Ethan Morgan’s life was down the drain. He was twenty-six years old, had a kid but never married, his best friend had died in an explosion in which he sacrificed himself to save them all, he hadn’t talked to his other friends in eight years, he was just fired from his job, sometimes he still had nightmares and insomnia, he lied to his therapist regularly, he hadn’t seen his family in five years, he was perpetually single because no one wanted to date a guy who had a four year old kid.
And now his damn babysitter was late.
Ethan checked his watch again. His daughter was getting fussy and he had a job interview in five minutes. He tapped out an impatient rhythm with his foot and tried to calm her down. The mother of his child was way better at dealing with her and her episodes. Although she was four, she spoke very little, especially around Ethan, and she was anemic. So she was always tired and required many doctors visits. It was very costly, especially for Ethan, who had recently been fired from his computer job. It was a dead-end job anyway, and his boss was always hitting on all his female workers, but the options for Ethan were not bright especially considering he never finished his college degree due to getting a girl pregnant. She, however, had a very lucrative job and was altogether doing way better than Ethan. Ethan had proposed, of course, but she had declined, and now she was dating someone she’d insisted to Ethan was “just a friend” while they were dating. Marisa was better at dealing with his daughter, Rebecca, as well, and he was ashamed to be calling a babysitter instead of spending quality time with his daughter. Where was she, anyway? Thinking of babysitters made Ethan think of Sarah. And Erica, Rory…
Unbidden, the green flash of the Lucifractor flashed through his mind. He couldn’t tell his therapist, Oh, I’m a seer, and my best friend is a spellmaster and I’m friends with three vampires, so he told her he had died in a car accident. But in actuality, he had died saving them all from the Lucifractor. They never found his body.
And some seer he was. He hadn’t had a vision in ten years.
Rebecca was crying again. No doubt she missed her mom, since Ethan was such a shitty excuse for a parent. Ethan searched his pockets for, what was it kids liked, a lollipop? But to no avail. Then the doorbell rang. Ethan internally sighed with relief, perversely glad there was someone else to deal with his child. He opened the door and was met with someone he hadn’t seen in eight years, ever since he went away to college and never went back to Whitechapel.
Her eyes widened in surprise, taking in all of the ways Ethan had changed. He was still kind of thin and scrawny, but he had grown a small unattractive mustache and he had glasses now. The curls of his boyhood were gone, in a shorn haircut that was distinctly un-Ethan-like. Sarah, however, hadn’t changed at all.
“Ethan!” she gasped, “Is that you?”
Ethan, still in shock, opened the door wider. “Sarah! I can’t believe it!”
Sarah smiled a little. “You have to invite me in first.”
Ethan laughed and invited her in. She took in the small dingy apartment and the dusty living room. Then a little girl toddled up to her. She was half black and had curly, wiry hair that refused to be tamed. She looked a little scared. Sarah smiled at her and offered her hand. The girl just stared at it and put her own pinky in her mouth instead. Sarah withdrew the hand.
Ethan walked over. “Sarah, this is Rebecca. She’s my daughter.”
Sarah was still bent over, looking at Rebecca. “Hi, Rebecca! I knew your dad in high school. I actually babysitted him. We’re going to have so much fun today.”
Rebecca looked her up and down and smiled shyly. She rocked back and forth on her heels and said nothing. Ethan scratched the back of his head. “She, uh, doesn’t say much.”
Sarah stood up and faced Ethan. “So, Ethan, where have you been? What have you been doing?”
Ethan laughed nervously. “Hah, well, y’know, around…”
Sarah gestured to Rebecca. “Well, clearly you’ve been busy,” she joked, “Where’s the mom?”
Ethan winced. “Well, she’s out on a date and asked me to take care of Rebecca… We have joint custody. And I was supposed to be at a job interview five minutes ago.”
Sarah nodded. “Right! Sorry I was late. I got caught up a little on the highway, some cop didn’t believe I’m twenty-eight. Guess I don’t look a day over seventeen.” An awkward silence permeated the air until Ethan remembered he had somewhere to be.
“Okay, I’ll be on my way then. Nice to catch up with you, Sarah. Rebecca has anemia, so she gets tired easily, and-”
Just then Rebecca took her pinky out of her mouth and offered it up to Ethan and Sarah. Blood. All over the pinky. Sarah’s eyes turned a little yellow.
“Bec! When did that happen?”
Ethan hurried over to the kitchen and took out the bandages. Sarah joined him. He looked up at her seriously. “You aren’t going to bite my daughter, right?” Sarah rolled her eyes.
“Of course not! Besides, anemic blood tastes terrible.” Ethan shot her a look. “Joking!”
Ethan fumbled the bandages. Sarah dropped down to help pick them up. “Here, let me…”
Ethan dropped down too. Then he brushed her hand and for the first time in ten years, he was hit with a vision…
A burning church. A flash of green light. A Welcome to Whitechapel sign. A room filled with plants and steam. A snarl of teeth. And finally, someone Ethan hadn’t seen in years… someone he thought was dead…
Sarah looked at him with concern. She recognized the haze that came over Ethan’s eyes when he had a vision. “What was it?”
Ethan looked at her with fear, and a little bit of… hope?
“Benny… I saw him. He’s alive.”