BUT THAT’S ALL OVER.
A teenager in high school, Anne puts the lost time behind her, presses on, despite the occasional nightmares; gets a boyfriend, social network, after-school activities.
[Thirty-nine lunar months]
The tentacles of darkness reappear with a vengeance, worldwide—the sun struggles to make day known. Not in a vacuum, Anne surges with a feeling of oneness with the world.
The fight is apocalyptic, a real Revelations light show. Earth is saved. The darkness is plugged back into the Chaos manifold. Anne stops glowing.
Later, Anne wonders why the shadow wants out of the nighttime.
ANNE DOES NOT RECALL ESCAPING the inconstant mass, a visible darkness connected to original Chaos. Notwithstanding amnesia, she feels a general uneasiness.
Still being Anne proves great resolve; she will never be a little girl again. However, the name is all she remembers.
Later though, she dreams of being hunted by something tearing through the night, unholy. It works quickly breaking through the barricades of her mind for entry, finally getting through. A single tear is all Anne has time for.
Anne inside the murkiness that disdains other agencies, locks hers away, the last vestige against the tightening dark arms.
THIS IS THE THIRD TIME. It blobs into the dimension medusa-like, not as amorphous, but still black as a clouded new moon.
Anne knows this time she will not just think it away like before. The ooze strengthens with each incarnation. She senses determination, consciousness–before there was only unfocused malevolence.
Anne assumes a stance of power, asserts, “I’m not afraid of you,” as the convolving tentacles fire. It snatches the child into its darkness.
Anne, amnesic, steps from the nor’easter blizzard shadows onto her moonlit yard. Home. Anne’s mind, now, has become the stronger of the two.
PATIENT BOB HAS CLEANED THE PREVIOUS RESIDUE of wanton puppy escapades away. Augie Doggie sleeps soundly in the parlor; the quiet, profound.
BBZZZZZ . . .a distant chainsaw din rips through the silence, yanking Augie from slumber land, setting off a chain of barking.
Not much smell: pollen, sweetness.
The buzzing mass hovers under the ceiling, crosses the room. Augie follows, jumping, barking. Catches the curtains under paw, they fall. The smidgen moves faster, looping, banging against the walls. Augie knocks pictures off the walls. Bob arrives home, out flies the buzzer. Augie sits, decompresses. Bob’s brow furrows. He sighs.
AUGIE DOGGIE IS SPIC AND SPAN, back on farm patrol duty. The mud snorters, ground scratchers, and grass munchers appear safe, so Augie heads indoors for a sweep. Passing the living room, Augie freezes when a ping-pong-sized shadow flits, then vanishes. A few growl-barks sound; sniff sniff, the game is afoot!
The menacing, inch-long tuft of fur streaks under the bar cabinet, so does Augie’s head whose larger back-end follows shortly acting as a lever to topple the bar, the various spirits and crystal glasses crash to the floor.
The vole odor gone, Augie prances proudly onward.
NO MATTER THE SIZE , power source or brand, flashlights die swiftly in the hands of Kerri. No viable theory has explained this unreasonable phenomenon that seems to violate Newtonian law.
The first flashlight to expire in her early-aged, energy-draining hands did so after clearing it of Christmas wrapping; in went the batteries which promptly ceased functioning five minutes later, the next set, the same, exchanging the gift the day after changed nothing.
Then came the night when the car quit on the country lane, “Crap!” The 1100 lumens found the defective fuse; then darkness rushed into the car.
TIM WALKS HOME at the witching hour, a haloed moon the only witness until a flashing police cruiser spotlights him up against an alley wall, no crime, no record, the only probable cause: the side of town, economic station.
— Where are you heading at this hour ?
— Why is the time relevant? Home.
— Let me see your I.D.
— I don’t have one.
— [sarcastically] You don’t have an I.D. ?
— [sarcastically back] This is America; I don’t have to carry papers.
— All right smartass, turn around, I’m arresting you for belligerence.
The court fines him accordingly a few days later. Cha-Ching ! Justice.