What's the Matter With You: Part 1
What's the Matter With You
by Camospam, editing by Wendy K,
The third story in the ‘It Matters’ series featuring the adventures of Outlook.
December 19, 2007: Whateley Academy
Virgil Cooper cranked the steering wheel to bring his garbage truck off the main road and onto the gravel driveway leading up to Whateley Academy. The snow had delayed him since the roads were a mess, and he’d lost time helping push a stuck car out of the ditch.
He looked at the imposing entrance gates and swore that each and every time he passed by those freaky gargoyles … their eyes followed the trucks passage - and then their noses twitched when the smell wafted past them.
Coop recalled that day when Cameron had first suggested an arrangement: that he’d empty the garbage bins, in return of a favour, it made Coop’s hair stand on end. This school had made it clear that no smuggling would be tolerated! But having an emaciated kid asking for food … even now - the boy looked like he needed a good ten pounds on him just so there was some meat on his bones.
On principle alone Coop would have fed the kid, but he’d talked to his supervisor: Albert, about the situation. It was Dunwich’s Mayor himself that directed Coop to bring the boy any food he asked for, it was being paid for out of Dunwich’s petty cash - as well, a rotating schedule for something special to be sent was established. Last week Coop’s wife had wrapped up a slice of apple pie, today the mayor slipped in a couple rhubarb muffins along with a note.
A smile drew across the man’s face, this arrangement which had worried him so much, had actually freed up much of his day, he’d been able to get to all of his son’s football and basketball games, he’d even been able to take on being the team’s assistant coach.
As if on cue, Cameron met the garbage truck, the boy waved towards Coop, as the man brought the truck to a stop, hopping up onto the truck’s running board Cameron brandished a huge smile.
Samantha Everhart watched from her hiding spot as the garbage truck approached the dumpsters. She had observed the driver hand off a package to a student a couple days ago and after reviewing security tapes, she was shocked to find that this drop had been happening for a number of months.
Elizabeth Carson had tasked the security officer to curtail the drug trafficking on campus, since the start of the school year the amount of illicit drug and alcohol use at the school had been rampant, Sam was given cart-blanc to bring it to a stop.
The retired Admiral had discovered that designer drugs were as easy to obtain on campus as candy. However, by tracking down the suppliers for known addicts - she had uncovered an entire distribution network After interrogations she’d found where a concealed manufacturing lab had been established in the tunnels.
That coup had put a major dent in the availability of drugs, and inspired the Admiral to find other dealers … Whateley Security was short staffed with many taking time off to be with family, but she rounded up a few men and they had been staked out for a short time before she witnessed the drop.
Sam Everhart moved silently in the snow, it helped muffle any sound, she came up fast behind the boy, grabbing the bag from out of his hand. She shouted at him: “Don’t Move!”
The kid was surprised and let out, “What? Hey! Thats mine,” and started to turn around.
Sam reached out and grabbed the boys shoulder in a firm grip … it felt like getting hit by a ton of bricks.
Hive began to falter, it sent out warnings and alarms triggered by a critical power failure, emergency protocols were enacted, Sam’s vision alternated between red and normal for only a second before she blacked-out.
Contact had been made - the nanites that comprised Samantha Everhart’s body suddenly became inactive as the energy empowering them instantly discharged. The security officers arm melted away as the nanites lost cohesion, it looked like falling sand coming out of her sleeve. The rest of her body seized up making her fall backwards into the snow, and she lay stiff and unmoving - Hive struggled to stay alive with what little power remained.
Security Officer Coltrain approached from behind the boy who had astonishingly dropped the Admiral so fast he hadn’t seen what he’d done to her. One thing for certain: this kid had hurt one of Whateley’s own - and what ever he had used on Sam had Coltrain scared. The boy was on his knees beside Sam - her arm was disintegrating - he was still attacking her - the kid needed to be stopped before he did more damage!
Coltrain crept up silently in the snow and raised his baton, his strike was aimed at the back of the kids head and Coltrain hit him as hard as he could, it was a satisfying result to see the kid slump to the ground and not make a move.
Doyle Medical Centre
Medics rushed the stretcher carrying one of Securities own into Doyle Centre’s admitting area. The on duty doctor stepped up and asked for details taking note of the pertinent facts, as he began to check for the officers vital signs - he was confused as he couldn’t find anything to help determine this victims condition. He directed she be moved immediately into Trauma Room One, and everyone’s focus shifted into critical mode.
A second stretcher brought in another patient: an unconscious boy, a quick call to Hawthorne Cottage alerted Dr Cho that he was needed at Doyle. The school’s hospital was running with a skeleton staff - two emergencies taxed the limited resources who had volunteered to stay over the holidays.
The medical professionals were stymied: Sam was by all means and measure a machine, she didn’t rely upon lungs for oxygen, didn’t have a circulatory system, they couldn’t even tell if she was cold. The level of frustration over the lack of progress was climbing until expressed in a snide comment, “Why bring her here? She should have been taken to a garage!” As hurtful as that thought was - it did spark the notion to check and see if her ‘gas tank’ was empty.
Looking into the retired Admirals staff file, it detailed her food requirements. Once that was sourced and a feeding tube inserted into her stomach, Hive began to make a slow recovery.
Dr. Cho was sure he’d seen this boy over at Hawthorne Cottage, but just couldn’t place him.
The doctor had taken scans of the boys head, the blow to the back of his head had cracked his skull and surrounding brain tissue showed a large contusion, undoubtedly why he was unconscious.
The severity of the injury: that it could cause lasting even permanent damage required he contact Child Services, Dr. Cho placed the call to the Child Welfare hotline.
Whateley’s Front Gate: December 20, 2007
The New Hampshire State Trooper cruiser pulled up to the school’s check-point at the front gate, the policeman inside rolled down the window and gave the man in the booth a nod in greeting.
“Howdy Arthur. We got a report that you’ve arrested a couple drug dealers. I’ve come to take them to Berlin.”
“I’ll let Kane Hall know you’re here,” instructed the guard as he hit the switch to open the impressive gates.
Entering security’s reception area Trooper Miller added himself onto the days log, and shook Officer Trews hand in greeting.
“This is your second arrest in as many weeks, you guys trying to clean up this one horse town?” joked the trooper.
“Sam Everhart has been hellbent curtailing the flow of drugs on campus,” supplied the security officer taking a military stance.
“What have you got for me?” inquired the policeman.
“The mule is the garbage man from Dunwich: Virgil Cooper, no priors. He’s been making drops while on campus to a kid who would distribute. They got caught red handed during an exchange.”
“Sounds straight forward enough.”
“The kid pulled something on Sam, she was taken to Doyle, the scuttlebutt is she’s been hurt bad.”
“She going to make it?”
“Don’t know,” an obvious point of worry for the man, “But there’s plenty of security footage going back nearly 3 months. Sam has it all prepared in a report, we’ve also got the intercepted package in evidence lock-up.”
“I’ll load the evidence into my car first, then I can take the prisoners off your hands,” decided Trooper Miller.
When the Trooper returned into Kane Hall he asked, “What do you know about the kid?”
“He’s a bit of a mystery to be honest: doesn’t show up in the system - he isn’t a student here, but Sam was able to uncover camera footage of him receiving two to three shipments a week. We suspect he was planted here to sell drugs,” informed the security officer.
“Got a name?”
“His prints aren’t coming up on any database.”
“Sure sounds like a plant,” the policeman admitted. “Bring in some unknown to do the dirty work,” reasoned the Trooper. “Everything ready for me to take custody?”
“Mr. Cooper is in a cell in the back, haven’t heard a peep out of him. The boy resisted arrest , we have him over at Doyle getting checked over,” responded security officer Trews.
The holding area was silent, resting quietly in the first cell they could see Mr. Cooper; he was sitting on his cot and just barely lifted his head to acknowledge that someone was coming towards him, his gaze then returned to the vacant - dejected look it previously held.
“Mr Cooper; it would seem your in a world of trouble,” spoke Miller while Trews unlocked the cell. The Trooper motioned the man to stand and turn around, after which handcuffs were placed on his wrists.
“From my point of view: it would appear there’s a whole lot of trouble in the world, and this school is up to its neck in it,” remarked Coop.
“I’m sure the Judge will want to hear all about it,” affirmed Trooper Miller.
Trooper Miller left Whateley with his prisoner: Virgil Cooper, only after ensuring that the captured boy was secured at the hospital. The attending physician convinced him that the boy shouldn’t be moved, and the policeman agreed on the condition the boy be handcuffed and a guard be posted outside his room.
Leaving the school, the Trooper tried to ignore Mr. Cooper’s pleading questions about the boy’s condition. He only replied that he was in the care of a doctor.
The men didn’t converse on the drive to Berlin, however about five minutes out Mr. Cooper asked: “Why did they arrest Cameron?”
Miller asked, “Who’s Cameron?”
Mr. Cooper tsk’ed, then replied, “What kind of slack-assed school is that anyways? You’re saying they don’t even know his name?”
“You have something for me?”
“Cameron … Burke!”
“Where’d you pick him up from?”
“Lawyer!” was the last word Mr. Cooper would say.
The student worker who had to remain at Whateley over break called out: “Ms. Claire! Maintenance just reported that a detentionee failed to show up. They’re worried about him.”
“Who?” asked Claire: the second-in-command administrator, left to ‘hold down the fort’ during the holidays.
“Cameron Burke, Ma’am; goes by Outlook.”
“Can you find out what dorm he’s in? I’ll call to see if they can check up on him.”
