Shadow Crawlers. Part 30.

And we’re back!

Part 1, Part 29

“But why are you leaving?”
“It’s just time to move on. I appreciate being let stay here, I really do, and I’m going to miss not seeing you guys but I need to get going.”

Grady stepped forward and shook Jacks hand, “at least you said goodbye, rather than sneaking away.” She was used to that, they all were.

“I couldn’t do that. Things were different. We were family. I’ll come back and visit and stuff.”

“Do. We’ll cook something awesome and make a night of it.”

Jack already had everything packed and waiting at the door, a backpack and a duffel bag.
He hugged Rose, “thanks again for taking us in. I really appreciate it.”

Rose nodded, “it was the least I could do.”

He shouldered his backpack and picked up the duffel.
“I’m off. I have a few meetings I’ve to get to.”
He turned and left without much further fuss. Everyone drifted away from the door.

Grady was surprised he had said goodbye, him of all people. She had always expected Jack to just vanish one day and never return. He was friendly sure, and he got along with everyone, but there still was something about him that said he only looked out for himself. She had never been able to shake that feeling about him, even when he helped her or others. Grady made her way to her room. She was feeling drained. She hadn’t slept well the last few days, nightmares and strange dreams had woken her and on some nights, she couldn’t sleep at all. She had considered asking Amy for a little help getting asleep but decided against it. Not after last time. At least with the dreams she woke up, she didn’t want to be trapped inside on for a full night, they were unpleasant enough as it was. She’d just have to deal with it until this was over and she could go back to normal life. This waiting around was grating on her nerves.

Jack walked away from the house slowly. He was after all in no real rush. He did have an appointment later, but it wouldn’t be for a few hours. He had plenty of time to waste before he had to be there. Smiling dreamily, he walked along the road.

Amy hadn’t been sleeping well either. She had tried to take a few pills to get some rest, but it hadn’t worked. Probably the stress of the last few days. There was just so much waiting going on and when the waiting finally ended, it could mean all their deaths. Rose and Brett had seemed to be avoiding both her and Grady and Amy was starting to worry that they felt guilty about something, that maybe she was going to get attacked or they were going to betray her. She had tried to talk to Grady about it, but Grady had brushed her off, saying something about it being in her head. She tried to just go about her day, but with nothing to do it was difficult. Before they’d be planning or sorting or going out but since the fire they hadn’t done any of that. They’d been laying low and living off Rose. Amy felt bad about it, but she didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. She didn’t want to leave by herself and no one else would go with her. She had talked to Jack about going with him, and it seemed like he thought it was a good idea, but apparently not. She hadn’t known he was leaving until he was saying goodbye. Either way, she was stuck here for a while now. She could always go on the run. She had contacts of her own, they were good people. Some of them were a little spacey sure, but they’d put her up for a few days. She was useful and they knew it. It was always handy to have someone like her around. The only problem was Grady. Amy didn’t want to leave her behind. Brett would be fine, he had Rose, he could find something himself, but not Grady. She’d manage, but she wouldn’t do well. She’d probably end up dead in a few years. She had some skills, but they alone wouldn’t be enough. Grady needed guiding, she needed help and that could be draining. Amy herself had been against Grady joining the gang originally. She had heard a few things about her and they weren’t flattering. A reputation was good to have, but not the kind that Grady was cultivating. Amy had expected her to be a liability rather than an asset. If Amy was around to vouch for her, keep her steady, they’d both be better off for it.

Amy had already decided to wait until this entity showed up. Once that happened she’d be able to figure out what her options were. It might now of a way for them to hide, hell, she could even try and see if it’d be willing to tell the others that her and Grady weren’t involved. That they were just passing through. It might not be possible, but it was certainly worth a shot. Either way she had her bags packed and ready to go at a moments notice. She had been caught out with the fire and she didn’t want to get caught out again.

“Have you decided on a name yet?”
“We’re still thinking. We came up with a few, but they seemed too outlandish. We’ll figure something out though. Don’t worry.”
“Just hurry up with it, will you? I don’t like this.”
“Yes, yes we know, we’re thinking as fast as we can. You don’t want to end up with something stupid, do you?”
“I guess not.”
“I don’t know why this is so difficult, normally you just know.”

“We’re probably thinking about it too much.”

He sighed, then turned away from Brett and Rose, they were probably going to start arguing and when that happened, they could go at it for awhile. He liked this place, despite being contained, despite his lack of a name. It was pleasant. Relaxing. It had been so long since there had been no tasks, no danger. Of course he didn’t have as much experience as Rose and Brett. They were among the flashy ones. His power wasn’t exactly subtle, but it wasn’t as impressive. It could be, but the problem with that was control. Sometimes he could accidently destroy a large part of his masters army without intending too. It wasn’t his fault really, humans were just such panicky animals. They couldn’t stay still. He couldn’t be silent either. Most things he did created noise, usually loud too. Rose could be silent with her flames and Brett, well, he could be very, very persuasive, when he was in his element, no one would make a sound. He sat down on the bed and looked at some of the books. He liked books, but he never really had much chances for reading. It was rare he inhabited a body that could read. It was always interesting, reading about peoples ideas and hopes. If he couldn’t read, and his master was kind, he would sometimes ask for a story teller, or just listen in. They were fun too. He was the only one with any real love of fiction, as far as he knew anyway, it wasn’t exactly something they discussed with one another. He looked over at Brett and Rose. They were still talking. He didn’t like being nameless, but he didn’t like being indebted to them either. If someone else gave him a name, they wouldn’t have as much power over him. He didn’t like being so close to them. He was never one for schemes, he tried to stay apart, but by doing so he would end up participating accidently. They weren’t meant to be in places like this, not together. There were other places for them to meet. Better places.

“I have it.”
“Are you sure?”
“No.”
“Fine. I’m getting sick of this, just go for it.”
“Edward. Ed for short.”
Brett shook his head, “Ed doesn’t sound at all like some kind of powerful being. It sounds like an old guy or something.”
“Well, it’s already done. Isn’t that right Ed?”
“I guess. I don’t mind it. I’ve had worse.”
“Ok, but we’ll just say it’s a new name or something. You changed it to blend in more.”
“How do you want to do the meeting?”
“I was thinking we could shove him in the vault again, make it seem all mystical, rather than some guy just showing up at the front door.”

“Sounds good to me. Ok Ed, you’re going to have to be a bit of a prick, aloof, not really caring, say we’re wasting your time or something.”
Ed sighed, he didn’t really care for theatricality either. He was never one to do big flourishes and make a show of things, just finish it up. Sure, he understood how intimidation could work, but the time you spend intimidating could be time spent killing an army.

“Fine. Whatever. Lets just do this ok? We’ll get rid of it and go our separate ways.”

They nodded. Brett didn’t really expect the others to make it through all this. Or at least, he hoped they wouldn’t. He’d have to find some way to get them back into their containers afterwards, but that wouldn’t be too difficult. In the back of his mind, he felt a slight, pleasurable throb. Brett grinned, he knew the others would be able to feel it too, but that didn’t matter. It was back. Finally. It always took a couple of them to jumpstart it, but he could keep it going by himself if he had to. Smiling, he left the room. He had duties to attend to. He had been gone for awhile now and he expect that there would be a lot of clean up to do.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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