“If You Have Come Here to Help Me, You Are Wasting our Time”

“I don’t know why–I just felt like I had to let them in. But there was something really weird about it. I mean, it’s the twenty-first century; why didn’t they have cell phones?

“I guess I took too long to make up my mind, because the older one started shouting, ‘Just let us in! Let! Us! In!’ And that’s when I saw their eyes for the first time.” The recording went quiet.

After a long, patient moment, Gina started to ask, “Is that–?”

Her answer came from the electronic voice continuing, “And then they screamed. I can’t…” The person speaking sniffled and gulped. “Oh, my God. So I slammed the door in their faces.

“About an hour or two later, I looked out my bedroom window, and there they were, still on the porch, and they both turned and looked right at me, with those eyes.

“I haven’t slept since then. I called in sick to work yesterday, and I spent all last night hiding in the bathroom–there’s no windows there. I just… I left the house today, but I’m still so scared. They’re out there, with those eyes. I don’t know what to do.”

“I know someone who can help,” said Jin’s voice. “Just keep your blinds shut and don’t open the door until I call tomorrow and tell you I’m outside. Capisce?”

There was a pause, which Gina assumed came from a non-verbal response.

“Everything’s going to be okay,” Jin’s voice added. “Trust me. My friend is a rock star at this kind of thing.”

The real-life Jin turned off the playback on his phone and said to Gina, “Well?”

She drummed her fingers against her thigh and considered carefully what she’d just heard. “Why would this man share this with you?”

“He’s a friend of a friend of a friend,” Jin told her. “Word got out about the exorcism you and I did.”

“You’re referring, of course, to the exorcism performed by you and me…” Subtly she gritted her teeth. “… and Susan.”

“I thought we could help.”

“I see.” She asked, “Have you verified his story?”

“Two kids knocked on a single guy’s door and made him lose his shit,” Jin replied. “I don’t know how I’m supposed to verify that.”

“Are you sure he didn’t make this up?”

“Why would he make that up?”

“Are you sure you didn’t make this up?”

“Why would I make that up?”

“Maybe you felt I needed a distraction.” she replied.

“You do need a distraction, Gina.”

“I need no such thing,” she snorted.

“You’re driving your roommate batshit,” Jin told her. “She says you only leave your dorm room when it’s time for class.”

“My primary social contact is otherwise occupied,” she explained. “You are my secondary social contact, and your attention is divided between your studies and your musical interests. My tertiary social contact is also consumed by his studies. And so I have no reason to venture outside.”

“Your tertiary social contact told me you’re welcome to come over whenever and use any of his gaming consoles, and you know it.”

“I’ve already mastered them all,” she said.

Jin shook his head. “Gerard told me you’d say that, and he also told me you’re lying. He routinely kicks your ass on every two-player game, and you are way too competitive to let that go.”

“Perhaps I’ve learned to accept my limitations.”

“Or perhaps your tertiary social contact is the big brother of your primary social contact, and you’re avoiding her.”

“There is no need to avoid Susan,” Gina growled. She has been fucking her new boyfriend nonstop for six days and nine hours, and has therefore been unavailable to avoid.”

“Did you just use the word fucking?” Jin chuckled.

“Is that not an appropriate euphemism for copulation?”

“Why didn’t you just say copulation like you normally would?”

“Because they’re fucking!” she snapped. “Continuously. I’m willing to wager that he even accompanies her to classes and performs cunnilingus under the desk while she takes notes.”

“Look,” he said, fighting back a guffaw that built up in his lungs with the power of a potential sneeze, “I get that you’re jealous–“

“I’m not jealous!”

And that’s all it took for the laughter to burst through Jin’s defenses and consume him.

While he got it out of his system, Gin took a deep breath, smoothed out her hair, and composed herself. “I am, in fact, very happy for her success.” She added, “At fucking.”

He grinned and rolled his eyes. “It’s easy to forget that you’re a teenager.”

“I may be eighteen,” she said, “but I am not behaving–nor do I ever behave–in the adolescent fashion to which you allude.”

“Really.”

She glared at him. “Yes.”

“Then get your mature ass in my car, and we can go help this dude. He only lives a half-hour from here. We can be back in time for dinner.”

“How am I supposed to help this…” The upcoming word left a bad taste in her mouth, but she said it anyway. “… dude… of whom you speak?”

“I don’t know,” he replied, “but there’s only one person I’ve ever met who would have any experience with Black-Eyed Kids, so you’ve got a leg up on the rest of us.”

“I have no such experience,” she admitted. “In fact, I had always assumed they were merely an Internet-based urban legend, as is the case with the Slender Man.”

“Then shouldn’t you be jumping at the chance to meet one?”

Gina chewed her lip in thought.

“Don’t think about it for too long,” Jin told her. “The bus leaves in ten minutes.”

Gina frowned. “I thought you said we were driving.”

“Does that mean yes?”

She grunted.

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