Gen 1 Ch 17: Future Goals (Gen 1 Finale)

Irene’s POV

Even though our parents were trying to act like everything was normal at home, it wasn’t really possible. I mean, hello, we got robbed and the cops were acting like nothing could be done. Ugh, why even come to the scene of the crime if you were useless?

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“Still fuming?” Gerald’s voice pulled me out of my seething thoughts.

“I just don’t understand, Ger. I mean, yeah, whoever was at our house didn’t leave much evidence, but if they were crazy enough to mess up our entire garden and drug our dogs, they are clearly not stable enough to be walking free. Am I right or am I right?”

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“You are right, sis. Absolutely. But, honestly, there isn’t much the cops can do with so little evidence at the spot,” my brother smiled. “And it’s not like Dad can tell them ‘Oh yeah, the CEO of a major pharmaceutical company is totally involved with this because I had priceless research and the cure for cancer growing in my backyard and he stole it’ without looking like a loon. And considering how high up this Collier guy is, it would take serious evidence to make such allegations against him.”

“So, you think it’s him too, right?” I was happy to know my much more reasonable brother and I shared this opinion.

“Of course, without direct evidence, it is only a suspicion. However, with the research I’ve been doing at the library, it seems we have solid reasons to suspect Lionel Collier of wrongdoing. Actually, let’s go to the library, I’ll show you,” he suggested.

“Good thinking, it’s freezing out here,” I agreed.

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At the library, Gerald called me over to the computer “Now, just one thing, alright? Our folks don’t know I’ve been doing this. They think I’ve just been applying to newspaper internships and writing. Well, technically it’s not all a lie—this is pretty much what I expect to be doing for work after I graduate.”

“So, you’re all set on investigative journalism?” I asked “I thought you were going into sports reporting.”

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“That was the original idea, when I was younger. It still is a back-up plan. But all this happening made me realize that I like solving a good mystery and informing the people of its outcome. So, here’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been scouring numerous message boards for information on this company and on the Colliers. It isn’t plainly stated, but still obvious that Collier Enterprises has had some shady dealings. You just have to read between the lines. And know how to talk to information sources,” Gerald explained.

“How exactly how do you talk to these sources?” I was curious. The message just looked like a bunch of anonymous users to me. Could any of these people actually know what they were talking about?

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“Well, some of these, for sure, are total nut jobs, the ones who believe that everything is literally a huge conspiracy and that we all should wear our tinfoil hats when the aliens come,” my brother laughed. “But when you search the patterns, you see that some of the posters are pretty knowledgeable. For example these three are almost certifiably long-time hackers.” He sounded so sure of this it was kind of creepy.

“Isn’t this thing you’re doing kind of dangerous? I mean, these people could be internet predators or something,” I worried.

He laughed “You sound like Katy, with her fear of all electronic devices. Chill, sis. It’s not like I’m meeting any of them in person. We just chat and exchange what we know. And from what information I’ve seen so far, our Dad is not the only one who has been left without any proof of the shady dealings. I guess you don’t rise to the top without crossing a few people.”

“So much for hard work and honesty, huh?” The posts on the message board talked about several well-known medications. Apparently, Lionel Collier and his company were responsible for stealing several big ideas but their creators never came forward with any complaints. Of course, it didn’t happen often. Most of the pharmaceutical research was legit and where it wasn’t, it seemed Collier covered his tracks well.

“I doubt he is the only one in the world doing that,” Gerald shrugged. “That’s what folks like me are for. We expose what’s happening.”

“Just promise me you’ll be careful, Ger, please.” I hoped my brother wasn’t biting off more than he could chew. But at the same time, I wanted the people responsible for my family’s misfortune to be punished and brought to justice. Perhaps Gerald would find what the evidence, after all?

My phone beeped—it was a text from Micah, asking if I wanted to hang out. I kind of wanted to stay with Gerald, but he was now done with the message boards, moving to working on his actual assignments. “I’m going to go now, alright? Take care.”

“Same, sis. I have to finish this essay for tomorrow or bust.”

Micah was waiting for me back near the diner. “Come help me make this snowman,” he called.

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If there was anything good about winter, it was the fun stuff that could be done with snow. You’d freeze your arms and legs off, but those snowman and snow angels would look fantastic.

“That is one hot-looking snowman,” jokes Micah.

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“Oh, yeah. It could totally land a modelling gig, just look at those curves,” I laughed. Laughing was good, it took my mind of the bad stuff and I felt less angry.

