All eyes turned toward Williams as the river raged and the sun continued to sink. At length he set down his rifle and eased the backpack from his shoulders. “Just one,” he said, retaking up his weapon. “Something I was planning on doing when we reached Barley, anyway.” He looked at Sheila, knowing that if anyone tried to stop him it would be her. “See, a mistake was made when we left Ank behind—a mistake I’ve been trying to reconcile ever since Lonepine. I don’t know, but it’s like—it’s like I had a lapse in faith … a lapse in brotherly love, something; one we’re paying for even now.” He paced back and forth with his rifle, trying to figure it out, trying to find the right words. “I read the tea leaves wrong—misinterpreted the entrails—whatever. But the fact is,” He looked at them one by one. “Ank was meant to be with us now. He was meant to ford us across that river. And the only reason he isn’t … is because I failed our friendship.” He paused as drop of rain flecked his nose and the clouds rumbled gently overhead. “Surely you can feel it, just as I do. The feeling that … we’re being tested. That the Flashback was not just an apocalypse in the physical sense. It was an apocalypse in the spiritual sense. That there’s more at play here than dinosaurs and strange lights in the sky—aliens, whatever—that the battle has now been joined by something else entirely. Something, I don’t know–”
“Dear God, he’s going to say it,” protested Peter.
“Yes, yes, I am,” said Williams rapidly, and added: “Something divine. And I guess what I’m trying to tell you all now, especially you, Sheila, and you, Luna, is that … well, I’m being called to go find Ank.”
Wayne Kyle Spitzer (born July 15, 1966) is an American author and low-budget horror filmmaker from Spokane, Washington. He is the writer/director of the short horror film, Shadows in the Garden, as well as the author of Flashback, an SF/horror novel published in 1993. Spitzer’s non-genre writing has appeared in subTerrain Magazine: Strong Words for a Polite Nation and Columbia: The Magazine of Northwest History. His recent fiction includes The Ferryman Pentalogy, consisting of Comes a Ferryman, The Tempter and the Taker, The Pierced Veil, Black Hole, White Fountain, and To the End of Ursathrax, as well as The X-Ray Rider Trilogy and a screen adaptation of Algernon Blackwood’s “The Willows.”
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