A sudden gust of wind rushed through the house, making the floorboards creak and squeak as if in fear, or pain.
Where is he? that booming, terrifying voice echoed inside David’s head, like a clap of a thousand thunders. Speak, human child.
“I don’t know. He locked himself into the kitchen, and I haven’t seen him since. I – I think I heard Dave scream?”
Stand back, little human, the voice rang out impossibly loud, as it hurled itself against the wooden door. He will know the fury of my wrath.
The door hinges screeched as they were torn apart, the unseen gale forcing its way through the narrow doorway. Chairs were overturned, teacups and jugs sent smashing to the floor as the table was tipped; the wind-like presence howled in rage as it poked into every nook and cranny, only to seemingly pause and address David once more.
The cupboard. You must know where he keeps the key.
“Please. I promised.”
The key. Now.
His hands shaking, he set about rummaging through the drawers, digging out an old biscuit tin, all dented and scraped. He prized the lid off and stared at the huge iron key, not quite daring to touch it just yet.
Don’t test my patience, kid. The cupboard door. Open it, now.
Still trembling, he slid the key into the keyhole, using both hands to turn it; he shot one last pleading look to where he reckoned the BGU was, hovering midair somewhere above him, then finally unbolted the door. Darkness, bottomless and impenetrable, greeted him from the other side of the door, lurking in wait like cold, merciless fog of made out of nothingness and despair.
Stand back, the voice boomed, louder than ever before. A blast of raging wind blew past him, very nearly toppling him over, and disappeared though the cupboard door.
His heart in his mouth, David let a few more seconds slip by, barely even noticed the way his fingernails were digging into his palms. Then he jumped into action, swinging the door shut and bolting it, his fingers fumbling with the key before he eventually managed to turn it in the lock once more.
“Please, please let it work,” he muttered under his breath, pocketing the key and sprinting out of the kitchen, then up the stairs. He burst into Colin’s room, and the next moment he was shaking him awake, praying that they were going to make it on time, somehow.
“David – what is it, kiddo? Has Dave managed to get into trouble, again?”
“It’s not – we have to go. Patrick is waiting for us on the other side of the Doorway, he’s taken all the kids with him.”
“He – what?”
“No time to explain. Let’s go.”
Taking Colin by the hand, he half dragged him towards the attic. They were sprinting up the final few steps when the first blow hit, making the entire house shake on its own foundations.
“Holy Shareholders,” Colin cried out, even as he helped David back to his feet. “What the hell is going on here?”
“We need to get Dave,” David all but ignored him, barging into their old room. “He wouldn’t go with Patrick, no matter how much I begged him to.”
The house shook under another blow, way stronger than the one before. “It’s gonna kill us all,” he heard Dave shriek from where he was hiding under his bed. “We’re all going to die.”
“Not if we get out of here first,” David urged him, holding out his hand for him to take. “Come on.”
Together, they headed to where the Doorway was already up and running, a swirling vortex whizzing at the centre of its frame. “I can’t believe it,” Colin uttered at length, part awed, part excited. “David, you didn’t.”
“I told you I would get you out of here,” David enunciated, matter-of-factly. “And now, I will.”
“Just so we’re clear, this is the proudest moment of my life,” Colin grinned, letting the two kids lead the way through the portal, and into whatever lay beyond.