"His dark eyes were placid and content."
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Carroll’s eyes opened. It was dark, but he had senses other than sight. He sniffed the air, then listened in silence for a while.
The girl beside him made a small, frightened noise like an animal and squirmed fitfully in her sleep. Carroll switched on the bedside lamp. He lifted her arm from his chest without any special tenderness and examined her hand. Her fingernails were cheaply manicured, with French tips. Carroll took her forefinger in one big hand, pinched the tip of her fingernail between two fingers of the other, and—watching the girl’s sleeping face as he did—broke the nail backwards carefully, so as not to rip the entire thing from her finger. A little blood seeped out of the nailbed, but the girl did not wake.
Carroll watched her a little longer, occasionally wiping the tears that trickled down her cheek away with the ball of his thumb. When he was satisfied, he swung his long legs out of bed and pulled on a long white silk bathrobe that had been thrown over the back of a chair. It had a curious, disturbing pattern embroidered on it in red thread, which seemed to stir restlessly of its own accord. Carroll's feet made no sound as he padded across the deep pile carpet and out of the room. The bedroom door closed behind him with a soft click.
He did not appear to notice the cold as he stepped out of the French doors that led outside, onto the patio of the penthouse. Blood-red mica inlaid into the black stone formed a circle; he crossed its perimeter and sat crosslegged in the center with his hands resting on his knees. His dark eyes were placid and content.
“Did you come to say hello, Dad?” he said softly in his deep voice. “I know you’re here, because I can’t tell whether or not you’re here.”
There was no answer. Carroll continued to sit in silence. An observer, had one been apparent, would have said he looked as if he were listening for something.
It began to snow.
After a while, something hazy and indistinct whose presence was evident only in the way the snow did not fall upon it made its way over to Carroll. It looked like a heat haze in the desert, or a mirage; some trick of the light, but Carroll beckoned to it, and it came to him. He regarded it for a few moments, as if absorbing new information it was transmitting to him in some subtle, invisible way, and waved a hand dismissively. The thing shimmered for a moment in response. Then it was gone.
Carroll laughed, a low, pleasant sound. “It won’t work, Dad,” he said. “You can have Lisa back if you want her that badly, but I’m not coming home.”
Unheard by anyone, the girl in the bedroom moaned loudly. She tossed and turned in Carroll’s bed, as if trying to wake herself from a nightmare.
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Wow ! 👌
Utterly creepy, and impossible to look away from. Oddly sexual how Carroll seems to respond to the girl's tears. I wonder if he is a demon of some kind, since he didn't notice the cold when he stepped out onto the patio and refuses to come home, wherever that is. This is the first chapter I've read and now I'm looking forward to going back to the beginning. I love short chapters generally, and of course depending on the story. Do you intend to keep these short in the final version?