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Kyane returned home at 4:35 every day. Most days when she came home were quiet. She would come home, go to her room, maybe do homework, but would probably procrastinate in every way to avoid doing it. Her parents would get home around 6. She would begrudgingly go down to eat whatever “authentic” meal her mother would make, then go to bed. The only change to this was Friday nights. On Friday she would sit downstairs with her parents and watch whatever movie they picked out from the millions scrolled by on Netflix, and eat a large pepperoni, and half ham pizza. The half ham was for her dad. He needed his pork to complete the meal. Kyane only really enjoyed this meal because she enjoyed pizza. The greasy meat, gooey cheese, and warm aroma filled her memories with happier times that she could not place anywhere in her memory. But those times were there.
Today was different. Kyane screeched to a halt when she saw a large black van parked in her driveway. It had government-issued plates, with a logo of SkyRise Industries, the lab her parents work, in large blue letters on both sides. The back of the van was open. Her dad carried out a large black briefcase with the initials D13 in silver on the top. “Damn,” Kyane said under her breath.
Her dad turned to see her. “Good, your home.” He motioned to the back of the van. She saw stacks of cardboard boxes. Some of the boxes had electronics, rolls of blueprints sticking out. “Help unload this. Make sure it goes into the living room.” Her dad walked up the driveway.
“Does this mean you forgot about this morning,” she said to herself.
“Nope. You still have stuff to answer for. You’re also majorly grounded.”
Kyane’s eyes widened, shocked her dad even heard her. She leaned forward, placing her forearms on the handlebars, and sighed. She sat up and peddled her bike into the garage. She heaved two cardboard boxes onto a hand-truck and rolled them into the living room, unpacking them with the rest of the boxes. She wiped sweat from her forehead and aired out her shirt. “Kyane, come in here,” her mom said.
Kyane entered the kitchen. Damon and Hinotomi sat on opposite sides of the table with a single chair in between them, and the rock. That damn rock from this morning was on a paper towel in front of the middle chair. “Take a seat,” Damon said. He pointed to the empty chair.
Kyane pulled the chair out and sat down. She leaned back. “So, what is with all the boxes?” She stretched her arms out. “They really gave me a workout.”
“Do you know where this rock came from?” Damon asked. He tapped the rock.
“A yard I guess,” Kyane said. “But what does this have to do with the fact you’re basically unloading a whole off-site lab into our house?”
“Stop deflecting, Kyane!” Damon said.
Kyane sighed. “Okay. So, why is there a rock from a yard on the table?”
“Kyane, please stop,” Hinotomi said. Her voice was even-toned “We are trying to help you. But you must be honest with us.”
“I don’t need help,” Kyane said in her best faux-confused voice she could create.
“You sure?” Damon asked. He pushed himself up. The chair tumbled to the ground. He marched over to Kyane and grabbed the rock. “Why was this rock thrown into our neighbor’s house?”
Kyane examined the rock, looked up at her father, then back down at the rock. She tried to hide her fear, glee, and sadness behind a cold glare. It didn’t work. “They’re old sticks in the behinds! They think a squirrel gave them mail one time.”
“So, you’re lying to me. Fine.” Damon placed the rock back onto the napkin. “You’re not going anywhere out of this house, except school. You’ll also lose every bit of fun around this house.”
Kyane felt her blood rush to her feet, and the room began to spin. “What? Why? Plus, I have to go out tonight. Mr. Ayer is giving me extra credit for an assignment to boost my grade up. I have to do that.”
“No,” Damon said. He walked back over to the chair, reset it, and sat down.
Kyane jerked toward her mother. “Mom, please, come on. I need this.”
Hinotomi placed her thumb and index finger to chin and closed her eyes. “Fine. You can go as long as you come up with the $1,500 to fix what you broke of theirs.”
“What!?” Kyane said. She jumped up. “That’s total bull-“
“Language!” Damon yelled. “That is more than fair. You can sell some of the stuff you have in your room you don’t use. I think those pony toys you used to play with are really hot right now.”
“I’m not selling my ponies!” Kyane yelled. Her face boiled. She whipped around. “Screw it, I’m going to my room.” She marched away from the table.
Damon laid his face into his hands and let out a long sigh. Hinotomi stood up and walked over to her husband. Damon sat up. “I… I just…” He trailed off.
Hinotomi wrapped her arms around him in a hug. “It will be okay. Every child goes through this.”
