Because you asked. Thank you for all of your support this week. It means a great deal.
Julie tensed, her hand on her tomahawk.
“What do you see?”
“Blue,” she said.
Blue stood for human.
“Ugly, bleached out blue, almost grey. This is a bad place.”
He took a few steps back and sat on the curb. She moved into the scrub behind him. He heard the tomahawk bite wood. Leaves rustled, and she handed him a six-foot-long dry sapling. A walking stick. He took it and nodded. Good idea. She disappeared again, came back with a walking stick of her own, and sat next to him.
They waited quietly, watching, listening. Minutes dripped by. Mist curled above the dark water and shimmered in the moonlight. Julie didn’t move.
A few years ago, when he was only eighteen, Jim, then Security Chief of the Pack, had put him in charge of a small group of twelve and fifteen year olds who showed potential for covert work. Of all the things he tried to teach them, he found patience was the hardest. By now all of them would’ve scratched, or sighed, or made some noise. Julie simply waited. It was so easy with her.
They saw it at the same time, a brief flash of something pale as it moved within the deep blue shadow of the Pillar. The hair on the back of his neck rose. Someone stared at them from those shadows. He couldn’t see it clearly, but he felt the weight of its gaze, saturated with malice. It stabbed at him from the gloom. He pretended not to notice. Sooner or later it would get impatient.
The mist began to wane, thinning as if boiling off. It was luring them in.
“It will get foggy once we enter,” he said quietly.
“Yes,” Julie agreed.
There was no need to tell her to stay next to him. He knew she would.