Sunday, December 19, 2010

Door 19

Damien was big.

In the same way that Jack was small, Damien was big. Sometimes you don't need a lot of qualifiers - Damien was just big.

Jack stared up at him, mouth open. He didn't know what to say, didn't know what to do.

"Cat got your tongue, Grandpa Jack," Damien said. He turned to Clarice. "Get back in your room. Now."

Clarice shivered like she had a sudden chill, but didn't move.

"Now!" Damien screamed.

Clarice jumped, then slowly backed out of the room until she was out of Damien's sight. She stayed in the hall though, staring at Jack. She shook her head toward him. Then she did it again.

Jack had absolutely no idea what she was trying to tell him.

"Why did you come back here?" Damien asked. "What could she possibly have said to you to make you want to do something so stupid?"

"She told me how you're hurting her. And how you're hurting her sisters."

"Why do you care?"

"It's my fault. I should have gotten rid of that thing a long time ago," Jack said.

"I'm glad you didn't. The Doorway opens up so many possibilities."

Jack backed up toward the corner of the bedroom. A bathroom was on his right. And the Doorways were on his left. He stopped directly between the two.

"You're not using it for anything worthwhile. You're just using it to make money," Jack said.

Damien nodded. "Sounds worthwhile to me."

Jack glanced at the bathroom. Not exactly a superhero-type move to hide in a bathroom, but it would probably have a lock on the door. Maybe he could figure something out after he got in there. Like how to escape.

But how could he leave without a Doorway?

"Don't you even care that you're hurting them?" Jack asked.

"It's not easy to see it happen, I'll admit," Damien said. "I wish I could figure out a way to stop them from getting sick."

Jack laughed, but it came out as a strangled hiccup. "How about not sending them back?"

Damien shook his head. "No. That's not an option. Not yet."

Jack slipped a hand into his pants pocket and gripped the screwdriver. "I'm giving you an opportunity to do the right thing."

"And if I don't take the opportunity?"

Jack pulled the screwdriver from his pocket and pointed it at Damien.

"Really?" Damien said. "The melodrama wasn't enough? Now we're sliding into violence as well?"

"I'm taking my Doorway and leaving." Jack kept the screwdriver pointed at Damien, but his hand was visably shaking. "You can keep yours. For now."

Jack bent down and grabbed the closest Doorway with his left hand. When he looked back up, Damien was already across the room, reaching for him. He was much faster than Jack had believed possible.

Jack thrust the screwdriver out, aiming for Damien's arm. Damien dodged it easily and bent Jack's wrist back sharply, forcing him to drop the screwdriver. He bent Jack's wrist back even more, bringing Jack to his knees in pain.

"Stop..." Jack wheezed.

"You think you can come into my house and threaten me?" Damien said, his face twisting in anger. "You think you know more about the Doorway than I do just because you found it first? You think you get to be the moral guide for me?"

Damien picked the screwdriver up from the floor and held it in front of Jack's face. "You're not going to be my guide for anything!"

Twisting Jack's hand back until his wrist turned white from the pressure, Damien brought the screwdriver point to Jack's wrist and slowly pressed it down until a drop of blood appeared. Then he slid it down the inside of Jack's arm, drawing blood the whole way.

Jack screamed.

Clarice ran from the hall and jumped onto her Father's back. She pounded on him with both fists, over and over, on his head and shoulders. She was too weak to hurt him, but she did distract him for a moment and cause him to release Jack's arm.

Damien spun around and threw Clarice off him and back into the hall. Jack grabbed the Doorway and scrambled on his back, like a crab, toward the bathroom. Damien lunged out and caught him by the foot, twisting Jack's ankle.

"You're not going anywhere with that," Damien said.

Jack kicked out with his right foot, catching Damien in the face, again and again. "Yes. I. Am!" Jack yelled.

He finally caught Damien's nose solidly with his heel. Damien howled and sat up, clutching his nose with both hands.

Jack scrambled to his feet and shot into the bathroom, slamming the door behind him.

Damien hit the door with all his weight, but the door wasn't even locked. It flew open, slamming into the wall behind it.

It didn't matter.

Jack was gone.

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