Chapter 9

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"You're alive," I say.

"You're okay," she smiles.

I limp over to where she stands and we wrap our arms around each other.

"They told me you were dead," I sigh, letting a tear out.

"I know," she says. "I hacked a warpod to include your father and me in the death reports."

"Dad's alive?" I ask. "Where is he?"

"I don't know," she shakes her head. "We were separated during the last month in Zeldana."

"Why? What happened?" I ask.

"It's a very long story," she sighs.

"Oh, we've got quite the story, too," Liv says.

"Olivia," my mom smiles, hugging her next. "You're both so beautiful and so tall."

"Mom, what happened?" I repeat, getting us back on topic.

"Your father got himself into some trouble," she starts. "The government officials had us working as hackers to get information about Zeldana's tactics. Shortly after we had been brought in your father hacked the government servers."

"What did he do?" I ask.

"He was displeased with the way the officials were running things," she explains. "He hacked into their servers and found several documents containing plans to destroy Feldor. One of the officials discovered that he'd found them and was planning to execute both of us. We tried to escape and were separated on the train. I found him again a few days after that. We'd been hiding out in a camp a few hours from Zeldana for the duration of the war and then about a month ago I woke up one day and he was just gone."

"Did he leave a note or anything?" I ask.

"Nothing," she denies.

"So you don't know if he's alive?" I question.

"No idea," she shakes her head. "Now what's going on with you and your friends?"

"That's Danny and Kyle," I say, pointing to the two boys. "This is my mom, Kate."

"Which one's yours?" She smirks.

"Mom!" I gasp.

"I'm not stupid, sweetie," she smiles.

"It's Kyle," I roll my eyes.

"Good choice," she says.

Kyle's face goes red.

"We're kind of in an unusual situation," I say.

"After the war, aren't we all?" She laughs.

"We're being forced into playing a game with a murderer," Liv says.

"What kind of a game?" Mom asks.

We show her the letters and explain the events of the mill.

"We tried going to officials to get help but they just got up and walked away," Kyle says. "After the unsolved murders from years ago, no one is willing to accept that it's happening again."

"Why didn't you ever tell me about them?" I ask. "You never even mentioned them."

"I can't tell you," my mom frowns.

"You have to," I deny. "My life and my friends' lives are in danger."

"Your father and I knew who the murderer was," she says. "And it wouldn't surprise me if it's the same person this time around."

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