|Posted on March 11, 2012 at 1:20 PM|
Going slower this time, Caleb peered through the hazy window searching for his mother while Kenny leaned up against the side of the house in a daze. Caleb, seeing nothing, moved up his back steps avoiding the creeping fourth step and onto the wooden porch. He listened, but heard nothing but the swaying and creaking of their porch swing next to him and he looked back, motioning for Kenny to follow. He opened the screen door and grasped the doorknob and as quietly as he could turn the 20 year-old doorknob, he swung the door to the house open.
Tiptoeing inside, he quickly scanned the living room and dining room, and breathed out deeply when he found it empty. Kenny followed in behind him, slamming the screen door, and Caleb scowled at him and pushed him aside to shut the back door. They used stealth as they crept into the hall and it seemed eerily quiet in the house. They jumped as the Grandfather clock chimed in the foyer. His mom had a love for all things from different generations, and she claimed Victorian houses, grandfather clocks, and old antiques were reminiscent of happier and more honorable generations and she avidly collected them and placed them around their home. Caleb himself thought it pretty stuffy and geriatric but as long as his room remained how he wanted it, filled with video game figures and horror movie posters, he said nothing of the rest of his home. His mom was awesome to him, unique and cool, and even though some would say a bit crazy, she was a survivor and he needed her. Needed her to be here right now.
He stifled back a sob as his eyes teared up and he started up the stairs to their bedrooms. They had a four bedroom home, a guestroom in the basement his mom had made into a workout room, and three upstairs. Caleb had got to the middle of the steps when he heard movement from one of the rooms. It sounded like shuffling and one of the beds creaking. He moved backwards down the stairs pushing Kenny back down, and went into the kitchen. After looking from hand to hand, he chose the butcher knife and handed Kenny the cast iron frying pan. They moved back towards the stairs and painstakingly began their ascent up them. As they reached the top, Caleb's eyes darted into the spare room, seeing only the items that belonged there, perfectly placed. He moved on into the hallway towards his room. The door was still shut, the way he had left it, his George Romero Day of the Dead poster leering back at them. He started for the knob, but quickly froze in place as he heard footsteps in his mother's room. He moved on past the bathroom to her room. He looked at Kenny, eyeing him to make sure his makeshift weapon was at the ready, and he tried the knob.
The door flung open and there, at the bedroom window, was his mother. He let out a squeal of excitement as she swung around and he dropped the butcher knife in shock. It clanged against the hardwood floors and there was a brief moment of silence until he questioningly said, "mom?" She had his bow from camp between her hands and it was drawn back at them, arrow glinting in the sun, and an odd expression on her face. She looked at them, nodded, and said, "hold on." She then turned back to the open window, drew the bow back, and as Caleb walked over and looked out, the arrow was released and lodged itself into their neighbor who had been wandering aimlessly in his backyard. He could almost hear the wet thump as it buried itself deep into his left temple and his neighbor went down like a felled tree.
He said nothing, in shock, as his mom turned to him and said, "now...where were we?" She snatched Caleb into her arms and said, "I've been scouring the neighborhood for you looking like a psychotic Robin Hood having to kill our neighbors left and right. Where the Hell have you been? I went by Kenny's house but it seemed as if nobody was home." At that, Kenny burst into tears again and Caleb looked down to the ground and gently pushed his mother back to tell her what had happened. She listened quietly, nodding and glancing at Kenny, and at the end of the story, hugged Caleb and then moved to Kenny, who sobbed into her arms.
They sat upstairs for what seemed like hours, and Maria looked from Caleb to Kenny and said, "boys, I don't think I need to tell you this old house isn't safe enough to hold up in. Caleb, you know the drill and what we have to do now." Caleb nodded and without a word, went to his room. Kenny mutely followed and sat down on the edge of Caleb's bed as he grabbed his ICP duffle bag, extra clothing, shoes, his Red Rider BB gun and ammo, and his mini radio above his bed. He looked over at Kenny and said, "be right back, have to run to the bathroom and grab a few things." With that he left the room and went into the bathroom to grab bandages, the emergency travel med kit, and their toothbrushes.
He went back to his mother's room and said, "ready." She looked up at him, love and respect in her eyes, nodded, and then shoved her handgun into the outer side pocket of her pink gym bag next to the extra rounds. Caleb left the room, went back into his, and grabbed the only non-essential thing he wanted, his Master Chief figurine. He looked over at Kenny and said, "let's go man," and Kenny got up off of the bed and followed him out. Caleb sadly took one last look at his room as he quietly shut the door. His mom emerged from her room and said, "ready?" They both nodded and went downstairs to the foyer.
They followed her to the kitchen and the respect clearly showed on their faces as they saw she had already packed water, food, and various other items including their tent from the basement and had left it in a pile by the garage door. Seeing their faces, she grinned and said, "who said watching zombie movies weren't educational right bud?" Caleb grinned back and nodded but his face fell as he looked at Kenny, still silently crying. He put his arm around his friend and squeezed and then they filed out into the garage grabbing bags to throw into the back of his mom's classic black and purple colored '57 Bomber. She walked over to the wall and grabbed the spare bow, checking the case to make sure the extra string and arrows were intact, and placed it next to the driver's side onto the passenger street glancing over to Caleb saying, "sorry bud, gotta ride in the back today."
After everything was piled into the trunk and car, they got in. Caleb's mom put her arm across the seat and looked back, "you boys ready?" Then Kenny said the first thing he'd said since they had sprinted out of his house. He slowly looked up into Caleb's mother's eyes and said, "Mrs. Rounds, will you help me? I can't leave my parents how they were. I just can't. I understand if you won't but I can't leave them like that." There was a few moments of silence and his mom broke it saying, "Kenny, you didn't even have to ask."
Categories: Chapter 26