Speak of the Devil By D.I. Jolly
Part of The Camp Series:
Ben and Thomas quietly sipping their drinks and waited for comfort to set in. Although their lives had taken very different paths after escaping The Camp, nothing would stop them from coming to their yearly meet up. There was three-year between them, which meant almost nothing now in their late 20s, but had meant the world when they were kidnapped at ages 7 and 10. They had been transported together and Thomas had instantly taken to trying to protect Ben as best he could. They were some of the lucky ones who arrived only a few weeks before the breakout, and neither had had to fight. But they had been forced to see the type of things that never truly went away.
After the second beer with done and Thomas returned with a third, he had found his words.
“How’s it going at the new job?”
“Yeah, not bad. I get Thursday and Saturdays off and they pay for my travel card which pretty is cool.”
“That’s good, you able to save anything?”
Ben took a thirsty sip of his beer.
“A little, not every week, but at least once a month.”
“You still living at the same place?”
Ben blushed now and looked down.
“No, no I… I had to move out. Well, no I didn’t have to but I, kind thought I oughta.”
Thomas nodded knowingly and sighed.
“You started having nightmares again.”
It wasn’t a question and they both knew it.
“I… I couldn’t shift my sessions to my day off, and so I ran out of the pills. But, but that’s all sorted now and I didn’t just spend the money you sent, I-I kept it.”
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small envelope which he handed to Thomas. It was full of cash and it filled Thomas’s heart with a deep and guilty pride. He wanted to just hand it back to his, almost as a reward for doing the right thing but he couldn’t be sure if that wouldn’t just wound the guy. He knew he was struggling and to just keep the money aside and give it back when it was probably more than he’d made that month. It showed heart, it reminded Thomas of why he was so dedicated to helping. He pocketed the envelope and said.
“Same dream as always?”
Ben took another long sip of his beer and thought, letting his gaze grow distant.
“You know it’s funny, of everything, the guys with the whips on the boat, The Camp guards, the guy in charge, the trainers. The only thing that still comes to me in the night … is him. Everything else faded but he’s still …”
Ben’s lip started shaking and he closed his eyes against the welling tears.
“And he’s the guy who ended up saving us. Fuck.”
Ben ran a shaking hand over his face, and a cold shiver ran over Thomas’s body as he too thought back to that time.
“The Demon Hunter of Men … Michal.”
Thomas’s voice dropped to a whisper.
They both raised their glasses.
“I hope he found peace where ever he is, and I pray that it’s far away from here.”
Michal smiled as he heard the words from his perch at the bar, he’d tuned into the conversation when he heard the word nightmares. He wouldn’t have been able to pick them out as kids from The Camp any more than they knew what he actually looked like, but it made him smile and a bit sad when he stumbled across the others. The ones who had been there with him and had managed to get back to the real world. Quietly he raised his own glass and thought, ‘and to you’. He took a sip, paid his tab and walked out. Careful not to glace across and see their faces. He didn’t need to know who they were but was glad to know others were out there, looking after for each other. Besides, what good would meeting The Devil in a bar do anyway.