Read January Online

Authors: Gabrielle Lord

January (16 page)

BOOK: January
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‘If he already knows something about the
Ormond Riddle and enough about the Ormond Singularity to pinch these drawings, he probably knows that he’s not the only one who’s after the secret. There’s no reason for him to think of you straight away.’

‘I wonder how he got onto it at all.’

‘Probably your dad told him. They are
brothers.’

‘Yeah, I know. But they’ve never been close. Dad didn’t mention anything about telling Rafe. In fact he warned me against speaking to anyone about the angel, or the secret.’

Maybe Rafe’s interest in the drawings was simply because he was Dad’s identical twin—but my instincts kept telling me something else. I’d heard about twins who finished each other’s sentences. What if Uncle Rafe had some sixth sense, some kind of special twin connection with my dad, even if they weren’t close?

‘There’s a lot about Rafe that I don’t trust,’ I said.

‘Let’s start with the angel,’ said Boges,
straightening
the drawings in a row in front of him.

He switched on his laptop and we checked out images of angels on the net. There were a lot of angels out there, pretty ones in pink, scary ones like the Valkyries, and the fallen angels. We
found some pretty amazing angel stories, but we didn’t find anything like the commando angel.

At least we’d found some meaning in the
collection
of objects and the fact that the angel, presumably the Ormond Angel, had been drawn twice. But what was that telling us?

We searched around for a secure place to hide the drawings and lucked onto a good spot inside one of the large old fireplaces. Several loose bricks came away easily and it didn’t take long to brush out the soft sandy mortar behind them. Then we pushed the drawings, along with the transparent paper with the two names on it that I’d taken from Dad’s old suitcase, into the wall cavity, replaced the bricks and stood back. No-one would ever think to look there.

‘That sheet of tracing paper with the names on it,’ said Boges, ‘do you think that could be some sort of map? Those guys were asking you about a map, weren’t they? What if this is what they were talking about? Like those names—G’managh and Kilfane—could they be place names?’

‘You could be on to something! But what sort of map has just names on it? You need places
and roads and stuff as well.’

‘Guess so. Have you tried ringing your mum again?’ said Boges. ‘She’s really worried about you.’

‘Yeah, she begged me to come home, but I can’t do that now,’ I said. ‘How can she think I hurt Gabbi and Rafe?’

‘I don’t get it,’ said Boges, picking up his bag. ‘I’m real sorry Cal, but it’s getting late and I have to get going before anyone starts asking where I’ve been.’

‘You can get out of here by crawling under the house,’ I said, showing him the hole in the floorboards. ‘That’ll take you to the front jungle.’

‘Think I’ll use the glamour exit,’ said Boges, heading back to the window he’d come through. I really wished he didn’t have to go.

‘So how long do you think you’re going to be here?’ he said, looking around at the old room with its curling wallpaper hanging like old shrouds. ‘What are you going to do?’

I had nothing to say. I didn’t know. But I had to figure this mess out so that I could protect my family. The bad guys were still out there.

13 JANUARY

353 days to go

I sat staring at the floor, wondering what in the world I was supposed to do to get myself out of this situation. I felt completely lost.

I’d started trying to clean up the place a little, but gave up after sweeping out the piles of dead flies and rat droppings. What was the point?

I couldn’t open any of the windows for fear of being discovered, but I decided it was safe enough to leave the back door open to let the breeze in.

It was a relief to wash under the broken shower and, feeling a little refreshed, with my surroundings looking slightly better, I opened a tin of baked beans and ate them cold, with chocolate for dessert.

So this is life on the run, I thought.

I pulled the drawings out again and spread them on the floor, studying them for hours, trying to make sense of what my father might have meant when he drew them …

16 JANUARY

350 days to go …

I’d spent the last couple of days hidden in the house, studying the drawings. But I needed money and I had to get out. I jumped on a bus, took a seat at the back, kept my head down and my cap pulled low. It felt good to be out, just another kid travelling by public transport. I took another bus that went way out of the city, to an ATM in a suburb I hardly knew. I withdrew some of my savings. If the police traced the
withdrawal,
they’d think I was hiding there instead.

I looked around and saw a police car cruising down the street. Instinctively I jumped into a doorway, waiting for it to pass. Eventually the police car sped up and left, and I kept walking.

All the way back on the bus, I worried about Mum and my sister. I wondered how much longer I could live like this.

17 JANUARY

349 days to go …

Twice, street people—a couple of old drunks and later a man and woman with gaunt faces—had tried to break in, but I’d replaced the boards on the side window by nailing them from the inside using half a brick and some old nails I found in a jar. The back door still had a sliding bolt that I used to lock it up. If necessary, I could make a quick getaway by crawling through the hole in the floorboards to under the house. I’d also found a piece of carpet to pull over the hole.

