Oriana arrived at the doorstep of a house just a couple of blocks from her father’s factory. She ran up to the door huffing and wheezing from the exertion. She rapped the large wooden door soundly until she heard the sound of the door’s bolt sliding. In the doorway a red haired young woman with bright blue eyes and big teeth popped into view.
“Ahna!” she cried, “What are you doing here? Have you lost your phone? I didn’t get a text from you to say you were coming over.”
Oriana shook her head as she was fighting to get the breath to speak.
“Golly, Ahna, did you run here?”
Oriana nodded exasperatedly. This was her best friend Kelly whom she shared all her adventures with. They’d been friends since primary school and considered each other’s home to be their own. Kelly was the athletic adventurous one while Oriana had been the brainy nerdy one.
“Remember that guy Kent I was telling you about in my email yesterday?”
“Today two men came to my dad’s factory pretending to be cops looking for him.”
“Woah!” exclaimed Kelly, “I knew there was more to that guy!”
“Yeah, and I can’t figure out how they knew about him, unless they could read my email or my messages to you.”
“That’s crazy, because I’ve only told my mother about this. Where are these guys?”
“They’re at the old brick kiln behind the park. I told them that Kent was living in the ruins.”
“Why did you do that? If they find he isn’t there they’ll know you lied and they might be angry with you.”
“I just wanted to buy Kent some time to escape, and that’s where you come in.”
Kelly looked at Oriana with a twinkle in her eye, “what are you planning girl?”
“I bet they have me under surveillance so I daren’t risk going to Kent’s place myself. Instead I am going to go to Paul’s place now and go to the brick kiln with him. See if we can find out more about these guys or slow them down. When I leave here, you slip out the back of your place and head to Cutter’s court and warn Kent for me. They won’t follow you.”
“You want me to climb down a drain to warn a strange guy that I’ve never met that some other guys I don’t know, who are pretending to be policemen, are after him?”
“Yes, and tell him they’re after him because they think he’s from a cult.”
Kelly laughed, “Of course! You know me too well Oriana; anything for an adventure. I will leave right away and you’d better go and fetch Paul.”
With that she closed the door and Oriana ran back down the driveway onto the street.
Kelly was fit and no stranger to rock-climbing and hiking. Oriana had told her about Kent and where he lived in detail the day before, even though Kent had strictly told her not to tell anyone. In Oriana’s mind, there was nothing she kept secret from Kelly, and Kelly wasn’t going to tell anyone the details either. Kelly had wanted to go and meet him though, but didn’t have enough motivation until now to do it. If there was one thing Kelly craved it was doing something different, and while she had been caving, caving in a drain was something she had never done before.
She vaulted over her back fence and dropped into the small laneway behind and started jogging to Cutter’s Court. Being much fitter than Oriana she was there in only a few minutes. She walked underneath the willow tree like Oriana had described and appreciated just how secluded it actually was behind the foliage. She saw the drain and quickly slipped through the gap skilfully like a cat. Once down she pulled out a torch and proceeded up the tunnel. She called out Kent’s name as she went. As she disappeared into the darkness, she smiled broadly. Adventure was Kelly’s weakness.
Paul answered the door almost immediately when Oriana arrived on his doorstep.
“I saw you coming up the drive, Ori, what’s up?”
Oriana hadn’t told Paul about Kent so she had to take her time to explain about him and the two men who had come to the factory pretending to be cops. Paul listened with great interest.
“Get into my car; we’ll keep talking while we drive to the Kiln.”
A few minutes later the pair arrived in the park and Oriana pointed out the car that belonged to the two men who had come to the factory. Paul made a note of their registration plates.
“Those plates come from interstate,” he noted, “they must have driven a long way to get here. Maybe they aren’t cops, but they might still work for the government.”
“Why would the government be interested in a religious cult?”
Paul shrugged, “All kinds of reasons. You never know what these sorts of crazy people are up to.”
“What would they have to do with someone like Kent though? He seems harmless enough.”
“Everyone seems harmless enough until you disagree with them. That’s the real test, disagree with someone and see if they’re still nice to you. If they get mean then they’re probably not good people. Why are you so sure that this guy Kent is not a crazy?”
“I don’t know. I just have a feeling, sorry, I know that’s not much to go on. Maybe he is nuts, but I would like to know for certain before I set a pair of lying government agents on him.”
The pair slipped through the perimeter fence of the brick kiln and crept up to the main building. There was a broad entrance with high double doors and a set of tram tracks on the ground. Oriana moved forward first to peek inside. Sure enough she could see the two men in suits down at the other end wandering about. She pulled her head back out quickly so as not to risk being noticed.
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