Into the Night
The talk died down and looks of dazed shock settled on all the faces. They all looked like they had walked into a major exam on their first day of class.
“I don’t think we have seen the enemy yet,” Random said softly more as question than a statement.
“I teenk mebe the enemy is de real world,” Essie said. “I haf been feeling dis ever since I came here. Like I don’ belong in a ceety.”
“Then maybe the beasts out there are trying to keep you here long enough so you won’t leave,” Jered said looking out the window. “I know something in the timing is right because everything came together like this. So it is almost certain that something is going to happen tonight, but I think there is a bigger message they are sending. They want you to stay here.”
“That doesn’t mean they’re going to be there in the morning does it,” Emmylou winced.
“I don’t think they will be able to stay for long,” Random said, “Lucille said dream beings cannot hold there form in the world very long.”
“That snake seems awful solid and those teeth on that wolf were pretty substantial too. I know I can still feel it.” Larry touched his injured leg.
“We are all jus’ guessing now,” Essie said with a frown, “Eet Ees all we can do.”
“Well, maybe we should just settle in and have some supper and go to bed. I’ll finish cooking, and maybe you all could play cards or somethin’” Emmylou motioned over at Maddie who still had a vague look of shock on her pale face.
“Yes, Thees ees a good idea,” Essie forced a smile as she said this. “You got cards, Emmylou? Maddie here cleaned me outa peanut MnM’s a coupla nights ago.”
Maddie perked up at the mention of her name and the thought of a card game.
“I did kinda whoop your butt, dint I,”
They all played hearts while Emmylou finished up dinner all with many nervous glances out the windows at the monstrous snake that lay motionless scaly levee around the house.
After they ate, Emmylou about making sure all the rooms were ready and beds prepared. They insisted that Larry take a bed upstairs. Jered and Random maneuvered him to it with care. Emmylou found a sleeping bag after which Maddie insisted, “My young bones and the floor would get along just fine.” Jered settled in on the couch.
Emmylou turned out the lights leaving on one in the kitchen and one in the hall upstairs so that unfamiliar guests could find the bathroom. Everyone settled in nervously for a long restless night.
Random and Essie squeezed onto the twin bed, folding into one another and falling almost immediately into a loose and jangled sleep with many shifts of arms and legs and body positions like a wrestling match between puppets with blind puppeteers.