7. The Half-Sense

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Charlie

 

            "Today we will retrieve—"

"The Septar. Yeah. We're going to get her. Are you sure it's her?" I asked, just stalling for time while I tried to find any hole in her defense. "You said you only heard the scream once. From what, a mile away?"

Her eyebrow rose as she watched me stand up. I winced; my body was aching. I was not looking forward to showering. I glanced at her and saw that her hand was crusted with brownish- red liquid. My stomach turned at the sight of the blood. She'd said that it didn't hurt too badly, but that didn't tame my worry; it could be infected. Her arm was pretty much the same.

 "You doubt me?" her small voice came as a surprise, though I couldn't guess why. I was used to stretching out every morning, but it would have to be skipped for once.

"No, Tane, I don't doubt you. It's just that the scream you heard could have come from anyone. It's a mental institution." That was basically my way of saying that I did doubt her, in every sense of the word. I pulled off my socks and began to walk to my bathroom.

I just wanted to put away any and all thoughts of last night. My stomach growled angrily; I hadn't eaten since the cafe yesterday. Speaking of which, I needed coffee. Black. Better to ground me around this angel.

"No."

I stopped in my tracks and sighed. Was she trying to be difficult? Or could she really not even put me at ease with an agree-to-disagree silence? I clenched my jaw and cracked my neck—I hadn't done that for years.

"Charlie," she said, and it sounded like a hum. I regarded her because her voice really gave me no choice.

I shouldn't have been surprised when Tane opened the closet door and a bloodied, dead Feeder flopped out, thumping on my carpet. But I jumped back and shouted anyway, grabbing my old tee-ball bat from behind my bed. I hefted it high over my head.

"WOAH! WOAH! WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?"          Even though I knew exactly what it was. Tane cocked her head to the side and steadily held out her hand to stop me until I lowered the bat. I didn't let go of it though. In fact, I might've tightened my grip. My knuckles were white, and my palms were sweating. I watched the thing, waiting for it to leap up and attack.

The body was pale and obviously lifeless but my nerves were on fire, sending little nervous thoughts to my brain. Call me a chicken, but my last encounter with the thing had not been a pleasant one.

Tane searched my face for a few moments before tilting her head to the left. Now was not the time for her to be adorable. "Tane, what the hell is that?" I hissed, careful not to yell. Tane looked confused. "There's a mutant in my closet!"

"I inferred you would not want it underneath your sleeping place."

My body weakened at the thought of that thing under my bed. "Tane—"

"You repeat my name as if there were another in the room," she interrupted, looking genuinely frustrated. "Do not condescend. Surely you did not expect me to leave the Feeder out in plain sight."

"Well, I sure as hell didn't expect you to stuff it in my closet!" I exclaimed, forgetting my volume. "Damn it, Tane. I don't know how much more of this I can take. First, you fall from the sky and land on my lawn. Then you go missing only to turn up at a crazy house. And then we get attacked by a monster that has Charlie shish-kabob on its mind. And now that exact same monster is dead on my floor."

Almost immediately, I felt I'd erred. She looked at me like I was a puppy that had shredded up her favorite book and didn't understand the error of my ways. Then she squared her jaw and she looked more like the queen of somewhere important, deciding how to execute a criminal. I didn't like the change.

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