Chapter 8. Horrific and Terrific
On Tuesday morning, Cathy cooked a breakfast for herself since her dad had gone to the office earlier, and her mom had not come out yet from bedroom.
At the time she put another canned food on the hissing microwave, the telephone rang constantly in the family room. She ran hurriedly to pick it up, and a hoarse voice of a man was on the phone.
He talked really fast, breathless. “Hello, if you’re up to retribution—”
“Who is this?”
Just like that, he hung up suddenly. She wondered who the caller was.
Concurrently, Haile walked out from her bedroom that was located in front of the family room. She stared wonderingly at her daughter, and asked, “Who is that?”
“I don’t know,” Cathy shrugged.
Haile squinted, shifting her gaze at that white telephone, and back to her daughter again. “By the way, have you eaten anything?”
“Don’t worry, I have red beans for my breakfast,” she smiled awkwardly.
Haile sighed, feeling sorry for waking up late today. She was distressful to abandon her daughter, even it was just for a minute. She followed her to the kitchen, and realized that nothing was done perfectly in there, since Cathy didn’t have a good skill to make a homemade cooking.
“Hey, I’ll be cooking salmon steak for tonight, don’t be sad,” Haile cheered her.
“Oh, mom, I’m not, trust me,” she giggled while taking out the hot red beans from the microwave.
“Aren’t you supposed to go to school now?” Haile asked, glancing at the clock on the wall. It was almost seven o’clock.
“Oh, God!” Cathy was panicked, and she only took a few mouthfuls of her red beans. “Okay, see you home soon!”
It was just in time when she arrived to Bisbee High School. Some students still gathered in the parking lot as she parked her car.
Cathy headed to Constitution class, with a very straggly wavy hair of hers, and she wore a black shirt covered in denim jacket, black skinny jeans, and brown boots.
A frisson of panic happened to her when Mrs. Greene had stood in front of the teacher desk. She was the last student who entered the room. Seemingly, the teacher didn’t look mad when she noticed Cathy’s tardiness, since she still busied writing something on the blackboard.
Cathy’s sleepy eyes caught a hand waved at her. It was Josh, calling her from the back of the class. Soon, she approached him while her shoulders felt shuddering from running.
“This is so not you… tardiness,” Josh muttered as she sat beside him. “Having a bad dream again?”
“No,” she exhaled gladly.
For a while, she noticed that Scott was watching her from across two tables behind them.
“And then, what?” Josh wanted to be up-to-date.
She sighed, as she wanted to avoid any questions. “Let’s just focus on the course.”
“It’s not even started yet,” he shrugged annoyed. “You’ve been acting depressed, and you’ve stopped sharing what you feel.”
“Josh, you don’t understand—”
He cut her off, and said, “Other than that, you’ve dismissed my warm company.”
Her incapability to tell him about the real matter had made her felt guilty, that it was rather complex. He moped alone and won’t even look at her in the eye.
Mrs. Garcia hadn’t done yet with her writing about warmonger’s humanity, while all of the students kept on chattering noisily as usual.
Josh had his eyes so straight on the blackboard, and at the time, Cathy finally decided to give him a practical assumption, and said, “If I told you so, it would give you a burden thought.”
Josh narrowed his eyes suspiciously at her. “Not that I know what you assume of.”
Cathy rolled her eyes in annoyance, and explained, “My mom has decided to visit Austria this weekend, and that’s the fortitude for me.”
“Because it’s not a leisure time, is it?” He understood.
She smiled, although she wanted so badly to hide what she really felt from him. These restless thoughts on her mind were collided into turbulence. As she wished for it to be gone away, it just kept circling in the end.
“I don’t like the way he stares at you,” Josh muttered suddenly, the topic had changed.
She peeped back advisedly at the man he referred. So quickly, Josh dragged her neck closer to him. Cathy astonished and breathed the air nearly to his face.
“Is he stalking you?” He worried. “Scott seems to see you as a blender food.”
“Oh, save the foodie,” she pushed him out of her sight. “He won’t do anything bad to me.”
