|Via Indigospider - Title/Artist unkown,|
Sweat slid down Kora’s spine, tickling like insect legs and sealing her shirt to her skin; she quickened her pace, heading for the big shade trees and the residential area.
Oak Hollow, Georgia hadn’t changed much in the years since she’d left it. Still unbearably hot on a July morning, still eerily quiet on Sunday, the streets empty of adults or children as everyone stayed snug inside the Baptist church over on Pinehill Crest.
Everyone except her. And the mechanic.
Everyone except her. And the mechanic.
She wondered if God was laughing at her, considering that she cursed him one moment—when the Neon choked to death just outside of a town she’d just as soon not set foot inside again—and thank Him the next when she discovered that Jack, Oak Hollow’s single mechanic, was laying out of church.
He’d been able to haul the car in and diagnose the problem pretty quickly. Unfortunately, he had to drive to pick up the new EGR valve, so that added an extra hour on to her wait time.
Which left her trying to find a shady spot, where she wouldn’t attract too much attention from old acquaintances, while she waited for the repairs to be done.
Reaching the shade of the trees, she considered paying a visit to Miz Jeanette, but changed her mind; sometimes, you just needed to let old ghosts rest.
Instead, she walked another block and came to an empty house with a For Sale sign tacked up in the yard.
The front porch was catty-corner to the road, half hidden from view by a copse of low hanging tree branches and nicely trimmed hedges. But as she went to take a seat, she found someone had already discovered her hiding spot.
A little boy, who couldn’t be more than 8 years old, sat on the porch, dressed in a long sleeved shirt that was far too warm for a July day, jeans, and scraped up Chuck Taylors. He held his head in his hands and sat so still that he seemed almost a part of the scenery, until she said, “Hello, there.”
He raised his head; his eyes were red rimmed and she could see the sheen of tears on his cheeks.
“Do you live here?”
“I did,” he said, voice so tinny and faint the cicadas nearly drowned him out.
“Why didn’t you go with your family when they left?”
“They didn’t want me,” he said. “They were tired of all the trouble.” He met her eyes, plaintive, eager. “I didn’t mean to make things break. But they didn’t listen to me. And …I got so mad.”
Kora said, “That happens sometimes. It’s not your fault.” She glanced at the windows, saw where dust had settled, where spiders had spun across the glass; the crevices and corners of the porch were filled with dried and dead leaves. The house had been empty for a while.
When she looked at the boy again, he was staring at her, wiping one sleeve covered arm under his nose.
“No one else has talked to me in a long time,” he said. “How come you are?”
“I like talking to people like you.” She smiled, soft, a little brittle at the corners. “Would you like to come with me and meet a friend of mine? I think she’ll like talking to you too.”
The boy sat back, eyes wary, looked around for a moment and then nodded faintly.
Kora cocked her head. “C’mon. Her house is just down the road.”
As they approached the hulking form of Miz Jeanette’s old Victorian-style house, Kora could see the old woman seated in her rocker, moving in a smooth and steady rhythm and she raised her arm in greeting.
Miz Jeanette stood and returned the wave, moving toward the edge of the porch, into the bright morning sunlight that slanted through her hand, made her arm and half her body almost imperceptible, even to Kora.
Glancing down at her elbow, Kora saw the little boy raise his own hand, watch the way the sunlight filtered through the illusion of flesh, then look back at Miz Jeanette with a look of wonder and relief.
As he rushed ahead of her and up onto Miz Jeanette’s porch, Kora decided that God was laughing.
This is for Indigospider's Sunday Picture Prompt. I didn't think I'd get it finished. And it's still not quite what I'd intended when I started out. But, I beg myself for leniency since I've been occupied with packing/cleaning/prepping for a move. I'm glad I wrote even this much.