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Chapter 21

“Hello,” the voice said. Elyse woke up, hearing that young female voice. “You finally woke up,” the girl observed, seeing Elyse open her eyes.

“Who are you?” Elyse asked, unable to see who the girl was.

“I’m Priscilla,” the girl replied. “You don’t remember?” the girl asked, surprise in her voice.

“No...wait,” she replied, and rubbed her head with the heel of her hand. Oddly, she had to lift both of her hands to do so. “You’re the girl,” she began, then her eyes opened wide. She knew exactly who the girl was, but she didn’t understand why she was waking up to the girl. Then she remembered the darts, and locking the van up, before they blacked out. She also realized she was tied up.

“How’d you get in the van?” Elyse asked her.

“Actually, I think I’d like to ask the questions, if that’s alright with you,” Priscilla said.

“This isn’t some kind of spy movie,” Elyse told her. “You could get in a lot of trouble imprisoning us like this,” Elyse said, hoping that threat might have some impact on the girl.

The girl laughed, shattering her hope. “Let me get this straight. You’ve been trying to capture me, probably to put me in some kind of freaky experiment, and I’m sure you’d let me go if I asked nicely, right?” Priscilla asked. Put that way, Elyse could only smile.

“Aren’t goons usually bigger than these two?” Priscilla asked.

“They’re technicians, not goons,” Elyse told her. “What do you want to know?” Elyse then asked.

“I want to know who’s after me, and why. I also want to understand how that tracking device works,” Priscilla said.

“Dr. Pascoe is head of a CIA funded research project to try and develop telepathy in humans. He hopes to be able to manufacture the ability in people that don’t currently have it,” she said.

“I thought you said this wasn’t a spy movie,” Priscilla said. “And you think I’m a telepath?” Priscilla asked, after a short pause.

“We think that because you are,” Elyse replied.

There was a much longer pause before Priscilla spoke again. “Why are you people so sure I have telepathy?” Priscilla asked, when she finally did.

“We’ve discovered that telepathic ability emits a very unique type of energy signature. The monitors are designed to sense that energy signature. You emit a massive amount of telepathic energy, although there’s something going on lately with the monitors,” Elyse told her. “Without going into all of the technical details, that’s how the monitors, or tracking devices, work,” she finished.

“What’s wrong with them?” Priscilla asked.

“Somehow, they’re picking up birds, and it’s masking you,” Elyse said.

“That’s interesting,” Priscilla said. Elyse wished she could see the girl’s face, and maybe get an idea of what the girl was thinking.

“I probably shouldn’t have told you that,” she suddenly realized.

“Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone you told me,” Priscilla assured her. The tone was almost mocking.

“So, let me see if I have the facts straight, here. The CIA is trying to get me, so Dr. Pascoe can do his mad scientist stuff with me, and you goons, I’m sorry, technicians, are using some kind of magic wand to track me, because you think I can read minds, or something. Does that pretty much cover everything?” Priscilla asked.

“Although your interpretation isn’t exactly accurate, that’s pretty much it,” Elyse admitted.

“You know, if I could read minds, I could’ve just read yours to get all of that, without the need for all of the wasted breath. Your mad doctor should think about that,” Priscilla said, and although Elyse couldn’t see Priscilla’s face, she could picture an ironic smile there, and it was.

“Let’s say you can’t actually read minds. Why do you give off so much of the energy wave associated with telepathy?” Elyse asked.

“I’m not an evil scientist, so I have no clue. You guys should’ve figured that out before you started your crazy witch hunt, and pissed me off,” Priscilla said.

“Please, let us study you,” Elyse said.

“You’re as nutty as the mad doctor!” Priscilla exclaimed, with a laugh.

“How’d you get in the van?” Elyse asked, again, hoping to get her to divulge something with the unexpected question.

“I think that’s going to be my little secret,” Priscilla said, dashing her hope.

“Did you shoot us with the tranquilizer darts?” Elyse asked.

“Yep,” was the short answer.

“You’ll run out of those eventually,” Elyse said.

“Maybe,” Priscilla said, and showed Elyse three tranquilizer guns. “But I’ve got enough for a little while, and your goons keep giving me plenty more,” she said.

