Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day Thirty-One

Day 31: 01 Sep 2010

Vince woke me up at around midnight.

"Your watch," he said. "Midnight to six a.m."

"Right on. Uh. . . I've never done a watch before. I assume it means look out the windows?"

Vince grinned and chuckled.

"Better. Come take a look."

He led me out into the living room, where he had a small power pack hooked up to a notebook computer. The screen had a grid on it.

"I've got tumblers set up two miles out in all directions. We're three miles from the closest road, so any car will trip them. If any of these areas beeps and goes red, come get me. If you see headlights, come get me. If you hear a helicopter or plane --"

"Come get you?"

"Right. Should be a quiet night. The wind's been decent today, should have blown away our tire tracks," he said. "Your worst problem'll be staying awake -- I have some energy drinks in the cooler if you start to flag."

"OK. Got it," I said.

"Wake Dane up at six, and he'll take over for you," Vince said as he headed back to one of the rooms. "Remember, anything happens --"

"Come get you."

"Good man."

Nothing happened. No choppers, no cars, no beeping from the computer. Just Dane snoring. He wasn't even snoring that loud, just one of those shallow, quiet snorts every now and again. It was the only sound in the house. Naturally, it started to get on my nerves.

I chugged a Monster about three in the morning, trying to ignore its horrible taste. It was probably better chilled, but it was barely room-temperature, as the cooler had no ice in it. Therefore, it kinda sucked.

I tried to run over the last couple of days in my mind, but I couldn't focus on anything. My mind didn't so much wander, though. It had just shut down. I started staring out the window for a few minutes, then at the computer for a few more. My brain was blank.

Then, suddenly, it wasn't. Suddenly, I was at a beach -- not one in Wilmington, or even North Carolina. This beach had mountains. And it was cold out -- I could see my breath.

Jared was there, all bulked up like I'd seen him when he killed the Russians. He was wearing sunglasses, though it wasn't bright out.

"Hey, little brother," he said. His voice was the one he'd always had. It wasn't that horrorshow screech I'd heard a few days ago.

"Hey, J."

"You should never have come to Las Vegas, Travis. It made it easier for them to find you."

"Yeah, I know. But I had to find you."

"Why? Not like you can do anything for me."

"But you're still in there."

"Part of me is. It's not the part that's driving most of the time. The rest of me. . . sleeps."

"Look, J. Just tell me what I'm supposed to do."

"Well, now you should probably wake up. I can talk to you sometimes. . . but only when it's sleeping. It'll wake up soon, and then they'll try to use it to find you."

"I'm asleep?"

"We both are."

"What is 'it,' exactly?"

Jared shrugged and took off his sunglasses. His eyes, from sclera to pupil, were completely black.

"You would call us god," he said, his voice rising to the screaming howl it had been before.

I woke up with a start, sweating. My right leg jerked, kicking the empty Monster can across the floor.

It was silent in the small house except for Dane's snoring. I looked at the old clock on the wall -- 6:10 a.m. I wandered off to wake Dane.

The rest of the day was painfully uneventful. I talked with Dane for about an hour as he stood watch. He told me he was a physical anthropologist -- I don't know what that is. I nodded anyway.

"So, I have a question for you," Dane said.

"What's that?"

"I was looking through some of the stories. You know, people before who held the slug. There was one guy in the 1800s -- Luther Fenworth was his name -- he had it for two years. In his accounts, he talks about being called to the ocean. About the thing speaking to him in dreams. Is that happening to you?"

"I've had. . . a dream. And I always feel more comfortable when I can see the ocean. Always have."

"Interesting," Dane said. He scratched his chin.

"That's it? 'Interesting' is all you have to say?"

"Well, Luther didn't write anything after. . . y'know. He mainly just killed a lot of people."

"Outstanding," I groaned. "I'm gonna go read a book or something."

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