. They came back home and lived here until their death.”
“How? Her father was here.”
“By that time, she was known as Raven. Blythe Zianis died at sea. They dug these tunnels with their hands and whatever digging implements they could get. One of the things they found here was a precious metal. It's properties are unlike any we have. They were fashioned into coins, and what makes them special is that they are tracable using special equipement.”
The coin. That's the coin I found .
“These tunnels were set aside for the people called bums, vagrants, or homeless. It gave them shelter without the demands that the rest of the world had. They grew into an entire network with entrances and exits all over town. The sherrif's office, the courthouse, the hospital, the beach… anywhere you could imagine. It's been used through out the centuries until after World War II. Someone, we are not sure who, had built an air exchange system to keep fresh air flowing in. We don't understand the technology. We only know it works. The generators are solar powered. No electricity is involved unless there is an emergency and then we have the power to tap into the city's power supply.”
“So how did history change? If what you say is true.”
“It's the truth all right. How we know is because we have her logs. As for history changing, it was the only way to save face. It would have been embarrasing to be recorded as the family who had a daughter who fell in love with another woman. It wasn't done in those days.”
“So what's the point?”
“The point is, if you look deep enough, the truth is below the surface. Sometimes you have to dig, work hard to find it.”
“How did you get her diaries? They're precious to any lady.”
“That was my last point of this brief history lesson. I am a decendant of Blythe Zianis. Charged with protecting the people who call this home. Charged with protecting the innocent.”
“Why bring me here?”
“That brings me back to my first point. I brought you here to learn the truth. The truth that can only be found if you dig deep enough.”
“Mom, Mother needs you,” Pipperelle said.
“All right,” Kallistrate said. “Take care of Olwyn. She's still dazed.”
“I will.” Pipperelle walked up seven steps and held out her hand. “Come on. I promise I'll keep my yap shut if you want. Mom can get long winded.” She motioned Olwyn to come towards her. “It's all right. Come on. I promise there will be someone to lead you out. You won't be left alone.”
“Yeah but, Momma and Daddy will be looking for me. They'll be macro worried.”
“We know for a fact they won't be coming back for several days. Come on.”
Olwyn walked down the staircase until she was nose to nose with Pipperelle. “Why me?”
“I can't answer that. That's for mother and mom to tell you. Sorry.”
They walked together turning left here, turning right there, walking straight ahead to a hidden doorway. Pipperelle pushed on a wall and it opened.
Olwyn, step-by-step, walked into the room. View screens on both walls showing pictures of people and landscape. Three people at a console towards the back of the room, keys clicking and phones ringing.
“What is this place?” Olwyn asked, looking around.
“This is our control center,” Kallistrate said. “This is how we know what's going on.”
“Good morning,” Afton said. “I want to apologize for our first meeting. I was grumpy and I'm sure you were stressed about finals. Not a good explanation. As a matter of fact it sounds more like an excuse. But we are here now to tell you about you.”
Olwyn looked at Afton, raising an eyebrow.
“Ok,” Afton said. “First picture. Who is that? Look at the middle screen on the left wall, and tell me if you know who they are?”
A couple showed on the screen, both smiling. “The woman has blonde hair and brown eyes. Buck teeth when this picture was taken. The man has sandy brown hair with brown eyes as well. Perfectly straight teeth thanks to braces."
“No. I don't.”
“They are Sarah and Mace Sadler. Sarah Michaels was born in 1962 in a rural town, ten miles south of nowheresville. We say that, because while we know when she was born…we don't know where. We have a suspicion though that she was a runaway orphan. We haven't put together all of the clues as yet. There's still a few pieces missing. Mace Sadler was born in 1963 in Chicago. He was the son of a scientist who worked for a government think tank. We think out of boredom, he studied his father's notes.”
“Questions so far?” Afton asked.
“Why are you telling me this? I have nothing to do with them.”
“There is a reason,” Kallistrate said. “Be patient.”
Olwyn shifted her weight and crossed her arms.
“Let's bring up another picture.” Afton nodded her head. “Do you know these people?”
