STEVEN JERAL HARRIS
I remove the hoarse from my throat.
The door swings open. I see light pouring in from the hallway and a clutter of silhouettes. I strain my eyes as the light in the bedroom turns on. The five of them walks into my room and close the door.
“Hey,” Maria says to me in a calm voice.
“Hey,” I respond half-heartedly.
A silence sweeps throughout the room for a moment. Jason clears his airways before speaking…
“I just want you to know that we’re here for you.”
“We all are. There’s no need to be afraid,” Eric adds.
“It’s not me I care about. I’m afraid for my mother.”
Eric and Jason eye one another. An odd silence shrouds us again but only momentarily.
“You don’t have to worry about her. She’ll be fine,” Jason assures me.
“Okay,” I reply mildly.
“Is there anything we can do for you?” Maria asks.
The question lingers in my head for a moment.
“I just want to be by myself, for a while.”
“Alright, call us if you need anything,” Maria concludes.
“I will, thanks,” I respond lifelessly.
Suddenly the room becomes dark again. They all exit the room with the door shutting behind them.
Way pass midnight, I finally go to sleep, only to wake up an hour later. For obvious reasons I can’t get a good night’s rest whatsoever. The tension I felt since my encounter with Hellhound never went away.
It’s morning now. Someone knocking at the door disturbs me from my sleep. I sit up in bed and massage my eyes.
“You can come in,” I say in a weak voice.
The door swings open and Kenya walks in smiling at me.
“Hello dear, how did you sleep?”
“I slept okay,” I reply modestly.
“I just wanted to check up on you,” she tells me.
“What time is it?” I ask.
“It’s a little pass noon. You must be hungry.”
“No, I’m fine actually.”
She breaks momentarily.
“I know you’re having a hard time understanding things. We’re having a hard time recovering too, from recent events,” her sad eyes fall down onto the carpet for a moment and then back at me.
I know she was referring to Professor Grant.
"I’m preparing a nice dinner for us later. You are welcomed to join us if you want to..." she bows her head slightly, "...my Queen."
After inviting me to dinner, she leaves and shuts the door behind herself.
I spend hours staring up at the ceiling and sleeping in small increments. Before long, night comes over the house once again. As I stare up at the white ceiling, I catch a scent of food. I’m too sick to my stomach to eat anything. Still, it’ll be rude not to go down.
I somehow gather enough motivation to leave my new room. I walk down the hallway with the perfect blend of food and seasonings at my nose. One shy foot after another, I make my way down the steps. I see all of them at a long table, getting the eating utensils prepped.
Suddenly, they stop what they’re doing to gape at me.
"You finally decide to join us," Kenya says with a welcoming smile, "make yourself at home, come on."
I walk over to the table covered with plates and pots of food.
Jason walks over to me and grabs my hand.
"Sit next to me," he says in his normal smooth way.
He does a great job making me smile, even in the worst of times. He pulls a chair back for me and I sink into the cushion.
"Are you hungry?" Kenya asks.
"No not really. I just want to sit, if you don’t mind."
"I completely understand," she replies.
"But thank you anyway," I add.
"You don’t have to thank me."
Everyone finds a seat and begin to pass around the food. I remain awkwardly stiff with a clean plate in front of me. Soon, I begin to hear the scrapping of folks and chewing. I look around at everyone who is eating and looking back at me.
"So, Iva, can you tell us a little about yourself?"
Kenya asks, breaking the awkward silence.
"What is there to tell?”
She shrugs her shoulders.
"Tell us about your life. Anything you wish to share with us."
"Well, I, um..." I look around the table at everyone’s eyes, "...I was sick my whole life.” I’m starting to feel extremely awkward again, “and, um..."
I take a slight break to think. "...that’s about it. That was my life until recently."
"Okay," Kenya says in a low voice.
I can see her eyes regretting asking me that question.
"So, um, I guess I’m going spend a lot of time over here, right?" I ask her.
"Yes, it’s for your own good."
"What about school?" I ask.
Suddenly I hear an eating utensil clatter against a plate.
"School…?" Daniel asks sternly, well, more sternly. "Trust me the last thing you should be worrying about is school."
"Mane…" Kenya looks left into his eyes with a serious stare.
"Noale sacrificed his life for her and she only cares about school."
"Stop it. She’s been through a traumatic experience. Can you not see she's having a hard time?"
Her serious gaze becomes fierce, even Daniel has no choice but to turn away.
"Sorry about my son Iva. I raised him better."
"I didn't mean it like that..." I try to explain.
"Don't apologize, it’s fine," she interrupts.
"So, I guess that Noale was Professor Grant."
"Yes. Before they killed him he called Mane and told him about you, then the connection was cut off." I can hear the grief in her voice.
Watch out for the next episode... New episode reads on Thursday