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 (7 page)

BOOK: Nightrise
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He heard the screech of tires, the sound of cars pulling up in the street. At the same time, the squawk of radio transmitters filled the air. Doors opened and slammed shut. Somebody somewhere called out an order. "This way!"

It was Alicia who took control of the situation. As Jamie stood rooted to the spot, she grabbed hold of him and suddenly she was very close to him.

"We have to move," she said urgently. 'You can't be found here."

"But…"

'You heard what they said on the news. That's what they all think. You've been set up! If the police get you, you're finished. We have to go."

"Go where?"

Jamie turned toward the front door but it was already far too late. He heard footsteps coming up the drive. The front patio had been laid with gravel, and the boots crunched against it. Alicia understood.

That way was blocked. "Into the kitchen!" she commanded.

Jamie was angry with himself. The situation was completely out of control. If Scott had been here, he would have known what to do. Once again Jamie was weak and helpless, allowing himself to be pushed around…this time by a woman he had met only a few hours before. Alicia had taken charge. A door led into the kitchen. She pulled it open and they went through. And that was when they realized that they hadn't been on their own in the house after all.

Marcie was lying on the floor, and it was obvious — even without the pool of blood — that she was dead. Her arms and legs were spread-eagled almost comically and her cheek was pressed against the linoleum as if she was trying to listen to something in the cellar below. In life, she had been a short, stocky woman. Death had somehow compressed her even more, so that she didn't look quite human. A fat, stuffed doll. But somebody had shot her twice and let the stuffing out.

Jamie tried to say something but the words wouldn't come. He heard the front door open on the other side of the living room and realized that the police were already in the house. They hadn't bothered to ring the bell. Somebody muttered something but it was impossible to make out the words against the noise of the TV. Meanwhile, Alicia was looking around. A pair of French windows led into the backyard but she didn't know if they were locked or not and she didn't have time to find out. There, was another door right next to her. Grabbing Jamie, she pulled him out of the kitchen and into a narrow utility room.

There was a washing machine, a drier, a couple of shelves of canned food. She stopped and held up a hand, warning Jamie not to move. At the same moment, the police entered the kitchen.

"Oh Jesus!" Jamie heard one of the policeman gagging.

"That sure is a beauty." A second voice.

"Looks like the kids came home last night."

There was a way out of the utility room. Another door at the far end. Alicia signaled, and she and Jamie tiptoed over to it. There had to be at least three policemen in the kitchen, separated from them only by a thin, partition wall. The door was locked but the key was there. She reached out and turned it…

…just as a policeman walked into the room behind them. He stood, staring at them, like something straight out of a Hollywood film, with his black, short-sleeved shirt and black shades that completely hid his eyes. He was young and white and he worked out. The ugly tools of his trade dangled from his belt: gun, CS gas canister, handcuffs, and baton. For a moment he didn't say anything. Then his hand dropped down to the gun.

Jamie had been standing behind Alicia. But suddenly he stepped forward so that he stood directly opposite the policeman. She saw him look up and there was something in the boy's face that she couldn't recognize, a sort of intensity that seemed almost unworldly.

"There's nobody here," he said quietly. "The room's empty."

The policeman stared at him, as if puzzled by what he had just been told. Alicia waited for him to say something. But he didn't. His eyes were vacant. He nodded slowly and walked out again.

Jamie and Alicia heard voices in the kitchen as the officer rejoined the other men.

"Anything?"

"No. There's nobody there. It's just an empty room."

"Hey —Josh. Why don't you tell the coroner to get in here? They can start clearing up."

Jamie glanced at Alicia, as if challenging her to ask questions. But this wasn't the time. Alicia opened the back door and the two of them passed through into the garage. It was empty, apart from a rusty lawn mower and a deepfreeze unit. Don had taken his car to the Reno Playhouse and, of course, it had never been driven back. The two doors were closed but there was a window at the back. Jamie opened it and they climbed out. Now the garage was between them and any police officers who might be standing guard at the front. Jamie made sure there was nobody around, then slipped behind the neighboring house, making his way through the yard where the two girls played. Only when he was on the other side of the house did he cut back to the street. Alicia's car was parked right in front of him.

