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Suzie’s House 497 : Decayed Fears

Suzie's House

“You’re Jim’s sister? You poor thing.” The old man shook his head.

Emma stood in Mrs. H’s den like a stupid deer. She couldn’t decide if she should stare at Drew or the old man and old woman so she tried to do both and probably looked like a total derp face.

“It’s alright,” Drew said. “They’re harmless.” He gestured at a chair next to her. He was already sitting in the one opposite of her. The old couple had the couch.

Emma didn’t try to say anything. She just dropped into the chair. Her band members all flowed around her like she was a queen or something and they were her bodyguard. It made her feel better.

She had to remind herself that this wasn’t really a crisis. Yes, she’d seen the brother who had abused her for as long as she could remember even though he wasn’t supposed to even be in town, and might even be home when she got there…. No. This was a total crisis.

But how did the old couple know about him? She wrinkled her brow in concentration, but couldn’t decide how to ask.

“You’re wondering how we know Big Jim.” The old woman smiled kindly after reading Emma’s mind. “I’m afraid it’s our fault he’s here in Madison.”

“It’s kind of a long story.” The old guy scratched the back of his head and smiled in embarrassment. “We happened to bump into him in the parking lot of a Walmart in Minneapolis. We needed a ride, so we told him we’d pay for his gas if he’d bring us back here. By the way, my name’s Trent, and there here is Sonoma.” He gave the old woman’s hand a squeeze.

“Wait. You mean you knowing Emma’s brother and then meeting Emma is like a total coincidence? Right?” Tracy moved further into the room.

“This sort of thing happens to us all the time.” Sonoma flicked her fingers like it was nothing.

“Seriously?” Lisa looked skeptical. But Lisa always looked skeptical.

“Actually, it does.” Drew nodded thoughtfully. “I’ve seen it quite a few times. People from all over the world have accidentally bumped into each other in their house.”

“It’s because we are open to that sort of thing. When you live on the edge, the world gets smaller,” Trent said.

“Huh. You’d think it would be bigger.” Ben spoke from somewhere behind Emma.

“In some ways it does!” Trent grinned. “But the further out you go, the harder to find people who understand. Especially if you travel….”

“Um…” Emma couldn’t quite keep a tremor out of her voice. At the moment she really only cared about one thing. “I-i-is J-james c-coming back to get you?”

“Oh no!” Both of the old farts laughed like she’d cracked a really good joke.

“No, I’m pretty sure he’s afraid of us.” Sonoma grinned. “We didn’t let him see where we were going anyway. We walked here from the gas station.”

“A-a-afraid?!” Emma didn’t think James would be afraid of anyone, let alone a couple of old people he could just beat up if he felt like it.

“Well, you see, he was in the mood to talk.” Sonoma had a hint of a smile as she said it, like there was some secret involved. “He spent the whole drive talking about you.”

“We might have said a few things about the way he treated you that made him uncomfortable.” Trent had the same secretive smile. “And nothing scares a bully more than the truth.”

“But I’m not so sure he heard most of it. After all, he never hit either of us.” Sonoma gave Trent a worried look.

“Wwow! You r-really do understand!” Emma felt like she’d found kindred spirits. Or better yet. They might even be allies.

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