I wipe droplets of cold Arkham rain off my phone. Dripping in a rundown hallway at 1 a.m., I text Archmage227 outside his apartment door.
There’s a beep inside, muffled by the downpour. A short shuffle. Strained hiccups.
My phone buzzes:
UNLOCKED COME IN
I open the door. A cat in a carrier mews at me in a dim kitchen.
There’s a foul odor. “Dude, are you okay?”
I hear a “hic-hic” from the dark adjacent room before a text buzz.
NO. CANT TALK
“You need a doctor? I can drive you to—”
“We’ve never met offline in all the years we’ve gamed, Arch. Now you’re hiding after getting me here at 1 a.m. to take your cat. What’s up?”
ONLY FRIEND BESIDE NEMO
“Then let me help you!”
I don’t know if I heard a sigh or a sniffle.
ITS TOO LATE
I pick up a bottle from the kitchen table with a label in Chinese. “Is this the crap you ordered? To fix your hiccups and health problems?”
MADE IT WORSE
I look up from the messages. “What milk?”
A thrown phone shatters on the wall behind me.
I run into the dark room. By the light of my phone, I see him for the first and last time at an open window.
A fish’s unblinking eyes and maw of fangs. A grey-green manlike bulk with gills flared in labored gasps before he slips into the rain.
Copyright © Jason H. Abbott, All Rights Reserved.