Her name is Tea. Tee-uh. Maybe “Thea.” It’s kind of hard to tell, she speaks quietly and maybe has a little accent from somewhere. I don’t know. She looks flat. Not physically, but she’s lost some blood and she’s still a little shocky, so her mouth doesn’t move much when she talks and her eyes stay half-closed. I’m trying not to let it bore me because I know that would make me a dick.
We sit down together and watch the shadow. It hasn’t closed. We sit there in the theater, staring at a corner where the walls don’t meet anymore. Just gazing into the Between. I start wondering how the walls stand up if they just aren’t there anymore.
Tea says, “I heard something when I was in there, but I didn’t turn around and look.”
“Was it Them?” It’s funny how people know what you mean when you talk about Them. Them. Him. Between. Your voice echoes funny when you talk about them (not Them).
“I don’t know. No. I don’t think so. You don’t hear Them coming.”
I start to say sure you do, because I was there in Miami when they came out of the hot sidewalks and the steamy, rain-slicked alleys right after Hurricane Beth wrecked half the city. I heard Them then. They don’t talk or screech or anything, but moving through the rainy streets They made this weird slish-slish-slish kind of noise. I couldn’t tell if it was Their walk or some noise they made with Their mouths. If They have mouths. And then I realize I’m talking anyway.
“Want me to find some popcorn?”
She just looks at me like I’m nuts. I don’t know if I am or not. I haven’t had my meds in three weeks. I’m surprised I’m sitting still. “Is there any popcorn?”
I gesture around me like, duh, it’s a movie theater. She shrugs. I get up and walk toward the concession stand. The glass is smashed up, but there are cabinets. Maybe there’s something.
Behind me, I hear her whisper, “hey.” I look back.
She’s staring at the wall that isn’t there. And she doesn’t look flat anymore.
Hey, folks. I’m out of town this week traveling with family, and then doing a day of GenCon on the way back to Cleveland. I haven’t had Internet access, so I haven’t had a chance to post anything. So here’s the second installment of Through Shadows, and I’ll get more up this week, hopefully along with some systems.