“You don’t know him,” he shouted.
“Neither do you.”
The exasperation in the air made a gap between them. Josh chuckled sarcastically, as he felt an inevitable annoyance.
“Well, excuse me… everybody knows who the bad guy is,” he added.
“Can you stop judging people?” The inexplicable heat between them was somewhat had stimulated this argumentation. “No one really wants to hear your comment all the time.”
“Perfect,” he muttered, infuriatedly. “I am sure that a gigantic dump truck had hit your head bones, until you couldn’t differentiate between good and evil—”
At that second he mentioned his own metaphor of good and evil, she was struck by a familiar sensation of the recurring dreams and flashbacks from the past. It was strange.
Josh snapped his fingers, dismissing her reverie. “Are you even listening?”
“Give it a rest,” she exclaimed.
He gave her a look of infuriation. Cathy could tell how mad he was. She avoided his contradiction at all cost and just preferred to stare up straightly at the blackboard, and she read on, “Stupidity has consulted the nepotism, and history noted the best humanity of saint—”
She breathed deeply and astonished with what Mrs. Garcia wrote.
Josh followed her eyes and bewildered. “What is it?”
“The captivated quotation—your grandmother told me that, only it’s in the occultism version.”
“She isn’t a fan of occultism,” he denied, and sounded mocking.
The topic was not their mutual interest. Cathy squinted in disbelief against his evasion.
“In your house’s lounge room, the orphic books are being displayed inside the bookshelf, aren’t those books described everything?” Cathy confronted.
This was just like their first debate about bringing up the cryptic conversation. Therefore, he muttered, “Alright, whatever.”
The class ended with a lesson and pop quiz about humanity in wartime, but the important thing for everyone was the break time. The students hollered cheerfully as soon as the bell rang.
Josh was still moping alone when they were heading to the canteen, and Cathy drowned in her own disturbance feeling about something that her mom hid from her, moreover, Martha only talked so little about it.
Throughout a long corridor, they walked along with random students, and there was Scott, staring at her back. Surely, Cathy noticed his presence very well and the way he stared oddly at her, since nobody ever tried observing her in that kind of manner. She didn’t want to assume him as a stalker, especially when he had not fought with anyone ever since they had a little talk.
After Josh went ahead to the canteen, Scott suddenly approached her—well predicted.
“What’s up?” She responded.
He seemed baffling of how to start the conversation. He behaved oddly somehow.
“I noticed the inside of your notebook back then,” he struggled to say it, as Cathy narrowed her eyes in bewilderment against him. “I mean, your notebook is like a labyrinth that contains with historical archives, rather than poems.”
“You’ve read the last page?” She annoyed at him.
It was the part where she wrote the conclusion of her dreams and flashbacks, also as a conundrum.
“Scott, you’ve read the whole paper,” she said, firmly.
“I saw your marginal note,” Scott added.
They stared for a while. The exasperation feeling filled the air again. Cathy had to decide; to either confront him or walk away, and she chose the latter.
Scott ran to her, shouting out, “That’s reminded me of the unsolved list that my mom has been hunting down.”
She finally turned back. “Which part?”
“Sapphire stone—it seems more than just a doodle.”
It was hard to tell whether she should trust him or not. “Mind your own business.”
She was brave enough to gaze resentfully at him for five seconds, until then, she thought that her anger felt like a waste of time. Eventually, he forced himself to smile at her, and he nodded redundantly, understanding that he had crossed the line.
They walked separately. Cathy stopped at the canteen, and she saw him walked away to the exit door, walking resentfully. She winced at him, wondering what his problem was.
The canteen was in a hectic state. People made annoying noise everywhere. It went worse when Cathy got pushed harshly into the food queue, because Liliana and Stella came suddenly, adhering to Josh for his attention.
“Stop it ladies!” He couldn’t defend himself properly, since he would appear as if he was doing a fist fight like a girl.
“What food will you have?” Liliana asked, clinging to his neck, while Stella held his arm. “Don’t say it is a hamburger again?”
