Chapter Ten

Chapter 10

Jeremy is frustrated.  The house phone is not working yet since they just moved in.  “These are the times when I think I need a cell phone,” he says aloud.  “But apparently I’m still too young.”

Then he smiles.  If I play my cards right, I might get a cell phone out of this after all.

He goes up to his room and connects his camera to his computer, downloads the photos and sends them to his sister’s cell phone with a short message attached.

Then he goes to look for his Dad.

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Jane receives the message but doesn’t open the attachment with the photos.   Annie and Jane are sitting on a bench in front of an ice cream shop in the mall.  They are enjoying a short break with their favorite flavors of ice cream.  Rocky Road is the best!

“Who was that, dear?” Annie asks.

“Jeremy’s driving me crazy with his pictures,” Jane complains.  “I don’t know what he wants now.”

“He’s only twelve.  You have to be more patient with him.”

“Did you see the pictures he uploaded of me back in Chicago,” Jane starts to raise her voice.  “It’s embarrassing!  I have to be extra careful all the time.  Uggghhh!”

“It’s not that bad….”

“Yes, it is, Mom,” Jane says.  “Look at this.  He writes stupid, crazy things like this all the time.”

“What does it say?”  Annie asks trying to look at the message on Jane’s phone.

“It says, You’re in danger.  Someone is following you.  Look at the pictures.  Come home.”

“Did you look at the pictures?”  Annie asks.

“Of course not.  They’ll just be some stupid pictures of me that he took when I wasn’t looking.”

“Give me your phone.  I want to take a look.”

“Uggghhh!  Fine.”

Both are quiet for a long moment.

“Are these real?”  Annie asks.  “I don’t understand.”

“Let me see,” Jane says.  She takes the phone back and scrolls through the pictures.  “He has a lot of pictures of the same woman.”

“Yes, and look at these last two,”  Annie says.  “It looks like a car crash.”

“But what is he trying to say?” Jane asks.  “That this woman is following us and that he witnessed a car crash?  I don’t get it.”

Annie takes the phone back from Jane and reads the message again.  Jane looks up for a moment and notices the same woman from the pictures standing in front of a store window not too far away.  A chill runs down her back.

“Jane …” Annie starts to say.

“Shhh, Mom.  Let’s get out of here,” Jane says, taking her Mom by the arm and hurrying off to another corner of the mall.  Jane whispers to her Mom about the lady and Annie tries to look back.  Jane ducks around a corner and pulls her mother with her.

“I’m calling Miguel Ángel,” Jane says.  “He lives right around the corner.”  She talks to him for a moment and then hangs up.  “He will be here in a few minutes.”

“I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry,” Annie says.  “But if it turns out to be nothing, I’m going to be very embarrassed.”  She tries to smile but she is too worried about Jeremy.

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“Hello … is anyone home?” Arnold calls out.  He tosses his keys on the table, picks up the remote and turns on the TV.

“A strange accident happened today in Manora,” the news anchor is announcing.  “A car with two people injured, crashed into a steel waste container in an alley near the central plaza.  Two survivors were transported to the hospital.”  He pauses and then continues.   “The rear windshield of the car has the inscription “Fundación Simón Bertoni.”

“Dad,” Jeremy yells as he races down the stairs.

“Sshhh, Jeremy.  I’m trying to listen to the news.”

“But Dad,” Jeremy insists.  “This is important.”

“This is important, too,” Arnold says irritated.  “It has something to do with the Bertoni Foundation.”

Then the camera focuses on a boy, his hair a little wavy, blond, wearing jeans and a T-shirt.  Just like….

“Je-re-my,” Arnold says slowly and sternly.  “What did you do?”

“I was a hero, Dad.  Really.  I followed this lady who was following Mom and then I listened to these two guys talking about our family and then I stole a bike…actually someone stole my bike too….and then I almost got run over but then there was this crash….and I…”

“Ok, stop right there.”  Arnold has noticed the blood stain on Jeremy’s jeans.  “Are you alright?”

“It’s just a scrape, Dad.  I’m fine.”

“Still, I want to look at it,”  Arnold says.  “Sit down and let me look at your leg.”

“We don’t have time, Dad.”

“What are you talking about?”

Jeremy takes out his camera and shows the pictures to his Dad and he tells the story again, slower this time and with more detail.  Then they both listen to the conversation between the two men in the church.

“That voice, I recognize it from somewhere…” Arnold says.  Then he remembers everything and shudders.  “It can’t be…”

Arnold grabs Jeremy’s arm.  “I want to see those pictures again… enlarge the photo of the woman.” Then he sees the gold rosary around her neck perfectly.  He sighs deeply.

“Who is this woman, Papa?” Jeremy asks.

“Where are Mom and Jane right now?”

“At the mall.”

“Let’s go.  I’ll explain everything on the way,” Arnold says, and they leave the house running.

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