“HE’S THE ONE! ” One of the souls from Nether is pointing at me, screaming at the top of his raspy, overused lungs. “PLEASE, JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!” He sobs into his hands “I found Him for you. Leave, please just leave. I don’t know I don’t know I DON’T KNOW.”
What. The. Hell. No pun intended. Usually, demented souls such as this one couldn't produce more than a guttural spasm of the vocal chord. To hear a sentence, four, out of one's mouth was alarming. And to know that it was directed at me was ten times the definition of the word unsettling.
A tickling sensation manifested itself at the edges of my already fuddled thoughts. Paired with the feverish nausea I’d had since my exchange with The One, the new experience left me feeling afflicted. The feathering tickle pillowed against the swollen impression the war had left, in agitated scar tissue. The bullets were buried inside my noggin, and it seemed as if they were thoughts dipped in acid. The feathering grated against sensitive nerve endings. It was not like the electricity of The One’s invasions of my mind. This was much worse.
“Are you the fucking creeper that showed up in my bathroom yesterday?! Leanord?!” Oh crap. It was Hope. I recognized the desperate tone of her voice, even as she scolded me. “You were! Why?!” She sounded scared shitless. “NO! I’m DONE being the scared little girl. I want answers. NOW.” Her voice cracked halfway through the sentence. “Dammit, don’t make me do this.” Do what? Yell some more?
All of the sudden, a sharp pain shot through my back and neck, reminding me of the crash. “I can make you relive it over and over again” she threatened, as the scene of my death rose up over my vision. The dark night sky, turning like a pottery wheel as the car was thrown upside down and right-side up, over and over and over, my limp head hanging whichever way gravity pulled it. And Stephanie, Oh God… she hung from her seat belt beside me, head bloodied and broken, the pink of muscle decorating the bones sticking out everywhere, like a Christmas tree. The sharp pain that stemmed from my back grew into a blooming sapling, taking root in my chest, the tendrils wrapping my lungs into their vice. Leave, I begged her, I need you to leave. Please. Just please. I shut my mouth against the begging. I would not degrade myself to that point.
"Fine. But I will be back."