Once these girls guffawed exaggeratingly, everyone stared at their bad behavior.
Cathy shook her head in annoyance to see the view. She didn’t want to bother as she took a plate of smoked beef sandwich on her tray.
The girls kept following him to sit along with Cathy in the back of the room, of their usual spot near to the windowsill. Besides, the other members of the cliques didn’t come along today.
“Where are you guys going next weekend?” Liliana asked, while she sat oppositely from Cathy.
Josh noticed that Cathy was avoiding an eye contact with anyone in here, since he knew she would have a hard and uneasy overseas trip soon. Thus, he tried to break the ice. “Are you guys going to a blind date or something?”
“Anyway, Cathy,” Liliana glanced at her, changing the topic suddenly. “I saw you talked with Scott on Friday—”
Everyone was quiet when a fork fell from his grip. Josh stared in disbelief at Cathy.
However, Liliana kept adding the heat between them, “In the school’s park, you sat together in front of the fountain.”
“It was just a small talk,” she responded calmly, while eating her food.
Josh lost his appetite suddenly, as he remembered it.
“It’s fine since you need to go mingle and making friends with someone else besides Josh,” as Liliana mumbled unstoppably, Stella nudged her elbow, reminding her to stop her ill manner, but still, she wouldn’t want to stop. “Not to mention that you are overrated. Everyone knows you as an introvert girl, but starts with Scott… it will take a huge courage… I’m impressed.”
“Who’d dare saying overrated to my girl?”
All of them stared up at the beautiful girl with a firm voice. She stood in a collar blouse of early 30’s style, and she had a vanilla hair. The strangest thing, no one in the room seemed aware of her sudden presence, as if this girl didn’t exist.
Liliana rose tremblingly from her chair. “I…I did.”
As they stood against each other, the girl looked way taller than Liliana, even without heels.
Liliana felt scared as if her legs went paralyzed when the girl whispered firmly, “Say it again if you dare.”
Cathy astonished with what she saw just then. Soon she rose from her chair too, and shouted, “Elle, come on. It’s not even worth it.”
Everyone at the table felt the same frightening atmosphere when Elle was still gazing at Liliana, who looked really small beside her.
Suddenly, Elle smiled. “Well, fine.”
Thereafter, Cathy and Josh followed her walking to the parking lot. They wondered what was wrong with her act. At the time, that strange girl leaned on Cathy’s silver car, and stared back at them.
Josh wondered with her strangeness. “What… do you possess a telekinetic power now?”
“What happened in the canteen?” Cathy confronted.
“Wondrous,” she grimaced. “I couldn’t get a levitation power to show your faces for the rage.”
Cathy squinted, baffling with her attitude. “What are you?”
Elle was expressionless as she gazed at both of them.
However, Josh didn’t want this situation changed for the worse, especially when Cathy started suppressing Elle with a bunch of questions. Thus, he snapped, “Hey, I don’t think your mom will let this conversation running the show.”
“This isn’t a show,” Cathy disagreed, and then she glanced at Elle. “When did you come home?”
“Why did you disappear?”
“It seems you’ve worried about me, little girl,” Elle said mischievously.
“Our age isn’t that different,” she protested.
Elle smiled, inscrutably. “You have no idea.”
Josh couldn’t stand the tension between them, and so he shouted out, “Come on, girls!”
“Please, drive the car,” Elle encouraged them, as she opened the car door easily.
Cathy assured herself that she didn’t forget to lock the car, and now she certainly confused of how that girl could open it without the key.
At six p.m., they returned home. Cathy walked to the dining room to find her mom apologizing that she forgot to check out for the food supply. There were only a few lemonades and milks left inside the refrigerator.
“Are you serious?” Cathy frustrated with the idea to go during the dark. She stared peevishly at her mom who already dressed neatly in a white blouse and skinny jeans. “The salmon steak is cancelled, right?”
“Let’s get to the grocery store first,” Haile said while washing the cups in the dishwasher.
While sitting at the dining table, Cathy wondered. “Does Elle will come with us?”
