Going Home (Going Home#1)

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Cyril: The Documents

I climb stairs quicker than I had descended them. What I did now was so embarrassing, ok not embarrassing, but weird and awkward because I haven’t kissed anyone one the cheek.

Doesn’t one kiss siblings and parents on the cheek? What the hell? I facepalm. I never kissed anyone, even though my friends find it hard to believe. With Adria, I was scared most of the time that she’ll push me away. So, I stayed with the hugs.

On the seventh floor, I look down to see Jade climb up the stairs slowly. I smile at her; she is right, I have to let Adria go and be fair with someone who understands me more than Adria ever did. It wasn’t her fault, she had so much on her plate to begin with.

Dianne looks up quickly when I walk in, “I’m sorry, ok? I was being a jerk because I was mad.”

She smiles at me knowingly, “I understand, and I’m glad you’ve got someone the same way Adria had you. Don’t lose this girl!” She winks and picks up the envelope. I roll my eyes at her, as I make my way towards the table.

I remember when I met Dianne. She was a lively woman despite few bruises slightly visible on the nape of her neck and wrists. She winked at me every time she caught me looking at Jia when she used to pick her up from school, which now makes me realize that she probably knew how I felt about her daughter. Those were the only times I got to see her. She was the only grown-up who was interested in knowing me, the only one who loved to keep me company or cook for me even when Adria wasn’t around.

“Let’s see what’s inside this!” She pats on the sofa next to her and I sit down.

She takes out many papers from the envelope and hands me half of them. I hardly feel Jade enter and sit down beside me because what I have in my hand makes my ears ring.

These are the documents that were used to frame Eric. If presented in court, Mr. Amery along with his daughter would end up in jail because these papers contain the names of original dealers in the fraud and also has fake copies where the names are replaced with Eric’s.

Other papers include complete research on Dawson, Jia, and Dianne. Mostly it includes stuff about Jia and her abilities. So Dianne was right!

Verona’s grandmother had been keeping an eye out for Dianne for a long long time and the file contains some old pictures of Dianne and the date on the bottom of them feels wrong. They are black and white and really old but it’s not possible because in those pictures Dianne looks like a teenager and now she looks like someone in her thirties. Wait, the thirties!?

“These...” I hand the pictures over to her and she takes in a sharp breath.

“Is the date right?” I ask her dubiously. She nods before flipping through. Two of the pictures are of her in shadows with her huge stomach, probably from the time when she was pregnant with Jia.

“How did she get her hands on these?” Dianne whispers.

“I don’t get anything!” Adam says suddenly and passes his papers towards Jade. I look over her shoulder and gape at them. They are profiles of people living in the Baskerville towns.

“Mom, Dad...” Jade’s handshakes as she looks at the profiles of a couple. I take those pages from her to look. I notice that Jade looks like her mother a lot while she has her father’s eyes and smile. They both seem happy and content. Now, I get where Jade comes from. Both of her parents have understanding gazes and genuine smiles; I can’t help but smile back for a moment.

“I don’t understand. Why does she have all the information about people in Baskerville towns?” Jade asks Dianne who shrugs, furrowing.

“Something feels off.”

“I think we need to go there as quickly as possible!” Jade hands over all the profiles to Dianne.

“You are Orla and Ben’s daughter?” Dianne stares at Jade who nods.

“WOW! This picture is from their wedding. That was the last I saw Ben. He is my cousin or well, kind of.” She looks at Ben’s picture lovingly and Jade stares at her, surprised.

“How old are you again?” I ask glumly, still bothered by the date on the photos.

Dianne looks at me and smiles, “Fifty-seven in your years and thirty-two in Pneuma years. I am Ben’s aunt but I don’t look much older than he is now.”

“It’s just a twenty-five-year difference,” I tell myself. She raises her eyebrows at me.

“Jia... What about her?”

Her mouth goes ‘O’ before she replies without looking at me, “She will live longer like me if she stays alive.”

