Christopher and Avalon walked down the sidewalk as cars roared by. Avalon wore baggy clothes, so she gripped Christopher’s arm hoping that her clothes wouldn’t fall off. Christopher looked around and noticed a clothes store. He looked at Avalon and back at the store.
“Before heading to the Archives, we should get you some clothes that actually fit,” suggested Christopher. Avalon wrote in her notebook and showed it to Christopher.
“Do you have enough money?”
“I should have enough for at least some underwear for you,” said Christopher scratching the back of his head. Avalon stared at Christopher and then wrote, “Thank you.”
Christopher and Avalon headed into the clothes store, which was nearly empty of people. A female employee approached them from behind a rack of coats and asked, “Do you need something?” Christopher nodded and glanced to Avalon.
“I wanted to see if I could get her some clothes for a cheap price.”
The employee looked Avalon up and down making Avalon cling to Christopher tighter.
“From what I can see she is a small size.”
“How about for bra and underwear?” asked Christopher with redness in his cheeks.
“Small for the underwear and 32 B-Cup for the bra.”
“Are you sure?” asked Christopher. The employee nodded and crossed her arms proudly.
“My eyes can tell any size.”
Christopher sighed and said, “Then can you please get the appropriate clothes for her, the cheap ones of course?” The employee nodded and then ran off.
Christopher sat Avalon on an empty chair sitting next to her. Avalon glanced at Christopher and then wrote something in her notebook. She poked Christopher’s shoulder holding the opened notebook to him.
Christopher noticed new writing in the open notebook.
”Why are we headed to the archives?”
“Well I need to get more information on Envy and I need to know as much information on James Connor as I can, so we could save him and learn why Envy made him a target.”
Avalon nodded and then wrote, “I hope we can save him.”
“I hope so too,” replied Christopher.
The woman suddenly ran to them with a handful of clothes and announced, “I have the best selections.” Christopher thanked the woman and then glanced at Avalon.
“Go with this woman to try out the clothes,” instructed Christopher. Avalon stared at the woman with uneasiness and then clung to Christopher’s arm shaking her head.
“Come on Avalon, it’ll be fine,” urged Christopher. The woman giggled and stated, “Your daughter sure loves you.”
“She’s not my daughter, she’s a friend,” stated Christopher trying to pry Avalon off his arm. The woman giggled again and then kneeled in front of Avalon making Avalon flinch.
“Don’t worry honey, your friend will still be here and I don’t bite,” said the woman in a soothing voice. Avalon frowned, releasing Christopher’s arm and immediately wrote something in her notebook. She showed the notebook page to the woman making the woman burst out laughing.
“What’s so funny?” asked Christopher. Christopher peeked into the notebook and turned pale.
“How can I trust a man like you?”
Christopher looked at the woman and said, “I am so sorry that Avalon called you a man.” The woman shook her head wiping away tears that managed to slip out and said, “No problem. I just thought it was funny that your friend was the first to notice.” Christopher’s eyes grew wide.
“You’re really a man?”
The woman…man…nodded and said, “I love dressing in women’s clothing, but I’m not gay OK.” Christopher pulled Avalon into his arms looking at the man with narrow eyes.
“And you were planning to watch Avalon change?” yelled Christopher. The man chuckled and said, “I wasn’t going to watch her. I am still a gentleman.” Christopher didn’t look convinced.
“Would you trust me if I told you my name?” asked the man. Christopher frowned, but Avalon nodded.
“Well my name is Caleb Cross, but my work name here is Kate and you two are…?”
Christopher muttered his name still holding Avalon. Avalon wrote her name in the notebook and showed it to Caleb.
“Avalon is such an adorable name,” complimented Caleb making Avalon smile. Caleb looked at Christopher and asked, “Is Avalon mute?” Christopher nodded.
Caleb placed a finger to his chin and said, “I can already tell you that the clothes will fit her, so you can skip the try out.” Caleb smiled and added, “If they don’t fit then I will give you a refund.” Christopher glanced at Avalon and back at Caleb giving a nod. Caleb cheered and began to lead them to the cash register.
When at the cash register, Christopher pulled out his wallet and asked, “How much?”
