They Walk Among Us
Even more confusion poured through our link at my last comment. I didn’t want to say anything else around our rescuer. He might have been one of my fellow Rebels, but I wasn’t going to risk something happening to Raven. From the moment I saw Raven in the hospital room, he became my first priority.
Finally, Raven nodded his head. I could tell he wasn’t happy with my evasiveness, but he didn’t have a choice. While Raven probably read the minds of all the people around him if he tried, I had years of practice building walls around my thoughts and mind.
The government liked to act like people who could read thoughts were devils incarnate, but they employed those same devils, as long as the person never questioned them about what they were doing. Any questions or doubts usually either meant immediate dismissal or, in the most extreme cases, death.
Having to work so closely with the government, because of my expertise, I’d learned not to let them get the upper hand. If I did, I’d never be free of them, and slowly my soul would die.
The big truck rolled to a stop in front of a dilapidated house. Faded gray paint peeled from its sides, and the wide porch drooped like a bloodhound’s ears. I slid out with Raven almost attached to my side. I turned to thank the driver, and got my hand up in time to catch the key he tossed at me.
“Take care of him.” He nodded in Raven’s direction. “If you need help, you know what to do.”
I lead Raven around to the back door. The rumble of the truck faded as our rescuer left. I could feel Raven getting ready to ask me about the whole thing, but I shook my head. I wanted to be inside, and safe before I told him anything else.
Raven heaved an annoyed sigh, but he didn’t talk. I squeezed his arm in silent thank-you. I unlocked the door, and gestured for him to stay outside while I went in. No one knew about this being a safe house, except for the Extractors, yet again, I couldn’t risk not taking every precaution.
Having an Opalite to protect was far more dangerous a situation than having some human running from the government because they saw something they shouldn’t have, or they wanted to tell the truth about something the government was doing. Eventually, the government would stop looking for those people. The agents would never stop looking for Opalites, not even when they have one in custody.
After checking every nook and cranny thoroughly, I returned to the kitchen to find Raven sitting at the table. His dark eyes flared with anger and fear. I went to the cupboard to pull out the teakettle. While I wished for something harder, I couldn’t risk letting my guard down one inch. As I filled the kettle, I motioned to him to start.
::What the hell is going on? Who the hell are you? You aren’t just a simple doctor.::
“You’re mostly right. I am a doctor. I have all the diplomas, and sleepless nights to prove it.” I removed two mugs and several boxes of tea bags from the same cupboard. I took them over, setting them in front of Raven. “But I’m not just a doctor either.”
::Who do you really work for?:: He stared at me with suspicion sparking in his gaze.
“I work for the hospital. Trust me, everything else is a side job or hobby, since I don’t get paid for what I do.” I went back to the stove as the kettle started to whistle.
Raven thumped his fist on the top of the table to get my attention. I glanced back at him over my shoulder with a raised eyebrow. He scowled, showing me his displeasure. I wanted to roll my eyes, but stopped myself.
He had the right to be upset with me. His keeping secrets from me was self-preservation, and a way to keep him alive. My keeping secrets from him was ingrained habit of not letting anyone else know what I was trying to accomplish.
While I organized my thoughts, I carried the hot kettle over to the table and put it down on the hot pad. I dug through the tea bags to find one I actually would drink. Raven did the same, seeming to realize I needed a few minutes to figure out what I could tell him.
“I know people think I should hate your people for what you supposed did. I mean, my dad’s the hero of the world because he killed your leader.” I snorted. “Wasn’t hard to do when the poor creature wasn’t expecting humans to kill him like that. Of course, I never understood why they agreed to talk to us when we’d proven we weren’t trust-worthy.”
::I don’t know. I was very young at the time, and not privy to the reasons.::
“Oh, I know that. It was more of a rhetorically question than anything else. Since I was the orphaned son of their biggest hero, the government has feted me to be their poster child. Yet by the time I reached college, I learned some things, and I couldn’t bring myself to trust them to keep their promises.” I dunked the teabag into the hot water.
Raven mimicked me, and silence descended on the kitchen. I frowned, wishing I had met him under different circumstances, in a bar somewhere or maybe a restaurant. I might have figured out what he was, but it wouldn’t have mattered.
::What did you learn?::
I glanced away, staring out the window at the trees marking the edge of the backyard. “I learned my father wasn’t a hero. He was an assassin who tricked the Opalites into trusting him, so he could get close enough to their leader to kill him. I discovered the Opalites weren’t the monsters the government portrayed them to be, and our government lied to us about so many things.”