From an unpublished novel.
The holiday season. Ho ho yeah right.
December definitely wasn’t the best time of year to sleep in an abandoned camper at a campground that was officially closed for the season. I was there only because I had nowhere else to go. And because Suzanne, the owner of the campground, was friends with my mother when I was a child and felt guilty about some of the things she’d seen back then.
It was still dark outside but it was too cold to go back to sleep. By now Suzanne and her husband would be up and I’d be able to warm up in their house, for a few minutes at least. I had a space heater in the camper but Suzanne had warned me not to leave it on overnight. If the camper burned I’d have nowhere left to go.
I slid out of my sleeping bag and unwrapped myself from the blankets I was in. Definitely too cold to stay out here. I turned the heater on so it could warm up while I was at Suzanne and Victor’s and left.
Suzanne was waiting at the door. “I was just about to go get you, Dominic. You have a phone call.”
“I do?” No one knew I was staying here. No one other than Thomas, the man I’d believed was my father until a year and a half earlier. Thomas hated phones; he wouldn’t be calling me. Could he have been stupid enough to tell anyone else where I was? I’d made it clear that I didn’t want anyone to know but Thomas’s memory wasn’t that great. Probably the drugs.
With an impatient look Victor sat at the table, holding the phone out to me. “We’d appreciate it if you didn’t give out our phone number,” he snapped.
“I didn’t give it to anyone.” I took the phone. “Hello. This is Dominic.”
“Dominic, hi. It’s Morgan.”
That was a voice I hadn’t heard in a few months. One I’d hoped not to hear again. “How’d you find out where I was?”
“From Hal.” My biological father. “He said Thomas told him.”
That figured. Hal had been friends with Thomas for years. If anyone could get information from Thomas he could. “Wonderful. So should I expect Hal to show up to get me and feed me to the force of darkness?”
“Hal isn’t looking for you, not really. He got this number for me because he knew I was worried about you. No one’s seen you in months. We’ve all been worried. Even Zeke.”
“You’ve talked to Zeke?” In a way that was good. It meant Zeke had survived fighting the force of darkness and had returned from its world.
“Yeah. He checks in with me once in a while to see if I’ve heard from you. He was afraid something might have happened to you because of what you did last summer.”
“Gee, why would he think that? Just because I was supposed to be working for the force of darkness and I helped him get to the portal to fight against it?”
“He won.” Morgan paused. “At least I think he did. There wasn’t any sense of darkness at the Black Bridge or the alley for a long time.”
“Now there is,” she admitted. “Just the last week or so. I’ve been trying to stay away from those places but it’s looking for its people again. It’s recovering its strength and wants to get back at Zeke. And you.”
“No surprise there. So when are you going to tell it where I am?”
“I don’t really know where you are, Dom. Hal only gave me the phone number. I don’t know if he knows any more than that. And I wouldn’t tell it anyway.”
“Because I don’t want to work for it anymore. I hate watching it take people. I hate knowing I’ve caused it to take people. That’s why I called. I need your help, Dominic. You’re the only one I know of who can help me get free of it.”
I went into the living room so Suzanne and Victor wouldn’t overhear any more of the conversation, though I thought they might already have heard too much. “Morgan, why should I believe you? I know what kind of people work for the force of darkness. I’m one of them. I don’t trust myself all that much and I sure don’t trust you.”
“Dominic, please. It’s calling to me and I don’t want to answer. I don’t want to do this anymore.”
“How do you think I can help you? I betrayed that thing, remember? At least that’s what you said at the time. If it found me it would probably destroy me.” The thought crossed my mind that maybe that was what Morgan wanted but I couldn’t believe she’d be that evil. She and I had known each other since childhood; for a while a few years earlier our relationship had been much more than friendship. She couldn’t want to see me destroyed.