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Venom

Memory Thief 4. Nine After Nine

Note: this episode with Peter is the same scene as the previous post from Nine’s perspective. Choose your path.


Walking up the hill, Peter quietly made his way through the cemetery. The time, nine after nine, his phone told him. Looking up, he found Nine approaching. It felt as though the universe was trying to tell him something. Nine never came after nine. There was only Nine. He had seen her earlier in the evening inside the funeral home, and here she came again, on the time.

Nine after Nine.

She wore a coat over what appeared to be a nightshirt leaving her legs bare with wool socks scrunched down to her sneakers. Her attire made her appear younger, childlike.

“Tara has been in your head, Peter.”

“Tara is as real to me as you are standing before me now.”

Nine stepped closer and twirled her hair the way girls do when they want to be noticed. Unlike that other Nine he had found playing dead in the mortuary, this was the Nine he knew. Throwing an arm around her shoulder, he pulled her close into a hug. She squeezed him back.

“I’m glad you’re feeling better now,” said Peter. “You had me worried earlier.”

Releasing hold, Nine stepped back and shook her head. “I’m sorry I missed your calls. My phone’s battery had died.”

“Not that. In the mortuary.”

She shot him a peculiar look. “What about the mortuary?”

Was she trying to forget her embarrassment? He hugged Nine.

Peter walked with Nine between a row of graves making their way up the hill. Reaching out he wrapped his fingers around hers. Nine squeezing his hand reassured him of her support. Seeing her free hand twirling her hair left no doubt about her interest.

Approaching the back end of the cemetery behind the funeral home, Peter spotted a shadow melting out of the woods and stretching along the path. Defying the lamplight, the shade grew bolder oozing into a woman’s curvy figure. It stopped near a sepulcher.

Freezing in place, Peter gawked at a shadowy, nearly ethereal woman dressed in denim. He hadn’t expected to find Kandy haunting him outside the restaurant.

Releasing Nine’s hand, he folded his arms and dove straight into business about the strange letter that had accompanied Kandy’s belongings.

“Do you know Steve Reynolds?”

The reply came hammering into his head. Not words exactly, but a voice of thought his mind translated for him.

Steve? Of course I know Steve! Where is he?

“Peter,” said Nine, “is your sister with us?”

“He sent me your car, weapons, some blood, and a serum.”

The bags of blood and serum had arrived within a coffin along with a sword and a notebook full of chemistry notes. He had gathered from Steve’s letter, Kandy had used a coffin as a lockbox. The odd delivery apparently held sentimental value.

“Who are you speaking with, Peter?”

“Nine, Kandy is here.”

Kandy glanced around. Her gaze returned a menacing bolt.

Who the hell is Nine?

Realizing Nine and Kandy couldn’t see the other dampened any semblance of sanity, but he remained resolved on getting answers.

“The serum is supposedly a cure for you and I.”

Let’s have it then.

“Peter, I think that stuff might be drugs and will give you hallucinations.” Concern filled Nine’s voice.

“I’m sorry, it was stolen.”

The thought pierced his head as Nine’s voice reached his ear; the two women spoke as one, “We need to get it back.”

Glancing at Nine, Peter found her expression twisting between concern and confusion. Returning his attention on his visitor, he found the path empty. Nothing stood among the graves. Beside the path, the lone stone tomb slept soundly.

Kandy’s sudden disappearance forced doubt, a dagger piercing into his head.

Only Nine stood with him, his Nine after Nine.