Things seem to be going as normal as possible at first, with Troy taking Asia to the bus stop, then coming back home, and getting the rest of the household up and ready to tackle the day’s events, until
the frantic knock on the front door. When he opens it up, Karla and Jamar are standing there, and they rush into the house not even waiting for him to invite them in. And before he can ask what’s the matter, there’s another knock on the door, and its Max. Max also rushes in, and begins shouting before Troy can ask what’s happening. “Troy, get your shotgun, and come with me, now!” “Hold on, Max, first tell me what’s going on”, he shouts back, feeling a little annoyed at his neighbors. For Chasity, Harry, and all the kids are now in the foyer looking frazzled and frightened, and staring at him, waiting for some kind of explanation on what’s happening. Max continues, “the creature is right behind our woods”. “What? How do you know”, Troy replies. “That’s why I’m here”, gushes Karla, “you didn’t hear that schools are being closed, and the officials are locking down all the communities in this area?” “No, I just got back from dropping Asia off at the bus stop, and started getting the kids ready for school. I didn’t have any time for anything else”, he says, concerned.
Junior runs into the living room, turns on the television, and as soon as the picture comes into focus, a news bulletin flashes across the screen reporting what Max and Karla have been saying. “Officials have closed all area schools and institutions due to the sighting of
the big foot creature in the area. All persons are warned not to leave their homes, unless they are assisting with the capture of the beast”. Chasity watches Max as he excitedly paces back and forth with a rifle tucked under his arm pit, and a noticeable bulge in his pocket, once again shouting, “Troy, buddy, we’ve got to help them hunt this monster down!” “Max, please calm down and stop shouting, you’re scaring our guests!” Troy says, lowering his voice, trying to be as cool and collective as possible, and trying not to arouse the Cromwells any more than they already are. For all of their eyes are wide with bewilderment and fear, as well as his own boys are too, and he must quell their fears. So, he continues in a quiet tone, “Chasity, you guys go into the kitchen and get some breakfast while I speak privately to Max”. “Okay, Troy”, she immediately responds and brings them into the kitchen with Karla and Jamar following behind. But instead of their fears being quieted, they’re incited even more because Karla continues the uproar. “Do you know about the beast?” She says it more than asking, and not waiting for Chasity nor Harry to respond, goes on with, “well, you know this creature has been terrorizing us for over a year now”.
“I’ve heard Max talking about it, but that’s all. I haven’t gotten a chance to speak to Asia”, Chasity says as she begins fixing breakfast. “Well”, Karla continues, proud that she knows this most pertinent information pertaining to their living conditions, and is most eager to impart the news, “I hope they catch this thing because I’m tired of it constantly frightening us, as if we don’t already have enough to deal with”. “You’re sure right that we have a lot to deal with”, Chasity replies, “but we shouldn’t let so many things scare us so bad, so let’s all say a prayer”. She interrupts Karla who tries to override what she’s saying, and begins preaching and praying at the same time. “Lord, I know you did not bring us this far to forsaken us. I know you have good plans for all of us, so I declare that this big foot creature thing won’t hurt, nor harm any of us”. And she ends by citing Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.
Chasity, Harry, their kids, Troy and his boys all say “Amen”, but Karla, Jamar, and Max just stand there looking at them, not saying a word. And before anyone else can say anything, they hear a loud crackling sound in the woods like trees being broken in two.
Jumping into action, Troy tells his boys to take everyone downstairs to the emergency, secret room under the basement. The women and children follow Junior and Beary below, while the men remain upstairs. Troy gets his shotgun, and Max hands Harry an extra handgun that he brought with him for reinforcement. He whips out his rifle from under his arm and states, “well buddies, I guess we have no choice but to defend our territory”. And no sooner that he says these words, they hear voices in the woods next to the house. Max goes running out the back door, and Troy and Harry follow behind with weapons drawn, not really knowing what to expect, but willing to do whatever is needed of them. Once outside, Max spots one of the troopers running through the woods and shouts, “officer, sir, my buddies and I are here to help, just tell us what to do”. The trooper hollers back, “stay here and protect your own land and house. We have this under control, we don’t want any civilians coming in contact with the creature”. Troy and Harry are satisfied with what the trooper says, but Max isn’t. Being Wholly engrossed in his excitement, he runs into the woods behind the troopers chasing the beast, while Troy and Harry remain rooted in their spots, and watch Max rush by them.
