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Chapter 6 - Finding Nina

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Seconds later, I stop in a wooded area near the back patio of the OTG warehouse. My first priority, keep down as much of Inez's antidote as possible. I clench my jaw and try to swallow, but the force is too great. Regurgitated pancakes spray from my nose. With my tongue hanging out, I shake my head and spit, "Blah"

A tickle hits the back of my throat and rushes into my nasal cavity, forcing a sneeze. A live centipede shoots from my left nostril and lands in my palm. I recoil, throw it to the ground, and wipe my hand on my jeans.

Considering it's not the grossest thing that's happened over the last few days, I cave to curiosity, squat down, and poke at the bug with a stick. The legs wiggle for half a breath before the creature transforms into a grayish ash and crumbles apart.

This better be the next phase toward freedom from Margery, and not an indication I'll have to eat another short stack of insects and eyeballs.

Fifteen or so feet away, a breeze rustles through the overgrown sunflowers growing out of the cracks in the concrete patio. Behind them sits a broken-down picnic table and bench. My gaze fixates on two vintage soda machines lined against the exterior wall. They don't serve up soda, they serve up the essence of a demon.

Of all the places to land a run. Yesterday, Oscar, the guy who works here in the garage, made me make an offering to one of the machines. Instead of a soda, it served up the essence of the demon that Margery inserted into Nina. I tried to stop Nina's possession, but Margery threatened to do worse to her. I hate myself for getting Nina mixed up with Margery.

Reality sets in that I have no plan to rescue Nina. My gaze drops. Everything she's been through is because of me. I owe it to her to get her life back her life.

I rub the back of my neck and pace. Will Nina be herself or will Gita, the demon that possesses her, be in control? Will they willingly come with me or put up a fight? First things first, I have to get into the warehouse unnoticed.

My head snaps toward the left side of the warehouse. The restrooms. Yesterday, the window into the women's room was open. I used it to sneak out.

Careful to stay behind the cover of trees and bushes, I make my way around the building and study the two adjacent windows. Hopefully, the fluttering in my stomach is nerves and not insects. There's no one outside, so I dash to the building and try to slide open the window, but it's locked. So is the one for the men's room. I grit my teeth and slap my palm against the wall. What now?

The door at the far end of the warehouse opens. Not wanting to be seen, I dive into the thorn bushes. The thorns scratch at my arms and face.

A stern and all-too-familiar voice says, "I see you, Barry." It's Oscar. He stands with his chest puffed out, his long salt-and-pepper braid hanging over his shoulder. He's Native American, and one of a few men nearly tall enough to look me in the eye. He tells me, "Pete called and said you might show up here. Sure enough, here you are."

Pete had mentioned last night that Oscar also works for him as some sort of double agent for good and evil. In my opinion, Oscar's out to help himself. He can't stand me and I have no reason to trust him, but what other choice do I have?

I frown and cautiously approach. "Where's Margery?"

"Gone."

Like I could get so lucky. He's got to be setting me up. "All I want is Nina."

"Do what you want. I will not stop you, but I will not help you." He crosses his arms and stares up into the sky.

I glance through the open doorway before I duck inside the empty garage. My first stop is the breakroom, but there's no one there. I check Margery's office next. There's a glow beyond the cracked door where Margery comes and goes. It's where she sends Nina to file endless stacks of hellish contracts.

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