Rose & Ghun in Simply Murder-Episode Six: Say What?
The house was a long rambling one story structure set up on stilts. Like I said we had passed through almost swampy marsh type land before, well we were even deeper now. Moss hung from the trees surrounding the house in a veil that hid it from day and night.
It had been a long time since I had been here, been welcomed here. “You sure they know I’m coming?” I asked.
“What do you think?” Monika asked as she nodded to the railing above. We stood and stared up at the line of people. It wasn’t the happiest gathering I had ever seen. I recognized a lot of faces…with the same unhappy looks I had last seen years ago.
“I’m not dead, so I guess that’s a yes.”
Monika moved first and headed toward the wide stairs leading up to the house. I followed close behind. I didn’t want any space between us in case a family member got jumpy. They would have to hit her if they went after me.
“Walking might close to her, boy,” said a deep voice. I looked around but the voice could have come from anyone.
Most of the people seemed to be glancing toward an older man, a big man. I would say ugly man but I don’t want to be mean. Okay, he was ugly too. But I don’t mean that in a bad way. “She’s been my protector the past 12 hours or so and been doing a good job. I see no reason to interfere with her record,” I said. I voiced it to the crowd as I looked at everyone.
I had guessed right. The big man slowly nodded. “Smarter than you look then,” he rumbled. “Looks like she didn’t do too good a job with that face.” I touched my left eye and lip. “No, I mean the other side.”
My mouth dropped a little and the crowd laughed. I smiled with relief. But I wasn’t going to let my guard down yet. Monika had stayed close to me and she wasn’t relaxed at all. “No sir, she was a bit late for that one.”
“Trevor, are you going to give me a hug or stand there like an idiot?” I looked in the direction of the question. There was Lori looking as young as ever. I climbed the step two at a time and she met me near the top. The hug was sincere and long. The feel was familiar and wanting. And the fingers pressed with more than a welcome.
“Get off of her!” The voice was closer than I would have thought. I was thrown back against the rail and toppled over. I twisted in the air and landed lightly on my feet as my knees bent slightly to adjust for the impact.
“Martin, no!” The shout from Lori was a bit too late as a figure flew down toward me. He didn’t make it.
A much smaller figure blurred across and slammed into the man, knocking him clear of me. Monika landed and crouched down between the two of us. “I’m his protector. Didn’t you hear the man?”
Martin stood up. He was the biggest man I had ever seen, while I was standing up and not bleeding. “He’s not welcomed here. Then he touches my sister.”
“She sent me for him,” said Monika.
“And I told him to touch me,” said Lori. “And I touched him back.” She landed beside Monika.
Martin stared through clenched eyes toward me. “You letting women fight for you?”
“Dang right,” I said. “I would rather women fight for me than men.”
There was silence for several moments. I heard mosquitoes, frogs, and maybe an alligator. Then I heard salvation. A slightly muffled giggle came from above. Then others joined in. Martin’s face began to twitch. Then his lips spread into a toothy smile that gleamed in the shadows of the mossy trees. He nodded his head. “Okay, I agree,” he said as he moved forward.
I relaxed slightly as he passed by me. “But no touching my sister,” he said and jabbed me with a finger.
“I don’t go where not invited. I’ll just say that,” I said.
He glared at me and then slowly began walking up the stairs. I looked at Monika and Lori. Monika was watching Martin and Lori was watching me. “Same sense of humor and bravado,” she said. “But you’ve picked up some moves.”
“Move or die,” I said.
“He would have lost,” she said.
“If I lasted long enough.”
“You would have. You’ve always been a fighter, in will if not in ways,” she said.
“Big enough hit and my will would have no say.”
She looked at me and concern spread through her eyes. “You’ve survived all these years, barely. If he even grazed your skin he would have burned.”
“You don’t,” I said.
She smiled. “We shared a moment before it all changed.”
I looked at her and the feelings swirled and the turmoil began again that I had fought for so many years. “Why did you send her to me?” I asked and looked away.
She could tell the pain I was in. I could hear it in her voice as she spoke. “A war has started. Our clan against another. Not of our doing but we have to fight. We need you to help stop it.”
“You saying help you I’m your only hope?” I asked as I channeled one of my favorite movies.
She slowly nodded. “Yes, that’s what I’m saying.”
I looked away and Monika caught my eye. There was a touch of pleading there. I sat down on the steps of the house and hung my head in my hands. “What demons do I have to fight?” I asked.
“It’s not which ones you have to worry about,” said Lori.
I looked up.
“It’s how many,” said Monika.
God, what are you doing up there?