“Well I got you three blouses, skirts, and dresses; five pairs of bras; two packets of panties and socks; and one pair of petite style shoes, so the total is $168.00.”
Christopher’s face became pale.
“Plus tax of course.”
Christopher looked at the stack of clothes and then back at Avalon, who looked at him with bright eyes. Christopher sighed as he placed his credit card on the counter. Caleb smiled as he slid Christopher’s card through the card reader and then handed it back to him.
“Thanks for the purchase,” thanked Caleb as he handed Christopher his receipt. Christopher nodded wondering how he was going to get the money back.
Avalon took the bag of clothes and nodded at Caleb in thanks. Caleb smiled at Avalon and patted her head.
“You’re really cute little Avalon,” complimented Caleb.
Christopher and Avalon headed to the exit, but stopped in their tracks when they heard Caleb say, “Come back soon.” Christopher glanced back and nodded as he pushed Avalon through the door.
When they were outside, Christopher led Avalon to a bathroom area pulling out a light blue blouse and matching skirt with a white bra, panty, socks, and shoes. He handed the clothes selection to Avalon and pointed to a bathroom stall.
“Change into these and then we’ll go to the Archives,” instructed Christopher. Avalon nodded and then walked into a bathroom stall with the clothes in hand.
Christopher leaned against the wall outside of the bathroom areas and looked at his surroundings. He saw a sign announcing the lottery money amount of three million dollars and smiled. He headed to a nearby newspaper stand pulling out a dollar bill.
“Yes,” answered the newspaper stand owner.
“I would like to buy a lottery ticket.”
The newspaper stand owner nodded asking what numbers Christopher wanted.
“12, 20, 22, 31, 45.”
The newspaper owner typed the said numbers taking Christopher’s dollar. He then handed Christopher the printed lottery ticket wishing him good luck. Christopher thanked the man and headed back to the bathroom stalls.
“Are you done, Avalon?” asked Christopher, pocketing the lottery ticket. Christopher heard the stall open and out walked Avalon in the clothes Christopher chose. Avalon looked like an innocent doll. Christopher blushed, but immediately shook it away clearing his throat.
“You look cute, Avalon,” complimented Christopher. Avalon held her notebook up to him with a slight blush on her cheek.
Christopher smiled taking her hand into his.
“Let’s get going.”
Avalon nodded placing the handle of the bag of clothes over her shoulder.
As they walked, Christopher noticed that a lot of people, mostly men, were looking at Avalon with admirable eyes. Christopher frowned and pulled her to his side.
“Stay close, Avalon,” whispered Christopher. Avalon nodded holding his arm lightly.
After what seemed like hours of walking, Avalon and Christopher reached the Archives’ Building. Christopher walked through the glass doors with Avalon in tow and headed straight to the receptionist’s desk.
“Can I help you sir?” asked the receptionist.
“I would like to see the files on Envy and James Connor of Wiles Enterprise.”
The receptionist typed the two names into her desk computer and then looked at Christopher.
“I’m sorry sir. The files on Envy are restricted. Only level five detectives can have access to them. As for James Connor, I only have his family history, is that OK?”
Christopher sighed and said, “I’ll look at the family history files of James Connor for now.” The receptionist nodded and began to head to the back telling Christopher to wait.
When the receptionist was out of sight, Christopher pulled out a flash drive from his pocket and inserted it into the side of the desk computer. Avalon wrote quickly in her notebook and then held it up to Christopher.
“What are you doing, Christopher?”
Christopher smiled and replied, “I’m just making a copy of Envy’s files for my flash drive.” Avalon wrote something else with a puzzled look.
“It’s called hacking, but I only do this in emergencies.”
Avalon nodded as Christopher removed his flash drive from the computer and stuffed it back into his pocket just as the receptionist was coming out of the backroom with a thick file folder.
“Here is the file you wanted on James Connor. I just need to see your detective badge and a credit card.”
Christopher nodded flashing his level 1 detective badge and his credit card. The receptionist charged his credit card before handing the file to Christopher. Christopher took the file with a smile and his credit card. Stuffing his credit card and badge back into his pocket, he began to lead Avalon out the door with the thick file in hand.
When they were outside, Avalon wrote something else into her notebook.
