As soon as the sheriff, his deputy, and Max leave, Asia goes into the kitchen and begins cooking. This is one of the things she does to help relieve stress. She also always wants to have several different foods
prepared and ready to eat when needed, for it saves time and energy. After using the bathroom, Troy stealthy sneaks up behind his wife and hugs her. She momentarily stops what she’s doing, closes her eyes, and leans her head back against his shoulder. Resting his chin on the top of her head which muffles his speech, he says, “Babe, we have to keep our faith in God, be strong, and prepare ourselves as much as we can to handle all the things we must deal with”. “I know hon”, she replies as she resumes back to washing red and green lettuce, “but it seems that lately things have been happening one right after another”. “I know what you mean. It’s been nonstop, like this creature thing. Do you believe it? Did you hear the whole conversation”? He asks as he opens the fridge, gets the water jug, and pours some water into a glass. “Can you pour me some too, hon?” “Sure”. He hands her his water, then gets another glass and pours more for himself. “I didn’t hear everything but I get the gist of what’s going on from the little I did hear, and I don’t like it”, she says as she turns and faces him.
Looking directly into his wife’s eyes, Troy says, “Babe, I don’t have to tell you that we must ready ourselves, heck you’re the one who started us off with the room and all, but I wanted to let you know that I’m gonna buy a gun from Max”. “I think it’s a good idea, and you know
I’ve always been for it. I’ve been waiting for you to agree and see for yourself that it’s smart to have some sort of protection”, she excitingly responds, with a glad and relieved voice and look. And they both smile and hug as first Beary, then Junior joins them in the kitchen. With big, round, innocent eyes, Beary asks, “mommy, can I have something to eat”? “Yeah, we’re hungry”, Junior pipes in. “I’m cooking now”. “What are you making?” “Well, Bear, right now I’m making salad, and then some pizza”. “Ooo, can I help”? Junior asks. “Go wash your hands and you both can help”, she says as she smiles and laughs, feeling good inside, and also glad they’re home. She savors these contented moments that help to lighten the stress and constant turmoil, and she thanks the Lord for his grace and mercy. For no matter how hard she and her husband try to shelter the boys from disturbing events, they are still affected in many ways. Kissing her forehead, Troy says, “we’ll finish talking later, I’m gonna take a nap ’cause I’m tired”. “Alright, hon”, she barely gets out, before the boys come rushing back to help with the pizza.
When Troy’s head hits the pillow, he’s instantly out and begins snoring right away. He usually dreams about work, church, family outings, friends, getting things done, and other good stuff like that. It’s rare for him to have a nightmare until now. Lately, he’s been having some weird and freakish dreams that can only be described as terrifying. And damn, he’s having one of them now. He’s alone in the middle of the woods and it’s so dark that he can’t even see his hands in front of his face. He doesn’t know how he got here, but he knows he’s getting the hell out! So, he stretches his arms out in front of him and begins blindly walking with his hands reaching out, feeling for, and making sure he doesn’t bump into anything. He begins talking and praying, “Lord, please guide me through this wilderness and help me out of the darkness. Give me the strength I need, to do what you want, for I know there’s a reason why I’m here. Please reveal it to me”. And sure enough, God answers his prayer for no sooner than he gets his last word out, he thinks he hears someone screaming. At first it’s
faint and he thinks it’s the wind whistling through the trees, but as he gets closer to where it’s coming from, he realizes it sounds like Asia. He’s been identifying his wife’s voice for over twenty years, and he can pick her out of hundreds of people in a crowd, so he knows it’s her.
