Home > Time's Mirror (The Chronos Files #2.5)(6)

Time's Mirror (The Chronos Files #2.5)(6)
Rysa Walker

Saul is handsome. He looks a lot like that actor in The Outsiders, the one who played Soda? Rob Somebody. Except he’s older, maybe even thirty.

Sutter pauses the video. “Can you identify any of these people?”

When I don’t respond, he taps the air to zoom in on a man in one of the clusters along the far wall. He’s younger, with light brown hair, and he’s staring over at Mother and the dark-haired guy. He looks worried.

“How about him?”

I turn my head away from the recording and Sutter springs up out of the chair, getting right in my face. The eyes that seemed weird at a distance are downright freaky up close. Little lights shine inside them—not reflections, but actually inside his eyes.

“Katherine Shaw is your mother. Saul Rand is your father. We know this. So how did you wind up here with the key that belonged to Richard Viers?”

I lean back into the chair and squeeze my eyelids tight so that I can’t see his weird robo-eyes. It doesn’t stop me from hearing him, however, or from inhaling his breath, which smells green and chemical, like cilantro.

I want to scream back at him. What key? The only key I was carrying is the one to our house. I don’t know this Saul Rand. I don’t know anyone named Richard Viers, either.

After a few seconds, Sutter pulls away. I hear him drop back into the chair, huffing several times like he’s trying to get a grip on his temper.

Then Mother’s voice is back. I open my eyes again without even thinking.

“…misusing resources. How can future generations hold us in anything but contempt if we fail to use this great power to guide the ship?”

This image isn’t at the party. There’s no background noise. It looks like an apartment. I can see the sky and the tops of buildings through the window behind her, and when she laughs I know she’s been drinking.

More accurately, she’s drunk, or close to it. I’ve only seen her that way a few times, most recently last year, when she and Dad came back from some faculty party. The sitter—and no, we really didn’t need a sitter at thirteen, but whatever—let us stay up to watch Saturday Night Live. It was right after Belushi died and they were doing a tribute. Mom and Dad came in during a musical number. Mink Deville was singing some love song, and Mom pulled Dad into a dance move. He nearly dropped her and they both started laughing.

No, let’s be honest. They were giggling.

Neither of my parents are gigglers, especially not my mother. Deb and I weren’t one bit surprised when she stumbled downstairs the next morning, headed straight for the Alka-Seltzer and the coffee, and then closed herself off in the study for most of the day. And I doubt she was reading anything academic.

That’s how she sounds in this holograph. Giggly. Giddy. It’s a bit disgusting, although to be fair, she’s not that old here. College age, maybe?

After a brisk shake of her head, she starts in again, and I can tell she’s making an effort to keep a straight face. “Our hands have been tied long enough by those who think we should sit by and watch as our forefathers make one catastrophic mistake after another. I will sever the ties that bind us to a history where fate and happenstance dictate the fortune of the world. I will be the Joan of Arc for a new CHRONOS built upon the ashes of the old!”

She glances off to the right, and it looks like she’s going to crack up again, but she gives the camera one last firm and determined stare and then the picture vanishes.

“So.” Sutter folds his hands in his lap and I close my eyes again, because now that the image is gone it’s just him and his freaky eyes in front of me. “You’re clearly part of this ‘new CHRONOS’ she envisioned. How long has she been training you? Who else was working with her when she destroyed headquarters? Your father? Richard Viers? You can either answer now, or I’ll get a court order to chemically induce your responses.”

The idea of Sutter’s people pumping some sort of truth serum into me is terrifying, but I don’t have anything to tell him. And a lot of his questions make it sound like I might need a lawyer.

Do they still have lawyers?

I squeeze my eyes shut even harder and turn my head away. Yes, I know that ignoring him won’t make him disappear, and I know I’m acting like a stubborn toddler, but what can I tell him? I showed up in some future-era bombed-out building and he clearly believes my mother was the bomber. How could I possibly convince him that I don’t know anything about it?

“Your choice, Ms. Shaw. Which is—”

“You’re not supposed to be in here without one of the attendants, Sutter.” It’s the voice I heard earlier in the hologram thing, the guy who said Ooh, burned, Kathy. I recognize it now. Tate somebody. He's been here before. Three times that I recall. His is the first face I saw, aside from my evil twin, when I was hurt. He’s the one who lifted me out of the rubble.

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