Untitled - Part 2

Read Part One

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Snoot made it to the house before any of them, and was sniffing his way through the think dust on the buildings porch. As the three of them caught up he gave a woof as if to say, “What took you so long?”

“We’ll have none of that now,” Rod said. “Showing off just because you got here first. I could have too, if I had three legs like you do.”

Snoot just panted and wagged his stump.

The house was small. A bathroom, a kitchen and living room together in one spot. The sofa was the kind that pulled out into a bed. It was in sofa form and covered with almost as much dust as the front porch, but Desmond didn’t mind. He curled himself into a corner and was soon asleep.

Bunny wanted to join him, but things had to be done first. She turned to the kitchen part of the room.

There was a small window over the sink, covered in limp grey curtains. She pulled them open but the dirty glass on the window didn’t let in much light. She ran a finger across the counter and it came up black.

“Housekeeping leaves a lot to be desired.”

She turned the tap on in the sink, not expecting water to come out and not being disappointed.

“Rod,” she said, “Go see if they have a hand pump outside.”

He gave her a jaunty two finger salute and went out, Snoot at his heels.

A drawer under the sink produced some rags, cleaning supplies underneath. There were two cabinets overhead, one full of dishes.

Rod came back in, a grin on his face and something behind his back.

“Good news is not only was there a hand pump, but there was a jug full to prime it with.”

“Good stuff,” Bunny replied. “This kitchen could use a lot of water based TLC.”

“Found this too,” he showed her hand hands, each one holding two small tomatoes.” There’s a garden out there. Tomatoes, okra, some squash. Everything weedy and small, but its fresh. How’d you come out? Is the cubbard bare?”

“Not quite. We’ve got canned peas, a few other canned goods. A bag of corn meal. Also found ab ag of honest to god coffee right here. Best of all, we have a wood stove.”

“What’s in the fridge?”

“I wasn’t brave enough to look. Things you keep in the refrigerator tend to smell when they go bad.”

“So, you want to cook or clean first?”

“I want to sleep.”

“I know that feeling, Bunny. I know it to my bones. Is there a bedroom here or do we have to get Desmond up long enough to pull that one out?”

“Maybe its behind door number two. I haven’t opened that one yet.”

“Bedroom or closet, I’m gonna curl up in it and sleep.”

It was a bedroom, as dark and dust covered as everything else, and full of mirrors.

“Funny,” Bunny said. “All these mirrors and not a single photo of themselves. That must mean something.”

“Something,” Rod agreed, then they both slept.

She dreamed, and heard Rod cry out once so she knew he dreamed too. Once she thought she was awake. She was sure she could hear Desmond talking to her, but wasn’t able to answer him.

She finally opened her eyes to a dimly lit room and Rod standing over her with a steaming cup.

“Well now. You had the three of us awful worried. Even Snoot thought you were gone for good this time.”

She sat up and rubbed her face, cringing at the feel of the dust on it. These sheets would have to be washed before night. Hopefully the heat from the wood stove would dry them while she cooked supper.

“Worried? I’ve only been asleep for a few hours. The sun’s still up.”

“Not still up. Up again. You’ve slept all through one day, one night, and half of another day.”

“No. No! You don’t think? I can’t be, right? The pills! I’ve been taking them.”

“Relax. You were just tired. Desmond slept nearly as long. Here...”

He handed her the cup he was holding.

“Coffee. Desmond found a jar of pasta sauce out there, and some noodles. He’s made some spaghetti, and I’ve made some fried bread. There’s still a tomato too if you want something fresh.”

“I want to pee.”

“I put an old bucket in the bathroom, and there’s plenty of bushes out back.”

She looked toward the ceiling.

“Have there been any fly overs?”

“Not today. Not yesterday. Not here.”

“I’ll go outside then. Can you get Desmond to heat me some water on that stove? I would kill for a warm wash.”

“We’re ahead of you. The tub is full already. Lukewarm cause you slept so long, but we can re-heat it if you want.”

“No, warms okay. I don’t have to boil.”

As she squatted outside to relieve herself she couldn’t take her eyes off the sky. Snoot stalked a lizard in the garden.

Inside again, she sank with relish into the tub of lukewarm water. There was only a curtain to separate it from the kitchen, but that was okay. Rod and Desmond’s soft conversation didn’t bother her.

Down past her shoulders, her ears, only her nose above water. Some of it slipped past her lips. It tasted warm and metallic. Organic and alive.”

She recalled a time when she would be in a similar position, burring her head under water. During those times it was her husband on the other side of the door. She would rock gently in the water so that it lapped. The lapping would drown out her husband as he ranted and raved.

A peaceful, perfect world.

Except sooner or later she would have to come up for air.

No matter how bad things became she was never able to bring herself to breath in a lung-full of water and be done with it all.

When she surfaced now, some of the water on her face were her tears, and Desmond stood over her.

“Desmond,” she said, “It’s not polite to walk in on a lady in the tub.”

“I was afraid.”

“Rod’s out there, isn’t he?”

“Yes. I’m not afraid now. When you were asleep you were dreaming and I was afraid.”

“Would you believe that once there were billions of people in this world, and that every night they dreamed? Would you believe that dreams were nothing to be afraid of?”

Desmond shook his head.

“Well, its true. Now get out of here and let a lady bathe in peace.

1 comments:

KentuckyGal said...

I gotta go read part 1! BTW, I followed you from the Commit to Comment group on Blog 365!