Evan finds out where Vince is going when he calls to ask about hosting a DnD game.
“Sorry,” Vince says apologetically, “I… don’t think I’m gonna be free that day.”
“Why?” Evan teases. “You got a hot date?”
“I… no. I wish.”
“So? What’re you doin’? Not like you have a job.”
“I’m…” Vince pauses. “Working on a project.”
“Oh, sure. ”
“I am!” he protests. “I just– look, I’m investigating the Fairmount Children’s Home, okay? I found some weird shit about it, and I want to know what’s going on, and–”
“The… Jesus, does this have something t’do with the tape recorder you’ve been carrying around everywhere, Vince?”
“I– maybe. Look, I just… some creepy fucking shit has been happening to me, and I know you wouldn’t believe me if I told you, but it’s all leading back to this one doctor who used to work there, James Corenthal, and–”
“Wait, wait, hold up. James fucking Corenthal? Isn’t he the guy who murdered his fucking kids ?”
“Yeah, but he–”
“So, what, you were just gonna go all the way to fuckin’ Ohio following this lead and not tell us?” Evan asks, disbelieving.
“Well… yeah,” Vince admits. “It’s not like it’s your problem.”
He scoffs. “Dude, this guy you’re chasing down is a fucking serial child murderer ! Anything could’ve happened, and we wouldn’t have known until, what, you just didn’t show up one day?”
"I didn't want to get you involved."
"Too late. If I can’t get you to stay behind, I’m going along."
Vince is silent on the other end of the phone. “Fine,” he says finally. “You can come with me. But if it’s boring as fuck, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
Evan stares, stomach churning with nausea. The doctor’s eyes are bubbling blood, a wide, cheshire cat grin on his face. “Here I was, thinking you’d be smart enough to come alone.”
Vince swears under his breath, and Evan swallows hard.
“ Evan! ” the doctor exclaims, turning towards him, voice layered with something distorted and sharp. “Missed you, buddy.”
Evan goes rigid. He knows, logically, that he’s never seen the doctor before in his life, never even been to this fucking hospital, all clean white walls and bright fluorescent lights, but as he stares, he feels a sudden, overwhelming surge of loathing for the man standing in front of him, all sharp grin and mocking eyes. It nearly sends him to his knees, fingers twitching, hatred burning hot and feverish in his chest.
Vince tugs at his arm, snaps, panicked, “Evan, we need to get out of here!”
“I… I know you,” Evan says slowly.
“What the hell do you mean, you know him ? Evan, what–”
“How do I know you?” he demands, a snarl in his voice, eyes wild, fists clenched.
The doctor chortles. “Shouldn’t you know that by now?” he asks mockingly. “You have read the newspaper article on the good old doc, right?”
Evan feels his stomach sink in horror, and he shrinks back, feeling like a small child, blood pooling warm and sticky on the floor, a broken plastic knife digging into the skin of his palm. “Oh,” he says, voice scarcely a whisper. “You’re HABIT.”
The doctor snaps his fingers. “Got it in one! I’m surprised you remembered me, this time around - you don’t normally.” He shrugs nonchalantly. “Probably too traumatic.”
“What the fuck is he talking about?’ Vince demands. “We need to go, now. ”
Evan trembles. “I– I can’t–”
“You can’t do what? ” the doctor growls.
His knife blade glints in the fluorescent hospital light.
“Okay, I’m done with your shit,” Vince says, grabbing Evan’s limp hand. “Evan, we need to fucking run .”
He doesn’t wait to see the doctor’s reaction, just takes off, dragging Evan along behind him.