There were six of us during the prank. Six. Me, Mike, Danielle, Katie, Aidan, and Danny.
Now Danny is missing, and Mike told me this was going to happen.
I was going to try to type up the post two days ago telling you what Mike said, but my computer shut down completely, for no apparent reason. Now I suspect it was Locust, just trying to keep me from thinking about my conversation with Mike.
I finally managed to make Mike talk to me two days ago. I had seen him at swim practice since Wednesday, but I was always too busy swimming or talking to someone else to actually go up to him and ask him about it. Even though I should have, I just didn't. So on Saturday, I saw him at the mall. Completely by chance, I was just getting some clothes with my mom. He was just sitting on a bench on the second floor, drinking something.
My mom went into the bookstore, and I went over to Mike. He looked dazed, and quite disheveled. He also looked very, very upset. I sat down on the bench next to him and said, "Hey, Mike."
He jumped and almost let go of his drink. He hadn't even seen me walk over. I almost laughed, but I stopped myself because I knew that would have been mean.
He relaxed onto the bench, but he was gripping the rail so tightly with one hand that the knuckles were turning white. He didn't even say hi, he just said, "What do you want?"
I just asked him. I didn't want to play around. "What do you know about Locust?"
He looked genuinely confused. "Locust? You mean the cockroach things?"
"No, the man in the suit who took my freakin' brother. You know something, what is it?"
Now he didn't look confused. He just looked nervous again. He leaned closer to me and said, "You mean Mr. Slim, don't you? Mr. Slim is Locust, isn't he? Tall guy in a suit, right?"
I nodded. Mike gulped. He looked as if he was about to throw up. He took a deep, shuddering breath and kept talking.
"Mr. Slim killed Ken. He told me so."
I tried to interrupt. Mike had been talking to Locust. I was on the right track. But I didn't interrupt, I just closed my mouth and listened.
"You and I were the only ones who saw anything in the parking lot at the hotel. Well, I didn't see anything, I more...felt something. It felt like something had gone through my stomach, and then I just felt so weak I fell down. I saw you coming out the door. I couldn't turn my head to see where the others were, but I just knew they weren't there. I tried crawling toward you, and then I saw him."
"You saw Loc--Mr. Slim? I went inside because I had seen him earlier. I shouldn't have. I should have warned you guys. Oh God, I'm so sorry."
Mike just gave me a haunted look and went on. "He was standing in the little alcove by the door. You came out the door, and I just felt the strongest urge to turn away and scream, but I asked you that question. And I know the answer now. You did bring him here."
He buried his head in his hands. "You fell down next to me after I asked you that. You were unconscious. And Mr. Slim was walking toward us. I don't know what happened to me, but I still wasn't able to get up. I tried to get up to run, to get away, but I couldn't.
"The weirdest thing was, it barely looked like he was walking. He was more gliding. He's not human."
I laughed. "No, no, he's not. I know."
"God. Well. He was pretty close when I blacked out too. But I woke up in bed. When I got out of bed, I noticed I had a little note folded up in my pocket. It said, in this cursive script, 'Six of you. One week. Then you begin to disappear.'"
He leaned even closer to me. "He means us, Reilly. The six of us who were out there. He's going to take us, like he took your little brother."
And Locust did. Danny is gone. The swim team is fundraising for his family and organizing search parties. They aren't going to find him either. But Mike said something else, something that mattered more to me. He said, as his last words before he got up from the bench and left, "Whatever Mr. Slim is, he likes small children and chaos. If you see either of those, I'd advise you to turn the other way. A playground, a house burning down...either way. I'd leave. And you, to me, are chaos. So I'm leaving. Goodbye."
If I see Locust, it's going to be near something bad. And I'm not going to run away, I'm going to run straight towards it.
I wonder who's going to disappear next?