Early the next morning when Chasity opens her eyes and realizes she’s in the Poconos for real, and not just in her dreams, makes her smile and get up with a renewed purpose. She hasn’t felt this happy
and refreshed in a long time, and this prompts her to say a thankful prayer. She uses the small bathroom in the basement, finds her sweat shirt and pants, quickly gets dressed, and heads upstairs leaving her family sleeping. The usual pain in her leg is not there, or at least it’s not bothering her. She hopes she’s the first one up because she wants to begin making breakfast before anyone else awakens. And it seems like she is for she doesn’t hear any other movement in the house, except for her own, and relishing on how quiet it is, she goes into the kitchen, and begins cooking bacon and eggs. She looks for a pot to brew coffee, but cannot find one, and then remembers that Asia said they drink a lot of tea. Before she can search for tea bags, she hears someone behind her. Turning around, she sees Asia, “good morning, girlfriend”, she says. “Good morning, Chas, thanks for starting breakfast”. They hug each other and smile. “No problem, girl, I hope you don’t mind me cooking for everyone”. And with wide eyes, Asia says, “heck no, I’m glad you don’t mind!” “Nah, I don’t want us to be a burden to y’all, I want to help, and do all I can to make both our lives easier, girl, I want to show my gratitude, just not say it”. Asia smiles and hugs her friend again, goes to the cabinets, gets some tea bags and begins boiling them in a large pot of water.
At first, the two women work quietly, then all of a sudden, Chasity starts talking fast and nonstop, “Asia, I’m so sorry, girl, me and Harry, don’t have any money, we’re broke. He lost his job in the city, but as soon as he’s better, he’s gonna get a job up here. I’m gonna help with the kids and house. I can do all the cooking and cleaning for everyone”. Chasity stops to catch her breath, which gives Asia a chance to speak, “Chas, I already know. You don’t have to worry about that right now. Troy and I spoke about it, and it’s okay”. Chasity stands there looking at her friend and sees such a sincerity that the word grateful is not strong enough to describe how she feels. The only thing that comes close to explaining the unbridled hospitality and acceptance given to she and her family is it must be the favor of the Lord. Yes, Chasity thinks that’s exactly what it is. Asia breaks her thoughts, “Chas, I believe the Lord has brought us together again for a reason, and that it’s a good reason, and I believe that you agree with me”. “Girl, you know I agree with you, and I also believe that y’all are saving us!” Using one of her psychology terms, that at first baffles Chasity, Asia replies, “it’s a symbiotic, mutualistic relationship”. Chasity once again just looks at her friend and Asia laughs, “it means we both want this and know we can all benefit from it”. Caitlin walks into the kitchen interrupting their conversation, “good morning Ms. Asia, good morning mommy”, she says. Asia responds back first, “good morning, sweetie”, then Chasity, “morning Cait”. “Can I help?” “Sure”, and all three females finish making breakfast as the males get up, and enter the kitchen one by one, starting with Troy and ending with Harry.
It’s a bright, sunshiny, and beautifully, crisp Autumn day which inspires everyone to go outside into the backyard after eating. The children are told to get jackets to put on, then follow behind the adults. They all exit through the glass French doors that lead onto the deck and sunroom, then into the backyard. Beary begins chasing Caitlin around, and she runs from him, squealing with delight, while Junior and Jacob playfully wrestle on the perfectly groomed, green grass. Harry sits on a lawn chair while Troy cuts up broken tree branches with his
chain saw, and Chasity and Asia sit in the gazebo and chat. Chasity is reminded of the wonderful dream she had about this scene as she breathes in the fresh mountain air and has a marvelous, déjà vu feeling. She can’t believe that it’s just as she imagined, not too long ago, and here it is happening in real life. Things seem to be perfect, until Max comes strolling into the yard, which changes the mood from tranquil to serious, when he starts speaking. He first greets everyone with his deep booming voice, then picks up an ax Troy has on the ground next to him, and begins helping to clear up fallen wooden debris. He starts with, “have you guys heard of the latest about the creature?” “No, Max, what’s going on?”, Troy asks.