“Ha! Let’s make it look wicked then,” he put the finishing touches on the snowman, giving it horns and a mean-looking mustache. “Oh well, it’s not a girl. Still looks good.”

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I rubbed my hands together. I did not dress warmly enough today and I was feeling it.

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“Hey let me warm you up,” Micah pulled me into a hug. I loved it when we were so close. It was strange really—I used to think I didn’t need any romantic partners in life, but then when Micah came along, I found out how much I craved all these things, like kissing and hugging and just being close…

“Thanks, I should have dressed better for the weather. Maybe we should go inside or something?” I suggested.

“Wanna come over to my place?” he offered.

I’ve never been to Micah’s house and all I knew was that he lived with his dad. I wouldn’t mind seeing the place. “Sure, let’s go.”

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It turned out Micah had the house all to himself since his dad was staying over with his new girlfriend. I wondered briefly if Micah invited me over with that fact in mind. As it turned out, I didn’t mind this train of thought at all.

“So, you’ve got a cozy place here. I kind of expected it to be more like a bachelor pad, I admit.” I looked around the house, with its cabin-like look and feel. “It’s nice.”

“Thanks. I like it here too. Our house in Bridgeport was a bit average. Dad did a good job finding this place though. It’s very comfortable.” He looked around, suddenly awkward. I guess he realized too that we had the house all to ourselves.

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“So, is this the part where you make a move on me?” I asked, half-jokingly. “Isn’t that what you were hinting at a while ago?”

“I’m not sure, actually. I didn’t really expect us to have a chance to, you know…” he laughed and drifted off.

“Wow, real smooth,” I smiled.

“Well, I thought you didn’t want to sleep together,” he admitted “And I’m all cool with waiting until we’re both ready.”

“That’s pretty sweet of you. I never said I wasn’t ready though,” I smiled in a way that I hoped was seductive. In all honesty, I was kind of curious to move things forward.

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“Oh…” he looked at me, somewhat falteringly, but then his more characteristic smile came back “Oh!”

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We didn’t waste much time afterwards. Micah pulled me into an embrace and we didn’t pull apart for what seemed like hours. On the way to the bedroom, he made sure to bring protection, something both of us were agreed on.

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We both wanted it. We were both into it. That didn’t make it any less awkward. Obviously, this was a first time for both of us. And while losing my virginity didn’t hurt as much as they said it did, I kept expecting Micah’s dad to walk back into the house at any moment. Even though I knew he was certainly gone for the night.

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“I didn’t hurt you, did I? Was everything alright?” Micah worriedly asked later on. For all his flirty ways and acting like he knew his way around women like a pro, he really didn’t!

“It was fine, relax. And no, you didn’t hurt me,” I smiled.

“It was my first time,” he admitted.

“Yeah, I know. Why else would you be so worried?

“I don’t want to mess this up. So… hungry? It’s almost time for dinner anyway, I could cook something,” he offered.

“Oh, crap!” I jumped up, scrambling for my jeans and jacket “I lost track of time. My parents don’t know I’m here! I should run before they realize they should be worried.”

“Alright then, take care sweetheart,” he gave me a kiss and I was on the way home.

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At home, I made sure not to act too strange. I was pretty sure that for all their acceptance of my relationship, my parents would not have been too happy to hear that I was having sex with Micah at this point. Although, I did get a few strange looks from Mom, who no doubt noticed I was nervous about something.

After our parents have gone to bed, Gerald and I ended up watching the late night football game rerun on one of the channels.

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“So…” my brother ventured “You two totally hooked up, haven’t you?”

“What?!” I nearly shouted, remembering to bring my voice down, “Ok, how did you know?”

“Come on, Irene. I’m your brother, I know you pretty well by now. You’ve been sitting on needles all evening, as if afraid that Mom and Dad will realize something. What else would be that worried about?” he laughed.

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“So, you’re not going to tell?” I implored Gerald.

He smiled “Why would I tell? After all, I’m sure you’d know if Katy and I did it and I doubt you’d tell.”

“Thanks, bro.” A weight fell of my shoulders.

“But he better treat you like a queen, or he’s a goner,” he solemnly promised.

“Oh, don’t worry about that. If he does something wrong by me, I’ll let him know exactly why that’s an awful idea,” I assured him.

“Ah, that’s my sister.”

Simon’s POV

Since winter kicked in, the garden was for the time being forgotten. Which was alright with me. We had enough money put away not to worry about expenses and Celeste and I were finally getting some quality time together.