It’s no longer pitch black for the moon is now peeping through the clouds, giving him a sliver of light which allows him to faintly see. There seems to be fog surrounding the area, but he soon realizes that it’s not fog, but smoke, because he begins coughing and choking, and he wonders where’s the fire? His left hand is now covering his mouth and nose as he flairs his right arm and hand in the air. All sorts of forest debris like rocks, branches, twigs, sticks, leaves and other things he doesn’t even want to imagine, crunch under his feet and nip at his ankles, as he walks. He hears more voices as he gets closer to the screaming and this makes him break into a trot. All of a sudden, he comes to a clearing and encounters hundreds of people running towards him. A teenager bumps into him and Troy grabs the boy and shouts, “what’s going on!?” “The boy shouts back, “the beast is here!”, he yanks himself free of Troy’s hold and resumes running towards the woods. Troy can’t imagine why everyone’s running to the woods. Don’t they know that’s where the beast is from? Assuming the boy’s talking about the creature. He continues traveling in the opposite direction of everyone else and searches for his wife. He spots her in the middle of the meadow as people run past her and wonders why she’s not running too if the beast is coming. She’s screaming at the top of her lungs, but no one is stopping to find out why she’s screaming nor to help. Troy can vaguely see two figures kneeling in front of her, and as he nears them, he realizes it’s his sons.
Trying to figure out what’s going on, Troy looks up from his family and sees the beast approaching. Fire is shooting from its mouth thus revealing where the smoke’s coming from. He reaches them first and finds that Asia’s leg is stuck in a hole, and Junior and Beary are trying to free her. Pushing the hollering and crying boys aside, he frantically digs around Asia’s leg as she continues to scream. He shouts to the boys,
“pull your mom up as I dig!” Each takes one of their mother’s arms and pulls her with all their might. Troy frees her just in the nick of time for the beast is upon them. Grabbing his wife with one arm, and both his sons with the other, he vigorously pulls them up, and flees across the clearing away from the beast and the running people. He manages to get them to a secluded area where they hide until everyone and the beast pass by, then he whisks them away in the opposite direction. He doesn’t stop until he’s certain they’re clear of the danger, and that’s when he notices blood gushing from Asia’s leg. He thinks she isn’t aware of it either, until now for she collapses on the ground moaning from the pain of her wound. He rips off his shirt, and tightly ties it around her leg trying to stop the bleeding, when from the corner of his eye, he sees the beast coming back towards them.
When Asia goes to wake Troy up, she finds him twisting and turning in bed with sweat pouring down his face. “Troy”, she says shaking him, “wake up, honey, wake up!” He abruptly sits up, “wow, I think I had your dream!” “I think so too because it seems like you were in distress before I woke you up”, she replies with a concerned look on her face. “You’re also sweating”, she continues, wiping his brow. “The food is ready, do you want to eat now or later?” “I’m hungry”, he responds, “so I’ll eat now”. “Okay, I’m glad I woke you up when I did”. “Yeah, I’m glad you did too”, he says, as he swings his long, dark, brown muscular legs over the bed. He sits there for a moment before asking, “what do you think’s gonna happen, Babe?” “I don’t know, hon, and I’m scared”. “Yeah, the dreams are frightening enough, so I’m afraid thinking about real life because the two are beginning to mesh”. He doesn’t look at her while speaking, his eyes are fixated on the pattern in their beige and brown rug. “Well, let’s not dwell on it right now, instead let’s enjoy all the serene times whenever we can. And right now is another peacefully, serene time”, she says as she bends over and kisses him long and hard on the lips. He pulls her down on top of him as he flops on the bed and she falls awkwardly over him which makes them laugh hysterically. They then roll over and over each other continuing
to giggle. “Be careful because you might get something started”, he replies and winks at her. They kiss again and she whispers in his ear, “I wish we can, but I don’t think it’s plausible right now, definitely later when the boys are asleep. They’re waiting for us in the kitchen”. They both reluctantly release each other, get up from the bed, and head to the kitchen.
