Monday, June 18, 2012

UNTITLED (You can suggest a title. I'd appreciate that.)

                They knelt, shoulder to shoulder, on the cold floor and peered out of their living room window. The house across the street was on fire.
                The flames danced up toward the sky and shadowy figures danced and twirled in front of the house. Someone was beating on a drum erratically, without rhythm. There was chanting, a togetherness of words in the group.
                “I don’t think they got out. Sam and Evelyn. I don’t think they got out,” the man whispered. She didn’t answer.
                “Every night, a different house. One by one, moving down the street. Why? What the hell are they doing?”
                “Protesting,” she whispered.
                “Protesting? Protesting Sam and Evelyn? And Mary and John the night before? What the hell?”
                “I don’t know.  I’m cold.”
                He put his right arm across her shoulders and she leaned against him.
                The roof of the house across the street crumbled down in a thunderous roar. The shadowy figures jumped and stamped some sort of victory dance. They spun faster and faster, the drumming was louder.
                “Where are the firemen?” she asked.
                “I heard they were all killed.”
                “Who told you that?”
                “I just heard it. Never mind where.”
                “And the police?”
                “Don’t ask.”
                “I’m still cold.”
                He shifted his weight from his knees, turned and leaned against the wall, stretching his legs out in front of him.  “Is there any food left?” he asked.
                “You asked that yesterday. And the day before. Quit asking. Just  vitamins.”
                “Get me some,” he said.
                She crawled on her hands and knees across the room to their grab-and- go-bag.  She opened and closed the zippered compartments until she felt the round plastic bottle of vitamins. She shook two of the vitamins into her hand.
                “Here,” she said, handing him one and chewing on the other one.
                “No water left?” he asked.
                “We’ve got to do something. Anything. Something.”
                “Like what?”
                “I don’t know. It wasn’t supposed to happen here. It happened over there. Faraway.”
                “Yes, I know. We watched it on the news. Over there.”
                “Then it was here. But just big cities.”
                “I know. We watched it on the news. While we ate pizza.”
                “I’d love a pizza right now. With anchovies.”
                “Stop it.”
                The fire continued to burn across the street. It was the last house on that side of the street to burn. The others on that side lay in ruins with carcasses of cars left in destroyed timbers of garages.
                “I think we’re next,” he said.  His voice was barely a whisper.
                “I think you’re right,” She said.
                “You said God wouldn’t let this happen. That’s what you said.”
                “I know. I was wrong.”
                “Let us pray,” he said, picking up a rusty old crow-bar by the front door.
                “Yes,” she said, picking up a ball bat. Yes, Let us pray, let us pray.”