The kids were upset about the theft. I could understand them—when you were young, your house felt like a safe haven and the thieves destroyed that illusion. I only hoped they wouldn’t worry for too long. Celeste and I have already installed a burglar alarm system, in case the thieves came back, although, of course, neither of us thought it would happen again.

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Then the news came. Collier Enterprises was in the process of creating a new plant-based medicine, one that was already proven to effectively treat most cancers. I had to admit, I didn’t expect them to strike so soon.

“I guess it really was them, Celi,” I informed my wife. “They’re creating a new wonder medication, based on what they took from our house.”

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“Are you sure we don’t have anything to prove it?” she asked.

“Pretty sure. I should have installed the anti-theft system ages ago,” I regretted.

“Well, no use crying over spilled milk, I suppose. Come on, we should go out, relax a bit. The kids are still in school and we really need to get our minds off this issue,” she offered.

Driving out to one of the bars in town, Celeste and I were planning to relax and distract ourselves from the news. Of course, that plan went down the drain when Lionel Collier ended up at Varg’s Tavern already.

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“Oh, hello Mr. Meadows, fancy seeing you here,” he greeted in the same friendly way that lulled me into a sense of comfort during our meeting.

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“Fancy seeing us here?!” Celeste blew up. “Is that why you paid such a wonderful visit to our house last month? Oh wait, you weren’t planning to find us home back then, were you? How dare you act like you haven’t stolen from us?!”

I knew she was pushing it and that I should calm her down, but my own anger came to surface as well “I admit I expected you would wait a while before using stolen research for your company, Lionel.”

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“I will not be talked to in such a way,” Lionel Collier’s furrowed for a moment. “You didn’t want to work with my company and I respected that. And now you throw empty accusations at me? I thought better of you and your family, Simon.”

“So, it’s empty accusations, now? How do you know I don’t have the whole robbery caught on camera?” I implied.

“Well, I don’t know that implicitly, but I’m quite sure that if you had even a tiny bit of evidence from the crime that you say took place at your house, you would have sent the cops after me pronto, considering how much you seem to dislike me. But then again, if you had any evidence, you’d know I had nothing to do with this to begin with. In any case, this conversation is over. I sincerely wish the best to your family.”

With these words, Lionel Collier left and Celeste and I were looking dumbfounded at one another.

“Well, that led to nothing,” I finally released the breath I was holding.

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“I don’t know, Si. He handled the situation pretty smoothly. I know I wouldn’t have remained as calm if someone was accusing me of theft,” she admitted.

“So, you think he might not be responsible for the burglary? He doesn’t act like someone who just committed a federal crime, true. But then, people like him generally don’t act guilty until the evidence against them is stacked up.” I wasn’t sure what to think.

“Well, I think he acted too calmly, as if he was expecting us to confront him.” Celeste spread her hands apart. “Honestly, is there anyone else who would have done it?”

“If we knew, we’d have the perpetrator in jail by now, wouldn’t we?” It was true. Even if Collier was the criminal here, we had zero proof of it.

Irene’s POV

I couldn’t figure out why everyone at home was so glum that evening. Our parents looked seriously sad and Mom kept banging dishes more than ever. Dad was clearly trying to distract himself with a book, but failing miserably. In the end they both went “to sleep” early, but Gerald and I could hear their muted conversation. They were really upset.

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“Ger, what’s going on” on my part, I had a pretty good day. Our class was on a trip to the local museum and Micah kept goofing off so much that by the time we left I was nearly in stitches from laughter.

“You haven’t read the news today, have you?” he asked, sliding the newspaper towards me.

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As soon as I saw the headline, any good mood I had evaporated.

“Wow. The bastard is not even ashamed of it, is he? And he worked pretty well too, to make sure nothing can tie him to the theft.” That explained why Mom and Dad were so upset.

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“I guess we’ll never know,” Gerald grudgingly admitted. “It’s not like we can just waltz into the company and spy on their computers. Apparently, people from the message boards have tried to hack in. No luck. They have a really good system in place—only the inside people have access.”

“That fancy, huh?” I drifted off. So, theoretically, someone working at the company could access their computers and see if there was any evidence left of the theft? I mean, there was no doubt that Lionel Collier had to keep the original research that Dad did—even if he already had the plant itself. If I could get my hands on that, somehow, I would be able to prove he was responsible to the crime that took place at our house.

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“Irene?” Gerald was looking at my face in a way that said he knew exactly what was going on in my head. “You know there is no way they would hire you, right? He’d be an idiot to hire the daughter of the guy he robbed.”

