Elic woke with a start. He looked around the strange room wondering where he was, then remembered. Minnesota. He stretched, ruffled his furry white hair which hardly differed in texture from that of the cat he shoved off his chest. He looked to see if Stefon were awake.
He sensed his friend's sleeping mind and didn't wake him. He'd have to remember to tell him later that he'd been sleeping again for the last week.
"First time I sleep I sleep in ten years and what do I get? Bad dreams," he tole the sleepy cat. His violet eyes, pupils slitted like the cat's, were spread wide and black. He paused for a moment trying to remember the dream, but could only recall the terror.
Elic well know that he shouldn't have been sleeping, much less dreaming after twenty years on earth. His alien physique needed rest and he would read for several hours each day, but he had discovered that actually sleeping was a sign of illness and other than sleeping he was fine.
Downstairs he fixed a soft drink and visited with the man in charge of the morning shift. Like all Lion's Dens, a drug rehabilitation center, this was quiet at 6am.
"What are you doing up?" Bob asked, knowing Elic had worked til three the night before, but unaware of Elic's unusual habits.
"Woke up. Thought I might catch a bus and ride around town."
"But it's a good way to see the town without spending a lot of money," Elic replied.
"Must be boring here after LA," Bob said.
"Cold, anyway," Elic said with a smile. Bob returned the smile. Everybody had thought Elic funny when he had complained about the cold, but compared to southern California, it was cold; colder here in April than it had been all winter there.
"Can I get some change?" Elic asked as he got up.
"Sure, have fun," Bob told him while he got the coins for him.
"Thanks," Elic said, pulling on his gloves as he ran out the door.
Elic got on the first bus he saw and rode it while it took on riders. He leaned against the window and watched the snowy landscape slip by.
In the course of the morning he changed busses several times, gradually becoming aware that he was looking for something. Finally he decided to get a drink and slipped off the bus at the next corner. It was only after he was out of the bus that he realized that there wasn't any place to get a drink.
There was a large building nearby. It sat alone on a large piece of land. Elic's only thought was that there wasn't enough parking around it. Not really thinking any more about it Elic decided to see if he could find a drink machine inside.
He walked down a hall, wondering why this place looked so strangely familiar; the high echoing ceiling, the tiled floor, a strange smell of dust and chalk... there was something about the place that he knew.
"Do you have a hall pass, young man?" a sharp, female voice demanded.
"I'm sorry," he stammered, "a what?"
"Do you go to school here?" she asked.
"No, ma'am. I've just moved here."
"Then you are looking for the office?"
Elic nodded, surprised to realize that he was doing just that.
"Peggy," the woman said looking back into her room, "please take this young man to the office."
Elic waited a moment while the woman filled out a hall pass, then a nice-looking girl came out.
"Come on," she said, and Elic walked with her. She was a bit taller than he was, but Elic wasn't bothered as most people were. "The Hatchet went easy on you," she said. "That's what we call Mrs. Hatchett."
"That was easy?" Elic shrugged, "Well, a lot of people like me."
"I'm Peggy," she said.
"Where are you from?" she asked.
"I just moved here from LA"
Peggy stopped. "Really? Did you... did you see any movie stars?"
Elic also stopped and smiled back at her. "I don't think so; it's not like I hung out where they did."
Peggy blushed. "I suppose it's a big place."
"Sorry," she said with a laugh.
"That's all right. I mean, when I was out there they would ask if I knew someone back in New York, and that's even bigger."
"You've lived there, too?"
"Yeah, but its not a nice place to live. Real dangerous."
"Did you ever go to Disneyland?"
"Nope, never had the time."
They stopped in front of a door and Peggy opened it. A moment later Elic stood alone with a secretary, seriously worried how Stefon would take his registering for school.
Somehow, it was something he had to do. Hopefully, at least it'd keep him up during the day, and staying up would knock off the dreams.