“Your neighbor is surly wrapped up into finding this sasquatch thing, huh”, Harry states, more than asks. “Yeah, it sure looks like it, doesn’t it?” Troy responds as both men see Max disappear into the shrubs, trees, and bushes. Turning around, and heading back to the house, Troy remarks, “well, I hope he does help them hunt down and kill this creature, let’s join the women and children, and make sure they’re alright”. “Yes, yes, you mentioned something about an emergency, secret room?” Troy runs his hand over his face and says, “yeah, but it’s not a secret anymore. It’s easier for me to show you than to try to explain it to you”. And with that, Harry follows behind his new
friend, and neighbor, who’s also one of his new live in companions. Troy’s thoughts, on the other hand, are on how he’s going to explain to his wife why he exposed their secret safe room, not just to Chasity and her family, but to Karla and Jamar, and he knows she’s going to say that it had better been no other recourse but to do so. And he knows he’s in trouble when he reaches the room, and sees the look on Karla’s face. For when Junior and Beary bring the women and children to the room, as the men go outside, Karla’s in disbelief. “When did you’ll build this room? How long has it been here? Your mother never told me about this. How come she’s never mentioned this to me before?” She directs her words towards Junior. Chasity can hear the disdain in Karla’s voice, which makes her antenna go off, and she says, “um, I don’t think this is the right time to ask the children these questions, Karla. I think you should wait and speak to either Troy or Asia about this, okay?” But Karla’s not happy with what this woman, whom she just recently met, has to say. Who does she think she is anyway, she doesn’t have a clue about the relationship between Karla and Asia. They have been neighbors and friends for over fifteen years and now here comes this fat bitch, who doesn’t know diddly squat about her and is trying to tell her what to say and do. For all Karla knows, she’s just here to take advantage of Asia and her family, as a matter of fact, that’s what Karla’s been scoping out. As Chasity readies herself to deal with, and repel whatever Karla’s getting ready to say or do, Troy and Harry blessedly walk down the stairs of the room, and interrupts Karla’s intended fight. Chasity says a silent prayer, and asks the Lord for patience and guidance for she knows now more than ever that she’s going to have a
problem with Karla.
The moment Troy steps foot into the room, Karla goes at it, “wow, Troy, this is really something! When did you and Asia build this”? Beary jumps in with, “my daddy built this room all by himself”, relaying how proud he feels about it. Both Troy and Harry can feel the tension between the two women, and figure that something’s not right, so Harry pulls Chasity to the side, to talk to her privately, and Troy begins
explaining to Karla, the logistics and story behind the room. Standing a little off to the side, Chasity and Harry listen intently to Troy’s story, as the children quietly listen too. It can clearly be seen that Karla doesn’t understand why Asia and Troy never told her about the room and that she’s indignant about the whole thing. Troy’s explanation is interrupted by a beep which notifies the room’s occupants that someone has entered the upstairs portion of the house. Troy, Junior, and Beary all walk over to a t. v. monitor that video tapes the rooms of the house, and sees Max walking around looking for everyone. “I think things are safe for now, so we can all go back upstairs”, Troy says as he reaches for the lever that opens up the room’s door and heads up the stairs. Everyone follows him except for Karla who holds back for a few seconds, forcing him to say, “Karla, I need you to join us so I can lock up the room”. Karla then comes up the stairs without saying another word.
“Been looking all over for you guys, where have you been?” Exclaims Max as soon as he sees them. “We were in the secret, emergency room”, Beary blurts out before Troy can answer. “What’s the lad talking about?” Continues Max, looking at Troy confused. “I’ll tell you about it another time, Max, what’s going on with big foot?” Troy asks as everyone eagerly awaits Max’s answer. “Well, you guys, I think they finally captured one”. “What do you mean one?” Troy continues with his interrogation. Max goes on, “the officials think there’s more than just one, theys thinks a whole family of them creatures exist”. “What!?”, stammers Troy, “so the one that me and my ex co-workers saw is part of a group?” “Yup, seems like it”, Max responds, trailing off, quieting down, not really knowing what else to say. Harry goes over and sits on one of the dining room chairs, and Chasity and their children follow him. Karla, Jamar, Troy and his boys remain standing watching Max and waiting for him to either talk, or see what his next move’s going to be. It seems like everyone’s frozen in place for a long time, but it’s actually no more than several seconds, and in those moments, Troy, Chasity, and Harry all feel a sort of déjà vu sensation. They’re
all broken out of the reverie by the ringing of Troy’s phone. He digs into his pocket, takes it out, flips it open and says, “hello”. Hearing his wife’s voice on the other end, he first says to her, “Babe, hold on for a minute”, then to all the others around him, “excuse me guys, this is Asia”, and then he walks out of the kitchen to his bedroom leaving them to discuss and sort things out without him.
As Troy talks to Asia and informs her of what’s going on in and around the house, Karla starts up again about the room. She badgers Junior and Beary about it, manipulating them into giving specific details that Chasity knows Asia and Troy probably don’t want revealed. This incites Max to jump in and begin asking questions of his own because it’s the first time he’s finding out about the room, too. The boys are vulnerable without their parents presence, and Chasity can see that Karla and Max are overwhelming them, so her motherly instinctive, protection mode kicks in and she knows she must come to their rescue. Thus, she begins talking fast like she always does when she’s nervous or annoyed, “um, Karla, and Max, I think y’all should leave Junior and Beary alone right now about this room. They’re only kids. I think it’s better if you wait and talk to Troy and Asia about it. It’s only right”. Max stops to listen to Chasity, but Karla rolls her eyes, ignores her, and continues questioning the boys. Chasity closes her eyes, and says a silent prayer as she composes, and braces herself to confront Karla. Harry watches his wife and knows she’s trying to control her anger towards the other woman, and hopes there’s not going to be a fight. “Karla”, Chasity says in a raised voice that captures everyone’s attention, “didn’t you hear me? Please leave the boys alone about the room. They’re only children, and they don’t need to be bothered by you about it”. Karla’s face turns so beet red that Harry thinks she’s going to burst open, and she does. She bursts open with her mouth and begins cursing Chasity out, “you fat bitch, who do you think you are?! You don’t know me! Hell, I don’t think you even really know Troy and Asia. Who are you to tell me what to say to Junior and Beary?” Chasity lets Karla rant and rave out of control, guessing that this is what the woman
wanted to do to her from the first time they met, as she remains quiet and stoic until she’s finished.
