Serial Saturday: Road Trip, Part 21

Laurent stepped toward the door as JT tried to gather the strength to get up. Nearby, Israel stirred, but Laurent ignored them both, standing near the open doorway with his head cocked to one side. The rain had slackened a bit, and the thunder moved off, but as JT looked toward the doorway she saw a flash of lightning. It was several seconds before the thunder from the strike rolled, and simultaneous with it, JT saw a flash of movement in the doorway.

Laurent fired, and the form staggered backward with a cry. He turned back toward JT, who was still trying to get to her feet, but the noise seemed to have finally roused Israel, who was struggling to sit up. Laurent backed into the room, keeping his shotgun up and switching his gaze between Israel and the doorway.

“Back with us?” he asked. “Is your Old One here as well?” He said this in a mocking tone, and Israel looked up, blinking. “Is that true, what she says?” Laurent flicked the shotgun toward JT as he spoke, then pulled it and his gaze back to the doorway before looking down at Israel again. “You think you have an Old One in your head?”

“I…I do,” Israel said. “It happened when you played the flute.”

“When you made me play the flute,” Laurent said. “When you were too frightened to. You were okay with killing that gibbering old man, but you shied away from using his artifact once you had it. Was that why you brought me along?”

Israel looked down, his face crumpled in thought. “I brought you because I trusted you,” he said slowly. And we had to kill the old man. He was crazy…dangerous.”

Laurent laughed. “Yes. Not like any of us.” he stepped forward, and after another glance at the door tapped Israel’s forehead with the barrel of his shotgun. Israel seemed too stunned to even notice. “You think you’ve got an Old One in there,” Laurent said.

“But…I do. Lucien tells me things, lets me speak Old Tongue. I control him, though.”

Laurent laughed again. “Israel, you could always speak Old Tongue. Better than anyone I knew. That’s why I trusted you to know what you were doing. You told me we couldn’t trust Bryce, remember?”

“Well, you couldn’t,” Israel replied, and JT could see the light coming back into his eyes. Like the fucker needed to be scamming someone to really feel alive. “You can’t. That’s him outside now, right?”

“True,” Laurent replied thoughtfully, glancing at the door again. “You were more awake than you looked, Israel, if you know that much about what’s going on.”

“Lucien…told…” Israel trailed off.

“There is no Lucien,” Laurent replied. “It’s all you. You just saw what happened to me, years ago when we first came here, and decided that the same thing had happened to you.”

Israel sat on the floor, brow furrowed and head tilted to one side, as he considered that.

“Do you think you’re listening to it right now?” Laurent asked. “Is it telling you the truth, I wonder?”

“He’s not…he’s not saying,” Israel replied.

Laurent laughed, then his own head tipped to one side. “Why isn’t he bringing another one to me?” he asked, his expression suddenly becoming serious. He raised his voice. “Bryce, where are the Old Ones?”

“You probably just fucking shot him, you asshole,” JT muttered. She was almost feeling like she could try standing up again, and regretted speaking as soon as Laurent turned toward her, eyes wide. He looked horrified, and for a few moments his gaze went back and forth between her and the open door.

“I had it!” he shouted. “The Sat’triaa, and I could have drawn it in if you hadn’t killed it. If Bryce is dead now, I’ll have to wait for someone else that can bring one across.”

“I’m not the one who answered the door with a fucking load of double-aught,” JT said. “You wanted him around to use, you should have been a little more careful.” Her hand crept behind her back to close on the hilt of the knife.

Laurent took two steps closer, not as close as she would have liked, and brought up the shotgun. “You’re amusing, but I think I’ve decided you’re no use to me,” he said.

There was a crash of breaking glass from behind him, and the sound of shots.

Copyright © 2011 SM Williams

~ by smwilliams on August 27, 2011.