He took one last look at the house where he had lived for the past six months. The entrance was already taped off. There were police officers everywhere, on the porch, on the front lawn, carrying equipment in and out. Three police cars were parked on the street. Distant sirens announced that more were on the way.

Nobody noticed as Jamie and Alicia crossed the pavement and got into the car. And if anyone had turned around, they would assume that the two of them were neighbors. It was only when they were inside the car — and before she had started the engine — that Alicia turned to him.

"What was that?" she demanded. "What did you do to that policeman? How did you make him…?" Her voice trailed away.

"I can't tell you," Jamie replied. "I don't know what I did. And it doesn't matter. Because I'm never going to do it again."

Alicia nodded and turned the ignition. One of the policemen glanced in her direction but did nothing to stop her.

Alicia shoved the car into gear and the two of them drove away.

FIVE

Missing

It was later that afternoon. Alicia had managed to book adjoining rooms at the Bluebird Inn and had opened the connecting doors. Jamie was sitting at the table in his half, staring at a selection of food that she had spread out on paper plates: lunch or dinner or something in between. But he wasn't hungry. He wasn't even sure how much time had passed since he and Alicia had left Sparks. He felt hollowed out.

Somewhere inside him, a voice was telling him that by now he should have been on his way to the theatre, preparing for the first evening performance. But there was going to be no performance. That was all over, and nothing was ever going to be the same again.

The television was still on. A commercial break ended and yet another news bulletin began. They were reporting two murders now. Don White, shot at the theatre, and his partner, Marcie Kelsey, killed with the same weapon at her rented home. Kelsey. The name barely registered with Jamie. He had always known her as Marcie or Mars. And now she was dead and he was wanted for her murder. Jamie Tyler, twin brother of Scott Tyler. Both boys missing. Delinquents. High on drugs.

"That's enough!" Alicia picked up the remote control and turned the television off. "None of it's true, so what's the point of listening to it?"

Jamie said nothing.

"And you're not just going to sit there. You've got to eat something." She pushed a plastic tub of salad toward him. Jamie glanced at the label, aunt mary's lo-calorie caesar salad

. There was a picture of an old lady in an apron. She wasn't real, of course. The meal would have been prepared in a factory, chilled and trucked in. The lettuce leaves looked fake too.

"I'm not hungry," Jamie said.

"Of course you're hungry. You haven't eaten all day." Alicia sighed. "We have to get our heads together, Jamie," she said. 'You've got the police looking for you. Your brother's gone. Two people are dead. Do you really think you can help anyone just sitting here like this? Have some food and let's talk about what we're going to do."

She was right. Jamie pronged some of the lettuce with a plastic fork, then took a slice of ham. There were no cooking facilities at the motel and Alicia had chosen food they could eat straight out of the packet. There were also cookies, fruit, cheese, and bread rolls. She'd taken a beer out of the motel minibar. Jamie had a Sprite. He opened the ring pull, and the hiss of escaping gas seemed to unlock something in himself. He was hungry, after all. And thirsty too. He drank most of the Sprite, then began to eat.

"We need to talk," Alicia continued. Despite what she'd said, she herself wasn't eating. "That trick you pulled back at your aunt's place — that was quite something. Are you going to tell me how you did it?"

Jamie shook his head. "I don't want to talk about that."

"Well, let me suggest something to you. The act that you and your brother were doing on the stage — it was no act. You could really do it…read each other's thoughts. Am I right?" Jamie didn't answer, so she went on. "And I guess what I saw back at the house was some sort of mind control."

Jamie had finished the Sprite. He was holding the can in his hand and suddenly he closed his fingers, crumpling it. 'You don't understand," he said. "I never talk about this stuff. Not with anyone. Except Scott." He looked up at her and she saw that his eyes were filled with anger, challenging her to argue with him. 'You don't know what it's like. You have no idea. And I'm not going to tell you."

