“Are we there yet?” his sister trudged reluctantly behind him.
“Any time now.” He scanned the horizon. If he remembered right, it was on the left.
“Are you sure it even exists?”
He shook his head. “Oh ye of little faith.”
“I don’t even know what ‘it’ is,” she complained.
“‘It’ is magic and sparkles and dreams. I just need to find a shimmer.”
“That’s just the heat in the air. It’s normal for deserts.”
“I’m 100% sure I saw it. Just follow me.”
Hours later, the air remained frustratingly shimmer-free, and he admitted defeat.
Behind them, to the right, the air shimmered.
For the second time that day, Darius left his house at a run.
Should he have left Lily with Walter? The girl hadn’t felt comfortable going into an unfamiliar man’s house (for good reason) and now he had left her with another stranger. But they weren’t really strangers, no matter how much they tried to deny it. Those two knew each other. Maybe the reason Walter was so eager to chase him out was to catch up with Lily in private.
Darius let his mind wander as he ran. His body fell into a familiar rhythm. Despite his protests earlier, he was glad Walter pushed him out. His daily run was always the highlight of his day.
“Excuse me, have you seen my sister?”
Darius slowed as he approached a man holding a phone. The man angled the phone to reveal a picture on the screen.
A cheerful Lily bit into a drumstick.
“Have you seen her?” the man asked.
“Yes, I have. She’s at my place. I’ll bring you there.”
A relieved smile lifted the corner of his lips. “Thank you.”
For the second time in a day, Darius cut his daily run short and led a stranger to his house. Well, one more didn’t make much of a difference, and this time, if Walter tried to push him out for his third run, he wasn’t going to go anywhere.
He pushed the front door and stepped into the house.
“That was longer than usual. Tired already?” Walter called out from the study.
“I met Lily’s brother on the way back.”
Walter entered the entrance hall. “Where is he?”
“Behind…” Darius turned but there was no one there. “That’s strange. He was just here.”
“Better look for him. Won’t want him getting lost in your house.”
Walter walked past him towards the kitchen. The other man turned around the corner and his whole body changed.
Walter ran. Darius dashed after him.
At first, he saw Lily’s brother looking down at the couch in the living area. As he got closer, however, the confusing scene turned creepy. Previously hidden from view by the couch was Lily, who must have been sleeping before her not-brother appeared. She was awake now, and staying still to avoid the knife (was that his kitchen knife?) at her neck.
“What do you want?” Walter asked.
“The pendant,” the not-brother said. He hooked a finger under Lily’s necklace and pulled it out from under her shirt.
Lily grabbed the pendant and pulled back.
“Let go,” not-brother said.
“Do you want to die?”
“Even if you kill me, it’ll be two against one. You won’t get out with-”
She shoved the not-brother’s knife-bearing hand away from her without warning. Walter immediately took the opening and pounced on the not-brother. Darius rushed over to provide back up. Between the three of them, they knocked the knife out of the not-brother’s reach and pinned him to the floor.
“What do you want?” Walter asked again.
“You know what we want, Beauris,” not-brother said.
“Tell me anyway.”
“I’m not telling you anything.”
“Then you don’t get what you want.” Without looking away from the not-brother, Walter said, “Darius, get some rope.”
Darius jumped to his feet. If he remembered right, he had some in the garage that should work perfectly.
~Next part here~