Sunday, 6 May 2012
Turning to page five, I felt my breath catch as I looked down at a picture of my grandfather. The headline above his picture reading;
ARMY VETERAN DIES IN HOUSE FIRE.
“It says the fire was caused by a gas leak.” I read aloud. Dropping the open papers in my lap, I closed my eyes. Images of the creature I saw, his purple eyes flashed behind my eyelids.
But it wasn't real………….it was just all in my head. Gramps wasn’t killed by some crazy ass nightmare come to life, it was an accident.
Looking down at the papers again, I re-read the article. After my third time I looked up at Lucas, his eyes searching my face, for what I’m not sure.
“Are you alright?” Lucas asked with genuine concern.
I didn’t know how to answer that question, couldn’t even understand it.
Was I alright?
I thought. No. I wasn’t even close to knowing what alright was. I knew my grandfather was dead, even before reading the newspaper. As much as I tried to deny it, I knew. I felt it, felt it like he was being ripped away from me. Whether those feelings were real or not, he was still dead. My grandfather was all I had and now, I have no one.
My grandfather used to talk to me about this day, if something were to happen to him, he wanted me to be prepared. So we’d talk about it, about what I’d do and in all those conversations I would sit and nod politely because they were just that, conversations, about something that wouldn’t happen now or anytime soon.
Sitting there on the bed, I fought with all my will, to bottle up all the emotions stirring inside me. I could feel Lucas’ eyes still on me as I looked away.
“No, I’m not.” I answered “I’m sorry, I have to go.”
Throwing the papers on his lap I left him there, still sitting on the bed. Glad I was too tired and wary to take off my shoes before passing out on the bed last night, I ran from the small bedroom into the main area of the cottage heading for the door, my hand was on the doorknob in seconds, turning it open. As fast as I opened the door it slammed back shut, gripping both hands on the knob, turning and pulling, I looked up and saw the reason why it wouldn’t open.
A strong male hand lay flat on the door a little above my head, pushing it closed. Glancing over my shoulder, Daniel stood there at my back, glowering down at me.
“I have to go, move!” I screamed, still trying to pull the door open.
I heard Lucas’ heavy footsteps as he came into the room. “October, you can’t leave.” He calmly said.
“Yes I can! Now let me go!” I screamed at both of them. “What was I even thinking, coming here?” I said aloud.
Releasing my hand from the door and turning to face them both I said “I really appreciate you both letting me stay the night and pulling me out the fire and everything, but there are things I need to do. I have to go!”
I watched them give each other another one of those looks, like they were having a conversation without words. Closing the distance between us, Lucas came to stand by me and Daniel. Looking down at me, his clear grey eyes holding nothing back as his next words surprised me.
“If you have to go, you have to go. We’re not gonna stop you.” He said.
“Thank you,” I said to them both as I turned back to open the door.
“But were going with you.” I heard Daniel say to my back.
“What? No, you don’t have to-” I began to protest, only to be cut off by, Lucas.
“We’re not gonna let you go, alone. You might need help.” He said.
Not having the energy to fight them on their decision to accompany me, I sighed in defeat “Fine.”
Walking outside in the mid-morning sun, in my borrowed baggy t-shirt and boxers from last night, I headed over to the small stream behind the cottage, trying to stretch out the ache from sleeping on an unfamiliar bed. Roughly tying my bed hair in a ponytail, I washed my face and rinsed my mouth, waiting for the boys as they took their sweet time in the cottage before meeting me outside.
Walking back to the front of the cottage, Daniel and Lucas walked over to me both carrying duffel bags slung over their shoulders, containing who knows what.
“What’s with the big ass bags?” I asked, eyeing them both suspiciously.
“Just stuff, we might need.” Daniel vaguely answered.
Shifting my gaze to Lucas for an answer, proved to be pointless as he just flashed me a sly little smile and sent a wink my way.
“Well if you want to drag those heavy bags through the forest, that’s your business.” I threw over my shoulder at them as I started walking.
“Who said we were walking?” I heard Lucas shout at me.
Turning back to Lucas, still wearing that sly little smile, he pointed his thumb towards the forest trees in a gesture to follow him. I watched as he sprinted off into the tree line, a couple feet north-east from where we were at the cottage. Looking back at Daniel, he calmly made his way in the same direction. Following them both a few lazy paces behind, I gazed up at the thick canopy of trees above, watched as the morning birds fluttered from tree to tree as they sung and felt the beauty of their song as I closed my eyes for a second to listen.
My peaceful moment lasted only a couple more seconds, before being broken by a sound that one wouldn’t often hear, in the middle of the forest. My eyes briskly opened at the sound and I scanned the area nearby for the boys. Neither was to be seen or heard, running in the direction of the noise, I halted to a stop a few feet later, as I took in its source.
Another roar of the engine, confirmed that I wasn’t hearing or seeing things. Daniel walked out from behind the car or jeep as it seemed to be half hidden beneath fallen branches. As Daniel began to pull them off the jeep and throw them aside, I made out Lucas’ profile as he sat in the driver’s seat through the windscreen.
Walking closer to the jeep, I could see that it was one of those 50’s style military jeeps. The kind that was made to drive through heavy terrain, in basic black it looked old and dated but I had to admit it looked pretty cool. Smiling to myself as I walked over to the passenger side, I began helping Daniel take off the few remaining branches on the hood and dusting off the leaves.
“You like?” Lucas asked as he stuck his head out the driver’s window and looked at me over the top of the jeep.
“Yeah ok, your jeeps pretty cool.” I admitted to him.
With a shy little smile, he ducked back into the driver’s seat. Daniel came over to the passenger side door next to me, after throwing off the last branch. Leaning forward, he reached past me to grab hold of the handle and opened the door for me.
Guess chivalry isn’t dead.
Once Daniel was all buckled up in the front seat, Lucas turned to me in his, “So…….. where to?” He asked.