The world stopped...
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And then exploded.
She was thrown back out across the skein of reality, her spirit-body skating along the edge of the universe at an incredible rate of speed. Her world collapsed around her, layer upon layer falling in on each other, persuing her down along the corridor of her soul. Down, down, down, and-
She shattered through into the world again, was born, lived, and leapt into the present still moving at a thousand miles a second-
And exploded through the far wall, into the Void of Possibility.
Alex Parish: ...haven't been able to get ahold of her in a month. I'm worried, Blake.
Man: You're asking me to go and see her, then?
A.P.: At least call her or something. You're supposed to know about this stuff.
Man: I've told you before, Alex. I think you put too much faith in me.
A.P.: You've survived this long, right?
Man: On luck, mostly. Hell, you know that.
A.P.: Fine, so spread some luck to my friend, okay?
Man: Do you fancy this woman?
A.P.: I don't see how that would be any of-
Man: Right. Fine. I've got some things to take care of-
A.P.: You've ALWAYS got things to take care of, Blake.
Man: As I was saying, I've got things to take care of, and then I'll give her a call. Okay?
A.P: Fine. Yeah.
Man: I think I liked you better when you were morose and pensive.
A.P.: What the hell does that mean?
Man: Nothing. It means nothing. Look, I'll talk to you later. Yeah?
A.P. (pauses) Yeah.
"Hello, Deborah? This is Alan Clark. I'm sorry to say that the date for teacher sign-up has come and gone. Since you haven't called or spoken to us, I am forced to assume that you have no interest in renewing your position here. As such, I am leaving this message to inform you that you will not be a part of this school's roster for the fall semester... Deborah, what's going on up there? Is everything all right? Look, if you get back with me, maybe we can work something out. All right? All right? Okay. Well...goodbye..."
She languished in the Void of Possibility for months, floating in the formless darkness.
She waited. Waited for the conditions to become right.
And when they did...
She gathered her energies and clawed her way back into the living world...
Deborah opened her eyes.
She understood now. She had carried the truth back with her out of the Void. She knew who she was, what had happened to her, and what she must do. It had consumed her grandfather. Her grandfather had not been strong enough.
She was strong enough.
Deborah went to the window, and opened the curtains.
The world outside was still and white. Snow had fallen the night before. Winter was coming.
Deborah made her final preparations.
She went to the hall closet and removed a brown jacket. She put it on, and the gloves that went with it. She walked down to the end of the hall. She ignored the bloodstained carpet, and opened the front door. She looked out over the snowscape.
The wind whispered her name.
She stepped out into the snow.
Somewhere beyond the line of trees, the Wendigo waited.
Deborah went to meet it.
"Ms. Wilson? Hello. You don't know me, but your friend Alex Parish spoke to me about your dilemma. I agree with him that the situation is very serious, and I would advise you, if you are still living in your home, to leave it immediately. If you have somewhere else you can stay at for a few days, it would be best if you went there. I am aware that your views on the situation are rather skeptical, and that is only natural. However, I would like to investigate your house, if you are willing. This investigation would, of course, be completely confidential. Please get in touch with Alex if you have any interest in such an investigation. Regardless, I would like to speak with you. If you are recieving this message, and you are willing to do so, please meet me in Newcastle around noon tomorrow. I will be at the local graveyard, at your father's grave, so it should be easy to spot me. I'm aware that this is rather unorthodox, but Alex can second my claims of professionalism in these matters. Thank you, and goodbye."
11/10, 11:28 a.m., Minot County Sheriff's Department:
...arrived at the house to investigate reports that the house has stood empty for several months. Non-payment of electricity and heating bills have been cited as supporting evidence. Deputy Reid arrived at the premises at 8:25 a.m., and found the front door unlocked. Upon investigation, a large bloodstain was found on the carpeting in front of the front door. Deputy Reid also reported finding a set of footprints in the snow. According to the report, these footprints led away from the house, to the line of trees near the edge of the property. At this point, Deputy Reid reports that the footprints became intermingled with another set of prints of an unknown nature.
At 8:47, Deputy Reid suffered a grand mal seizure, and was taken to Our Lady of Mercy hospital, in Newcastle...
...analysis of the blood found in Deborah Wilson's home is inconclusive, possibly belonging to a large dog or wolf, according to...
The truck driver's name was David Finch. He was thirty-five years old, divorced, and slightly overweight. He was hauling a truckload of frozen foods. He was currently behind schedule.
Despite this, and a bad disposition toward hitch-hikers, he felt inclined to pick up the young woman on the side of the road. There was something about her that he couldn't place. Something that reminded him of...
He shook his head. He couldn't remember. Wasn't important.
He brought the truck to a halt as far off the highway as he could manage, and motioned for the woman to get in. She strode up to the cab and opened the door.
An icy blast of wind invaded the cab, and he shivered. He could hear the wind howling outside, so loud that it almost sounded like a voice.
When the young woman climbed inside the cab, he wondered if he had made a bad decision. His passenger's face was drawn and haggard, her cheekbones poking sharply at the flesh of her face. Her eyes were deep-set, but they blazed madly from her skull. She wore only a light jacket. She appeared not to be cold. She was very pale.
"Uh. Hi," said Finch. "You cold out there?"
"Oh. Uh. My name's Dave Finch." He extended his hand.
She shook his hand. Her skin was icy.
"Pleased to meet you, Deborah. What were you doing out here on this stretch of highway?" He had not seen any buildings for several miles; just thick forest on both sides of the road.
"Nothing much," she said, and was silent.
Wonderful, he thought.
Eventually, he managed to guide the truck back onto the highway. He looked over at his charge, and saw that she was watching the passing forest with rapt eyes.
"What do you see out there?" he said.
"Nothing much," she said.
"Look, lady, are you all right? You seem, I dunno, out of it. Did something happen? Are you okay?"
She turned and looked at him, then; looked at him for so long that he started to squirm under her gaze, and wish he hadn't asked. Then:
"Yes," she said. "Something did happen. But I'm fine now. I'm wonderful."
David Finch shivered.
He would hear the word spoken over and over again, in his dreams.
Sometimes, he would dream she was saying something else. Something similar. When he awoke, he could never remember what it was.
"I didn't scare you with any of my stories, did I?"
She shook her head. "Nuh uh. What would I be scared of?"
"Nothing, I guess," he said. But his eyes weren't on her when he said it.
"Hmm? Oh, right. You get some sleep, now. Your mother is coming early in the morning to pick you up. Okay?"
Her grandfather stood up, and turned out the light.
"Goodnight," he said, and closed the door.
"Goodnight," she whispered.
When he was gone, she turned over and looked out the window. She wondered what Gramp had seen out there, in the trees.
You get some sleep, now.
But it was a long time before sleep found her.
"Quit this world, quit the next world, quit quitting!" -Sufi proverb.