Day 12: Missing Person
Eric pressed his thumb to his throat and answered his mother’s whisper through the tongue-stone.
“Listen, Mom, I just want to get adjusted here before I—”
She cut him off. “Is your brother with you?”
“What?” he said, mystified. Of all the questions he’d prepared to field, this was the one he’d least expected. “Mom, I’m in England.”
“Eric. Yes or no.”
“No, of course not. Why?”
Lilith swore rawly. “He hasn’t been home.”
“Oh. Is that why you called?” Eric settled forward onto an elbow against the drawers, almost pressing his nose to the mirror. “You know he likes to stay out. Just send the hounds after him, he’ll show up.”
“The hounds can’t find him.”
The admission sank down into silence. Eric straightened slowly back up, his shoulders prickling. The hounds could find any scent, any prey.
“James…isn’t on the island?”
“I don’t know.” Lilith spoke too close, with too much breath. “They can’t scent him. He’s not dead, or at least not dead where we’ve looked.”
Eric paced a tight circle in the hallway. The mirror was bright in the dark. “I haven’t heard anything from James.”
“Fuck. I was praying he was with you, somehow. It’s been hard since you left, so I thought…but the last time anyone saw him was at Mi-Hi’s house.”
“The winter solstice?” Eric’s feet dug a wrinkle in the carpet. He triple-checked his math. “He’s been gone four days?”
“We can assume. We started looking yesterday.”
He pictured his mother chewing her hair. England was supposed to be the great big scary place, not Dragonhalf. The empty hallway suddenly felt like a shoebox.
“…Fuck,” Eric concluded shakily.
The two things I struggle with most as a writer are dialogue and suspense. Naturally, I decided I absolutely positively needed both in one scene. Camp Nano marches on, and so does the Black Dragon draft. Solidarity to writers who aren’t good at everything but try to be good anyway–I’m feeling the burn in my writer muscles right about now.