The Author notes; an apology for the delay. There were technical difficulties. The technical difficulties are continuing. My apologies for the lack of a unified font.
Nothing happened, and nothing continued not to happen. Adam and Ibola got to Rabat with surprisingly little incident, thanking Christian as he dropped them off outside the American embassy. A little further away from the embassy was a coffee shop, and so they went inside to wait for morning to come properly. The man behind the counter took their money, and returned with two cups of black coffee and some food, which they ate quickly, in silence. They sat at one of the tables, staring onto the street and trying to figure out what to do next. "We should plan," Ibola said, "For how we're going to get back into Europe. If your mysterious contact can get us to the United States, well, that's okay, but just getting out of the country is going to be difficult."
"I'll go talk to the embassy-- when I was deported out here, I was only told I couldn't go back to the United States, not that I couldn't leave the continent. Europe should be okay, right? So I'll ask them to check my passport and maybe see if I can get them to give you Simone's, and then we can buy tickets-- I still have a credit card, even if it's covered in blood. We can go up through Europe to London. That should be fairly simple, right? The Eurozone practically has no borders anymore, I think..." Adam said, too sleepy to realize how wrong he was.
"If all else fails, there are always traffickers, in every country. And I'm sure there are plenty of routes that illegal immigrants take. It'd be more dangerous, but it's a plan to fall back on."
"And you're sure you want to come with me?"
Ibola nodded, "I'm not going back home until I've washed the stains of what has happened off my hands. Or until I have taken revenge on Dande."
"Alright. So we're in this together, then..." Adam said. He checked the clock that was ticking above the door of the cafe, "Well, it's a more reasonable hour, now. I'm going to go talk to the embassy. Will you wait here?"
"Okay," Ibola said, "But-- be safe."
Adam left the cafe and crossed over the street to the American Embassy. He was gone for a long while, a couple of hours. Ibola bit down on her worry, knowing that the wait was probably only for the sake of bureaucracy. She watched people enter the cafe, sit around, eat breakfast, drink coffee-- they were mostly tourists, obvious ones at that. She kept her guard up, though, worried that one of them would turn out to be some sort of Priest to the monster. The sun was rising steadily in the sky. Ibola bought another cup of coffee, and glanced over some of the magazines. She couldn't read them too well-- she'd only really had a primary education. Her son was supposed to have had the education she couldn't get, as there was a school in her town and access to a high school nearby. But he was dead. She pushed her thoughts aside; the only way either she or Adam were going to be able to get anything done is if they pushed their heartbreak away. Adam still hadn't come out of the embassy.
What if they'd killed him?
She decided to wait another hour. People kept going in and out of the cafe, all of them so foreign that she couldn't read any potentially dangerous body language in their movements.
"I... You don't even have to go in to the embassy," Adam said suddenly from the door of the restaurant, startling her, "They were... really weird about the whole thing; gave me the passports almost as though they were trying to rush me out of the country."
"So we can take a ferry across soon, then?"
"Yeah," Adam said, sitting down, "And then, to London."
"You really trust that voice on the phone?"
"I don't really trust anyone," Adam said, ignoring Ibola's hurt expression. He sat back down at the table, and put his head in his arms, "I think I might-- just for a little while." Ibola didn't respond, and when Adam looked up to her, she was stiff and tense, staring at the window. Her eyes were wide. Adam followed her gaze, and saw outside the window a tall, faceless man, standing still. Other people walked around it, seeming to not notice that it was there. Ibola's fingernails dug into Adam's arm, and the three stared at each other, silent. Ibola stood, not taking her eyes off the window, and walked to the counter. "There isn't a--" she squeaked, her voice half-dying in her throat, "Is there a back way out of here?"
"Only through the kitchen," the 'barista' said, "But why-- you two aren't bringing gangs in here, are you?"