“He doesn’t personally do the hiring though, does he? It’s a big company, one that has all those hiring managers,” I mused. “And I doubt Lionel Collier gets personally acquainted with every new hire. Besides, not only has he never met either of us, but there are so many people with a last name like Meadows.”

“Still, I don’t like the idea of that,” my brother frowned.

“Look, I’m not saying I’m going into that company, not just yet. But if it’s an option that can work out, why not explore it?” I maintained.

From then on, I focused on ways on which I could certainly get hired by Collier enterprises. I did my research and as it turned out, the company wanted efficient, experienced employees. Of course, I was still in high school and had zero work experience. Bummer.

But then, something else happened—the local career fair took place at our school. Representatives from Collier Enterprises were present and handed out fliers about internships and volunteer programs at their company. And while a few students did express interest, an office job seemed pretty boring to most high school students.

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The internship in question did require a good GPA, which to the big surprise of my classmates, I actually had. And after convincing the interviewers that I was actually really interested in business and pharmaceuticals specifically, I was the brand new Collier Enterprises intern.

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Of course, Mom and Dad were not happy about this. They didn’t understand why I would want to work at that company after what happened. But I didn’t want them to know I was planning anything they would consider unsafe and Gerald had the common sense not to tell them what my real plans for employment at Collier Enterprises were. After all, he was also planning to use his future newspaper connections to dig up information of the company and didn’t want them to worry. They will understand soon enough, hopefully.

But I had my goal clear in front of me. Lionel Collier and his company screwed over my father. I will prove it, even if it would take years.

Gen 1 Ch 16: Careless Choices

As promised, I set out to research the best way to make the miracle fruit available to the masses. I knew that something with healing properties such as these would be needed by many people and we would need a way to publicize the plant’s existence.

Soon my research brought me to a local company that had experience in both publicity and research. Collier Enterprises was known as the name behind some of the biggest medical developments in the country for many years and I knew that they would be able to bring my discovery to as many people as possible.

I have talked to them on the phone and Lionel Collier agreed to meet with me and discuss the possibility of working together. From what I gathered, he was a well-respected businessman who preferred to do business personally and always met with the people he made any agreements with.

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On the day of our meeting, both Lionel Collier and his wife Selma were meeting with me.

“Mr. Meadows, correct?” Lionel Collier greeted me, warmly but professionally. “I’m glad we have finally met. As I understood over the phone, you have discovered a plant that has miracle healing properties. How certain is that?”

“It is nice to meet you as well, Mr. Collier. And it is pretty certain that the plant has healing properties. It cured cancer. Of course, so far it has only been tried on one person, but that is why I contacted you. I’ve done my research also—its cells seem to have retroactive properties on ill cells, causing most pathogens to either disappear completely or significantly diminish.” I showed Lionel Collier my typed up preliminary findings on the plant. He looked it over, with increasing interest. “My wife and I have thought it over and we believe that there are plenty out there who need this fruit to beat their own diseases. So we want to make the discovery known to more people. And I can’t do that alone from my house,” I explained.

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“That sounds like a wonderful idea,” chimed in Selma Collier with a friendly smile.

“It does indeed, dear. And that is what our company is all about. We have been leaders in medical and scientific developments for many years and if there is a plant that can cure cancer– that is a goldmine. Of course, Mr. Meadows, we have yet to discuss the monetary aspect of the issue. Once we have fully researched the plant’s properties, we can determine how to market it to bring in proper revenue, of course,” Lionel continued.

“But the plant will be available to people, mostly, right? That is what I intended by making knowledge of it public,” I clarified.

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“Mr. Meadows, just from hearing your description of the plant and seeing your preliminary studies, it is obvious to me that what you have on your hands, is a plant that can turn the medical world around its axis. Do you know how long scientists have been trying to find something like this? For ages!” Lionel Collier’s face became more animated than I believed to be possible. His wife just smiled, like it wasn’t her first time seeing her husband like this.

“He is right, Mr. Meadows,” she explained. “Such a plant is worth a lot to the medical community. It would be a travesty to believe that any treatment containing it would be cheap to buy. And why should it be? If it can save lives, like you say, it is quite a pricy plant.”

I felt a headache start somewhere behind my eyes. This wasn’t something either Celeste or I planned. I knew for a fact Celeste wanted the miracle plant to be easily available to people who needed it. So did I. What the Colliers were proposing would make this life plant just another unattainable dream for most people who couldn’t afford it.

