In which Katy loses her cool, says things she doesn’t mean, and gets exactly what she asks for.
The Beginning of the End: A Grocery Store Horror Story
I once saw a movie where the main character lost her family to a murderer. She proceeded to cry, not daintily, but the ugliest cry I have ever heard. And I suppose it was my lack of empathy at the time, as this was before I lost my family, but I cringed and laughed. Horrible, right? But I suppose I’m a little hard on myself. After all, ten-year-old kids are little shits, and people laugh at uncomfortable situations. I’m not laughing now.
“Arnold?” I scramble to my knees and shake his body. He can’t be dead. Not the way a human can. “Please, don’t do this.”
“Huh, I wasn’t sure if it would actually work.” Tom shakes his smoke spear and discards the blood of his brother in annoyance. The smoke spear evaporates when Guy delivers what sounds like a hard punch. A sob punctuates the air, but I don’t look behind me. I don’t want Arnold to be gone, but I can’t deny what is right in front of my eyes. I pull his head into my lap, card my fingers through his hair, and trace the lines on his forehead. Familiar grief tightens my chest, and a fog permeates my brain. He doesn’t feel gone; he’s right here. He was supposed to outlive me. He was supposed to carry memories of insignificant little me, not die on stiff library carpet. Why am I still here?
I get the vague sense that the others are still attempting to hold Tom down when Rain takes my hand. I squeeze it like a vice, and she does the same. Ever since my dad and mom passed away, it’s like my life, and everyone in it has been on a countdown. Every moment is the tick of a clock I never bought. What’s the point of doing any of it if we’re all just destined to end?
I finally turn around to see the others in human form. Gasps catching in his throat, Guy’s fists are whaling into Tom’s face while Regina tries to hold his legs down in desperation. I need to put away my grief for now and be there for my family. I give Rain’s hand one final squeeze.
Another blow cracks against Tom’s cheek.
“Help. me.” Tom’s hand reaches out to me; he looks pitiful. The audacity. I open my mouth to reply when another smoke tendril curls out from Tom’s body and quietly snakes it’s way around Regina, just out of the corner of my eye. Tom’s spear forms and sways behind her head like a cobra. It goes for the kill.