“No, she stays home,” her mom answered firmly.
Possibly, Haile could feel her daughter’s observant eyes on her back, demanding the real reason.
“We’ll just buy salmon meats, and some stuff, maybe,” Haile said, resting her hands on her waist, and didn’t want to talk further about Elle who currently stayed upstairs in the bedroom guest. “She can wait for us.”
Soon after, Haile went to wear her flat shoes that she displayed on the shoes rack near to the entrance door. And Cathy was ready to jump into the cold night, she covered herself with a black leather jacket, and her favorite pair of brown boots.
After her mom locked the entrance door, Cathy drove the car out of the green garage.
A lullaby song played on the radio during their night trip. Cathy never used to come out at night, since she felt uncomfortable of the dark space.
Haile was folding her mid dark hair as a ponytail when Cathy glanced at her.
“Mom, what happened to you recently? I mean, you look so tired, you can talk to me anytime.”
“There’s nothing to talk about, Cathy,” her mom said and sighed, and her eyes were looking at the view behind the car window.
“That’s okay if you don’t want to,” she said hopelessly.
Eventually, Haile should be prepared to talk about it, sooner or later. But this wasn’t the right time, and she knew that her daughter would find out about the secrets someday.
“I have a friend who lives out-of-town. His name’s Max Brigham. We attended the same elementary school in Austria, and we have been good friends, just like you and Josh. He’s a blacksmith now,” her mom said, well prepared. “Yesterday, I asked him something that I knew he would refuse to do it.”
“What did you ask him?” Cathy pretended as if she didn’t know, although she had heard the story from Martha.
“I’m so pathetic that time, for weapons,” she said, avoiding an eye contact with her.
“What for?” Cathy asked curiously, and her bewilderment drove her insane. “Is there something going on?”
“It’s hard to explain. I don’t want to involve you, actually,” she sounded resentful.
“Something is definitely going on,” Cathy said firmly. “I saw you were sleepless the other night,” she remembered it very well. “You’ve spent your time alone in front of the fireplace these days. A stressful look is painted clearly on your face, mom.”
“I’ve told you this as a briefing,” she said in a mysterious way “—but if something would really happen to me or your dad, at that time, you can count on to that guy.”
“He lives in the border of Bisbee city. It is located near to the hills, far from the crowd.”
It was hard to believe that her mom was asking the blacksmith to make weapons for unknown reason. She assumed that her mom’s purpose was perhaps for the sake of self-defense against the one who had been chasing her family. Eventually, she just did not understand her mom.
They arrived at the grocery store in fifteen minutes. Seemingly, there were not many people in downtown this evening. She parked her car in front of the store, at the same time the police car just pulled over.
Two cops got out from car, one was an old man, and the other seemed to be in his fifties. They had big muscles behind their police uniform, and the odd was they wore sunglasses when it was so dark outside.
Cathy didn’t want them to notice that she had been eyeing them secretly as she followed her mom’s footstep, walking toward the glass door of grocery store.
Two employees were waiting in front of the cashier desk, a girl and a boy, busied playing each gadgets, and being ignorant toward the arrival of new visitors.
Nevertheless, Cathy started looking out for her shopping list as she headed toward the beverage section. There was a housewife with her little kid in the corridor, who looked confused when choosing a milk product to buy.
Meanwhile, Haile went to another section, checking for some nugget products that displayed inside a glass refrigerator. She had not yet opened the refrigerator door as she saw a strange reflection from the glass, an image of a beast with burnt face, and it possessed an old woman.
She trembled while touching the handheld door, and hesitated to look back. Her eyes bulged out in a great astonishment, staring at the beast’s reflection on the glass for some seconds. She breathed deeply, trying to calm herself. Once she turned to see the old woman, everything looked just normal.
The old woman dressed in a pink long sleeves cardigan, dark blue skirt, she wore a pearl necklace on her neck, and she had a short curly gray hair, just like how people would picture a grandma’s figure.