My shoulder was still sore, but the gash on the back of my hand had become a dark pink scar by now. Sometimes I’d look at it and remember that night out on Treachery Bay. It seemed like months ago now, but if I could get through that night OK, I could get through this.

I’d bought hair gel, transfer tattoos, scissors and some fake piercing studs. By the cracked
and blistered mirror in what was left of the bathroom, I hacked at my hair, shortening it and plastering it down. I smoothed the temporary tatts onto my forearms and stuck the fake studs on—one just under my lower lip and the other on my left eyebrow. I’d already lost a bit of weight and when I finally checked my reflection, I didn’t look much like the kid in the newspaper anymore.

I stared at the unfamiliar image in the mirror. I felt lonely and miserable and so angry that Mum believed I could have hurt Gabbi. I had to try and convince her of my innocence. I turned on my mobile and called her.

‘Mum?’

‘Cal! Where have you been? What are you doing? For God’s sake come home!’

‘I can’t, Mum. It’s too dangerous for me. And I don’t just mean the cops.’

‘Just come home! I’ve been going out of my mind with worry about you. Where are you? Where are you staying? Who’s looking after you?’

‘It’s OK, Mum. I’m taking good care of myself. Please don’t worry. Look, let’s get this straight right now. I came home and I found Uncle Rafe unconscious and Gabbi not breathing. I didn’t touch either of them.’

‘Cal, Rafe heard your voice. Gabbi was screaming out, “No! Cal! Please, Cal, don’t!” Those were the last words she said before we lost her to the coma.’

My mother’s voice trembled, and before bursting into inconsolable tears, she whispered to me, ‘And the police found your fingerprints on the gun, Cal.’

Frightening images of the last few days began to flash across my mind like an out of control torture slideshow. Storms, sharks, Memorial Park, the thick weave of the sack over my eyes, the angel, the crazy guy, the cemetery vault, Gabbi lifeless on the floor, the blue-black steeliness of the gun … Rafe’s gun.

‘What gun!’ I demanded. ‘Stop crying and tell me what you’re talking about?’ I shouted at my sobbing mother.

She seemed shocked at my tone and her sobbing slowed.

‘Cal, your uncle was shot,’ she said in a serious and slow voice. ‘The gun was left behind. It has your prints all over it.’

‘That was Rafe’s gun! I found it at his place the other day when I went looking for my mail.’

‘You mean you broke into Rafe’s house?’ my
mum said in exhausted disbelief. She inhaled and exhaled loudly.

‘I had to! To get the drawings! He lied to you, Mum. The envelope
was
for me!’

‘Cal …’ my mum sighed.

‘I found the gun in his drawer,’ I said, ‘and he came back for it when he was supposed to be out with you at the solicitor’s! Where would I get a gun from, Mum? Think about it! You can’t just walk into Kmart and buy one! And Rafe reckons he heard my voice? He’s lying! I don’t know why, but he’s lying! And Gabbi must know that they’re after me! She was probably just trying to scream out and warn me!’

‘Well why did you run away when the police came? Oh, Cal, forget it. Please just come home. We can talk about it then. Darling, we know you wouldn’t mean to hurt anyone. You can’t even remember doing it.’


I didn’t do it
!
How could I remember
something
I never did?’ I said, infuriated. ‘Who’s feeding you this crap? Mum, it’s me, Cal, your son! What’s wrong with you?’ She was convinced I was guilty—that I’d hurt Gabbi—that I’d shot my uncle!

‘Please believe I don’t blame you!’ she said. ‘I
know
what you’ve been through—you’ve had the worst possible time of all of us. Please Cal, we
can get help for you!’

‘That’s not the sort of help I need!’ I shouted. This was impossible. I couldn’t explain my innocence over the phone. ‘Mum, you’ve got to believe me!’

‘Please, Cal. Just come home. You can’t imagine what I’m going through! I feel like I’m losing both of my children!’ Her voice broke and she started sobbing again.

‘Mum,’ I said calmly. ‘I didn’t do it. Please get that through your head. Once I’ve proved that I’m innocent I’ll come home. Something so much bigger than you can ever imagine is going on—’

My mobile beeped a warning: Battery Low. I’d need to swap the battery over with the spare one Boges gave me.

Suddenly a man’s voice came on the line. ‘Callum? Is that you?’

‘Who’s that?’ I asked.

Then I realised. The cops were there with my mum!

I hung up instantly.

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