Elic answered the questions wondering what they would ask, and while the secretary seemed dubious about his story of ill health and frequent moves, he felt he got off easily enough.
He spend a few minutes with a counselor, then ran through a series of tests. The counselor seemed surprised with his speed. He finished all the tests and she had a class schedule set up for him by noon.
Back in the principal's office the secretary handed him some papers. "You will need to have your guardian sign this release form and ping it in tomorrow morning," she said.
A door opened and a large, middle-aged man stepped through. Elic felt cold inside when he saw him. He even fell back a step. The secretary didn't see it; she had turned when she heard the door open.
"Mr. Hemphill," she said, nodding her greeting toward the stranger.
"Mrs. Johnson," he answered, his voice full and friendly. "And who is this?"
"This is Elic Behexan. He's just moved to town and registered this morning."
"Good, good." He stepped over to them, his voice booming with good will. He held out his hand..
Elic forced himself to take the offered hand and had to force down a shiver of revulsion.
"What grade will you be in?"
"Ms. Carroll has placed him as a junior," Mrs. Johnson answered. "He just needs to have his release form signed so he can start in the morning."
Hemphill took the schedule from her hand and looked it over. "Do you want to wait till morning?" he asked Elic.
"Not particularly," Elic told him.
Hemphill smiled poadly. "Its good to meet a responsible young person these day." Then he looked over Elic's head. He gestured a hand to come in.
Elic turned as the door opened. A pretty honey-blonde girl entered the office.
"Kelly," Hemphill said.
"Yes, Daddy," she replied softly.
"Don't you have Ms. Monroe for English right after lunch?"
"Yes, sir," she said pighter.
"This is Elic..." he checked the sheet of paper, "Behexan, and he's a new student. He also has Monroe. If you could help him out the next few days I would appreciate it.
Kelly's blue eyes turned and looked him over like he was a new animal, but Elic didn't care. He had finally found what he'd been looking for.
Kelly sized up the new kid that her father seemed to like.
He wasn't tall. He had fluffy whitish hair and large, violet eyes. Kelly wouldn't have called him handsome, but he was attractive. She liked the way the violet shirt under his parka matched his eyes. He had an easy grace in his movements that hinted at something she couldn't quite put her finger on.
"So, you're from California," she said.
Elic started a bit, unready as yet to be the 'new kid' and have no secrets. "How'd you find out?"
"It's all over the school already!" Kelly laughed at his surprise.
"It's not that I care. I just don't want people thinking I've met important people." But Kelly knew he did care, at least a little.
"You're a new kid coming in at this time of year, and you've been to other places. People will talk." The look on Elic's face told her that he had probably been to many other places as well, but wouldn't mention them now. "What are you planning to do for lunch?" she asked.
"Sure, lunch... you know a noon meal?"
Elic frowned. "I hadn't really thought about it," he told her.
"Don't you have any money?" Kelly asked in concern, lowering her voice.
Elic shook his head. "It's not that, it's just I don't normally eat at this time of day."
"No?" she asked.
"No, but I'd like to join you if I could."
"Sure," she said with a lunch and led him to a pair of large doors. Inside was the cafeteria, packed with students. A muted roar of voices and laughter washed over them.
Elic stopped. Kelly came back. "Something wrong?"
"Just surprised me," he said. They got soft drinks and went over to a full table that found two more chairs for them. Kelly did quick introductions she felt certain Elic would never remember.
Peggy and Tina bombarded Elic with questions he never had time to answer, but he didn't seem to mind and really didn't answer many of them.
Kelly sat quietly listening. Elic seemed open and expressive, but never really did say anything much about himself. He's hiding something, Kelly decided, then remembered she hid a few things as well. The room emptied before the bell rang and Kelly took him to class.
Elic endured the rest of the afternoon, knowing he had invited it on himself. After English he had arranged to meet Kelly after school, and that gave him something to look forward to.