On their way down the hall, the doorbell rings, and as always, Troy answers it with Asia behind him. It’s Karla and she wants to give her condolences. She bumped into Max who told her about Asia’s parents and she’s so sorry she hasn’t spoken to them sooner. She’s been so frightened to leave her house lately, especially since the sighting of the Big Foot looking creature not too far from them. With a high- pitched voice she goes on incessantly, nonstop, talking about how scared she is, and how hard she’s had it since the curfew began, and now the hurricane, and that she doesn’t know what to do anymore. She says all of this standing outside the front door, before even getting invited in. Troy says, “Karla, please excuse me for not inviting you in, there’s been a lot going on”. And he gets that déjà vu feeling again because he thinks, I went through the exact same thing earlier today. His feeling doesn’t go unnoticed because being the keen wife that she is, Asia picks up on it right away. She, herself, has been experiencing déjà vu so often now that it has become a new norm. It’s starting to become a part of who they are and what they do, so Troy’s ascertainment doesn’t come as a surprise to her. It’s like she’s starting to expect the trials and tribulations that are occurring for it seems like destiny.
“The end days and times are upon us, for these horrific events have been prophesized. The Bible has warned us that this is what’s to come, and we should prepare ourselves for it”. This is what Troy is saying to Karla, but she doesn’t really seem to understand. She hears what he’s saying, and sees the signs, but it doesn’t register well with her because she’s all twisted up and confused. He’s telling her that, “we must spiritually, physically, and mentally prepare for future events that are foretold to get worse as time progresses”. She’s listening, but
not really hearing, and this is beginning to frustrate both he and Asia because it’s an ongoing thing. As the saying goes, which seems to be so true with Karla, everything goes in one ear and comes out the other. But because they’re God fearing Christians which allows them to be caring neighbors, they continue to be patient and help Karla and her son cope with their worries and fears. Seeing that Jamar’s not with her, Asia asks, “where’s Jamar, Karla”? “Oh, he’s home playing video games. He’s glad the power came back on because that’s what he’s been doing ever since”. “Well, I was going to ask if you two want to eat with us?” Asia says as she and Troy walk to the kitchen with Karla following. Troy washes his hands, turns on the oven and heats up the pizza.
“If you guys don’t mind, I’d like to take some home”, Karla says in a matter of fact tone. And Asia realizes this is the real reason why her neighbor came over today. Yeah, well at least she gave her condolences, even if it’s a cover up, she thinks. Karla’s rambling snaps Asia out of her thoughts, “do you guys have some extra food? I know you guys always put stuff up. I haven’t been able to get out…..you know how that can get…..”. Asia’s response is instantaneous, “sure, Karla, we have some stuff we can give you”, and she gets a bag, and puts some cooked food as well as other stuff in it. Troy just quietly watches standing in front of the oven with his arms folded on his chest and his legs crossed. He doesn’t have to say a word because the look on his face says it all. Asia wonders if Karla picks up on Troy’s expression. It doesn’t seem like it because she continues with her expectancy attitude without a care in the world. When just a little while ago, she was dying from fright. Asia covers her face with her hand and turns away from Karla just in time to stifle a giggle that Troy provokes. The timer on the oven goes off which makes both women jump, and they laugh, while Troy continues to be amused. Even though he doesn’t want to, he thinks, what’s going to happen to Karla and her son when the time comes. Taking the bag that Asia packed for her, Karla kisses and hugs both she and Troy and goes back home.
Time is going by fast Troy thinks as he takes his pizza out the oven,
puts it on a plate, sits at the table, and blesses it before taking a bite. He looks at the clock and sees it’s already four ten and he still wants to go to Max’s today. His nap and Karla’s visit took up a major chunk of time, and he’s never liked wasting time, especially since the curfew. So, he eats quickly, gets a jacket and tells Asia he’s heading over to Max’s. When he gets in the car, he realizes he needs gas so he heads to the gas station before going to Max’s. He doesn’t expect to come across state troopers and a road block only several roads down from his home, but low and behold there is one. Approaching the trooper’s car, he slows, and coming to a complete stop, rolls down his window, and inquires of a trooper, “sir, can you tell me what’s going on”? “We’ve had a sighting of the creature and we’re warning people to be careful”. “Um, I need to get gas before the curfew, is it possible for me to get by”? “Sure, sure, but like I said, just be careful and if you spot the creature please notify the authorities”. “I will assist you guys in any way I can, sir”, Troy says as he slowly drives by and continues on his way.