“So you need to pay to get a file?”
Christopher nodded and said, “I can spend money if it is for the case.” Christopher was smiling, but he seemed to be in pain.
“Anyway, I have the files on Envy and little information on James Connor, so we better head to the library.”
“Why the Library?”
“Because I don’t have a computer at home,” admitted Christopher. Avalon nodded.
They began to head to the library, but a police car appeared from behind a corner. Avalon’s eyes widened and then hid behind Christopher. Christopher glanced back at Avalon and then back at the police car that drove past them.
“I’m sure the police aren’t looking for you,” stated Christopher. Avalon had a troubled look as she wrote something new into her notebook and then showed it to Christopher.
“I forgot to tell you this, but when I go to the past, my past self disappears, so I am already no longer in Machina Hospital, so the police and the doctors would try to find me.”
Christopher turned pale and pulled Avalon to his side looking from left to right.
“I won’t let them take you back,” whispered Christopher. Avalon nodded with a small smile on her lips.
It didn’t take them long to reach the public library and into the computer lab on the second floor. Christopher plugged his flash drive into a free computer and began to type at a rapid pace until there was a small ringing sound.
“What did you just do?” Avalon wrote.
“Well my flash drive would hack the library computers if I don’t type in a secret code within five seconds.”
Avalon’s eyes were wide in amazement. Christopher searched the hacked files of the Archives and then clicked on the restricted file of Envy. A computer file popped up with a blank space for the criminal picture. Christopher frowned.
“I guess no one ever knows what Envy looks like.”
“Why?” Avalon wrote.
“Envy only strikes when no one, except for the victim, is around, so no one has ever taken her picture. She’s pretty much a faceless criminal as of now.”
Christopher scrolled through the file with seriousness in his eyes.
“According to the file, she’s killed around ten people in two years making her one of the top serial killers of the century. Her last known victim was Tyler George, age twenty-five, a worker in a computer company called Deligon Enterprise in Austin, Texas. After his death, there weren’t any more murders related to Envy.”
Avalon wrote in her notebook and showed it to Christopher.
“Were the other nine victims workers of a huge corporation too?”
Christopher nodded and added, “These victims had wonderful lives: a stable home, family, and job. That’s why we thought the motive for the murder was jealousy.”
“Were they all men?”
Christopher nodded again as he scrolled through the file.
“The victims are always around their twenties as well,” added Christopher. Christopher opened James Connor’s file on the desk revealing the picture of James Connor and the written information.
“James Connor has a stable job and home and is around his twenties. He fits the other victims of Envy.”
“What about his family?”
Christopher scrolled through the file and began to frown.
“He’s an orphan. He was never adopted, but managed to live on his own before graduating from college and getting a position in Wiles Enterprise. He has yet to get married. He’s a modern day Cinderella.”
Avalon smiled and wrote, “He’s very lucky.” Christopher nodded in agreement. He looked back at Envy’s file and said, “Mr. Connor was made a target by Envy, so we better keep a close eye on him and figure out who Envy is before she strikes.” Avalon tilted her head to the side at Christopher before showing a new question she wrote in her notebook.
“Why do you think Envy is a girl?”
“Well no one knows Envy’s gender, but it was decided that Envy must be a girl because of the lipstick.”
Avalon nodded with uneasiness in her face.
Christopher then printed out James Connor’s picture and removed his flash drive with a smile.
“I think we can go to Wiles Enterprise now.”
Avalon nodded as she began to follow Christopher out of the computer lab. Unknown to any of them, a man sitting at a computer at the far left corner glanced at them with a black baseball hat shadowing his eyes. His focus rested on Avalon before she disappeared from his line of sight.
“It can’t be,” he whispered.
Christopher and Avalon walked in the direction of Wiles Enterprise side by side. As they walked, Avalon glanced at passing food stands. Avalon’s stomach growled making Christopher look back at her. Christopher chuckled scratching the back of his head.
“I was so excited that I forgot to feed you,” stated Christopher. Christopher’s stomach growled making him blush.
“And me for that matter.”
Christopher grabbed Avalon’s hand gently and led her to a restaurant called “Happy Burger.” When inside they were led to a table and given menus. Christopher looked through the menu and then back at Avalon.