He carried his books, paper folded inside with assignments and the release form for Stefon to sign.
"Elic!" Kelly called and waved. He smiled and waved back.
Tina, another girl, and a guy were waiting with his new friend.
"Are you busy tonight?" she asked, eagerly.
Elic's smile faded. "I've got to work," he said.
"Work? But you just moved here. You've got a job already?" the boy asked.
"Mark," Kelly chided. "Elic this is Mark and Shelly, and you remember Tina," she introduced her friends.
Elic nodded to them. "What will I miss?" he asked.
"I thought you might like to join the drama club," she said.
"Wouldn't it be a bit late to get involved in a show?"
"Yes, but I thought you might like to get into a club."
"I appreciate that, but I do have to work."
"Every night?" Tina asked.
"As I'm needed," Elic told her.
"What do you do?" Mark asked.
But Elic 'heard' something else. He turned and ran.
"What's wrong?" Kelly yelled after him.
Ahead he heard screams. He opened his shields even more. He could sense the foursome behind him coming this way now. He could feel a boy's fear and confusion, fleeting he glimpsed the impressions of a drug. He guessed it was some updated version of LSD. He remembered people he helped when he first came who had used the drug. It was a shame that it was coming back on the streets, new names--same old stuff.
He looked up as he rounded the building and saw the youth sitting on the narrow ledge of the third story.
Elic pushed his way through the crowd and stopped for a moment on the steps. Hemphill stepped out and looked up.
Before he could shout up at the boy, Elic grabbed his arm, ignoring the chill that ran through him with the contact. "Let me handle it," he said and produced a card-- in the excitement he figured no one would notice that he pulled it out of thin air and not a pocket. He ran inside.
Even as he climbed the stairs he sent out waves of calm. He followed the noise to the room. People were packed around the windows. Elic grabbed arms and found the teacher.
"Get everyone away from the window!" he yelled.
"Who are you?" the man asked.
"Just get everyone out! Hey!" Elic grabbed another arm, "You go down and spread the word that its a crime to start a jump chant."
"It's only Crazy Larry," the guy laughed.
"Next time it might be your girlfriend," Elic snarled. "Or you. Do it."
The boy fell back, then ran out the door. The instructor managed to get some help. In a few minutes the room was cleared.
"Get the other windows cleared," Elic told him, then turned to the window. Now his work would begin. He whispered a small prayer, then called Stefon. He head the response that said he was on the way.
Kelly waited with the others in the schoolyard. Larry, one of those people everyone knew and few liked, sat on the third floor ledge. Sometimes he'd wave his arms around like he was flying. Kelly's heart was in her throat--what it he fell off?
Then a pale head came out the window and spoke to Larry. Elic!
Amazingly, since Larry had ignored the other people who had yelled at him, he turned and replied.
Elic climbed out and sat on the ledge a few feet from the boy. He seemed to be maintaining the conversation. Kelly wondered what they could be saying.
At one point Larry leaned forward and panic surged in her. He leaned back and Kelly sagged with relief; she didn't want anything to happen while Elic was up there with him.
Elic talked a while longer, then handed something to Larry.
Suddenly Larry changed. He had been calm before, now he seemed to panic. Elic also changed. Now he moved. With an intensity Kelly didn't know existed, but seemed connected to Elic's unusual grace he somehow got the boy in the window safely.
After looking out over the crown once, he slid out of sight himself.
A buzz started that swelled to a roar of approval.
Kelly looked around and noticed that her father was gone, and when people tried to run inside, there were police stopping them. Kelly wondered where the police had come from. When she walked around to the side of the building her question was answered. They must have come up the back so Larry wouldn't see them.
She went back to the front to wait, hoping Elic would come out that way.
It seemed a long time before Elic got the boy inside and could follow him in. He was chilled through because he had removed the parka to sit on the narrow ledge. The warmth of the room was a welcome relief.
Inside, a crowd of people had come through the door: policemen, Hemphill, the teacher and Stefon among others.
