He pointed to the other end of the bench. “Sit, please.”
Though the suggestion wasn’t unreasonable, I found myself abruptly very nervous. We were outside, in a public place, there wasn’t much he could do to me here someone wouldn’t see or that I couldn’t call for help for. My rusty self-defense classes from college would come into play as well.
Even with all that, I still had to make myself walk forward and sit down, my insides churning, wanting me to turn away and run instead. It was similar to the dread I got when confronted by my apartment door. But these feelings weren’t about Jensen, they were more about what I was about to do instead. “What now?”
“Now, I’m going to show you something.” He reached inside one of the many pockets of his vest.
I felt a drop of sweat roll down the back of my neck.
A moment later, he brought out a thin vial filled with what looked like green-yellow mucus. “What is—” I bit my tongue to stop the question, not sure I truly wanted to know just yet.
White took the stopper from the end of the vial and held it out toward me.
The longer I stared at it, the wider my eyes got. There was something queerly familiar about the off greenish-yellow color. I quivered inside though I had no idea why. My fingers dug into the fabric of my jeans.
Jensen held the vial directly between us, a neutral look on his face. “Take it. Smell what’s inside. Then we’ll see what we shall see.”
The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn’t want to do this. That if I did, there’d be no way to take it back. “I…I’m afraid.”
That I would admit such a thing to total stranger shocked me, but made it no less true.
“Unfortunately, you should be.” He jerked forward, putting the vial directly beneath my nose.
The smell smacked me like a hammer, knocking my head back as if hit. The scent resembled that of burning matches, acrid and intruding like rotten eggs. It was sulfur.
And it was the key.
My eyes half rolled back into my head as a flood of hidden memories washed out over me. Being in the apartment, getting a weird feeling in the back of the neck as if I was being watched. Goosebumps rushing up my arms as I became aware of a foreign presence. Spotting the flickering shadow just at the edge of my vision. A sense of pressure suddenly engulfing me, entering me, ripping at my mind, raping my soul.
My mouth opened in a silent scream, my back arching, almost pitching me from the bench.
A malevolent intelligence had invaded me and rummaged carelessly through all that I was, then slammed me to the background, making me an unwilling passenger in my own body. The hate it spoke through my mouth, the atrocities it committed with my body, all as I sat trapped, forced to bear witness, unable to fight or stop it in any way.
That thing had told my Momma and Poppa how stupid they were for wasting their lives away trying to make a better one for their kids.
It all stacked over me, plunging me farther and farther down an endless hole.