Writing in Public, Story #6, Scene 21


Nikki’s knees gave out.  She would have fallen to the sidewalk, but Randy caught her arm and held her up.  He was a warm, comforting presence.

Which wasn’t much out here.  The portal in the street glared back at her like it was an eye of evil.

But the sliminess had receded.  Now she felt the coldness of satisfaction emanating from the portal.

“What do we do?” she asked.  “How do we fix that?”

Randy’s face was as pale as she thought hers was.  His words were drawn tight.  “I don’t know.  We need to leave.”

“Leave?” Nikki’s voice sharpened.

Randy leaned in close, his breath hot on her ear.  “It might be able to hear us.”

Her mouth turned dry.  “What about Brian?  The others?”

There were at least five people who had come outside, frozen in place.  Why wasn’t she frozen?  Why wasn’t Randy?”

She’d ask that later.  She circled around the front of the truck.  Heat rose from the idling engine. She felt eyes on her from the portal, watching like a cat stalking prey.

The door opened easily enough, so it wasn’t frozen.  She touched Brian’s arm.  Still warm.  But he didn’t respond to the touch.  Not even a twitch.

“Brian, can you hear me?” she asked.


She tried again.  “Brian, if you can hear me, I’m going to try to fix this.  I’ll going to leave, but I’ll be back.”

She reached across his lap to turn off the engine.  He’d be mad if his truck ran out of gas.

A laugh rose in her throat.  It was a wrong kind of laugh.  Not for something funny, but for hysteria bubbling up from her belly.

Randy was right.  They needed to get out of here.

It was all she could do not to run away.