“Still have old the number I see…so uhm...how’s it going?” she asked, chuckling a bit awkward into the phone, as people tend to do when they get back in contact with people they haven’t talked with for years and suddenly have nothing to say.
The sound of her voice in the other end of the phone was a reminder of the good times they had shared in that long-lost summer as children…but mostly he felt cold. Her call had taken him by surprise.
And not a good one. Some memories were better left forgotten, and he shuddered as the old memories caught up with him. He had to close his eyes, as they overwhelmed him.
It was all coming back to him now. The memory of a cold hand running its nails down his chin and a baritone voice full of sweet promises. There was only one reason for her to call him after so many years.
“We haven’t spoken for years,” he replied emotionless, dreading the reason for her call and that her answer was to try and postpone it.
“I-I know, wanted to hear how you were doing and –”
“You said you’d only use the number if it happened again.”
He clenched his teeth, by the inner sight of a smile of fangs and red eyes…Little badger…
The sound of whimpering emerged in the background and she shushed it quietly, before returning to the phone, “Danny, please – you’re right, I shouldn’t have called –”
“It’s been ten years, Val,” he continued and buried his face in his hand, old terrors and long forgotten memories of that haunted summer returning from his subconscious, “no one calls after ten years just to hear how people is doing.”
She fell silent, knowing just as well as he, that even if she ended the call, he would know why she had called and what that would mean to him. The silence stretched on to the painful for them both.
Both of them waiting for her to either build up the courage to finally tell him what he already knew and play her part of their old agreement – or simply end it and let him find what she knew for himself. It all came down to the same anyway.
They both knew he would go and keep his end to the old promise – a promise they had made as children and now would have to stand by as adults.
“There’s a child gone missing back in Amity Park.”
He opened his eyes and swallowed before speaking into the phone, “where?”
“Danny, you don’t have to do this,” she begged, apparently on the edge of tears, “it doesn’t have to mean it’s returned, or that the curse is still going on. The kid could have disappeared for all other reasons than that.”
“We were just kids, Danny – kids fucking around and making stupid promises to one another. And even if it is that thing coming back to life, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to face that again – it doesn’t have to mean you have to risk your life. You’ll die if you go back there!”
He knew that. Just as he knew she was the bravest person he had ever known. Despite her frightened tone and pleas to make him stay out of it, he knew how much courage and loyalty it had taken her to call him tonight.
That despite the fact that she had moved out of that town, she still kept in touch with her father back at that place, to know if the curse would ever return.
He knew she would have told him she would join him if it weren’t for the obvious. The little thing she hadn’t said, but he could tell from the sound of a baby monitor in the background.
Valerie had a child, she couldn’t put her baby at risk – the curse would take it if she returned to that place with him. He would never have allowed her to go with him either and neither would she if it had been the other way around.
The inner picture of the fierce Valerie Gray standing beside him with rain running down in streams through her soaked hair and blood from scratches on her face and arms mixing with the water, returned to him for the first time in years.
A crystal-clear image of her dark lips and lean arms. How she had looked at him with wild black locks and fearful eyes. Blood of her enemy coating her hands.
Coating her soul.
Other children would have died or abandoned him in her position that day, but she had done the impossible.
She had saved his life. Now he had to save someone else’s.
He had to end what he’d started.
She made no sound, but he knew she was crying for him, “the girl went missing two days ago on the hill. She went missing in the Green Palace.”