Read Nightrise Online

Authors: Anthony Horowitz

Tags: #Family, #Action & Adventure, #Juvenile Fiction, #Fantasy & Magic, #General, #Fiction, #People & Places, #Horror & Ghost Stories, #Brothers, #United States, #Supernatural, #Siblings, #Telepathy, #Nevada, #Twins, #Juvenile Detention Homes

Nightrise (10 page)

BOOK: Nightrise
2.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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They stopped at a restaurant on Melrose Avenue, a shabby, colorful street full of shops selling mainly antiques or clothes. They sat in the open air, shaded from the sun by a giant pink umbrella. A waitress came with the menu. Alicia chose a salad. Jamie hesitated. He looked awkward.

"What is it?" Alicia asked.

"I've never eaten in a fancy restaurant like this," Jamie said.

Alicia smiled. "It's not all that fancy," she said. "It's just a café really."

"I can't afford to pay for this."

"I've already explained. You don't have to pay for anything."

Alicia had bought Jamie a set of fresh clothes in Fresno. He was wearing a brightly colored Hawaiian shirt. It wasn't his style — but the more striking the shirt, the less likely people would be to look at his face. At least, that was what Alicia had said. She had also bought him sunglasses and a baseball cap, the uniform of teenagers all over America. Even if the police were looking for him in California, they would never spot him now.

Jamie ordered a hamburger and the two of them sat in silence sipping freshly squeezed orange juice until their meal arrived. It was only when Jamie began to eat that he realized how hungry he was and wolfed the food down. Alicia ate more delicately. Jamie had already noticed that she did everything very carefully. Even making the coffee in the morning, she handled the cups as if they were made of expensive porcelain.

"We need to work out what we're going to do," Alicia said.

"Nightrise." Jamie muttered the single word with a sense of dread.

"Think back to Reno, Jamie. You said there were four men at the theatre. How many of them do you think you'd recognize?"

Jamie thought for a moment. "The bald man. I'd know him anywhere. He looked creepy. And his friend…the one who got bitten. I'd know him too." He tried to remember the sequence of events.

Everything had happened so quickly. "One of the men, the driver of the car, got hurt. He cut his head.

He'd have a wound."

"The men in the car may have been local. Was there anyone else?"

"I didn't see anyone." Jamie had finished eating. Everything had gone, right down to the last lettuce leaf.

He pushed his plate away. "What difference does it make, Alicia? Even if we catch sight of one of them, we can't go to the police. They'll just arrest me and that will be the end of it."

"That wasn't what I had in mind."

"Then what are we going to do?"

"I've got an idea — but I'm afraid I'm not going to do anything, Jamie. This is down to you."

"What do you mean?"

Alicia put down her knife and fork. She thought for a moment, searching for the right words. "Look, I know you don't want to talk about this," she said, "but we can't avoid it anymore. You're very special.

You have a power. I know you don't like it. But you can use it to find Scott."

"How?" Jamie asked. But he could already see where she was going.

"We find one of these men — Banes or the other one — and you go up to him and you ask him where your brother is. Just like that. Of course he won't tell you. But that doesn't matter, does it? Because you can read his mind. You can find out the answer without him saying a word."

"No!" Jamie clenched his fists. He had shouted his refusal and two people at the next table turned briefly to look at him.

But Alicia wasn't giving up. "Why not?" she insisted. "What's the matter with you? Have you got any better ideas? Why don't you want to help?"

"I'm not going to do it," Jamie said. All the color had drained out of his face, and his shoulders were rising and falling as he caught his breath. "I've already told you. I don't even want to talk about it."

"But what about Scott?"

'You don't care about Scott. You don't care about either of us. You're just using me because you want me to help you find Daniel."

As soon as he had said the words, he regretted them. But it was too late. Alicia looked at him as if he had just slapped her across the face. "That's not fair," she said in a quiet voice. "Daniel is my son, it's true. Of course I want to find him. I want it more than anything in the world. But do you really think I'm just using you? Do you think I'll just forget you if I find my boy?" She paused, then continued more slowly. "I can't even be sure that the same people have taken them both. We know people from Nightrise were there in Reno. But there's nothing to say they weren't in Washington, seven months ago. Maybe I'm just clutching at straws and Danny was murdered the day he disappeared. But that won't stop me searching for Scott. We're in this together now."

