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Friday, March 25, 2011

Guest Post: Firestorm Chapter 11, by Christopher Young

All is not well

"And you should have seen how dirty Sean's clothes were!" Melissa was telling Heather. Dinner had ended, and Heather helped carry the dishes back to the kitchen, so they could be scraped, and put in the dish washer. Melissa was giving a good report, about all the things that happened while Heather was out on the medical rescue mission. Aparently, Sean lieks to play in the dirt, which is common for boys of that age.

There wasn't much to scrape off the plates. Years of practice, the kids knew to take small portions, and come back for seconds. There was plenty of food, but no waste. And, at Sam's, there was little waste, either. Except perhaps Gomer's plate, Gomer had been eating a lot less food, now that his physical activity level had fallen way off. Spending all his time in the recliner chair, listening to the radio. Chris had been hauling fire wood, and had been doing other home repairs at Sam's house. Sam had been hobbling around. It was only a couple days since he broke his leg, but he was trying ot get back into action.

As they were finishing dinner. Sammy went out the back door, carrying a couple of granola bars in his hand. Sam didn't know what that was about. But, there was plenty of supplies, so he didn't say anything about it.

At Bill's retreat, Martha had listened to the Madison and jade for about half an hour. As they talked, the three of them went to the dining room, and Martha sat down, and shared the last of the chicken with them. And a glass of Kool Aid to wash it down. She listened, and listened. Finally, Martha suggested that the kids come to live with them for a couple days, while we see about getting the house cleaned up. And find some adults to help take care. Both kids were thrilled with that idea. Martha made the best home made cookies. And they were scared the bad men would come back.

Martha sent the kids to their bedroom, to pack some clothes for the over night. And now, to find the house keys so they could lock up the doors. Martha looked in all the usual places for house keys. Kitchen counter, and hook by the door. Finally Jade came out with a huge suitcase, dragging the heavy weight behind him. Martha asked about the house keys, Jade knew just where they were, in the drawer in the buffet, in the dining room. Why the heavy bag? Well, Jade wanted to be sure he had enough clothes. Martha asked for a look. It seemed that he had packed every stitch of clothing he owned. Madison came from the bedroom with one light bag. She had packed two changes of clothes, one pair of shoes, and a light weight jacket.

They loaded the laundry in the back of Martha's car, and then the kids started to argue abut who got to sit in the front set. Martha, being a diplomat, suggested they both sit in the front. The seat was wide enough to fit both kids. And the safety belt fit nicely over the top of them. Not many people out with cars, but still, it's good to be safe.

The roads were uneventful. No cars. Martha turned into her own driveway. As they drove down the long, winding driveway, they noticed the smell of smoke in the air. They got around the last turn in the driveway, and found Martha's husband, Peter, using the garden hose to wet down a pile of charred wood. That's strange, she thought. we weren't scheduled to have a bonfire today. And Peter had a revolver on his hip. Even more strange, Peter doesn't like guns. And then, as she thogught about it, that's just about where the old shed was, the one they weren't using.

She drove up, and rolled the window down. Asked Peter what was going on. He didn't speak, as was his custom. But, he did point once to the pile of embers. And then he pointed to the house, and then pointed off into the back of the house. Peter went back to wetting down the smoking pile of wood.

Martha and the kids went to the back of the house, and found the back of the house had a lot of black char on it. Aparently, someone had tried to burn down the house. Farther back from the house, was a car they didn't recognize. Laying next to the car, there were two men in black robes, and turbans. This didn't look good.

The kids started quietly crying. Theh had enough death in their lives for the last couple days. they didn't want to think that maybe those two men were dead.

Martha took the kids by the hand, and led them around the front of the house. She walked up to Peter, and asked what happened. "Couple of them. Fire. had to bring their car around." Was about all she could get out of Peter. Well, guess they had to let their imagination fill in the details. Still, it didn't loook good. At least the house was still standing.

Peter wasn't the only guy who was talking a lot less than usual. Sam motioned to Chris, and wanted to talk for a moment. Sam got his crutches, and they went out to the back yard. There were a couple outdoor chairs, and Sam lowered himself into one, though not all that gracefullly. Chris sat down in the other one, had to twist around a bit, to get his holstered revolver to fit in to the chair. Sam asked what's with Gomer. He's not the cheeful kind of guy that you were teling me. Chris wasn't sure, but resolved dthat he'd have to ask some time, and see if he could find out. Might have had something to do with burning up the truck, that's about the time Gomer started to seem "off".

Well, maybe time for some emergency psychiatric first aid. In the house.

First aid was about all that Heather could do for Faith. But, that's OK. Since Faith was starting to get better on her own. it had been about 36 hours since the wreck, and she was starting to come out of it, a little bit. At least she was responding, a little bit. Who knows, maybe another day or two, and she'd be fine.

Sammy came back from his afternoon walk, looking healthy, and cheerful. Sam wondered what was with that, but didn't say much. Brenda had also been out, checking with the neighbors. She came back, but looking a bit worried. Sam asked what was going on, in the neighborhood. Brenda was more than happy to talk about it.

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