“On it,” was said in response to the direction given, a brief interval ensued as records were reviewed on the computer database before calling out: “Ms. Claire! There’s something odd about maintenance’s missing student.”
“What did you find?”
“There’s no record of him having a cottage assignment.”
The proverbial light bulb flashed above Claire’s head, “Ask the guys at maintenance to send someone over to Doyle who knows Outlook, maybe we can get a positive ID on their John Doe.”
Within minutes of Security hanging up the phone after talking with State Trooper Miller, they had confirmation from Admin that the youth they’d arrested was named Cameron Burke.
As the name was circulated around the office, one man called out, “I know him!”
Trews sought details.
“He comes in everyday like clockwork and signs into the day’s log,” responded the desk attendant.
“Why would he do that?” questioned Trews.
“He’d said a couple times that Mrs. Carson required it of him, I never questioned why.”
“Maybe she knew he was a bad egg,” stated Officer Trews.
Whateley Academy’s Front Gate: Friday, December 21, 2007.
Two vehicles drove up to the dormant schools front gate, after a brief interaction with the security guard attendant he opened the entrance for them. The vehicles parked in the lot beside Schuster Hall; the first car was one of New Hampshire’s State Police cruisers, followed by one of the MCO’s black four door ‘ghost’ cars which had no visible identification, but still - at a glance, every mutant alive knew exactly who it was.
The two police officers stopped on the walkway, waiting for the MCO agent to join them before they all proceeded into the school‘s administration area. Stepping up to the admin counter the lead officer rang the bell, Ms. Claire quickly abandoned the work she was doing at her desk and approached the group asking: “May I help you?”
We’re here to conduct an investigation into the illegal activities of a student. An Officer Trews notified us of an incident and suggested we could make use of a meeting space, and the possibility of having access to members of the school’s faculty and records,” requested the senior police officer.
“Certainly,” replied Ms. Claire. “Mrs. Shugendo: the dean of students, was alerted to your needs. I can show you to our conference room, and let her know you’re here.”
The different organizations representatives had only just taken seats at the table when Mrs. Shugendo entered the room.
“Good Morning, I’m Michiko Shugendo, Whateley’s Dean of Students. I’m afraid that our school is presently running with a skeleton staff. Most students and many staff have left for the holidays. However, our Security department tried to for-warn me regarding your needs. I hope I can be of assistance.”
“Thank you Mrs Shugendo; I am Inspector Roberts of the New Hampshire State Police, joining me is deputy Atkins. Observing our inspection and acting as a court appointed advisor is Mrs. Grace Winslow from the MCO.”
“Isn’t having advisors somewhat irregular?”
“It wouldn’t be normally required; but considering that Whateley is not a ‘regular’ school, it was deemed necessary to have some knowledgeable assistance to ensure a thorough investigation is conducted.”
“I must be honest: having the MCO on campus may prove to be very disruptive.”
“That was taken into consideration, and why we have fast tracked our visit - we understood there would be a limited number of students present.”
“Most considerate,” commented Mrs Shugendo, “What sort of records can I get for you?”
“We would like to see anything you have on Cameron Burke: anything that might indicate behaviour problems - has he receiving any counselling, any documentation about being a troublemaker.”
Grace Winslow asked, “Would your file have a copy of his MID, and powers testing results?”
“You’re asking for personal and confidential information, I believe a warrant is required for me to release such details.”
Unfolding a paper, Officer Roberts set it on the table pushing it over to Mrs Shugendo, “Signed by Judge Stone, giving us authority to conduct an unfettered investigation.”
After confirming the document Mrs Shugendo acquiesced, “I need to ensure the safety of our students above all else. Thank you.” Rising from the table she walked to the entrance but announced before exiting, “I’ll get someone working on that information for you.”
The administrator returned to the room a few minutes later, “This is most embarrassing, so far we’ve only uncovered some very incomplete records for him,” admitted an embarrassed Mrs. Shugendo. Onto the table was placed a paper file folder sporting the name Burke.
“We’ll need to see what you have.”
Mrs Shugendo set out pages neatly in front of herself, reading out, “His application, a copy of his acceptance letter, a letter acknowledging tuition payment, and his student account balance. Plus a curious medical statement originating from Doyle Medical Centre confirming that Cameron Burke is alive.
The administrator held the last document in her hands, it was a notarized and sealed document boldly stamped in red: ‘Personal and Confidential’. Looking at the officers and the agent seated at the table she revealed, “We are not authorized to read this - I would like it noted that the seal is still intact.”
Jotting something into his record Inspector Roberts stated, “So noted.”
Continuing, Mrs. Shugendo said, “Lastly, we have Cameron’s admittance form, dated on September 25th. I discovered that his original dormitory assignment was Poe Cottage, but that was crossed out and no other location is indicated.”
“Who would have prepared that admittance form?”
“Ms. Amelia Hartford, she’s our Assistant Headmistress.”
“Is she available for questioning?”
“Sorry - No. She is presently in Venice and mentioned she would be incommunicado.”
“And the Headmistress?” Checking his notes, “Elizabeth Carson.”
“Cabo San Lucas. Her resort told me she was deep sea fishing.”
“Is anyone available who might be familiar with the boy?”
“Stan gave a positive ID of him at Doyle, I believe I saw Stan working in the Crystal Hall a short while ago, I can see about getting him for you.”
“Officer Atkins, please see about finding ‘Stan’”.
The firm knock on the door announced Officer Atkins return, he held the door open for a tall but slight man wearing well worn and dirt encrusted coveralls.
“Mr. Stanley Lipscowycz; l.i.p.s.c.o.w.y.c.z.” introduced Atkins.
“Thank you for joining us Mr. Lipscowycz,” spoke officer Roberts offering his hand.
“Stan is fine,” replied Mr Lipscowycz, wiping his hand on his coveralls before shaking the policeman’s hand.
“Alright Stan,” agreed Officer Roberts. “What can you tell us about a young man named Cameron Burke?” was asked as he offered the man a chair.
“Outlook! Sure enough: boy’s been a great help - gonna miss him,” stated the maintenance man. “When Outlook hadn’t shown up at the shop over the last couple days, we figured something wasn’t right. He’d asked about going home for the holidays, but when I was asked to identify him in Doyle … any word on who laid him up?”
“He’s been working for Maintenance?”
“Not technically, no. He’s been on detention, so it’s not like we paid him or nothing.”
“Do you recall when he’d have started ‘helping’ you?”
“Let me see… definitely since the start of October - maybe late September? Mr. Duncan will have time cards for him.”
“How long does detention usually last?”
“Two - three weeks maybe, depends on how the Headmistress felt bout what they’d done.”
“Do you know what Mr. Burke had done - for him to be given three months of detention?”
“We’re not to ask the kids about it. They figure we might get a prejudice against students if we know why … we’re just to assign them some of the nastiest jobs; ‘shake em up a little’ - gives them something to think about.”
“What sort of jobs?”
“Send them down into the sewers mostly - it tends to change a persons view of the world.”
“How would you describe his work habits?”
“Hard worker, dependable, always showed up on time and put in a solid day. We’ve all commented that it’d be great to hire him on.”
“Are you familiar with any of Cameron’s associates?”
“He chummed around with Generator and Shroud some, he was friendly enough - but stuck to himself mostly.” He hemmed a moment before adding, “You might want to talk to Mr Geintz: I know he had talked with the boy some, seemed like a friendly enough relationship.”
“Anything else you can think of Stan?”
“He was alway helpful, didn’t give us any grief … Is Outlook in trouble?”
“I’m afraid so, he’s under arrest in Doyle.”
Stan took the news with a deep sigh. “He didn’t look none too good,” he said with a sad shake of his head. “Anything else you folks need?”
“That should do Stan, Thank you”
The maintenance man stood and gave his ball cap a tug as a farewell gesture.
Grace Winslow asked if Mr. Gientz could be questioned. She hadn’t even finished asking her request when a gentle knock on the open door preceded the entrance of a man dressed in a casual corduroy sports coat and faded jeans.
“Hello; I’m Louis Geintz. You had wanted to speak with me?”
“Thank you for coming Louis,” commented Mrs Shugendo unfazed by his sudden appearance.
“How is it you just happened to appear like that?” wondered Inspector Roberts.
“I’m psychic, it would have been more of a surprise around here if I hadn’t shown up,” he remarked getting a laugh from Mrs Shugendo. “I gather you have questions about Outlook?”
“Yes, we’re hoping you might fill in some blanks?”
“I would be most happy to provide you what I can - but honestly: Outlook is a bit of a mystery to me … I was just visiting him at Doyle after finding out about his condition.”
“Mr. Burke’s awake?”
“No, not yet!”
“But you know the boy?”
“Yes, we’ve had a few conversations when he has stopped by my accommodations.”
“Do you know where he has been staying while at Whateley?”
“I don’t! He never mentioned which cottage he was in.”
Mrs Shugendo was curious and asked the next question. “But Louis, you’re aware of everyone on campus, how can you not know?”
“Outlook has no psychic presence, it makes him one of the most challenging people for me to be aware of - he’s the first person in many a year that I have had to work at building a relationship with … it is both a frustrating and refreshing experience for me.“
MCO agent Winslow asked, “Explain no psychic presence.”
“Imagine not being able to see a person, they are invisible. To a psychic that is Outlook” informed Louis.
“That doesn’t align with the MCO’s information on him; it suggests a high level psychic.”
“He’s not! I tried a couple basic tests on him and found nothing to indicate psychic ability.”
“What are his abilities?” sought Mrs. Winslow.
“I cannot speak to that,” straightforwardly responded Fubar.
“Do you want it on record that you refused to answer a direct question?” needled the MCO agent.
