“Father?” Aaron fails to be silent. Audra gets up and takes him aside. The dawn has arrived, the sun can’t be seen but its orange rays can be seen on the sky’s canvas.
“I know it’s hard to face or even understand what’s happening, but we’re the ones who aren’t hurt here. I need your help to keep the two of them alright.” She places her hand on his shoulder, it wasn’t until now that Aaron realised he was taller than Audra. Taking in a short but deep breath he shakes off the peculiar voice in his head and widens his chest with confidence.
“Okay, Audi. We’ll keep them safe, together.” When they return, Lonzo has stopped crying and Randy has gained his consciousness.
“Cannibals… Demons..” He’s only speaking words but Aaron can still feel the pain in them.
“Let’s see if we can find anything in the hall.” Aaron motions Audra, with the only option available they get up and Lonzo carries Randy.
The broken door falls down with a thud after receiving a kick from Aaron, but the insides look worse than the facade. Audra starts her search with the cupboard beside the grandfather’s clock, the grandfather clock is surprisingly in a great shape comparing to the mess around it. Its hands are wide away from each other, pointing at 6. Lonzo lays Randy on the damp ground and follows Aaron deeper in the hall.
Aaron knows they’re not going to find anything but fungus and rodents in here, but that’s not what makes him wish to get out of the hall. It’s the swift moment of leaves outside the window. Initially, he believes it to be an illusion but it happens again, and again, and again and now he’s sure what he’s looking at. The cloaked figures.
“Run!” Audra turns behind instantly as the sound of Aaron’s cry falls on her ears. Her hand, on the contrary, falls on the minute hand of the grandfather clock and it makes a rusty noise.
The queer noise catches Audra’s attention and she tilts her head at the clock while it opens like a door with an unanticipated pop.
“Come here.” Audra signals Lonzo and Aaron, taken aback they look at the hole in the wall that’s now visible.
Without a second thought Lonzo hurries Randy and goes behind him. Aaron stays back until Audra has agreed to step in.
The blindness around Audra is unsettling, her eyes are open. She knows for sure, but the darkness that holds unknown secrets make her feel claustrophobic. That’s when it all comes back to her, a decade ago when she fell down in an open manhole. Struggling to breath in the nauseating stench for an hour, the darkness of night made everything invisible. The stony tube-like tunnel is leading down the earth, similar to the underground sewers. Luckily, a few officers on patrol found her in time and she was saved. But what about now?
When Aaron finally opens his eyes, he doesn’t know how long they were in the tunnel. All he knows is that it was long enough to make the dim light of the new environment hurt his eyes. From what his eyes permit, he sees that Lonzo is attending Randy and Audra is panting.
“You okay?” Audra only nods, without even meeting Aaron’s eyes. Rather than being grateful about the dim setting of the room, she wonders what is the source of light. Struggling to get up, she holds onto the helm of Aaron’s shirt.
“Welcome. Welcome. I’m glad you’re here, Aaron.” A deep lively voice fills in the room. The source of it is unknown. “My friends have left to find you. I didn’t join them, for I knew you’d find a way to us.”
“Find me? Why?” Aaron tilts his head.
“Let your brother return, he’ll answer your questions.”
“Brother? What is happening here? First I’ve a voice in my head telling me that he’s my father and now a brother?”
“Mr. Lehmann?” Lonzo is reminded of Aaron’s foster parents.
“My real dad.” Aaron states with a blank look. The man who welcomed them is changing his gaze from Aaron to Lonzo, failing to fathom what they’re talking about.
“I do not understand. I plee you to wait till your brother returns and explains everything to you.” He gestures them outside the tiny room which Audra finds similar to a garage, only without a car and the regular useless stuff.
“A clean dustfree garage of these creatures.” She mumbles to herself. But what are there creatures?
As they trail their host, Aaron observes the outfit he’s wearing. It’s nothing but a maroon robe that hangs loosely from his shoulder, embellished with gold jewelry all over his body that keeps the robe from flying away. The hallway is lit by yellow orbs attached to the ceiling.
“You must be hungry, the wounds on your friend shall be attended to. If there’s anything else you’re inneed of, please, you’re our guests.” He gestures toward the dining table in the center of a huge living room and takes Randy away with him.
Without any second thoughts Lonzo leaps at the pork and beef in front of him, soon Aaron joins him but Audra is still wary. She wants to know what’s happening, she wants to be enlightened with the truth. This is nothing normal, only that she knows.
“An emppy homach hill get you nowah.” Chewing on the leg of a chicken, Aaron speaks up. If it wasn’t his childish manner of speaking she would had missed a chance to taste the delicous warm soup.
“Leave something for me, fatass.” Randy sits beside Lonzo and has a go over what looks like a bird’s wings.
“How on earth are you okay?” Audra’s eyebrows go high on the sight of Randy without his nasty scar.
“These people, I don’t know what they are. I closed my eyes due to the painful feeling I got when they applied something over the cut and when I opened my eyes again.” He dramatically makes an animated hand gesture. “Poof. I’m as good as ever.”
A huge eagle flies and sits at the center chair of the long table, grabbing everyone’s attnetion.
“Aaron. It’s time for an explanation, your brother has arrived.” Dubious of the maroon-robe’s sanity he looks back at the eagle but there isn’t one.
There’s a naked man being attended by two pretty ladies.
“Missed me, dear brother?”
©The Honest Fabler
©Cover Credits- Pinterest, Flickr