“I never knew my dad. My mom had an affair with him during the summer of 1985. She rarely spoke of him and never once relayed the details of their relationship. What she did tell me was that right before I was born, something bad happened between the two of ‘em—something that made her flee the state of Oregon and never look back.
“Around about fourth grade, I remember her screaming at a tall, dark-haired man in front of our house. I watched, terrified from the living room window as she swung her fists at his head—yelling out the words, ‘lawyers’ and ‘court order.’ What frightened me even more than my mom’s behavior was the man himself. Not once, during the five or so minute ordeal, as she struck and clawed at his face, did he stop smiling. I never told her this, but from the second I began watching him, till the time he finally drove away, his eyes never left mine. That fake, he-knew-something-I-didn’t smile. It was for me, and me alone, and it wasn’t friendly.”
The being shifted in its seat and let out a strained cackle. “It was anything but friendly.” It said. “But you could feel that instantly, couldn’t you?” A pale, thin, impossibly long claw pointed at him. “You knew he had a plan for you. You knew it in your soul. With what you’ve seen. With everything that happened. Why did you go to them?”
There was nowhere for Simon to run. He remembered what happened and where he was. It was an odd comfort he had never sensed in his life on Earth. He was safe from variables, safe from himself, and his natural feeling of restlessness. He sat back in his strange, vaguely organic chair and folded his hands behind his head. Darkness surrounded them in all directions, and not a sound, save the voices of the two, echoed during the conversation.
“When mom came back into the house, she wasn’t the same—not in that moment. She grabbed me, spun me around, and looked me in the eyes. Only, when she started speaking, another voice replaced hers. It was the voice of a little girl:
“‘They’ll come for you. I will be one of them, but I am not them. When the heart of the king dies, I’ll be there, waiting. I will not remember this moment, nor that I helped you today, but this echo will guide you to my side.’”
The being rapped its claws on the armrest. “So it was her,” it calmly voiced.
“You didn’t know that already?” He replied. “I was under the impression you’ve seen, and could see, everything that goes on there.”
It wrapped its claws faster. “We can.” It raised its voice slightly. “But some creatures operate beyond our vision when they choose to. They have a way of sneaking little details, little tricks by us. The whole thing is terribly frustrating.”
At once, the creature was standing. It moved faster than Simon’s eyes could process. Its twisted claws sprang, beckoning him forward. As the man rose, he noticed it was at least three feet taller. Its body was long and thin, and patches of black fur covered its pale skin. As its ghastly face danced between ribbons of shadow, he caught the spiked ears of a vampire bat perking up from the sides of its vaguely humanoid head.
“Come, my son. I have something to show you.”