“So what would you like?” asked Christopher. Avalon wrote in the notebook and showed it to Christopher.
“Burger and fries with a glass of water.”
Christopher nodded and called for the waitress. As the waitress took their order a man in a business suit entered with a leather bag over his shoulder. His short brown hair was combed back giving him a professional look. He sat in a nearby table waiting for a menu. Avalon saw the man making her eyes widen. She wrote quickly in her notebook and showed it to Christopher after he was done ordering. Christopher read what she wrote and gasped.
“James Connor is in the restaurant.”
Christopher looked around until he spotted the man, James Connor, reading through a menu. Christopher smiled and said, “That was easy, now we just have to figure out how we can approach him.”
Christopher looked away trying to come up with a plan, while Avalon stared at James. James noticed Avalon staring at him and groaned. He stood up from his seat setting the menu down and approached Avalon and Christopher’s table. He then pressed his hand against the table getting Avalon and Christopher’s attention.
“Is something wrong?” asked Christopher, not expecting to speak to James so early. James glanced at Avalon and asked, “Does she have a problem with me?”
“That girl keeps staring at me. It’s creeping me out.”
Christopher looked at Avalon and then back at James apologizing. James scoffed and then noticed Avalon writing in her notebook.
“What are you doing?” asked James rudely. Avalon held up the notebook with a blush against her cheek.
“Sorry for staring, but I never saw someone as handsome as you. Sorry if what I wrote made you uncomfortable.”
James stared at the writing in the notebook and then burst out laughing making Christopher and Avalon flinch.
James smiled at Avalon and said, “That’s very charming young lady and no need to apologize.” Avalon nodded lowering her notebook. James suddenly grabbed her notebook and wrote something in it before handing it back.
“Hope to see you again,” stated James before heading back to his table. Avalon looked in her notebook and saw a phone number and e-mail written in blue ink at the corner with James’s name over it.
“What did he write?” asked Christopher. Avalon showed the phone number and e-mail to Christopher making Christopher chuckle.
“He just met you and already gave you his number,” stated Christopher. Christopher handed Avalon back her notebook and said, “Looks like the only way we can stay close is for you to establish a friendship with him, but we still need to get to the company.” Avalon nodded hugging her notebook.
After their meal, they headed out, but then Christopher noticed that James was getting up from his seat leaving a half-eaten burger. Christopher pulled Avalon to his side just as James was walking out the door. James winked at Avalon before walking into a dark blue model 6030 Yaris parked in front of the restaurant. James drove off as Christopher and Avalon watched.
“Mr. Connor is driving toward Wiles Enterprise, so maybe Envy is already close,” speculated Christopher. Christopher began to lead Avalon down the sidewalk, not noticing that they were being tailed by the same man from the library.
After walking what seemed like hours, Christopher and Avalon reached Wiles Enterprise. Christopher glanced up at the tall building and sighed.
“The top leading computer engineering company, Wiles Enterprise, what a sight.”
Christopher rubbed his chin and muttered, “Now how to get in without looking suspicious.” Avalon stared at the building and then wrote in her notebook quickly and then showed it to Christopher.
“I read in the magazine that Wiles Enterprise helps people with computer related problems, so maybe we can convince them to let James Connor assist us.”
“That’s a good idea, but we don’t have a computer that he can even look at,” pointed out Christopher.
“You said that you are willing to spend money for a case, so how about using the money to buy a second hand computer. It doesn’t even have to work.”
Christopher smiled and then patted her head.
“We’ll do that after we convince the company to get James Connor to help us.”
Avalon nodded with a light blush on her cheek.
They walked into Wiles Enterprise, as the man tailing them hid behind a building wall narrowing his shadowed eyes.
“What is that brat up to this time and who is that guy with her?”
The man decided in the end to wait outside for them to leave the building.
When Christopher and Avalon were inside they saw many people in business like suits and some in normal casual wear, most likely clients looking for help. Christopher adjusted his tie with sweat along his brow.
“I really hope we can get James Connor,” whispered Christopher nervously. Avalon nodded holding her notebook close to her chest.
Christopher approached the receptionist desk with a smile.
“Excuse me, ma’am.”
