Lydia knows who he is. Lydia knows the secret. So why should anyone be curious to know who he is.


1. Running

My heart was beating in my ears relentlessly. Sweat was trailing from my hairline down to my chin. My legs were numb. I didn't even know if I was running anymore; it felt like a dream. The rain was only light, falling like glitter in the distance. I screamed with exhaustion. There was a thumping of sneakers behind me and I knew that if I stopped running, I would be killed. They would kill me. In the distance, a granny flat appeared. I looked behind me, at the darkly dressed chasers. I dived into the flowerbed, keeping low, waiting for one of them to pounce on me and embed a knife into my spine. But it never happened. I comando crawled to the window, and slid up the wall, rubbing loose cinders along my back from the brick wall. The window was open but the lights were off. I kept an ear out for my attackers but I figured they'd continued down the street instead. Then, my blood ran cold as the high-pitched scream of a girl sounded and echoed in my ear drums.
"Stop!" came the shrill for the girl. "Go awa - aaaaaahhhhh!"
"We got her!" came the voice of one of my pursuers.
"Well did you kill her? Are you sure?"
There came the whoosh of a blade and a rip.
"Looord!" came the girls voice again.
"Where's the book? Find the book."
"Oh my god, Rental, the book with Lord Rental's secret in it. It has The Secret."
"Oh, I thought we were looking for - "
"Shhh! Do you want people to hear you? We're in Las Vegas, this place is packed with criminals like sardines in a can."
"Check her pulse. Is she dead?"
"No! The book. Where's the book?"
"Did we get the right girl?"
"Oh my god, this isn't Lydia Marshell. She tricked us. Hide the body and find her."


I treaded carefully around the houses exterior until finally leaping in through an open window. I could hear the cussing and cursing from my attackers but they were far away.
The room smelt like soap. A tap was running. I realised my feet were wet. Ew.
I found a light switch and tried it. Dead. Fantastic.
I felt around and pulled a facewasher out of the drain, screwing the tap off. This house had been robbed. There was glass scattered like bird seed on the kitchen tiles. The place was silent. A cupboard had fallen onto the sofa in the living room and pages had been ripped from  books and thrown about the carpet. There was one light that worked, I discovered. The floodlight in the back. I stood out the back, my lungs quavering from running. My legs were Jell-O. I would hide here until morning. Even if the owner came back to find their house a mess, at least they wouldn't be so heartless as to turn me in. Come. On. People aren't just like that. Although I assumed whoever lived here hadn't lived here for years. The place was a pig sty. Even if the house had been robbed, it had been robbed thirty odd years ago, at least. But the tap was on. Water won't flow from a tap for thirty years on end. Can it? Well no. Obviously no idiot would even believe that. The owner was here. I knew it. Humans can sense other human presence. And I was feeling a weak presence but a human one. Not some dog, or a canary fighting in it's cage.

I searched. "Hello? Excuse me? Don't be afraid? I'm not here to harm you."
Suddenly something came across my back like a horse whip. I staggered forward gasping from the blow. It was one of those spahgetti pots. An old man. Wrinkly- faced, double-chinned and very unappealing. The man had no strenght. Although the pot was a cold, hard one he didn't do me much harm.
"Leave! Leave me alone! Leave me alone right now! I hate teenagers! I hate you! Go away!"
"I'm not dangerous!" I reassured the frightened, wrinkly man. "I can help you."
"You can't help me! You can't help me!" The man swung the spahgetti pot with tired, wrinkly arms. "No one can help me."
"Shh. I need to stay. And yes I can help you. I will help you. What is your name?"
"Richard Smith." The man seemed unsure about his own name as if he was making one up.
Somehow I recognised this man's voice more than I recognised him in the floodlight glaring from the back porch.
"I know you. I know you!"
The man raised the pot. Then dropped it with exhaustion.
"No you don't."
"I do. You're - you're Malcolm Rental! Son of Lord Rental. It's me! Lydia Marshell."
The man stumbled over a lopsided stool but kept his balance.
"A Marshell?" His words were slippery. If thats the word. "I haven't met a Marshell since 1950."
I was satisfied. Maybe Malcolm could relax. Finally.
"Are you going to settle now? Can I stay?"
"Lydia was it?"
I nodded.
"I've missed you."


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