Friday Night Write time again! One song, 500 words, 48 hours. This time the song prompt was Far from Home by Five Finger Death Punch.
Warning: This is a bit nasty, in an understated sort of way.
I wrote this for the Friday Night Write challenge over at Sweet Banana Ink, but managed to miss the deadline by half an hour. Life, you do have a way of interrupting the creative process, I have to say. I’m posting it anyway, because, really, what else am I going to do.
Fight for him
They came in the afternoon when the sun was still high and the gulls were hovering and plunging over the waves, crying their lonesome cries and stealing one another’s plunder.
We hadn’t planned for the afternoon. They always came in the dark. Always.
Matthew heard them first, the low thunder of the prison buggies as they rolled and bumped along the sand toward our bungalow. He’d been outside on the stepladder screwing the shutters back into place, a task we’d both been procrastinating over since they’d been blown half off in the spring hurricanes. Tiz and I were making music inside, a cacophonic symphony built on layers of voice, an out of tune ukelele and the relentless banging of a wooden spoon against the old stainless steel stew pot. Our voices threaded in and out of the distant call of the seabirds and the steady curses from Matthew as he kept dropping or swallowing the screws he insisted on carrying in his mouth.
The swearing and shutter rattling broke off. I glanced toward the window, waiting for him to start again. Nothing. I put my fingers to Tiz’s lips and grabbed the spoon before it could make contact again with the reverberating pot. He must have sensed something too, because he didn’t object or try to bite my fingers.
And then there was a brilliant flash of sunlight as the front door slammed open, and Matthew was inside.
“Shit,” he said. “Oh, god, shit, Anna, they’re here. Just up the beach. They’ll be here any minute!”
He grabbed my arm and hauled me to my feet, scooping tiny Tiz up in his other arm. “Take him,” he said. “Get into the pit. Now!”
“You too,” I whispered back.
“I can’t. They saw me. They’ll rip this place into slivers if they don’t find anyone in it.” He pulled me close, us close, and there was time to feel the heat of his sun-soaked skin burn into me, to smell his sweat, to kiss his sweet face. And then we were apart, yanking up the trap door, Tiz and I sliding down into the cellar, watching the light blink out as Matthew dropped the door back into place.
We huddled, Tiz and I, in the damp dark, my hand pressed over Tiz’s mouth, his little fingers pulling at my bigger ones, but playfully, like this was the usual game we played when we ehearsed. Matthew was always there when we rehearsed, me and Matthew and Tiz in the chilly dark, playing at silence. The way we’d planned it.
I heard later from Ben the Sandcatcher that there were only two of them. He thought that Matthew was still alive when they carried him out, thought he saw him wave up toward the cliff caves where Ben lives.
We could have handled only two.
I can’t believe I didn’t fight for him.