“Can I help you sir?”
“I would like to get some help in fixing a computer.”
“What is wrong with it?” asked the receptionist as she began to type in the computer before her.
“Well, it won’t open no matter what I do. It actually opened once, only to make a buzzing sound and then crash.”
“That sounds like a hard drive problem. I can get you a repairman by tomorrow morning, is that OK?”
“That will work and I have one more question.”
“What is it?”
Christopher gulped and asked, “Is James Connor able to fix the computer?” The receptionist chuckled.
“He would be able to fix your computer, but he has other clients that could pay him more than what you can dish out.”
Christopher groaned clenching his fist.
“Anyway, I would need your address, name, and credit card number, young man.”
Christopher nodded still feeling peeved about what the receptionist said, but what made him frustrated was that he still had to find a way to get James Connor to come to Avalon and him.
As Christopher searched his wallet, Avalon was looking around in awe. Avalon suddenly saw James Connor about to walk into a hall in the distance and tugged on Christopher’s sleeve. Christopher looked at Avalon and saw her pointing forward. Christopher followed Avalon’s finger and saw James with a computer screen under his arm. Christopher was about to call out to him, but the receptionist suddenly grabbed his arm and said, “This seems to be your first time here, so I need you to fill out some forms first.” Christopher nodded with a groan. Avalon glanced at the direction James went and then back at Christopher. She wrote quickly in her notebook and showed it to Christopher.
“I will follow him and try to make a connection.”
Christopher nodded and whispered, “Be careful.” Avalon nodded and then took off running. The receptionist watched Avalon run off and asked, “Where is your daughter going?”
“She’s going to the bathroom and she’s not my daughter.”
“Niece then?” asked the receptionist. Christopher shook his head with a frown.
“She’s my friend.”
“Well anyone would think she’s your daughter the way she stuck to you.”
Christopher groaned and realized that he would need to figure out how to keep her out of the hospital.
Avalon ran down the hall looking around filled with bewilderment. She knew she saw James enter down this hall, but he was nowhere in sight and the number of people around made it difficult for her to navigate. Avalon attempted to walk forward past the increasing crowd, but a rather large man elbowed her arm and forced her to the ground. The force was so strong that the notebook she held was tossed into the air and out of her reach. Avalon sat on the ground pale looking in all directions. Her world seemed to be spinning and no one stopped to even assist her.
Avalon began to tear up hoping for Christopher to magically appear to her rescue. Suddenly, a large hand was extended to her. Avalon looked up with blurry eyes and saw James holding his hand to her with a concern look on his face.
“Are you OK?” he asked in a soothing voice. Avalon nodded and took his hand gently. James pulled Avalon to her feet and then handed her back her fallen notebook.
“This is yours I believe,” stated James. Avalon nodded taking the notebook and writing something into it. She showed the notebook to James.
“Thank you for saving me, Mr. Connor.”
James smiled and said, “You’re welcome young lady. Now that I think about it, I never heard your name back in the restaurant.”
Avalon wrote her name on the notebook and showed James. James nodded and complimented her name making Avalon blush.
“So what brings you here and where is that male friend of yours?”
“Christopher is at the front trying to make an appointment to get his computer fixed, but the receptionist is being difficult.”
“Well Miss. Darla is quite dedicated to her work.”
Avalon nodded and wrote, “We wanted you to fix it, but she claims that Christopher is too poor to afford you.” James burst out laughing.
“I’m quite flattered he wants me to fix his computer, but Miss. Darla is correct that I only accept high paying customers.”
Avalon looked crestfallen as she lowered her notebook, but perked up when James added, “But I can make an exception if YOU really want me to fix it.” Avalon wrote in her notebook quickly.
“I really want you to.”
James chuckled and said, “Then it will be done.” James gestured down the hall and said, “I need to finish with three more clients this afternoon, but I will gladly go to your home to fix the computer tomorrow morning. I’ll let Miss. Darla know of this arrangement of course.” Avalon nodded writing “thank you” repeatedly on one page of the notebook.
James patted Avalon’s head and then headed down the opposite hallway.
Avalon hugged her notebook to her chest feeling glad that she managed to get James Connor to come over.