“Yes, I think that would be wise, I don’t see how it is appropriate to ask a Psychic about someone he has no insight into, or an instructor about someone who isn’t one of his students. Also, I am not a powers theorist: so whatever I could give as an answer would be pure speculation.”
“Do you like him?” postulated Officer Atkins.
“I suppose I do: he’s very polite, resourceful and been most helpful,” supplied Louis.
“Is there anything about his character that makes you suspect he takes drugs?” put forward the Police Inspector.
“I’m afraid I am unable to give you a good character assessment, my not being able to read his mind leaves me a touch blind - as I mentioned. Outlook has been the first person in a long while I have had to get to know without psychic assistance, it has been frustrating building a relationship … I am in wonder at how people do it,” remarked Louis. “But I don’t believe Cameron was ever impaired or suffering anything like drug withdrawal whenever we’ve talked.”
“Thank you Mr. Geintz, you may go,” granted Inspector Roberts, and getting a disapproving stare from MCO agent Winslow after Fubar’s projection derezzed in-front of them.
“That’s it? You’re just going to let him go? That man is one of the most powerful psychic’s on record. He seems to know more about that kid than anybody else at this school!” Disparaged agent Winslow. “Abisinthe claims that there are no such things as secrets around him.”
“He told us what he knew - relevant to our investigation, that you have another agenda is not my concern,” stated Inspector Roberts. “What did Abisinthe have to say about Mr. Burke?”
“She read the MCO’s file on Outlook and mentioned its chock-full of inconsistencies, she believes he’s a wizard - but doesn’t attend any of her classes” informed the MCO representative. “You’re ignoring how dangerous this mutant is. An MCO alert was issued to warn about how dangerous he is and I assure you, the MCO will be moving to have this case turned over to us … he assaulted a law enforcement officer!” chastised Winslow.
“My investigation will only collect facts relevant to this case, it will not be based upon supposition and unsubstantiated claims,” cautioned Roberts.
“You can be certain Judge Stone is going to hear about this,” warned the MCO rep.
“That is your prerogative, we’re here to find out the boys story - not dissect him - or demonize him,” cautioned Roberts.
Officer Atkins spoke up. “May I suggest we next speak to the arresting officer, I imagine we’ll find her at the schools hospital.”
“I was told she was sent to convalesce at home. We can talk with her over at Kane Hall,” detailed Mrs. Shugendo.
Samantha Everhart was reclined on the couch in her apartment, the clothes she wore only covered the upper portion of her arm, the elbow was visible - with it exposed it revealed she had no appendage below that. The Hive nanites were rebuilding the limb, but the process was taking time.
The Doctors at Doyle weren’t in a position to be of further help, but on doctor’s orders she was sent home and told to take it easy, drink plenty of moonshine and the other materials that the tiny robots needed to rebuild with.
The knock on her door brought her attention from the book she was reading. “Enter,” she called out.
The entourage of four filled her small apartment built into Kane Halls tower, three of her quests were familiar and Hive provided the names: Michiko Shugendo, Dean of Students, Grace Wilson - MCO, Absinthe’s liaise agent - Berlin office. Officer Rupert Atkins: State Trooper, asked for a date at the interdepartmental mixer; August 28th in Berlin. The fourth was not immediately identified so Hive began an analysis: State Police uniform, inspector insignia, Roberts name tag.
It was Inspector Roberts who began to speak, “Ms. Everhart …”
“It is my rank; I’m retired,” mentioned Sam as she moved over to the kitchen area - the only place that had enough seats. She motioned for her guests to occupy the chairs available.
“Very well: Admiral Everhart. Can you please relate to us the events on December 19th, leading up to your injury and the arrests of Misters Cooper and Burke.”
“Whateley Academy has experienced an increase in illicit drug usage since the start of the current school year. Mrs Carson: the Headmistress, assigned me the task of finding the source of those drugs and curtailing it.
My investigation had already uncovered a drug ring that smuggled raw chemicals onto campus and utilized a lab which had been built in an obscured alcove in the tunnels. I was able to intercept a delivery to a known addict, and through interrogation was able to deconstruct the supply network thereby locating the manufacturing site and those responsible.
From that investigation I had spotted an anomaly in the security records which showed a student receiving packages from a supplier. As many as three times a week a garbage truck would arrive at the school. While the vehicle was onsite: interaction with an unknown courier and possible transfer of drugs was observed during a hand off.
I was unable to determine the scope of distribution network so focused upon that single point source. The individual receiving the shipments did not show up on the schools network: I am now to assume that Cameron Burke is that recipient?” The affirmative nods confirmed the suspicion.
“Without supporting documentation to account for this person to be present on campus” related Everhart after Hive checked the schools database. “The most plausible explanation remains supported by the drug dealing hypothesis.” The updated data filled a few gaps in Hives logic, and the report continued.
“Once the garbage collection schedule was established, I initially tailed the vehicle and personally observed a hand-off, which was followed by my attempting to ascertain distribution contacts. While following the suspect the package disappeared and I was unable to determine who he’d handed the parcel to, hence could not establish any contacts or a distribution network.”
Observing that her narrative had proceeded too quickly for the police officers, she paused to let them catch up. “On the next scheduled garbage day, I approached during the transfer to arrest the culprits in the act of receiving contriband. As the person was an unknown entity - I had to assume a hostile situation. I relieved the person … Mr. Burke, of the package in his possession. When he failed to follow directions the situation escalated requiring use of force in making the arrest.”
“Can you describe what happened next?” requested the police inspector.
“Upon making physical contact with the perpetrator, I experienced an instantaneous power depletion, emergency measures couldn’t enact in time to prevent critical failure resulting in a system degradation. Once sensory input was lost, I find I am unable to provide further details - until after basic functionality was restored while under the medical centre’s care.”
Roberts confirmed, “My office took possession of the evidence you’d intercepted, I’ve sent the package to the Boston Crime Lab for analysis. The garbage truck driver is waiting arraignment in Berlin, and once the lab boys have some hard facts we will proceed with laying charges. The boy who attacked you is under lock and key in Doyle receiving treatment until cleared for transfer to Berlin.”
“Speak with Officer Trews downstairs, he can provide you copies of video surveillance of the arrest, that area has two cameras trained on the exchange site.”
”Thank you Admiral,” mentioned Roberts. “Officer Atkins, head downstairs and get the footage, meet up with us over at the hospital: I want to talk with the Doctor.”
Dr. Cho had been deeply involved in a conversation, and he was disrupted by the knock on the small briefing rooms door. The room was mostly used for conferring with patients, so was private and suited the immediate need. Excusing himself, the doctor opened the door to see what was needed.
“Dr. Cho, reception told us we could find you here, I’m hoping to ask some questions about a patient of yours: Cameron Burke.”
“Then you’d better come in,” directed the physician. “I’m just explaining the situation to Mrs. Caruthers, Child Services sent her in response to my call.”
Standing, the lady made introductions, “Sandra Caruthers: New Hampshire Office of Child Protective Services.”
“Inspector Roberts, state police,” intoned the inspector.
“MCO agent Grace Winslow,” gave the MCO representative.
“I’m glad you’re already here, my first impression is that we’re dealing with a serious case of child abuse. Dr. Cho was just describing the injuries sustained by Cameron Burke,” advised Mrs Caruthers.
“It appears we’re working the same case from different angles, I was not aware the boy was being physically threatened to push drugs.”
“That adds a dimension I was not aware of,” admitted Mrs Caruthers. “When I’m finished here, would it be possible to visit his room?”
“That could be a problem.”
“Oh! Why is that?”
“We haven’t been able to confirm his billet as yet,” commented Mrs. Shugendo. “So far we’ve only uncovered some very incomplete records for him.”
“I’ll need to have copies of what you have,” directed Mrs. Caruthers. She then asked, “Am I correct in understanding that Whateley tracks the food students consume?”
“Absolutely, as part of the ongoing research being conducted on mutation, the dietary needs of individuals are monitored - the scientists working here use that data as a tool to help evaluate and categorize power classifications. I’m told it’s useful to help establish power ratings, and honestly, it’s also very handy for monitoring costs and keeping the shelves stocked.”
“I would be very interested in seeing Mr. Burke’s dietary information,” requested the social worker.
“I can ask who might be able to retrieve that for you,” Mrs. Shugendo offered.
Doyle Medical Center: December 26, 2007
Cameron’s head was throbbing, like someone was using a jackhammer to bust open his skull. He raised his arms to rub his temples to ease the pain but wasn’t able to move his right arm more than a couple inches. Regretting the pain it took to open his eyes, Cameron discovered he was handcuffed to the bed.
Laying still he rested and tried to steady the ache, it started to blend together into an incessant throb, it took great effort to concentrate enough and focus, but managed to deal with the debilitating concern: his head. The skull fracture was disturbing. While the bone damage was repairable - and once tended to brought the throb down to a manageable level, the bruising of his brain and associated swelling made him feel disoriented and woozy.
Cameron was stable enough to explore his surroundings. Doyle was familiar territory … being in a recovery room was a pleasant upgrade rather than the morgue again. The room was spartan, consisting of little furnishings aside from the bed he lay upon, there was a chair, no washroom, and no window.
His backpack wasn’t to be found, so Cameron altered his sight to search his surroundings, and didn’t find his stuff anywhere in the building. He had ascertained that it was 6:00 am from the clock in the hall, and the calendar at the nurses station said it was December 26th.
