Seth tripped over another rock, then tried not to think about it because the rock didn’t feel quite there, which meant he shouldn’t have been able to trip on it. He’d made it the last few weeks without losing his mind. He wasn’t about to let it go over a stupid rock.
Before he could recover from not thinking about the rock that wasn’t there, he stumbled over a tree root. That sent him sprawling. He got a mouthful of dirt and dead plants when he landed. Or did he? They didn’t taste quite like they should have…
Please be careful.
“I can’t see!” And even worse, it was probably better that way. He thought of his condo back in Vegas, remembered lying in bed at night with the porch door open, looking up at the moon, listening to some girl laughing and splashing in the pool, the calming sound of a wind chime close by. That memory seemed very distant. Now he was cold, and there was no moon, and his mouth was full of crap.
We think there are Sidhe nearby. You must not let them find you. Speak in your mind.
Seth picked a pine needle off his tongue. “What the–”
Sorry. I mean, what the heck is a Sidhe?
Some say we are. It is difficult to say, exactly. When you meet one, you will know it.
Seth’s over-tired mind brought up pictures of a giant one-eyed sloth-like creature with sharp teeth. It wanted to eat him.
Nothing quite like that. Though it is a possibility…
Moaning, he hauled himself to his feet and trudged on. If there were someone else nearby, how could these guys know it, anyway?
That stone in your hand is a piece of our world. It connects you to us. The longer it is with you, the more we will be able to sense your surroundings as if we were there.
That sounded pretty cool. Maybe having a glowing rock embedded in his flesh wouldn’t turn out to be all bad.
He froze. Something to his right crunched.
Softly as he could, he lowered himself to his knees. Another crunch, this one closer.
Out of habit more than faith, his hand went to the small silver cross that hung around his neck. His parents had given it to him when he was a kid, and it was as a reminder of them that he wore it now.
The crackling stopped.
He crouched there for what seemed like a very long time, the cold damp ground numbing his hands and seeping through his pants. Further off, he heard hushed voices discussing something in urgent tones. Most likely him.
A tiny breeze tickled his cheek, and something fluttered by his ear. He looked up to see what could have been mistaken for a large moth in the pitch blackness, if it weren’t for its wide, glowing eyes. Seth gasped. The eyes narrowed, and whatever it was shot back up into the trees.
“What do I do?” Seth whispered.
There is nothing you can do now.
Someone grabbed the back of his neck and dragged him to his feet.
His captor was taller than him by a foot at least. “Who are you?” his voice sounded something like a dog’s growl.
“Uhhh…” Usually Seth worked well under pressure. At work, he thrived on it. This was different.
“Who are you? Answer me!” The thing barked in his face. Seth gulped.
“Seth. My name is Seth.” He clenched his jaw to keep the tremor out of his voice. He was going to die. This thing probably had huge teeth, and it was going to rip his face off.
The thing hesitated. It grunted, turned him around, and pressed something cold and thin against the back of his neck. Seth tensed.
Great. It was going to take him back to its house and eat him.
“Walk!” It roared.
Figuring later death was better than immediate, Seth started walking. “Where–”
“None of your business,” it snapped. “Keep your mouth shut.”
Seth did as he was told. Ahead, a strange, greenish glow seeped through the shadowy trees.
She has been here! She must be nearby!
For the first time, Seth wondered exactly who “she” was.