I couldn’t speak to her. She was voicing what the voice in the back of my mind, which I was trying to ignore, was trying to tell me.
I could make as many threats as I liked to the Darkness but they would do no good at all for any of us if I couldn’t follow them up. I didn’t even know where it was at this moment in time, for all I knew it was already out. But no, it wouldn’t hide that from us. It doesn’t enjoy keeping people in suspense; it’s the suffering it likes. Hiding from us would only be delaying its own enjoyment… Unless of course it was saving me for last.
But it would need a vessel to be hiding if it was out. Unless it was in its free form, the one form it could take that I had learnt absolutely nothing about, seeing as my grandfather knew nothing about it either.
Couldn’t think about him. It would only distract me from the task at hand. He was clearly dead. Or being used as a vessel…
No, the reason our family were used as defenders is our auras are more complex than the average person’s, or so I’m told. And he was far too old to be so vulnerable mentally. No, he was dead.
But could it possess the dead?
I shudder and hope we find his body so I can make sure that fate hasn’t fallen on him. Now there’s a wish I retracted very quickly.
“Jack,” the girl, whose name I still didn’t know, said softly, “I’ve found it.”
I whirl around to face her and find her staring out the window. “Where?”
She nods at the window and then turns away, in tears. I put on my strong survivor look and push her out of the way.
My strong survivor look crumbles horribly.
I know how she might have spotted it. The can first, a bright red spot in the mud and green field. Then she might have squinted at it, just making sure she was right, that it was there, not a figment of her imagination, before telling me. And then she would have seen him, almost blending in with the ground if it weren’t for the white hair. And then the tears would have started. Followed by the hesitation as she wondered whether she should tell me or just hope I would see by myself and save her the awkwardness. And finally the actually relating of what she had seen, or half of it anyway.
“Get the box,” I told her, tripping out the door, “And the jumper. Need to get it back in.”
I distantly noticed her following the instructions as the room fell out of my line of vision.
Given the choice, I would have stayed as far from the body as physically possible. There was no way of telling from the distance I was at in the house what kind of state it was in. I had never heard how the Darkness killed its victims, only that it normally used its vessel to carry out the act. But it didn’t have access to a vessel this time… If it was still contained, but had managed to get him outside to kill him, did that mean it was at its strongest? But still contained? It had to be out. Then I was too late. My grandfather’s death wouldn’t even be mourned, it would just be the first in the global extermination of the human race.
I heard the girl stumbling after me when I was halfway over and had stopped, unable to convince myself to move on. He was clearer to see now that I was closer; he lay face down in the mud, no visible wounds to his back at least.
She caught up to me quite quickly, considering her ridiculous lack of balance.
“Are you- I mean, you’re obviously not okay but- Em… Are you…”
I took the box from her and kept walking.