“Stop!” I screamed, lunging toward him.
Hopping on Caiden’s back, I wrapped my arms around his neck, and attempted a maneuver to incapacitate him. He tried to flip me but I wrapped my legs around his waist, interlocking them as I thrust back, bringing us to the ground. He struggled, and so did I, his face turning red from the exertion.
“We didn’t come here for this, so I’m gonna let you go, but all the fighting has to stop dammit!” I said to him, giving him a warning squeeze, to show I was serious.
He nodded, and tapped my arm, so I released him. I crawled over to Hunter, he was out cold, his jaw had already began to swell. I checked it over, giving a sigh of relief, that it wasn’t broken.
“You two, carry him inside, I’m gonna go get Patience.” I said, making haste towards the Betty.
Tzar and Caiden followed my request, as I jumped in the RV, looking to the back for the young ebony skinned girl. She sat on the sofa, looking out the large side panel window, and I had to admit the scene looked so peaceful. The tall grass bent into a lean from the gentle winds, it looked like a sea of wheat gold in the afternoon sun, with waves across the surface.
Birds chirped and sang, a small nightingale flew up to the window, peeked inside before it flitted away. You’d think everything was fine with the world, for all the chaos out there hadn’t tainted this small piece of heaven.
“Are we safe here..” She said, breaking me from my thoughts.
“I think so, at least for now, let’s get inside the house so we can rest up, ok?”
“Are they done fighting out there? I heard the screaming.. I thought it was those things at first, I thought it might have been my mommy.” She said, sniffling and drawing her knees up.
“Awe, don’t think like that, that thing wasn’t your mother, not anymore. Your mother loves you, even in death” I replied, wrapping an arm around her shoulder. “Come on, let’s go.”
I wiped her tears, and stood up, she followed behind me. We caught up to Tzar and Caiden, as they hoisted Hunter up the porch stairs. Patience ran ahead to hold the door open for them, and as they carried him, that’s when Caiden looked to me.
“Before we get inside I need to warn you abo..”
“Oh my, we have guests!” A voice rang out, and a silvery haired old white woman appeared, she had her salty hair pulled up into a bun, and wore a flowing silk gown that caressed the air as she moved. “My word, what is this? They’re Colored! Lord Jesus, from on high! Hurry up child, bring them inside before the neighbor folk see, is that Hunter they’re carrying?”
“Excuse me? There’s no one around for miles, so WHAT neighbors?” Tzar asked, about to get rude, he looked to me. “And did homegirl call us colored?!”
“Gran, what did I tell you, this is a different time, check your calendar again.” He said, looking to us apologetically. “It’s the Alzheimer’s, I swear, she thinks it’s the early fifties, when she was fifteen years old. She’s goes in and out, but lately she just stays stuck.. back then.”
“Umm.. Don’t worry about it, let’s just get Hunter to the living room and lay him down. Do you guys have any ice available?” I asked him, looking around for the kitchen.
“Ice? Why would you need ice?” Said the woman, waltzing back in the room suddenly, she just moved so fast.
“Hunter had a fight, got knocked out, is all, Gran.” Caiden said, with a smirk on his lips.
“Oh my, I hope he wasn’t fighting one of these savage bucks, they could have killed him..” She replides, grasping her chest, Tzar and I just gave each other a look. “I know just the thing, father used to come home drunk and beat up all time, but now Big Daddy’s a sanctified, chosen by God, pastor. Thank ya, lawd!” She threw her right hand up, as if to praise him.
We could hear her continuing on and rumbling around, in the kitchen for a bit, before she came back out.
“This’ll do the trick,” she said, putting something under his nose, it caused him to jerk awake.
“Ow, my jaw, you bastard!” He yelled at Caiden, as soon as he saw him.
“Watch the language, young man! Here drink this, it will disinfect any cuts in your mouth.” Their Grandmother chastised, as she passed him a shot of whiskey, then took a swig from the bottle for herself.
“Serves you right, I shoulda done worse.” He retorted, snatching the bottle from his grandmother.
“Ok guys, enough! I don’t know whatever it is that has you two fighting, but there are bigger problems at hand, let’s not forget.” I said, interrupting them, they both looked at me and I stared them down, I was serious.
“Hush child, the neighbors will hear ya! Don’t you know they’ll sling ya neck on the great black cedar in the town square, for even raising your voice to a..” Granny started going off, I looked to Hunter and Caiden.