"I still can't do what you're asking," Jamie said.

"Fine." Alicia sat there, rigid. "Then let's go home."

***

They drove back in virtual silence. In fact, Alicia only spoke once. As they reached the main intersection at the Santa Monica Boulevard, she noticed a huge billboard. It showed a man in an open-necked shirt, leaning against what might have been a gate or a fence. The photograph looked casual, almost like a family snap. There was a headline: an honest change

. And, at the bottom, a straightforward announcement in black letters: senator john trelawny talks at the l.

a. convention center. june

ND. 8: p.m.

"That's the day after tomorrow," Alicia said. "I didn't know he was coming to Los Angeles."

Jamie wondered why she cared.

"I used to work for him," she reminded him. "In fact, I still do."

"I thought you said you resigned."

"I tried to. But he put me on indefinite sick leave…until I found Danny. I still get a paycheck every month. That's how I can afford to go on."

Alicia's sister owned a pretty studio house — one of five that stood in a row, all of them designed in the Spanish style. At the front, there was a courtyard with flowers spilling out of terra-cotta urns and twisted vines climbing the walls. A pair of cats stretched out in the sun and the air smelled of perfume. The house itself was very simple. A living room and a kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom, all of them furnished simply. Fans circulated and cooled the air — there was no air-conditioning. Two framed travel posters and, on the coffee table, a model of an old biplane were the only clues that the place might belong to an airline stewardess.

"Can I get you a drink?" Alicia asked.

"No, thank you."

"Do you want to lie down? You can watch TV if you like…"

Jamie looked around. "What's your sister's name?"

"Caroline."

"Are you close?"

"We see each other when we can."

Jamie and Alicia were standing in the living room. They both looked awkward. This wasn't their house.

And they still hadn't quite absorbed the chain of events that had brought them together. "Look, I'm sorry.

All right?" Jamie muttered the words. "What I said, back at the restaurant, that was wrong. You're trying to help me. I know that. But what you want me to do…you don't understand…"

"I'll make some coffee," Alicia said. "Why don't we go outside?"

Ten minutes later, they were sitting together on the patio at the back of the house. By late afternoon, the sun had passed across the roof and they were able to enjoy the shade. There was a stretch of deck, a tangle of plants. They were surrounded by other houses but there was nobody else in sight. It felt very private. Even the noise of the Los Angeles traffic couldn't reach them here.

"I don't like talking about myself," Jamie said.

Alicia said nothing. She wanted him to relax, to begin in his own time.

"Me and Scott. We've always been…"Jamie held up a finger and thumb, almost touching, to show what he meant. "He's the smart one. He's the one who gets us out of trouble. He always knows what to do. I think of him as my big brother although I guess we're twins."

'You don't know?"

Jamie shook his head. "We were found dumped near a place called Glenbrook, near Lake Tahoe. We were, like, babies in a basket, left by the side of the road. Except it wasn't a basket, it was a cardboard box. We had no names. Nothing. Oh yes. This was really funny. Someone had given us a tattoo. Both of us, the same tattoo."

"Where is it?" Alicia hadn't meant to ask but she couldn't stop herself.

"Here." Jamie flicked a thumb over his shoulder. "On my shoulder. It's a sort of circle with a line through it. It doesn't mean anything."

"So how did you get your names?"

"They called him Scott because the box we were found in was for Scott's grass seed. I got called Jamie after the local doctor who examined us. They thought we had Native American blood. They asked about us on the reservations."

''You do have that look," Alicia agreed.

"I won't tell you too much about our life…what happened to us. I don't suppose you care a whole lot.

Because what you want to know about is The Accident. That's what we called it. But we never talked about it. I never said anything to anyone about it except Scott, and I don't want to talk about it now."

Alicia sighed. "Maybe if you start at the beginning, it'll make it all easier."

"Whatever. There's not much to tell you anyway."

