The Fallowing – The Fifth, Part VIII
by Steppen Sawicki
Sam tried to follow me along with the monster that had swallowed me, but it was far too fast, weaving back and forth around pedestrians with ease. Soon it was out of Sam’s sight. The snow was too well-trampled to show new footprints, and he had no clues on where it might be going. He ran back to where the encounter had happened, hoping to find Milo, hoping he could make some use of the boy. He was gone, frightened off by the monster, deciding that it just wasn’t worth torturing his ex tonight if he had to deal with that.
Sam looked up and down the street. Everything was business as usual. If anyone had witnessed what happened they had written it off as imagination or were inside being counseled that it had been imagination.
Sam went to room 11031, kicking the door in without bothering to knock. The latch smashed through the jamb easily enough, showering the room with splinters. Girls looked up blearily at his entrance, not jumping in surprise or standing in anger. Their eyes were empty, bored, perhaps only showing a slight relief that this newcomer wasn’t Amnon.
Sam went from room to room, but of course neither I nor Amnon was there. Only more girls, curious at his presence but otherwise unresponsive. He bodily thrust them out the door when they didn’t respond to his order to get out, and they all stood in the hall for a moment, crowded by the door, unsure of what to do. The they filed away one by one, like balls tossed down the hall, some rolling into the other rooms, some bouncing down the stairs and out into the cold. Some of these were still standing around the outside door when I arrived, all in various states of undress, shivering and confused without their man to tell them what to do.
I hardly noticed them. I was in something of a daze myself. Amnon and the monster had kept my rifle and most of my knives. But before letting me go he had allowed me to keep one knife. I held it loosely, barely keeping a grip on it as I climbed the stairs and made my way down the noisy corridor. Girls looked curiously out of a couple of open doors – genuinely curious at the sudden outflux from 11031. They quickly ducked back inside at the sight of me, haggard and carrying a rather large knife.
Sam was hiding beside the door, but came out into the open when he saw me enter the room.
“Faye, are you alright?” His voice was breathless, relieved, worried. He checked behind me, but there was no one there to see. Amnon hadn’t followed me. “What happened?”
I didn’t look at him. He put a hand on my shoulder and I jerked back from his touch, unsettled by it, even disgusted.
“He asked me,” I said, backing away from him, “what you had told me. And I said ‘He told me he was half-angel.’”
Sam’s eyes widened. A look of horror took root in his face, slowly began to spread. “Faye – ”
“And you know what he said to me?” I laughed, the sound of it sickly even to me.
“Faye – ”
“He said ‘Of course he did. We’re all half-angel. Me. Atsel. Gehazi. Those little ones like the boneman here. And Sam. All half-angel, with angel fathers and a human mother.’”
Sam shook his head, negating something but not the basic facts. Perhaps negating this, my new knowledge.
“And I thought of your eyes,” I continued, not even sure what I was saying, just having to talk and hear myself in order to not go mad. “And how they shift when you get angry or when you demand something from somebody. And I knew he was right. He was right and I had never figured it out on my own. And…” I looked down at the knife in my hands, all its chips and every imperfection of its edge crystal-clear to me. “And he brought out this knife, seemingly from nowhere, and he handed it to me and I took it ’cause I didn’t know what I was doing. He asked me ‘Do you want to hurt him?’”
I looked up at Sam again, tears springing to my eyes. “And I wanted to, Sam. I wanted to fucking kill you. All these months spent hunting these things and you never told me you were one of them. Like I’d never find out. Like you’d just keep me in the dark forever.”
“I never thought things would end up like this,” Sam said, his voice cracked and dry. His eyes were pitiful and so human.
“But I didn’t go at him with the knife,” I went on as if Sam had said nothing, because I couldn’t stop now. “And it wasn’t because I didn’t want to hurt you. I did. But I had to come here, and see you for myself. So he gave me this, too.”
I took my pistol from under my coat, and leveled it at Sam.
“I had to come here and kill you myself.”