Torched Truth: Chapter 5

River gets into the SUV with her dad, buckles her seatbelt and waves at us with a huge smile.

The only thing that troubles me is that I can’t get a read on her dad and then as soon as River closes her door, her thoughts are blocked from me as well.

As soon as the car turns away I hop into my 1970 454 SS Chevrolet Chevelle and start her up. I’ve only had the car for a total of two days and I’m already in love with it. The way she roars to life is like music to my ears. She’s so loud that I see rather than hear the passenger door open and close.

“Where do you think you’re going? I haven’t even had my chance to interrogate you yet!” Dawn shouts over the noise.

I let up on the throttle so the Chevelle quiets down. “I have somewhere important I need to go and you can’t come, so will you please get out?” I ask nicely. “I really have to book it if I’m going to make it on time.” I watch her, waiting for her to relent and get out. But Dawn just stares back at me with a blank expression.

“I’m not an idiot ya know.” I go to explain myself, but, Dawn continues. “I know you are following River and her Dad, and that there is obviously something wrong going on in that car. So let’s not waste anymore time and go follow that car!”

I’m stunned.

How did she know I was going to be following River and that there is something wrong with her?

Dawn, tired of waiting, shoves the gear shift into first gear for me and makes the car lurch forward. The lurch is enough to snap me out of my thoughts. I turn away from Dawn and focus on where River’s dad was headed.

Is Dawn like me?

look over at her sharply. I know that she’s aware of my gaze because she winces as I probe at her mind with no hesitation.

“Would you PLEASE not do that!” She shouts at me. “It hurts really bad!” She’s holding her head in her hands as she says the last part.

“Who are you?” I ask her.

“None of your damn business.” She spits at me. I probe again. “Fine! I’m not one of you if that’s what you're so concerned about. I’m just as human as River. So I’m not a little spy watching your every move to report back to dear old Daddy.” Dawn lets the distaste roll off her tongue, making it obvious how much she hates my Father.

And me apparently. I’ve got to hand it to her, she’s a great actress.

“So what are you doing here then?” I demand.

“Hey now I was here long before you buddy boy, so back off! And that’s classified, no matter how much probing you do I’ll die before I tell you that.” The look on her face tells me that she’s definitely not lying, so I leave it at that.

“I do hope you’ll answer one thing for me though.” I say.

“No promises Brick Wall.” I smile as the nickname reminds me of River.

“How do you know so much about my kind and I?”

Until we hit a red light, which feels like a hour but is actually five minutes, Dawn is silent.

“My father told me.” She finally relents. I wait patiently for more information and when I’ve given up on her talking anymore she asks me, “What do you want with River?” The question comes out more of a growl than an actual question and the threat of me hurting River hangs between us like an invisible veil.

“Look I don’t know what your father told you about us, but, I do know that I would never hurt River.”Even I’m startled by the conviction in my voice of how true this is.

GGGeeezzz, man. You only met the girl this morning and you’re losing your head over her safety. You really need to snap out of this trance you’re in and get back to work.

But not until I know and have seen with my own eyes that River is safe.

Apparently Dawn senses that I’m telling the truth , because when I turn to her, she’s giving me an appraising look like I’ve just barely passed an important test. The look is quickly replaced by one of annoyance. I almost call her out on it, but then think better of it.

Seems I’ve got a lot more proving to do than I’d originally thought.

Dawn suddenly pulls out her pink, sparkle covered phone with the notification light blinking. After about two minutes of reading a message with her utmost concentration, she breathes a sigh of relief.

“River just texted me. She’s alright. And She wants me to meet her at the hideout in an hour.”

“How do you know it was her that sent the text?” I point out, feeling paranoid.

Dawn’s annoyed face tells me that I sound like it too. “Because, you nitwit,only three people know about the hideout; Josh, River and myself.”

I sit there for a minute then ask, “ Alright then, right or left?”

“What?”

I tell Dawn with determination, “I am going to be there when River shows up and in order to do that, I need to know, right or left?”

She sure knows how to glare when she wants to and that last statement earns me a death defying one. I’m beginning to think this is going to turn into an argument when she says “Left.” before turning to look out the window.

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