The Fallowing – Supplemental

by Steppen Sawicki

I’m hard at work editing and revising the first chapter of Fallowing, back when Faye was chasing the wolf-monster-type-thing.  So here’s a little extra I’m adding in.

Novel: Occult Adventure

Several people from the bar offered me a place to settle down for what remained of the night, but Ben insisted the most.  His place was part of an apartment complex, as crumbled as the bar but warm in its collective housing, full of families and heating elements.  With a candle before us he led me up the stairway and to a darkened set of rooms where his parents and grandfather and sisters slept, aunts and uncles and cousins of Carrie.  Even though the furnace was turned down for the night, it was still a marked change from sleeping outside in a tent.

Ben stole into the hallway and pulled blankets from the closet.  He silently handed them over to me, and they sat thick and heavy in my arms.  A sister was already sprawled on the couch, and Ben woke her and grumbled at her to go into the bedroom.  But she drunkenly waved him away and rolled over.

“The floor is fine,” I whispered to him.

He motioned to her in exasperation, as if the action would force her off the couch.  “Sorry.  She comes home and passes out there.”

“No problem.”  I laid out the blankets – a mismatch of cotton and wool and lumpy pillow – on the floor and fell into them as he left for his own bed.  I was trying to convince myself that I was really was as exhausted as the old man in the bar had claimed.  That I was worn out and ready to collapse.  Ready to drift off to sleep.  But I wasn’t.

When had been the last time I’d slept on blankets, on a carpet instead of packed snow?  When had been the last time I’d slept surrounded by heat?  When had been the last time I’d fallen asleep to the sound of deep snores beside me?

When had I last been surrounded by a family?

My muscles too tense, I tried to relax into the blankets and found that even on the floor they were too soft for me.  I lay on my back, accustomed to sleeping wrapped in a mummy bag, and stared up at the ceiling that was popcorned and bursting with a thousand tiny shadows.

I knew going after it in the night and searching for its tracks would do no good.  I had done that before, and gotten nowhere.  Its tracks could change.  Its form was mutable.  It could even look different to different people, depending on who it had already eaten, depending on what it wanted to imply in the minds of those it hungered after.  Still I hated lying here waiting for morning.  I wanted to go after it in the night, no matter what little good it would do.  Because I was close.  It was here.  Ben was Carrie’s cousin; that was why it had followed him tonight, why it had attacked him.  But it hadn’t been in contact with him.  It hadn’t spoken to him.  As far as Ben was concerned, that attack on him tonight was done by a starving, crazed wolf.  That was what it had wanted him to see, so he saw a wolf.

But I had seen something else in the light of my torch, tearing into Ben.  I had seen my father.