When I pick up the phone to call Saxon I have very little idea what the blazes I was doing. I am desperate, and coming from me that means life and death crisis. My day had so far been going fine, I’d had an almost not so unpleasant day at school having gotten the upper hand on Jannet Dartmier, which is always a plus. Then I come home to a thrown open apartment door, a torn apart main room, and my father nowhere to be seen. It’s instinctive. I grab the phone and call Lannis as I trudge through the mess to make sure he isn’t passed out in the bathroom. Nope. When Lannis doesn’t to pick up after about the 5th ring, I dial again, and again, and… no answer. Now I am panicking. I can’t chase after my Dad alone, but I only trust Lannis. If she isn’t picking up… at last I grab a post it off the fridge and dial the only other person who seemed the kind of person who’d help me.
When Saxon appears in my apartment like magic, I nearly drop the phone from shock. Saxon is holding some kind of cake, and looking mildly intrigued.
“Super Saxon to the rescue, how may I be of service my lady?” she says in greeting. Her sharp eyes survey the damage. “Wow, got robbed? Secret information about your past stolen?”
“Close enough,” I snap, and slam the phone down on the counter. “My dad… well, he’s missing. I just need help finding him.”
“Kidnapping?” Saxon asks. She’s giving me that look. She’s a smart girl, and knows I’m not telling her everything.
“No,” I say quickly, already heading out the apartment door. Saxon hurries to catch up.
“Where’s the first place he’d head to?” Saxon asks as we pound down the complex stairs. Straight to business. Good, that means I can keep my secret just a little longer.
“There are three main haunts of his, an old bar and grill on 34th street, a shooting range near Eagle’s Golf Course, and an old church converted to a library by the docks.” I glance out of the corner of my eye at her as we go through the front door and start jogging down the street.
“One jump,” she says automatically. “It takes enough energy as it is to transport another person, but too many jumps in one day knocks me out for a week.”
I’d laugh, or come up with some sarcastic comment, but now isn’t the time for that.
“Where do you think he’s most likely to be?” Saxon queries.
I think. What was he like when I left that morning? He had the typical childlike cheer he has most often, but… he was sad and almost coherent, I recall. He’d mentioned my Mom…
Oh, rats. It was today. The one day that cuts through the fog in his mind. Their anniversary.
“The church,” I snap, and grab Saxon’s arm, probably gripping harder than need be. Saxon teleports us the moment I grab her. I stumble, and my head is reeling slightly as I fight to readjust to my new surroundings. I can hear the gull calls from the nearby shipyard, and the rumblings of trucks on the back streets. I look up at the giant archway before me, the entrance to old St. Patrick’s Church and cemetery. The cemetery to the right of the church has been gated and locked for years. My father has no reason to go there, so I switch my gaze back to the old solid doors of the rarely visited library-church.
“This is the place?” Saxon asks. There a slight strain in voice, but I’m not about to point it out after she helped me get here.
“Yeah,” I answer with a nod. “He’ll be inside in the back, near where the altar used to be.”
“Religious?” Saxon asks as we head up the stone steps.
“He used to be,” I admit, already pulling open the heavy doors.
Saxon grabs my arm, and holds me back, looking into my eyes directly. I shift uncomfortably. Only Lannis has ever studied me this hard. Thank goodness Saxon can’t read minds.
“What’s the story, Audrey?” she demands. I flash her one of my famous ‘what-are-you-talking-about’ grins.
“Save it,” she snaps. Her expression softens and she lets go of my arms. I stay where I am, half in the library, keeping the door open with my shoulder. “I only want to help, Audrey. You called me, remember? You don’t seem like the kind of person to do that unless you trust the person on the other line.”
This is it then, All cards are on the table. i can’t hide it any longer, even if I tried.
“I’m not,” I agree. “Let’s talk somewhere more comfortable.”
When we’re inside the library I lead Saxon over to a study area within view of the back, where the old altar stands on display with some information boards about the history of the old place. I can see my dad sitting cross legged on the floor, neck craned upwards like a child.
“So, what’s the story?” Saxon asks when we’ve settled into the slippery chairs of the library.
“About five year ago my Dad started acting… strange,” I begin. “I knew he’d been having trouble adjusting since… well, my Mom kind of left. He’d been taking anti-depressants of course, but they only staved off the symptoms, I suppose. Three years ago he had a complete breakdown. Screaming, thrashing… it was awful. Since then he’s only gotten worse. I’m running his business now, have been for almost three years. I keep out of any major trouble at school, pay the bills, sign everything. I’m a master forger at this point.” I offer a tight smile which Saxon does not return. I clear my throat and continue. “Anyway… we’ve managed. I keep him at home, and he can at least get his own food when I leave it prepared in the fridge. It’s hard but…” I glance over to make sure he hasn’t moved. He hasn’t, “we manage.”
Saxon doesn’t say anything, so I stand and start to leave.
“Hey, wait,” she calls after me. “I came this far, might as well help you get him home.”
Back at my apartment, after a long and awkward cab ride, I hurry to get my dad to his room.
“I ordered pizza for supper,” he says sleepily as we pass the kitchen. “It’s been ages since I had pizza…” I force a smile.
“I’m sure you did, Dad. Pizza sounds great. Now, why don’t you get some rest until the pizza gets here.”
I slip quietly out of his room, and back into the disaster area that is the rest of the apartment. Saxon is standing near the kitchen island, snacking on a handful of pretzels she somehow located in the last five minutes.
When she sees me, she dusts her hands off and comes over.
“So, all’s well that ends well?” she offers with a grin.
I shuffle nervously. It feels weird, having her here. I’ve never told my seceret to anyone but Lannis before. I feel somewhat exposed. Saxon must pick up on the awkwardness this causes.
“Well, I should head out,” she says, and she studies the room once more. “Unless you want some help cleaning up?”
I shake my head. I’d rather be alone right now.
“‘Kay, well, I guess I’ll see you at Lannis’s on Saturday?”
I blink. “Saturday?” I echo.
Saxon looks embarrassed. “Sorry, did you not know? She called another meeting of the TSS.”
“Teenaged Superhero Society.”