At least the gas lines up here aren’t too bad and he only has to wait fifteen minutes before getting to a pump. He fills up the jeep’s tank first, then three red gas canisters he takes from its back storage. There’s a gas cap that limits individuals to no more than three canisters of gas filled at one time, and station employees are strategically placed ready to enforce the law. It seems like now there’s people everywhere enforcing mindboggling, never before imagined rules and regulations which are driving people crazy. As if on cue, one such crazy event is playing itself out in front of him. And to his dismay, it’s Max who’s having trouble. Troy drives his jeep to the side of the gas station’s building and parks it out of the way. He jumps out and races towards the dispute occurring between Max and two other guys. He steps in front of several bystanders and interrupts a heated discussion involving Max and a short and wide, scruffy looking man with beady eyes. The guy is so mad that his neck, face, and the tip of his ears are a pinkish- red, and spit is flying from his mouth every time he opens it up. Troy
sees that Max is even madder, and steps in between the two arguing men just in time to block a punch that Max throws at the guy.
Troy grabs Max’s arm and stops him from hitting the guy’s jaw. Then all hell breaks loose, and everything seems to happen all at once. The guy’s friend thinks Troy is getting involved and before he finds out what Troy’s intentions are, he throws his own punch that lands on Troy’s side for Troy twists when he sees the punch coming towards him. A clerk had called 911 and reported a disturbance at the gas station, and the troopers are pulling up just as Troy side swaps the man’s hand, knocking it off his side. And that’s what the troopers see. They see a black man pushing a white man’s hand to the side and assume that Troy is the aggressor, so when they approach, they go straight for him. They knock him to the ground, flip him onto his stomach, and handcuff him. The officers are able to do this with no problem because Troy doesn’t resist. He doesn’t want to be a part of the statistics of another black male killed by law enforcement. However, this doesn’t help his situation for when the dust settles and he tries to explain what happened, they don’t listen to him. The white troopers first allow the two instigators to speak, then Max, and lastly, Troy. And no matter how much Troy and Max try to explain that what happened was not their fault, it falls on deaf ears. Max is also handcuffed and both he and Troy are put in the patty wagon, arrested, and then taken to the police barracks.
One of the church members who knows the King family is at the gas station and witnesses the unjust event. She is aghast and rushes to inform Asia about what happened to her husband. Asia is first horrified, then outraged, and finally afraid. It’s nearing seven o’clock and she doesn’t know what to do. She’s not sure if she should go to the police station, if she should take the children with her, or leave them with someone. She finally decides to take her chances, gathers the kids, and heads to the station. Once there, she explains who she is and that they have her husband in custody. “Well”, one of the troopers vehemently says, “your husband is being charged with
disorderly conduct”. Looking with intent disbelief, Asia asks, “so what’s going to happen to him?” “He’s been booked and will remain here over night. He’ll be taken to court in the morning, allowed to plead his case in front of the judge, then probably fined and released under his own cognizance, if he doesn’t have any priors”. “I assure you sir that my husband doesn’t have any priors, because this is the first time he’s ever been arrested!” She continues, now with an indignant tone. “Well, ma’am, you’d just be getting back home for it’s almost curfew time. Asia looks up at a large brass clock on the wall and sees that it’s eight forty- two. She shoots back, “well, sir, I don’t think I’m gonna make it home before curfew, so can you please provide me with an escort, or else my children and I will have to camp out here in the station”. A deputy walking by, over hears her request, and offers to escort her home for he’s going out on curfew duty anyway. And with that, she and the kids go back home without their dad for the very first time in their lives.