Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

Free copy left
You can read our best books
Gina Mae Callen would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

The shortest way home

By Gina Mae Callen

Mystery / Horror

Chapter 1

James Joyce — 'Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.'

Callen scowled as he got into Sam's car; there were pumpkins and a broomstick and witches hat on the back seat. "Really? You're bringing this to work with you?" he asked incredulously.

Sam smirked and looked at his partner. "Come on Callen, Lighten up, it's Halloween. I don't get why you hate this time of year, surely you went trick or treating as a child?" Sam asked.

Callen didn't answer him he just stared out of the window. Out of all the many, and there had been very many traumatic experiences he'd had as a child the weirdest had happened at Halloween.

Arriving at the mission, still not talking to Sam, but shooting a death glare at the Halloween paraphernalia he stormed into the bullpen and sat in his chair and started his after action reports. "Come on G. it's for Michelle, she's taking Kamran trick or treating." He sighed as he followed his partner in.

Kensi came in with Vampire teeth in and grinned at them, "Morning."

"Coffee." Callen snapped and walked off.

Kensi took the teeth out, "What's wrong with him?" she asked as Deeks walked in.

"What's wrong with who?" Deeks asked.

"Callen, he just snapped at me, is there something going on?"

"He hates Halloween, it's gotten worse as he's gotten older, it seems like he's waiting for something, but he's never said what." Sam told the others.

Hetty walked up to the group, "Mr. Callen disappeared as a teenager for a week one Halloween, when he was found he was scared and shaken but never talked of what happened and where he was," She told them.

Kensi looked shocked and saddened. "This explains why he never works this time of year." She said.

And he never had, he had always taken his annual leave during this time of year and had left Los Angeles for the whole week. This year however, the director had insisted he move his annual leave as he had taken off with the team to Romania and used his vacation time to account for it.

As Callen walked back with his coffee, Eric whistled from the balcony. "Ladies and Gentlemen, your presence is requested in Ops, if you please." He bowed walked away.

Callen swallowed hard pushing his gut feeling down and walked with the team to OPS.

"We have a problem; Callen's name has come up on a fingerprint database with the LAPD. Apparently you were seen breaking into a store on Venice beach, the CCTV was too grainy to be of use, but your DNA was everywhere." Eric said turning to Callen.

Callen looked blankly, "I didn't break into anywhere?" He protested. Then he sighed and looked at Eric. "Ok so what did I take?" he asked.

Eric looked embarrassed, "Er…Food…a loaf of bread, some milk and a candy bar."

Callen rolled his eyes, "For goodness sake Eric, I have a credit card if I needed them I'd go to the store."

"We know that Mr. Callen, but nonetheless your DNA is at the scene, lieutenant Bates is holding someone who claims to be you, he's met you, but this is perplexing so we are having this person brought to the boat-shed, Go interview him gentlemen, find out why he is using my agents' name." Hetty ordered.

Callen, Sam, Kensi and Deeks all headed to the boatshed.

When they arrived, an LAPD officer was nursing his hand and climbing back into his car. "You ok man?" Deeks asked.

"Bloody kid is a nightmare." The officer snapped, "He's all yours."

The agents looked at each other. Walking into the boatshed, the two agents guarding the kid were standing outside the door.

"Why isn't one of you in there with him?" Sam asked.

"He tricked us, we ended up outside and he's barricaded the door."

Walking up to the monitor, Callen stopped dead, "No!" he breathed in shock.

"You know this kid?" Sam asked.

Callen took two steps back, "What the hell is this?" he asked.

"Callen?" Kensi asked.

Callen moved past the table and walked to the door, "G, OPEN THE DOOR!" he yelled.

"NO!" A youthful voice shouted from the other side.

The others looked on in shock.

"Did he just call the kid G?" Deeks asked.

"Bloody hell, I am so not that stubborn!" Callen cursed to himself. He took two steps back and kicked the door down.

The teenager in the other room skittered away over to the other corner.

"Who….who are you? Are you going to hurt me?" The kid asked.

Callen smirked, "Na…never was into self flagellation."


Callen got a chair and turned it around and sat in it, "G. Callen….15 years old. Haven't eaten for two weeks until last night, has bruising from the last beating you got from Mike Mackenzie your current and soon to be ex foster father, you ran away and fell asleep in a storm drain off Huntingdon beach hiding from a group of older teens dressed as vampires for Halloween that threatened to kill you and suck your blood."

The kid's eyes grew wider, "Who the hell are you and how do you know all this?"

Callen smiled, "This kid is where it gets freaky and where you suddenly hate Halloween." 

He watched as the kid moved into what he recognized as a listening position.

 "I'm you." He said flatly.

"WHAT?!" Both the younger Callen and his team mates listening in on the monitor all said.

Callen showed G his driving license and NCIS credentials.

"They can be faked?" G snapped.

"They're not though." Callen replied.