“The woman has brown hair and is without eyes. The man had no hair with gray eyes. Both of their teeth are striaght.”
“This is Marcia and Adam Setter. If we put the pictures together…See the resemblance?”
Both pictures merged, the skeletal system showing itself underneath.
“All right. Last one.”
“The woman has sandy brown hair and blue eyes. The man has sandy brown hair and blue eyes as well. Both have straight teeth.”
“That's my momma and daddy! How did you get their picture?”
“We can't say anything about that,” Kallistrate said. “And that's not the point. Sarah and Mace Sadler are Marcia and Adam Setter and Sadie and Oliver Abernethy. After reconstructive surgery, and the fact that they don't have finger prints, it's easy to switch identities, if you don't have their DNA samples. Which we do. They've been doing this for at least a decade now. We kno--”
“No! You can't say that!” Olwyn screamed, tears running down her cheeks. “They are my momma my daddy! How could you?” She ran to the door, hitting it with her fists. “Let me out! Let me out!”
“Olwyn,” Pipperelle said. “Let them finish. It will answer all of your questions.”
“Humph!” Olwyn turned around with crossed arms, tapping her foot.
“We know they have a farm in Kentucky,” Kallistrate said. “The reason for the farm isn't to raise livestock. It's a place for people such as yourself, to build their idea of the ultimate army.”
“We have strong evidence to suggest that this ultimate army will be made up of genetically engineered men,” Afton said. “They will lack emotion. They will know only obedience and will be indestructible.” After a moment, “To destroy the world powers.”
“No! She is my momma. I want to be just like her. He is my daddy! I want my husband to be just like him. I'm going to have a princess too so you can't say that!”
Another picture showed itself on the screen. “Do you recognize this man?” Kallistrate asked.
“He's the ugly bum by the bakery,” Olwyn said, letting her arms down. “He has awful scraggly hair and he never bathes.”
Pipperelle gave her a Kleenex. Olwyn wiped her face.
“That ugly bum works for them. He's a check point man. Every morning you passed by him, he reported that you walked by. Everything was normal.”
Music tuned on in the background, “Do you recognize this tune?” Kallistrate asked.
“It's my sleep music. It's Mozart. Daddy always put me to sleep with it.”
“There is a reason for that,” Afton said, typing something into the keyboard.
“English final answers are: number one, prepositional phrase. Number two, noun. Number three, adverb. Number four, incomplete phrase…”
“That was momma.”
“They put you to sleep with that CD because they were programming you while you slept,” Kallistrate said. “The mind has its vulnerable areas, and once you learn how to tap into those areas, you can have them do anything. Listen to this.”
“Every test will be major easy. It is not worth brainpower to think about. All of your answers were given to you by God. You love your momma. You love your daddy. You do not disappoint us. You will do exactly as you are told.”
“And it repeats itself.” Kallistrate typed something else into the keyboard.
“Nobody else is important to you,” Sadie said. “You do not need them.”
“It repeats again,” Kallistrate said.
“No! They didn't do that! You did! Everything is a lie! I want to go home!”
“We have other evidence to prove your actions were not your own,” Kallistrate said.
“I! Want! To! Go! Home!”
Beeps and tapping were the only noises heard, as she stared at Pipperelle, Afton, and Kallistrate.
“She's had enough,” Kallistrate said. “We've pushed too far. I'll take her home.”
“She needs to know everything,” Afton said.
“She will know everything but not now,” Kallistrate said. “If we push her any more she'll break.”
Olwyn turned her body away from the driver's side, watching the passing scenery. They stopped at her house; shoes flew as she stormed the steps and slammed the door.
She ran to her room and flew on top of her bed. Darkness blanketed her room when she lifted her head. Her hand pressed on the wet pillow. In the shower, her skin turned red and raw from scrubbing. The shower couldn't wash away the tears even as the water turned cold.
The following morning, she went to the room. “Momma said not to open it. But I have to. I don't have a key.” Olwyn turned the doorknob and it opened. Up the steps she came to a landing. All of the walls were covered with cardboard boxes from floor to ceiling. Under the window, there were boxes. “Those aren't stacked.” She grabbed a box and undid the tape. There were notebooks inside.
