May 30, 2017
Jason huddled inside his thin grey windbreaker. Spring had sprung, but the cold still bit late in the night. For the 10th time, he checked his phone. Mason was late, very late. He said he would be here 2 hours ago. The old bastard probably had a heart attack. He pulled a piece of paper from his jeans and squinted at it. The paper read: ‘If I don’t make it, assume I am dead. Run as quickly as you can to 142 Pinta St and tell them I sent you’.
It was now or never. He had left his whole life to the possibility that the old Indian bastard could tell him what was going on. The things he saw and heard were driving him mad. It was Mason or an institution. Once he learned what the hell was going on he could go home. Or he could go home now and forget about everything. It all made so little sense. A few weeks and meds might be all he needed. Being crazy made more sense than this.
“Damn it!” his voice rang out through the darkness. He pulled out his phone to look for directions and started walking down the dark streets. Jason’s head darted around, convinced he was about to get stabbed and mugged. One call could end this, but he continued putting one foot in front of the other
After a half hour, the path brought him near the Copperhead River. Fog rolled over the streets, obscuring the road. The street lights glowed a faint blue overhead, the only light besides the glow of his phone. He slowed to a snail’s pace. Jason couldn’t see his own feet through the thick mist. He was sure his next step would send him tumbling down the bank into the icy river below.
Something wasn’t right. On the edge of his awareness was a wrongness. Slowing to a stop he spun, snapping his head around. It was getting closer. His skin grew cold, and a black feeling in chest forced his breath out in ragged gasps.
The something became palpable behind his back. He spun and saw a pulsing redness glowing in the mist. It became larger and larger as he watched. The shape was indistinct, humanoid at one moment, a hulking beast the next. Every form it took had vicious claws and emanated pure hate.
Jason the voice echoing in his caused him to jump. The old man is dead. He held me back for decades. Something resembling laughter filled the air. You can’t count on him stopping me now. I will eat your soul. The shape gained speed and tried to engulf him. Jason did the only thing he knew to do. He ran.
His footsteps echoed in the mist as he flew down the street. The red shape was a bull behind him, the gap between them shrinking with every passing moment. Tears filled Jason’s wide eyes and he ran with no regard for his safety. If he tripped or fell it would mean his death, but so would slowing.
Without warning a new feeling appeared, both comforting and warm. A yellow glow formed a line through the mist, leading away from the monster. With no other option, he veered and followed the line.
Damn! How are you here? echoed behind him. He took a confused look behind himself and saw the golden glow acting as a barrier. The red ogre shape slammed his fists against the glowing path. Each hit brought the monster closer, but far slower than before.
“Mason?” Jason whispered. Could the man be alive? Jason knew the answer, Mason was dead. He knew the feel of the ancient man, and this wasn’t it. Whoever or whatever chose to help him was something new. Less thinking more running! He poured on speed, charging around a sharp corner.
The path veered out of the mist towards a crumbling building between two mini marts. Was this where he was searching for? He slowed and stared at the place. The building gave off a pale blue light, pulsing and warm. Trancelike, he approached the rune covered door of the building.
A screech spun him around. The red snake reared over him, dripping fangs driving at his heart. Jason dove to the ground, screaming. He waited for long moments for death. It didn’t come. Glancing upwards he saw the snake wrapped in a spider web of sparkling silver.
Not waiting for it to get free he scrambled to the door, finding it locked. He slammed his palm into the door screaming “Mason sent me, Mason sent me…Dammit! Let me in! I’m going to die!”
“Mason?” came a voice, muffled by the thick wooden door “Is he here?”
“No dammit! A thing says he’s dead! Let me in or I’m going to die!”
“Ok..” the voice sounded unsure but the door opened and he dove through, slamming it hard behind him. Moments later a storm slammed on the door. A faint screaming echoed in Jason’s mind.
He looked up and saw a small group of children, most younger than him, stared slack jawed. The one older woman looked at him and screamed “Jason, trust him! He’s a friend!” Some welcome. He looked at the others, all pale and frightened. He walked over to introduce himself to the other outcasts.