14: Sophia

I didn’t like the sound of things. I didn’t like the sound of things at all. A violent force of evil that feeds on suffering and infiltrates people’s minds? And I was easy for it to control? The day was just going from bad to worse, with not much potential to get any better. My theory was proving to be much more correct than I wanted it to be. What I wanted to know was what they were planning to do with this thing, how they were going to go about it and why they needed me.

 I needed more information from Jack but I knew better than to ask any more questions after he’d asked about my upbringing. I was sure if I spoke again he would push me on that topic. Silence was always the best option in that situation. Besides, I could probably ask this grandfather of his a few things and pass it off as innocent curiosity rather than a matter of life and death.

 Jack parked in the deserted centre of town and set off at a trot down a laneway between two buildings whose functions I didn’t know.

“Where are you going?” I asked, struggling bravely to keep up.

“To my grandfather’s house, duh.”

“Where does he live?”

“Oh, pretty far out, you might have seen his house on your way into town.”

“Really? What does it look like?”

“You know the little place that looks like a shack and has a demolition notice on it from about a year ago?”

“Near there?”

“There. They gave up on the demolition when he wouldn’t leave.”

I stared at the back of his head in disbelief. Insanity clearly ran in the family. “That is pretty far out of town. Why didn’t you drive there?”

“Why, is her majesty too good for walking?”

I greeted that comment with a stony silence.

“Fine then, don’t take a joke… I needed to park the car where its owner left it.”

“You stole a car?!”

“Your point?”

We might have had more in common than I first thought…

 The laneway soon deteriorated into little more than a dirt track leading through fields to the pile of stone and slates that he was calling a house. I’d sheltered from rain in better places. It looked like it might have been significantly improved as a dwelling place if they had knocked it down.

 “Your grandfather lives here?” I asked him, “Does he have a death wish or something?”

“No, he just likes his own company. Can you see many people bothering to make the journey out to bother him?”

“I can’t see many people surviving the journey out to bother him,” I muttered, doing my best to cover up the loss of balance the uneven terrain was inflicting on me.

“You want a hand there?”

“No! I’m fine, just fine…”

“Really? Because you seem to be falling over a lot.”

“No I’m not!”

“Oh, okay, just testing gravity still works? ‘Cos I think we can conclude at this stage that it does. So you can just walk normally now.”

“Good to know.”

“You know what? We’d get there much faster if we ran.”

“No, we wouldn’t. You might.”

“You can catch up.” He grinned and went bounding the last hundred metres or so.

I trudged on, cursing both him and the mud to hell and back.

The End

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