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datatime: 2022-10-03 10:32:09 Author:WcEgJzmX

Terry took the hand and shook it. Dougal spoke with a thick Jamaican accent, and his eyes were sharp, kind, stoned. The girl's burned like embers. Terry believed they were Zach's friends, though probably not his actual brudda an' sista. They smelled faintly sweaty, as if they had been driving all night. And the photo was worn, rubbed around the edges. Someone had spent a lot of time looking at it, and Terry was willing to bet that someone was Edwina. Eddy.

Terry suspected that psychedelic drugs affected the body chemistry of gay men differently than straights. He could never eat greasy diner food on 'shrooms, and though he'd enjoyed Ecstasy the couple of times he'd done it, he hadn't felt remotely like dancing to disco music all night. Or techno, or rave, or whatever was the current noise of choice. Calvin and David had kept wanting to drive to Raleigh where they imagined they could find' some glamorous after-hours club and do just that.

R.J., who still preferred to live like an eleven-year-old kid most of the time, had just said no and gone home to bed. Terry tripped with Victoria, Calvin, and David, the redheaded boy Calvin had met at the show. David turned out to be a brilliant twenty-year-old exchange student from London who entertained them all with witty banter until Calvin dragged him off into one of the bedrooms. Terry and Victoria took the other one. There was nothing quite like sex on hallucinogens to strengthen a relationship.

We come in peace, he said, holding out a large slender hand. "We are his brudda an' sista. My name is Dougal. The lady is Edwina. Eddy."

Okay Terry jumped up. "Hang on Let's go in the back room and talk this over." He locked the door, flipped the sign to the side that read BACK IN 5 ... OR 15 ... OR WHENEVER.

Terry took the hand and shook it. Dougal spoke with a thick Jamaican accent, and his eyes were sharp, kind, stoned. The girl's burned like embers. Terry believed they were Zach's friends, though probably not his actual brudda an' sista. They smelled faintly sweaty, as if they had been driving all night. And the photo was worn, rubbed around the edges. Someone had spent a lot of time looking at it, and Terry was willing to bet that someone was Edwina. Eddy.

Terry realized he had been woolgathering. Two kids were standing by the imports section eyeing him speculatively. One was a lean black guy wearing a Yellowman shirt and voluminous multipocketed fatigue pants, long color-threaded dreadlocks pulled back in a thick ponytail from his amiable, slightly horsey face. The other was an absolute knockout, a stunning Asian girl with short hair that accented her large tilted eyes and exquisite bones. She wore a lot of earrings, but no makeup. Terry hadn't seen either of them around town before.

Because Zach's a freak, Eddy said simply, "and freaks tend to frequent record stores."

They had all felt that the place was sucking at them, that they could get lost in here and never come back. What Terry hadn't admitted to the others-but suspected they'd felt as well-was that for a moment the idea of getting lost had tempted him. Here were sweet poisons and twisted dreams. Here were things he could never touch with hands of mere flesh and bone ...

Help you with something? he inquired. Probably they were looking for Steve and Ghost. Kids from the fringe had started drifting into town over the past year, since Lost Souls? had managed to get their tape distributed to record stores up and down the East Coast. Most just wanted to see a show; a few wanted to camp out in the band's yard, or thought Ghost was their true soulmate due to secret personal messages they heard in his lyrics. It was a little unnerving, but it had brought in tons of business when Steve worked at the store. Even now that Lost Souls? was touring, when Terry pointed out that he had played drums on their tape, these kids would always buy a Whirling Disc T-shirt.

We're looking for this boy, she said. "His name is Zachary. He's a good friend of ours, and he's in a lot of trouble."

Terry realized he had been woolgathering. Two kids were standing by the imports section eyeing him speculatively. One was a lean black guy wearing a Yellowman shirt and voluminous multipocketed fatigue pants, long color-threaded dreadlocks pulled back in a thick ponytail from his amiable, slightly horsey face. The other was an absolute knockout, a stunning Asian girl with short hair that accented her large tilted eyes and exquisite bones. She wore a lot of earrings, but no makeup. Terry hadn't seen either of them around town before.

They had run out yelling, slapping high-fives but not fooling each other for a second. They had tumbled off the porch and across the weed-choked yard, toward the small stubborn figure of Ghost far away on the other side of the road. None of them had ever gone back. But Terry had dreamed of it, that strange seductive slum. And he would be willing to bet Steve and R.J. had had dreams of their own.