The first one: Journal 10 .
Preliminary test results for gamma show neural defect. Will not be suitable for spawning. Termination to happen within the next two hours.
She turned the page.
Preliminary test results for Omicron show suitability. Will be raised as Olwyn Renee Abernethy. Careful programming must occur to reduce liklihood of rebellion. Must have complete compliance in order for plan to work.
Omicron showing signs that programming is working. Will keep her isolated until fourteen years has been reached. Results will be monitored by testing.
Olwyn closed the journal and threw it in the box. She opened another one and saw writing with dates inside. “They were telling the truth. I am a lab rat.”
With Journal 10 in hand, she walked to Pipperelle's house and knocked on the door. She looked down at bare feet.
“I macro understand if you don't major want this. This is a journal that I found. It major proves everything you told me.” Olwyn held it up, still staring at the bare feet with toes wiggling.
“As interesting as my bare feet are,” Pipperelle said, “It might be better if you looked up?”
Olwyn shook her head, turning around to leave the property.
A few minutes later, the doorbell rang.
“Hi,” Kallistrate said. “Pipperelle gave me the message. How did you find the notebook?”
“I found it in the attic. Mo—I don't know what I'm supposed to call her.” Olwyn started crying.
“Call her what you always have. You need to present an illusion. Show me the attic.”
Olwyn stepped aside letting Kallistrate inside the house.
Kallistrate inspected the doorknob. “You didn't pick this did you?”
Olwyn shook her head. “Don't know how.”
“How did you get in?”
“The knob just turned.”
“Did she give you any instructions?”
“She told me not to go in there. Only she and daddy have the key.”
“Show me the box now.”
Olwyn ran up the stairs, pulling on a string to turn on the light.
Kallistrate examined the box, taking out glue and tape from a bag. “Okay. I'm going to fix this so by outside appearances, nothing was touched. Chances are they'll be returning any minute to doublecheck whether or not someone remembered to lock the door.”
Five minutes later, Kallistrate ran out of the house. Olwyn locked the door.
Olwyn walked into the kitchen, taking out the bread from the refrigerator. I smell coffee. They drink it. After checking the coffee maker, they're home. There's ten cups in the pot.
Sadie walked into the kitchen, “Fix me a scrambeled egg and a piece of dry toast. Your daddy too.”
“Good morning, Momma.” You need to present an illusion . “I macro missed you. Are you home now?” Olwyn put two eggs in a bowl followed by a drop of water. After sprinkling shredded cheese in the bowl, “I bet you and daddy had major fun.”
“Oh yeah,” Sadie said. “We'll be leaving at the end of the day.”
“But we could go together.” Olwyn finished the plates. “Here you are, Momma. I made that all by myself for you.”
Sadie picked up both plates and left the kitchen. The door clicked closed. She returned to the kitchen, “Forgot the coffee.”
Olwyn tiptoed to the hallway, watching the door close. Toast and juice later, the dishes were washed. Knocking on her parents' door, “Are you—“
“Here are the dishes,” Sadie said. “While we're gone, do the laundry and clean the house. We'll be back next week. Probably Friday.”
“Yes, Momma.” Are all of my responses preprogrammed? The dishes washed, and coffee put in a thermos, she left the kitchen and went into her room. I normally sit on the bed and wait. Did they program me to do that too? I'll get dressed to go to the beach. Is that a program? I want to get mad. I can't. It won't be part of the illusion.
She walked into the hallway and saw her parents rolling suitcases behind them. “I told you I locked the door,” Oliver said.
“We have too much in here as it is,” Sadie said. “I'd feel better if we moved it.”
She heard the door close, and walked into the hallway to look for them. Not in the sitting room, she opened each door lookng up and down, in and out of every room. “They're not here. Now what?”
Sticking her head outside the door, she heard the car leave the driveway. Flipflops on, she ran to Pipperelle's house.
“I don't know what to do.”
