The Fallowing – The Third, Part IV

by Steppen Sawicki

Oh yeah, I wrote a book and was posting it on here.  And here I am starting to write a second book.  Get back on track, Sawicki.

Novel: Occult Adventure

Rick had his head in his hands, breaths coming short.  I walked step by step to the side of the bed and inch by inch pulled the thick covers from Sasha.  They revealed her figure, thin and straight, with no sign of a baby.

I looked back at Sam, but he was studying his feet, face blank and unreadable.

“Why did you come back?” Sasha asked, voice thin.  When neither of us answered right away she added “You knew, didn’t you?”

“He sent one of his messengers after us,” I answered, though I wasn’t certain whether messenger was the right word for it.  “We’ve been hunting him.”

“What is he?” Rick said, so low I barely heard him.

“A monster,” I said without hesitation.

“You brought him here,” Kelly rasped.  We all turned to her.  “You say you were hunting him but he was the one that followed you.  And you led him here.”

“No,” I said.  “We didn’t mean to – ”

“But you did,” George spoke up, his eyes red and accusing.  “If you hadn’t come here, he wouldn’t have bothered with us.  This is your fault!”

His voice rose at the last, and he came towards me, arm set to swing.  I was prepared to duck, but Sam stepped between us.

George’s hand came down for him, and Sam caught it with some difficulty.  George raised his other hand.

“Stop!” Sasha cried from the bed.  Her hand latched onto my arm as if it were George’s.  “Stop, they didn’t mean to…”

Her voice trailed off into sobs, but George stopped.  He stepped back in anguish, his anger fading before his wife’s tears.

“He’s going to come back,” said Sam.  He looked at each of them in turn, not shrinking from whatever anger or despair showed in their faces.  “That’s why he sent someone to tell us he was here.  He’s going to come back, and we’re going to be here waiting for him.  I don’t expect you to open your house to us again, but we’ll be here all the same.  Whether it’s our fault or not, we’ll take care of him.”

No one could answer to that.  Sam grabbed my hand and dragged me from the room, down the stairs, and out the door, where he finally let go of me.  He planted his feet firmly in the snow.

“You watch the back door,” he said, his voice seething with barely contained rage, leaving no room for argument.  Those gray eyes of his were on fire.

***

Night had fallen at least an hour past when Cassandra brought me a lettuce and tomato sandwich on coarse bread.

“You’re a life saver,” I told her, tearing into the sandwich.  “Anything to report on the front side of the house?”

“He’s doing okay,” she said.  “I brought him a sandwich too.  Don’t tell my dad.”

“I won’t tell anyone.”

“Will he really come back?”

I swallowed a bite and set the sandwich down on the snow so I could grasp her shoulders with both hands.  “You have nothing to worry about.  I’ll take him down.  With Sam’s help.  Don’t be scared, for Kyle’s sake.”

“I’m not scared,” she said, and I realized that she really wasn’t.  She stood tall, with determination in her eyes.  “I think you can kill him.  And I think you will.  But I…”  Her eyes were still determined, but they filled with tears that didn’t flow onto her cheeks, only swam in her eyes.  “I wish I could kill him.”

I suddenly felt like I was two years younger, encountering a bastardized version of my father in my living room, screaming as I pulled the trigger and pumped it full of lead.  “Maybe,” I said, “in due time you’ll kill his like, if I haven’t killed them all by then.  Never forget that pain.  Never forget that anger.”

She nodded.

“Sam!” I heard distantly, from the other side of the house.  It was a voice I didn’t recognize.

“Get inside.”  I pushed Cassandra towards the door.  “Lock the doors and get into an inside room.”  I dashed around the corner before she could respond.

“Put that thing down, Sam,” I heard as I rounded the house.  “We’re going to talk about this all civilized-like.”

I gripped my pistol and peeked around the corner.  There was only a dim lamplight on the porch, and it was so dark they would have little chance of seeing me, though that also meant I couldn’t see much of them either.  Two dark figures stood at the front of the house, and one of them I knew was Sam.  But that was all I knew.

“Nothing to talk about, Cain,” said the shadow with the gray-white coat, the shadow that was Sam.  “But come closer and we can end this right now.”

“Is this about the fetus or about me trying to kill you?” said Cain.  “Because the first is irrelevant and the second can be irrelevant if you let it.”

There was a pause before Sam spoke.  “What does that mean?”

“It should be obvious.  I can take what others desire.  And so many want what you have.  And the best part is, you don’t even want it.”

“If you could take it without killing me, you’d have it already.”

“True, so I can’t.  Not that easily.  But there are so many that want it, so many whose desires give me the power to take it.  If you let me.”

Both were silent for so long that I would have shot the shadow that was Cain had I not been so curious.

“So if I give you permission to take it,” Sam said.  “Then what?”

Cain shrugged, a roll of his dark shoulders.  “Then I take it.”

“And this family?  And Faye?”

“Then I’ll do what I want with them.  It’s not like you’ll care.”

Sam rushed at him, the silhouette of the knife flashing black against the white snow.

Cain stepped aside, laughing.  “So the hard way then?”  He grabbed Sam and threw him into the snow.

I shot at him, but he was already running away into the trees, as if he knew all along that I was there and ready to shoot.  I shot again and he was gone.

As I ran to Sam, he fumbled in the snow, trying to stand.  I went to help him up, but he thrust me away so hard that he nearly fell over again.  He still had the knife.  He gripped it so hard I could see the strain in his knuckles even in the dark.  He was shaking all over.

“What was that all about?” I said.  “What was he talking about?”

“It’s not your business,” he growled.

“Bullshit.  This sounds pretty damned important.  I might need to know something so important.”

“No, you don’t!” he shouted at me so harshly that I was taken aback.  He was standing now and in my face.  “You don’t need to know, because it has nothing to do with you!  None of it has anything to do with you!  It never did!  Just because you tagged along for the ride doesn’t mean – ”

I punched him in the face.

That shut him up.