Available Darkness: Chapter 21
(Serial and Milk: Available Darkness is a serialized horror thriller co-written by David Wright and Sean Platt. A new chapter appears here each Friday. If you missed previous chapters, you can read them here.)
“I asked you to what?” John said, trying to make sense of Larry’s confusing statement.
“You came to me two months back, begging me to wipe your memory and bury you alive. You said ‘they’ had found you and that you needed to protect someone.”
John’s mind was still a blank slate.
“I don’t get it, how does burying me protect someone? Who was I running from and who was I trying to protect?” An idea flashed through his mind, the woman in the memory delivered by Abigail, but John didn’t want to give Larry any information which could compromise him, or Hope, wherever she was. If she were in fact safe.
“You didn’t say who,” Larry said, “but you did say the only way you could make sure they couldn’t read your mind was if it was wiped clean. And that involved a spell and for you to die … well, temporarily, anyway.”
Larry looked at John, then shook his head and grabbed the other chair. He sat, rolled closer and leaned forward to explain.
“You’re not a human, John. You’re from another dimension, one that was once connected to our own. Think of it as an Earth Two,” Larry said, making a globe with his hands, “except this Earth is called Otherworld, or properly, orbis alia, a place where stuff like vampires and fairies and all sorts of other crazy shit isn’t the stuff of fairy-tales. Over there, it’s all real.”
John stared at Larry, trying to determine if he was insane or just fucking with him. Given all that had happened tonight, John supposed anything was possible. But fairies?
“You are a feeder, you need to feed off the life force of others in order to live. It’s a lot like the whole ‘vampire thing’ – you suck the life from people and can die if exposed to sunlight. You’re also close to immortal, meaning you age super slowly, though don’t ask me how old you are, because you’ve never told me. Well, you were immortal, I should say. Then two years ago, you found a solution, to become human, for lack of a better word.”
“You mean, I wasn’t a feeder anymore?”
“No,” through hundreds of hours of meditation, spells and rituals, you’d suppressed it. You were able to live just like anyone else, go outside during the day, you were even able to touch people without killing them.”
John looked at his hands and realized how quickly he’d felt the weight of his curse and how he longed to lose his deadly touch.
“And you were the happiest I’d ever seen you,” Larry continued, “even though you’d gotten sick a few times and could feel the effects of aging. You said it was all worth it.”
She must be special, John thought.
“How did we meet?” John asked.
“I was a P.I. and we met about four years back when you needed me to look into a … personal matter. Soon enough, you hired me on full-time to take care of various things and help you get out of all the jams your condition sometimes got you into. In return, you taught me some magick from time to time.”
“Which is why you’re immune to my touch?” John asked.
“Not exactly,” Larry said, “it’s a long story, but suffice it to say, I’m the only one who is immune. So, anyway, two months ago you came to me in a panic. You were a lot more secretive than usual, didn’t want me to know what was going on, saying it could put me in danger.”
“I need to know everything you know,” John said.
Larry leaned forward, the smile gone from his face and his cheeks.
“There are some things you told me not to tell you, no matter how much you begged or threatened. Otherwise, you said, things could get dangerous for everyone. Hope you understand.”
“You have to trust me,” Larry said, “or at least trust yourself.”
“Can you tell me who is after me?” John asked, “because I don’t think I was able to…”
Suddenly, John heard footsteps approaching in the next room.
Larry leaped from his seat and grabbed the gun from his waistband with surprising agility, especially for a fat guy. He ran into the room, gun drawn. As John followed, he saw the target – Abigail, standing in room, confused, eyes wide as Larry descended on her with his gun.
“No,” John screamed. He meant to scream, ‘she’s with me’, but all that came out was an incoherent yelp, his mouth betraying his brain. He reached out desperately to grab Larry’s shoulder and pull him back, but Larry was too far ahead, gun drawing down on Abigail too quickly for him to do anything but be a helpless witness.
A sharp pain shot through John’s brain, spine, and then his extended arm as a bolt of blinding energy shot forth from his hand and slammed Larry forward with the force of a powerful ocean wave.
Larry flew forward, scrambling to the ground as his gun fell on the floor in front of Abigail. She quickly grabbed it and handed it to John, who was shaking, frightened and on his knees, suddenly exhausted.
Larry sat up, rubbing his head, “what the hell?”
John aimed the gun at Larry, finger tight on the trigger, the gun a bit wobbly in his hand, “She’s with me.”
Larry looked at him, then up for a moment, “Ah, she’s the girl on the TV, the one you kidnapped.”
“Woah,” Abigail said to John as she stepped cautiously towards him, “I didn’t know you could do that.”
John looked up and smiled at her, “yeah, me either.”
Then John noticed that the gun, still trained on Larry, was shaking violently in his hand.
“Dude, you might want to sit down,” Larry said as he started to come towards John.
“Wha?” John said before the world spun black and fell in around him.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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