Dallas is still on the ground when Hilter walks briskly out of the ratty shack. He approaches the boy and slides his finger through the belt loop of the dagger’s sheath, then lets it dangle so Dallas can see it. “Is this the dagger?”
“Holy shit,” Dallas says as he picks himself up. He takes the sheathed weapon off of Hilter’s finger and looks at it like Hilter looked at the white quartz crystal a moment ago. “Yeah, this is it. Where–”
“It was in the man’s hand. It seems he brandished it against… well, against whatever it was that removed his head.”
Dallas swallows a mixture of dried saliva, thick mucus, heated fear, and cold rainwater. “What… what could have possibly done that?”
“Well, we can’t really know, but… oh who am I kidding, isn’t it obvious?” Hilter points towards the long smooth track running along the center of the trail. “It was The Serpent.”
“Yes. It lives in the Wanaque Reservoir.” Hilter puts an arm around Dallas’s shoulder and they begin walking back down the path. “I haven’t lived here long, Dallas, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the town of Treeburg – about the road called Fricker Drive and the forest around it, specifically – it’s that this is a very strange place, a place where the inexplainable happens. No, not even that – a place where the explanations behind the odd happenings are as inconvenient to the average human mind as the occurrence of the incidents themselves are convenient to the more enlightened mind… or, or rather… ack, I don’t even know. This is a weird place, Dallas. I’m starting to see the reason why all the residents decided to move away and sell me their houses.”
Dallas doesn’t say anything to that, but only because nothing comes to his mind. Eventually Hilter takes his soggy arm off of Dallas’s soggy shoulders and they walk back to Fricker Drive in soggy silence.
The rain stops as they’re walking up the driveway of the house Dallas’s parents used to own. Hilter invites the boy in to shower and get a dry change of clothes, and Dallas takes him up on it, but he doesn’t stay for long, not even when Hilter offers to order them some pizza. Dallas says he’s had about enough of Fricker Drive for a while, and that he has one more thing to do before he can go back and crash at his uncle’s house.
“Very well, then,” Hilter says, walking him to the door. “Well Dallas, it was nice to meet you. I’d like to humbly apologize for my unruliness when we first met, I–”
“Oh, no worries man,” Dallas says, wanting to leave. “I mean, this is your house now, I was breaking in. I don’t blame you for thinking I was the burglar.”
Hilter smiles. “Even so, I eh… my mind was not in the right place. I had yet to connect some dots, in a way; I was looking at a series of lines, but now I see the full picture. Do you know what I mean?”
Dallas doesn’t, but says he does, and so the men shake hands and part ways. Dallas gets into his uncle’s car – no, it’s not his uncle’s anymore; Uncle Darrel isn’t coming back up from Florida anytime soon, the car belongs to Dallas now – and backs onto Fricker Drive, then peels the fuck out, leaving black skid marks in front of his old driveway. Hilter stands by the door and turns off the outside lights when the car is gone. Then he locks up, walks to the house that was once owned by Cooper’s family, and heats up a couple slices of pizza left over from his last therapy session with the boy who saw The Serpent. As he’s eating, Hilter types out an email for the boy Cooper detailing his findings at the shack today, including all the details about The Serpent’s trail and the headless corpse of the burglar, but as he’s about to send it, he decides to delete it instead.
“The dagger is sheathed now, Hilter,” Hilter says to himself between bites. “Best to leave it that way.”
He closes his laptop, then goes into the kitchen and cleans up from dinner. Then – after placing the crystal on the nightstand next to his bed – Hilter goes into his bathroom, takes a shower, brushes his teeth, and goes to bed. And he sleeps.
With the dagger finally sheathed and the crystal sitting next to his bed, Hilter Odolf Williamson sleeps soundly through the night.
Hello Commons, this has been the ninth subchapter of the fourteenth story from Convenient Incidents, an anthology of fifteen interconnected short stories which revolve around a man by the name of Hilter Odolf Williamson.
Convenient Incidents is part of the Third Spiral, an anthology of sorts called The Here and Now which is comprised of stories told from the various planes of Existence.
Convenient Incidents is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
If you like Convenient Incidents and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.
If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~