Elic retreated from the crowd and found Stefon beside him.
"Have you lost your mind?" Stefon demanded.
"I can explain everything," Elic told him.
"We'll talk about this later," Stefon warned him.
"Young man," Hemphill said, peaking away from the others for a moment. "You're quite the hero."
"No, I'm not," Elic said. "This is Stefon, my guardian," he said to change the subject.
"You've got a fine young man here," Hemphill said, extending his hand to Stefon. Elic saw the same hesitation in Stefon which he'd felt himself. The way Stefon glanced at him told him that Stefon guessed he had also felt the revulsion. There were a lot of things to talk about.
"We've gotta go," Elic said. "Do you still have to talk to the police?"
"Just a few formalities," Stefon told him. They waded into the crowd.
The few formalities took a lot longer than Elic would have liked, but this wasn't New York or LA. Finally, on their way out, he knew he had to face the fact that Stefon wasn't happy and explanations were in order.
"Elic," he heard just outside the door. Kelly came up shyly and Elic introduced her to Stefon. He sensed that Stefon also felt something about the blonde girl and recognized the latent power in her.
"Daddy told me your card says you're a counselor at a drug rehab center."
"How'd you get a job like that so young?"
"Age isn't always a factor, Kelly," Stefon answered for him. "Elic is very good with the younger people we get in the Den in the larger cities. Many runaways are between eleven and fourteen and wary of adults. We always try to
have a few younger counselors for them."
"Buy, why did you come here?" she asked turning her complete attention to Stefon.
"I was asked to look over some problems here, and Elic has to travel with me."
"Oh." Kelly looked at Stefon more closely. These days Stefon at least looked like he could be the guardian for a sixteen year-old, which was what Elic looked. "Will I see you in the morning?" she asked, turning again to Elic.
"Of course. Here at the front steps?"
"Great! See you then."
Stefon and Elic went on.
"How are you going to get here?" Stefon asked as he led Elic to a borrowed car.
"I've got an even better question. Where is here?" Elic replied with a grin, "and can we move into the school area?"
Elic woke with a moan. He stirred and the textbook, with the cat sleeping on it, slid off his lap. The cat rose with a stretch.
What had that been about? Something about not being able to move. That could have been because of the fifteen pound cat on top of the textbook.
He stretched and glanced at the clock: 5 am. Well, he hadn't slept long, but even Stefon had agreed that any sleeping at all was a bad sign, and the dreaming was even worse. He hadn't done either since they realized that normal foods were generally bad for him.
"What do you think, guy?" he asked the disturbed cat as it settled down again. "Maybe that dream isn't mine? What do you think?"
He scratched the big ears, but his only answer was a toothy yawn.
"Oh, well," he said to himself. He picked up the textbook and started getting ready for school.
Elic jumped off the bus just before 7:30 and started for the front door. The cold morning peeze seemed to cut through his parka. He spotted Kelly coming around the building, and in a moment they met at the steps.
"When do I turn this is?" Elic asked, holding up the release form.
"We could do it now," Kelly replied. She seemed tired and subdued.
"Oh, nothing. I had a bad dream."
"Care to talk about it?"
"Think you can get me off the ledge, Mr. Counselor?"
"No, nothing like that, but sometimes dreams do carry hidden messages and talking about them can help."
"I don't know," she said doubtfully. Elic projected a slight aura of reassurance toward her. "All right," she said as her internal tension eased. "My mom disappeared a few years ago and I've had these dreams. I dream she's nearby, but is tied up and can't move."
Elic recognized the dream. It was the same dream he'd been having. Now he knew why the dreams didn't make sense to him. "Do you have this dream frequently?" he asked.
"Well, right after Mom disappeared I had it a lot, then occasionally I've had it, but for about the last week I've started having it every night."
That coincided with his arrival in town. Elic could feel his Finder's instincts tingling. Kelly hadn't called for Missing Inc., but he'd found her anyway.
