Creature of Unknown Origin


7. Collision Course

My eyes cracked open as I turned onto my side, tangled in the bedsheets. While under the

influence of the deepest sleep I could remember having in a long time, I’d tossed the thick

comforter onto the worn area rug. The material spilled onto the hardwood floor of the bedroom,

which was like a shock of ice against my bare feet as I painstakingly slunk toward the door.

The hinges squeaked with age as I hesitantly pulled the door open. Voices from unseen

persons spilled into the bedroom, faint and constant. Shifting through the narrow opening, the only

light in the cabin appeared to be from the TV, the electric white light a stark contrast against the

night all around me. I eased my way toward it on the tips of my toes, barely shifting my weight

from foot to foot, not sure if Spencer was awake or not, or if Delia was still here with him.

My stomach simmered and whined with hunger. I pressed a hand to it as I edged ever closer

to the kitchen. I cringed, grimacing. The floorboard beneath my foot groaned, creaking with a

flexibility I wish it didn’t possess. Frozen, my eyes snapped to the couch and the outline of a man’s

silhouette in the glow of the TV.

“Hey,” Spencer called out to me quietly. He turned to look at me, his eyes searching the

shadows of the hallway. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah, just hungry. I didn’t wake you, did I?” I forced my body to relax, fighting the

tension from my limbs while I shuffled on into the kitchen.

Spencer shuffled after me and flicked the light on. “Nah, I was already awake.”

I studied him out of the corner of my eye as I grabbed a bowl. Chewing on the inside of

my lip, I prepared myself for the conversation I’d hoped to avoid by sleeping through the rest of

the night, and maybe even most of tomorrow. “How come?”

“Just thinking, you know about Dr. Richards, and how she’s still out there. Howie’s

tracking her down now, so I guess I’m just waiting to hear from him.” He sunk into his usual chair

at the table and dragged a hand over his exhausted face.

I hummed in response, grabbing a spoon, and sat down across from him with my bowl of

cereal. Speaking around a mouthful, I managed to ask what he’d do when he heard from Howie.

He only shrugged, and the two of us fell into a static silence. At least there was the steady stream

of dialogue from whatever show Spencer had been watching and the subtle clinking scrape of my

spoon against the bottom of the ceramic bowl.

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