That’s when Asia sees Karla and Jamar walking towards the backyard and she wonders, what took them so long. She introduces them to Chasity and her family, and they all cordially say hello. Max greets Karla, and her son, and then continues talking like what he has to say must dominate the conversation, which it does. Asia watches Karla look Chasity up and down as Max gives the latest information on the beast. Karla is wearing such a curious expression on her face that it just doesn’t amuse Asia, but Chasity as well. The look piques Chasity’s curiosity so much that she wonders if she’s coming in between Asia and Karla. Her antenna goes up alerting her of the negative vibe that Karla’s putting out, and thinks, oh no, she doesn’t want any trouble, and she doesn’t want to come in between Asia and her neighbor. So, she makes a mental note, to make it her business, to make Karla feel comfortable, and not threatened by her. She starts by commenting on how handsome and well behaved Jamar is, which forces Karla to say thank you. Chasity then backs away from Asia, allowing Karla to have her friend to herself and speak to her privately. Asia notices what’s happening and going along with it, she takes Karla inside the house, alone. There, Karla asks her about the funeral and Asia tells her all the sordid details. “I’m sorry I couldn’t come”, says Karla. “It’s quite alright Karla, I know you’re having many challenges of your own”. And without wasting any time, Karla asks about Chasity and her family.
Asia explains what’s going on, while Karla listens, and wonders why her neighbor’s jealous, for Karla is definitely showing that she is. Maybe Karla thinks she may not be able to mooch as much off of her, as she’s been able to, and she’s right, because now Asia has another family to take care of. And as if on cue, Chasity walks into the kitchen, goes to the dining room table and sits down. “Is Max still talking about the creature?”, she asks Chasity. “Yeah, he said it’s been spotted not too far from these woods, and that he’s gonna help the authorities hunt it down”. “Oh boy, I know he wants Troy to help him, so he’s gonna badger him until he does”. “That’s not fair to Troy”, says Karla. “He shouldn’t be forcing him to do something he knows Troy isn’t comfortable doing”. “I know, but you know Max….”, Asia trails off, not finishing. Chasity remains quiet, and just listens to the exchange between the other two women. Asia begins looking in her fridge and cabinets to see how much food there is. She gets a pencil and paper and begins making a list of items she needs to buy. Peeking her head out the sunroom door, she tells Troy that she’s going to run down to Walmart and pick up some things they need, before the curfew. “I’ll go with you”, Chasity says. “I’ll go with you, too”, Karla also remarks. Harry is right behind Troy and says, “we’ll watch the kids while you ladies are gone”.
Asia goes into her room, gets some of the funeral money, grabs her purse, and then the ladies head to Walmart. Chasity and Karla keenly watch each other as Asia picks up the needed items, and pays for them, without even as so much as blinking an eye. All three ladies are aware of, and it’s evident, that Asia’s footing the bill. For when they return home, Chasity and Asia fix lunch for everyone, including Max, Karla, and Jacob. Max still hasn’t convinced Troy to join in on the hunt for Big foot, and Asia’s glad for she doesn’t want nothing to do with the creature unless they have to, and that’s only if it’s between life and death. After eating lunch, the kids resume their outside playing. Asia then says, “ladies, please excuse me because I have to start getting ready for work tomorrow, you two ladies can talk and get acquainted
with each other”, and with that she leaves them, and goes into her bedroom. Chasity seizes the opportunity to ease Karla’s mind, and asks her about herself and her son. Karla begins telling Chasity her sad sack, sob story, as she intently listens, and jumps in with, “oh, I’m so sorry, and what you say girlfriend”, until Karla feels like she’s genuinely concerned.
