The light was bright, even in the moonlight, her hair blew gently with the wind as she pulled a hit from the joint. She held it in for a bit, her eyes closed for a moment, then she let it out in a smooth flow from her lips.
“Be cool, man.” She said, once she caught her breath, her grip on my arm was still tight.
“Um.. I don’t think this is a good idea, Caiden would try to kill me?” I replied, looking from her, back to the door.
She pulled me back to the chairs, sat me down, and put the newly lit joint in my mouth. She moved so quick, she had closed the screen door and sat down next to me, before I even noticed she’d moved.
“I thought the brotha’s were cool, man. You’re so ..shaky-like, where’s your nerve?.” She asked, lighting up another one of the joints I rolled. “This is some gooooood shit.”
“Um.. ” I was literally speechless, Hunter’s Granny just bugged me out, I never knew what to expect from her, all I could do was hit the joint again.
“So which one of my grandsons are you fucking?” She asked, as if it was like asking for the time.
“Excuse me? Where did that come from?” I replied, coughing up smoke, because I was slightly taken aback. “From a person that’s never sure what day or year it is, maybe you have more relevant questions to ask me?”
“Oh, don’t worry, I’m cool. This is a new age, most from my time have died or are on their way out. I’m grateful to be able to witness things I never thought possible, I’m just glad one of’m has found such a hot piece of ass.” She said to me, with a wink, I could only smile back at her.
“Hunter and I have been together, on and off, for about six years, but we’ve been steady now for almost three years.” I answered, taking a minute to think of all my trials and tribulations with that man.
“Never really pegged him as the gay one, nor did I think he’d end up with a taste for Hershey, guess the apple never falls far from the tree.” She said, smiling to herself.
“So Granny was a jungle bunny, back in the day, huh?” I asked jokingly, we both laughed, high as the stars in the night sky.
“Baby, you don’t know the half of it!” It was good to see her smiling and happy, she really must have been a beauty, in her day.
“What’s going on out here?! Gran? Loki? What are you two doing awake?” Caiden said, springing up out of nowhere. “You two need to get some sleep, it’s getting late.”
Granny was quick to toss the joint, I grabbed up all the paraphernalia before he could see. On the way past, he sniffed liked he smelled something but he didn’t mention it, his Granny just followed me into the house. He told us he was doing rounds and would check around the yard, it was almost midnight, so I decided to try to go to sleep again. This time proved a success and I entered the dreamscape peacefully.
First thing I smelled when I awakened, was bacon, lovely bacon, and…bananas?! I sniffed the air in confusion as I made my way to the guest bathroom. I looked at the time, it was almost midday, this must be a brunch cooked up by none other than Balthazar. I brushed my teeth, and took a shower, pleased hot water was left over. I pulled my dreads back with a band, and let the water flow over me. I indulged for a few minutes but I didn’t want to be rude, so I made it quick, and hopped out after soaping up and rinsing off. I looked in the mirror, shocked at how tired I looked, my glowing ebony skin was slightly dull, my eyes telling of the horrors I’d seen. I ran some cold water and washed my face, I found some moisturizer and caked it on. I came out of the bathroom, to find Tzar sitting on the bed, he just burst out laughing.
“We doing white face to fit in with the townsfolk, now? What is the deal?” He asked, finding the leftover effect of lotion on my chocolate complexion.
“Oh piss off, you hating queen..” I said, putting my clothes on in a hurry. “And my plate better be downstairs waiting for me too!”
“Bitch, I’ll go down there and throw that shit out right now!” He replied, laughing at me. “You can stop feeling salty, it’s soaked into your skin already.”
“How do I look?” I asked, spinning like a runway model in my outfit. I had changed into some dark denim jeans and a black v-neck tee engraved with a lion, topped with a hooded black vest trimmed in red, my candy red J’s on my feet.
“It’s the fucking apocalypse, who gives a damn how you look?” He said as he walked out the door laughing.
I rolled my eyes and followed him downstairs, everyone had eaten and gone about their business, but Patience. She sat at the table with a stack of banana pancakes, bacon and eggs on the side, with a glass of orange juice. Something similar was set up right beside her so I took the seat. She smiled at me with a mouth full of the pancakes, missing one of her canines, but I could see it was growing in fine. I smiled back and dug right in, tasting the bacon first, then the pancakes. Tzar had out down himself, everything was delicious as always. I heard someone call my name from outside, so I took a drink from my OJ, and went to see. I found Hunter and Caiden at the bottom of the front porch stairs, having a heated discussion. They turned to me, as I approached with questioning eyes, Caiden being the first to speak.
“We have to go into town, things have been quiet around these parts, so I figure now’s the safest to venture out, I wanted to ask if you’d keep an eye on Gran for me while we’re gone?”