That old woman moved weakly while picking up some apples and oranges, and then she stared back at Haile, smiling politely. For a slight second, she seemed odd, as if she was enduring something painful in her body. And that was true, her nice manner was only a distraction, making Haile’s jaw fell opened in fear. The old woman roared madly as she suddenly shaped-shifting into a beast.
Haile tried to hide her shudder as she walked away hurriedly to find her daughter. Once she found her in the next corridor, she grabbed her hand and whispered, “Cathy, don’t separate from mom. Stay by my side.”
Cathy blinked confusedly of what happened to her mom, who looked worried suddenly.
“I’m not a kid anymore, I can walk by myself.”
“I said, stay by my side!” Haile persisted, dragging her closer.
The rain started falling heavily outside the store. While in the corridor, Haile ignored a housewife and a kid who stared bafflingly when they saw her walking out in rush. When she reached to another food section, the two cops came forward slowly to them. This time, the cops transformed just like the beastly grandma.
She saw her daughter looked shocked and trembled.
“Mom, don’t you see those weird cops?”
“Cathy, we should run quickly,” she whispered.
They ran from the corridor to reach the entrance door, but those beasts followed them as if this was a marathon session. The beastly cops moved fast, and almost caught them at the edge of the shelves. Subsequently, the cops tripped over the shelves of soda cans, falling deliberately on the floor where the cans fell hard on them.
The housewife held her kid, while screaming out of fear. It seemed that she was able to see the beastly faces of those cops.
The other cop managed to run again, trying to grab Cathy from behind. Luckily, Haile came in time to throw him with a few bottles she could get from the shelf. But he looked very strong that hurting him wouldn’t have any significant effect.
The older cop just stood up, and he roared madly like a monster. He tried to attack Cathy, and they tripped over concurrently, hitting hard on the glass window. He bumped so hard that the glass broke, and the pieces of splinters wounded Cathy’s body.
They fell on the grasses, in the backyard of the grocery store. They were soaking wet outside, with rain and blood. The thunder came in the dark sky to shock them.
He roared again, like a hungry wolf, and the other cop had just come down, echoing along with him.
Cathy sat frozenly against these creepy beasts, and her head felt spinning. She tried breathing hardly while feeling the pain all over her body. They started approaching her like wild animals.
“Oh, no,” she was petrified.
Cathy struggled to run, but her legs felt paralyzed, and so she was trailing back quickly before they could get her. The atmosphere frightened her, but suddenly, something happened that she just didn’t understand. A glimpse of a raging thunder came from nowhere, killing the younger cop in an instant. He got an electric shock, burning his beast face nastily.
The older cop fell on his knees suddenly. He looked astonished as he bulged out his eyes to see who actually came in the yard.
“An angel?” He muttered shockingly as he saw a shadow of a tall figure was aiming a finger at his dead friend.
“There must have been something important, if an angel like you is shape-shifting into human form,” he kept murmuring in a tremble voice “—please give me a second chance. I won’t bother her ever again. My boss gave me order to catch these humans. I have nothing to do with this!”
“You deserve it,” the strange figure said firmly.
The rain fell heavier, and when the light of thunder was overshadowing the night, Cathy could see the glimpse of familiarity from that figure.
Afterward, the two employees came to check on the backyard with their flashlights, and the rain stopped raining slowly.
“Hey, are you alright?” The boy shouted, while standing at the edge of the broken glass. “We’ve already called the police!”
It was odd that he would still call for another police after this horrific scene. It seemed that he could not see the cops in their beastly form, and he might as well assume that they were the fake ones.
When the boy was pointing his flashlight to the shadowy figure, Cathy gawked in astonishment to see who that was. Sylvia Elle came here, already dressed up all differently in her dark brown leather jacket with a collar of white feather, black jeans, and brown boot heels. Strangely, her hair and her clothes didn’t get wet from the rain after all.
Those employees got to leave them once the housewife started screaming hysterically again inside the store.
After they left, Elle continued to confront the last beast. She didn’t give him a second chance to explain what happened further. She just came at him, choking him with an electrical shock that emerged from her pale hands. It was like a silver lightning strike that looked very real in Cathy’s eyes.
