Arkell Cemetery seemed more bleak covered by darkness. Avis had pushed herself hard, pushing off of roofs to fly towards the next one, her detour to Crack-Shot Repairs had put her behind schedule and she hoped her mother’s lawyer would still be there waiting. Avis touched down just across the road from the century old cemetery and hid within the darkened ally before dashing across the open road towards the iron gates.
The cemetery seemed deserted, the same with the roads and sidewalks surrounding the place. Avis wrapped her jacket tighter around her body feeling a chill creep down her spine as she made her way through the grave markers towards the far side of the cemetery where her mother had been laid to rest just hours ago. There was a tree nearby where the dark-haired teenager hid behind for cover as she saw the loose soil heaped up where her mother had been buried. The flowers from this afternoon were still there, but nobody else. Had she missed Mr. Wright?
“You are just like your mother. Paranoid and cautious.” The deep voice sounded behind Avis back and she gave a jump and turned around to see the lawyer standing right behind her. The hairs on her neck rose as she pressed her body against the tree trunk. She had not sensed him, didn’t even hear him approach. How long had he been there?
“Not cautious enough.” Avis replied back.
“True enough,” Mr. Wright said with a sorrowful sigh. “She was the strongest person I’ve ever met Miss Rision, her defeat has shattered many confidences.”
He spoke in riddles that reminded Avis of Xau, hinting but never out right saying what was on his mind. She disliked those mind games, how she had to read between the lines and figure out the secret they were trying to convey. Her mother was good at this, but Avis never got the hang of it.
“What does that supposed to mean?” Avis asked, curious. Mr. Wright looked down at her and gave her a soft smile.
“Nothing.” He said then presented the teenager with a wooden chest about one foot by half a foot and three inches deep. Avis took the box and with her finger traced the carved design on the top. It was full of celtic knots with a trinity sign in the centre. The wooden box was also locked when she tried to open it. “Don’t open it here.” Mr. Wright hissed and Avis stopped what she was doing.
“What’s inside? How do you open it?” She asked.
“I… don’t know. You’re mother left it in my possession about three weeks ago, just before she went missing. She gave me specific instructions to never open it and give it to you if anything should happen to her. “I assume the key is with you, or that you knew how to open the box.”
“You didn’t ask?” Avis’s voice rose with her anger and frustration of the situation. Here she hoped her mother would have given her some sort of clue as to who had killed her, or at least the key to the box of mystery, not some test to prove her worth.
“I’m sorry Miss Rison. She seemed in a hurry and left before I could ask any questions at all.” Mr. Wright sighed again, as Avis’s eyes burned into his during the darkness of night. “There is something else,” he added as Avis attempted to leave.
“What is it?” She asked, her voice cool and distant.
“To be careful.” Mr. Wright said. “There is someone or something out there that is extremely powerful and dangerous. It went after you mother, and there is a chance it could go after you.”
Avis’s mind swept back to the alien face she had seen in her home before the bomb went off. She twirled back to look at Mr. Wright. “Are you one of us?”
“Not really, not anymore.” Mr. Wright answered, “My grandfather was, not of you’re species but similar to the human race on earth. He was able to blend in as your mother did. I’m third generation and most of his unique abilities has watered itself down now to make me more human than… other.” Mr. Wright finished. “Avis, there are others out there, but don’t put your trust in them blindly. Just like humans, some have other motives and dark tendencies.”
“I know… I know.” Avis said, nodding her head to the lawyer. Xau had given her the same warning in the past, same with her mother. Others like them who were trapped on Earth could not all be trusted. She turned to leave again, this time Mr. Wright did not stop her.
Avis took her time getting back to Crack-Shot Repairs, walking the streets at a normal pace, the wooden box hidden in her bag, though it was heavy and she kept checking to make sure it didn’t rip through the already damaged gab. It was well past one in the morning by the time she reached the shop, Jax was still open, and he had followed through with his favour and gave Avis a USB drive with all of her personal information on it.
“Well, I did it.” Jax said handing the stick drive over to her. “I don’t know if everything’s there though. I was able to pull off most of the files, but there were some that were corrupted and beyond repair. The same with your phone, but i assume you just wanted your contacts, which is all there too.” He said, pointing at the stick. “You’re really leaving?”
“Yeah.” Avis said handing over as much cash that she still had. “That’s all i’ve got.”
“It’ll do. I’m really going to miss you kiddo, not sure if the shop’s going to survive without you.” Avis knew Jax was just trying butter her up, to let her know that she would be missed.
“I’m sure i’ll find a way to stay in contact. I mean, i’m a hacker now thanks to your lot.” She teased the man. “But, i won’t be able to make contact right away. I need to stay underground for a bit.”
“Well you came back from your mystery meeting in one piece. I’ll take that as a good sign. But, it happens to the best of us. Old Ace had to go under for a year or so after that heist he pulled. Well, needless to say you know how to find us online once you’re ready.”
“Of course. I’ll make sure to send you something good when I do.” Avis said, shaking Jax’s hand. They said their goodbyes as Avis left the shop that had become her second home for the last time.
Avis used the same exit to re-enter the hotel, thankfully nobody seemed to have noticed her absence as she snuck back into he room and sat on her bed with the wooden box in front of her. She wondered what it was her mother had left for her inside. There were a number of possibilities, Avis remembered the stories of how her mother crashed to earth and had to take the only power crystal left from her ship before the authorities caught her, as well as AI program that helped fly the ship itself. Avis had forgotten it’s name, but she was sure her mother wouldn’t have left something like that behind for the earth people to find and manipulate. It would be nice to chat with someone again, someone who knew what it was like on Afgadu, space and other solar systems.
She tried to open the box again, this time taking a hair pin to try picking the lock instead. From the outside, it seemed like a simple, common lock but the hairpin didn’t work. The idea of smashing the box entertained the teenager’s mind, but she was afraid of breaking anything delicate inside.
By three she was exhausted and gave up on it’s secrets as she fell back into a deep sleep.