Sector 54-1

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His dad hadn't said much  about the accident. In fact he hadn't said much about anything since.  For the past few days he'd sat, hunched over in his chair, switching  back and forth between reading the bible and the local newspapers.

Mr. Kilhan, Riley's  father, was a Baptist preacher. He would talk to anyone about anything.  It was his nature to talk, his gift. Riley had long since come to terms  with his overly chatty dad, so seeing him like this--this quiet-- really  wierded Riley out.

If I can't get him to talk to me, thought Riley, I can get him to yell.  Getting in trouble was a hazard of being a preacher's son, his dad sure  could get mad. Riley was counting on it. He flopped on  the sofa and plopped his feet on the coffee table, hiding his smirk as  he starred at the blank TV screen--his dad would say something. There  was a strict no-feet-on-furniture rule in their home.

Riley tapped his feet,  waiting expectantly, but the eerie quiet hung about the large man like a  thick cloud, even the chance to scold Riley hadn't snapped him out of  the silence.

Riley took in a deep breath and turned to his dad. "Dad? What happened?"

No reply. Not even a  glance in Riley's direction. It was as if Riley was alone in the room.  Where was the animated story, the flying arms, the cheerful smile? What happened to my father?

"Listen dad," he started. "I know you're upset..."

Mr. Kilhan glanced over  the edge of the page, he opened his mouth to say something. Just then  the doorbell rang and he closed his mouth and nodded to the door.

 Just then  the doorbell rang and he closed his mouth and nodded to the door

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Riley rolled his eyes as  he stood. Whoever it was interrupted possibly the most important  conversation Riley would ever have with his dad. He'd been about to  talk, to finally say something. But now, thanks to the bell, they were  back to the silent phase.

Riley sighed as he  pulled open the door and looked through the screen at a young girl. She  appeared to be about the same age as him, eighteen, maybe nineteen. Her  dark hair was slicked back into a bun and she wore a black t-shirt and  black pants with a black bag over her shoulder. Creative.

"Is Mr. Kilhan here?" she asked.

No hello, no how are you sir, just straight to the question. Riley didn't like her, not one bit.

"Yeah," he said as he closed the door in her face. A small smile curled his lip as he wondered what the girl would do.

"I know you're still there," she said. "I can see your shadow under the door."

Riley frowned but kept quiet. He needed this girl to go away so he could talk to his dad, try to help him out of this funk. Besides, the girl was probably just trying to sell cookies, or a vacuum or something, anyways.

"I need to talk to Mr. Kilhan about the incident March 10th... the accident."

Riley cocked his head and frowned at the closed door. She knew about the accident. It was odd,  but maybe this is what he needed to help his dad. Maybe this girl could get his dad to talk and he would finally know what had caused the world's most full-of-life-man to turn into a shadow of who he was.

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