‘The Drifter’s Course: Time’ Excerpt

Well, I was writing along- in the back of my head lamenting that I never seem to find a good place to pull an excerpt from, especially earlier on in the month. Well, I decided the part I just finished will work as well as anything. (by the way, because it’s NaNoWriMo I haven’t had a chance to reread the excerpt as a whole, so it might seem a little odd) here it is:

 

Jeremy was sitting alone in the courtyard, listening to his music very loudly on earbuds and eating his meal of scrambled eggs and cornbread. He was intent about the music he was listening to, soaking in all the notes and crescendos and beats. He ate with less interest than usual, but kept his eyes on his food.

The tense atmosphere of hiding and running from a powerful foe had followed them there, and it seemed more noticeable than usual, which was why Jeremy listened to his music with so much intent. However, with the place being empty- purely by coincidence- Jeremy felt the silence as powerfully as though it was a presence and, when he stopped his music simply to hear if there was any sound to be heard, it was impossible to escape from it.

He pulled his earbuds away, letting them drop to the table, and looked around to see if there was anybody there. The silence was so complete that an anxious look came to his face.

All the doors leading to the rooms stood closed. Many of the curtains were drawn- that was, however, an agreement that whoever was running from the U.M.G. would take such precautions. The cleaning workers had evidently come and gone, which somehow seemed unusual. Cars could be hear on the streets, there was a man walking by on the opposite side, there was construction- but no sound in the immediate surroundings.

Jeremy was just attempting to convince himself that he was being silly- reasoning that if their enemy was there, they would not be leaving him to be disturbed by the silence, in fact he’d probably already be dead if they were there- when something told him the silence was not right. He could feel a strange sense of dread unlike anything he’d ever felt- certainly for no apparent reason.

Jeremy stood up, alarmed, deciding to figure out what was the matter. He looked around, as though hoping to be able to figure out more specifically where something wasn’t right, by turning around, but instead immediately feeling that he was in the center of the enclosure and therefore, in a sense, lost. He couldn’t get his bearing and for a moment Jeremy started to panic before once again trying to convince himself he was being silly.

Something caught his eye- a shadow. He immediately turned toward it, only to see that there was nothing there. He’d heard no door open or footsteps or even shuffling. As Jeremy considered what he’d just seen- or rather hadn’t seen- deciding that he had definitely seen something, he was running over all the possibilities- that someone had briefly come out of their room, then returned before he could catch a glimpse of them- thus causing him to run over all the sounds he would have heard if that had occurred, such as a door opening and the echo of it opening, and the shutting of the door and the echo of it shutting, when he suddenly realized that he really didn’t hear anything now. There were no cars, no birds, no wind, no construction, and certainly no sound in the immediate area.

Now Jeremy was really alarmed, and not happy to have proof that he had reason to be alarmed. Once again he looked around, trying to find some explanation for what was happening. And as he looked around he noticed that everything looked wrong. He didn’t notice when there’d been a change, only now everything looked like a strange vast painting, and totally untouchable. He took several steps forward, and he knew he had crossed a short distance- but he didn’t seem to have gone anywhere.

“Is anyone else here with me?” Jeremy shouted, immediately realizing that was a stupid question, and then wondering why he should think it was stupid. He’d really only spoken because of the need to understand this place, and the reassurance- or the discomfort- that he was really there.

The real reason why he thought the question was ridiculous was that he’d felt, for no apparent reason, and certainly no proof, that he wasn’t alone. There was definitely something else there with him, and it was a person, not just the presence of fear which can occasionally seem as powerful as to actually be a person. No, he felt as when someone knows one is being watched, he felt that there was something there, watching him- with him.

Again he turned around, determined to find the person with him. His eyes immediately fixed on a shadow. He was tense, on high alert and ready for anything so that when he looked at the thing staring back at him, it was as though he was watching it in slow motion, and therefore he had a chance to take it in- for the thing moved a split second after he’d seen it. It didn’t actually walk away, or even run- there was no sense of urgency or panic about it- but it vanished and for a second Jeremy thought he was alone again, only all of his senses told him it was still there, to his right, standing on the roof of the building.

The short glimpse he’d had of it- which, due to the rush of adrenaline seemed strangely long- told Jeremy this was a creature unlike anything he’d seen or even imagined. He knew at once that it didn’t belong to this place- in the sense that it didn’t seem to belong to this universe.

Again Jeremy turned to look at it and it vanished once more.

“What are you?” He yelled at it. Seeing that it had the full advantage, Jeremy ceased trying to find it. He was aware now that it seemed to be standing across the street, though there was nothing definite to tell him that. Though he was aware of something different in that area, there was no solid figure, and no fixed presence.

Jeremy waited, listening intently. But the answer that came was from a voice that was both yelling and whispering, far and near- the answer might have even been in his head. And the voice that spoke seemed vaguely familiar.

“I wanted you to meet me this way because we will meet again, and I don’t want you to panic when we do,” the thing said

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