"We're at Baily's place." I said, "Are you okay?"
"I'm freakin out, here" Jake babbled, "Danny, whatever got to Billy.....I think it might be after the rest of us too."
I thought back to all Baily and I had experienced over the past few hours and wondered if anyone else had met the same fate as Billy had.
"Jake," I started, "Have you talked with Kaley or Samantha about this?"
"No, man," Jake said thoughtfully, "no, I haven't. I'll call them right away. You two come over to my place so we can put our heads together and figure out what is going on."
"Jake," I said trying not to sound scared, "maybe you should get out of there and go somewhere where you'll be safer. Like maybe.....I don't know...somewhere where other people are."
I could tell that Jake was letting that sink in for a minute before responding.
"I kinda see what you mean, man." he finally responded, "I'll get some things together and get out of here. I'll take the cell phone and try to reach the girls. Meet me down by the Starbucks in say...thirty minutes."
"Okay," I said checking my watch, "just get out of there as soon as you can."
"You got it." Jake said and the phone clicked off.
Jake set down the phone and picked up the cell to check the battery. It seemed to have a good charge and he put it in his pocket. He had a rather large crucifix sitting on the nightstand near his bed. His Mom had given it to him as a sort of housewarming gift when he got the new apartment. Up to now, he had never given it much of a thought. Right now, though....
The voice sent a cold chill down Jakes back and every hair on his body seemed to stand on end. Jake heard the voice behind him, but couldn't bring himself to turn around. As he exhaled, a frosty mist came from his mouth as if it were 30 degrees in his room.
"Do you enjoy playing games, Jake?" the deep rasping voice came again, "Is that what this is to you?"
Slowly, Jake turned toward where the voice came from. Laughter came from the darkness. Like the laughter of a bunch of school kids. Jake could see shadows moving around the room, but no definition. Small feet seemed to be moving around the room but he could only see shadows. Then Jake could see a large shadow as if something were standing up. When it reached it's full height, it loomed over Jake with eyes....red eyes.
"Game?" Jake studdered, "I'm not sure I understand."
"You don't understand?" the grotesque shadow asked, "Jake, when you play games, you really need to be aware of the rules before you start."
Blindly, Jake felt for the crucifix on the nightstand until he grasped the base of it and thrust it forward toward the hellish creature.
Expecting to hear shreiks of terror, Jake was surprised to hear a low chuckle.
"Jake, Jake, tsk, tsk," the voice lamented, "You disappoint me."
Jake was utterly speechless at the response and became wide eyed with fear.
"Jake, the crucifix is but a symbol." the voice sneered, "Symbols have no effect on me. It's as if you are trying to scare me with an unloaded weapon."
The shadow moved around Jake and moved even closer. Still holding the crucifix, Jake began to shake uncontrollably. A big, ugly, gnarled hand reached out and took the crucifix from Jakes hands.
"There is nothing in your heart." the voice spat, "No conviction, no belief....nothing. You are empty, Jake. Figurativly and, soon, literally."
The hidious laughter began again.