"This brings a whole new meaning to talking to yourself." Deeks quipped looking on as Kensi rolled her eyes.

"Shh!" Kensi hissed listening to the pair in the interview room.

Callen sat back, and handed G a sandwich and bottle of water he had grabbed before going in there. "I know." He said softly. "I know what you were running from, I know when you do go back, you won't go back there. I know you will be scared, really scared and I'm sorry, I'm so very sorry." Callen swallowed the lump in his throat. "I'm sorry for what you went through to get here."

G looked up the terror in his eyes clear for all to see, "You know, you saw him?"

"I was you, I sat where you are sitting now, and you will sit where I am in seventeen years time. I don't know if this is a cycle or a one off, but I remember being you and having this conversation."

G stared at the older version of himself, "Can you stop him…stop this?" he breathed.

Callen sighed, "I don't know kid." He responded honestly. "I don't remember much more than this conversation, so maybe this is where things change…I do know we are getting out of here and I'm going to try. I've been waiting for this, don't worry you're only here a week, I don't know why, but I have somewhere set up for you to stay." He said.

"No, I'm not staying with another foster father; get another kid for a punch bag." The younger Callen snapped.

"Nope you're coming with me." Callen said He turned and walked out of the room, the smaller, skinnier and scruffier version of him following at a distance.

The three other Agents looked on in stunned silence as they looked at the older and younger version of the man.

"G?" Sam asked and stopped as both 'Callen's' looked at him,

"Yeah…" They said in unison.

"This…this right here is freaking creepy!" Sam snapped.

"Welcome to my world." The younger G replied.

Callen picked up his phone. "Hetty, this year, he's here." Callen said.

"Wait! Hetty knew about this?" Kensi asked.

Callen nodded, "Told her the first year I wanted Halloween off to prepare, could never remember what year I came to."

"You remember this?" Deeks asked.

"Some of it." Callen responded looking at his fidgeting younger self. "Up the stairs first door on the right…DO NOT climb out the window." Callen said to him.

G nodded and ran up the stairs; Callen picked up his car keys and walked to the door.

"Where are you going?" Sam asked.

"To catch myself climbing out of the window." Callen smirked and headed out.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Caitlin E. Jones: There is something genuinely sweet, child-like, and heartfelt about stories where books comes to life. For me, at the least, since one of my favorite books- "Inkheart" by Cornelia Funke, uses the concept lavishly. This piece brought back those same warm feelings, with its loyalty to the fairytale...

Kastril Nomenclature: This is a very clever story in the style of 19th century (and turn of the century) Gothic writing, very reminiscent of Stevenson's The Body Snatchers or even of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (less so of Frankenstein itself, since the author is more minimalist than Shelley's florid, Romantic rhetoric). ...

Kastril Nomenclature: What a fascinating work: a photo that seems to reveal a strange figure in the window of an old hotel leads to a mystery about a missing page of Queen Victoria's diary! This is a mystery in the best sense, with small clues leading to bigger ones, all of them building one upon the other to the quie...

M.L. Bull: Hello, Aalia!Your story compelled the emotional pain and struggle of a teenage girl very well.. The imagery was also convincing and well-written, showing the different personalities of your characters and their actions. However, I do think that many of your sentences are too lengthy and could use...

Shelley Miller: The ideas and the set up and this are amazing! The feel of the story goes from science fiction to horror to suspense all in a big, thrilling ball. I really like your character so far and her powers and the idea of the ark being a person. The world is intense and gritty and clever as well. While a...

mjtelesca: The plot keeps the reader interested, and you want to help the main characters in their conflicts. A very interesting ending that makes the reader think and talk about it. Minor punctuation and grammatical mistakes but does not impede the overall story. Any fan of action/adventure will enjoy t...

Kiz16: After a truly shocking start to the story, I found the style and content slowed down as the author introduced a varied group of characters who I thought were fleshed out very well. After a slow couple of chapters, I found this story difficult to leave with the tension growing within the house. Yo...

Bradley Darewood: I really really really liked this. I just voted for you!The voice is flawless-- I can't write men as well as you do and I have a penis. Maybe I'm narcissistic but I particularly enjoyed the moment where he muses about how artists would do better in such a solitary job. But my favorite moment ...

Alex Rushmer: I like the intrigue that you introduce from the very beginning of the story. The idea of the girl waking up in the alley with no memory of how she got there and with injuries is very interesting. It was very well done. There were a lot of grammatical errors that need to be fixed though. I think t...

More Recommendations

Caitlin E. Jones: Such a riveting short story, full to the brim with folklore and horrors! The rich details used to make up Doolin were as well-placed as they were written, right down to the disturbing presence of magical creatures. The lives of the humans are used to great effect, giving us short glimpses of thei...

Diane April: Really liked the concept of this story. The beginning had a great explanation about how things worked in the real world that people tend to overlook. It was a nice change from the usual zombie story that just makes things up as they go along and actual facts don't matter.

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."