From the Inside Flap
Elliott stared at the cell phone on the table before him. He'd been sitting there for God knew how long, trying to collect his thoughts, wondering how much he should tell old Larry, knowing that Larry would never believe him, anyway. Not that it really mattered. All that mattered was that Larry did his job.
He reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a crumpled pack of cigarettes. He took one out and stuck it into his mouth, then lit the end with a lighter he'd filched from the motel diner. The fluttering of the flame drew his focus from the end of the cigarette to his hands. They were shaking. They were always shaking lately. The realization displeased him.
Annoyed,he flipped the lighter closed and inhaled deeply. Damn cigarettes. They'd be the death of him one day. If those things out there didn't get him first, those beasts of the air, or whatever the hell they were.
Bolstered by the nicotine hit, he reached out and tapped the screen on his phone to record a message, but the words he wanted to say did not come right away. He didn't know where to begin.
"Larry,"he finally began. "It's Elliott. By now, you've heard about my disappearance." He gave a short, wry laugh and then took another drag off his cigarette before continuing. "It's not what you think. I'm not...dead.Not yet, anyway."
He scrubbed a hand across his face, feeling how gaunt it was, how rough it wasfrom the whiskers he hadn't bothered to shave off for the last month.
"Listen,I need you to do something for me. I want you to liquidate my assets.Everything. And put the money in a trust fund for me. All except for the house.Give that to Ruth. She deserves it after putting up with me for so many years."
He took another pull from the cigarette. "I can't explain things right now,so don't bother to ask." He looked at the phone, stared hard at it,watching the display lights travel across the screen, recording his prolonged silence. "We've known each other a long time, Larry. You know I'm not a bullshitter, and I'm not bullshitting you when I say this. There's something out there. Something...malevolent." He heard the vulnerability in his own voice. He sounded afraid, sad. Confused.
"They aren't like us," he muttered. He laughed again, a dry, flat sound that ended too soon. "That sounds crazy, doesn't it? But it's not. I've seen them with my own eyes. I know they're out there." He waved a hand in the air as if Larry could see the gesture. "Out there...in the ether,waiting."
He glanced back at the phone, frowning now. He'd said too much. "Just do what I ask. I'll be in touch."
He pressed the stop button and saved the recording then accessed his email account and found the contact he wanted.
"Lawrence Freiberg, Attorney-at-law," he muttered, his eyes scanning the address to make sure he hadn't transposed any letters in his haste. After a moment's hesitation, he attached the recording and pressed send.
He crushed his cigarette out in the ashtray nearby and stood up, reaching for the black leather duster he'd draped across the chair. Time to go. He'd stayed too long.
He left the key to the room lying on the table. Lingering too long in one place was not good. The hell with rest. He had to get back out into the open.Being in a room made him claustrophobic. He hated it, but it was a fact of life now. So much had changed in the past several months. Nearly everything about him had changed. But he had to deal with it now. He couldn't go back. They wouldn't let him.