STEVEN JERAL HARRIS
I tense up as we whip left and right through the busy evening commute. Just like the ride to Rochester, the ride back is extremely quick.
The entire time my back was glued to my seat.
The car tires slides to a halt in front of the brick mansion. We empty the vehicle and enter the living room. I see Daniel, fully clothed, leaning against the wall with his arms folded, pondering. I then see Jason on the couch with his hands pressed tighter, also in deep thought.
Kenya is pacing back and forth in the living room with a worried look. They all snap alert as we enter.
“How did it go?” Kenya asks urgently.
“Fine,” Maria responds.
“Did you track them down?” Eric asks Daniel.
“No, they got away,” he answers with regret.
Jason stands up and approaches me with a weak smile.
“Jason…?” I blurt out.
“I am also known as Courage from time to time,” he states.
I can’t respond, only shake my head in disbelief.
Kenya walks over to me.
"I called your mother. Everything has been arranged. I told her that you and Maria had made plans to go to the mall, and that you’ll be spending the weekend."
“But how…?” I ask.
“You dropped your cell in the park.” Daniel says to me in his usual stern way.
Kenya manoeuvres her eyes behind me, looking at Jessica and Maria.
"Athena, Raven, go upstairs and show her to her room. Help her unpack."
"Come on," Maria says while grasping my hand.
Maria and Jessica escort me out of the living room, up the steps, into a long hallway, and into a bedroom. I enter a big room which consist of a queen size bed, a nightstand, and a lamp. Jessica places my suitcase on the bed and empties its contents. I sink down on the bed as they start to fold my clothes.
"So, what happens next? Do I stay here?"
"Yes, for now," Maria responds.
"It will be fine Iva. Your mother will be safe," Jessica says.
Maria and Jessica pause to eye one another, and then continue folding the clothes again. I notice the concern in their eyes as Jessica mentioned my mother.
The look of worry in their eyes only makes my concern for my mother grow. They then put my belongings into the closet for me.
The room stays silent as they finish folding the remaining shirts and tuck them away neatly. Then the room door swings open and Kenya enters.
"How are you feeling?” she asks with gentle eyes.
“I’m scared. What if something happens…?” I take a pause to swallow. “…can you protect her?”
I wait for Kenya to respond to my question which takes her a while.
“Unfortunately, Iva, you’re our main priority right now. We’re your only protection. For now, we'll keep her unaware. She can't linger here. The wolves can easily use her against you."
“There must be another way, right?”
“Don’t worry we are making phone calls. More of us will arrive very soon. They will protect her. But as of right now, we can’t. You’re our main focus.”
I sigh again before speaking.
"But those herbs…will they work?"
"Yes, they naturally grow here. They are great at masking scents. I mixed seeds with them, they will mature very quickly."
She looks behind me at Maria and Jessica.
"Come you two. Let’s give her time to herself."
Jessica and Maria obey and exit the room.
“You should give your mother a call. She seems a little concerned about you. Here’s your phone back.”
I grab the phone from her with a nervous hand, and then I take another pause to settle my emotions.
“I just don’t want anything to happen to her. She means a lot to me.”
“Iva, nothing will happen to her,” she assures me.
I would feel a whole lot better if I didn’t notice the tinge of worry on her face.
“She seems like a good person,” Kenya smiles mildly. “I would never forgive myself if anything happened to her. That’s why it’s best that you stay away from her. The wolves wouldn’t hesitate to use her to lure you in.”
I can’t respond. My burning throat will not allow me speak. I just nod at her understandingly. She leaves and closes the door behind herself. A second later, I feel my hand vibrating. I look down at my phone and see my mom’s picture under the words, ‘incoming call’. I take some time to recover. I press my tears back into my eyes with my fingers as I prepare the phone next to my ear and press the accept icon.
“Hey mom…” the words comes out weakly, therefore I pause to clear my throat. “…what’s up?” I’m trying to sound as normal as possible.
“Hey, I heard you’re hanging out at a friend’s house.”
“Yes, I’m at Maria’s.”
“That’s strange, you never told me about her.”
She says suspiciously.
“I brought her up before, you probably forgot about it.”
A pause lingers between us two. I know she feels something strange is going on.
“Well, it’s good to hear that you made friends. It’ll help you get your mind off of things. Hey, there’s no school on Monday, right?”
“Right,” I reply.
“Your Uncle wants to hangout. We should all go out together sometime next week.”
“Okay, sounds great.”
“I won’t hold you up sweetie. Have fun with your friends. And tell Kenya to call me in the morning. And stay safe.”
“I’ll talk to you later.”
“Okay, I love you mom.”
“I love you too.”
The connection dies, yet the phone remains at my ear. I lower the phone and break back into distress mode. I blow out slowly and bury my face into my hands. For about two hours, I stay in this exact position, bathing in total silence. My brain is going crazy with thoughts.
So many questions have finally been answered, yet all I want now is to forget the truth. I also thought about my mom and her safety, constantly. I can't help but feel worried about her, especially with these memories of Hellhound’s incredible strength and speed. She wouldn't stand a chance against him. That thought alone frightens me more than Hellhound himself.
I can see her in my head, over and over like a DVD player on repeat, calling for help but no one is there to aid her. I fight hard to rebel against these kinds of thoughts. She's fine, she's fine, I keep telling myself repeatedly. I sigh for the thousandth time. Controlling my breathing helps me keep those bad thoughts at bay.
Shade blankets my window, yet I don’t feel a bit tired. I never moved from this position. I’m now sitting in the dark looking down at the obscure carpet below my feet, still thinking about a million things at one time. Suddenly, I hear gentle knocks at the door.
Watch out for the next episode... New episode reads on Thursday