The Fallowing – The Third, Part VII

by Steppen Sawicki

Novel: Occult Adventure

“Don’t worry.  I know how to take him down,” Sam said.

We had relocated to the dining room to escape the burning eyes of the Reeses.  We had a view of the front yard if we peeked out the curtains, but it was still pitch-dark outside save for the little lamp on the porch.

I tried to speak, forgetting once again that my voice was gone.  I pointed to his leg instead.  The blood was already seeping through the bandage.  He had limped on it not too severely, but still he had limped on it.

“That changes nothing,” he said.

I gave him a look of quizzical disbelief, but he ignored it.  The candles in the room flickered low so that his own face was in shadows and hard to read, and his black eye was even darker – it looked like Envy’s eye, all gloom and shade.

“I’m just saying that you don’t have to be scared.  I know what he took from you.”

I crossed my arms and looked away.  I was perfectly fine.  I could probably just channel my unspoken anger at Sam into taking down any monster that showed up now.

My eyes settled on a painting hung on the wall.  It was so out of place.  Everything else in the house was well-used and had a purpose, from the dishes to the cabinets to the clothes.  But here was a detailed painting of a summer field free of snow, occasional clouds dotting the blue sky.  Maybe it served a purpose too though.  Maybe they looked at it at dinner time or in passing and imagined they were looking out the window at summer.

“I didn’t mean you weren’t a part of this.”

I was shocked out of my thoughts.  I had kind of forgotten Sam was there.  I looked at him.

“But you don’t know what this is all about.  You don’t know anything about this guy.  About any of them.”

That’s because you won’t tell me, I tried to tell him with the anger in my eyes.  I asked, didn’t I?  Just then.  And surely before that.  Didn’t I?  Now I wasn’t sure.  I wished I had some paper to write all this down on and show to him, because he wouldn’t look at my face now.

“Maybe I should have told you,” he said.  “But you didn’t ask.  And that made it easier.”

Well you have time now to tell me, what with the whole I can’t talk thing.

“And it was easier to have you around, as a… distraction, or whatever, while I ran in with the knife.”

I clenched my fists, holding back the urge to punch him again.  I needed to hear him out, no matter how infuriating his words.

“But now it’s going to get really dangerous.”  He passed his hand over his face, stared intently out that gap in the curtains.

“He took the watch.”

I wasn’t sure for a moment what watch he was talking about, but then I remembered him grabbing the pocketwatch from my hands, stopping it, his rage.  And I remembered him cursing after the fight with Cain, looking as if he were about to dash after him when he ran off.

“You are a part of this, but not enough to sacrifice yourself.  You should go your own way after this one, somewhere I’m not going.”

He sighed, as if saying that had tired him.

I stood and stormed over to him.  When he looked up at my face he flinched at the emotion in it.  I pulled my fist back as if to punch him again, but held it there.  He put up his arms to shield himself, and after a moment lowered them slowly, watching me close.

I walked back to my chair and fell into it.

Sam let out a breath and turned back to look out the curtains.  Dawn was starting to light the sky.