Will wasn’t even able to get a word out before he saw the new Buck rip a hole through the Safe Haven barrier. If there had been any doubt as to what Matt was becoming before, it was gone the second he looked back at them, panicked and overwhelmed by the what he was feeling. Will knew he saw the eyes flicker red before they turned into true gold. It was going to go quickly for this poor kid and that was going to be painful if he didn’t have a guide. And it was going to be even more scary for them all because even if he wasn’t getting horns yet, he was definitely going through the madness. All of this would occur to him seconds too late as he watched the boy bolt out of the tear in the reality around them, dropping them back in the space in front of the storage locker in the physical world.
“I didn’t know he could do that,” Dolly groaned as she rolled over on her back and clutched at her forehead. She’d dropped from a standing position and if not for the pain in her head, she would have noticed that she’d re-opened the cuts on her knees.
Stuart wasted no time getting her wheelchair and Will and Lydia were already trying to help her off the ground.
“Those things aren’t still around are they?” Lydia frowned as they tried to help Dolly up. Stuart held the chair still as he looked around.
“The Bucks had their fight and I’m sure they’re off recovering,” Will sighed. “The condition that urges them to battle it out is deadly but temporary. They aren’t always like that and once they get it out of their system, they’re less likely to wander around the same spot.”
Stuart looked like he was going to say something but paused. He looked worn out and Dolly already knew that alone would make it harder for him to say anything. Getting to see a whole bunch of monsters attacking each other and possibly killing a couple of people certain didn’t help. She hoped they didn’t really kill anyone. She also hoped that this didn’t mean that the boy who got rammed was also going to turn into a Buck. She might not have wished him dead for real but she also didn’t trust what a boy like that would do if he got that kind of power behind him. She looked to Stuart to see him texting and sighed. She didn’t know what time it was right now but she could only imagine how much trouble he was going to be in if it was late and he still had his father’s car.
A couple of seconds later, Dolly’s phone rang and when she checked it, she saw that Stuart had just decided to forego any attempt to trip over his words and texted her instead. She was also confused to find that it had only been about an hour or so since they’d stopped filming. She made a mental note to ask Will about that later and concentrated on Stuart’s message.
What do we do about Matt?
“I’m not sure what to do about Matt,” Dolly sighed. “He’s pretty freaked out.”
“We can’t just let him go,” Lydia frowned. “What if those things find him? If he’s one of them like Will says, won’t they want to hurt him?”
“Will, you said they were over that part now, right?” Dolly asked, looking down the empty pavement towards the exit of the storage units. She looked back and her heart sank when she saw Will’s face. “They won’t really hurt him, will they?”
“It’s something that happens to Bucks where they are driven to compete with each other,” Will said, carefully. “I don’t know enough about them to be able to say what they’ll do but he’s already challenged them once and survived.”
That other one that was running towards us didn’t look like it was willing to back down like the first one.
Dolly read the text out loud for them and Will sighed.
“Honestly, I wish I knew more but the Bucks aren’t really that keen to share their society with outsiders. They live by a strict code and while mostly they don’t bother with anything that isn’t part of their world, when they have, it’s been confusing at best and deadly at worst,” he frowned. “And to be utterly truthful, they probably won’t want to or need to come back here for anything but they will want to find him because Matt is part of their society, whether he likes it or not.”
“Is it just because that big one scratched him?” Lydia asked, looking out over the path, searching the shadows to see if he was there.
“It’s not like that,” Will shook his head. “I don’t know much but I did see him and the big guy there had an exchange. It was short but it must have been enough. How it works, I don’t know but I am pretty confident that he’s going to have another run in with them if he doesn’t make his way back to a Safe Haven, even if it’s not ours.”
“I doubt that there’s any way to bring him back here,” Dolly sighed. “He was running pretty fast.”
“And considering that he tore a hole in the Safe Haven when he escaped, running after him isn’t going to yield much,” Will agreed, looking out over the shadowy path. “Still, that might not be our only option and if we can get him to calm down and come to another one, we might be able to get him to enter another Haven and bring him back into ours. That’s entirely possible.”
“How do we find another Safe Haven?” Lydia asked, uncertainly.
“Well it doesn’t have to be a Haven so much as anywhere that we can access a rift,” Will explained. “They’re more accessible than you might think. If you can get him to come to a place where there’s a gathering of people. Think like a night club or even a library or somewhere people would gather to see a play or a party. Or anywhere that’s a pop up shop of some kind, especially if there’s lots of people there. The rifts aren’t that difficult to find but they aren’t that stable and might disappear pretty fast, depending. If we can find him and get him to a nearby rift, we might be able to get him into somewhere safer than out here.”
I’ve texted my father to let him know that I’ve been having some car issues and I will be home later than I planned. I can try to drive around a bit and see if he’s in the area. Do you know where he might have gone?
Dolly read the text out loud and Lydia brightened up.
“That’s a great idea!” she said, excitedly.
“A car would be a better bet than trying to walk around the area,” Will agreed. “That said, I don’t know how easily this is going to be for Dolly and myself. As it stands, she’s probably not going to be able to stand for much longer even in the Safe Haven and it’s not Halloween yet so I’m going to stick out pretty badly. As for where he was heading, honestly I’m not sure but if the rumors are true, the Bucks will seek out the moon. I can’t guarantee that this is real but I’ve heard from more than one source that they are pretty keen on congregating in open areas where they can see the full of the night sky. Why I can’t tell you, but it seems like at least an option.”
“It’s a place to start,” Lydia suggested. She looked to Stuart who didn’t seem convinced but nodded anyway. “What will you and Dolly do?”
“I can probably bring her back into the Safe Haven for a while longer,” Will said. “It’s easier to hold up for a while when it’s just one person. That said, it won’t last all night.”
I can only tell my dad I’ll be so long. I know there’s a clearing where there used to a small old barn on the edge of town that fell down a while ago. It’s not far away. I’m willing to try looking for an hour or so but after that, I’m not going to be able to lie about why I’m taking so long to get home and my dad will want the car.
“That’s a fair point,” Dolly said after reading Stuart’s text.
“That’s actually a great place to look first,” Will encouraged. “If you find him, just tell him that we can help him and we need to get him to somewhere safe. If he’s calm, there’s a good chance that he will come. That said, if you see anything coming around or anything with glowing eyes in the dark, do your best to get out of there but stay in the car. They’re strong and they might do some decent damage but you’ll be safer inside than out.”
“Stuart, are you going to be okay doing this?” Dolly said, looking at him. He frowned. “No one wants to let Matt go off into danger but this is getting serious. If this is too much to ask, we can try to find another way.”
He shook his head and looked anxiously at the car before he texted her again.
I don’t want to see those things again but I don’t want to leave him outside. I would be so scared if it were me.
“He’s right,” Dolly said, after reading his text. She looked at Will.
“Give it an hour and if you don’t find him, come back here,” Will said. “There’s other ways to try to find him and we’ll do what we can from the other side of the rift. If we can, we might be able to find another way to open one from our side. Keep us posted while you’re out there and if you run into trouble, we’ll find a way to help you.”