“Gran, please, just go in your room and listen to the radio, we need to talk in here” Caiden said, getting her attention, she just nodded and disappeared again.
“What is her major malfunction?! Gran Mama is straight up trippin.” Tzar began to mouth off, as soon as she left the room.
“Just relax man, she’s has dementia and Alzheimer’s, she bounces between fifties, sixties, and seventies, and sometimes the early eighties on a wild weekend.. She doesn’t even know what time she’s in, and she’s easily frazzled, that’s why I took the time off to come here. She used to be quite ignorant, when it came to race, but my Gran has always been a champion for civil rights in her later life. Something happened around that time, after the war, and it has her stuck there, it was also around the time she became an activist in college, I think she might have even marched with King. So, Please just have patience, It’s been a struggle just keeping her in the now, and it’s getting even harder, it also doesn’t help that she’s faster than sheep dog.” Caiden tried to explain, but I didn’t care to hear any of that, Grannie was the least of our problems.
“Excuse me, but I have to use the bathroom..” Patience cut in shyly, we looked down at her as she fiddled with the hem of her dress.
“Tzar, could you please?” I turned to him, he sighed dramatically, as Caiden pointed him down the hall and to the left. I had kept to my wits, up until then, but when they left the room I went off.
“Do you have any idea what’s going on out there? It’s total mayhem and complete anarchy, people are rising from the dead and eating other people, and then those bastards are getting up too. Cherry on top, the United States military just bombed the city of New York! New York fucking City! So we want some answers, and we want them now!”
“Babbitt, calm down..” Hunter commented, putting a firm but calming hand on my shoulder.
“This is Babbitt from that letter?! Or um…what was it.. Oh yeah, Loki.” He said, looking me up and down in assessment, like I hadn’t been standing before him through the past several minutes. “I’m guessing, he’s the woman..”
“Only Hunter calls me Babbitt, you can call me Loki, or sir, either will do” I replied, staring him dead in the eyes.
“Caiden, please don’t get him started, cause I won’t be able to stop’m, if he does.” Hunter quickly interjected, he knew how I was, I’d burn this house to the ground, and drive the Betty over the ashes as I rode my way into the sunset.
“Don’t worry, I won’t further upset your wife..” Caiden replied, shooting a snide grin in my direction. “As for what you’re asking about, I’m sorry, I can’t tell you guys anything.. I don’t know what’s going on, or how this happened. And the little I do know, is classified information I simply cannot divulge under any circumstances.”
“We know Zachari had something to do with it, or is at the very least involved, and so are you by extension.” I countered, but he kept a tight seal on the info, there came a scream from the back rooms that made me jump a bit.
“Help! There’s a little negro child in the house! Oh my, there a man too, Lord Jesus, what will the neighbors think!” Screamed the old woman, she came running out and looked like she’d have a heart attack, once she saw me. “AAAAHH, another one! You niggers won’t take me alive, get outta mah’ house!”
She pulled out the sharp and pointy chopstick, that held her hair up, it rippled and cascaded down in a river of silvery curls. She jumped at me, like a trained assassin, stabbing for my throat. I turned and ran, screaming for my life, pushing past the two brothers in front of me. They grabbed her arms, and pulled her into the living room. I stopped and watched, as Caiden found some pills in the end table by her sofa, he popped a couple in her mouth and told her to swallow. She struggled defiantly, but she eventually took them. After a few moments, her body seemed to relax and she lost all the tension, quickly dosing off. I went into the kitchen and poured a glass of water, I brought it to the living room, and placed it on the end table, next to where she sat.
“What did you give her?” I asked, looking at the bottles in the drawer, reading the names.
“It’s her Alzheimer’s medication, and Vicodin, for her anxiety. She’s okay, she’ll be up in about thirty minutes, this usually levels her out.” Caiden said, putting a knit blanket over her.
“I didn’t know she was doing so bad..” Hunter said, looking at the matriarch of his family, a sympathetic sadness in his eyes. “Zachari only told me it was a mild case..”
“Babe, this is, unfortunately, considered a mild case.” I reply, reaching up to rub his shoulder. “She’s clearly fully mobile and functional, well, in a sense.”
“What happened, you guys?” Tzar asked, coming back into the living room with Patience. “What did I miss? Did Granny wear herself out? Haha”
“You could say that..” Caiden said, as he motioned for us to follow him out to the back porch.
