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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, June 12, 2024

After Years: Chapter Nine


Editor’s note: This column is part of a fictional weekly serial.

The car and its passengers bounced so wildly in its speeding progress that Alicia worried that she would accidentally discharge the gun she held pressed against the steering wheel with one hand. Her father had thus far shown no intention of revolting against the abrupt kidnapping — he was more bemused than anything else, actually. The others had assured her that he had no memory of his violent past, but until that could be verified, she was willing to overcompensate where weaponry was concerned.

“You — hold up — that was the exit to the city, you’ll have to turn around in a moment,” Edgar called out, twisting in his seat to look over his shoulder.

“We’re not going to the city, dad,” Alicia replied calmly.

Considering all the obstacles which had already arisen, Alicia was proud of herself for the ease with which she was managing to carry forth the plan. Her father’s transatlantic phone call, speaking wistfully of time lost and bonds to be repaired and death imminent, had provided a perfect opportunity, catalyzing a project long in the works but thought to be impossible to complete. She had encouraged Cecilia to join her for the visit out of an expectation that to do so would be to, in fact, discourage Cecilia from wanting to do exactly that; moreover, it would have looked strange if anyone, looking into the visit, found Edgar’s granddaughter had been neither informed nor invited. The last thing she expected was for Cecilia to agree to come, and that had been the first complication.

Nor had she expected Cecilia to actually try to track down information about Edgar’s past. Personally she thought there were less disruptive ways to do that than attempting to hack into the national security service’s records, but everyone had their personal style with these things. The agency’s decision to give Cecilia so much information, while simultaneously withholding as much, was disturbing and hinted at machinations which worried Alicia and her colleagues.

“Just up here’s the exit to the casino, was that the one you were looking for?” Edgar was beginning to look panicked. Alicia ignored him.

Then the gun, of course. She’d been careless to leave it somewhere Edgar could find it, but she honestly hadn’t expected him to be in the habit of searching people’s bags. It seemed a remnant of his past self, a suggestion that maybe not everything from that era was forgotten. In any event, his discovery of the gun merely jumped the plan forward a few steps. Everything was back in order. Except for Cecilia. She still hadn’t figured out how to deal with her daughter.

They veered off the main road onto a dirt street alongside a set of train tracks. Within minutes they reached the end of the tracks, and Alicia parked the car.

“Well, dad, I need your help.”

She gestured with the gun for him to open the door. The moment of truth - of success or abject failure — was upon them.