This goes on until the kids come in and once again inform them of their hunger pains. Chasity gives them a snack to hold them over until the food is ready. Karla watches as Chasity goes into Asia’s fridge, and cabinets, and makes dinner for everyone, and thinks, she already looks comfortable doing this, and feels a little envious because she’s never been allowed to do that. Chasity picks up on Karla’s negative feelings, but chooses to ignore them, and instead continues to let Karla know she cares about she and her son’s situation. She even asks Karla to join them, as Asia, the children, and the men all walk into the kitchen to eat at the same time. Troy gets extra chairs for Max, Karla, and Jamar so that everyone can sit at the table. Asia is gratefully delighted for Chasity fixed a very appealing meal of baked chicken, fish, green beans, cornbread, and salad, of which she herself would have made. This time, Troy says the grace as the head of the household, and everyone bows his and her heads to show respect for friendship, and give thanks for the food.
Max and Karla leave to return to their own homes, as the Kings and Cromwells begin the night time routine which all of them will have to get used to. Chasity and Asia clean up the kitchen as Troy and Harry start the children’s bathing regime. The conversations flow around the logistics of their new lives, with Chasity asking about how to get the kids into school. Troy overhears her and answers, “I’ll bring you, Caitlin, and Jacob with me and the boys to school with us tomorrow, and you can sign them up in the office”. “Thanks so much Troy”, Chasity replies back. “I don’t want to put you guys out of your way so much”. “Listen, you’re gonna have to stop with that now. Y’all are here, now, and we all gotta do what we need to do to settle in the
right way, okay?” Troy says this in a sort of scolding voice talking to both Harry and Chasity evoking an okay response from them. And Asia is glad, because that needed to be said and gotten out of the way. Looking at her friend, she says, “Chas, Troy will be the one doing most of the running around with you guys because you already know that I commute every other day, and it takes a lot out of me”. “I know, girlfriend, I admire you, I don’t know how you do it”, Chasity responds with a sincere smile. Smiling back, Asia hugs her, I’m pooped, so I’m turning in. You won’t see me again until tomorrow evening. Good luck with the kids and school”. And with that, she hugs all the children saying her good nights, and heads to her bedroom for the evening.
After the children’s baths are finished, Troy settles his boys into bed, and Harry, Chasity, and their children retire to the basement as the siren sounds signifying it’s nine o’clock p.m. and the curfew has begun. The Cromwells jump at the noise for they have to get used to it, but the Kings brush it off as okay it’s time for the kids to be in bed and falling asleep. And that’s exactly what Junior and Beary do, they fall fast asleep after their dad tucks them into bed, but Caitlin and Jacob do not. Chasity prays out loud as Harry and their kids bow their heads and silently pray with her, then Caitlin and Jacob get into bed. Jacob falls asleep right away, but Caitlin doesn’t. She lays on her back staring at the concrete basement ceiling, thinking, how quiet it is here in Pennsylvania. She can hear herself breathing, and she also hears her mother helping her dad up the basement stairs, but that’s all. She’s used to hearing horns beeping, loud music playing outside, and neighbors arguing, and making all sorts of noise, but that kind of noise doesn’t exist here, and this makes her wonder.
It doesn’t take long for Chasity to help Harry with his bathing, and changing of his bandages, then attend to herself, thus allowing them to hit the sack not too late. Harry falls asleep right away, just as Jacob did, and Chasity does the exact same thing that her daughter did, but she takes it a step further, she begins day dreaming about things, playing them over and over again in her head. She thinks
about all of the events, and things that have happened leading up to being here in the mountains, and this makes her think about what Max has been saying. He’s been talking about some sort of beastly monster, but she hasn’t gotten the chance to talk to Asia about it thus leaving her questions unanswered. She’s heard many stories about big foot, and seen many programs portraying the creature, but she always came to the conclusion that it doesn’t exist. Now, she’s hearing something totally different from her previous beliefs; she’s hearing that big foot is real, and it seems to be coming together, and making sense. She couldn’t phantom why she was dreaming that the Mark of the Beast looked like big foot, and now she knows why. The Lord has been revealing to just not she and her family, but Asia’s too, that this creature is the first trial that they have to deal with. And even though she doesn’t have the nightmare, these are her thoughts as she falls into a deep and comfortable sleep.