The Surprising Life and Death of Diggory Franklin
Zebediah applauded as I solved his riddle, and determined why he was interested in me. And, in addition, why the CIA and the FBI were so involved in my life. As the new head of Franklin Investments, I had control of possibly the most profitable company in the United States at a time when the stock market was in panic mode. I could use our position to help stabilize the economy, or drive the country further into recession. That made me valuable to Zebediah’s plans. Well, I wasn’t about to be someone’s pawn.
“Nicely done!” Zebediah chuckled as he clapped. “He can be taught!”
I laughed at Zebediah, standing opposite me on the rooftop.
“Thanks to you killing my father, I’m already one of the three richest men in America. He built one of the most profitable corporations in history. You really think I’m going to need much?”
“Thanks to me,” Zebediah said, repeating part of my statement. I stared at him.
“Right now you’re one of the richest men in the world. Thanks to me. If you don’t want it, I can just as easily take it away.” He smiled.
I grimaced at Zebediah’s comment. It made no sense.
“How would risking another Depression be good for anyone? Chaos in the markets, worldwide instability… That’s ridiculous! You’re insane!”
Zebediah smiled slightly. He nodded. “From a certain perspective, probably. One that’s short-sighted.”
“You don’t make any sense!” I scoffed, clenching and unclenching my fists. My fingers were so wet and cold that I needed to get some feeling back. But I was also hoping to muster enough energy to attack him again.
Zebediah, the time-travelling terrorist who had blown up part of the Franklin building, murdered my father, and destroyed the Sorley farm, was trying to tell me that he wasn’t my enemy. That, if he wanted to kill me, I’d be dead already. Despite my hatred for the man, he had something of a point. I was still alive, and he’d had the perfect opportunity to terminate me when he was holding me over the side of the building.
“BASTARD!” I screamed as I sprinted across the rooftop, my feet splashing in puddles. I charged towards Zebediah, propelled by fury and hate.
He stood in the pouring rain like a statue, watching me come. Enraged, I threw myself at him, not caring about the wind pulling at me, the rain soaking my skin. Even inches away, he never blinked.
I looked through the peephole of my hotel room, expecting to see whoever had been incessantly knocking a second before. Instead, I saw an empty hallway. I opened the door, looking in both directions and seeing only doorways.
Or was that all? I thought I saw a flicker of motion out the corner of my eye, and looked to the stairwell. Had someone just gone through it?
“Hey!” I yelled out, but no one came back through the door. I looked back into my room, and then back down the hall. “What the hell…”
I laid low for all of Monday afternoon. My past self was busy meeting with Mr. White to discuss my father’s business dealings, but I couldn’t go to work while the other me was absent. Everyone would wonder why I wasn’t at the meeting. I had nowhere to be until tomorrow. So I stayed in my room watching television and reading.
The Episcopalian minister who was an expert on C.S. Lewis was sitting with his back to the door reading when I came back into the bookstore. I shuffled from foot to foot and then walked over.
“Uh, sorry, but do you have a second?” I asked him as I came around his chair.
He pushed his glasses up further on his nose, “Oh, certainly! What can I help you with?”
I scratched my head and sat down across from him.
“I don’t have anywhere to be right now, and I wondered if I could ask you something…”
“Ask away,” He smiled, trying to be friendly.
I slept late on Monday, and woke up feeling out of place and groggy. It took me awhile to remember that I was in a hotel waiting for Tuesday, so I could resume my normal life. But, that meant I had no idea what to do with myself today. I couldn’t go to work, call Calla, or visit my mother. None of that had happened before.
So, how to spend the time? I lazed away the morning finishing the book about Digory Kirke, my namesake from Narnia, and then I had nothing else to do. I showered and got dressed, and decided to go looking for some lunch.
Dahlia Sorley had come back from the future in a fury, to harangue me about my confrontation with Agent Johnson of the CIA. I, on the other hand, was bone-tired from time travel, my day, my date with Calla Wiley, and the general stress of having time-travelling crazy people interrupt my life on a constant basis.
“Here the CIA is helping me, and protecting you, and the stability of the entire space-time continuum, and you go and SHOOT poor Agent Johnson!” Dahlia was still going, full-blast.
I groaned and rubbed my face repeatedly, trying to work up the energy to deal with this.