“I just didn’t think this would be so bad.” Damon closed his eyes and saw his little girl dressed as a pink Power Ranger during Halloween. She screamed and cried when a puppet skeleton jumped up from its plastic headstone when they passed by to trick-or-treat.
“She’ll get back there. We must just give her time and guidance.”
Kyane passed by the towers of cardboard boxes in the living room on the way to her room. An idea crossed her mind when she looked over and saw the boxes full of unused lab equipment, and outdated computer parts. Her parents wanted her to sell her stuff, even though she did nothing wrong. It was her parents’ fault they moved next to such stuck-up old douchebags. They should pay for the damage they really caused. Her heart raced. She looked at the kitchen, checking to see if her mom or dad was coming.
She began opening the boxes. She knew it was outdated computers, and unused lab equipment by the dust, and yellow wear. She had to fan her face to get rid of the dust. She felt a tickle in her nose. A sneeze would give her up faster than anything else. She buried her face in her elbow and let out an ah choo! She flipped her head up and moved her hair out of her face. The hair passed by her peripheral vision and she saw it. She saw the black briefcase with shiny silver letters on top. The sleek, modern, and clean box looked much newer than anything else in the room, maybe even their house. Whatever was in it had to be worth some money.
She walked over to the briefcase. It sat alone on the couch seat. She grabbed the handle and picked it up. Her arm felt like it was about to give out from the weight. It was easily forty, forty-five pounds. She placed it back onto the couch. She flicked the locks open. The lid opened with a mechanical lift. She looked inside. There were two pieces of technology snug into black foam inside. The main piece in the center was a black, metal belt with a blue circle in the middle. Above the belt sat two matching watches. They were made of the same black metal, and both had blue watch-faces. The metal alone could be smelted for major cash.
Kyane closed the lid. She attempted to pick it up again. She walked two steps. Her arms began to wobble. She couldn’t do it. There was no way she could carry the case into the city. She placed the briefcase back onto the couch. She heard steps and chatter coming from the kitchen. Kyane came up with a quick plan. She opened the lid again. She quickly snatched the belt and two watches. The black foam lifted to reveal an unnaturally tan book. A tan that came from decades of work. She saw the name, Alphonse. She snapped the watches onto her wrists, a watch per wrist. She heard her parents’ voices coming closer. She buckled the belt across the waistband of her leggings. She stuffed the foam back into the briefcase, then sprinted up the steps and into her room. She could feel her heart beating in her throat.
Kyane sat on her bed, laid back, and tried to calm herself. She had to wait until 7 before she could sneak out. Dinner was before that, so she had to hide the watches and belt. She sat up and examined her room. The clothing, and dirty sheets were strewn around the room gave her ample area to hide the stuff. She undid the watches and hid them in two stacks of clothing. She then undid the belt and hung it among the curtain of belts she owned. She looked out of her window and saw the large tree she used for multiple earlier escapes. Her dad never got around to cutting the tree down, but constantly threatened too. She sat back on her bed, reached for her laptop and began surfing the web, and began blaring Icon for Hire from her small laptop speakers.
Damon knocked on the door at 5:45. “Kyane, I’m coming in.” He opened the door.
Kyane tapped the spacebar on her laptop, pausing her music. “What do you want?”
Damon walked over to her bed and sat down next to her. “I’m sorry for blowing up at you downstairs. But lying isn’t helping your case.” Kyane’s face did not change. “Come downstairs. Eat, and we can continue to talk about it.”
“Do I have to sell my ponies?” Kyane asked. She looked at her overflowing closet. Beneath the dresses, shoes, pants, and shirts sat a pink box full of her toys she played with when she was younger.
He laughed. “Only if you lie to me?” Damon said.
“Lying about what?” Kyane asked back. “I did nothing wrong.”
The red came back to Damon’s face. “Hell, yes you are!” He grabbed the laptop, closed it, and stood up. “Get your ass down to dinner. We’ll see if you get this back!” He waved the laptop in her face. “Keep lying and see if that helps!” He stomped out of the room.
Kyane sat silent during dinner. She ate her food and stared into an imaginary hole in the wall. Her eyes never moved from that location. After dinner her parents made her wash the dishes as a punishment. Afterward, she told her parents she would go fix her bike’s pedal chain. She said something about it clicking every time she peddled. She just set her bike outside of the garage, behind some shrubbery. She dusted herself off, trying to remove any spare leaves so her parents couldn’t put together her plan. Once she finished, she marched up to her room and prepared for her escape.