Jamie had a cup of coffee in front of him, but he hadn't drunk any of it. For a few moments he stared into the black surface of the liquid as if it were a mirror, showing him the past.

"Okay. We were just left by the roadside. We never had a mom or a dad or anything like that. There was a newspaper story about when we were found. We were called the Seed Box Babies. And after that we were taken into protective custody. I guess they kept us in the hospital for a while, but then we were fostered. They put us in this foster home somewhere in Carson City. There were another half-dozen kids there, all with Indian blood. I can't even remember where it was anymore. The people who ran it were the Tylers and we took their name while the police and the social services tried to find out where we'd come from.

"Except they couldn't. Everyone was interested in the tattoos. They thought the tattoos had to mean something. After all, who'd go to the trouble of putting a tattoo on a baby? They went onto the reservations and asked questions and offered a reward. But it didn't work. And in the end they closed the file and just let us get on with it.

"But things never stopped going wrong for us. We were always blowing out of different foster homes.

We used to get into fights with other kids. We didn't pick these fights — they just sort of happened. By the time we were about six years old, we knew that it was always going to be the same…Scott looked out for me and I looked out for him. And as for the rest of them — well, we didn't give a damn.

"I lost count of the number of homes we were in and out of. The one thing was, they never separated us.

We had this caseworker. Her name was Deny and she said that it was important they keep us together.

Like it was the law. When we were eight, they tried fostering us out of state in Salt Lake City and that worked for a little while. I think we were happy. We were with a couple who couldn't have kids of their own. They had a nice place and they were kind to us…but about twelve months after we'd been there, they decided they'd had enough. Derry flew out to see us, and by now she knew what was going on and that was when she tried to tell us. We were different. We were special. But we made people uneasy.

That's what she tried to tell us but she didn't exactly put it into words. Maybe she thought we'd laugh at her.

"It didn't matter, though. We'd already worked it out for ourselves. We knew we had this…ability.

Maybe you'd call it a power, only that would make it sound as if we could put on costumes and turn into Spider-Man or something, and it was never like that. But even while Derry was talking to us, trying to explain it, we knew we could have looked into her mind and seen what she was thinking. Telepathy.

That's the word for it. But we weren't superheroes. We were freaks. We weren't like anyone else. And that was why we'd never been able to fit in."

"Did you ever use your ability?" Alicia asked. She felt like she hadn't breathed the whole time Jamie had been speaking. He was so skinny and vulnerable, sitting out here on the patio with his black hair falling to his neck. Only now was she beginning to understand all he had been through.

"How do you mean?" Jamie asked.

"I don't know. To cheat in exams. Or to find out about stuff you weren't supposed to know."

"No!" Jamie shook his head. 'You don't understand how it feels to be able to read people's minds, Alicia.

It isn't fun. It was like there was this whispering all the time. All the time! We'd be walking down the street and it would be everywhere, all around us, never stopping. Can you imagine what it would be like going to a movie if the audience never stopped talking? Well, that's how it was for us. Sometimes it could drive us mad.

"What most people are thinking, most of the time, isn't very nice. They're thinking about their husbands or their wives and the arguments they've had. They're thinking about the people they want to hurt and how angry they are and how miserable they are and why it's never their fault. Or maybe they're worrying about money or about losing their jobs or it can be even worse. They can be thinking horrible, foul thoughts. So, no, we didn't use our ability. We did the exact opposite. It was like putting our hands, permanently, over our ears. We managed to close all the doors.

"We kept just one of them open. I could hear what Scott was thinking and he could hear me. It worked even when we were a mile apart although it got fainter…you know…like a whisper. But we were never scared to go into each other's heads because we always knew there would be no bad surprises. We knew it would be safe. And that's how we became the telepathic twins. That's what Don White made us."

"Were you sent to him next?" Alicia asked.

Jamie shook his head. "Can I have another drink?"

"Coffee?"

"Coke."

"Wait there…"

Alicia went into the kitchen. Fortunately, her sister kept the place well stocked. She came back with a can of Coke and a glass filled with ice. She waited while Jamie drank. Then he put the glass down.

BOOK: Nightrise
2.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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