By this time, Troy returns to witness Karla’s outrage, and is in total shock of what he hears and sees. Everyone is in disbelief over her vulgarity, because Karla doesn’t even have any regard for the children. Chasity notices everyone, that is, except for Jamar, who just walks to the back door and looks outside like this is an everyday occurrence, waiting for it to be over. She sees Troy’s return, so she stays quiet and doesn’t respond to Karla for she knows that Troy’s going to do it for her, and this makes her glad that she’s off the hook. “Karla”, Troy says in a raised voice similar to the one Chasity used on her, just a few minutes ago, and Karla fells another déjà vu second come over her. “What’s going on?” He continues, “what the heck happened?”
Karla’s thrown off for she doesn’t know that Troy came back until she hears him say her name in a not so nice tone. But she doesn’t care because she’s angry and upset about everything: she’s upset about she and her son being alone and broke all the time, she’s upset about the curfew, she’s upset about the big foot creature, she’s upset about Chasity and her family living here and interfering with she and Asia’s friendship, she’s upset about the Kings not telling her about their secret room, and now she has to put up with this fat lady getting into her business and telling her what to do. She doesn’t like not one bit of it! No, she doesn’t, so she whips her head around and just stares at Troy.
A few seconds go by as Troy stares Karla down, trying to figure out why she’s acting so hostile. He knows she’s always been a nervous woman, but he’s never seen her so belligerent. He then looks around at everyone else searching for some kind of explanation on Karla’s volatile behavior, which makes Chasity speak up. “Um, Troy, um, I’m sorry. I think Karla’s upset with me because I asked her to please not ask Junior and Beary so many questions about the emergency room”. Glaring at Chasity, Karla responds with, “that’s not the whole story!” But then she stops talking, and everyone stands there waiting for her to continue. It’s so quiet you can hear a pin drop until Troy breaks the
silence by saying, “listen guys, I know we’re in trying times and things are difficult and scary because of everything going on around us, but we can’t turn on each other and become enemies. This is when we need to count on and relay on each other for compassion and support even though we’re gonna have our differences, do y’all know what I mean?” He finishes his small lecture and looks around at his neighbors and house guests, and sees the hostility on Karla’s face and realizes a problem exists between she and Chasity.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know this, heck the children saw the hate in Karla’s eyes before the men did, and this was some time ago. Chasity felt it at their first introduction, and Harry just recently noticed it. But this is the first time Troy really sees it, and he wonders if Asia knows. He figures she must because women pick up much faster on things like this than men. Anyway, whatever is Karla’s problem, she’d better get a handle on it because none of them have any time for such petty nonsense. They have bigger fish to fry! And this time, Max breaks the silence saying, “okay buddies, we all need to git together for one another and come together for all ours safety sake”. “I agree with you”, Chasity replies to Max, and then turning to Karla, she continues, “Karla, I’m so sorry for offending you, I didn’t mean to get you upset, I just didn’t want the boys to feel overwhelmed by things”. Waving her hand in the air, trying to save face, and not have Troy think she’s a bad person, Karla says, “oh, it’s nothing, I’m okay, I didn’t mean no harm, I’ve just had a lot on my mind”. “Yeah, we all have, so let’s just try our best to do what Max suggested, okay?” Asks Troy, and once again looks around at the people he knows is going to be in his face and life for a long time.
“Well guys, I think things have settled down for now”, Troy says, directing his words at Max and Karla. “I think it’s safe for you to go back home now”, he continues as he begins walking towards the front door. Max follows him, but Karla doesn’t get it at first until he says, “Karla, I’ll walk you home if you want me to”. “Oh, oh, okay”, she stammers, finally catching on that Troy wants her to go. She gives Chasity and
her family a quick glance before grabbing her son’s hand, jerking him towards her, and saying, “let’s go, Jamar”. Chasity tries to offer Karla an olive branch by saying, “we’re here, Karla, if you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask”. If Troy wasn’t here, Karla would have gone off again. Who does this woman think she is? How dare she speak to Karla as if she’s a stranger in her friend, Asia’s house. Chasity sounds like she owns the place already, and Karla doesn’t like it one bit, not one bit! And she indignantly replies, “oh, you don’t worry about it honey, I’ll definitely let Asia know what’s what myself”. She then says goodbye to Troy and the boys and walks out with Max on her heels.