“Listen. You seem like a nice lady, but if your doctor keeps coming after me, I’m going to get really mad. Don’t make me mad. I’m not very nice when I get mad,” Priscilla said. Priscilla then moved a box of tranquilizer darts in front of Elyse’s face. “Look what I found,” she said, and Elyse could again envision a smirk on the girl’s face. “You really should lock this up better. Some kid could find it, and you never know what kids can do with dangerous stuff like this.”

There was a long pause before they heard some rustling. Then, “You guys should stop chasing me before you really piss me off.”

With that, Priscilla left the van, locking it behind her. Elyse was impressed with the girl, but she was oddly scared too. For a fourteen year old, she was very capable, and for some reason, she had made sure they never got a look at her, which was rather impressive considering the small area in the van.

“Elyse, the boss isn’t going to like this,” Jake said.

“Yeah, but right now, I don’t like it,” she agreed. “There was something really weird with that entire interview,” she said.

“What’s that, besides the fact that a fourteen year old girl just captured and interrogated us?” Steve asked.

“Why did she avoid letting us see her? We’ve seen her before, and she knows we have pictures of her,” Elyse said. Her question was met with silence.

“Do you think she really can’t read minds?” Jake asked, breaking the silence.

“I really don’t know,” she admitted. “Her questions would indicate that, but maybe it’s easier to read surface thoughts. If that’s true, then asking those questions would make the information she wanted easier to pluck out,” she suggested.

“That’s completely hypothesis,” Steve stated.

“Yes, it is, but you’ve seen the readings on her. She’s emitting a massive amount of the telepathic energy wave,” she said.

“What if there’s something else that also emits that energy wave?” Steve asked.

“Like what?” Jake asked.

“I don’t know, but what if she really can’t read minds?” he suggested.

“Then our jobs go away,” Elyse replied.

As Lilly walked away from the van, she wondered why she hadn’t just taken their laptop the first time. That would’ve been much easier, and would guarantee she had anything she might need from the computer.

Oh well. At least she was able to come back before they woke up, and do a better job than her first attempt. Getting those zip ties had been absolutely genius of her. At least, she thought so.

Her backpack was now getting pretty heavy, with two laptops, along with her clothes, makeup and shoes. It was also bulging more than it should, and it wasn’t the sturdiest pack to begin with.

Lilly left the area of the mall, and realized she had no place to stay. The park really wasn’t an option anymore. Aside from the fact they knew she was going there, continuing to not bath wasn’t desirable, not to mention it was chilly.

After getting some money from the ATM, Lilly found herself at Sarah’s house again. She stared at the house for a little while, standing across the road.

“Can I help you?” she heard.

Spinning around, she was staring in the face of her former best friend. “Sarah?” she said, without thinking.

Sarah searched the face before her for a little while. Like the sun breaking over the horizon, recognition eventually came. “Lilly?” she asked.

Lilly nodded. “You look awesome!” Sarah exclaimed. Then, asked, “How’d you get the clothes, and hair and all?”

“I have money, now,” Lilly replied. “I’ll explain, but do you think I could come in?” she asked.

“Sure,” Sarah said, and all but dragged her along.

“Wait,” Lilly said, and forced Sarah to stop. “Your Mom was going to turn me in,” she said.

“We’ll sneak in the back, like we used to,” she said, with the grin Lilly remembered from what seemed like so long ago.

“I’m home, Mom,” Sarah called out, as she drug Lilly through the house. Once in her room, she closed and locked the door.

“Why don’t you want to be turned in?” Sarah asked.

“I know this’ll be hard to believe, but some people are wanting to put me in a lab and study me. The CIA is working for them, or something,” she said.

Seeing the doubt, she pulled out one of the tranquilizer guns, aimed at the bed and pulled the trigger. There was a rather loud ploof and a small puff of dust rose up where the dart was sticking into the mattress. Lilly pulled it out and handed it to Sarah, “I have more of these,” she said, indicating the gun.

“Where’d you get them?” Sarah asked.

“They shot me twice with them, but I got away. One time, they got into a group of dogs and dropped them,” she explained.

