Creature of Unknown Origin


5. How Things Crack

“You just let her walk away?! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? HALF THE—”

“I KNOW!” I shouted back, panting. “I know, Delia, I know, but what was I supposed to

do? Kidnap her? Actually kidnap her, for real this time? No, I couldn’t… I can’t do that.”

Delia and Howie exchanged looks. If we got any louder, I was certain Carol was going to

kick us all out of the bakery, even if Howie ran the front for her. I shook my head. How he’d

managed to land a cover at a bakery of all things, with his technological skill set, was beyond me.

The kitchen door swung open and the woman in question entered the room. Carol crossed

her arms and tapped her foot against the rubber mat that hid the kitchen floor. “If you three are

done here, I have a bakery to open.”

“Yeah, we’re done,” I brushed past her into the front of the bakery, my jaw clenched.

The bell tinkled as I jerked the door open. Carol’s voice was low, but it still carried in the

empty bakery. “Someone’s crankier than usual. Does it have to do with his lady friend?”

I grimaced as her question was met with instant groans from Delia and Howie, the last

thing I bothered to hear as the bakery door rattled shut behind me with the flapping of its ‘closed’

sign. All I kept thinking was at least Ava hadn’t gotten far. Howie had eyes on her the moment she

entered town, though I didn’t know how she’d gotten here as I hadn’t passed her on the road.

She’d probably ducked into the woods and headed for the main road that way. It was a

more direct route, less winding roads that way, but still a mass of rolling hills until the edge of


Now all I had to do was find her and keep an eye on her. And then… well, I didn’t know

what. I scanned the surrounding area, my eyes roving over the street and park across the way. At

least until I found her, I could cool off, make a plan.

I probably didn’t have much time before I ran into her, or she me.

~ ~ ~

I hadn’t the slightest clue where I was going, and I had half a mind to turn around and

ransack Spencer’s cabin. If I was going to r un away, I might as well be prepared to rough it until

I could figure something better out.

By the time I’d wandered into town, I realized what a mistake I had made. With the

realization came the burning acid in my throat, all the while I tried to untangle the knot in my head.

Nothing I did worked, and the knot only grew worse.

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