Aftershocks Pt. 5

Aftershocks

Two figures appeared from the shadows under a dead tree on a hill top not far from the school. The first figure was dwarven with red hair and lots of facial scars. The second figure had slicked-back blond hair and a long leather coat. They both looked agitated and disappointed but the blond one was especially frustrated.

“Charles.” The blond one said. He was tall and mostly human-shaped but way too pale to pass for anybody normal.

“William.” The short one said. He was a cruel mockery of the human form, his body parts exagerrated in all the wrong places. He was more like a doll than a real person.

“The attack failed, Charles.” William said, beginning to pace in the moonlight. His face twisted itself up into a demonic form.

“Relax, William. There’s plenty of time to get the job done.”

“I wanted to get my hands dirty. Specifically I wanted to get them bloody.” William said with a sneer on his face.

“We both will. Soon.”

“Sooner now that Ley is back in the fire.” William said with a shiver. That wasn’t a fate he would have wished even for that asshole.

“Yeah, that’s true. Speaking of, we should probably get back and report.”

“Right. Back down below we both go.”

The duo slipped back into the shadows. The smell of sulfur drifted out on the night air.

* * *

Principal Wood sat patiently behind his desk, his arms folded. He had driven the girls home the night before but had called them to his office as soon as he could the next morning. Lydia had given him the vaguest of excuses for breaking into the gym but she could tell he wasn’t buying it. Nancy had not been any help, preferring to stay silent, but Lydia couldn’t blame her. Even now Nancy was reserved and wore a blank, closed off expression. Her arms were hugged tight to her body and she was staring at an empty corner of the room. Lydia wished that the two of them could have talked more but the Principal had interrupted that. At least Rob had disappeared at some point.

“I’m serious. I want an explanation from both of you.” Principal wood said, he leaned in slightly.

“I promise you wouldn’t believe it if I told you.” Lydia said with a shrug. “Just give us detention.”

“Ms. Brewster. Believe me when I tell you that I have seen plenty of strange things. I might surprise you with how much I believe.” Wood said with the faintest little smile.

Lydia felt like his eyes were looking straight through her. The two of them stared at each other over the desk. Maybe he would believe her. Maybe she didn’t have to stumble through this alone with her best friend and a ten year old kid who might never show up again. Adults never seemed to believe or, like her father and mother, tried to pretend that it wasn’t real with drugs and therapy. She had communed with ghosts and nearly married what was apparently a really important demon.

“Like what?” Lydia asked.

“Like I smelled a lot of sulfur in that gym before I turned the ventilation fans on. Was it demons?”

Lydia’s eyes went wide and she could feel Nancy suddenly come to life next to her. “Wait, how did you know!?” Nancy nearly shouted.

The Principal laughed a deep, satisfied laugh. “I’m not one of them if that’s what you’re thinking. I’ve just fought a couple of them through the years.” He said and Nancy started to respond but Lydia silenced her by putting a hand on her shoulder.

“Maybe it was demons. Maybe we’re not ready to talk.” Lydia said, trying to keep her face neutral.

“I can help you but only if you can trust me enough to talk to me. If it was demons, the school is still standing and they’re no longer there. That might mean I have you to thank. I don’t really see the need to give you detention. However, if you were to show up after school anyway, maybe we could discuss the matter a little further. I just want to help you girls out.”

Lydia smiled and looked over at Nancy who gave a half-hearted little smile. “Maybe that will happen,” Lydia said. “But don’t hold your breath. Come on, Nancy. We have to get to class.”

Before the girls could get through the door, Principal Wood spoke up. “Be careful, ladies. I’ve seen what happens when a young woman goes up against a demon alone.”

Lydia pushed Nancy through the door and smirked without turning. “Yeah, we win.”

The End…. for Now

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