“So, what do you say?” urged Lionel Collier. “When do we begin working together?”

“Well, it is a big decision, what you’re proposing. I need some time to think things through, if you don’t mind. May I call you later in the week?” I was really buying time. I knew Celeste wouldn’t agree to this and I knew now that working with a big medical research company would not accomplish the fair distribution of the cure to people who needed it.

“Of course, Mr. Meadows. Just call me back within a week and we can finish our conversation.” Neither of the Colliers seemed perturbed by my behavior.

At home, I told Celeste how the meeting went. As I expected, she did not like what the Colliers had in mind at all.

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“So they just want to make an extremely expensive medicament of the plant. Barely anyone would be able to get their hands on it then!”

“I told them I would give them my decision about working with them within a week,” I informed her.

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Celeste shook her head “I don’t know. I don’t think that’s a good idea. I’m sure we can find a more honest way to make the plant available to people. One that doesn’t involve ripping sick people off of their money. I’m sure we can distribute the fruit and research about it through a smaller channel but with better results than the one the Colliers are proposing.”

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I agreed with her. Honestly, the couple’s attitude towards medicine and monetary gain seemed quite off-putting and I was glad Celeste didn’t want to work with them.

I rang them the very next day to let them know I would not be partnering with them.

Lionel Collier sounded quite disappointed. “Are you sure about your decision, Mr. Meadows? Just think about it, we could really shake up the medical world with your findings,” he tried to convince me.

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“I’m sorry, Mr. Collier. But both my wife and I are of the opinion that making a miracle cure too expensive would pretty much defeat the purpose of its existence in the first place. I couldn’t in good faith agree to this. I’m sorry if I’ve wasted your time.”

“Well, I see how it is. I guess we didn’t really see eye to eye on the issue. Goodbye, Mr. Meadows.”

He hung up and I let out a breath that I didn’t realize I was holding. For some reason, communicating with these people really tired me out. I chalked it up to their greedy personalities.

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A few weeks later, Celeste and I were woken in the night by the dogs’ excessive barking. This confused us since neither Ursa nor Hawk were belligerent and were more likely to play quietly than to bark the night away. Venturing into the living room, we found both animals alert and wary, still barking at the door, as if there was an intruder. However, a full search of the yard failed to reveal anyone who wasn’t supposed to be present.

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“Maybe it’s the full moon, again,” suggested Celeste. It was true that most things terrified these dogs, especially things like loud weather and the full moon. They usually weren’t that loud about it, though.

Eventually we’ve gone back to sleep and the matter slipped our minds. With Celeste’s health being almost back to normal, our lives went on in their normal peaceful way. The kids were both doing well in school and their relationships seemed to be going steadily well. I still worked in my garden and Celeste went out to fish when the weather was good.

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Towards the end of the kids’ school year, we’ve all gone to the restaurant as a family. Mine and Celeste’s birthdays were coming up and we both wanted to spend some quality time with the kids without having to worry about cleaning and making food at home. Our evening went great; we even got complimentary dessert from the restaurant because of how many times I provided fresh produce for them. We stayed at the restaurant for hours, laughing and having fun. We didn’t realize how much the fear for Celeste life has had us all on edge until the danger passed.

On the way home, I couldn’t shake a feeling that something was off, that I was forgetting something very important at this moment. But what?

I knew something was wrong when, upon arriving home, we were not greeted with the dogs’ barking. They always got really excited when any of us came home and it would take several minutes to calm them down from the tail-wagging and the happy panting. It’s a dog thing. But today, the house was totally quite.

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Hurrying inside, we discovered the reason for the silence: both animals were heavily asleep. Of course, that in itself was not suspicious. But both animals tended to sleep pretty lightly, waking up terrified of the simplest things. And now, not even our loud banging woke them up.

Hurrying to check up on the pooches, I leaned down to check if they were alright. They were breathing steadily, but something was obviously keeping them out cold. It was clear that the dogs were purposefully sedated. At least, they were alive and not hurt.

“Dad?” Irene called me away from the dogs “We’ve been robbed.”

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“What?” even as I expressed incredulousness, I knew it was true. My attention was drawn to my research area. My table and information board were both missing. “Damn it! Someone must have been watching the house to see when we’re out!”

“They took the laptop,” Gerald informed us, coming in from the kids’ room.

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“But the money and valuables are in the same place as they were. They weren’t interested in the material stuff,” noted Celeste with a grim look on her face.

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“Oh no,” a sudden realization dawned on me, “That wasn’t what they were after at all.”

