Short Story: Pneuma Kleptis pt.3

Pneuma Kleptis – pt3
by Lee Hulme

Read pt 1
Read pt 2

Sam sat on the sofa a while longer, occasionally checking the phone to reread the text. Was it a warning or a threat? She couldn’t tell.

She toyed briefly with the idea of calling Ty, then settled for sending him a text.

Anything weird happening where you are?

A few moments later the reply buzzed through.

Had to unplug the tv to turn it off. And the microwave. You?

Sam replied with a quick recap.

OK. Weird.

Came the reply, followed by:

Fancy some caffeine? Know I ain’t sleepin again.

20 minutes later, hands wrapped around steaming cups of tea, Sam showed Ty the strange text message.

Ty frowned, “Even if it’s a warning it’s a pretty clear one. But who else knows?”

Sam shook her head, “I thought just me, you and Jas, but now I wonder.”

“Well Jas wouldn’t have told anyone, not even if she thought they’d help, not without letting us know.”

“We should call her.”

Ty nodded and checked the time, “We don’t wanna wake her up though, trust me,” he grinned, “Did that once when we were kids – never again.” Ty typed a text and they waited for Jas to wake up.

Three teas in, Ty’s phone rang.

“Hey cuz, how was your night? … That good, huh? … We got some stuff to tell you too, come meet us at the same cafe place. Alright, in a bit.”

“Something happened?”

“Sounds like,” Ty nodded.

Another cup of tea later and Jas arrived, looking slightly more crumpled than at their previous meeting. Sam guessed she hadn’t slept much either.

After downing half her cup of tea in one go, Jas relaxed enough to hear Sam and Ty tell their stories. Once done, she sighed and shook her head, “Too weird. I had all of my pictures turned around. I heard a clattering noise, which woke me up, and everything with a picture on it was turned backwards.”

Ty raised an eyebrow, but lowered it quickly when Jas glared at him.

Sam stifled a snicker and sipped her tea.

“OK,” Jas continued once she was finished with Ty, “So what do we do? We could stop here…” Jas smiled as Ty and Sam gave her simultaneous frowns, “Or we can keep going. I don’t know about you two, but I’ve found some interesting information.”

“Tell,” Ty nudged her.

Jas smiled and pulled a tablet from her bag, showing pictures as she spoke.

“I haven’t had time to speak to any patients or family yet but I did track down some sources on previous possible outbreaks. It’s a bit spotty, there were no plagues or anything so no major coverage, but there’s always people who spot and get intrigued by random things like all their neighbours suddenly losing their memories and personalities.

“So there’s a few interesting things, but it’s noted a few times that the people affected are ones with long family history in the places they live. Look here…three generations of weavers…village nurses since time immemorial…over and over.”

Sam nodded, “I noticed about the names – So-and-So the Third and stuff.”

“So there’s some disease out there which randomly activates and hits people with family names with amnesia? Seriously?” Ty shook his head.

Sam tilted her head, “Why not? If we find a connection in their ancestry, maybe we also find some sort of super repressive gene that pops out at intervals.”

Ty looked to Jas for support.

Jas shrugged, “It’s the only theory I have so far.”

Ty sighed dramatically and gulped his tea, “Maybe we should brainstorm some others.”

“I’m all ears,” Jas put down her tea and stared at him.

Ty stared back for as long as he could, then gave up and looked away, wriggling his shoulders, “Quit that, I got nothin.”

“Mh-hm,” Jas accepted her victory. “Just keep all of our minds open, maybe something better will come along as we keep digging.”

“We didn’t get chance to-” Sam began, then froze as the cafe lights went out. “Fuck.”

Even with the morning light streaming through the windows, the cafe looked dark as night. As Sam, Jas and Ty looked at each other, their server bustled out from behind the counter.

“Hey guys, sorry about this, have it fixed in a jiffy,” he bustled off into the kitchen where the cook was swearing loudly at the gas ovens, whose safety cutoff had kicked in and was ruining her cooking.

From all around them came a crunching sound, and the lights blinked back on to show cracks in every surface. The table. The floor. The windows. The counter. Even the paintings on the wall.

The server bustled back, mouth wide open. The customers in the only other occupied booth screamed.

Jas glanced at her tablet, which was also cracked. But behind the crack, covering the images she had brought up, was a thick, black line of text.

Warned you. Next time it hurts. Stay away. Please.

Now read pt 4!

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