As I set up this post, I’m waiting for a response from the publisher to which I submitted this novel, which, if accepted, will be the first book in a new urban fantasy series called Dark Incarnation.
Saturday morning, I woke up to silence inside the house, and birdsong and wind outside. Sunlight shone through the thin curtains over the windows. According to the clock Phil had given me to keep on my nightstand, it was only six thirty.
At home, that was when we got up every day, even on weekends and holidays. No one had told me what weekends were like here, other than that today was the end-of-school party Alison had mentioned. That was supposed to happen in the afternoon, and I’d promised to help clean the house even though Alison had said I didn’t have to.
I’d expected people to be awake early getting ready for the party, but if anyone else in the house was up, I didn’t hear them. I probably could have stayed in bed, but I felt weird even thinking about it. Sleeping in wasn’t a thing I’d ever been allowed to do.
I got up and took some clean clothes out of the bureau, then went out to the hall. All of the other bedroom doors were closed, and I didn’t hear anything other than snoring. I went into the bathroom and showered, then got dressed and went downstairs.
The sunlight was brighter downstairs, since none of the windows were covered. I looked out the living room window at the street and other houses, and beyond them a small sliver of blue water, and knew I had to be outside.
In the kitchen, I found a piece of scrap paper and a pen in a jar on the counter. At home, I never would have dreamed of leaving the house without permission, but I didn’t want to wake anyone here, and I couldn’t stay inside the way I’d done for the past two days. It was time to explore and to find out more about the town I’d ended up in. Even though it wasn’t far distance-wise from my home, it was completely different.
I wrote a quick note saying I’d gone for a walk, then put on my sneakers and went out the front door. The temperature had already begun to go up, and I started to sweat as I walked up the street in the opposite direction from the water.
I didn’t know why I was going that way. I wanted to see the harbor, and beyond it the Boston skyline. But my body and mind didn’t seem to agree on that, so I followed my instincts.
At the end of the street was a large park, with a playground, tennis courts, and skateboard ramps. The park stretched between streets down to a large brick building that looked like a school.
Something hung over the building. A cloud that didn’t shadow anything else.
I stopped at the edge of the park and stared. I wasn’t close enough to feel the darkness the way I had at Faneuil Hall, but it was definitely there. Maybe not the same entity that had taken my sister, but one like it if it wasn’t the same.
I couldn’t just stand there. Whatever the darkness’s purpose was, I couldn’t let it stay in a place where so many people were likely to encounter it. Especially children.
But it was no different from Faneuil Hall, where thousands of people walked every day. If I destroyed the dark thing here and it wasn’t the same one as at Faneuil Hall, that one would still be able to kill.
Welcome, Matthew James. Do you like your new home?
The voice in my mind was completely different from the one I’d heard before. Thick and sludgy. Not pleasant, and full of sarcasm and anger.
It knew me. It was the dark thing, and it knew me.
I turned and ran back up my street, mocking laughter ringing through my mind.