I sprinted into the garden, hoping that the intruders have only gone into the house.

What greeted me was shocking: my entire garden was nearly empty, all the plants were ripped out and the two trees that remained were withered, as if someone purposely killed them. It was obvious what happened here. The intruders were looking for the wonder plant and, not knowing what it looks like, they simply took every plant in the garden. But why do it so crudely?

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This must have taken some time, I realized. Digging up an entire garden, even if one didn’t bother being too careful with the plants, would take over an hour. Someone must have been keeping an eye on us at the restaurant, making sure we weren’t coming home immediately, informing the guys back here. I shook my head. It was a good thing that we had plenty of money saved up, since the garden would have to be started from scratch.

“Simon?” Celeste’s concerned voice brought me out of my thoughts “Is everything alright? Oh…”

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“Yeah…” was all I could say. She looked over the empty garden and shook her head.

“I’m sorry. If I didn’t suggest sharing the discovery with others, this wouldn’t have happened.”

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“Sharing the discovery was a great idea. I shouldn’t have played my cards so openly. And I shouldn’t have talked to the Colliers at all.” I laughed at the ridiculousness of it all “I even showed them my preliminary research!”

“So, it must have been them? The Colliers?”

“Who else? Who else knew about the plant? I didn’t talk to anyone but them about the plant.”

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“Well, that just sucks,” Celeste frowned. “If they have your research and the plant, well, they can do whatever they want now.”

“It does sound like it, now, doesn’t it?” I was just now realizing that I should have taken precautions. I should have gotten a burglar alarm or hid my research. But I really didn’t imagine that someone will come and rob us!

“Come here, hon,” Celeste pulled me into a comforting embrace. “You had no way of knowing this would happen. And hey, you found a plant that saved my life, which sounds like something in the realm of the impossible. We have plenty of money saved up. We’ll get through this, don’t you worry! And hey, I will help you with the garden. As for the laptop, the only person who really used it much was Gerald and I know he has a back of everything he needs for school and newspaper club. So, don’t worry about it.”

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“What would I ever do without you?” I sighed.

“Oh, you would’ve been fine,” she laughed “You’re a stubborn one.”

“I would’ve been pretty lonely though. And definitely feeling like something was missing.”

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We called the cops to report the break in, of course. They were pretty dumbfounded when we told them only the laptop and the research corner were taken, while the money was untouched. Of course, they promised, they would look into the issue, but since we lived far away and there were no witnesses or security cameras here, it would be pretty hard to track the burglars down fast. They said that in such cases, the purpose was monetary gain, but since they only took the laptop and not the money, they would be unlikely to try and sell it. The cops did think that vandalizing the garden was pretty bizarre—the goal in the robbery was to be fast and whoever did this must have spent some time on it.

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“They were after my gardening research,” I explained.

The police shook their heads sadly and explained that in such case, if the thieves did take all evidence of the research, it would be pretty hard to prove in court that it was here in the first place. If we discovered the perpetrators in the first place, that was.

I understood the situation. If the Colliers were the ones who took the information and the plant, they would be pretty unlikely to make a move quickly—that would point the finger at them. They would wait.

So that was what we had to do as well—wait. We continued our lives, now somewhat more vigilant of what was going around our residence and making sure to keep everyone safe. And then there was the issue of our birthdays nearing and while neither of us wanted to go into retirement, we knew that once old age set in, we wouldn’t have as much energy for our work-related activities.

But at least, we would still have each other and our children.

 

Gen 1 Ch 15: The Cure

I looked everywhere for whatever it was that could cure my wife. Some mythical cure that could counter react with the dark energy that made her sick in the first place. It had to exist. If the Deathfish existed, the opposite had to be real too. It just had to.

Of course, it wasn’t easy. With every day, Celeste was getting worse and I knew that we were on a deadline to find our goal. Of course, the internet was our go-to source for possible ideas of what we were looking for. Still, several months didn’t bring any ideas and I knew we didn’t have much longer to help Celeste.

It was the kids who found it. Or rather, they figured out what we were looking for.

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I came into their room one day to find Gerald and Irene excitedly chatting about something on the screen.

“Anything interesting?” I halfheartedly asked.

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“Dad, yes, come here!” called Irene.

“We had an interesting idea,” explained Gerald. “You know how you might be surfing the web and you always see those annoying click bait ads, the ones that talk about some miracle fruit or something?”

“Isn’t that just that, click bait?” I assumed.

