The Fallowing – The Fourth, Part XII

by Steppen Sawicki

Novel: Occult Adventure

I was awakened two hours later by a knock on the door.  I jerked upright in bed and Sam, restringing his bow on the other side of the room, leapt to his feet.  I slipped naked out of bed and picked up my gun from the table.  Then we just froze, staring at the door as if it would blow open.

The knock came again.  Sam glanced at me and, after I nodded and pointed my weapon, he inched over to the door.  There was a peephole, and he looked through it but came away looking puzzled.

“Hello?” called a voice through the door.  It was female, young, and had a slight accent I couldn’t place.  She kind of sing-songed the word.

I silently questioned Sam, but he shrugged.

“Hi, I’m looking for Sam?”  She said it like it was a question.

“Who’s there?” I called from across the room.

“Oh hi,” she said again.  “I hope I have the right room.  This is Gin.  I’m looking for Sam.”

Sam only shrugged again, this time as if he were growing impatient.

“Why are you looking for Sam?” I asked.

“Well, see I was told he needed some help.  And I’m – ”

“Who told you that?” Sam barked.

“Oh is that Sam?  Hi!”  Again with the hellos.  “I’m an apprentice to Master Ahmes and…”

Sam unbolted the door, but only opened it a crack and didn’t look outside.  “Prove it.”

“Oh.  Um…”  There was some fussing behind the door and then “Here you go, this is – ”

Sam’s hand darted around the door and back like a snake.  He held a tiny watch on a necklace chain.  He turned it this way and that, inspecting it closely, then pried opened the back.

“This is his work,” he said.  He opened the door.

The girl standing in the doorway couldn’t have been any older than eighteen, and even that would have been stretching it.  She was dressed in a soft pink down coat with garish purple leggings on underneath.  Her hair was a natural bright red that fell in a halo of curls around her collar.  A line of freckles marched across her nose and cheeks.  “Yes, he gave me it and said ‘Gin, don’t go breaking this,’ but scarier because it’s Master Ahmes.  So don’t break it.”  Her voice dropped a bit at the end when she saw me naked with a gun.

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Sam said flatly.

“So,” she said.  “Hi, can I come in?  The room’s all sealed so…”

Sam looked hard into her eyes so that she frowned and shifted weight from one foot to the other.  He looked at me and my gun, seeming to weigh options.

“You may enter,” he said to her, holding out the watch.

I backed as she entered but kept my gun on her.  “So, um, I – ” she started.

“Did Ahmes send you?” Sam asked.

“He agreed to it, to aid my apprenticeship.  To see whether I can help you get through this or not.”

Sam’s face clouded.  “I’ll get through this fine.  I don’t need help.”

“Hm, well.”  She put a finger to her lips as if thinking.  “You’ve been sitting in a room that’s been sealed twice, the first time poorly.  Which I assume means you were injured and are still regaining strength.  And you’ve been here since it was first sealed sixteen hours ago, which is a long time to be holed up if you’re actively searching out your quarry with a respectable plan.”

Her green eyes regarded him shrewdly in a manner that didn’t match the rest of her.  She had seemed to forget my gun for the moment.

Sam’s eyes narrowed.  “We were coming up with a plan.”

“Ah,” she said, and looked out the corner of her eye at me.  “I see what kind of plans you were making.”  She winked at me.  She was intentionally riling up Sam.

It was working.  Sam sputtered.  “Our plans are none of your business.  And I don’t need your help.  Take your damned watches and leave.”

She flopped on the edge of the bed and spoke to me.  “See, he would rather die than let me help him.  Talk some sense into him, would you?”

“Do you know him?” I asked.

“I’ve never met her before,” Sam snapped.

“No, but I know of him.  And that’s all one needs to know.  But seriously, I can help you guys.  If,” she looked at me, “you’re in this too.”

“I am.  And we seriously need some fucking help.”