"All right. I'm sorry." Alicia drank some beer straight out of the bottle. She thought for a moment.

"Look, I know this is difficult for you. But we're not going to get anywhere fighting each other. Maybe it would help if I told you my story. Right now I'm a complete stranger to you. But it wasn't just a coincidence, my being in the theatre last night. I was there for a reason."

"Something to do with that photograph. Daniel…"

Alicia put down the beer. "Exactly," she said. "Daniel. That's what this is all about."

She leaned forward, resting her elbows on the table. Then she began.

"The boy in the photograph, Daniel, is my son. Last week should have been his birthday. He turned eleven on June ninth. But I don't know where he is. I don't even know if he's alive. He disappeared seven months ago and I've been looking for him ever since.

''You don't need to know very much about me, Jamie.

I'm thirty-two. I have a sister. My parents are from New Jersey. A year ago, I was living in Washington, D.C., working for Senator John Trelawny. Maybe you've heard of him. You should have. Right now he's trying to become the next president of the United States and people say there's a good chance he's going to win. Anyway, I was with him for five years, sorting his mail, managing his schedule…that sort of thing. He's a good man, and I liked my job.

"The other thing I need to tell you is that I was married for a time. My husband got sick and died two years after Danny was born, so I had to bring Danny up on my own. But in a way I was lucky. I had a little house around the corner from a really nice school. And I had a wonderful home helper — Maria —

who looked after Danny every afternoon until I got home."

She drew a breath.

"And then, toward the end of last year — it was the first week in November — I got a call from Maria. It was about six o'clock in the evening and I was working late. Anyway, she said that Danny hadn't come home from school. She'd tried his cell phone and she wasn't getting any answer and she didn't know what to do. I remember telling her to call around to some of his friends and to call me if he hadn't shown up by seven. Looking back, I can't believe how calm I was. But Danny often went home with one or another of his friends. He was in a band. He played drums. And he was rehearsing for a Christmas show.

It never occurred to me that anything could be wrong.

"Well, Maria did ring back at seven o'clock. Danny still hadn't shown up and nobody had any idea where he was. It was dark by then, and that was when I really began to worry. I called the police. The fact that I was connected to Senator Trelawny helped. They were around in about ten seconds and they put him straight onto the NCIC Missing Persons File. They also put out an Amber Alert, which meant that all the local businesses and shops had his description and his picture and it was like they were building a network of people who would look out for him. And I still thought he was going to show up. I could actually hear myself scolding him for being late!"

She stopped. There was a long pause.

"He never did show up," she went on. "Nobody had seen anything. Nobody knew anything. It was as if he'd vanished into thin air. I searched all over the house, trying to find some clue as to where he might have gone. I drove out to all the places he used to hang out. I went on the TV and the radio. His picture was in store windows all over town and on the back of trucks too. But nothing…"

"Scott saw him," Jamie muttered. "When you showed him the photograph. He said Danny was waiting for you."

Alicia nodded. "I know. It's the first news I've had of him since it happened.'' She swallowed hard. "It's the first time anyone's even suggested he's still alive."

She forced herself to go on.

"Two weeks before Christmas, I made a decision. The police didn't know where to look for him. Nobody knew where he was. But I wasn't going to give up. So I resigned my job and set out to find him myself.

There are plenty of organizations that deal with missing children and I contacted them. I passed out leaflets. I trawled the Internet.

Do you know how many children go missing each day? I began to put together names, faces, times, places. I noted all the cases that had been reported in the last year. I drew maps. I called the parents and spoke to them.

"To my surprise, a picture began to take shape. At first it didn't make any sense and I thought maybe I was imagining things. But very quickly I realized that it was true. There was a sort of pattern. A series of coincidences. And that's what led me to you.

"What I noticed was that in the past six months, a large number of the kids who've disappeared have been what you might call special.

BOOK: Nightrise
6.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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