“Yes dad! But what if there is a real miracle fruit of some sort, the inspiration for the ads, so to say?” Irene’s eyes were shining with the idea.

It could be worth a shot. “Where would we find it though?” I wondered.

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“Well,” Gerald mused “I’m assuming it won’t be anywhere in plain sight, that’s for sure. Otherwise someone would’ve found it by now, right?”

“We can all look,” Irene was set on the idea. It was as good an idea as any.

So we looked. For weeks we looked, counting time, worried that we wouldn’t find the plant or that we would be too late, or that the plant wouldn’t be what we needed.

And then, surprisingly we found it.

I was exploring a remote hill and saw a plant that I have never seen before. What caught my attention was the fact that it glowed. Even my best grown healthiest plants didn’t glow. There were only two bushes with it nearby, and only one of them had fruit on it.

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“This must be it?” I thought. At least, it was worth a try. I harvested the few plants available and took them home with me.

At home Celeste was very weak, but we all made sure she understood what this was about. We didn’t know what the plant will do, even though I tested it to make sure it wasn’t poisonous. We still didn’t know if it was a cure, but it had a chance of being just that.

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It turned out that our efforts paid off. As soon as Celeste consumed the fruit, her immediate condition improved. She was feeling less dizzy, more energetic and, most of all, she looked more alive.

In the next few days, her condition steadily improved, and after her next appointment at the hospital it was clear that her sickness was letting up.

We did it. We found the cure.

The only problem was, there were only two fruits on the plant. As soon as it was clear that this plant was indeed what we were looking for, I made sure to plant the remaining fruit in the garden and make sure I took good care of it. If this was the right medicine for my wife, I had to make sure we had more of it.

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Celeste’s POV

I couldn’t believe it at first, but whatever that plant was– it worked! I felt more energy after consuming it than I’ve felt since the beginning of my sickness. Just one fruit was enough to chase away the worst symptoms of my disease and when I’ve gone to the doctors, it was clear that I was getting better. I was going to beat this!

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A while afterwards, we actually threw a party. The family needed it. I personally wanted to have people over, since I felt too tired for company when I was sick.

It was really nice to have everyone here again. My friends, Simon’s friends, the kids’ significant others. Everyone was legitimately glad to see me feeling better and that made me happy. I’ve missed being able to interact with people like this.

Except… one thing was bothering me. But I would have to talk to Simon about that.

Irene’s POV

 

It was pretty unbelievable, but we did find the cure after all. But, of course we did! We would do anything for Mom. Even throw a party, which wasn’t something I was fond of, but today was a happy day and I was up for any crowd.

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Of course, Micah was present. That made dealing with other people less unpleasant…

“So,” he ventured “how have you been? We haven’t seen each other for too long. But I see you’ve made good use of the time, since you’re beating me at chess!”

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“Yeah, we were pretty busy. You have no idea how scared we all were. Mom was just getting sicker by the day and I thought we’d never find the cure.”

“But you did,” he smiled. “We should celebrate sometime. You know, I’m turning 18 soon and I’m sure I can find an in for a bar or something.”

“Yeah, I don’t know,” I shook my head “Getting drunk isn’t really something I find appealing.”

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“No big, then. We can always head to the karaoke place again,” he winked.

“Sounds like a plan,” I agreed. “Oh boy, Gerald and Katy are really good at not breathing.”

It was true, since they were so busy making out that they wouldn’t come up for air at all!

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“We can always do the same,” Micah winked again. Yeah, he was a huge flirt. Not that I minded in the least.

“Heh, let’s go ‘feed the fish’,” I suggested. That sure made my bro and his girl break it up. It was for the best really—our parents weren’t that strict, but I knew it would not be a good idea for them to find Gerald and Katy like this.

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“That reminds me. I’ve never seen your room,” Micah realized.

“There isn’t much to see, really. Two bunk beds, a rocking chair and a computer desk. We like to keep it simple.”

“Think your folks would let me stay over sometime?” he asked.

“I honestly doubt it. I mean there is no way any sane parent would let their teenage daughter’s boyfriend stay in her room overnight,” I informed him.

“Too bad. Bunk beds are comfy,” he half-joked.

“Not for two people in them,” I retorted. I was actually pretty surprised Micah hasn’t wanted to take things to the next level earlier. But I wasn’t sure I was ready to move things in that direction yet.

He got the hint.

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After the party ended and we were heading to bed, Gerald gave me a funny look, as if he wanted to ask something but wasn’t sure how.

