carly part five: young fifteen

This story started here.

In the instant when the tall man hit the floor of the tiny room, Carly experienced a strange feeling, as though time was suspended for a moment. She described it later as the sudden end of background music that you hadn't been aware of until it was interrupted. Then, slowly, she began to absorb what the old man had said.

"You drugged him?" she demanded. "In the tea?"

"Nah, I figure he dozed off from boredom," came an unexpected voice as a low cabinet swung out from the wall and a teenaged boy climbed out of a very small concealed door. "That story you were telling would have put anybody out." He straightened up and pushed the cabinet back into place. He was wearing big, baggy shorts and a hooded sweatshirt, his head shaved.

"Now, young Fifteen," the old man admonished the new arrival, "she is our guest–"

"Oh, I just love it when you call me that," Fifteen said, grinning. "So, Ancient One," he continued, gesturing at the tall man lying on the rug, "what do we do with the big guy here? And when do I get to tell a story?"

"The first thing to do is remove this fellow," their host said judiciously. "He was rather tedious company even when he was awake, and I doubt he will improve much in his present condition. He'll come about in two or three hours, and when he does–"

"So, you did drug him?" Carly demanded. They both turned toward her as though they were surprised to find that she was still there. She shrugged. "I know I'm repeating myself, but–"

Their host smiled blandly. "I was assuming that your question was rhetorical," he explained.

"Not requiring a reply," Fifteen amplified.

"I know what–"

"Of course he drugged him," Fifteen said patiently. He winked. "You, too, maybe."

"What?" Carly demanded, trying to feel whether she was about to pass out.

"Oh, don't mind him," their host said placatingly, rubbing his hands together. "We can talk everything over once we've cleaned up a bit in here." He nudged the tall man with his toe and Fifteen turned to Carly.

"Come on, I want to get him out of here so I can tell a story." He squatted by one of the man's feet and looked up at Carly. "So? You think I'm going to haul him out of here by myself?

Carly was about to protest that dragging the tall man out of there by his heels would probably hurt him, but then she remembered the point of her story, and she lifted his other foot.

Their host slipped past them to open the door and they dragged the man out into the hall. He was limp and difficult to maneuver, but they managed to pull him down the hall to the front door, which was still open. The pulled him down the two steps to the street, his head bouncing on each one. He didn't show any sign of waking up.

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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