Day 331 – Jupiter’s Children – Part 13

Word count: 1054

The burning rubble that had been his home was now merely rubble. The fires had gone out many days ago now and the black smoke of the smouldering remains of his life had finally billowed into an opaque wisp. It was not easy living with Fiona. Though she was kind and very generous with her living area, it was hard for Henry to adjust. He had no clothes save the ones that Fiona had bought him. He had no belongings save the ones that Fiona had afforded him to buy. Henry felt immensely in debt to her that he could not even look at her.

He slept on the sofa. Sleeping did not come easily. In the first few moments before sleep, he would wake with a jolt as if he had tripped in a dream. Instead, he had twisted pre-dreams of losing everything and everyone. In the mornings he would go to work just as normal. Fiona tried to persuade him not to go, but Henry had argued that he would only stare at the wreckage and feel even worse. Since having everything destroyed, Henry was even more determined and even more curious about his father’s last discovery. He swore to himself that he would keep this to himself. He could not risk anyone finding out about it in the event that it would yet again be covered up; or anything even worse.

Henry tried not to believe his negative self. He tried to ignore the whispers of warnings, but it was hard to at times. His father had died just weeks after what could have been the greatest discovery of humankind ever; and yet the discovery was lost, his father was summoned home and left a strangely final goodbye to his son. It did not look good, but Henry could not and would not see what was evidentially true.

Henry was in the office, spinning around in his chair and mulling over the evidence in his head. Tammy was bouncing up and down listening to music through headphones and Fiona’s knife-like eyes were no doubt piercing the back of Henry’s skull just as they had been doing every day since the disaster. To her credit, she did an amazing job of hiding it. She sat in her office pretending to be filing or writing up reports. They were both given the task of writing up the findings and creating a presentation for when they returned to Earth. The announcement had not been made to anyone outside the Space Agency yet. They were going to set it up as the biggest event in a century.

“Looking forward to going home?” He asked Tammy as she took off her headphones.
“My god I am. My parents can’t wait to see me, though they have no idea why I’m coming home yet. They asked me why I was returning a year before I was due to and I had to lie and make up something about a free holiday. I’m a useless liar, but I think they believe me. Either way, I don’t think they will expect what’s coming! What about you, did your wife get home alright?”
“There’s still meant to be another week to the journey, but I haven’t heard from her either.”
“Eek, I don’t know how you can stand it. When I first came over here and my ex-boyfriend – well my then boyfriend – was back on Earth I could not cope at all. I missed him so much. We broke up in the end because of it – no point if you’re six weeks apart from each other!”
Henry made a disgruntled face.
“Oh, sorry I didn’t mean…”
“No, you’re alright. At least she’s coming back soon.”
“Oh, are you definitely not coming home?”
“No, I… I don’t really want to go back to Earth.”
“I get it, sorry. I forgot.”
“So she doesn’t know?”
“About our house? No. That’s going to be fun to tell her.”
“Don’t envy you there.”
Henry got up and made himself a coffee before returning to his desk and to his search. He was sneakily looking up old files from when his father worked here. Amongst all the uninteresting rubbish about rock findings and dull research projects, he had located two very informative files. From these two files he had discovered that his father and Fiona had worked on a number of projects together. She appeared to be something akin to his intern. Secondly he had learned that his father had visited the glacier where Fiona’s fossil had been unearthed three days before he took the shuttle home. Whilst in itself may be nothing, given that the original fossil was most likely dug up around that same area, Henry was intrigued as to why his father had returned to the glacier, when he already had the proof.
Henry mulled it over in his head and could only come up with the reason that perhaps his father had lost the original proof and was hoping to uncover more? It was a strange scenario. Henry could not quite understand his father anymore. But his search continued. After reading about those small snippets of information, he moved on to another search term and another search term after that.

After a further ten minutes something curious caught his eye. It was a small datafile that mainly contained security information. Henry opened it and read between the lines and lines of code. It was mainly gibberish, but there the main thing was that it was a list of every person in every room for a specific date and time range. At one-forty-seven in the morning, Henry read, his father and Fiona – the same Fiona that had taken him in – were in this very laboratory together. There was no one else in the room. Henry tried to imagine what they might have been doing; lab work, research, late night project. The date and time were well before Henry’s father made his discovery. Henry was not naïve. There could only really be one thing they were doing at one-forty-seven in the morning, alone in a laboratory. Weird though it was, the idea of them together did not freak him out; it was the fact that Fiona had blatantly and completely denied it that severely bothered him. Why lie, there was nothing to hide?

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~ by S.G. Mark on September 2, 2012.

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