I’m back this week for the Friday Five. I thought it was time to try again. This week’s words:
retired bucket sit shout version
As always, Anthony knew his version of events would never be believed. It was the story of his life, but at this moment he didn’t care. He drove cautiously down the potholed roads, looking left and right, more for what might be following him than other drivers. There was no one else on the road. No one living, that is. He saw the little house on the corner and pulled into the driveway. It wasn’t a fancy house. It was small with a front porch, and a small garage, and the driveway was little more than mud and scattered stones. He got out of the car and stood alert. In his left jacket pocket, was a root bundle. In his right, a small mirror. His weapons. He also had a concealed carry permit and his gun holstered by the side, hidden under his jacket. No bullets in it. That was filled with rock salt. He didn’t want to look like a threat, but he didn’t know what he might be facing on this side of town.
There was no sound. The sun was out. A face peered out from the screen door.
“Yes?” Said a woman. An older woman, with a brown wrinkled face, he could barely make out. She was half hidden behind a rusting screen door. He could make out a faded yellow housedress covering a rail thin figure.
“Is Principal Wright in?” He said. It sounded stupid to call the old man principal but everyone did. He had been principal at East Coverton High School for decades of East Coverton residents until he retired two years ago.
“He’s out back,” said the woman. Smiling. Trusting. People in this town were far too trusting, he thought. They didn’t know the dangers. As if smiles, and Bibles, and sweet tea could fight off the darkness.
“Thank you,” he replied but the woman was already gone and the clang of the outer wooden door was the only sound.
Anthony went to the back of the house. It was a modest yard with a few plants. There was an abandoned chick coop of at the side. Sitting under the shade of a large tree was Principal Wright. He was idly whittling away with a pen knife looking at a child sitting in a sand box, scooping up dirt with a plastic bucket. When was the last time Anthony had seen a child outside? He thought they all stayed in to play video games.
“Principal Wright?” He said it loudly, almost shouting.
The old man looked up. The sun reflected off his bald dome, he pulled glasses out of his pocket and put them on.
“You don’t need to shout, son. My hearings fine. It’s my eyes don’t work right anymore.”
“How are you today?” Anthony said lamely. Now that he was here, he wasn’t sure where to start. The little boy giggled. A butterfly flitted around the wildflowers. Principal Wright smiled up at him. This didn’t look like the scene of a haunting. It was a picturesque tapestry of a lazy spring afternoon and he’d brought a gun. He felt so ashamed.
“Good, good,” the older man stood up. He squinted at Anthony and moved closer to his grandchild. Protective.
“What seems to be the problem, son? .”
“You remember me?”
“I remember the face. You were in the principal’ s office quite bit,” he tapped his head. “Now, I’m old but I known enough young people to know when there is a problem.” The old man was standing in front of the little boy now. Anthony thought about how he must look to them-driving up unannounced, six foot two, with a dark jacket, and the bulge of a weapon. And he saw the fear on theman’s face. It wouldn’t be a fight, but it was obvious that grandfather would do anything to give that little boy one extra minute of protection.
Anthony backed up several feet and dropped his hands to the side. This was all going wrong. He was here to protect them, not hurt them. He hadn’t been thinking.
“Go ahead and call the police if you want. I’m not here to hurt you.“
Principal Wright leaned over and picked up his grandson. The boy still held on to his bucket and looked up at Anthony.
“I think something is after you, and I came to check on you.”
This is where it got tricky. Few people wanted to believe that there was a ghost chasing them. And he wasn’t exactly the most reliable looking person.
“I don’t think you’re safe out here. Why don’t you pick up your grandson and go inside. Your wife can help you.”
“My wife’s been dead for fifteen years.”
“Well, whoever’s in the house.”
“No one here but me and the boy during the day,” Principal Wright said, looking confused.
Then who is in that house? Anthony thought, reaching for his weapons.
Copyright 2021 Echo Ishii
to be continued…