There was a man sitting outside his door reading an old fishing magazine, he had a nasty bit of plaque built-up on a heart artery that he’d better get checked-out soon. In the mail slot beside his door was his medical file, with a note stating he was under arrest and awaiting transfer to the authorities. Whateley was going to hand him over to the MCO!
Anxiety built within Cameron, and he tried to lift himself out of bed, but the hurt that caused overcame him and despite his fear - he really needed to fall back asleep. He was so very tired and his headache was too much to bear, and that little movement had made him woozy to the point that the room spun. He lay still trying to determine what to do next when sleep claimed him.
There was noise in the hallway and Cameron stirred, he checked the time and it was just after 9:30 am, he felt a little better and fortunately had a clearer head. The door’s guard had changed, and his medical file had been updated, saying he’d been checked over and his condition was improving. The doctors assessment was: Cameron could be released into police custody … How very thoughtful of them to ensure he was healthy before killing him!
He didn’t have any monitors attached, so no alarms or triggers got set off when he removed the bandages. After unfastening the handcuffs from his wrist Cameron tried standing, he was still little disoriented but satisfied that he could walk. Cameron then quickly changed out of the hospital gown into the clothes he’d taken out of his Cupboard.
Standing behind the door; he noticed it didn’t have a lock on it. Cameron manifested a deadbolt to secure the door shut. He commenced checking his surroundings, the frightened boy faced a dilemma and after analyzing the situation - had only two choices: make a stand and fight, or run and try to find help.
He didn’t want this war, and a hospital was no place to wage a battle. Cameron needed an escape plan - but every tick of the clock decreased his chances. How soon before someone tried to come through that door?
Maybe it was due to losing faith in the system… or maybe because he’d never gotten a fair deal at Whateley. All he could focus on was that he wouldn’t roll over and quit, he needed to get distance between himself and this school.
His best route out was to go to the room below him, it was unoccupied and unguarded. Cameron dissipated a hole in the floor right overtop that rooms bed and dropped down to the next level - restoring the floor and cleaning up after himself.
The hallway had security cameras. He could scramble the electricity, but that might raise an alarm, so instead Cameron painted an empty view of the hall onto the camera’s lens. His artistry was transparent enough to let light in but obscured the view enough to hide his passage.
After entering another empty room on that floor which had a window; he made an opening in the glass and checked the security present before climbing out, restoring his means of escape behind him.
Hugging the exterior wall, keeping out of sight of any cameras, Cameron contemplated his next move. He was a fugitive now, just by attempting to escape he’d escalated the situation! Cameron could see no difference: Either he’d be handed over to the MCO, Whateley itself might want the honour, or perhaps whatever group had laid dibs on him first would kill him.
Cameron had daydreamed about walking up to the front gates and shredding this schools protective shielding, but realized now how impractical it would be to act upon. He needed a way to not attract attention and prevent people from knowing where he’d gone … The sewers!
Jinn and he had been tasked with cleaning out an old sewer line that was mostly forgotten about, as it was only used to drain rain water. Since it emptied into a river he was certain a catch basin was nearby in a parking lot.
How to get from where he was to where he needed to be? Looking around he only saw new snow, no footprints to step into or cover to hide behind. He smiled when the answer hit him: ‘Snow Goons’. Mom would fall into hysterics when reading the Calvin and Hobbes cartoons where he would make snowmen. White on white would be hard for the security cameras to detect, and if Cameron made lots of them as decoys - then used one as camouflage to get to the sewer … no one would be the wiser.
Cameron quickly piled and compacted snow making many snowmen, all while still in the shadow of Doyle hiding out of camera sight. He next fashioned a hollow shell around himself, lifting it slightly he moved cautiously to the parking lot. He moved overtop the manhole and dropped down the shaft. Cameron made a wheeled platform and quickly scooted down the pipe, the schools shield was unaffected by his passing and he was unseen by anyone as he exited.
The snow by the river was pretty deep, the river wasn’t completely frozen yet - ice had formed along the banks, but it still had open water. Cameron fashioned ice skates and secured them to his boots, then began removing energy from the river water to make a smooth ice path onto which he started to skate, breaking up the ice behind himself thereby covering his route.
Mrs. Sandra Caruthers arrived at the schools gates alone, she was asked to wait for only a few minutes until a security escort could accompany her.
“Morning Mum, Ian McTavish at yer service,” said the security guard with a tip of his hat as he approached. “Tis me first day back after some olidays.”
“Thank you Mr. McTavish, I am needing to visit someone at Doyle Hospital - will you be present for the duration of my time on campus?”
“Aye mum, I’ll be yer shadow for ta die. I’m not to let tany one give ye grief.”
“So you’re a bodyguard rather than a watchdog?”
“That be a fine way ta put it Mum,” beamed the security man. “Who be needin a visit?”
“Fine boyo dat one, he saved me life he did - an dis school!”
“You’ll need to tell me all about that.”
“Appy to Mum,” offered the man.
Doyle was in lockdown when the pair entered the hospital, the staff was in a panic over something as doctors and nurses rushed about the place interspersed with a few security personnel. Mrs Caruthers was shown to a private room and asked to remain there until the situation had been cleared, it afforded an opportunity for McTavish to entertain the lady by recounting his experiences.
The Wilds of Mediwihla Lands
The River’s direction had turned away from where Cameron needed to go and it no longer headed toward where he felt Dunwich would be. Looking skyward, he found the Northstar Polaris, and verified he needed to head a different direction. He had gone under a bridge a few minutes back, so he backtracked and climbed up to a road.
So far skating had been a good way to cover ground fast, now he applied a thin ribbon of ice onto the road surface and continued to push himself hard. The temperature wasn’t all that cold out, but Cameron found he needed to put several layers of clothes on to keep himself warm and stop the shivers. He wasn’t sure how far it was to town, his head still hurt and that made it difficult to concentrate.
Cameron spotted a car on the roadside ahead, a lone female was standing beside her jeep - yelling at it and pounding upon the vehicle in frustration. The jeep was firmly caught in a snow bank which had immobilized the vehicle. Cameron slowed to a stop and ceased forming the ribbon of ice on the road. Dematerializing the metal blades he’d affixed to his boots he ducked down behind a snow bank to keep from being seen.
Observing the scene ahead: it was a young woman … a Were, Cameron was unable to determine what type. She had a gash over her right eye and a little blood had dripped down her face - likely from when her car hit the ditch. She had resorted to repeatedly kicking the rear tire to vent upon - when she paused and sniffed the air looking around, although she hadn’t yet seen Cameron.
“You might as well step out where I can see you,” she called in the boys direction.
It took Cameron a moment to determine if he had enough trust left to show himself. Standing, Cameron gave away his location, and started walking nearer.
The girl was dressed in comfortable clothes to travel in, a nice pair of jeans and a warm blouse, and a good set of boots. She was a little taller than Cameron: but then who wasn’t? She had reddish-copper colour hair which went down to her shoulder blades. She let out a puff of air and leaned against her jeep; watching as Cameron approached.
Still a few feet away Cameron said, “Hi!”
The female Were was maybe eighteen and cute, with nice blue eyes and a pert little nose, she wore too much make-up which detracted from her healthy beauty. The girl was sizing up the stranger coming towards her and from her posture Cameron could tell she considered him a possible threat.
Cameron slowly withdrew his hands from his gloves and removed his toque tucking it into a pocket, then bringing both hands forward in an open gesture to show no ill will.
“I’m Cameron,” he offered.
“Take off the glasses - let me see your eyes,” stated the girl, not so much as a demand but to establish a connection and build trust.
Cameron removed his visor and folded them up before raising up his eyes to look at her. Most people would gawk or recoil in fear, Cameron had all too often seen the disgust … occasionally it elicited curiosity, but Cameron was completely bewildered by what happened next.
The girl kneeled in front of him and bowed her head.
Doyle Medical Centre
Sandra Caruthers had been taking notes while Officer McTavish talked about his experiences with Cameron Burke, she didn’t think he was making it up, but still needed to get clarification on some of the more ‘extraordinary’ points.
The man was interrupted by a knock on the door, and a very apologetic Mrs. Shugendo entered to explain what was happening.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting Sandra, but it appears that Cameron Burke has escaped.”
“Escaped? Wasn’t he handcuffed, with a guard posted, in a room with a single door?”
“Security has conducted a top to bottom search of Doyle and can’t find him. They have spread out and are commencing a sweep of the entire Campus.”
“Nothing on your cameras?”
“We are working off few clues, we don’t even know how he left the building. I am told that Security will need another half hour to finish checking school grounds before calling in a manhunt.”
Cameron knelt in-front of the girl and bowed his head too, matching her position.
It wasn’t long before the girl giggled, and Cameron raised his head to look at her. She had put a hand up to her mouth to hold back her amusement, but it got control of her as she let go with a solid laugh.
Cameron smiled and asked, “I take it this isn’t a proper Were greeting?”
“No,” she managed to say before another laugh broke free, followed by a snort.
The girl looked ashamed by the involuntary outburst, and Cameron doubted she knew just how much cuter her reaction had made her. Cameron stood and offered a hand to help her up. The girl looked suspiciously at the offered hand but didn’t take it, instead looking at him with big eyes; as blue as the midday sky, she had an expression Cameron couldn’t quite peg.
“I don’t bite,” explained Cameron.
“I imagine so,” confessed Cameron, then added, “consensus has it that I taste like chicken, but I’d ask you refrain … at least until your car is unstuck.”
Again the girl giggled, but did accept the offered hand to help her up as she rose to her feet.
“Cameron Burke,” was given.
“Ella Oberon,” was received.
“Oberon … I’ve heard that name before” puzzled Cameron.
“From the legend of the Golden Eyed Man,” stated the girl.
