“So, let me get this straight. People are coming.”
Joey nodded at Enang, looked at the people behind him, and mustered a confident smile akin to a door-to-door salesman. “Monsters.” He corrected her, leaned forward, and widened his innocent grin while awaiting her reply.
This was dangerous. Enang looked at George for solace. She didn’t care about the other group of men or women outside that seemed to railroad this man’s words and decisions, but he had a nice tone if she had to admit something.
Please, let him be normal.
She turned to George for help. This was the best and shittiest feeling ever. She’d been violated, tainted. She couldn’t marry a nice rich guy and live in a townhouse with three or four of their children anymore. But it seemed like she was forgetting something.
“Yeah.” Yet she couldn’t let that feeling show. “Monsters.”
“You seem to forget, Sis, that we’re fighting monsters.”
And there’s this smug-looking fucker. Her eyes fell on George. She felt a bit of peace by imagining his therapeutic prickly skin, but it was drained the moment she realized that she left this person hanging. She turned to Uncle with her eyes falling back to George.
“What are you doing, bro?”
“Nothing,” Uncle winked.“Sis.”
Enang shivered—not in disgust, probably, but to suppress her violent tendencies to bully a little man that thinks he’s a big-shot gamer. Her lips twitched. She looked at George again to get high on that peace and gave Joey a confused glare.
“As you said, monsters are coming, and that they followed your trail.”
“We were able to…” He looked at the people behind him, nodded, and turned to Enang, pouting to articulate his words. “I was able to lead these people here.” He grinned. “It seemed that we were… The group I’ve led proved too strong for them to handle, so it seems that those monsters gathered and are following us.”
“Are you sure about this?”
“Yeah.” He looked back at his group, to Enteng, to Uncle, to George and her. “I think so.”
“Ding. You’ve been persuaded,” Uncle followed with a robotic tone. He blinked, parted his mouth, nodded, and smiled at everyone. “Wow,” his eyes shone with amazement. “That’s a very convincing reason.”
Joey furrowed his brows as he looked at Enang. “Is there someone wrong with him?”
“No,” Enteng interjected. “Not at all.”
Joey didn’t say anything more, looked at the cactus in front of him, and then to Enang.
“Yeah… t-there’s nothing wrong with him.” Enang clicked her tongue. “And you’re being followed?”
“Yes. I believe we are.”
“And you spent how many minutes unlocking the door at the back?”
Joey clapped, popped a breath, and licked his thinned lips. He narrowed his eyes as though to recall a very difficult time. He, too, might’ve overlooked something. “Ten—twenty minutes?”
“Forty. I think it’s forty.”
“What the fuck?”
“We spent half the time contemplating on whether we should unlock it or not since we figured that there were people inside. We used a few more minutes to figure out who should do the job, which, in the end, I did because the others decided that I could do it, and I could definitely pull it off—I’m not lying. Then, I scrambled to remember those movies that I watched at my neighbor’s house through the window where I imagined what they were saying because back then, I didn’t understand English and there were no subtitles, and that’s to say if I could even hear them. That being said, I saw one guy pick a lock with a hairpin—I didn’t find a hairpin, but I was able to find a thin wire that could probably do the job, except that I could do it since it’s me. The next would be how to unlock it if it was locked—”
Enang’s outstretched, begging, eyes fell on Enteng. Enteng breathed long and slowly retreated at the back of his chair. He crossed his arms.
“I know of this,” Uncle raised a finger and proclaimed with a smug grin.“It’s to establish despair, to give that bit of hope to the enemy, only to have them try and fail.”
“What he said,” Enteng bopped his head with pride. “and George.”
“T-that seems about right, yeah.”
Enang and Joey said the same thing. There was silence. Joey fell to the back of his chair to relax, and Enang jumped from her seat to search for her machete, praying to Mama Mary that maybe there’s some kind of way that the heavens would close their eyes and overlook murder—for once.
“Oh, fuck you…” Enang stretched her words and pointed at Joey. “Did you just agree with me?”
Joey tilted his head. “Yes?”
“Is she okay?” Joey looked at Enteng and Uncle.
Both of them shrugged.
“I am not getting kicked out from the trio.”
Joey pouted and raised his brow. “What?”
“You’re stealing my thing.”
“Shut the fuck up.” Enang snatched George from the table and showed it to Joey. “Now,” she gritted her teeth. “tell me what this is.”
“I don’t feel comfortable with you referring to George as a ‘thing.’”
She wanted to scream like a depressed vocalist of a local metal rock band, but she coudn’t. Not in front of this old man, to this idiot piece of shit gamer, or this new smug piece of shit, or anything in front of a crowd. She’s weak. She’s helpless. And she’s free to panic as she wished.
Enang glared at Enteng, begging. She’s holding a cactus in front of a man she knew minutes ago like it was a gun. This was it. She shook her head, trying to stifle a laugh as a single tear dropped down her cheek. She’s fighting her place in a group where one is a gamer, and the other is an old man that befriended a cactus.
“Let me do this… sir.”
“What do you think of this cactus?” Enang screamed at Joey’s face. “Tell me what the fuck is this.”
Uncle jumped on his feet. “Watch your mouth!”
“This is a test.”
Joey veered away from Enang’s glare and looked at the cactus. “I think it’s fine. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it, and it looks cheerful.”
He’s right. George was a wonderful cactus that’d been there during her time of need. There’s no way that she could deny this.
“Comrade!” Uncle screamed in victory and gestured at the space in front of him. “I’ll send you an invite, so just accept and you’ll be a part of our party.”
Joey gave them a pure smile and nodded.
“Fuck...” Enang whispered.
A scream then came. All of their eyes fell on the other people waiting outside. They were looking at something. They were trembling. They raised their weapons as though to fight, and the air whistled. Rods. A rain of stone spears skewered their bodies to have them gurgle through their last breaths like a beatboxer taking their tongue out, leaving the rest who survived to clamor into the safety of Uncle’s house.
So, that’s what they were forgetting.
Enang and Joey whispered. They looked at each other. Enang groaned, and her eyes fell instinctively on George.