Once the beast died, Cathy stared fearfully at the girl who supposed to be her relative. Although her instinct was right, that somehow Elle would come to rescue her, but she still couldn’t believe the bitterness taste of this night.
“Why he called you an angel?” She asked suspiciously.
“Is it really matter?” She grimaced while helping her to rise from the ground. “That’s who I am then.”
Cathy was gazing up at her emerald eyes. She bewildered with her simple statement, which didn’t help to relieve her mind for this uncomfortable situation. Thereafter, she just remembered that her mom disappeared. She panicked. “Wait, where’s my mom?”
Cathy walked inside, and found how destroyed everything inside the grocery store. She could not even use her cellphone that broke when she fell into the glass window. She used other option of running to her car, but found nothing in there. Her mom wasn’t seen anywhere.
The car engine didn’t even work properly, even after she tried to turn the car key repeatedly. She was frustrated.
Elle stood on the pavement, staring at her. “The wheels were leaked by those beasts.”
“That’s really good,” she murmured, resentfully.
She heard her mom shouted her name, running breathlessly toward the car. Haile leaned down to the car window for a second.
“Mom?!” She astounded by her sudden appearance. “I’ve been looking for you, where have you been?”
“Everywhere is not safe, we need to go soon,” her mom muttered vaguely while panting. “They already found out where we live.”
“Who?” She narrowed her eyes, bewildering. “Those beasts—you can see them now?”
Haile ignored her curiosity while she was still panting hardly and feeling exhausted.
“Wait, is the car get damaged?” Her mom bulged out.
“Utterly, yes,” Cathy said, walking out from the driver seat.
They saw that the two employees still tremendously panicked inside the store.
“So, what should we do?” Cathy asked, looked stressful. “Should we call the police after what happened and what we saw earlier? The cashier boy has called for the police though.”
“It won’t be a good thing,” Haile snapped.
Cathy was angry. “What… you could see what they are and still deny it?”
Haile touched her shoulder gently, and said, “Of what happened just now, don’t you ever tell dad. They were demons in human form, using the police uniform as their tool for manipulation.”
Cathy gawked. “What did you say?”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you straightaway—”
“How am I supposed to believe you?” Cathy strangled to think about it, and then she glanced at Elle who still stood calmly, and she glanced back at her mom. “You always taught me to stay away from all the superstition, and now you turn your back. Is that why she told me—you’re a hypocrite?”
“I don’t want you to get hurt,” her mom murmured. “The demons have been chasing us. By visiting Austria, that will be the only option to get us safe.”
“Mom, you’ve been lying to me,” her voice trembled.
The thunder came raging again to surprise them. The roaring sound suddenly emerged from behind the trees of the small buildings in downtown.
“What’s that?” Cathy petrified.
“Demons—they have their alternation form now,” Elle shouted while she gazed up at the top of the trees “—but they’re out of number.”
“I can handle them then,” Haile said so bravely.
“What do you mean?” Cathy couldn’t accept what she said. “We must go home, and call the priest!”
“Priest?” Elle chuckled.
“I never thought of any priest around here would buy this phenomenon,” Haile added.
“If we couldn’t ask the police or the priest for help, then who should we call?” Cathy muttered.
“Just stay where you are,” her mom said, patting her shoulder assuredly before she left.
“Mom, where are you going?” Cathy followed her, staggeringly.
“We need to erase their trace. It will keep us safe for a few months in Bisbee,” Haile muttered as she was heading out to the trees.
Cathy protested, “They’re demons. How would you do that with empty hands?”
“No,” Haile said, started grasping her own rounded gold pendant necklace on her neck.
Cathy had just noticed the presence of that necklace. She never saw it before.
“Your mom has a shield to protect herself. You shouldn’t be worried,” Elle said, dragging her arm forcedly to stop her, while her mom already ran ahead quickly to the backyard of those buildings.
“She has no gun. This is a very dangerous act!” Cathy said, as pulling Elle’s warm hand away harshly before she chased after her mom.