“No! That’s not it … one of Shakespeare’s plays I think.”
The girl gave a definite growl stemming from his perceived slight. How could he not recognize her family’s name!
“But now that you mention it, I do recall there was someone named Oberon from when I was told the story.”
“It’s not a story, it’s legend … Oberon’s my ancestor, we can trace the family tree directly back to him.”
“Wow, that must be a big tree.”
“There’s just me left, my Dad is gone.”
“Which begs the question: what are you doing here?”
The girl at first held a defiant posture, as if it must be obvious, but gradually she relaxed and mellowed before answering.
“I heard rumours that the Golden Eyed Man had been found. I needed to see it for myself - I had to be certain.”
“What did you hope to find?”
“A warrior, a leader, a symbol to stand behind and make the people great again. Not some runny nosed kid.”
Ella slumped her shoulders, looking like she wanted to cry as she leaned against her car, needing the support seeing how her hopes had been dashed.
Cameron took the spot next to her, bringing out a tissue he blew his nose, then offered the box to her. Almost by reflex she took a tissue and dabbed her eyes.
Cameron decided he better tell his side, “When I was first told about the Golden Eyed Man, I thought ‘Hey! I’m not the only one.’ It made me feel better about myself. The strange thing is; a girl I thought was really cool - marked me … I mean: what the heck? Apparently we’re married or engaged or something.” Cameron let out a long slow sigh, “I don’t know about this Golden Eyed Man of yours. If I’m supposed to be him it’s news to me.” Turning his head Cameron looked at the girl, “Right now I’m just trying to be the best me I can.”
“You don’t lay claim to being the Golden Eyed Man?”
“Lynn might say otherwise, but saving the Were isn’t foremost on my list of priorities.”
“My betrothed - or whatever you call it … and yes! She’s a panther.”
“You have a list of priorities?”
“Not so much, it’s more a matter of: whats going to kill me first, the MCO, or this stupid cold,” he said blowing his nose yet again and coughed.
“It was foresworn that a child of Oberon would be the Golden Eyed Man’s sword and shield.”
“That’s nice! Why don’t we get your jeep unstuck and talk about it someplace warm,” requested Cameron. The skating had weakened him and he was becoming delirious from the flu. Cameron had the presence of mind to dissipate the snow that held the vehicle fast, until it sat upon solid ground.
Samantha Everhart, had just gotten nicely absorbed into a book: it was a romance novel - the Admiral had been reading them for years, even before his transformation. It was a guilty pleasure taking him completely away from the everyday … and he would have denied it vehemently if ever caught.
Sam’s apartment above Kane Hall was now besieged by Whateley Security asking if she could take command of a manhunt: Cameron Burke had escaped.
The one handed woman hurriedly dressed into a uniform and strode into the office, establishing a centre of operations, and began dispatching teams to conduct searches. On a speaker phone she made a conference call to the Dunwich Sheriff and the State Police in Berlin.
A large New Hampshire map was hung and large circles drawn to show how far someone could travel in the timeframe since the boy had gone missing. The most likely routes had officers dispatched to set up road blocks and search parties organized.
Sam looked at the map, it was obvious that two-thirds of the search area was on Mediwihla lands, so she placed the call to see if the Were could help. The phone was answered on the first ring and Sam was asked to wait until Eloise Donner could speak with her.
“Hello Sam, what’s this I hear about a missing boy?” asked the Mediwihla Chief.
“Hello Eloise, we arrested a youth who managed to escape and fled the school, he’s wanted for drug dealing.”
“You have reason to suspect this student is coming our way?”
“At this time we don’t know how he got away or where he headed after leaving the school. The police have been notified and are setting up road blocks. Would you let your people know that if they are traveling to expect to be stopped and searched? But I’m calling in hopes that you might arrange some volunteers to help with the search.”
“Who are you looking for?” asked Eloise.
“His name is Cameron Burke,” supplied Everhart.
The phone was silent for an extended period before a different sounding Eloise spoke, “Tell your people not to enter onto Mediwihla lands. We will conduct our own search.”
“Eloise, we have trained people with dogs and equipment that can help locate the boy.”
“Your presence is not welcome: keep your people away.”
Ella was amazed how that within a minute of the boy sitting down he had a blanket wrapped around himself and was sound asleep … first off: where did the blanket come from?
Ella took a deep breath, the kid was sick - he’d said as much. It sounded like he was running away from someone - but there were no homes around. Had he come from the Were Village? He had a Were scent on him - he’d said he was marked. She didn’t know of any other places around here - she didn’t know what to do with him.
Ella had to make a decision: surely it needed to be more than a gut reaction, besides her gut was in turmoil: did she believe in the Legend? She had come to meet the Golden Eyed Man. She yearned to know, once in her life, what was truth, only to wind up with more questions, and end up with a human kid passed out beside her.
The day was overcast, which matched the girls mood. But as Ella looked towards Berlin the sky had darkened and more snow was falling. In the direction of the Mediwihla village a single ray of sunshine poked through the clouds and brightly lit a hillside, the girl mumbled as she pointed her jeep towards better weather.
Eloise Donner had asked for the tribe to gather, and until now she hadn’t confirmed the presence of the Golden Eyed Man. She hadn’t denied it either, and rumours had been circulating Everyday it seemed she had to skirt the speculations wafting around the tribe.
Ben had sat her down one night and asked if she was trying to protect herself, the people, or Cameron by not letting everyone know who they had met. Eloise didn’t have an answer for him then, and didn’t know if what she was about to do now was right either. Sometimes all you can do is give your best and hope it turns out.
By announcing that a boy was lost and a search party was needed - it only drew out a quarter of the number needed to cover the ground in question. Eloise’s mouth went dry as she next said: “I believe the boy to be the Golden Eyed Man.” The gathered tribe went silent, only hushed murmurs started amidst the throng as they looked at each other grasping at the statement made.
“Ben and I met a young man named Cameron Burke at Whateley, he is marked; and his eyes shine like the sun at midday.”
The amount of questions asked between the audience was dividing the people, and was building to a mob.
“I only tell you what I believe,” admitted The Chief. “However he hasn’t been tested! Until then - the boy has been marked! He is a son of the people,” Eloise reminded them of their duty. “On that merit I call for your help.” Then to add impetus, “When he’s found, see for yourselves, if you too believe.”
Enough people presented themselves to mount three teams, and Eloise divided the tribal lands around Whateley Academy between them. She would lead one group of skilled trackers and sent the wolves as another, since they hunted in snow like no others. The third group was formed into a delegation to inquire of the grove.
Ben had of course volunteered to go, but it was winter and bears became slow in the snow, Eloise asked him to stay at the village and co-ordinate everyone’s efforts. He promised there would be a hot fire and plenty of food when they returned.
Sam Everhart had only regrown the palm of her hand, nubs of fingers had started, not enough to effectively type with. Typing single handed was slow, and answering the phone stopped her processing information completely, as her good hand needed to hold the receiver.
The Admiral had become familiar with dancing around the game of politics: who had what authority over where. Admittedly she was surprised by Eloise’s response: the Were could usually be counted on to assist and support when asked. Something wasn’t adding up and one thing Hive didn’t like was when information didn’t mesh.
Ella rounded a corner on the road and slowed to look down at the village built in the valley below, she had been here twice before on visits with her Dad’s Grand Council meetings. Those had to be some of the most boring events possible, old people sitting around in circles talking - talking in circles too.
During the first visit to the village Ella had been rather young, she fell asleep in fox form and Dad held her on his lap stroking her fur: that had been nice. The next time she was maybe twelve, and begged to be allowed to explore - okay, play with the other kids.
This tribe had almost always had a Panther as Chief according to what her Dad had said. Panthers needed room to hunt and liked it quiet to sneak up on prey, not like foxes: foxes could survive anywhere and Ella lived in Boston … at least on the outskirts anyway.
Ella liked the Mediwihla, they had been friendly and fun, they had a mixed Were community, which made them less stuck-up than some of the ‘purebred’ tribes out there. It was here that Ella had first met Were-wolves. They as a group tended to really like room to run and shied away from human communities: too much bad publicity … and what is it with them and the moon? They howl at it like a bunch of - well … Wolves.
Aside from a sneeze and a couple coughs the kid hadn’t said anything, just slept for the whole drive. The Village didn’t have a town square so much as it was an intersection, which is where Ella drove up to and parked. She stepped out of her Jeep and put on a jacket, then walked up to what she thought would be the Chief’s house and knocked on the door. It was quiet inside, but she heard noise from a building down the street and headed in that direction.
The building looked like it was the village’s school and meeting place, and looking inside she noted it was busy with preparations underway. Ella managed to get a mother wolf’s attention to ask where she could find the Chief and was directed to a big guy over near the fireplace.
The look and smell of him said bear, and Ella had to remind herself of the proper way to act around a large carnivore.
“I carry greetings from the house Oberon, and ask for an audience with the Mediwilha’s Chieftain. I am Ella daughter of Ulrich.”
“Well presented young fox, you are received and welcomed Ella,” greeted the bear. “Our Chief: Eloise Donner, is off tending to other matters, she asked me to be in charge of our people in her stead. Please call me Ben.” His big smile spread across his face. “What can I do for a daughter of Oberon?”
“I find myself tasked with tending to the needs of a sick human.”
“An odd situation for a Were.”
“Indeed, I had come foremost to lay to rest the rumours surrounding a Golden Eyed Man.”
“As a descendant of Oberon is sworn to do,” acknowledged Ben.
“I found - no that’s not right. He found me on the road.”
