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"You're Trent, aren't you?"
The voice coming out of the darkness scared the shit out of him. Trent Casey nearly jumped out of his skin, and damned near fell off the concrete ledge overlooking the roaring water below. A big hand grabbed his shoulder and pulled him back.
Trent swung around and looked up at the man who'd interrupted his brooding on this cold, black, Halloween night. Clouds made it seem even more eerie as they moved across the sky, changing the night into alternating degrees of dark, darker, and stygian. The intermittent rain had stopped a few minutes before, so they were both wet. The dripping and rustling from the leaves added to the creepy feeling. Trent pulled his coat closer and faced the tall stranger.
"I'm Trent. Who're you?" And why are you here when I want to be alone?
"Don't be alarmed. I'm ... I've come with..." The big man stopped speaking as if unsure how to go on.
"Yeah? You've come with..."
"I'm not sure how you're going to take this, but I have a message from ... Daniel."
"Bullshit! Get the fuck away from me. Who the hell are you? No, get out of here. I don't need this." Trent jumped back, away from the man spouting nonsense.
The man just stood there and let Trent rant. It was as if he'd expected the fury, the pain, and the anger. He waited silently.
"You're still here. What's your game? Why'd you say Daniel? I know you're playing me. I just don't know why. Daniel's dead."
"I know." The voice was quiet, calm, understanding.
"You know. That's all you've got to say."
"Magical things happen on Halloween."
"Stop it! He said that. He always said that, every year. You juststop."
It was quiet there on the high hill above the rushing river. Silence, except for the irregular pattering of raindrops falling off the leaves, reigned. Thoughts scrambled Trent's brain into sadness, anger, and disbelief. What the hell was going on? Trent was out here, freezing, so he could brood, with grief and anger warring for top spot in his twisted array of emotions. And, he wanted to do it alone.
Moonlight peeped out from a cloud and Trent got a brief look at the stranger. His hair was cut close to his head, like it was just growing back out from a recent shave. Trent couldn't see his eyes, but he thought they were a light color; they sort of shone in the night.
"Why are you here really?"
"Really, I'm here to give you a message from Daniel."
"Well, pardon me, but you don't look like a goner to me. I know it's the right night for the walking dead and all, but you don't seem at all pale or whatever."
The man tilted his head, and Trent got the impression he was smiling. The guy was tall, and while not bulky, he was no lightweight. Trent realized that he was alone in the dark with a stranger who could easily tip him over the ledge and send him to his icy, wet death below. The wind suddenly picked up, whipping Trent's coat around his legs. He shivered, glad he'd grabbed the long, heavy coat as he'd left the house earlier.
"Don't worry. I'm really not here to hurt you. You're safe with me."
"Now, why would I believe that?" Trent asked, warily.
"I have no reason to harm you." The calm voice of reason the man used was beginning to bug the crap out of Trent.
"I don't understand any of this. It's too..." Trent paused, trying to find a word to correctly express how he felt about the weirdness of this situation.
"Can we walk? I'm getting cold up here. I haven't been out of the hospital long and I need to..." Before he could finish what he was saying, the man stumbled and down he went. Trent instinctively reached to grab him, but one second the guy was in front of him and the next he was on the ground. Trent heard him groan, then nothing.
Oh, shit. What was he going to do? He might be angry and confused, but he couldn't just leave the guy there, hurt. Unconscious? Hell. He knelt on the cold, hard ground and gave a fleeting thought to the comfort of the man before him. In only a short thin jacket, he had to be freezing. Lying there wet and shivering couldn't be good for him, especially if he was recently released from the hospital.
"Uh, sir? Are you okay?"