There was something in the room with me. Breathing. A presence. Evil, and hungry. I lay on the bed, staring up at the ceiling as the car lights far below flashed by. The darkness fled from the lights in stripes across the ceiling, and then returned once the car had gone. I couldn’t lift my head. Couldn’t look away. I could still remember the sight of Daryl, as he told me that I was worth more than his father. Still remember Betty’s expression as she begged me to stop. Begged me not to give too much. I could have given more. Damn it, I had so much, and I couldn’t use it for anything. I could have saved him. I wouldn’t have died. If I hadn’t been such a coward…
“You found it?” I asked, softly. Li nodded. She held out the small vacuum-sealed container.
I closed Betty’s phone, and let out a sigh of relief. “Alright. It sounds like everyone’s safe. That woman, Wendy, is back in Zion. Daryl, John, Walter, and Jormungandr are back at the sinkhole.” I frowned at the phone. “Everyone returned to the place where they entered… Except for you three.”
The water churned as it filled in the sink hole. My fingers throbbed with each beat of my heart. The earth stood still beneath my feet.
There was someone warm in my bed. I shifted slightly, an arm going over them, squeezing them gently. They were soft. I squeezed a little bit tighter, pressing my face into warm, soft, faintly musky hair. I felt an ear flick against my nose, and a soft purr filled the air, the vibration rocking my chest. “Good morning, Horace.”
Monday morning broke. For the first few peaceful moments, it was beautiful. Sunshine, the rich and welcoming light of dawn peeking across the valley, setting the hilltops ablaze. Green trees swaying in the breeze, and the soft low buzz of life in full swing outside. The blissful amnesia of sleep left my mind free to worry about minor, silly things. Where’s Betty? Where’s Li? What am I going to make them for dinner today?
“Come on!” I growled, tugging Ku. She stared at the dissolving figure. “Ku! There’s only so much-” I looked down the corridor, and saw half a dozen Atlanteans in strange and colorful armor swimming towards us. “Oh, fucking hell!” I looked over at the wall. “Get us away from them!”
The viciously cold waters of Lake Huron closed around me like the icy jaws of a very moist Death. In an instant, reflexes kicked in. Reflexes honed bone-deep inside of humans. Unfortunately, they were not very useful reflexes.
“Are you anything more than human?”
“-Military has stated that the unprecedented operation was in response to a major terror threat by the known cult, the Church of the Survivor, to detonate a low-yield nuclear device in Central Park. They attribute their victory to the quick actions of Dane Larson in tracking down the cultists, and the device has been safely dismantled-”