Once she found her mom, there she saw another five beasts with red eyes hid behind the shadow of trees. They had scary faces of half dog and half monster.
She dragged her mom back. “Mom, are you alright?”
Haile frowned while panting, but then she grabbed her daughter’s tired face closer to her. “Listen to mom… go, just go!”
“No, I won’t leave you!” Her voice shuddered with sadness.
“She knows where to go,” Haile beckoned her chin at Elle who already appeared behind them. “Go—leave.”
She couldn’t fight back when Haile pushed her away to fall into Elle’s arms.
Cathy screamed and cried angrily. “No!”
“I love you,” her mom said before she faced the beasts. They had been roaring creepily in the woods.
“Let me go!” She yelled, trying to pull away from Elle’s strong grasp.
Elle yanked her back roughly, and their faces were three inches closer. She whispered firmly then, “You don’t know what you deal with.”
At the time, Cathy frightened to stare back at her sharp eyes.
“We will go to the border city near the hills. There’s something we need in there,” Elle demanded.
“Max the blacksmith?” She guessed it right.
Elle forced her to walk outside in the road, but again, Cathy tried fighting her ultimatum by yelling aloud at her face. “My mom is still in there!”
As they stood on the pavement, their eyes stared intensely at each other. Cathy was breathless while Elle never seemed to lose it like her. Furthermore, Elle never seemed to shiver like her in the cold, or even to look weak. That girl looked nothing like human.
“You have to help me, if you’re an angel—”
“I thought you understood,” Elle stared sadly at her.
The time kept on running, and so Elle pulled her arm like a little kid, forcing her to walk on the road that surrounded by the city dimmed lamps. No one was around in town, as if this was an empty place. Downtown felt nothing like usual. Something was not right.
And then, Cathy just remembered how guilty she was for her dad, since the car was bought expensively, and now it was extremely damaged.
The payphone was across the road. Cathy ran to it while shivering, and Elle just let her go without any argument. She dialed Josh’s home numbers as soon as she stepped inside that red glass box.
No one answered the phone, but she was persistent to dial the numbers again. After the sixth attempts, she tried to call her dad this time, but the machine was the one who answered her. And then she called Josh again, and still no answer.
“Pick up the damn phone!” She yelled infuriatedly.
When she turned back, Elle was gone from her sight, and nowhere to be found.
At the time she gave up calling anyone, she sat at the bus stop, while shivering and feeling exhausted. Her clothes turned wet, and her hair messed up. Nothing was right anymore.
From afar, a boy with a red umbrella came running to her. It was Josh.
“Cathy, you’re bleeding!” He came abruptly, looking extremely worried.
“You know that I’m here?” She asked in disbelief. “I’ve just called you. Nobody answered the telephone.”
“Martha told me to come,” he flinched, mysteriously. “Well, never mind. What happened, anyway?”
She suspected his weird movement when he avoided answering her simple question.
When he wanted to touch her wound on her face, she leaned backward assertively. “I’m okay, but my mom is not okay.”
“What’s wrong?” Josh didn’t like the sound of her fear.
Elle suddenly appeared from nowhere again without alert. They astonished at her.
“Unfortunately, there’s no door to knock in here, but you should tolerate our heartbeat!” Josh muttered in annoyance.
Cathy bewildered with the way she behaved; as if this was a game of hide and seek, but nobody was debating her though. What mattered now was her mom.
“How could I leave her like that?” She asked infuriatedly at Elle, while Josh baffled with her sudden excessive rage.
“She’s fine. Now you need to obey what I’ll say,” Elle spoke calmly. This was the right time to mention it when the public green bus just arrived in front of them “—we’ll ride with this bus.”
As they went together inside the bus, a few passengers stared and murmured secretly at Cathy’s messy appearance. However, she was too tired to think about anything else.
Once the bus started moving, Cathy glanced at the dark view behind the window while remembering the whole thing that just happened. She felt it, that her fate was coming toward her peaceful life. This was the beginning of her extraordinary day.