"Think it means anything?" she asked at the office door.
"Not yet anyway," Elic replied, "but I'll work on it."
The morning passed with a mixture of speed and boredom. Everyone knew him from the action on the ledge the day before, but most of the teachers respected it when he told them he'd rather not talk about it. For the rest he fell back on a confidentiality plea.
He joined Kelly and her friends for lunch, recognizing more of them today. Other people crowded up to meet him, asking about his job and his getting Larry off the ledge. Elic kept changing the subject and never managed to have to talk about the subject he was trying to avoid, himself.
Sitting in English class Elic kept thinking about Kelly's dream. He needed to find an excuse to go to her house since that was where her dreams were centered. Then he realized he had one. He already knew he was going to have trouble with math; he would ask Kelly to help him and he should be able to get in the house.
Kelly was waiting after school, alone today. She was more cheerful this time.
"I hear you embarrassed Mrs. Wise in history," she said.
"I was sorry about that. I like history. I'm not going to do well in Math, though"
"Maybe I can help you with that. Math's a cinch to me."
"So, you want to meet me tonight?"
"Your house?" he asked, casually, he hoped.
"No way. Daddy doesn't think its a good idea if students come to the house. He's afraid of trouble with the school board. How about in the lipary."
"Where is it?" Elic asked her, "and can I get there on the bus?"
Kelly shrugged, "I suppose we can find out."
"Tell you what. I'll find out and give you a call. It may not be tonight, though."
"That's okay." Kelly scribbled her number on a piece of paper and handed it to him. "I'll be home in an hour. Usually I'd be later, but Daddy's got a board meeting tonight, so he won't be home till late. Oh, and please don't give anybody else this number. Daddy had it unlisted since he was getting nasty calls from students."
Elic nodded, "I'll give you a call." He was interrupted by his bus's arrival and ran off to the bus stop, turning to wave good-bye.
Stefon looked up as Elic came in the Lion's Den. "So, how was your second day at school?" he asked.
"Fine. I found out, maybe, what I went there looking for." Elic pulled the scrap of paper with Kelly's phone number on it out of his pocket. "I have to find the address that goes with this number."
Stefon, his attention fully on his 'ward', rose to his feet to fetch the blue book. "What's up?"
"Kelly's mother disappeared a few years ago and I think I know where she is."
"I don't see her address in here, did she say it was unlisted?"
"As a matter of fact she did. Why, does this mean finding her will be impossible?"
"It sure makes it more difficult."
"But I have to find it today. Her dad won't be home ill late and I'm sure her mom is somewhere in or near the house."
"So you think Hemphill killed her?" Stefon asked, looking over at Elic.
Elic nodded, "As sure as I can be without going over there."
"That explains the repulsion we felt around him."
"Sure does. Oh, and I need to borrow a car."
"No, let someone else drive you. I don't think you should leave the car if you have to come home some other way."
"OK sure fine."
"Let's get that address."
Elic knocked on the door.
"Elic!" Kelly exclaimed when she answered it. "Daddy doesn't--"
"I know, but I need to talk to you here, now." Elic interrupted. He quietly, but firmly, pushed his way in the door. He looked around.
"Why did you come here. Daddy isn't home yet," Kelly said, fright beginning to show in her eyes.
"I know. Listen carefully," Elic turned toward her, locking eyes with her. "I haven't been quite honest with you. Can you forgive me?"
"About what, Elic?" she asked, backing away surreptitiously.
"I never wanted to go to school. I went there looking for something, and that something turned out to be you."
"Me?" she repeated, near panic.
"I find things, Kelly... Have you ever heard of Missing, Inc.?"
"Didn't they find that murdered heiress and.. and a lost... you're that Elic!?"
Elic nodded. "I'm what's called a Finder."
"But I'm not missing," Kelly said, a little confused and no longer scared.