“Why do I think there’s more to it than that?” Sarah asked, and Lilly only smiled back. “There is, isn’t there?” she then asked. Lilly shrugged her shoulders.

Lilly then pulled out the tracking device, turning it on and showed Sarah. Just as she did, she made the birds go away.

“What’s that red dot?” Sarah asked.

“Me,” Lilly replied.

“How’s it you?” Sarah asked.

“They said my mind puts out some kind of special energy that this thing can track,” she said.

“What kind of energy? Is it dangerous? Will you get cancer, or can it give someone else cancer?” Sarah asked.

“They think it’s telepathic energy,” she began.

“You mean they actually think you can read minds, or something?” Sarah asked, and Lilly nodded.

“It doesn’t cause cancer or anything like that,” she said, then got thoughtful, “At least I don’t think it does. God, that’d suck!”

“They really think you can read minds?” Sarah asked, again.

“Yeah,” Lilly replied.

“You can’t, can you?” Sarah asked.

“No,” Lilly replied, with some attitude, a little too much.

“You’re not telling me something,” she said. Lilly looked down, not wanting to tell Sarah much. She couldn’t trust her, but right then, she needed her.

“Alright, I won’t push. I know I don’t deserve answers, yet, but I want to prove I’m your friend, again,” Sarah said. “What do you need, if not money?” she asked and paused, looking at Lilly, “How do you have money, anyway?” she then asked.

“I was given a little by a homeless man that decided I was like his daughter,” she said. “Anyway, I got some money to pay back the money I stole back when we were little,” Lilly said, again looking down.

“Mom and Dad were never worried about the money. They just didn’t like you stealing and wanted you to ask them for help, but you never would,” Sarah said.

“I was embarrassed, and ashamed I guess, and didn’t know what to say, or what to do,” Lilly said.

“How do you know the CIA is trying to catch you?” Sarah asked. Lilly pulled out the ID from one of the goons, and handed it to her.

“You stole IDs from CIA agents!” Sarah exclaimed.

“They tried to shoot me,” Lilly said, “And I didn’t know who they were at the time and wasn’t going to stick around for them to wake up and catch me, so I took it so I could look at it when I was safer,” she explained.

“Did you change your hair and stuff to hide?” Sarah asked, and again Lilly nodded.

“It looks really good,” Sarah said.

“Why didn’t you go to one of your other friends? Why me?” Sarah asked.

“I don’t have any friends,” Lilly admitted, yet again, looking down.

“Yes you do,” Sarah told her.

Knowing she needed to hide herself again, she brought the birds back, and the red dot disappeared into a light red blob on the display. She also wanted to distract Sarah from the question she’d just asked, although she was curious at Sarah’s last response.

“What’s wrong with it?” Sarah asked, having watched the thing change.

“They told me that birds sometimes make it blur like that. I think they’re trying to figure out how to fix it so that doesn’t happen, but until they do, I’m sometimes covered,” she said.

“There’s still something you’re not telling me,” Sarah said.

“There’s a lot I’m not telling you, but I’m not going to. It’s too dangerous for you, not to mention me,” she said.

“Like I said, I won’t push, but hopefully, you’ll trust me again someday,” Sarah said, and hugged Lilly. A little surprised by the sudden move, it took her a moment to return it.

“You don’t hug like you used to,” Sarah remarked.

“Life’s been hard,” Lilly said.

“I know what you mean,” Sarah replied, then looked at Lilly. “No, actually, I don’t know what you mean, I guess,” she said. “I’m sorry, Lilly,” she said, and started crying.

Lilly held her as she cried, but Sarah’s crying didn’t really impact her. There was a gulf between them that she wasn’t sure could be healed. Only time would tell, but right then, she needed help. That was why she had come to Sarah, not for friendship. If they managed to regain some kind of friendship, that’d be a bonus.

As they parted, Sarah looked at Lilly, “You’re not as emotional as you used to be.”

“Nope,” Lilly said. Sarah didn’t seem to know what to say, so decided to say nothing.

“You never answered my question. What do you need?” Sarah asked.

“I need a place to stay, just for a little while. I’m tired of staying in the park, not getting showers, eating junk food, and sleeping in the cold,” she said.

