Day 10 – Chapter 9 – 10

            A strange sound echoed off the ruined buildings, faint, and if it hadn’t been so odd—and if Carolyn’s head hadn’t come up so quickly—they might have ignored it.  J.T. saw her move out of the corner of his eye from where he’d been standing along the hedgerow, watching the play of light and shadows across the trench graves.  He could’ve sworn he saw a pale gray mist twist out of the corner of his eye as he turned toward Carolyn, who straightened slowly from gathering up the tiniest bits of debris in the garden, left behind by the friends no one else could actually see.
            “Did you hear that?”  She asked softly.
            “I heard it,” J.T. said.  “But I don’t know what it was.”  He glanced toward Drew, who shook his head.
            “Don’t know,” he admitted, arms crossed and brow furrowing.  He stood sentinel near the opening in the hedgerow, mostly watching Carolyn as she drifted here and there, finding more tiny teacups and hats made out of buttons, platters made of bottlecaps, and other, once-hidden signs that this had once been home to something soundly believed to be mythical.
            Carolyn glanced upward for a moment, then looked suddenly stricken, returning her gaze to the two men with her.  “We have to get back, now.  Someone’s hurt.”
            Shit.  And I’m out here watching grave gas in the sunshine while she picks up the last remnants of a fairy apocalypse.  J.T. headed toward Drew and the break in the hedges.  Not where I need to be.
            Carolyn jogged a few steps to catch up with him, touching his arm lightly.  It tingled all the way up, but he was too perturbed to enjoy it.  Her voice was quiet.  “Leah and Jac are still there.”
            “I know,” he muttered.  “And it’s not that I don’t trust them, it’s just…”  His voice trailed away and he grimaced.  They just don’t have the experience yet.  I don’t know how they’re going to react in the clutch.
            “Just that you don’t trust them,” Drew said with a wry smile, looking at both of them as he fell into step.  “Admit it, J.T.  I don’t quite blame you for it.  It’s the experience thing, right?”
            He nodded.  “That’s exactly what it is.  It’s the EMT in me.  I’m experienced with the triage and the less-than-ideal situations shit.  Jac’s getting better and quicker, and she knows some technical stuff I don’t quite fully get, but she’s got a lot to learn about the practical applications of everything she’s learned in class.”  J.T. scrubbed a hand across his face.  “She’ll get it.  Just takes time.  Sometimes a little coaching.  I sucked at it when I was in training, so she’s already ahead of the curve there.”
            They were walking down the center of the plaza, amidst the wrecked buildings.  It was sad, almost depressing.  Any other year, there would be hundreds of students on the plaza, seeking out classes, working their way through Freshman Orientation, checking in with their advisors and trying to get into classes already full.
            Drew shook his head a little.  “Five days and classes would’ve started up again,” he said with a measure of regret.  It was the first time any of them had spoken about school, about what they’d lost, in days.
            Carolyn smiled wistfully.  “I was finally going to take an illustration class this semester.  I was kind of excited.  Heard the professor didn’t suck.”
            “We were going to do Henry IV, part one for the Shakespeare Festival,” J.T. said.  “I was up for Falstaff.”  He leered playfully at Carolyn and she laughed, elbowing him.
            “Don’t be awful,” she teased, grinning.
            J.T. couldn’t stop grinning back at her until he felt the hairs on his arms and the back of his neck stirring.  His mirth faded quickly.  Drew went still next to him, and Carolyn went tense.
            Something scraped against the ground behind them, like claws against concrete.
            Almost as one, they slowly looked behind them, toward the source of the sound.
            J.T. couldn’t see anything, but he knew that the sudden chill, the goosebumps, and the hairs on the back of his neck standing up all coupled with the sound wasn’t good.
            “Oh hell,” he murmured.
            “Run,” Drew said.
            They took off.

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1 Response to Day 10 – Chapter 9 – 10

  1. Erin M. Klitzke says:

    The next few posts comprise a bit of a roller coaster ride for three of our intrepid (ha! I said it with a straight face) heroes–in this case, Drew, Carolyn, and J.T.

    Now, remember…Carolyn’s newly awakened to the world beyond the “normal,” Drew’s been aware of it for quite some time, and J.T.’s a believer without any ability. Should be an interesting time for them.

    As a side note: you know you’ve really made it when the spambots start to attack. Akismet is my friend.

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