Meanwhile, Christopher was still filling out the pile of paperwork, just to get a hired worker to go to his home to repair the computer. Christopher finally reached the last paper, signing it and handing the entire stack to the receptionist, Miss. Darla.
“Is that all?” asked Christopher. Miss. Darla nodded and said, “I will have a computer specialist come over tomorrow to fix your computer.”
“Are you sure I can’t get James Connor to fix it?”
“Pay in cash and that could be arranged,” stated Miss. Darla with a mischievous smile. Christopher had to fight the urge to strangle this difficult woman, but all thoughts of murder vanished when he felt a tug on his right sleeve. He looked to his side and saw Avalon smiling up at him.
Avalon held her notebook up to Christopher to read.
“I got Mr. Connor’s approval to come over to your home.”
Christopher’s eyes widened and then burst into a smile exclaiming, “That’s wonderful.” Christopher’s outburst of happiness made Miss. Darla look at the opened notebook of Avalon’s. Miss. Darla’s eyes grew so wide that it seemed like they would pop out of her skull.
“That can’t be right. Mr. Connor would never agree,” stated Miss. Darla in a near panic. Her phone suddenly rang forcing her to pick it up.
“Hello, this is the front desk of Wiles Enterprise. My name is Ellen Darla, how may I help you?”
Miss. Darla perked up.
“Mr. Connor, I didn’t expect to get a call from you….yes there is a Christopher here. Uh huh, are you sure? I understand sir, I will tell him and the young lady with him.”
Miss. Darla hung up the phone and looked at Christopher and Avalon with a sigh.
“Mr. Connor will come to your address tomorrow morning at seven to fix your computer, so please verify your current address, so I can send it immediately to Mr. Connor.”
Christopher nodded thanking Miss. Darla repeatedly with Avalon smiling next to him.
After verifying Christopher’s address, Avalon and he began to leave the building. Christopher smiled at Avalon and said, “Good thing we met him in the restaurant, right?” Avalon nodded and was about to write something in the notebook, but stopped in her tracks when she heard someone yell, “Hey brat!”
Christopher, hearing the outburst, turned around and saw the man wearing the black baseball hat. He wore a deep red jersey, dark blue jeans, and black sneakers with a check logo on the side. The shadow of the hat covered his eyes making it difficult for Christopher to make out his face.
Christopher noticed Avalon shaking as she looked at the man. Christopher pulled Avalon in a hug glaring at the man.
“Who are you?” demanded Christopher.
The man lifted up his hat revealing his short deep red hair and green eyes and stated, “I should be asking you that. Why are you with that brat?”
Christopher could feel Avalon clench his sleeve as she shook making him hug her harder.
“Her name is Avalon and I don’t have to be a detective to see that she doesn’t like you, so you better leave before I call the cops,” threatened Christopher. The man didn’t even flinch as a smirk appeared on his lips.
“Call the cops? Wouldn’t that put her in danger since she belongs to the Machina Hospital?” mocked the man. Christopher’s eyes widened increasing his hold on Avalon.
“How do you…?”
“Of course I know. I was there when she was first registered into the hospital, but not before she stopped me from killing my prey.”
“Prey?” muttered Christopher with a bewildered look. The man nodded pulling a gun that seemed to be made entirely out of glass from his jersey pocket, pointing the barrel of the gun toward Christopher.
“I know that brat has something planned, so if you don’t want to die then move out of the way before your brain and blood decorates the concrete floor.”
Christopher gulped staring at the gun trying to come up with an escape plan. Christopher heard the cock of the gun as the unnamed man prepared to fire.
As if God had answered Christopher’s prayers a sudden gust of wind forced the unnamed man to shut his eyes to prevent sand from flying into his eyes. Christopher took this chance to carry Avalon bridal style and rush toward the crowded street of people.
Christopher ran so fast that he barely noticed the people walking pass him within the crowd. He heard the unnamed man curse in the distance making him heave out a sigh of relief.
“Thank goodness for this crowd?” he whispered. Christopher felt Avalon grip the front of his shirt and smiled pressing his chin against the top of her head.
“I won’t let him hurt you,” whispered Christopher. Christopher couldn’t see it, but Avalon smiled pressing her forehead against his chest.