“Of course, but how long will you be gone?” I asked, looking to Hunter, then back to Caiden. “I thought we had everything we needed.”
“We are short on bullets, if we get hit by more than a handful of those things we’ll be shit out of luck, and easy pickings. I don’t know if the fences are enough, but I do know we need to take precautions to protect ourselves.. There’s a gun shop in town, and if I know Big Teddy, he survived this mess and can help us out.” Caiden said, before jumping up the stairs and going into the house, leaving us there.
“So have you two worked things out?” I asked, moving in close, he threw his arms around me as a cool breeze passed over us. “Can we trust him? Can YOU trust him? I need you to be sure he’s going to watch your back, like I know you’re watching his.. I need you to come back to me.”
“Babbitt, even if they turn me into one of them, I’m coming back to you, this is where the good meat is..” He joked, I didn’t laugh with him, I just breathed into his chest.
Caiden soon came back out, and I let Hunter go, I caught the eye roll Caiden had given us. I caught sight of something else, and if I was a betting man, I’d say it was jealousy. It wasn’t my fault he had bad relations with his brother, I didn’t deserve the snide looks. I told them not to be late for dinner, and went inside the house. I peeked out the nearest window, and watched until they drove off down the road. I just had the worst feeling about this, it felt like my intuition was kicking me in the ass, I just knew this wasn’t the best idea. These things were unpredictable, anything could happen. I just tried to ignore that nagging feeling, and returned to my food in the kitchen.
Granny was having one of her fits, she’d ran into Tzar coming out of the bathroom, and forgot we were even here. Caiden clearly didn’t think this through, I should have just went with him, while Hunter took care of his grandmother. Hell, Balthazar was the lightest of the three of us, and she didn’t want him anywhere near her, she was most definitely stuck back in the ‘fifties’.
The stark difference in personality, between last night and now, was mind boggling. It was incredible how she could be so lucid last night, but in this very moment, victim to her own mind. I heard someone on the steps and looked up to see Patience, she took a seat and just watched us try to get Granny to calm down. I ran to the end table where Caiden had her meds stored yesterday, but the drawer was empty. I sighed, frustrated with a situation that was out of my control, that’s when I heard loveliest voice begin to serenade us.
“**** When I think of home, I think of a place… Where there’s, love overflowing. I wish I was home, I wish I was back there… With things, I’ve been knowing.. hmm****” Patience sang softly coming down the stairs, her tone had the tender sweetness of a child, but the maturity, fullness, and soul of a grown woman.
Granny stopped in her tracks, clutching tight to the vase, she had been about to launch our way. Patience continued to sing, making her way down the stairs, hitting notes that seemed unbelievable coming from a child. Tzar swooped in and gently removed the weapon, while Granny was transfixed by the magnificent voice that caressed our ears. Patience was able to get close enough to Granny, that she could grab her hand. It was as if time had stood still, the two had such a connection in that moment, that Patience was somehow able to bring her back. The tears in the woman’s eyes, as she grasped the young girl in her arms, flowed over the grateful smile that painted her lips.
While she hugged Patience, she had gotten a feel of the young girl’s hair, it hadn’t been tended to and had begun to kink. I had planned to do something with it, but I just got caught up with everything else. Granny mentioned something about men not appreciating the delicacy of a young girl, and quickly guided Patience to her room, Tzar and I just shrugged at each other, not knowing what to say.
“Where’d the other guys go? Did they really leave us with her?! Why would they do that? She’s unstable, and clearly needs to be tended to, with a light hand… And by that I mean a white one! I can play chef, but honey I’m nobody’s Home Attendant..” Tzar started right away, being his usual self.
“It’s only for a short while, they needed to go get more guns and ammo, if Granny starts acting up again, I got something to mellow her out.” I said, to reassure him and relax his nerves.
“Bitch! Wha chu Got?! Don’t tell me Hunter packed his shit! I love Him! Ohmagawd!” He screamed jumping with glee, I rained on his parade, and slapped him in the mouth.
“Watch your words, when you’re speakin’ bout my man bitch! I already told you, or did you forget? It was when you were bad mouthing him? Yea, remember that?” I said, and turned my back on him, making my way to the back door. “I should be grimy with you, but I love you, and you’re my cousin. So grab those joint papers, on your way out here… Ooh and a glass of lemonade too, please.”
“I got your please, bitch!” He said, with a laugh, surely cutting his eyes behind me.
We were sitting on the porch, toting on the last joint I’d rolled, the early afternoon sun blazing overhead, slightly to the west. Occasionally a breeze would flow by, enough chill to let you know the change of season was at hand, I sat back and looked out at the large garden and cornfield before us. In the daylight. You could see the fence that surrounded the property, and there was a small field beyond that, which ended by a wall of thick forest. The land was beautiful and serene, the perfect safe haven, in what could be a world end scenario.
