A/N: Well this chapter is not as action packed as the last but it is necessary. Hope you enjoy nonetheless.
Chapter Eight: Holes Dug Deeper
"Tom, we've got a big problem." Tom heard Benny's voice on the line and any quip he would have made about too much fun died on his lips. "My computer...it's missing."
"Your computer, you don't mean the computer you've been using to build that magical social network?" Tom replied rubbing his forehead. "Benny how?!"
"I may be a geek, but I only have one." Benny said. "That's what's weird...my dorm was locked. Art and I were at this party and I swore that I locked my door. But then some weird stuff was happening and we came back early, and my door it, it was open. Cracked open. But when I checked my pocket, I still had my keys."
"Okay, er, check the lost and found maybe." Tom said.
"Tom, someone broke in, I doubt the lost and found will be helpful." Tom could hear Benny walking over and a clicking noise. "And it just keeps getting weirder…"
"What now?" Tom bit back a frustrated sigh.
"No damage on the lock."
"Smart lockpicker maybe. Look, isn't there anyway you can retrace your steps maybe? Was anyone acting odd?"
"Sarah…Art's kid sister." Benny murmured. "She was the only one here before we left." Benny said. "I'll see if I can find her. It shouldn't be too hard, not too many people here cause of moving out before break. But Tom there was something else. At the party…" And Benny began to explain.
Tom listened as Benny explained about the party and the girl acting odd. Bloody hell… "Wait, you were there?" Tom asked.
"At a party, yeah Tom, I went to a party." Benny deadpanned. "It was a disaster but I was there."
"No," Tom shook his head despite the fact that Benny couldn't see him. "No, not like that. I mean, Gran, Moon and I saw...in the scrying mirror. That girl, high off her mind, she's a Changeling... from the Neverside."
"Wait what?" Benny blinked. "I thought she was a wizard. I...I saw the magic."
"Easy mistake apparently," Tom said. "Either way, do you know where she went?" Tom asked.
"We left early since it seemed dangerous for unaware unenchanteds. So no." Benny said.
"Great…" Tom said. "And you can't even track her can you?"
"I've been working on an app for my phone, I might be able to find my computer with that but...it's spotty. And I had to disable the standard tracking to stop hacking into the network. Maybe if you logged on..."
" I'll do that then. Just do what you can yeah? We'll...we'll sort it." Tom tried to stomach his frustration.
"Yeah, sure. Something else going on mate?" Benny decided to ask as Tom sounded a bit odd from his end.
"No!" Tom answered, then realizing he answered a bit too sharply took a breath. "I mean considering everything, no it doesn't seem important."
"Tom, come on. We've had chats in crisis mode before. I'm your mate…"
"Trying to be a psychobabblist more like it."
"Psychoanalyst you mean?"
"Geek, you mean?" Tom replied with a chuckle.
"Friend," Benny said. "Come on,"
"God, that's soft." Tom scoffed. "Fine then. I got a letter...from Lexi."
"Wait, Lexi Lexi, formerly of Nekross Lexi, the one you...sent off?"
"Do we know any other Lexis?"
"Geez, but wait? I thought you said she was in the Neverside."
"I have no idea. I wasn't exactly fully there remember?" Tom sighed. "It was a guess."
"What about…?" Benny remembered someone else. "Benny Jr.?"
"She mentioned him too," Tom said. "He's still got his magic, really strong apparently. She asked to meet up."
"Bloody hell mate… are you going to?"
"Yeah, not sure I have a choice. They might know something." Tom said.
"Well, good luck Tom," Benny said.
"You too Benny," Tom hung up and let out a sigh. Excellent, as if things couldn't get any worse.
He got up and attempted to straighten himself out from falling asleep in his clothes before he once again left the house grabbing a water bottle and his jacket. He needed some air.
Tom decided to walk to the park, and was surprised when he saw someone he knew running and looking absolutely frantic, near tears. One of the boys he coached in the junior program.
He sped up slightly and caught the boy's arm. "Whoa, Aiden...Aiden Roth yeah, from juniors?" He said gently. "What's the matter Mate?"
The boy looked up at him. Tom could see the plump tears threatening to fall. "C...Coach Clarke…" Then he just leaned against him crying hard.
Tom was flabbergasted, but just pulled the boy closer, sensing he needed it and running a hand through his short hair, feeling a sense of dread clawing up his stomach. "Shh, it's alright, you're okay… you're alright…" He walked with the boy the short distance to the park bench and took a seat guiding the boy gently down as well. He screwed off the water bottle's cap and held it to the boy's lips. "Here, take some breaths, drink, slow and easy."
Aiden did so, his breathing steadying a very little bit, but still unable to bring himself to speak.
"Can you tell me what's wrong?" Tom asked softly.
Aiden in a voice barely louder than a whisper began to speak and the fist of dread in Tom's stomach squeezed.
A/N: Next chapter we get back to Benny Jr. and Lexi briefly before Tom and Lexi finally meet. And Benny Sherwood corners Sarah.