Pine Brook Falls - The Charlie Noble Chronicles Book 1

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I stared at my phone. The world had changed. Nothing was ever going to be the same again. Just how much this would change my life, I didn’t know. Two worlds. If there were two worlds, two universes. Who’s to say there weren’t more? I wondered if there was another me in Trevor’s world but he said it didn’t work that way. It wasn’t how you saw it in the movies.

“Where do you think werewolves, vampires, or even the sasquatch come from? They are real in my world. Not in the same way as you see in the movies here, but the ideas came from real living creatures.”

“Vampires? Werewolves? Seriously? What kind of world do you live in?”

“Charlie, you have men killing thousands of their own people for no reason. That, to me, is hard to fathom. We don’t have world wars in my world. The werewolves and vampires are a threat but they keep to their own part of the world, so unless you are unlucky enough to come across one, you’ll be okay. But, there are some that are just like you and me, but different. They are not all killers. Some of them are actually my friends.”

Now as I thought about all of what Trevor had told me in the past hour and waited for darkness to fall, I looked down at my mother’s phone number displayed on my screen. She was most assuredly worried. I wanted to assure her that Becky and I were safe. What if I didn’t survive the night? What if I failed to stop this Crog thing? I worried that this was going to be the last time that I spoke to my mom and didn’t want my voice to betray any of the anguish or fear I felt. I took a breath and pressed call.

“Hello,” my mother answered. Her voice sounded so frail and far away. I pictured her sitting in her favorite chair by the window. Small glasses resting on the bridge of her nose as she read one of her romance novels. I missed her smile and her gentle nature. She was the greatest woman I knew. I hated lying to her but I had no other choice.

“Hi, mom. How are you?”

“I’m just sitting here, reading. The neighbor’s cats have been over twice today, looking for some food. Doesn’t Mrs. Daily feed them over there? I mean, they seem so hungry that I have to give them a can a piece. I should start sending her the bill for the cat food.”

I looked over at Trevor. I knew the night that lay ahead of me was going to be strenuous but talking to my mom was the only peace I felt in the past few days. I wish above anything else that I could be there with her.

“I’ll talk to her when I get back. Okay?”

“That would be sweet of you dear, but you don’t have to. I am happy to feed her cats. How is your visit with Becky? Can I speak to her?”

“No, mom. She is in the shower right now but she sends her love. Look, mom, I have to go but I wanted to say that we both love you and I will be back soon.”

“Okay, dear. I love you too. Send Becky my love.”

“I will mom. I gotta go, I love you.”

I stared at the phone for a moment after I hit the end button. I thought of my mother, one last time sitting in her chair, reading her book. I turned to Trevor and the reality of the moment settled in.

“You look like you’re never going to talk to her again.”

I could only manage to shake my head. The full weight of emotions was pressing into me. Trevor had told me that we had to stop the beast. The Crog. Although, firing at it at point blank range did nothing but slow it down, as I saw last night.

“How is it in your world? You say you don’t have crazy dictators but you have vampires. How does that even work?”

“Our worlds are similar. Buildings are the same. Computers are the same. The oceans are different. More blue and red but we have less of them. People have a different mindset. People are more aware of the dangers around them, that they treat each other better. And our medical technology is better as you have seen firsthand.”

If that were true, his world, vampires and all, sounded better.

“Why is Becky over there? Why her?”

“She is a persistent one. She saw the Crog, knew it wasn’t from around here and wanted to get evidence. Her tenacity and charm are a thing of beauty. I made her a deal. She is good at what she does. We want her to document some things on our side and in return she can teach us some things from her side. As far as why her? Right place at the right time, I suppose.”

Trevor explained people from both sides had been crossing over for over a century. A way to stay informed. But there was a sworn secrecy to never betray the secret. Each world held its own wonder and beauty, however, they also had their own kind of dark side they didn’t want the other world to know.

“How did the Crog end up on this side?”

“It has been here for a long time. You hear about Bigfoot sightings but no evidence is ever found. They cross over. What is going on now, someone is manipulating the Crog. It is an intelligent animal but somehow it is gotten out of control. It is showing up with more frequency. It would never do that. These things only show up once a year if that. It is a solitary creature. This one is becoming something more.”

“So my Government knows about all this?”

“Some people in the Government know. There are a few people in your Government that are from our side and vice versa. You know this town, the Mayor is from our side. But he is not on our side. The sheriff found out some things about the mayor. The animals for one was the Mayors doing. I’ve told people on my side about him but no one seems to want to do anything. It’s almost as if he wants the worlds to unite. It’s best that we avoid him.”

“So, that’s who the sheriff was trying to warn me about. He told me he had a lead. I thought that lead was you but now I see why he didn’t say anything. So, the mayor is the one who has been manipulating it. But why? What is he hoping to accomplish by doing this?”

“I don’t know. He has been here for a while but something has happened and he isn’t looking out for the best of either world. I don’t know what he is planning but I am afraid that this is just the beginning.”

“Can’t someone just take him out? Arrest him?”

“Not until there is proof. Besides, there are bigger concerns at the moment. This town sits on one of the original doorways between our worlds. This Thursday thing, where everyone stays inside, is meant to keep people from finding out. For the past ten years, the door between our worlds opens up on this day for a few hours, on its own, for no apparent reason. Our side and your side set up an agreement to keep everyone inside. The mayor was the architect behind it. The town’s people stay inside and they get compensated. It’s worked so far, the people trust him. But now the doorway has become unpredictable. We fear it’s only a matter of time before the door never shuts and there is no telling what that would mean for both sides.”

“Is there no way to keep it closed?”

Trevor got up from the couch and shook his head.

“The cave is the doorway, as you have probably gathered. Our people can control when it opens. However, other doorways are opening on their own. Something is happening that both sides are trying to figure out. The fewer people know, the better. Both sides are trying to find a way to get control over it before it’s too late. If people in either world really knew, it would be chaos. That’s why we must stop this thing tonight. The Crog only comes out at night and for some reason is becoming very unpredictable.”

If Trevor’s story was to be believed, no matter how incredible it was, it meant Becky was safe. She was alive and was not being held against her will. With everything that I knew about physics from my brief attempt at higher education, two objects could not occupy the same space. If each world was intersecting with more frequency, maybe it was because each world was being pulled into each other, causing one world, if not both, to eventually occupy the same space. Damn, I hate physics.

“So, how do we stop this thing?”

“It’s not going to be easy.”

“But you have a plan at least. Don’t you?”

Trevor was silent for a moment. There was something in his eyes that worried me. And when he smiled, I knew I wouldn’t like his idea. When he spoke, it only confirmed it.

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