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FREAKS OF GREENFIELD HIGH
By Maree Anderson
How bad can high school possibly be? When you’re struggling to understand what it means to be human, let’s just say “it’s complicated”.
Copyright 2011 by Maree Anderson
This novel is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places and events portrayed in this novel are products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, is coincidental. All rights reserved; the right to reproduce this book or any portion thereof in any form whatsoever in any country whatsoever without the express permission of the author is forbidden.
FREAKS OF GREENFIELD HIGH
By Maree Anderson
Dr. Alexander Jay Durham squinted through a gap in the blinds, watching the convoy snaking up the dirt road. The dying light painted the black Hummers with crimson-hued menace, making them appear as though they’d been dipped in blood.
Foolish, greedy men. He could not find it in himself to regret their fate.
The shadows haunting the study resolved into a teenage girl. She glided over to take his arm. “Come away from the window, Father. It is not safe.”
Bah. He was dying. Worrying about his safety was futile.
He suffered himself to be helped to his favorite armchair and settled into its comforting cushions. His gaze skittered about, finally coming to rest on a framed photo sitting atop the mantelpiece. It captured a young woman wearing a cheerful sun-colored dress, her lips curved in a wide, unrestrained smile. Time rewound and Alex saw himself with her, pulling all manner of ridiculous faces to make her laugh. His hand fisted on his chest, pressing atop his heart to keep the memories safely imprisoned. Now was not the time to become lost in the past.
His gaze cut to the girl, now seated at the computer desk. And, as it always did when he looked at her, the pain of his loss faded to a dull, comforting ache.
She was his legacy. From the facial structure and skin-tone, to the tousled mane of raven hair that resisted all efforts to tame it, she was a younger replica of his dead wife. She had but one unique physical characteristic, something that was hers and only hers. His brows knit into a frown. Perhaps he’d been foolish to experiment. Perhaps the startling cobalt hue of her eyes would make her too remarkable, too memorable. Perhaps he’d endangered her by—
He reined in his fears. She was skilled at subterfuge. She would cope admirably without him. He had to believe that. “We haven’t got much time,” he said. “Do you know what to do?”
The girl glanced up from the computer. She slanted her brilliantly clear gaze at him, head cocked to one side in a perfect imitation of thoughtfulness as her fingertips flew over the keyboard. “We have seven-minutes-fifty-one-seconds before the attack force reaches the outskirts of the property. They will secure the area before they begin the assault.” She tapped out one last combination of keys and her hands stilled. “And yes, Father, I know what to do.”
“Of course you do. Please forgive a foolish old man.”
She abandoned her chair and took her place at his side. “There is nothing to forgive,” she said. “I have enabled the virus. Phase one is now complete.” Phase one being the program she had designed to corrupt the network servers and delete all secured off-site backup data, thus destroying five decades of meticulous research. Irretrievably.
Alex nodded his approval. “Good.”
She tapped pursed lips with her forefinger, the gesture so humanlike Alex’s heart twisted with regret. His beloved Mary would have been able to love the girl unreservedly, nurtured her, given her everything she needed to reach her full potential. Mary would have succeeded where he had failed.
“I have scanned the vehicles and the weaponry,” the girl reported. “The attack force comprises twenty-five men. I can delete them. No incriminating evidence will be found.”
“Of that I have no doubt. But we must proceed as planned. I am your one weakness, and this is the only way you will be safe.” He reached out to pat her hand, momentarily forgetting that she needed no comforting from him. Or indeed, anyone.