| Treeo Serial |

Remember Me: Chapter 6

These men… Who knows where they’re going, how far, and if I can really keep up on my bike if they go too far

The sleek, black Tesla turns the corner

and merges smoothly into traffic.

I narrow my eyes and put on speed, pedaling after them.

They’re in a car, but I have the advantage of being a kid on a bike. I can use the sidewalks and the bike lanes, skip the traffic jams, fall back when I want to, or put on a burst of speed to pass a bunch of cars waiting at a red light.

Four blocks over, though, I start having my doubts.

I must be crazy.

These men… Who knows where they’re going, how far, and if I can really keep up on my bike if they go too far.

And what if they realize I’m following them?

I don’t even have any idea who they are, if they’re really out to cause any trouble, if they had anything to do with the break-in the other night or the missing stuff from the study. Maybe they were totally unrelated, some old business associates of Abba’s or something?

Not that I’d ever heard of Abba having any partners or colleagues. I’d always thought he worked alone. Had a business, something in computers. That’s what he always said, anyway, vague stuff about computers and programming.

“Technical. Boring.” He’d laugh. “Now tell me something interesting. What did you learn today?”

The memory of those words, that laugh, hurts. For a moment, I actually think I feel something piercing in my chest and look down in alarm, but there’s nothing there.


Maybe some thoughts are best not thought about.

We’re approaching a main road, and now traffic slows to a crawl, which is great for me. The Tesla is stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and I pedal on a little further, then dawdle at a storefront until I see the car pass me again.

We’re leaving the neighborhood now, venturing into unfamiliar territory. I need to remember the way back, so I make furious mental notes: a left from the main road, a right two blocks down, third exit at the rotary after the ice cream store with the neon flashing signs.

We’re heading deeper into some quiet residential neighborhood. There are fewer cars around, and I start to wonder uncomfortably if the men in the car have noticed me tailing them. I fall further back, wondering if I should give up and turn around.

And then the car slows down and makes a right turn into a nondescript driveway in front of an average-looking house surrounded by clusters of bushes and trees.

I swerve into the driveway next door and stash my bike in the hedges. Then I edge closer, staying in the shadow of the trees, until I can see one of the men getting out of the car, and approaching the front door.

There’s some sort of screen by the door; it looks like he needs to punch in a code. The man hesitates, then turns to his partner, who’s still sitting in the driver’s seat.

“4168-8320,” the second man rattles off.

I commit the string of numbers to memory, as the first man puts in the code and the door swings open.

In the doorway, he looks back again. “No one here now, right?”

“Nope, the others left yesterday. Something out of state. They’ll be a while, so it’s all yours for now.”

“Unless Miles comes back.”


I watch, holding my breath in the bushes as the car backs out of the driveway, and the door closes behind the first man.


Now what?

I think about putting in the code myself and going inside, but what will I say to the man inside? I can’t exactly break in just because they were visiting my mother. What if it was some innocent condolence call?

Yeah, right, so why the whole secret-agent earpieces and weapons act?

I could, I suppose, ring the bell and ask the man why he’d been to our home. But I have a feeling I wouldn’t get much of an answer out of him.

I hesitate, then I see lights flicker on upstairs and make a decision. I can’t go inside now. But maybe… maybe this house is empty during the day.

I think about the way the men discussed who was inside, where some other men (Agents? Colleagues? Or people up to no good?) were. It must be some sort of agent house, a hideout or something.

Well, now I know the code. I can come back tomorrow, another time, and get inside, hopefully when it’s empty, and see if there’s anything I can find there.

Maybe, just maybe, my father’s work stuff, and those scraps of paper from my bedroom.


Ima accosts me when I come home, looked worried.

“Yair! I was just wondering where you were.”

“I went biking. With a couple of guys…” I say, vaguely hoping that wasn’t exactly a lie.

“Oh.” Ima’s eyebrows rise a drop. “Well, Yoss called you twice.”

The question was obvious. When was I ever out with friends, without Yoss?

But Ima doesn’t ask, although a question mark wavers a little in her eyes.

“I’ll call him back,” I say and take the stairs two at a time, just to be on the safe side.

Yoss wants to know if I want to shoot hoops with him. I’ve just biked like miles and miles. I’m exhausted. But if I give him an excuse, he’s gonna think I’m not okay, not back to myself after the whole… everything.

“Yeah, sure, come on over,” I say.

He hesitates. “I thought maybe you’d wanna come to me?”

Oh. So there’s something wrong with my house now, because I don’t have a father?

“Why?” I ask, my voice sharpening.

“Hey, no reason.” He sounds genuinely innocent. “Just there’s more kids on my block, thought we could have a game. If you want. Or I can bike over to you. No big deal.”

I tell my shoulders to relax. He didn’t mean anything.

“No, no, it’s okay. I’ll come. Maybe my mom will give me a ride.”

Ima is happy to drive me over to Yoss. My little sisters, though, are annoyed.

“We’re in the middle of a tea party. With our dolls,” they inform me, pouting hugely.

Yes, a tea party, like the Queen of England or something.

“I’m sure your dollies can wait,” I tell them, solemnly.

“They’re hungry!” Rikki says, her voice reproachful.

I dig through my pockets. Yesss, there’s a squished candy bar. “Here. To make it up to the dollies.”

The girls’ eyes light up. I think they’ve divided the loot even before Ima pulls out of the driveway.

The game is nice; it was a good idea to invite other guys over. I can sit out and no one really notices. Shimmy Gruber sits himself next to me, and for once I don’t mind; it gives the impression I’m doing something, having a conversation, and not sitting like a loser on my own. And certainly not looking like I’m depressed or anything. Because I can chill with the best of them, nothing’s changed, not really, and hey, if Shimmy wants to jabber on about the school hock of the past two weeks, I can always tune him out. Nod along and all that, let him talk while I….

I have more important things to think about. Like planning how exactly I’m going to get into that house tomorrow. And what, exactly, I’m going to do once I’m inside.

To be continued…


(Originally featured in Treeo, Issue 1001)

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