“Show me!” directed the bear as he nearly pushed her out the door in haste.
Mediwihla Village, December 29, 2007
Cameron remembered being spoon fed some chicken soup, beyond that only some vague faces and sounds floated around in the swirling mess that comprised the last few days.
It was a relief to wake up in a bedroom and not a jail cell … a hospital would have been a fair compromise, but a warm soft bed was a definite win.
Flannel sheets and heavy wool blankets, it was like when she spent weekends at Grannies. It was a solid wood four post bed and the room had the finishing touches expected from an older generation: doilies on the table, lace fringes on the window. It had the effect of relaxing Cameron.
Sleeping in a high-back chair, feet stretched out onto an ottoman, and covered by an afghan blanket was that girl he met on the road. (What was her name: Elsa, Elinor, Eloise - Eloise Donner. Maybe Eloise could help me get away from Whateley.
Speaking of Whateley; where am I? And how come I can’t remember the girls name?
Layering his sight made him dizzy, however thermographic wasn’t taxing so he scanned the building and found three people sitting together near a fire. Cameron was happy to just be laying there, but he really - really needed to use the washroom. Lifting the sheets he was pleased the find he was in pyjama’s, he rolled over to put his feet on the floor and lifted himself up. The room needed to stop rotating like that if he had any intention of standing.
Cameron closed his eyes to try and prevent falling over, when he opened them again; positioned in-front of him was that girl … ahh! Come on - what’s her name?
“Where do you think you’re going?” she asked.
It took Cameron a second to recall why he was sitting there, but pressure in the nether regions reminded him: “Washroom,” he weakly informed her.
“Right then. Give me your hand.”
Cameron raised his arm and she gave him a solid yank which brought him to his feet, and the knees didn’t like that too much, she slung his arm over her shoulders and mostly dragged him out the room and down the hall.
The place was a blur to Cameron, but he heard Ben’s voice say that he’d take it from there.
To Cameron’s mind he said: ‘Hi Ben’. What actually came out was more like, ‘hey bear’.
Ben chuckled and brought the boy to the needed destination.
Ben helped steer the incoherent kid back to bed and seated him on the side of the bed, what looked like a sweet old lady handed him a steaming hot mug and told him to drink it. Cameron caught a whiff of it and recoiled from how vile it smelled.
“If you think it smells bad, wait till you taste it!” the lady told him as she pushed the brew up to his lips and tipped the mug, forcing him to drink it all.
“Gah!” was Camerons reaction … that and a strong desire to shave his tongue.
Putting a thermometer into his mouth the lady held Camerons arm while looking at Ben’s watch.
“How’s he doing?” asked Ben.
“Heck if I know. I saw Doctor Kildare do this on TV and figured it looked smart.”
“And the thermometer?” questioned Ben as he laid Cameron down and pulled the covers over him.
“It says he’s not done yet. Course I usually just use it to cook chicken with,” informed the lady.
“Apparently he tastes just like chicken,” added the girl donning a big smile.
“Great! I’m surrounded by comedians,” moaned Ben as he exited the room to answer the knock on the front door.
“The boy is going to be sleeping a good long time after that concoction I gave him. Now you young lady should get some decent sleep!”
“I’m fine on the chair. He needs to be watched.”
“What, and waste the perfectly good bed I made-up for you? Not in my house deary! Me an Ben will keep an eye on him - and Ben called in reinforcements.”
“You’re posting a guard?”
“Even better,”said the lady.
New Hampshire Highway
It had taken Mike Williamson three connector flights to get here from Prince George. He’d just managed to get a seat on the flight to Vancouver, then it was the red-eye between Vancouver and Denver, his last plane had him flying standby into Boston. At least he had been able to hire a rental car, and he’d traveled over an hour North of Concord on the highway - but could use some sleep and a shower was definitely a must. He hoped Berlin wasn’t far.
The call from the New Hampshire Police had been unexpected and caught him spending the day with his family. The police had been shy on details but just mentioning that Cameron was missing was enough for him to pack a bag and say quick goodbyes. He’d let Karen know he was heading off to help Cameron and asked if she would cover for him at the office, then swung by Grace and Marcus’s to pick up a gift they had for Cameron.
The Police had asked if he would notify them when he arrived in Berlin, so he placed the call shortly after checking in to the hotel and left a message on the machine that had answered. He provided them the name of the hotel he was staying at.
The knock on his hotel room door at eight am had a sleep deprived Mike ask if they could give him a few hours to get a little more rest and shake jet lag.
Inspector Roberts could understand why this man: Mike Williamson, would be out-of-sorts and granted him the benefit of a couple hours. The tough time he’d had to get to Berlin was asking a-lot. What with booked flights and weather delays … it had taken him almost thirty-six hours to arrive.
It’s just that there were too many gaping holes in Cameron Burkes file, so Roberts was anxious to question the man who could shine some light onto this case. The manhunt had been a bust since the searches hadn’t found so much as a footprint - and fresh snow had hindered further efforts.
A bulletin had been issued and circulated to the surrounding jurisdictions, so far no sightings of the boy.
The case had ground to a stand still; although Admiral Everhart had filed an assault charge in addition to the drug trafficking. Everhart was also checking into other violations that the school might wish to pursue. The crime lab in Boston had been backlogged with high volumes and short staffing, but his latest call had spurred them into assuring him his request was next on the list.
Inspector Roberts had to acknowledge that the man kept his word, Mike Williamson walked into the station, without escort, at the time he had said he would. The tail he’d put on the man said he’d stopped for a quick meal at the hotel before driving straight to the police station.
The officer at the desk had shown Mike into an interrogation room, and Roberts was now watching him through the one-way glass to size him up. The Inspector filled a couple cups of coffee and entered the room to greet the waiting Mike, handing over the hot cup while taking a seat opposite the man.
“Hello Mr. Williamson, I am Inspector Roberts, I hope you don’t mind answering a few questions for me. First off: what is you relationship to Cameron Burke?”
“I’m Camerons legal guardian. For the record my full name is Michael Roy Williamson.”
“And his parents?”
“Both dead, the family was involved in an auto accident - Cameron was the sole survivor.”
“Had you been a family friend?”
“No. I was appointed by the court to be his guardian - I’m a Public Prosecutor in British Columbia. Once Cameron had received a clean bill of health - Cameron was desirous of having me remain as his guardian.”
“I believe you are aware that Cameron is a missing person. The New Hampshire Police are trying to determine his whereabouts.”
“I came as soon as I could, has there been any news?”
“Can you tell me what Cameron was doing at Whateley Academy?”
“He was attending school there! I helped fill in his application and arranged payment of tuition from out of his personal accounts.”
“Had you suggested his presence there?”
“No, a friend of his is an alumni. As I understand it - it’s a school that caters to those with special needs, and is equipped to handle students who exceed … normal boundaries. Cameron had asked my thoughts about going to school there, but it was his choice.”
“Cameron’s a mutant?”
“I’d certainly thought so, but all the tests and examinations conducted so far don’t support that conclusion.”
“What is he then?”
“Human,” observed Mike. “Has Whateley uncovered anything to explain otherwise?”
“I’m not in a position to reveal anything pending my investigation. Had you ever visited Cameron to check on conditions there?”
“No, we corresponded almost daily via email, and usually spoke once or twice a week on the phone … there was an instance shortly after he arrived when a dispute arose and a video conference was conducted: a Miss Amelia Hartford and Mrs. Marissa Dawson had presided, a Mrs. Donner from a local first nation was also in attendance.”
“The purpose of that meeting?”
“Cameron had been attacked upon arrival at Whateley, we came to an agreement regarding his continued attendance and the protection he could expect while on Campus.”
“Do you know if the conditions had been upheld?”
“Cameron did not speak of further troubles, I needed to trust his judgement, given the situation.”
“What do you know of Cameron’s financial situation? Is he vulnerable - in need of money?”
“Cameron was the beneficiary of multiple life insurance policies, the sole heir to a substantial will, and received a large settlement from a multinational company. Cameron is by no means destitute,” explained Mike. “Do you suspect he’s being held for ransom?”
Mediwihla Village: December 31, 2007
Just five more minutes! Cameron adjusted himself to get a little more comfortable under the blankets, and hugged a little tighter the nice warm furry hot water bottle someone had put into bed with him.
Laying still he conducted an internal survey, it looked like the fever had broken, his temperature was near normal, his sinus’s had cleared and his chest - though sore and heavy, wasn’t congested. His skull was still tender, but he didn’t feel disoriented any longer.
Cameron opened his eyes and found himself looking into a couple of the biggest brown eyes imaginable gazing up at him. The miniature bear was bathed in the light from the boys eyes and was mesmerized looking at them.
“Well! Aren't you just the cutest thing ever,” he said to the little bear cub that was snuggled up against him.
The small bear turned its head and gave a loud bleat, it drew the attention of a couple of people in a nearby room alerting them to activity in the bedroom.
“Oh good; You’re finally up! And Ben accused me of trying to kill you,” said an older lady with a knitted shawl draped over shoulders.
The little bear scampered over to the other woman, who picked it up giving it a squeeze, “Good girl Tilly.”
Recognizing the Were signatures Cameron realized what the scene was. “Thank you Tilly, that was a wonderful sleep, I don’t think I’ve ever had such a warm, fuzzy and downright cuddly teddy bear before.”
The little Were buried her face into her mothers arms, her mother smiled deeply and gave Cameron a wink before taking her young one into the other room.
The older woman came back, sat on the bed and touched Cameron’s forehead. “You’re not as hot. Feeling any better?”
