(© E. Meeske)
mother called out of work - or would have if the voicemail hadn‘t already been
full. She made Wednesday do as well. The two of them sat together in their
living room, television on, door locked. The front windows’ detachable
shutters were somehow affixed after years of neglect and the back windows, made
safe by the yard’s fence, were discreetly creaked open. The television spilled
out confusion on all channels, the bizarre news deftly annexing the cable
networks. It was all civilian - the government hadn’t - or couldn’t - take
desperation Wednesday’s mother called her brother. He advised her that as a
good Baptist he was convinced that it was the End-Times, and that she and
Wednesday were welcome to come with him. He also advised certain streets had
been blocked off and that the National Guard had been called up, albeit with
sporadic success. It was hard to amass and concentrate units effectively when
the disaster was so ubiquitous and so simultaneously random. She agreed to
meet him the next day at the larger house occupied by he, his wife and their
brood. Then she hanged up the phone and looked at Wednesday a long time.
we’re going to Uncle Pete’s?" Wednesday finally asked.
Pumpkin," she responded. "We’re going there tomorrow."
things going to be like this from now on?" Wednesday’s voice was rising to a
don’t know, baby. Nobody knows the answer to that. You go rest."
vision twitched around her. Something seemed to cloud over it. "What about my
medicine?" She asked. "I can’t sleep without my medicine. Isn’t it just going
to get worse?" Her voice finished rising.
pretty goddamned bad right now!"
you mean we’re not going to take care of it now, before it’s too late to do
mother looked down, her brows knotted. "All right, Wednesday! Give me your
bring me your prescription bottle. And you wait here." Wednesday’s mother
pushed herself up with a groan of pain and went down into the garage. And
an hour Wednesday called her cell phone - repeatedly. The calls disappeared into
voicemail again and again. The she called her uncle. Something had happened
in the last hour. His cellphone simply rang busy. The sky through the back
windows had grown darker.
finally called her boyfriend. He was with his parents, upper middle class
people in the northwest section of the city. She berated him to come down and
get her. He started making excuses. She lashed into him, advising that she
was alone and he had to come. His parents didn’t like her, and he was afraid
to travel through the city, but she convinced him, as she always could.
showed up a few hours later, with a case of beer and a scared look. By this
time the things were walking around in the street. Her boyfriend had to
run from the car his parents had bought him to the door.
Cat was an inside-outside cat in the same subdivision. He would play and hunt
in the day, cornering squirrels and trying to ferret out moles. Sometimes he
found a funny splash of sunlight that he would chase on the fence of its own
person’s yard. At night the Man would drive home in his car from wherever he
disappeared to six out of seven days. He would hug the cat and talk to it, and
put down dry food. The Cat would rub up against his Man, feeling the warmth
and affection he had felt for his mother so long ago. He would even bring his
Man presents from his hunts, squirrel tails and bird wings, to show his love
and to show his Man that he was a good hunter. Then one day the Man did not
come home. The Cat was confused and disquieted. He dozed uneasily beneath the
porch of his house, waiting.
the Man did come home, the Cat almost ran towards him, to swat him and then run
away to incite him into a game of tag. The Cat did no such thing. He stopped
in his tracks, his nose flaring, his hair involuntarily puffing out as it did
with neighborhood dogs.
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