For the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting the first three chapters of Legacy of Ghosts in tiny, blog sized nuggets, hopefully a bit a day.
If you’ve missed previous chapters, you can read them here.
This contains spoilers. If you haven’t read Shades of Gray, proceed at your own risk
Time disappeared into the primordial vacuum that was a car trip. Katelina’s mind turned to jelly as she gazed out the window, ready to weep from the complete lack of stimulus. Her companions had all fallen into strange worlds of their own: Jorick had lapsed into one of the dark, brooding silences that so punctuated her time with him. Torina stared through the windshield, a smile curving her full, pouty lips and Oren scowled at the road as if it had angered him. Katelina couldn’t help but think that as far as “road trip” companions went, these three ranked only slightly higher than dead hamsters and moldy socks.
When they passed the “Welcome to Maine” sign it gave her a chance to comment, but no one really cared, and the conversation died quickly. Just when she contemplated screaming for the shock value, they turned onto a well worn side road. The hope of a journey’s end made her suddenly alert, and she was too busy trying to pick details out of the darkness to worry about the others anymore.
The headlights landed on a rusty mailbox that leaned crookedly at the end of a long driveway. The sight did little for Katelina’s optimism, and then she saw the back side of the small weathered house and her heart sank. The house sat in the middle of an untidy yard and some distance in front of it was a thick stand of unruly trees, almost like a miniature forest that she couldn’t see beyond. If she’d been hoping for something modern and nice, then she was disappointed.
The car came to a stop where the gravel driveway faded into a tangle of weeds. Oren spoke quietly without looking back at them, “Here you are Jorick.” He took a tense breath and exhaled slowly. “I’d ask you to reconsider, but I know it’s pointless.”
“Yes,” Jorick agreed. “It is.” He collected the plastic bag of belongings and motioned Katelina to get out. “I appreciate the ride, and if you wish, you and Torina may pass the day here.”
Oren tried to smile, but it was a poor imitation. “No, I’m afraid we must use the hours remaining us to reach our destination. I thank you for the offer, none the less.”
“Then it is as it is,” Jorick said simply. He opened the door and a blast of icy air rushed in. “I wish you well, and when we meet again I hope there is an end to this.”
Oren’s voice held no clue as to what he was thinking, “As do I.”
Without a reply, Jorick climbed out of the car and Katelina made to follow him when Torina cried vehemently, “It wouldn’t hurt you to help!”
“Torina,” Oren said softly. “Let him go.”
“But look at all you’ve done for him!” she insisted. “The least he could do is-”
Oren interrupted her, but spoke calmly. “What I have done, I have done for myself.” He looked over his shoulder at Katelina and commented without any real conviction, “May we meet again.”
Katelina climbed out, feeling both cold and uncomfortable. She took her place next to Jorick and they watched the small car reverse to the road. As it turned around, Torina wound down her window and called back, “When you’ve gotten your fill of your new pet, Jorick, you can join us then.”
He grunted in reply as the car found the road and disappeared. Soon, even the sound of the motor had faded until it was as if it had never been there at all.