“No, Shit! Tell me you are not joking!” Adam whistles impressed.

“After Pneumas hit twenty-five, their one year equals five in yours!”

“Ok, what else we’ve got?” I ask Dianne, ignoring her. I don’t want to think or imagine about Jia right now.

“Nothing much. Just about framing Eric and profiles of the people in Baskerville towns,” She throws papers on the table and rubs her temples.

“Actually, this too,” Zoe hands over the papers to me, grimly.

As soon as I look at the papers I know why.

“Okay, I think I know what we can do!” I pass them over to Dianne.

“She... poisoned Dawson!!” Dianne stares morosely at the papers. The papers include Verona’s research on different types of slow poisons and her order for them nine months ago. However Dawson was, he was still her husband which is why she puts the papers away and get up.

“I need a painkiller or something.”

As soon as she disappears into one of the bedrooms, Adam looks at me.

“Should we send all this to Chadwick?”

“Considering what Jade has told us about Baskerville towns, I think I need to know who Dianne has on her mind for this first!”

Dianne walks back into the living room massaging her forehead with her thumb and forefinger.

“Dianne, who is your lawyer in this?” I ask.

“Christopher Chadwick.”

“What the hell?” Zoe looks from me to Dianne. “He is assisting us as well but he never mentioned you!”

Dianne looks at her strangely, “What do you mean he is assisting you guys?”

“We needed someone to put Verona behind the bars so we went looking for him. We were hiding at his place for the last two days!”

“That jerk!” Dianne curses and reaches for the phone in the corner of the room.

“Chadwick!!” She says his name in a biting tone.

“Why the hell you didn’t mention the kids who are aiding you in this case?” She listens to the other for a while and yells, “Yes, they are my kids and I have a right to know if they are safe or not!!”

Zoe looks at me then at Adam and bites her lower lip either from trying not to laugh or say something sarcastic, I can’t tell.

“Yes I got the papers and I will send them over. Make sure you get her within two days max!” Dianne says and I notice one of her fists clenching.

“Yes, got it!” She throws the cordless phone on the sofa beside Adam who jumps a little. I can see where Jia gets her temper from.

“One more thing, did you ever go back to those towns after leaving all those years ago?” I ask.

She nods before saying sadly, “Yes, I went looking for my ex-husband but I was told that he passed away. I don’t know how because he was only a little older than I am and Pneumas tend to live longer. In hundreds for us. I was mad and I was hurt, so I didn’t see anyone else and got back here as soon as I could.”

“Hundreds...?” Adam chokes.

“Yes, hundreds. If Argider had been alive, he would have been thirty in their years and fifty-four in ours.” She sighs and rubs her eyes with the heels of her hands.

“You guys should stay here for a while. Boys can sleep in the living room and we girls can take the bedroom. I have the mattresses.” Saying this she gets up and puts all the papers back in the envelope.

“What about handing these papers over to Chadwick? We have the whole day in front of us, we can do it today.” I suggest but Dianne shakes her head, “We have to be careful before handing the original copies of these documents.” She says as she walks back into her bedroom.

“I want to talk to them. I want to talk to my parents!” Jade picks up the phone and dials. She keeps trying for fifteen minutes but no one picks up her call. When she dials for the nth time frantically, I take the phone away from her hands.

“I hope they are ok. God, I hate those towns now. What kind of people today doesn’t want to have phones and pay-phones?” She sobs and hugs herself.

“Hey! Hey... They’ll be fine I’m sure of it. Jia won’t let anything happen to them!”
“That is the problem. She is not there, she can’t stay with them and she is in the forest with her own people and my parents.....my parents are on their own!”

I pull her into a half hug and she puts her head on my shoulder as she sobs, “God, I hate this!”

“We will get out of this! Don’t worry!” I pat her head, unsure what else to say. All my life, I had kept myself on the sidelines when Jia was going through hard times so I don’t exactly know how to comfort someone.

