Skin crawling, Brian took the black man’s hand. The hair on his arm stood up like he’d touched a Tesla plasma ball. Jordan stood slightly behind Brian’s right shoulder. He could feel her presence and appreciated the fact she was backing him up. Their parents seemed oddly subdued.
“How did you know to find us here?” Brian asked, chin up, slightly defiant. He didn’t trust Gavin Deidrich and didn’t care if the black man knew it.
“Little sniffing around. It’s a small town, after all. When I didn’t find you at home, I asked around until someone told me.”
“I’ll have to be sure to talk to the neighbors about minding their own business,” Brian said.
Gavin Deidrich’s eyes glittered, spots of darkness in his black face. “You do that. Meanwhile, why don’t you join us for a cup of tea? My own blend.”
“I think I’ll pass. Jordan?”
“We need to go out for a little while,” she said quickly, her voice tense. “We’re going to meet some of our friends.”
“I’ll be happy to drive you,” Mr. Deidrich made to rise.
“Not necessary,” Brian interjected. “We’re fine, thanks. A walk in the snow will be fun.”
“Fresh air and exercise,” Jordan added.
“Bundle up,” Jackie said. “And be home for supper at six thirty.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Jordan replied automatically.
Brian hugged and kissed his mother’s cheek, hoping that whatever Deidrich had given her wasn’t going to cause lasting harm. He hugged Jackie and shook Mr. Barrett’s hand, squeezing extra hard as he channelled the thought, Snap out of it. You’re drugged. He had no idea if it would work, but of the three, Heath seemed the least affected by the brew.
A slow smile spread across Gavin Deidrich’s face. It was an ugly, predatory expression. “See you two at dinner.”
“Not if we see you first,” Jordan snapped. That was the sort of reply that would normally have earned her a sharp reprimand from her mother. When none came, she grabbed Brian, dragging him out of the room by his elbow.
They threw on their warm clothing and scurried out the door. Gavin Deidrich was waiting in the foyer for them. He opened the door, grinning nastily, the cheer not reaching his eyes.
“You two have fun, now. I’ll be here when you get back.”
“I certainly hope you won’t,” Brian said calmly. “Because I don’t trust you and I don’t like you and I think you should leave. You aren’t welcome.”
“But Jordan’s parents say I am.”
“But I say you aren’t. You need to leave,” Brian said, meeting the dark, forbidding gaze with a frown.
Mr. Deidrich shivered. His features moved and changed slightly and Brian saw the same grimace he’d seen in the thief’s face a few days ago. Making himself touch the older man, he pushed a little with his mind.
“You need to leave. You aren’t welcome.”
Deidrich shivered again, but straightened his shoulders, smiling. “When you learn to use that thing better, you come see me. Then it might be a different conversation. Meanwhile, y’all have fun.”
Wishing he could drive, Brian trotted down the steps. Jordan waited on the sidewalk for him, shivering with fear.
“Who is he?”
“I don’t know, but I don’t trust him. I think he drugged our parents or took control of their minds, or something.”
“Got that, huh? You’re not as dumb as you act.” She hunkered down in her jacket. “You need to call Andre.”
“I agree. Let’s get a little further from the house and I’ll do it.”
“I bet the coffee shop is open. Why don’t we go there? They have free wi-fi and we can get a hot chocolate.”
“Good idea.” He measured his stride to Jordan’s shorter legs.
On the way to the coffee shop, he called Andre. The other boy sounded concerned when he answered.
“Dude, I was fixing to call you. You been on my mind since last night. Are you okay?”
“I’ll tell you about it when I see you. Can you get away?”
“Sure. I can’t bring all the gang. Sweet and Louisa have to work today. Me and Ginnifer are free.”
© 2016 Dellani Oakes