“Loki, please, go grab us some munchies, I’m Hauwngry!” Tzar said in this annoying voice, breaking me from my musings, I looked over to see him slouched back in his chair.
“And why can’t you get your ass up, to get it yourself?”
“It’s your fault getting me all high, where did Hunter get that shit? I hope he has some seeds, we could put a plant in the Betty’s closet or something..” He said, before kicking his feet up on one of the other chairs.
“Please act like you have home training and get your feet off these people chair, so ignorant!” I chastised, getting up and heading into the house.
I went to peek in on what Granny and Patience were up to, really I just wanted to make sure the old woman wasn’t treating her bad, I was put to shame when I looked inside. Granny was greasing her scalp, as she parted a section, all in the process of cornrowing her hair. She had already completed several along the side of the young girl’s head. Where would a woman like her learn to do that? I didn’t see any photos of black people in any of the pictures, nor had Hunter spoken of any relation to any. I left them be, I’d blow mines trying to figure out that woman, so my next stop was the kitchen, Tzar had the right idea about munchies. I quickly threw together four sandwiches, using the last of the cheese and meats, I put two in the fridge for Gran and Patience to find.
After I cleaned up my mess, I put our food and drinks on a tray, then headed for the door. I stopped and turned around, I knew Tzar liked to cut his sandwiches up, and I didn’t want to hear the complaining. After looking for a knife too long, I finally came across a steak knife, and figured that it would have to do. I once again made my way to the door, pushing it open with my rear, and nudging open the screen gently with my foot. As I made my way to the table, something caught my eye in the distance, beyond the gate, but it was gone as fast as I’d seen it, so I paid it.
“Tzar, get up! Here is the food, enjoy cause it’s the last of the perishables besides the eggs..” I warned him, as he sat up to dig into his food. “The harvest will be ready soon, that’ll hold us over till winter ends.”
“I don’t do hard labour, your better suited for that.” He said, through a mouthful of food. “I’m fine working ol’ Granny’s kitchen!”
“I bet your Uncle Tom ass would be..” I said, shaking my head at him. “Damn, I was so worried about your shit, I forgot the mustard.”
I got up from the table and made my way back to the house, I had to check the cabinet and then the fridge, before I found some honey mustard. I went back outside and sat down, picked up the knife and began to use the spread. I maybe got about halfway through my sandwich, before I saw her, a little girl. She had on a green jacket and some denim blue jeans, that were both caked with mud, her blond hair was matted to her face and knotted with tangles. She was walking through the garden as if she were looking for something, lost among the vegetation and fertilizer. She was facing away from us and I couldn’t see her face, I wondered if she might have been a neighbor of theirs, wandering through.
“Look a little girl!” I said, trying to get Tzars attention, and unfortunately for us I got hers as well.
Her head twisted in our direction, and she shot off like a bullet, towards us. I slapped Tzar on the shoulder and told him to run, I hopped up, clutching tight to the steak knife like a lifeline. I kicked myself mentally, for forgetting my gun upstairs, it was an asshole move and now the ass on the line was mine. I ran for the door, and heard Tzar scream, he had tripped getting caught up in the chairs. I turned around to help, to see she had just reached the porch, and watched as she sprang up onto the platform, clearing the guard rail effortlessly.
I stood there, looking into dead eyes that were cracked and red, the side of the young girl’s mouth was torn away, leaving a gaping gash that exposed her teeth. She leaked a corrosive drool of saliva out the side of her mouth, it was a tar-ish black muck, that dribbled down her chin. She crouched low, growling as she stared back at me, and sniffed the air slightly. I took off running, trying to get to him before she could, but the little bitch was fast. Even with my head start, she got to him just when I did, and I had to yank her off of his back. She quickly turned to me, for her next meal, tearing at my throat with her teeth. I tried to push her back, but she was crazed and rabid, the momentum of her attack had sent us flying off the porch.
With a crash, we landed on the ground, and rolled down the hill the houses foundation was built into. She held tight to my shirt, pulling me closer, and her other hand had ahold of my dreads. We landed hard, when we reached the base of the slope, I gave a yelp when my head hit a large stray rock. My vision, blurred, and I couldn’t see, I felt my forehead where it hurt and found it sticky with blood.
I tried to stand, shakily to my feet, but I was knocked back down to the ground. Unlike me, she hadn’t been fazed by our fall, and her assault was incessant. I heard Tzar scream out, as I felt the sharp canines of her teeth sink into the flesh of my arm, it was then I cursed myself for believing this facade of peace.