“Can I leave to check on my siblings or something?!” Zoe asks after a while. Jade lifts up her head and wipes her tears away, “You can call them from this phone!” She hands it over to Zoe who takes it half-heartedly. She probably wants to see them with her own eyes to be relaxed.

I notice Adam making imaginary circles on Zoe’s thigh, deep in thought.

We wait patiently as Zoe makes the call and talks for a few minutes, “They are fine.” Zoe smiles as she returns the phone to Jade after a short call.

“I need a walk; can you come with me, Cyril?” Adam asks me and I nod.

“And guys keep this with you!” Dianne appears at her bedroom door and throws a folder at me which Adam catches before me.

“What is this?!” I ask as she starts to close the door, “The copies! Just to be safe!” She says somewhat confused, tired, and with sad smile, she closes the door.

“I will be right back!” I tell Jade, I hate to leave her for a moment when she’s depressed about her parents but Adam feels off too and he probably wants to talk to me.

As soon as I close the door and follow him up the stairs towards the roof, Adam speaks up, “I don’t trust Chadwick!”

“What!? What do you mean?” I narrow my eyes at him.

“He didn’t tell us about Dianne. It’s huge man! Also, I have a feeling that Dianne doesn’t trust him either. A reason she gave you that copy.” He points towards the folder in my hands.

“I still don’t get it. Why give me when we are staying together?”

“She feels upset Cyril. Use your head man! She needs time to put the pieces together.”

I shake my head, “Adam, she said she has everything figured out. She ran away with the help of a few of Dawson’s people so she is far ahead on Verona than any of us!”

“It’s not Verona I’m worried about!” Adam mess up his hair. “It’s Chadwick!”

Now I fold my hands and raise my eyebrow at him, “Explain!”

“Look, all we know is that Chadwick lost the case against Dawson all those years ago because of lack of evidence. His friend also lost the fraud case against Amerys’ for the same reason. And then he agrees to help me secretly as soon as I mention that I’m collecting proof to bring them both down at once. Whatever the reason, Cyril we are only twenty-four-year-olds. An experienced lawyer does not agree to help a twenty-four-year-old who comes knocking on his door at midnight claiming he might have the evidence to reopen the cases he lost years ago?”

“Why won’t he agree to help?”

“Help secretly? Without getting assistance from the police? Or any detective?” He suggests and I begin to see what he is trying to make me understand.

“And I think Dianne knows this too. Why she went after Chadwick is beyond me. She might’ve been receiving his help for years now and also we need to check on who was the lawyer who declared Jia dead and innocent of any murder!”

“Wow! I didn’t see things that way!” I sigh.

“Me neither!” Adam rubs his face and looks at the stairs above. “Wanna check out the roof?”

“Sure thing! Let’s see what we have in here, in detail” I wink and wave the folder Dianne gave me.

“Sounds good!”

We spend an hour discussing what we have in the folder. The stuff about Jia’s abilities is not to be given to the court under any circumstances while the poison Verona ordered as well the fraud thing will be able to help us.

We spend an hour on the roof. This building is tallest than others around this area. We look below us at the town and everywhere there is litter, dogs, and people in tattered clothes. I have no idea what this town or area is but it is oddly quiet and stinks.

I run into Adam when we reach the apartment’s door. For some reason, he’s just standing there, “Dude, why did you...” I stop as soon as I look at the door.

It is thrown wide open and is off from one of its hinges. We both run into the apartment together and stare around in horror. This place is a wreck with sofas torn open, chairs thrown aside, small TV broken. The floors and kitchenette are a mess. I notice that the apartment is empty and there’s no sign of the girls.

Adam runs wildly into the bedroom which is in even worst condition with everything torn and scattered around.

I feel my breath coming in these weird, raspy chokes, and I can’t seem to make it stop as the situation dawns on me.

“They have been taken! Or...killed,” I choke out the words as Adam slumps down by the bedroom door.


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