Chapter 5:

Plants and Deranged Saviors


“Hold on, George, I’m coming!”

He snatched her machete, bolted through their garage with reckless abandon, vaulted over their high gate to do a flip—failed to do the flip, crashed into the rocky ground, and rolled over like a beaten dog in front of their house. All that…

He did all that to save a potted plant, a little cactus.

What the fuck is happening?

Her brows furrowed as she stretched her arms, almost shouting to follow that man’s trail, but her body turned cold. She stepped back and hugged herself. Shivering, her eyes fell over her bare shoulder and spiraled into the dead monster in the living room. Dead. That’s right. Everyone should be dead. She’s free now, and nothing could hurt her anymore.

She could protect herself. She already did. That old man stole her weapon, but she could very much use it right now. Her legs trembled. Her attention went back to her house. Maybe someone else in there could take her in.

She blinked in deep thought.

Right. They’re dead, finally.

She shut her eyes and ran outside to follow that old man’s lead. She gave herself the courage to run, escape, vault over that fence—bash her head against that metal gate since she didn’t know when to jump. She fell to the ground and tried not to whimper.

She knew it. She’s going to die.

“It's time, George!”

But her fragile attempt in acrobatics was enough to distract them.

The old man jumped on his feet with a babied cactus cupped by his left hand. His movements were as sharp as the high-pitched ripping scream of his joints to stop. He swung his club, blew a whisper, and followed a seemingly straight white line that cut through the head of one dumbfounded monster.

He showed his cactus to his next opponent.

The monster stopped and looked at that old man, confused. It might be magic, different from hers. It was as though time stood still until that old guy kicked that monster’s balls and sank her machete deep into its skull.

She shook her head and opened the gate without a word.

“God. Good Job, George. You kept them at bay,” the man petted his little cactus with a relieved smile. “and everything is okay now.”

He’s wheezing. Sweat trickled down his dirt-ridden face. It stained his deranged smile and strained eyes, but this man was probably good. Still, it would be easy for her to kill him now, but maybe...

“So,” she forced a smile. “is t-this George?”

This man believed what he’s saying.

She clicked her tongue, looked away, and thinned her lips to breathe. She pressed her hand against the place where this old man comforted her. She didn’t hate it.

He showed the potted cactus to her.

“Well, he’s pretty shy but…”

For a moment, it seemed to be alive. It greeted her with a kind smile. It was getting ridiculous. She scoffed, but she found this little plant to be beaming when her gaze returned. She waved at it. Her guarded expression softened, but she did her best to keep her face straight.

“Nice to meet you, little man,” she blinked and turned to that old guy. “I also didn’t get your name, Sir.”

“It’s Enteng.”

For a moment, her smile felt genuine, but she stepped back and cleared her throat. “Right. You’re that old man… Anyway, I’m Enang, in case you didn’t know. We moved in here from somewhere, and I’ve been living here since I was a kid...”


“You knew?”

“Nah,” he replied with a carefree honest smile. “I really didn’t care about my neighbors. But it’s not safe here anymore. You can come with me and meet up with Uncle.”

He gets to not die by her hand, but Enang nodded and swore internally that she would cry if this man introduced her to another plant. 

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