July 7th – Camp NANO

Prompt: Your Family’s life depends on it

Character: A priest

“You!” Gerald felt an irrational urge to jump forward and strangle the man casually flirting with the young woman at the counter who was signing Gerald’s personal belongings over to him.

Simon looked up, completely unperturbed. “Is that any way to talk to your brother?” He asked calmly. “The brother who just bailed you out of jail at that?” Gerald stopped where he was. It had just hit him. Simon was real. If Simon was real, then how much of the rest of it was real?

“Right then,” Simon tossed Gerald the plastic bag with his keys and wallet in it. “Come along then, I am sure there is a lot for us to talk about.” He gave a wink to the girl at the counter, who blushed and giggled slightly and strode out the automatic doors and into the humid night like nothing was wrong. He causally clicked a key fob and a silver BMW sedan chirped and blinked into life.

“Not another word until I tell you, got it?” Simon’s voice was cold now. “We are going to see “father” and you need to get this shit straightened out.”

“Fa-“Gerald started to ask, but was cut off by the icy glare Simon gave him. He got into the expensive car and immediately felt overwhelmed. The leather seats were large and cushioned and the dash looked like something from a science fiction show instead of a car used for daily commuting.

Simon slid into the driver’s seat and the door thumped shut behind him.

“OK, Shelly, we need to get to Father’s before dawn. You think you can do that?”

Gerald looked around, expecting to find a third occupant in the vehicle, but it was just the two of them.

“Don’t be a brat, Simon,” A cool woman’s voice filled the car, it did not come from the dash or any obvious speakers. “Of course I can get you there by then, but it is going to cost you, you know how much I hate dressing up like this.”

“I know, Shelly,” Simon actually sounded somewhat contrite. “I promise to give you the entire roast pig at the cookout this weekend.”

“And the sweet potato pie?” The car sounded hopeful.

“Only if we do not get pulled over by some redneck cop on the way.”

“As if.” The woman’s voice sounded offended. How could a car be offended? What could it want with a roast pig for that matter? Was he is some kind of carnivorous talking car? Frankly he was starting to think there were weirder things in the world than his poor brain could imagine. He was about to open his mouth and ask a question, consequences be damned when the vehicle suddenly lurched forward and started hurtling toward the street. The speed was tremendous and objects flew past them so fast he could not identify most of them, they turned and slid and darted around obstacles so wquickly, Gerald could not even register what most of the them were. He quickly became aware of an ominous rolling feeling in his stomach and a dull pain behind his eyes.

“I get motion sick,” he warned Simon, not caring about the prohibition on talking. This was not technically a question so maybe it did not count.

“You sure as hell are not getting sick in here!” The car made a noise very close to s shriek and the noise made Gerald curl up into a miserable ball, bot daring to look any longer; he just let the motion rock him into a state of semi consciousness as the lights shifter against his closed eyes. Maybe he had been better off in the prison cell.

“It is 35 seconds before morning civil twilight. I presume that this meets your criteria of arriving before dawn?”

“Thank you, Shelly,” Simon sounded calm as usual. “”That will do just fine. Go on and head around back and I’ll make sure you get breakfast.”

Gerald cautiously peeked out of the car as his door swung open. “Get out, dumbass, you don’t want to be in here when I shift back.” He had no idea what that meant, but he had no intention of finding out. He scrambled to his feet only a heartbeat before the car squealed it’s tires and headed straight for a locked chain-link fence. Gerald felt the urge to call out a warning, but Simon was unconcerned as the BMW suddenly vanished into the night and the perfectly undisturbed fence sat there in the graying light like nothing had happened.

“About time, Simon.” A middle aged man with thinning hair and a priest collar stood at a small door off to the side of the grand main entrance of what could only be a church of some kind/ The gray stone walls reached impossibly high and were covered completely in carvings and Latin words. He had never seen anything like it before, not even in Beverly’s endless photos of the great cathedrals of Europe tour she took 8 year ago.

“Get inside before the tengu find you.” The man turned and vanished into the dark doorway.

“You heard him, get inside.” Simon grabbed his arm and half dragged him into the small entrance. The corridor behind it was small and smelled unpleasantly of damp and mildew. The floor beneath his feet was gritty and slippery as well, but he dared not touch the walls to keep his balance.

He was grateful when they reached a lighted room not too many feet from the door. It looked like it was lit with candles and a fireplace, even on this hot night. The priest stood at a table, book in hand reading with his lips moving as they came into the room. He snapped it shut and looked up just as the door slammed shut behind them and vanished.

“Father, we seem to have a problem.”

“I see that, Simon, but what has been done cannot be undone. We must find a way forward or the entire family will fall. This is too important to let a little thing like the murder of a human cause the plan to fall apart.” Gerald could not figure out what they were talking about. Plan? Family? What did they know about David’s murder?

“Gerald does not remember.” Simon blurted this out like it was a great weight he had been carrying around and eager to put down.

“Now that is a problem,” the priest said.

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