I could see a corn field in the distance, probably about fifty feet from the house, there was a fully cultivated garden that occupied the space in between. The farm was so picturesque and beautiful, we all took a moment to admire the peace, within that moment, it almost didn’t feel real. There were five wicker chairs, that surrounded a patio table made of similar material, so we took a seat. Caiden went back inside but soon returned, he had a pitcher of lemonade, that was freshly squeezed, and poured us all a glass. It was delicious, I had to give it to granny, she did her thing, even Balthazar was smacking his lips.
There was one free chair, right next to Hunter, but Caiden refused to take it, he made due by leaning on the porch guard rail. He stood there, eyes to the fields, sipping his drink. Hunter was acting like nothing was wrong, but the look on the face of Tzar and Patience told me different, the tension was palpable. I looked at Hunter, and he avoided my eyes, I elbowed him. He looked finally, and I cocked my head in his brother’s direction, he sighed getting the hint.
“Caiden..” Hunter started, but Caiden cut him off.
“They can stay in the house, but not you, I refuse to be under the same roof as you.”
“Is the blood really, THAT BAD, between you two? The world is falling apart and you’re both acting like children right now! No, not children, like toddlers, because Patience has more maturity, than the two of you.” I scolded, looking at them incredulously.
“No, it’s fine Loki, I’ll stay in the Betty, she’s better company anyway.” My lover said, getting up out of his seat.
“No, Hunter, just wait.” I called out reaching for him, but he shook me free, as he walked into the house, slamming the screen door behind him.
“Bae, what the hell was that?!” I screamed at Hunter.
I had chased his ass down, slamming the side door of the Betty, behind me. He just made his way to the back, ignoring me, and I just continued to follow him. This was something that had to be addressed now, what was it with those two?
“Hunter, you have to tell me something…Anything?! Please just explain it to me so I can understand..”
“I can’t!” He screamed, taking me off guard, I actually jumped back a little bit. He saw that and closed his eyes, getting his wits about him, and taking a softer tone. “I .. I just can’t tell you, you’d think different of me, and.. I’m afraid you won’t look at me the same ever again, if you find out the kind of person I really am.”
“Hunter, how bad could it be?! I know you’ve KILLED people, even before all this..” I said throwing my hands up, I knew exactly the type of man he was, or at least I thought I did. “I know you have always tried to keep your goings on at work, separate from our home life but the two were intertwined from the start.”
“How could you know about any of that?” He asked, looking at me confused.
“Oh. you thought all your tracks were covered? More than once or twice you were a bit sloppy, it took me weeks to get Vito Petrelli not to kill you, and he was gonna! You’re lucky he’d always been soft on me, cause it took every bit of clout I had with the man, I almost thought I would have to fuck him. Then there was Pistol and his crew in Brooklyn, they think it was someone else, but I know you.. I know you killed him too. You almost slipped that one past me, but you fucked up, you actually thought you could go to The Arabs..” I looked at him like he was an idiot, because that’s what that was, an idiot move. “The DA found out, and was going to charge you with several counts of terrorism for even dealing with them.. Once AGAIN, I had to save your ass, me and him used to fuck around in college.. And.” I had to look away from him. “And I had to do what I had to do, so he could drop the case.. So I know what type of man you are Hunter, you’re the type that will do whatever it takes, whatever it takes to survive, whatever it takes to live. That’s what I love you about you, we are one and the same.. And we need each other.”
He just looked at me, his gaze burned into the side of my face, and I refused to look at him. It was the first time I had ever mentioned love, to describe any aspect of our relationship, the first time I had done it in any of the frivolous relationships I’d been in. The only man I had ever loved before this, was my daddy, I tried not to think of him and the rest of my family’s fate, I only hoped this hadn’t reached them in south.
I finally looked to Hunter and was met with his lips upon mine, a flush of heat coursed through me, from head to toe. One of his hands snaked up my back, and grasped my dreads, the other dipped down to my ass, but he only palmed it with the lightest of squeezes. He pulled me on top of him, and I threw one of my legs over his lap, and my arms around his broad shoulders, feeling the hard smooth musculature under his cloths. I placed my forehead to his, and couldn’t help but to grind into him, he just had that effect on me.
“I knew he was the woman..” Caiden said, interrupting us, followed by his snide laughter. “Anyways, the other fella said to tell you that dinner’s ready, smells like a treat too.”
