Story Excerpts

You’re coming with us

Here’s an entire scene that never made it into my novel. Not even close. How not close? Paul was never a named character in any draft of it.

The doorbell rings just after 1100. Discounting Dante and my followers, we don’t often get visitors. I set aside the book I’m reading and go to the front door to peer through the peep hole. It’s the man from the stabbing.

<Carson, the guy you saved is here to see you.>

I open the door, smiling out of politeness. “Good morning. It’s good to see you up and about.”

<Okay. I just got out of the shower, I’ll be out in a few minutes.>

“Hey. Good morning,” he extends a hand. “I’m Paul.”

Shaking his hand, I step aside and gesture him in. “Eyan.”

“Er… Thanks,” he stutters.

“Please sit down,” I lead him into the living room.

He lowers himself onto the couch. “So… I managed to get your names and address. I hope you don’t mind. I just wanted to thank you.”

Considering how well known Carson is, his finding our address is not a feat to be wondered at. I settle across from Paul, on a lazy chair. “It’s my friend, Carson, you want to thank. He’s the one who saved your life. I was just with him.”

Paul’s eyebrows go up momentarily. “I wasn’t unconscious the whole time. I remember both of you.”

Yes, but you didn’t hear the silent conversation that proceeded my help. “Carson is really the one who deserves your thanks.”

“Is he here?”

“Yes, I told him you’re here. He’ll be out soon.”

Paul’s gaze flits around, disconcerted. Before he connects the telepathic dots, Carson emerges from the hallway.

Standing, I direct him to our guest. “Carson, this is Paul. Paul, Carson.”

Paul gets to his feet to shake Carson’s hand. “Eyan says you’re the one who saved my life. I came to thank you.”

Carson smiles, “You’re very welcome. How nice of you to find us.”

“I had to. You saved my life. The doctors tried to convince me that I’m remembering wrong, I wasn’t stabbed, there was no stab wound. But I know I didn’t hallucinate it.”

Carson nods, “No, you didn’t.”

Paul seems relieved to not have to argue the point. “I know this is stupid, but can I buy you lunch? There’s this great little hole in the wall Thai place not far from here.”

“Of course, but it’s really not necessary.”

“I insist. I should do much more, but it’s not like I can really return the favor, so…”

“I’ll be sure to let you know the next time my life is in danger,” Carson deadpans.

Paul laughs, tipping his head back with the fullness of his mirth.

<You’re coming with us,> Carson insists.

<I’m not sure I’m invited.>

<Don’t be daft. Of course you’re invited.>

Of course.

“Give me a minute and I’ll be ready.” I retreat to my room, where I want to stay. Instead, I put on shoes and grab my wallet. Carson and Paul are talking animatedly about Doctor Who when I return. Apparently Paul’s favorite Doctor is Ten, while Carson’s is Four. The conversation continues as Paul drives us to the restaurant and we’re seated.

“I quite like Twelve,” I interject when they pause long enough.

“You watch Doctor Who?” Carson asks, voice rife with disbelief.

“I haven’t seen Classic Who but I enjoy the new show.”

“How did I not know this?”

Two answers pop into my head: You never asked and we’ve had more important things to deal with. Both are barbed so I reconsider. “I’m full of surprises.”

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