Creature of Unknown Origin


I blinked, realizing that all this time I was shifting from foot to foot. “Sorry.”

“That’s al l right,” Spencer straightened, flashing me a confidant grin, “I was done anyway.”

Like a ghost, careful and eerily silent, Spencer ent ered Dr. Richards’ room. I followed after

with tentative footsteps, peering into the darkness with as much clarity as if it were daylight. I’d

come to learn Spencer didn’t have that advantage as he complained about the poorly lit roads on

our way up here, roads where he could barely make out the lines that desperately needed to be

repainted sometime last year. I had laughed and teased him about not letting me drive, which is

how he came to learn about my superb night vision, a quality that varied in strength based solely

on a person’s genetics, even in my world.

With the bathroom and closet checked, we’d quickly realized Howie was right: Dr.

Richards wasn’t here. Spencer called him and they quietly discussed what to do next. Whatever

Howie was using to track her placed her at a pharmacy up the highway.

“Al l right, thanks.” It was all Spencer had said when he hung up the phone, exhaling a long

sigh as he ran a hand through his hair.

I stood awkwardly in the middle of the room, staring at him through the blackn ess. “She’s

coming back?”

Spencer glanced up at me, his lips twisted in a way I wasn’t quite sure I understood. “Howie

thinks she will. There’s one way to find out, though.”

We searched the room without any light at all, finding her things in the bathroom and a

note on the nightstand on which was supposedly a phone number.

“What now?” I asked, shifting from foot to foot once more.

Spencer only shrugged. “We wait.”

He leaned up against the wall by the motel room door, while I opted to hide in the half-

open closet. I angled myself just so and was able to keep an eye on Spencer and the door. The

knots in my stomach doubled down, tightening around each other to the point where they burst,

sending a wave of anxiety that blazed through my bloodstream like a wildfire.

An eternity could’ve passed or only five minutes , when tires zipped across the pavement

outside, and my heart pounded against my chest, fluttering violently under the surface like a

trapped bird in a cage. Something sour and metallic bit at my nose. It was the smell of anxiety and

fear, and it edged closer and closer with the faint rustle of a plastic bag or two and a crumpled

paper sack along with a pair of shoes that scuffed the blacktop.

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