"No, but your mother is. I think I was looking for you 'cause you need to find her so much."
"I don't have any money."
"You never asked me to do this; you didn't hire me. So you don't have to pay me. But I'm still going to try to find her. If you'll let me."
"You're so sure. Nobody else has ever been able to do it, find her I mean."
"Well they weren't me. Do you have something of hers?"
"Like a picture?"
"Yes, and something she loved or used a lot."
Kelly darted up the stairs while Elic moved slowly into the living room. He shut his eyes and stretched his mind. He could feel Kelly's warmth, her father's chill that made him recoil despite the man's absence, and something else.
The remnant of an old terror. He opened his eyes and went and looked into the kitchen; the terror was stronger here.
Kelly came into the room with a crocheted mass of pight and pastel colors artfully mixed and quite beautiful and a silver frame turned toward her body.
She gave him the portrait and then, hesitantly, the soft hand-made afghan. "Mom made this and used to sit and read with it across her lap."
Elic sank his fingers into the this soft warmth of the afghan and a shiver ran through him.
"Are you cold Elic?" Kelly asked.
"No." He studied the thin features of the woman in the frame. "How old is this picture?"
"It was taken a few months before Mom disappeared," Kelly told him.
Elic nodded. Kelly resembled her mother, but there was a thinness to the woman that caused Elic to suspect she had been abused by her husband. Elic decided not to ask Kelly about that. The fear of the woman in the picture was deeply hidden, but present, in the teen's eyes.
"I bet your mom was a great cook. There is love in this room."
"She was. We used to come in here before Daddy came home and we'd talk and make cookies or cakes or just fix supper."
Elic opened the afghan and wrapped it around his shoulders.
"You are cold, aren't you?"
"No, Kelly, I'm trying to feel where your mother is. The best way is to have something of the person's and hold it close. Please be quiet a moment while I work." Elic closed his eyes in the silence.
Kelly stepped back and looked at the strange figure in the middle of the kitchen. Wrapped in her mother's afghan, Elic stood still, pale head thrown back, eyes shut. For the first time she noticed something about him. No longer did he seem to be a teen on the verge of a growing spurt. His face had aged before her until sixteen seemed too young an age, rather than too old. There was an air of confidence about him that Kelly seldom saw in adults, and never in her peers. No longer was this the boy she'd offered to help with Math. She wondered who this stranger was.
Suddenly his eyes shot open and before she had a chance to even register the cats-eye appearance of the pupils, her eyes were drawn to what he was staring at. The cellar door.
"What's in there?"
"The cellar? I don't know, Daddy keeps it locked."
"Do you know why?"
"Do you know where the key is?"
"Maybe." Kelly looked in the cupboards and finally found it on a hook in the pantry. She unlocked the door. "There's a light switch," she said, and after a moment of groping, found it. A single bare bulb hung hung from a short cord in the middle of the large musty-smelling room. The cellar was empty but for some boxes in various places around the room and an old freezer in one corner.
Elic led her down the stairs.
"I never understood why Daddy kept it locked. I never liked to come down here anyway."
"Let's look around a bit," Elic suggested. Kelly went over to look at some boxes and Elic headed directly for the old deep freezer. After a minute of trying to find out why the top wouldn't open he saw that the lock had been engaged. "There's a lock on this; do you have a hammer somewhere?"
Kelly shrugged, but ran up the stairs to find one.
"What are you going to do?" she asked when she returned to cellar.
"I'm going to take a look in this freezer," Elic replied.
"Kelly," Elic said, turning to face her. Again Kelly was struck by the maturity and confidence in his face, "I'm going to look in here."
Kelly handed him the hammer and stepped back.
Elic took the lock off with two blows and lifted the lid. Upon seeing what was inside the freezer he stood frozen till Kelly moved forward to look, then he slammed it shut.
"What's in there?" she asked.
"Go call the police," he told her in a strained voice.