“Well,” Pipperelle said. “How about swimming? After that, how about food? Sound good? We could dunk Georgie if we get bored.”
“They won't be back until next Friday and they gave me cleaning and laundry to do. I don't know if I'm Omicron or Olwyn. I don't know.”
“Calm down calm down. Let me get mom. I think she's getting a team together to take apart your attic. We can do everything we need to do and they wouldn't notice a thing.”
“Oh. I'd rather get that done first.”
“Well, in cases like that, Mom does better if she's alone with her team. So that leaves us and a ten-year-old midget ready to meet Neptune.”
“Mom,” Georgie called. “Pipper is going to have me see Neptune again.”
Pipperelle laughed, “Gotta love having a kid sister. Gives you someone to pick on. Anywho, go get changed, come back, and I'll have Georgie tied, I mean I'll be ready.” She smiled and batted her eyes.
Olwyn ran back to the house. “First load in now.” She separated the clothes in separate piles. Laundry soap in, buttons pushed, “It's on now. When I'm done I can put it in the dryer.”
Swimgear in hand, she ran back to Pipperelle's house.
“Hey,” Pipperelle said, waving her hand in the air.
“Oh. OK.” Olwyn ran to Pipperelle at the shoreline.
They swam a few laps up and the length of the house.
Olwyn rose above the water being splashed in the face.
“I gotcha.” Georgie giggled.
Georgie disappeared underwater and Pipperelle rose up. “You wouldn't have seen a kid, shoulder length brown hair, gray eyes, looks like an elf?”
Olwyn stared at the flailing arms reaching above the water.
“Oh there.” Pipperelle lifted her hand.
Georgie ran, “Aaaaa! I'm telling!”
“Aahh,” Pipperelle said. “That leaves us all by ourselves. I'll race ya out to the buoy and back. First one back, gets what she wants.”
“I'll have you know, I won the last race.”
“Yeah. About that…” Pipperelle splashed water creating waves.
“Well…I was watching. And I have to say that, they let you win. They sort of stood back and let you go.”
Olwyn ducked her head and walked out of the water.
“Hey wait!” Pipperelle ran after her. “I didn't say that to tell you you can't swim. I told you so you know the truth. Now prove everybody wrong and win. I'm dying to know if you like chocolate or strawberry.”
Olwyn looked up to a smiling face. “You keep batting your eyes and people will get the wrong idea.”
“Oh golly gee whiz oh shucks. So much for plan A.” Pipperelle snapped her fingers.
Olwyn ran back to the water and started swimming. Running up to the beach, “Ha! I won! I won I won I won.”
“Yeah yeah yeah. So…what's for dinner?”
“Unless you let me win.”
“I had you beat until I reached the buoy. Then you had the advantage after that.”
“Somehow there's a story lurking.”
“Well. You see. I dove underwater to reach a greater distance but I swam out too far. I sorta kinda miscalculated the distance.”
“That means you were not paying attention,” Kallistrate said.
“Oh Mom,” Pipperelle said.
“Yes?” Kallistrate started laughing.
“I'm taking Olwyn for dinner to Hamburger House.”
“Be sure that Georgie gets back by nine.”
“Mom!” Pipperelle said through clenched teeth.
“It is your duty and honor to care for the young.”
“Couldn't somebody else care for the young? Like say…Mary Poppins?”
“I heard she's rather busy these days.” Kallistrate walked away laughing.
“Wa ha ha ha haaa! I don't want to.” Pipperelle threw a raspberry.
“Isn't there a sort of commitment that comes along with having a younger sibling?” Olwyn asked.
“Yeah but…” Pipperelle said.
“Something about protecting them and teaching them what mom and dad won't?”
“There is only one childhood right? Of course, I wouldn't know anything about it. It's only things I've overheard others say at school.”
“I hate you. I'll pick you up at five since we have to take the little monster.”
“I'll be ready.”
Olwyn walked home and put another load in the washer. She finished her shower and stood in front of the closet. “The cream camisole and… pink…no…this will do it. Cream and tan always go together.” Sunscreen was rubbed on first. She slipped her feet into a pair of sandals, and grabbed the keys before locking the front door.