“I’m not sure how Mom will feel about someone staying over on a school night,” she said.

“I didn’t know it was a school night. I’ll go,” Lilly said, and started to stand.

“No. I’ll figure something out,” she said. After a moment, she got up and ran out. When she returned, she was smiling.

“Mom thinks my friend Melody is staying, so we can work on a project. I don’t think she’ll recognize you, not like you look now,” she said.

“I’ll just have to keep my mouth closed,” Lilly said.

“Act shy, or something,” Sarah suggested.

“I can try,” Lilly replied.

“You used to be really shy,” Sarah said.

“I’m still shy, but I’ll tell people what I think, if nudged, just a little,” Lilly said, smiling a little as she said that. Although it was funny, even to Sarah, she decided not to pursue that subject.

Instead, “Mom’ll have dinner ready in a little while, but I think we can eat in here. We’ll have to go out there to get dinner, though,” she said.

“As long as I keep quiet, I should be okay, I guess,” Lilly agreed.

“Let’s see how good an actress you are,” Sarah said.

Since she didn’t have anything else to do, she pulled out her laptop. Once it was opened, she asked, “Can I get your wifi password?”

Moments later, she was happily on the internet, looking at her class assignments, which she was several days behind every class. She would’ve been further, if she wasn’t normally ahead.

“Damn!” she exclaimed.

“What?” Sarah asked.

“I’m getting too far behind in my classes,” Lilly said.

“So,” Sarah said.

“So?” Lilly asked, looking up at Sarah.

“Why do you care?” Sarah asked.

“Because I want to go to college, and do something with myself,” Lilly replied. Sarah stared at her, until Lilly finally asked, “What?”

“You’re the most unexpected person I’ve ever known,” Sarah said. “Everyone knows you’re only at school for boys, and you beat the crap out of the star football player because you don’t like his advances. Then, you’re the first person to ever refuse to join the Fangs, who everyone knows you’re a member of. Finally, you’re studying when you don’t have to, and everyone knows you’re probably not going to graduate anyway,” Sarah said, quoting several of the rumors about Lilly. Lilly smiled at Sarah.

“Why does that smile scare me?” Sarah asked.

“How should I know?” Lilly replied, still smiling.

“You’re up to something,” Sarah said.

“Even after all these years apart, you still know when I’ve got something up my sleeve,” Lilly acknowledged.

“There’s times when you’re easy to read,” Sarah said, which made the smile slip away.

“What’s wrong?” Sarah asked.

“Sorry. That made me think about them believing I can read minds. I’m sick of this shit!” Lilly said.

“Dinners ready, girls,” Mrs. Sanders said, opening the door. Both girls darted a glance at the door, then back to each other.

“Yes, ma’am,” they both said, in unison. Lilly couldn’t help herself. It was an automatic response from all those times she’d spent the night over at Sarah’s when they were little girls.

“Will she be upset at me cussing?” Lilly asked.

“She doesn’t like it, but she won’t say anything,” Sarah said.

“Melody, we eat buffet style, so grab a plate and help yourself,” Mrs. Sanders said, when they walked in the kitchen. “We have soft drinks, orange juice, and tea to drink,” she added.

“May I have water?” Lilly asked, doing her best to appear timid and shy.

“Grab a glass and help yourself,” Mrs. Sanders said, with a beaming smile. Lilly then followed Sarah’s lead to get food, thinking that would help her.

“You look familiar,” Mrs. Sanders said, as Lilly was about to get a glass of water.

“You’ve probably seen her at school, or something,” Sarah said, and grabbed the arm of the faucet before Lilly did, giving Lilly a pointed look.

When they got back to Sarah’s room, she exhaled loudly. “You almost blew it,” Sarah said.

Seeing Lilly’s confusion, she said, “You would probably have done that bump thing you always did with the faucet. You remember how you used to bump it up, then lift it like normal? That’d have been a dead giveaway. No one ever did that but you.” Lilly knew she was right.

While eating, Lilly continued working on schoolwork, and continued until they were both ready for bed. After a much wanted shower by Lilly, they went to bed earlier than Sarah was used to, Lilly being exhausted after a long time on the run, not to mention catching up on her homework.

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