"What is it, what did you find?" she stepped closer. She noticed Elic was pale.
"Please Kelly, go call the police."
"All right," she said and started for the stairs.
They heard a far off door slam and then her father called, "Kelly!"
"Daddy, she whispered, suddenly alarmed that he would catch her in the cellar with Elic.
Elic caught her arm and pulled her back.
"Shhh!" he hissed in warning. Quietly he pushed her back until she was hidden behind the freezer.
When your dad is all the way down and away from the stairs, run up and lock the door. Then call the police."
"Kelly!" she heard her father call again, closer. "Are you down there honey?"
Elic slipped away, staying out of line of sight of the door at the top of the stairs.
"Kelly?" they heard again, followed by the creak of the stairs.
Elic made his move, ducking from the shadows into the dim light of the solitary bulb.
Well, what are you doing here, son?" Hemphill asked, coming the rest of the way down the stairs.
"I asked Kelly to help me with my homework," Elic replied, backing up one step for every two Hemphill took.
"I've told Kelly I don't like her to ping friends home; I don't want trouble with the school board." Hemphill reached the bottom step.
"Kelly told me," Elic said and bowed his head, but only for a moment; he didn't want to let Hemphill out of his sight. "I came over here, she didn't ask me to come."
"And where is my daughter?" Hemphill asked. He was now two yards from the stairs and three from where Elic stood.
Elic watched as the girl slipped silently from behind the freezer and made her way to the stairway. There she hesitated, looking back at her friend, her father and the freezer.
"She said she was going to make a phone call," Elic replied, to encourage her to get a move-on.
Kelly turned and ran up the stairs. Hemphill went after her, but she slammed and locked the door in his face.
Hemphill turned, flushed with rage, to Elic in the cellar below.
"She may think she's safe, but she locked you down here, too," he snarled and started down the stairs again.
Elic had advanced till he was standing directly below the dangling bulb. It hung just above his head. "Going to put me on ice, too, sir?" Elic asked. "First you've got to find me!" Elic crouched slightly and leaped straight up and slapped the bulb. It swung and shattered on the ceiling, plunging the cellar into darkness.
When the police arrived, an hysterical Kelly met them at the door in tears. She told them how Elic hadn't let her look in the freezer and about how she had locked him in the cellar with her father, who had been acting very strangely. She told them how she had heard her father shouting for a little bit after that, but that it had been a while since she'd heard anything from the cellar.
When the police opened the cellar, Hemphill came out quietly. Two officers went down with flashlights and, while one looked over the cellar, the other looked in the freezer.
"Oh, my... look," the latter said, calling to his partner.
Both men went up the stairs pale. One immediately started reading Hemphill his rights, and the other radioed homicide.
The phone rang.
One of the officers answered it. "Kelly?" she askedc the girl.
Trembling, Kelly took the phone.
"Kelly," she heard the light, distinctive tone of Elic's voice.
"Elic! Oh! You're all right!"
"I'm fine," Elic replied. "I wanted you know I was. I know this is a shock, and I won't keep you on the phone. Don't worry about me, I'll talk to you later."
Before Kelly could reply, Elic had hung up.
The police took Kelly to the police station where the social worker, a Ms. Holt, started calling to find a place for her to stay. Then she received a call.
"Kelly, do you know Elic Behexan?" she asked.
"Yes, he goes to school with me."
"That was his guardian on the phone. Apparently they're with the Lion's Den, a licensed emergency home. He's offering to take you in tonight until we can arrange for you to go to your grandmother's. Would you like to go there?"
Kelly thought about it for a moment. She wanted to see Elic, talk to him about what had happened that evening. "Oh, yes. I'd like that very much," she replied.
Before the hour was up she was in the car with Stefon and Elic. "You don't need to go back to that house tonight," Elic told her. "We have everything you need at the Den." He pulled her close and wrapped his arms around her. Let's go," he said to Stefon.
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