“Were you waiting long?” Pipperelle asked.
“No. I just sat down,” Olwyn said.
“You look nice.”
“Are you blushing?”
“No. It's just that I—“
“I'm hungry. I want food.” Georgie stomped her foot.
“The little thing wants food. We better go.”
Pipperelle stood beside Olwyn, feeling fingers tapping her palm. Olwyn glanced to the side, noticing Pipperelle looking up into the sky. Georgie ran ahead and stopped at the gate.
“What happened on your date with Tucker?” Pipperelle asked.
“Were you listening?” Olwyn asked.
“I was outside looking for the little imp and that's when I noticed Tucker driving up. From what I could see, neither of you looked thrilled. I'm assuming the rest.”
“Well, he didn't open my door to start off with. Then when we got there, he went inside without me. I asked for a window seat and I was willing to wait for one but he didn't. He ordered for me without asking what I wanted, getting everything wrong. Then he said he was going to the lavatory and he never came back. I ended up paying for my meal. I ate because I was hungry.”
“I'll tell you the story about him later. No, turn right.”
“Oh.” Olwyn turned around, jogging to catch up.
“Just follow the little gremlin. She's memorized the way by now.”
“How come you call her everything but her name?”
“I thought little ogre was her name. Isn't it?” Pipperelle opened the door.
“No that's mine.” Pipperelle walked behind as they approached the counter. “What did you want anyway? They've got just about everything here.”
“Nothing spicy and nothing bloody, because…you know. It's that time. And a chocolate shake. I skipped lunch. Please?”
“Ha hah! Chocolate. Should've figured. Take the little toad with you and find a table.”
Olwyn walked to a corner booth by a window, Georgie sat across from her.
“So,” Pipperelle said. “What is it you have to clean?”
“All she said was clean the house, Somehow it seems weird not to say major and macro anymore. I do when they're here but…”
“Give it time. Floors are easy. Mop and vacuum will do the job for you. Windows, I suggest window cleaner. We have stuff to use for the outside. Other than that, probably polish the furniture. I'll let you barrow magot over here. Use her head to clean it with.”
“Why are you always mean ta me?” Georgie asked.
“Yeah you. You don't stop, I'll tell Mom you borrowed the car.”
Pipperelle started laughing. “She knows about that already”
“Here we are,” the waitress said. “Enjoy.” She picked up the number and left a tray filled with food.
“Okay. Strawberry for the culture growth.” She put a cup in front of Georgie, who put her hands on her hips and stuck out her tongue. “You wanna eat, I suggest you stick it back in.”
“Mom told me to be sure you're returned by nine. She didn't say be nice. Chocolate for the gorgeous strawberry blonde.” She put a cup in front of Olwyn. “And Vanilla for me. We have chicken, turkey, and beef. Take your pick.”
“I'll take the turkey please,” Olwyn said, in between giggles.
“I want the chicken,” Georgie said.
“I want the chicken,” Pipperelle said, bouncing her head back and forth. “That means, I get beef. And the fries to share.”
Georgie made noise, sucking on the straw.
“Ya don't stop,” Pipperelle said. “I'm going to make you stop.”
“Oh yeah. How?”
“Do you really want to know?”
“I wanted to make sure that all of my shake was gone,” Georgie said.
“It's gone,” Pipperelle said. “Or can't you hear the noise?”
“I didn't want to waste your money.”
Olwyn sat back laughing.
“Come on,” Pipperelle said. “It's time to return it.”
“Nuh uh,” Georgie said. “It's only six-thirty.”
“So late? Wow. We better go then.” Pipperelle looked at Olwyn, “Have you stopped laughing yet?”
“Sorry,” Olwyn said, in between bouts of laughter. “It was funny.”
Pipperelle blew up her bangs and held the door open.
They stood on the hill between the two houses. “I have to get going before she decideds to tell them I was planning a conspiracy,” Pipperelle said.
“Tomorrow,” Olwyn said.
“Good night,” Pipperelle said.
To be continued in chapter 5
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