The Surge: A Series- Chapter 2: Home Now

The Surge: A Series- Chapter 2: Home Now

Keith Carter, Student Contributor

“Honey! I’m home!”

In times like these, laughter was a rarity, something to be cherished, so the small drove of giggling children was always welcome.

There weren’t many of them, seven in total, ranging from the newly-minted preschooler to the seasoned elementary schooler. Annika and Demani were probably hiding out somewhere, being moody tween and teen respectively.

“Okay, settle down!”

Seven sets of sparkling eyes looking to me and the person at my side. They were good kids, quiet and smart and survivors. If I had any say in the matter, they would stay that way.

Keeping yourself alive in these conditions was hellish to begin with, but supporting others on top of that? It was stressful, but the smiles on their faces and the pudge filling back into 7-year-old Charlie’s cheeks was worth it; was worth the guilt of having to kill and scavenge and fight.

They were never alone. I made sure they were well cared for however I could.

“Hey, Michael, do you know where Bea is?” The boy shook a head of controlled curls.

Michael was the oldest of the younger kids, a willowy ten year old with a protective streak that had him always positioned in front of the other kids, and a lisp bad enough to keep him from talking in front of strangers.

The person at my side shifted. This would be easier if Beatrice were around, but her lack of presence wasn’t unexpected.

Bea could be flaky, though she always watched the kids without complaint, but as soon as I came back, anything was fair game. By now, she was probably clustered away in the old clock tower near the library we were holed up in. She wasn’t one for people, even if we had been living in the same space for months.

If Bea wasn’t around, somebody would need to watch the kids while my guest and I spoke with our group’s ‘leader’ of sorts.

A heavy sigh almost escaped me before I remembered that this was no time to show even the slightest weaknesses, especially not to a clan head.

“Alright, who wants to do me a favor?”

Six hands shot into the air like rockets. Michael’s stayed down. Good. He was protection that we might need if anything went wrong.

A child though he may be, Michael was strong, and he was accurate as hell with the dagger I had shown him how to hide in his sleeve.

“Tommy, go grab Demani for me please?” Demani wasn’t a bad kid, he just wasn’t great with kids, but having Annika babysit for even five minutes was a fight waiting to happen. The 13 year old, at least, wouldn’t yell at the kids, though he’d have no clue what to do with them.

Tommy stumbled back into the foyer on short, chubby legs with a wide grin on his face and a weary Demani in tow. He straightened up the moment he noticed the covered figure beside me. I shot him a look of approval.

Demani guided color-clad back away as I lead our guest to the top floor.

Nine knocks to Beethoven’s Fur Elise as a quick pace and the door creaked open. A cascade of golden waves that hid heterochromatic eyes peaked through before the door was flung open on creaking hinges.

Leon was the oldest in our group, 17 years old, and 5 foot, 4 inches. Even though I stood half a foot above him, the hierarchy was clear.

“Nameless.” I looked into one black eye and one green eye. The hooded figure tensed at the sound of my title. “Leave us.”

I turned and stalked from the room.