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Jack

Terin

Payton

Discovery

Vengeance

Terror

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solar cell
It's too late.
He can't
turn back.
he
can't
stop it.

“Jack, are you all right? Where are you?”

“I’m in South Philly. I’m okay. Well, actually, man, I’m not okay.”

“Are you at a bar? Where are you? Dude, it’s like one-thirty in the morning. Are you drunk? Oh God, I get it. All right, all right. Thank you for calling me. You did the right thing. You’re a real Boy Scout. Where are you? I’ll come get you.”

“Payton, I am not drunk.”

“No, of course you’re not drunk. Where are you?”

“Payton! Listen to me. I am not drunk. I’m in trouble.”

“In trouble, huh? What’s her name?” He waited for a laugh, but none came. He listened for a moment more but Jack said nothing. “Okay, all right. What do you mean, trouble? Were you arrested or something?”

“Okay. Is the comedy routine over?”

“Yeah, it’s over. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. What’s wrong, really?”

“I wasn’t arrested. I’m sitting here in a diner. All right, I’m going to say something, okay?”

“What is it? Dude, you’re making me a little nervous.”

Jack cupped his hand around the phone and spoke softly. “Payton, my life is in danger.” The words themselves quickened his pulse, but the saying of the words brought a measure of comfort. It was the end of a panicked, unnerving aloneness.


—page 216

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