“Much better … but I think someone tried to poison me,” reasoned Cameron while running his tongue around his mouth to see if it actually had hair on it.
The lady gave a deep / rumbling laugh, “Did they now! Looks like it didn’t kill you,” as she checked a few vital signs and felt the back of his head, giving a satisfied huff.
“This bed is too comfortable for a hospital, I take it you’re not a Doctor?”
“Hardly, Were heal too quickly for a doctor to be of much use. I tend to wounds and make poultices from herbs to prevent infection … I guess you’d call me the closest thing to a medic you’ll find among Were. My name is Ida: but most call me Granny.”
“Is it impolite to ask your nature? I can see you’re a Were but I’m not familiar with which type.”
“Haven’t a nose on you have you lad?” she asked, to which he shook his to say no. “I’m a badger, some of the most ornery, hard headed, spiteful folks you’ll ever meet.”
“Might want add caring to that list.”
“Ha! Shows how much you know,” she chuckled, but smiled at him just the same.
“I am in your debt Granny. Thanks for looking after me.”
“If you lay back: I’ll get some warm broth for you. Eloise is going to want to speak with you,” she said rising off the bed.
“Cameron rarely talks about himself much. He’s pretty tight lipped regarding what he thinks or feels, it’s just the way he is. He was housed in a bomb shelter for two months and didn’t complain once,” informed Mike Williamson.
“Is he so dangerous that you needed to squirreled him away in a bomb shelter?”
“No! There had been numerous attempts on his life by the MCO. It was the safest place to protect him.”
“So the situation you mentioned when he arrived on campus was related to those attacks?”
“Possibly so, Cameron felt there was link, but hadn’t expanded upon his theory yet.”
“Does he feel he’s above the law, that he withholds information relevant to a police investigation?”
“Cameron is a police officer, he was recruited by the RCMP and works for a specialized task force.”
“He’s RCMP! This is the first I’m hearing of it … I’ll need to get confirmation” Roberts commented “Do you know: Was he undercover?”
“That’s where it becomes complicated: Cameron only wished to be a student - he wanted to finish his education. However; with so many attempts on his life, the Canadian Government decided to assigned him to the Department of Foreign Affairs as an envoy with him leaving the country.”
“He’s a diplomat?”
“Is his kidnapping politically motivated?”
“I haven’t been entirely honest with you Mr. Williamson: Cameron escaped arrest, there is a warrant out for him on charges of drug dealing and assault. He’s a fugitive.”
The community hall was brightly lit, noisy, and crammed full of people tonight. Cameron was nervous about entering into the gathering, and when he stepped through the door a hush fell over everyone as all heads turned to look upon the unknown boy who entered.
Cameron was brought into the room by Eloise on one side of him and Ben on the other, Ella had taken point and Granny followed behind but veered off and sat joining friends at a table partway into the crowd. Cameron groaned when he noticed he was being taken to the gathering’s head table - the last place he wanted to be at, but was shown to a chair beside Eloise.
Eloise and Cameron had had a long conversation that afternoon, during which Cameron explained recent events as he understood them - comparing that to what Eloise had gleaned from Whateley Security and the State Police while conducting a search around Whateley.
Eloise stood and waited for the murmuring to silence as the tribes chief request everyone’s attention:
“I ask you give welcome to our honoured guests: On my left is Ella from the house Oberon, it was sad news when her father Ulrich fell to the dark forces. To my right is Cameron Burke: Marked by my own niece Lynn,” Eloise gestured for Cameron to remove his visor, “and quite possibly the Golden Eyed Man.”
The given announcement caused agitation as the crowd looked upon the boy with a critical eye, resulting in much talking and speculation arising from among those gathered. The talk at some tables became heated and almost resorted to blows.
Many voices called out for Ella to address their concerns. Ella had talked for a time with Cameron that afternoon, but some of her questions bordered on the bizarre to him. Ella seemed like a really nice girl, but she had an agenda that Cameron didn’t understand. Cameron had thanked her for looking after him while he was half-crazed …. Her comment was that she hadn’t noticed a difference, that laughter cemented the fact that she was okay.
When Ella stood, the crowd again took a few moments to settle before allowing her speak.
“The house Oberon is oath bound. We are sworn to test out those who claim to be the Golden Eyed Man, and whence he is found - act as his sword and shield to free the Were. As you know, my father: Ulrich, was lost to us during one of ‘the bastards’ attacks, Oberon’s mantle has fallen upon me.”
A few scorned the very thought that a mere young girl was capable of fulfilling an Oberon’s role, others gave ear to hear her out.
“From the time I was weaned, my father prepared me to take his place, but believe me when I say, I am foremost among those who wish he was here standing before you."
“What say you? Daughter of Oberon: Surely no scrawny whelp like him can lead us to war!” yelled a voice from within the mass.
“From generation to generation, my family has tested out those who would claim to be our saviour. None of those ever proved suitable for one simple fact: they sought the position, they hungered for power. I stand before you to say that Cameron Burke is the first to pass the initial test: He does not outright seek the position, not from lack of conviction or from fear, but because he is humble … Consider something my father and I debated at length over: why would a great warrior be in need of someone else to act as sword and shield?”
“Is he the Golden Eyed Man?” demanded a man seated at a nearby table.
“I have only administered two of the five tests, and while he has passed both, I cannot commit to claiming him worthy … I must ask time for the testing to take place,” she replied in answer to the pointed question. “Please: I as much as any of you - hope the promised future was upon us. The loss of my father still burns my heart … but I will not support a falsehood fuelled by ego or daydreams. I give you my word: Oberon’s vow will be upheld.”
The night was spent with people staring at Cameron … including Ella, a few approached and spoke with both he and Ella. Cameron was grateful when plates of food were distributed, as the meal was tasty and was a good way to distract attention from off himself. When the tables where cleared away, music filled the room as dancing and singing became the nights entertainment.
Cameron noticed several of the ‘available’ young men asked Ella to dance but she would reject the offer, when he heard the beginning refrains to a particular song he stood from the table and approached her, her eyes getting bigger with each step he took.
Holding out his hand he asked, “Would you like to dance?”
“I…” she stuttered while looking around nervously, “I don’t know how.”
“Trust me, you’re a natural.”
“How are you so sure?”
“It’s a foxtrot!”
She let fly a snort of laughter before standing facing him, “That sounds like a challenge.”
“Never. But I could use something to burn off a little tension. You game?” he asked.
“Nope, a predator,” she replied with a wicked smile as they walked onto the dance floor.
Cameron gave her a couple hints about footwork and let her watch him until she was moving smoothly and started having fun.
For some reason most of the songs after that were foxtrots, and he and Ella enjoyed a couple more dances together before Ella was plagued by eager partners each wanting a chance to dance with the pretty girl. To her credit, Ella danced the night away.
The room’s mood had calmed as the hours passed, few continued to dance as the focus had shifted onto Cameron who had been drawn into more conversations by the curious Weres. He’d been asked many questions about who he was, where he came from, and who had marked him. As he talked, he noticed that everyone had gathered around to listen in.
“I find myself greatly disadvantaged,” he announced, “You all seem to know the legend of the Panther and the Golden Eyed Man by heart, but I’ve only ever heard it once, and I’m finding that telling was greatly abbreviated. Would it be possible for me to hear it in full?”
It was decided that the privilege should be granted to the eldest: Granny, who was given a chair in the crowds centre from which she commenced to impart the legend, embellishing the story, bringing life and passion into its telling for the room’s entertainment.
Granny received adulation but was quick to turn the tables - by suggesting Cameron now tell them all a story. Everyone turned in expectation upon the boy and moved in closer, Cameron had only one memory to call upon. “This is a story my grandfather told me,” he said, setting the stage.
“There are strange things done in the land of the midnight sun. By the men who moil for gold. Arctic trails have their secret tales …” commenced Cameron reading from memory Robert Service’s: “The Cremation of Sam McGee”. The room was held in breathless anticipation as Cameron unfolded the story of the two men battling the hardships of the Klondike gold rush.
Tilly in her bear form stood beside Cameron, her paws resting on his leg as she looked up at him in wonder, her huge brown eyes fixed upon him. With little pause to the telling, Cameron reached down - picking her up and set her upon his knee then began gently petting her as he recounted the poem. Anguish was evident upon his listeners hearing how the man froze to death - but if as one they agreed how honourable it was to fulfill a dying wish.
Wrapping up the story Cameron finished his rendition with: “Please close that door, It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear you’ll let in the cold and storm. Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”
It was as if everyone was in a trance, the gathered throng of young and old who surrounded him was silent. That curtain fell when Granny broke into a belly laugh, followed by the rest when realization hit them - and then laughter rang loud.
Once more Cameron fielded questions, but soon started yawning and was feeling tired. It was Granny who noticed he had begun to falter, so she stood and directed he be allowed to retire for the night.
Walking back to Granny’s house, Ella mentioned to him: “You could have read the phonebook and they would have hung onto every word.”
“Oh sure: AA Aardvark Plumbing and Heating, 555-123-4567.”
“He doesn’t understand, can you explain it to him Ida?”
“Although Were have two forms, they have only one tongue. Communication: be it a bark, yip, snarl, or words, it conveys meaning not just in what is said, but by how it is said. Your heart spoke tonight - that is what the Were listened to.”
“Then I made a fool of myself by telling a joke.”
“Stories are how our people pass down history, storytellers are revered since they speak wisdom, share ideas and impart inspiration. Humour is a great way to teach - your story was well received. There is however one thing about the human tongue Were can’t understand.”
Mediwihila Village: January 1, 2008
It was predawn when Ella burst into Camerons room, she carried a large metal shield and brandished a long sword. It was too long a blade for her … but pride wouldn’t let her wield any other.
