Edimmu – Juggling Act

If you’d care to start our story at the beginning:

Part One: Desert Stray

Part Two: Fragile Hosts

Part Three: The Final Ride Of Joe Pesci

Part Four: Hunter and Prey

Part Five: Low Voltage

Part Six: Fire and Smoke

*     *     *     *     *

Matheson Avenue

Five Blocks From The Blake & Summers Building

5:21 p.m.

Rory radioed in to dispatch.

“Sherie, I’m just a few minutes out. I’ll swing by on my way home.”

While Rory wasn’t sorry he took the Sheriff’s Deputy job; if he was honest with himself, he did miss his beat.

“Anita and Irvin are en route already, Deputy.” Sherie came back after a beat.

Another person who didn’t think Rory had deserved the promotion, it seemed.

“I heard,” Rory answered. “I patrolled that side of town for three years. I’m gonna check up. Over.”

He put his radio back without waiting for a response and spun the car around toward the Blake & Summers building.

J.J.’s Garage

4:17 p.m.

J.J. grabbed Jason’s gore-soaked arm, making him drop the car battery onto the workbench.

“Jason, stop it!”

“Lu eribu, wardum!” Jason screamed into her face with such force that spittle frothed from his mouth.

“Wh-what?” J.J.’s world spun out, as though someone had changed the channel on a show she’d been watching and this new program was complete nonsense.

Jason roared, swinging a backhand that connected with the side of J.J.’s head, spinning her around to crash into Samantha’s front bumper.

It was this act of violence that shook Samantha back to the reality she’d escaped in witnessing the previous one. She made it around to J.J. as Jason stretched his arms behind his back as though preparing to do some yoga.

“Sorry ‘bout that, boss,” Jason said, lolling his head back and forth in a relaxing neck roll. “I just feel so amazing!”

Samantha helped a bloodied J.J. to her feet.

“Let’s get out of here,” she told the likely concussed woman next to her. J.J. was staring as though she saw three of her.

“No,” Jason said, snapping his attention toward the women. “I think not.”

Blake & Summers Building

Second Floor

4:17 p.m.

“Bobby!” Sarah whispered harshly down the hallway, peering into any office that happened to be open as she walked by.

“First floor was a bust,” Heikes explained, as he caught up to Sarah. “Pretty sure the lobby attendant is gonna call the cops after your screaming in front of the building and then running around inside.”

“Did you move my car?” Sarah asked, ignoring him.

“Yeah. What the hell’s going on with our boy?”

Sarah called Bobby’s name again, a little louder this time.

“I don’t know.”

It was eerily quiet on the second floor, made up of business offices. The sound of Sarah’s boots was all she could hear besides Heikes’ labored breathing. The hustling seemed to be wearing on him.

Then, at the end of the hall, Bobby appeared from around the corner.

“Bobby, Jesus man,” Heikes began. “You’re freaking us out.”

Bobby walked toward them, still some thirty feet away down the hall.

“Heikes!” he said with a big smile. “Sarah, look! It’s Heikes!”

“Bobby, what’s the matter with you?” Sarah squinted at her brother, trying to read his face. She always knew what he was thinking, ever since they were kids. No poker face, her brother. Not with her. But now, something was different.

“Me?” Bobby asked. “Why, nothin’ in the world’s wrong with me. I feel awesome. Nothing like Daniel and Rebecca, eh Heikes?”

Heikes stopped walking, which made Sarah pause. Bobby was still coming, though.

“When you rolled Rebecca’s car last fall, I mean.” Bobby continued. “What’d you drink that night, fifteen beers?”

“Fuck you,” Heikes whispered. His pulse quickened as Bobby kept walking their way.

“Fuck me?” Bobby’s face rippled in fake shock. “Fuck them, you mean. Rebecca died quick, right? Thrown through the windshield still passed out drunk. Never knew what hit her. Or, well, what she hit I mean.”

Heikes’ clenched his hands into fists even as Sarah stuck her arm out to hold him back.

“Bobby, enough,” she told her brother.

“But Daniel,” Bobby continued, now some ten feet away. “In the backseat, Daniel did not die quickly. The roof of Rebecca’s car sheared into pieces, and Daniel caught a shard, what, three feet long? Smack through the right side of his face. His cheek was gone, his ear. His remaining teeth clinking on that metal as he was trying to ask you — what was it? ‘Can you roll the window up please?’. Because, as he bled out, slowly, half of him in what was left of the trunk and the other laying in his own lap, he was cold.”

Heikes shoved Sarah aside, knocking her to the ground in his suddenness, and rushed Bobby. Quicker than Heikes could see, though, Bobby had moved, sidestepping the bigger man and tripping him to the floor as well.

“No,” Bobby said. “I think not.”

J.J.’s Garage

4:23

“I don’t know why the garage doors are shut,” Jaedyn told Father John as she passed him Pickles’ leash. “Let me just -”

“No!” Father John startled Jaedyn in his ferocity. “I’m sorry, it’s just that, don’t you feel it?”

“Feel what?” Jaedyn asked, looking at Father John through worried eyes.

“Something is wrong in there.”

Jaedyn smiled politely but walked toward the garage. She’d practically grown up inside, with the smell of oil and gas. Greasy engine parts and special order paint jobs. This garage was Home.

“Nothing bad will happen,” she called back to the priest. “I won’t be five minutes!”

She was wrong on both counts.

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