Trials: Part Twenty Three

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Jude paced around their living room. Broken glass by the windows, furniture askew, even their kitchen had been dug through. He contemplated his position. He knew they had microphones bugging the house, but wasn’t sure if they had cameras. He wasn’t even sure how small they could make cameras these days, so he couldn’t really trust it if he didn’t find any. They could go over to the neighbors, but Jude wanted to work some things out with Arte before they did that. She was basically an official member of ‘Team Dayspring’, and Jude needed someone to bounce ideas off of.

Jude felt Arte tap his shoulder. She was handing him an open notebook, face down, with a pen. Jude carefully looked at it, wary of cameras.

The house is bugged, so we should pass notes if we want to say anything we don’t want them to hear.

Jude held the notebook to his chest and nodded.

The girl next door is a super. I think she can help us.

“Well, I don’t intend to sleep in an open air house, quite honestly.” Jude said, as he passed Arte the notebook.

She read the note before replying and shutting it. “Yeah, I guess we should go see one of the neighbors, and ask if they have a spare bed. Wanna try the Rodriguez house?”

“Yeah, that sounds like a good choice.” Jude nodded. “Lets pack an overnight bag and head over there. Deven, make sure to pack your bedroll.”

Deven nodded. He had to sleep on a pad, since he’d ruin any normal mattress.

Jude went to pack a change of clothes, toiletries, and a couple of notebooks. He looked over at his clock, it was 10 PM. He wasn’t too worried about any robbers, since they’d be next door, and Daniels definitely had the place bugged. He probably had trackers on anything valuable too.

Jude went back downstairs to see Arte sitting on the floor next to Deven. She looked up from her phone. “Hey, don’t know if you saw this, but they saw Psyche in downtown Atlanta this morning. They’re saying she attacked the aquarium.”

Jude shook his head. This wasn’t right, if Vanessa was back she definitely would’ve contacted him, or at least her dad. More importantly, she most likely wouldn’t be doing terrorist things. He pulled out his phone, and dialed up Mr. Smith.

He waited for a moment and a groggy Mr. Smith answered the phone. “David Smith, who’s this?”

“Hey, Mr. Smith, it’s Jude. I was wondering if you had seen Vanessa in the past couple of days?”

“Is this about the aquarium? No, I haven’t seen her, and whoever that was is not my daughter.” He sighed. “If you look into this, let me know if I can help.”

“Alright. Our house has a bug problem and they’re gonna work on it tomorrow, so right now we’re staying with the neighbors. I’m sure the agency will have this Vanessa thing handled though.”

“Bug problem, I gotcha. Be sure to let the agency know that they have my full support in clearing my daughter’s name. Good night.”

“Good night.” Jude hung up the phone and sighed. “Well, I’m sure the agency has that covered.” He forced a smile and turned to Arte and Deven. “You ready?”

“Yup, sure thing.” She got to her feet and picked up her bag. Deven nodded and followed suit.

Jude led the way over to the neighbors. As they approached the door, Arte leaned over to Jude and whispered, “Turn your phone off when we get in.”

Jude nodded, and rang the doorbell. He really did feel bad about potentially waking up Mr. Rodriguez, but on the other hand this was certainly an atypical circumstance, so he felt like it was warranted. He waited for a moment, and Zoey answered the door.

“Hey are you guys alright? I heard a lot of crashing, and there was a flash of light. What happened?”

“Well it’s a long story that I’d love to tell you about later, but is your dad home?” Jude forced a smile. He really hated relying on the help of others, but he figured it was necessary right now.

“Nope, he’s at work. You can come in, though.” She opened the door all the way and gestured them inside.

“Thank you, could you maybe call your dad too? Just so he knows we’re here, and to see if he’s alright with it.”

Zoey leaned out the door, and looked over at their house. “Looking at the state of your house, I’m pretty sure my dad would kill me if I didn’t invite you in, so don’t worry too much about it. I’ll call him though.”

“Thank you.” Jude followed Zoey into the den, with Arte and Deven in tow.

“Alright, I’ll call him. You sit tight.” Zoey went off into the other room.

The furniture definitely seemed old and worn, but the place was definitely clean. Jude saw Deven move to take a seat on the couch.

“Oh, hey Deven. Why don’t we sit on the floor. We don’t wanna risk breaking these people’s couch.” Jude gestured to a spot on the rug, and sat down next to him.

Arte sat down next to Jude, and whispered, “Do you think her house is bugged?”

“I think we just have to hope it isn’t. Because we could probably be watched just about anywhere we request permission to go to. So if this place is bugged, I think we probably just can’t escape it.” He reached into his pocket and turned off his cell phone.

Jude heard footsteps, turned around, and saw Zoey had come back into the room. “Just like I thought, my dad said you could stay as long as you need. He’s leaving work right now. We don’t really have a spare bed, but my dad said you could sleep in mine and his.”

“Oh, no, please. We don’t wanna inconvenience you that much.” Arte replied.

“It’s up to you.” Zoey shrugged and took a seat on the couch. “At least one of you should sleep in a bed, though. My dad and I can share. It’s no biggie.”

Jude nudged Arte. “All yours. I’ll sleep on the floor with Deven.”

“So, since you’re here, do you have any cool superhero stories?” Zoey grinned like a middle schooler who had just met her favorite boy band.

Jude laughed. It had been a while since he’d talked with a fan, and he was imposing on them anyways, so indulging her with a story would be the least he could do. “Well, there was this one time…”



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