Adam and Ibola were already backing their way to the door. The faceless man stood still, his long arms resting in place. Suddenly, his head cocked to the side, and he was gone. Ibola and Adam ran blindly, through the kitchen, and down the street, sprinting as quickly as their legs would take them. They flagged down a taxi driver to take them all the way to Tangier as quickly as possible, Adam waving his credit card. They piled into the taxi, and were on their way. Ibola stayed transfixed on the world outside the window, almost hoping to see a sign of the monster. Adam just buried his head in his knees and breathed heavily. The taxi driver pretended not to notice their strange behaviour, and turned on the radio. To Ibola and Adam it sounded like screeching static; the taxi driver nodded to a beat that everyone else could hear. The car wound along the roads of Morocco, out of Marrakesh, towards the sea, emanating the sounds of screaming static.
Ibola bit her lip until it bled.
They were in Tangier that night. Adam looked over Simone's "new" passport; it already had stamps in it, and had obviously been used. The photo looked like Simone, but could also look like Ibola in the right light. They could pass for an American couple, if Ibola pretended her accent was an American one, and they both explained that they'd been mugged. In all honesty, there were so many holes in the plan that a spelunker would call it too airy and unstable, but they were desperate, and the world was forcing them west. In the Ferry's ticket office, Adam played the part of the loud, obnoxious American tourist, and Ibola the part of the despairing wife. Her acting was indeed so good that they were rushed through the procedures to get them on board the ship out of pity. Adam's magical credit card came into action again; he didn't care about the mounting debt-- having any sort of future seemed to be at best a distant possibility. They only managed to relax when they were in their cabin on the ship; small, but private, with a rickety bathroom. The entire ferry seemed to be designed for Middle Class Europeans to get a taste of the exotic without actually having to leave Europe. It was cramped, kitschy, and ludicrously safe.
"Unless you're being chased by the Slender--" Adam began, but he was hushed by Ibola; he began again, "You know, I read somewhere that he can't go on water. Boats are supposed to be as safe as you can get."
Ibola hushed him again, but more halfheartedly. The ferry ride wasn't supposed to be long-- 27 hours-- but water was supposed to be okay. They could avoid the monster by taking a ship, or so they thought.
Adam heard someone singing that night. His first thought was that it was Ibola, but she had fallen asleep on the bed next to him, and was breathing heavily. There was no radio in their room, no way for music to get in. He carefully edged out of the bed and walked out onto the ship.
A woman stood at the edge of the railing, staring into the water beneath the moonlight. She was singing. Adam approached her, cautiously. Her voice was strange, and distant, almost ethereal, and the words were in a language he didn’t understand. The ocean seemed to be silent, and the rest of the world seemed to be getting further away and her voice rose and plummeted into an angelic finale. Adam tried to see the woman’s face, but as he moved closer she stopped singing. Everything went mute. The woman turned around, her face a silhouette beneath the moon, and asked, quietly, “Comment tu vois? What do you see?”
Adam was startled, but looked out onto the ocean; “I see—“ he began, but was winded as the world flickered in and out. For a moment he saw something different from the peaceful ocean. The world had throbbed into something entirely wrong, covered in thick pulsing veins of black ichor and burning dull light. He stepped back and cried out, alarmed, as the smell of the sea intermingled with the taste of fire and sulfur. The taste burned the back of his throat. Then, as quickly as the spell had come upon him, it left. The silence of the ocean returned, and the woman was gone. Adam hurried back to his room, feeling ill. He didn’t tell Ibola about what had happened.
From a busy port in Spain they took a train and a bus to Paris, where Ibola felt overwhelmed as Adam bought tickets for the Channel Tunnel. They easily passed for confused tourist, for, in a way, that’s what they were. They were in London about a week after the telephone call had ordered them to go.
The Bear and the Bull pub looked like it served a certain type of person, but it had an airy beer garden covered from the slow drizzle. Adam made the order, and Ibola asked for some food. The waitress who brought them their order was a tall, red-headed, thick-set girl with glasses. She grinned at them, but it didn’t reach her eyes. After they ate, she slipped Adam a piece of paper with an address on it, and said, “Tomorrow.” Then she vanished into the kitchen without further explanation. Adam and Ibola, confused, made their way to a seedy hotel, and tried to set up to get some sleep.