It was later than Pammy had intended when she stepped out of David's family's house. The sky was fully dark and all the summer warmth had left the air: not cold, just a chill after the sweltering heat of the day.
“I'll call you ASAP if I find out anything,” she said into the golden light of the hallway.
“Seeya, Pamms,” David called.
Jake's voice was a bit more indistinct. “Remember to tell Gassan what we came up with.”
What they'd come up with wasn't much. One of them was going to talk to Daniel's family and ask if they'd noticed anything unusual about his behaviour – that was going to be her job, since Daniel's mom already felt comfortable talking to her – and, as a secondary priority, keep an eye open if they saw any white suits like the one Dan'd been wearing, on people or in a shop. It was Jake who had pointed out the white suit, and even he wouldn't have remembered it if he hadn't asked Dan about it. It felt like a bit of a far-fetched lead.
What could it mean, that it was the uniform of some freakish cult? She guessed it wasn't impossible.
Pammy pulled her pink bolero jacket tighter over her shoulders. Her mom tended to go ape about her walking home alone, but she'd never had any reason to be anxious. She was probably as fit as any pervs she might come across – at the very least, she'd be able to outrun them.
Something moved under a lamppost in front of her. Pammy blinked. For a moment it felt like her thoughts were fooling her, but the person was still there. They were heading away from her, and she wouldn't have given them a second look, except that they were dressed in blinding white.
Her heart skipped, painfully. The suit looked like she remembered Daniel's. The figure's height was right, and the quick glint of black hair as he passed under the light –
She wasn't certain enough to call for him yet, but she started running, sneakers slapping against the sidewalk, trying to catch up with him before he was out from under the lamppost.
The guy glanced over his shoulder and started running from her.
Pammy was a faster runner than most, but the white-clad person didn't so much run as zip across the ground, like a video game character glitching ahead by screens at a time.
She was yelling now, it didn't matter who heard. Daniel, if it was Daniel, didn't react.
At one point she thought she'd lost him. She slowed down, hunched over, hands pressed against the pain in her side – but when she looked up, she saw a speck of glowing white in the road ahead of her. Had he stopped? Certainly slowed down, or she would have lost sight of him.
Something felt off about this, but she couldn't give up, she might never see him again.
The pale figure led the way to the pit of the town dump, vast and post-apocalyptic in the dark. For a moment, Pammy thought he had vanished into the pit, but then she saw him down below, leaping between peaks of filthy mattresses and broken monitors, light-footed as a mountain goat. She couldn't follow him like that, not if she wanted to live. Pammy started climbing down the side of the pit. It meant having to turn her back on the guy, but perhaps he would wait up for her again.
There was a rumble below her, and the tower of garbage under her feet waved and vanished like a hollow sideshow. Pammy fell screaming, and kept falling after she should have hit the bottom.
Written by on 30 May 2019