Chapter 4 Wally
Wally greets me when I open the door the next morning. His blond hair is spiked back up in the way I don’t like. He better not be using glue again to do it. He’s shorter than Valeria. If I grow another four inches, I could meet him at eye level when he pulls his expensive sunglasses down from his Himalayan mountain of a nose.
His blank eyes stare back at me and I see the cab he used to get here at the curb next to the driveway.
“Where is Valeria?” I ask. “I thought you were out of town.”
“Lets go, meter is running and with your school shot to hell we’re having a ‘take Helena to work day at my agency.’ Get your things.” I swear he is the only person in the world who hurries me.
I throw my sleep clothes into the overnight bag that Valeria brought me last night , grabbed my backpack, an extra slice of toast, and spread strawberry jam over it. I slow down just enough to say “thank you,” and wave to Ashley and we’re off.
“Courthouse,” Wally orders the driver. His wardrobe is a little jarring to me. Black shirt, leather jacket and slacks and he’s heading to the courthouse. Looking at my jeans and green shirt I realize he looks the part more than I do. It’s a long sleeve to hide the bandages healing the burn marks on my shoulder and elbow.
“Are we clearing Count Dracula of murder today?”
“You need to be more careful when you hurry like that. One of them could’ve seen you. How was it?”
“How was what Wally? The sleepover?” I wipe the remnants of sleepiness from my eyes.
“Never mind, I have it now,” Wally says. He reads minds. He can also see what others see in their eyes, which to a blind man is handy. For the rest of the trip I listen to “Yellow Submarine,” by the Beatles in my head on a loop, just to irritate him.
“We’re here,” he announces before I can look up to see the concrete steps that lead up the courthouse. He’s seeing through the driver’s vision. I’m never playing card games Ashley’s family taught me with Wally.
We twist and turn through the court entrance and undergo the metal detectors and identity inspection. The security guard boots echo through the marble hall when they pull us just off to the side. Aside from two other visitors, the lobby is empty.
“Alright, who is she Mr. Walker?”
“This is my girlfriend’s sister. Her school had an unfortunate accident yesterday.”
“The fire? I think I saw that on the news,” the guard said.
“The very one. So for today, she is the Walker Investigation Agency’s student intern.”
I roll my eyes. The security guard laughs and lets us through the stairs that lead to the elevators.
“If we get separated, stay away from that security guard,” he’s smiling when he turns inside the elevator.
“Because he is going to try and set you up on a date with his son. That is if his son stops pretending to slay dragons on the Internet.”
“You know, just because someone is thinking about a bad idea that has to do with me doesn’t mean you should share it.”
“Where is the fun in that?” He asks. Jerk, I think, making him smile. I cross my arms and wait for the ride to end. At some point I’ll think of a way to ask him about-
“If you want to ask me about your parents, now would be the best time,” he said.
I push him back towards the wall. At times, it can be annoying when he blurts out a thought I’m not ready to say.
“You remember the lab right?” Wally asks.
I nod but don’t look at him.
“And the explosion just after we got you out?”
I swallow the new found lump in my throat. I forgot that to get my answer, I’d have to revisit that place.
“I told you before, the records of how you got there and why went up with it. It was owned by Randall Corp. There is another facility like that near their headquarters, in this city. That’s why we’re here and why Valeria wants you to wait.”
What?! Why didn’t-
“we tell you?” He only finishes like that when he’s anxious. “We don’t know what is at this facility.”
“I can already hear the thoughts of you wanting to go an investigate on your own Helena.”
The egg in his breath is strong, he leans closer to my face. “Don’t. It’s better guarded. I doubt a mind reader and a force-fielder would be able to pull you back out if you were caught.”
“They lost their research in that explosion. Whose to say that won’t start testing you again? They might even be invasive this time.” Anger swells in me. Not invasive?!
I’m not that much shorter. Wally has me when it comes to weight. Still, I move fast against him. His mind reading and the small space of the elevator make him able to dodge my hand. He grabs my arm and uses my momentum to slam me into the same wall I’d pushed him into. The elevator rocks a bit.
“What part of being run on a treadmill in your underwear till you die isn’t invasive?”
“Helena, calm down,” he puts his hands out.
“They stopped my heart. Twice!” Adrenaline is flowing throughout me. Veins pulse in my neck.
“And all that anger and hurt is being directed in the wrong direction. Valeria and I are trying to help.” Putting my hands on my knees, I nod.
We’re a floor away from our destination. I want to ask him so many other things. Why did he tell me now? Why not earlier? What has he found out in the six months we’ve lived here?”
“Be patient,” he pats me on the shoulder and I follow him off.
We walk through a cool hallway with spotted brown carpet. Each door is the same except for the letters and numbers changing. At the end of the hall are a two attorneys with briefcases.
The first hands Wally a fat white envelope. Wally inspects the money inside, he nods.
Turning to me, he says, “Wait here,” and closes the door behind him.
I didn’t bring anything to do. Waiting ten minutes, I start pacing. At twenty I sit on the floor, my legs stretched out. The two attorneys just stand there, busying themselves on their phones in conversations in a language that is English, but not a version I understand completely.
Finally, Wally steps out and the two attorney’s turn to face him.
“Plead not guilty.”
“I’m sorry gentlemen, that’s all your money will get. If you would like me to re-examine witnesses for you, I can submit an hourly rate proposal and get back with you by the end of the week.”
Wally starts to leave without me. I think about the elevator crashing with only him inside.
“Come along, Miss Sunshine,” he waves without looking back.
Once in the elevator I try to stop appearing stunned.
“Wasn’t that fun?” He says thumbing through the envelope the attorneys had given him.
“Valeria said you were a consultant. Not a human lie detector. You’re using your ‘gift’ to tell attorneys if their clients are guilty?”
“Well, to some a clean conscience is worth four thousand dollars a case.”
“But, you keep telling me to lay low-”
“Attorneys are a superstitious lot. Much like criminals. They believe I can hear the lie in a persons voice.”
“What about hiding who we are?”
Putting the money back in his jacket, he takes both my hands in his own. “Helena, I never said to hide who you are. We should keep people from figuring out we have ‘gifts’ so we’re not persecuted. But never, ever make that hide who you are.”
How am I supposed to know who I am with all these unanswered questions hanging over me?
Wally doesn’t answer.