Chapter 21

The remainder of the night was even more chaotic than the beginning. Beatrice was subject to a series of tests to solve the mystery behind the “mind blips.” First, they tried science. Heart rate monitors, electrical currents, electrodes placed strategically on her head. When these didn’t work, they got creative. They conducted a séance-like ritual and had someone sing the information to her. Beatrice couldn’t help but imagine how much her mother would enjoy this.

Finally, Eleanor had the brilliant idea to write the information down and to let Beatrice read it. It seemed to simple to work, but they were fresh out of ideas, so Beatrice agreed to try it.

Arthur wrote down a sentence, “Its not everything, but if this works, we’ll put together a whole file for you to read.”

Beatrice looked down at the paper, uncomfortably aware of the people who’d gathered around her to watch. Immediately, she knew something was different. She didn’t feel the typical sensation of her stomach bottoming out and her head spinning. Still, though, she could not read the paper.

“It just looks like a bunch of shapes and symbols,” Beatrice sighed, exhausted and frustrated.

“Maybe its code?” Sydney offered.

“Uh, yeah,” Arthur said, looking as defeated as Beatrice felt, “Why don’t you copy it down, Birdy, and see what the techs can do with it?”

Beatrice copied the assortment of shapes to the best of her ability and left it with the tech trio. She walked into the small kitchen to find Arthur, leaning against the counter, arms folded across his chest. Beatrice slumped into a chair, and started picking at the sides of her fingernails, a nervous habit she’d developed as a kid.

“Ironic, isn’t it? I’ve spent my whole life trying to get away from my cousins, and you’ve spent yours trying to find them,” Beatrice laughed satirically.

Arthur looked up, startled there was another person in the kitchen. He quickly regained his composure, pouring two cups of coffee, and sitting across from Beatrice at the table.

“If Janelle is heading this whole ordeal, then she might know who I am. Who I work for. That puts a lot of people in danger,” Arthur said, staring intensely at Beatrice. “We’re moving up the plan. We’ve got to act soon if we’re going to stop them.”

Beatrice probably should have felt fearful or nervous, but instead she felt relaxed. She trusted Arthur and the people he worked with, and she was excited for her cousins to be gone once and for all.

“You know, Arthur, you still haven’t told me who you work for.”

Arthur smiled mischievously, took a sip of his coffee, and strolled out of the kitchen. “Gee, I’ve got a lot of work to do,” he called, laughing sweetly.

Morning came, and Beatrice headed back to her apartment, pleased to see the building was still standing. Fully prepared to collapse in her bed, she walked through her front door, only to find her mother sitting tearfully on the couch.

“Oh, Birdy, its awful!”

-M.A. Gavin


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