I just sighed and pushed up off of Hunter, brushed past Caiden rudely without excusing myself, and hopped out the Betty. I tried to smooth down my hardened dick discretely, the slight breeze cooled me off a bit, as I stomped up the path to the house. Overhead, a huge migration of birds flew north, I stopped to watch for a bit, but the smell of the food was an enticing distraction. I walked into the house, letting my nose lead the way, the dining room was where I ended up. An impressive display of Balthazar’s trademark cooking was on mahogany dining table, right now it looked like thanksgiving, because Granny had a large sampling of left overs to get rid of. He made a feast from the scraps, and we all dug in, Granny was so focused on the meal, she didn’t act up, too much..
“I swear you coloreds were made for the kitchen, you come from good stock boy, with talented hands.” She said to Tzar, after she smacked her lips, and had a drink.
“Gran..we talked about this.” Caiden chastised.
“No, it’s ok, I’ll take it as a compliment.. For now.” Tzar said, speaking up for her.
“She’s right, Mr BaZar, this is really good.” Patience chimed in with a smile, everyone else nodded in agreement, he just smiled graciously.
After the meal, everyone decided to turn down after such a long day, Hunter told me to stay in the house with the others, he’d be okay in the Betty. Patience stayed in the guest room with me and Tzar, I let them take the bed, I took the floor and all the pillows. My tactic had backfired, as they were soon out like a light, and I lay there tossing and turning. I was too anxious to sleep, I mean really? How could anyone during a time like this? Every knock, every creak and groan, from this old house.. I just couldn’t deal. I hopped up as silently as I could, and left the room. I went down the hall, admittedly going down the stairs, louder than I wanted to. No one was up, I slipped out the door, but halted when I saw how dark it was. Did I want to chance using a light and attracting something? No, I couldn’t.
I just decided to make a run for it, I used the key chain to open The Betty, so I could hop right in. When I was safe inside, I made my way to Hunter, he didn’t like the cubbies spaces and much preferred the open space of the couch. He was knocked out like a light, wrapped up in a cover, curled up to his pillow. I called his name in a whisper, no answer, I got closer and tried again, he barely stirred. I rocked him, and he popped up with a start, the barrel of his Desert Eagle pressed up against my forehead. My eyes opened wide in shock, he finally recognized my face in the dark, the moonlight that filtered through the window, was barely able to illuminate my face.
“Sorry, Babbitt, I’m just a little on edge..” He said, in an apologetic tone, his eyes held the same sentiments.
“It’s fine babe, we all are, that’s why I’m here .. I can’t sleep, is there a chance Mary joined us on this little excursion?” I asked him, smiling sheepishly.
“Check the luggage in the closet.” He said, shaking his head at me, he gave me a kiss before he rolled over, quickly dozing back off.
When I found the bags, I opened the first one and it was like I had walked into the local pharmacy. He had everything from Vicodin to Morphine, Percocet to Penicillin it was ridiculous but I knew what time it was. Drugs and money were the same thing to Hunter, there was no way he would leave anything behind, this was more precious than gold at a time like this. The only use for paper money, by tomorrow’s end, would be wiping your own ass after a shit. I rummaged through the bags, getting frustrated, where the fuck was the weed?! I was about to call out for Hunter, when I came across a black book bag. I could smell it before I even opened it, this was some new shit, he was holding out. I unzipped and found several large ziplock bags, giant pillows filled with twenties of the dankest and lightest green I’d ever seen. I rubbed my hands together greedily, then grabbed a handful, and stuffing my pockets.
I had taken a seat on the back porch, I hadn’t noticed the wicker chairs rocked, when we sat in them earlier. It was so relaxing, the light from the moon caste down bright on this side of the house, it was enough light for me to roll a few joints. I was one that preferred blunts, but joints were better than Hunters pipe, thou the hit was cleaner. I hated those things, made me feel like I was lighting up crack or something, but he had his own preferences when it came to smoking. Neither of us strayed to anything stronger, weed and alcohol were enough. And that’s not judge on anyone who does, we love our custy’s, sometimes people need something stronger to get them through.
I was about to light the first joint, when a stirring gust of wind from the north, billowed past. I turned in surprise, as the screen door clanged loudly against the side of the house. I popped out of my seat, I know that I closed that door, I hadn’t even smoked yet, so I knew I wasn’t trippin. I started to walk over to close it, wondering if I was being paranoid, when someone’s hand gripped tight to my arm. I turned around fast, a chill had frozen my spine, and all my eyes could see was a spark of fire.