They had all felt that the place was sucking at them, that they could get lost in here and never come back. What Terry hadn't admitted to the others-but suspected they'd felt as well-was that for a moment the idea of getting lost had tempted him. Here were sweet poisons and twisted dreams. Here were things he could never touch with hands of mere flesh and bone ...

Around four-thirty A.M. they'd all met back up in the kitchen, bedraggled and happy, and managed to make a batch of popcorn. Then they put Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on Terry's VCR, snuggled up on the couch, and thrilled to the sinister tale until dawn, rewinding it again and again at the part where Gene Wilder said "WE are the music makers, and WE are the dreamers of dreams." After that Terry and Victoria crashed while Calvin and David went zooming off to breakfast, still full of crazed fungal energy.

Terry took the hand and shook it. Dougal spoke with a thick Jamaican accent, and his eyes were sharp, kind, stoned. The girl's burned like embers. Terry believed they were Zach's friends, though probably not his actual brudda an' sista. They smelled faintly sweaty, as if they had been driving all night. And the photo was worn, rubbed around the edges. Someone had spent a lot of time looking at it, and Terry was willing to bet that someone was Edwina. Eddy.

Terry suspected that psychedelic drugs affected the body chemistry of gay men differently than straights. He could never eat greasy diner food on 'shrooms, and though he'd enjoyed Ecstasy the couple of times he'd done it, he hadn't felt remotely like dancing to disco music all night. Or techno, or rave, or whatever was the current noise of choice. Calvin and David had kept wanting to drive to Raleigh where they imagined they could find' some glamorous after-hours club and do just that.

Terry realized he had been woolgathering. Two kids were standing by the imports section eyeing him speculatively. One was a lean black guy wearing a Yellowman shirt and voluminous multipocketed fatigue pants, long color-threaded dreadlocks pulled back in a thick ponytail from his amiable, slightly horsey face. The other was an absolute knockout, a stunning Asian girl with short hair that accented her large tilted eyes and exquisite bones. She wore a lot of earrings, but no makeup. Terry hadn't seen either of them around town before.

He's staying with a friend, Terry said. "In an abandoned, haunted house. Now I'm not going out there, and I don't guess you better go by yourselves either. But I'll take you over to my friend Kinsey's. He doesn't mind ghosts. He'll go tell Zach you're here."

He's staying with a friend, Terry said. "In an abandoned, haunted house. Now I'm not going out there, and I don't guess you better go by yourselves either. But I'll take you over to my friend Kinsey's. He doesn't mind ghosts. He'll go tell Zach you're here."

Terry took the hand and shook it. Dougal spoke with a thick Jamaican accent, and his eyes were sharp, kind, stoned. The girl's burned like embers. Terry believed they were Zach's friends, though probably not his actual brudda an' sista. They smelled faintly sweaty, as if they had been driving all night. And the photo was worn, rubbed around the edges. Someone had spent a lot of time looking at it, and Terry was willing to bet that someone was Edwina. Eddy.

Around four-thirty A.M. they'd all met back up in the kitchen, bedraggled and happy, and managed to make a batch of popcorn. Then they put Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on Terry's VCR, snuggled up on the couch, and thrilled to the sinister tale until dawn, rewinding it again and again at the part where Gene Wilder said "WE are the music makers, and WE are the dreamers of dreams." After that Terry and Victoria crashed while Calvin and David went zooming off to breakfast, still full of crazed fungal energy.

Eddy's face lit up with a beautiful, delighted smile. She was obviously crazy for Zach-along with half the world, it was beginning to seem. Terry refused to be responsible for breaking the news of Trevor to her. It wasn't his damn business anyway. But he had a hunch that the plane out of the country was going to be carrying an extra passenger, and not the one Eddy probably hoped it would be, either.

Whatever Zach's morals (or lack thereof), Terry genuinely liked him. If there was even a slim chance that feds were heading for Missing Mile to nab him, Terry knew he had to help Zach get away.

Eventually, of course, they had. At first it had just looked like any old abandoned house, all sagging wood and ancient dust and shadow. But as they approached the bloodstained doorway to the hall, the shadows had seemed to shift around them, to change, and for a moment they were no longer in the house at all.

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