Gerald’s POV

Ever since Katy and I started dating, I found myself paying more attention to other people’s relationships. I wasn’t sure why. Maybe I was looking for tips on how to be more romantic myself.

At the party, Katy and I really couldn’t keep hands of one another. It just happened whenever we were together. I guess it’s true that childhood friends make the best romantic partners. Not that we’ve gone all the way yet, but we were thinking about it.

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My sister and her boyfriend were flirting not far off, as always. I wasn’t sure what to make of the guy, to be honest. I mean, yeah, he wasn’t bad looking and I could see why girls liked him. And he did make Irene smile. Maybe I was just jealous of the way she looked at him.

Before we were teenagers, she and I used to be super close. We still were, but now there were two more people in the mix: Katy and Micah. I knew Katy was a great person, inside and out, because I’ve known her for a long time. As for Micah, he was new in town and I knew that a lot of girls had crushes on him. And there was the way he always flirted with people, given the chance.

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“You should take it easy on them,” Katy suggested. “I mean, you look like you’re ready to challenge the guy to a duel or something.”

“I guess I just feel like I have to be protecting my sister. But seriously, the guy just charms her off her feet. Who does that?” I complained.

“Heh, you did that with me though,” Katy pulled me back into a hug.

“You think so?” I smiled “Glad to hear it.”

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After the party, I was still worried about my sister’s relationship. But Irene did look so happy…

“Mom, how did you know that Dad was the one for you?” I asked her one morning.

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“That’s an interesting question,” she admitted “I don’t think I felt for anyone the way I did for your father. When we met, I didn’t think he saw me as more than a friend, although I definitely liked him very much. And when it turned out that my feelings for him were reciprocated, well, there was no reason for us to not be together. As it is, I can’t imagine what my life would have been if I didn’t meet him.”

“I wonder if Irene and I found that too. I know I’m serious about Kate. I want to spend my life with her. Always did, since we were kids. Do you think that is a good sign?”

“I think you just know when you meet that one special person. Maybe they’re the ones who always make you smile no matter what mood you’re in, or go out of their way to be near you. And then, before you even know it, you’re imagining your life with them already.” Mom’s smile clearly indicated that she was thinking of Dad.

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“Do you think Irene and Micah have that? I mean he makes her smile…” I ventured.

“You’re worried about your sister, hon, aren’t you? Why?” she was curious.

“I don’t know. She seems happy with him. But he’s such a huge flirt, are his intentions good?”

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“Gerald, I know you want to protect your sister, but I think we should trust Irene in this department. After all, she knows this guy better than we do. Besides, he seems nice enough.” Mom was surprisingly reasonable about the whole situation. But then again, we knew her parents were pretty conservative about these things and she wanted to make sure that we didn’t feel the way she did when she was younger.

“I guess I’ll have to tone down the overprotective brother act,” I agreed. “For now.”

“Alright, protector, you should head off to school now!” Mom urged me.

Simon’s POV

Ever since Celeste got better, she made sure to spend as much time with the family as possible. That included talking for long hours with the kids and making sure everyone was feeling well and happy. While I was happy she was feeling well enough for this, I wanted to make sure she didn’t wear herself thin, since her illness wasn’t that far behind.

“How are you feeling?” I asked, joining her on the couch.

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“Pretty content, to be honest. Gerald and I just had an interesting discussion about soulmates. He’s worried about his sister and Micah.”

“Ah, I wondered when the overprotective brother mode will kick in,” I laughed, pulling her close. “But how are you feeling physically?”

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“Better than I had in a while, really.” Celeste’s brow furrowed “You know, I was thinking about that fruit, the one that helped me.”

“What about it?” I asked. The fruit I planted has been growing well in the garden. In case Celeste’s sickness came back, we would need it.

“I’m not the only person who gets cancer. Think just how differently everything would have gone if something like it existed when my mother was sick—she would have survived! I guess what I’m saying is, we shouldn’t keep something that can save so many people a secret from the world.” She was looking at me, expecting to hear my opinion on sharing the wonder fruit with the general public.

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“I think that’s a wonderful idea. The plant I have growing is looking healthy and soon will bring fruit. I agree that we should make it available to the general populace.” If anything, I felt rather guilty that I haven’t thought of that myself.

“It could help a lot of people. And just think, you’ve been researching the healing properties of Hidden Springs for ages—this can be the thing that makes your research complete,” Celeste offered.

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“I’m going to research the best way to make the plant available that would bring help to as many as possible,” I decided.

After all, if there was something that could save lives, why not share it?