They took the elevator to the sixth floor and headed cautiously down a deserted hall. Okay, maybe it was only Mark who walked warily. Rogan marched slightly ahead of him and seemed to barge down the hall with his chest puffed out like some storybook bodyguard protecting the prince. However, no apparitions flew out at them this time, no lights exploded trying to kill them. When they got to Mark’s apartment, Rogan snatched the set of keys Mark dug out of his pocket and opened the door of 612 and attempted to turn on the light.
“It doesn’t work,” Mark remarked. “It never has.”
As if that might have been important in the whole scheme of things, Rogan turned to him. “Really? Why?”
“I have no idea. They have never been able to fix it, either.”
Rogan grumbled a string of profanities against landlords as he pulled out his phone. “Hey Raptor. Flashlight.” The phone shot out a bright beam and Rogan shined it into the apartment. “Where is a switch that does work?”
“Right here.” Mark glanced around the apartment before he tiptoed over to the switch in the kitchen and turned it on. The apartment lit up enough to see that everything was normal―so to speak. The destroyed TV was right where it had been when they left, debris still everywhere. Not the chaos Mark had walked into with Leon, but shivers of that time chased through him as well. “What I don’t get is why you don’t even have a scratch on you.”
“That is a mystery,” Rogan murmured. “What’s even more an unknown is why you were basically sliced in the first place. Cut, I would understand. But sliced?” He walked over to the large, jagged piece laying against the wall, the piece that had been laced with blood but no longer appeared to be and picked it up. “This should never have been sharp enough to do that.” He brought it over for Mark to see.
“Fuck,” Mark whispered as he gazed at the piece of plastic. “It’s… like a knife.” And it was. The six-inch, razor-edged side appeared paper thin, to the point of it being see-through. As if someone had purposely honed it down to that sharpness. “But… didn’t it have blood on it?”
Rogan narrowed his eyes and glared back at the plastic as if it had just lied to him. “You’re right. It did. Exactly my point.”
Rogan glanced briefly at Mark. “This isn’t right. I mean, how does something like this even happen?” Rogan’s lips pursed together.
“So, what are you saying?”
“I’m not sure.” Rogan gazed down at Mark. “And I don’t like not knowing. I will find some answers. That I promise.” He sighed. “Now what do we need to take with us so we can get out of here?”
Mark packed a backpack while Rogan kept watch. Mark would have thought it laughable if he wasn’t so panicked. It was one thing to be bullied by Leon. Quite another by a ghost.
“The extra apartment key is in the kitchen drawer,” Mark told Rogan as he threw the backpack over his shoulder.
Rogan immediately reached over and grabbed the backpack. “Go get it. I got this.”
Heat climbing Mark’s face he walked quickly to the drawer. “I can carry it. I’m not a princess.”
Rogan smirked but remained silent as he adjusted the backpack and held out a hand to accept the key. “Thanks,” he said, winking at Mark when he dropped the key in his hand.
“I don’t know what you plan on doing but have at it.”
Rogan grimaced as if he were guilty of something and shook his head.
When they arrived at Mark’s dad’s house, Rogan insisted on walking Mark in. “I didn’t keep you safe like I promised. He deserves an explanation.”
“Are you kidding me? I’m not some fragile teenager on a date. Besides, I can take care of myself.”
“I know that. But security is my job, and I should have…”
“Should have what?”
“Known.” He knocked on the door.
“Known? How? Why?”
But Rogan remained silent. Except it was clear he was battling something in his head.
“Whatever,” Mark mumbled. “Just… I can take care of myself.” Mark went to knock as well but the door flew open in front of him, Mark’s dad standing on the other side.
“What the fuck is going on out here?” Rob snarled, startling both Mark and Rogan.
“Sir!” Rogan nearly shouted back, gaining the older man’s attention. Then he lowered his voice probably realizing how loud he was being. “Mr. Corda. Sorry to wake you…”
“What the hell happened to you?” Rob grabbed Mark and pulled him into the house. “Why the bandages?” He turned his attention back to Rogan. “Why is my son covered in bandages?”
Mark took immediate offence. “Dad, I’m standing right here! Ask me!”
“Um… sir…” Rogan interrupted. “it’s a long story.”