Cameron watched the agitated girl as she checked the room for danger, ensuring the curtains were drawn and handed Cameron his visor to darken the room.
“You didn’t hear the call to arms?” she boggled. “Of course not - human hearing.”
“The village is in trouble?”
“The corrupted are probing the villages defences!”
“Then what are we doing here?” asked Cameron, stepping out of bed fully attired in hardy clothes ready to face the cold outside.
“We are keeping you safe, human’s can’t even look upon one of the corrupted without being overcome.”
“I have faced them before … and beaten them,” cautioned Cameron, his revelation met by a slack jawed Ella.
“HOW DID YOU defeat them?” Ella demanded.
“By exploiting their weaknesses, one of which is light,” instructed Cameron, as he manifested a box of flashlights. “Can you get these passed around? We’ll want to set a snare - encircling them, the light can be used to push them into a trap - it hurts them.”
“Surely you jest.”
“Frequently, but not tonight,” admonished Cameron. “The corrupted are exactly that - it is a highly virulent dark energy, it’s like a cold that overwhelms any Were it contacts. The light from these flashlights burn that dark. If we can corral them the fight is on our terms - not theirs.”
“A worthy plan,” admitted Ella. “How do we dispatch them once caught?”
“We need to drain off the dark energy, If we had three who can use slingshots, I have something that can suck away that energy.”
“I know the weapon you speak of.”
“Good, find two more - GO … Please! I’ll catch up with you.”
Ella went outside with the box of flashlights and gave a couple yips, attracting a couple other of the Were, they grabbed handfuls of flashlights and ran off into the night.
Somehow Ella passed the battle plan on to the Were engaged in battle who were deflecting the assault, those keeping the attackers at bay by fighting hand to hand with the black slime covered enemy. A snare was set that would draw the corrupted into a trap. Ella was among the warriors and directed the formation of a circle behind the defensive line - so when an opening was made the corrupted passed through defenders only to be halted by a string of flashlight carrying Were who shone their lights onto the contained foe.
The corrupted reeled in pain whenever a beam of light was cast onto them, they climbed onto and over each other to avoid the burn, and the mass of writhing black bodies shrieked a sound of anguish like fingernails on a chalkboard.
Cameron met up with Ella as she stood with a young warrior each keeping the enemy at bay with a flashlight.
“I only have two of us skilled with a slingshot,” Ella informed him.
Manifesting two sturdy slingshots he gave them each one plus a satchel filled with little black balls roughly the size of grapes, advising them, “Shoot into the mass, make sure that each of them is hit at least once.”
Ella and her recruit began firing into the dark morass walking around the circumference of the confining ring, peppering the enemy with the hard projectiles that stuck onto the targets they hit like suction cups.
The shrieking abated, and slowly the mass transformed from the disgusting abysmal slime to glimpses of exposed flesh. In mere minutes the definition of bodies was distinguishable and moans replaced the howls and snarls.
Cameron moved towards the heap, but was held back by the nearest Weres trying to prevent his endangerment … distance him from that pile which threatened death only minutes ago. Within the light the Were watched as human shapes moved in agony working vainly to untangle themselves. Cameron slipped through the slackened hands that had been restraining him and he knelt beside a figure on the outer edge. The male was awash in the light emitted from Cameron eyes, none of the corruption remained.
Scanning the remaining pile, he verified none of the infected remained within those laying on top of each other. He waved for the others - the Were watching in awe, to come join him in helping those reclaimed from the corrupting energy. A shout accompanied by a howl sounded a victory.
In the distance a snarl tore through the night, Ella moved briskly grabbing Cameron’s arm and pulled him along as she dashed into the forest. They had gone a distance, back to where the defensive line had entangled with the dark forces. In the trees stood Eloise, looking down with great emotion.
Laying on the ground, writhing in pain was Ben, a large gash on his arm said he’d been wounded in the fighting - tendrils of black oozing outward as it sought victory over the Were-bear.
Ella had to restrain Eloise when she sought to prevent Cameron from approaching the fallen friend. She was in tears awash with grief, moaning: “I told him to stay back - a bear needs to hibernate in winter, it made him too slow to fight.
Cameron slipped past the barrage of emotion to bend down onto a knee beside the writhing bear, then he reached into his satchel withdrawing a single black ball. It was placed near to the wound on the big guys arm - adhering to his flesh sticking fast to the spot of contact. Under the light from Cameron’s eyes everyone could follow how the black was pulled into the little ball as if it was a vacuum cleaner.
Ben’s huge body slumped in relief when the last of the foreign energy was discharged, the wound no longer seething black, his life struggle abated.
“Hey bear,” Cameron said to him, taking hold of the man’s large hand and squeezing it tightly.
The three helped get Ben onto his feet, with Eloise and Ella walking on either side giving him support as they ventured back to the Village.
The village’s hall had been hurriedly set up to become the medical centre. The formerly corrupted Were now needed to rest and regain the strength that the infecting energy had consumed. Granny was barking out orders to bring order to the chaos as she triaged the injured that filled the room.
Eloise directed the group assisting Ben into the hall, and laid the weary bear onto a bench since no beds remained unclaimed. Cameron circulated around the room observing the returned Were, speaking to each of them as he collected the balls that performed remarkably well. Ella was assisting a woman laying on a bed and helped the unsteady lady drink the fluid Cameron had prepared.
All told: nineteen had been returned … released from the darks influence.
Eloise beckoned Cameron join her at a table.
“Okay … spill! What are those little magic balls of yours?”
Cameron was delighted at discovering a little family idiom - one used by Lynn and Terry, it brought on a smile. “Looks like I need to let you in on a little secret. I look at the world through golden eyes so I don’t see normally.” Setting one of the little balls on the table between them he continued, “This ball is made up of elements that take in energy like sponges, black says it’s empty - waiting to start gathering up energy. It turns pure white when it’s at capacity.”
“So this ball - it has streaks of colour in it: like cream in coffee.”
“Yes. It is only half full. But there’s more you should know: I absorb energy.” He illustrated by picking up the ball and it turned black. “I store energy like a battery, then use it to rearrange matter - like making these little balls.” He clenched his fist around the ball, opening his hand - within were two black balls.
“I see it, and believe what you say: but don’t understand.”
“I am hard pressed to try and explain better than I just did.”
“You suggest I am incapable to knowing your true nature?”
“I’m saying I am exploring my nature and that is as far as I’ve gotten with enough certainty to be able to share it with you.”
Ella sat down, joining herself to the conversation “You keep much about yourself hidden, just like the Were … a wise strategy for survival. But I must ask, the story you told us last night - was it to prepare us for this victory … how those who are dead would return to the living?”
“Had I said it another way you might think I had arranged the attack,” admitted Cameron “Even so, I had no idea when it would come.”
“I hadn’t meant to suggest …” back-pedalled Ella, “The Pantheress! It is said she would be farsighted - a seer, was it her that told you to make preparations?”
“And now I finally get it. The Were are tired of being pawns sacrificed in war, the corrupted have no choice in the matter while the remaining Were are honour bound and are fighting for their lives. It’s obvious: The Were don’t want to be used anymore.”
“Will you be setting us free now?” hoped Ella.
“I just figured out what being free means, I don’t know how to go about attaining it.”
Cameron returned to Granny’s house to get more sleep after the adrenaline rush faded. But couldn’t fall back asleep, instead he wandered around the dear old ladies house and fixed everything that was in need of repair, then cleaned it until it shone.
He left the comfortable house and headed to Eloise’s place, outside he manifested boxes of flashlights, and cases of the little black balls. Leaving directions on how to keep the flashlights charged
Walking up the street in the early morning light toward the main intersection, Cameron stopped at a large snow pile approaching twenty feet high, yesterday the kids had started to play on it like a winter playground. Cameron chuckled and fashioned snow chutes, ice slides, tunnels and stairs from out of the big mound of snow, he then meandered the short distance to the community hall.
The room was quiet, as all the Were within slept soundly. Ella was in the kitchen making a pot of coffee, she had spent the night bedside with the woman she had been nursing.
“You’re not asleep?” Ella asked of him.
“Too much to think about, couldn’t sleep,” he confessed. “You’ve been sticking close, is the lady someone you know?
“She’s from my tribe, she went missing almost a year ago … I look at her and my hope builds that I will see my father again.”
“I’ve decided I need to leave, there’s something I need to fix - I can’t move forward unless I go back.”
“Is it why you ran away?”
“More like why I escaped.”
“How do we beat the black-death without you?”
“You have the tools to fight the external corruption, it’s the internal corruption that worries me.”
“Something I can help you with?”
“I’ve got to get to Berlin.”
“Eloise won’t be happy about your leaving, but I’ll take you there.”
It was a tough conversation with the Mediwihla’s Chief, but she accepted Cameron’s reason for leaving, and was grateful for the flashlights and energy balls. Cameron suggested each Were wear one as protection against being infected.
Ella drove Cameron to Berlin during which she asked him many questions about Lynn, parking her jeep a short distance from the police station she wondered, ”Are you certain this is a good idea?”
“Were’s value truth and honesty. It showed me that I have to face the consequences of my actions in-order to be able to look myself in the mirror.”
Cameron walked into the Berlin State Police office, he stepped up to the counter. Taking off his gloves and toque setting them on the counter, then undid his jacket and placed it on the counter too.
The officer looked with surprise at him saying: “Your not doing a strip tease as some kind of New Years resolution are you?”
“No Officer: I’m Cameron Burke, I surrender myself.”
End Part 1