LM brought his knees up higher as he remembered.
“You will stay in this hole and think of what you did wrong.”
LM looked up at the vampire.
He was a long way up.
The vampire dropped the tarp on top of the hole.
Everything was dark and cold and wet. It was all a matter of waiting him out.
LM rubbed his skinny arms and waited him out. “He’ll come back. He needs me. He’ll come back.”
LM pressed his fists against his chest. “He doesn’t deserve to be remembered. But how can I forget the life that Capernaum rescued me from?”
I don’t think I ever will.
Capernaum reappeared next to LM. He glanced around the room. “Everything seems to be safe and well.”
LM didn’t respond or react.
Capernaum light-touched the half-fey’s arm. “Are you all right?”
“I don’t know.”
“Talk to me.”
LM rubbed his arms. “Is it right for me to remember that vampire who ran the freak show? Wouldn’t it make more sense for me to forget him?”
“Maybe. Would you forget that I rescued you from him?”
LM sat up. “I would never forget that.” He seemed to think about it. “But you two are entwined. Two lines bound together. To pull away the memories of one would fray up and ruin the memories of the other.” He focused on the ghost beside him. “It would diminish what you did for me. So, I guess I was right. I can’t forget him. No, it’s more than that. I shouldn’t forget him. Any more than I should forget you.”
Capernaum smiled affectionately at him.
“Will you ever forget me?”
“Never. No matter where I am, I will always remember you, my dear friend.” He patted the half-fey’s head. “Rest. I’ll keep you and your friends safe.”
Jeff did deep breathing exercises as he drove home.
I can do this.
She will be safe.
She will be fine.
“Go to the car. I just need to run inside and grab my wallet.”
Nothing will happen to her.
He went into the kitchen and grabbed his wallet out of the kitchen cabinet.
LM will protect her. He isn’t stupid. He knows that I will completely lose it if anything happens to her.
“Okay. Fridge door is closed. Oven is off. Got my wallet. Got my keys.”
“Lord above only knows what Raven will do to LM if he fails to keep Tessa safe.”
He opened the front door, stepped outside, closed the door. “Sorry about that. I—”
Tessa was no longer on the front porch.
He looked over at the car.
Every sound around him grew unbearably loud. The birds singing. The tic tic tic blllllrrrrrr tic tic tic of a rotating water sprinkler. The roar of a lawn mower.
He ran to the car and yanked the door open. “Tess—”
She wasn’t in the car. He even checked in the back seat.
She wasn’t there.
He ran out into the street and glanced around. No cars. No people. No Tessa. “TESSA!” he screamed. “TESSA!”
And she didn’t reply.
She didn’t come running.
He ran to the backyard. He ran back inside and checked the whole house from attic to basement to bathroom. She wasn’t there.
He picked up the phone and called 911.
“Hello. Nine one one. Please state your emergency.”
“Help me.” He sounded broken and lost to his own ears. He couldn’t even imagine how he sounded to the dispatcher. “My little girl. She. She isn’t here. Help me find her. Help me. Help me.” He thought about Laura and he broke down. “Please. Please help me.”
Jeff stopped at a red light and rubbed away his tears. “That won’t happen this time. It won’t. She’s safe. My little girl is safe.”