She climbed over the rocks and pushed herself past the trees as she made her way threw the dark woods. The farther into the woods she went the less light she had to see with. The only thing that she could see was the small green orb that was floating ahead of her. For a moment she turned around to look at the way she came, and thought about going back but the throbbing in her head make her change her mind and kept going forward.
After walking for what seemed hours, the green orb stopped. She slowly walked up to the glowing green light. She stood next to it, the light laminating. She attempted to touch it but it swiftly moved and she followed it again. A few feet away she saw a roaring fire; beside the fire was a small child who was smiling at her. His smile was large, almost deformed looking. His eyes were small and had a head full of dirty blond hair.
She walked up to him, slowly and looked around to see if there was anyone else around him. He didn’t look more the ten years old so there must be someone else with him she thought. “Hello there. My name is Emma. What’s your name?” she asked as she moved herself close enough to the little boy without feeling unsafe. He didn’t answer her question; he only starred at her with the same grin on his face. Emma tried to focus but the constant pounding in her head was making it difficult.
“I…I got into an accident out on the highway. My car flipped over and I am hurt. I was wondering if you had a phone that I could use, is your mom or dad around.” Emma asked kindly. A pop from the open flames gave her a scare. She jumped and when she looked back the young boy was gone. She watched him run towards a large house and into the body of a large, older woman. She was tall, wearing a pink summer dress with a formally white apron and her hair was pulled back into loose bun but it was falling apart. She looked sweaty and dirty and a bit scary.
“Can I help you?” the woman yelled. She didn’t need to yell Emma thought because there wasn’t any sound coming from anywhere else. If anything the woods were too quiet.
“Uh, yes ma’am. My name is Emma Murdock. I crashed my car out on the highway and my cell phone is broken, I was wondering if you had a phone that I could use to call for help.” Emma asked
“Even if your fancy mobile phone wasn’t broken it wouldn’t work out here anyway, no signal for miles. We got a phone…”
Emma was overjoyed. “Oh great!”
“But it’s busted.” Her joy faded with the woman’s words.
“Is there any other place that is close by that might have a working phone?” Emma asked hoping that there would be. She didn’t want to stay and get the evil eye from the old woman and her strange kid.
“No where else for miles. You can stay here for now and in the morning I will send my oldest boy for help. He knows these woods like the back of his hand. Come on in here and have a seat, dinner is almost done. Were having chili, hope you like chili.” The woman turned and walked in, leaving Emma alone in the dark.
She almost left and headed back towards the highway but she didn’t like the dark. She thought if she could just keep herself safe until morning then she could leave and go for help herself. Telling herself that was her plan she hesitantly walked to the front door of the house.
The inside of the house was just as Emma thought it would be like. It was cluttered with papers, boxes and too much furniture. In the corner was a very old black and white tub television. The woman was in the kitchen, cooking and the young boy was setting on the long, dusty sofa that was in front of the television watching something, but it was hard to make out what it was because the picture was scrambled. He didn’t seem to mind because he sat and laughed.
“I’m Susie and that little mistake over there Leroy. He’s a little funny in the head so don’t mind him if he stares at you longer then normal. My oldest is around here somewhere. James!’ she yelled at the top of her lungs.’ How old are you little missy?”
“My James is twenty two.’ She started to turn around back towards the kitchen then stopped,’ you keep your grubby little hands off my James.”
Emma looked at Leroy and thought it was funny that she would ever want to get her ‘grubby little hands’ on James. If he looked anything like his younger brother then Susie didn’t have to worry about anything, not that there was anything to worry about. So far the family who had taken her in for the night was more creepy then helpful and she wouldn’t have taken the help unless she really needed. The pain in her head was starting to dull but Emma wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.
“Uh, can I use the restroom please?” Emma asked. Susie said that it was out back. Emma didn’t think about what she meant when she said ‘out back’. She walked out the door, like Susie had instructed her to do, and walked around to the back of the house. When she wondered around the corner she saw nothing more then an outhouse, a wash pan and a broken piece of mirror. Next to the wash pan was a water pump. “Shit.” Was all that she said to herself as she walked over and took off her hoodie. She started to pump but her arm hurt. She didn’t think anything else besides her head was injured but she must have been wrong.
“Need some I see,’ Emma looked up and saw a tall dark haired boy walk up and grab a hold of up the pump and push it down. Water Spilled out into the metal bowl. When it was full he stopped and looked at her.’ There ya go. I’m James and you are?”
“I’m Emma. I found your place after I flipped my car on the highway. There isn’t anyone around for miles so your mother said that I could stay here for the night.”
“Oh well, it’s nice to meet you Emma. You got a nasty cut on your head. Here let me help ya out.” James said as he took a wash cloth and dipped it in the water. He placed it on her head and the cold water ran down the side of her face.
‘Thank you. It’s better.”
“Good, here give me your arm and were gonna give you a temporary fix for ya.’ He tied a long piece of fabric around her neck and placed her arm in it.’ This way it will at least keep it steady for the most part.” He told her. She thanked him again and they left the back of the house for the front. On the front porch Leroy squatted like a frog and jumped with joy when he saw James. “Hey there little guy!”
“You seem like a good big brother. Your mother said you’re twenty two, that’s a huge age difference.” Emma said.
“Yeah it is but I think having him around helped her out when I left. I went and fought in the war and she was pretty heart broken but having him to care for helped.”
“Where is father your at?”
“Pa left here a long time ago, just after Leroy was born. He left her a note. Said he didn’t wanna take care of another one so after I came back I stayed and helped her. She took care of me all my life and now I’m helping her take care of him. I love her, resent her at times because I feel like I can’t go no where because she won’t, but I have him and he is very important to me.”
“Leroy! James! Emma! Dinner!” Susie yelled from the kitchen. They all walked into the house and to the dinner table. Emma had to admit that although they didn’t seem like a normal family, their dinner time traditions seemed normal. They all sat around the table, took each others hands and prayed. Even though Emma didn’t believe in any god she prayed along with them. They had small talk and after dinner Emma helped clear the table with Susie, who then washed them alone, while James bathed Leroy.
When it was time for bed Susie said her good nights, kissing both of her boys then walked up a set of stairs that were off the kitchen. Emma couldn’t even tell there was a second floor to the house from the outside but it must have been nothing more then a single bedroom because the other went into bedrooms on the first floor. She went with James to put Leroy down. She watched him read him a bed time story, tuck him in tightly and close the door behind him. He then showed her to her room that was across the hall from his.
“Its cleaner then it looks and there aren’t any bedbugs. Good night.” James said before he closed the door behind him.
“Good night.” Emma said as he left. She took off her tennis shoes but wasn’t sure if she wanted to take off her jeans so she didn’t. As soon as her head hit the pillow she was sure that she would be out like a light but she wasn’t. Something was keeping her up she just didn’t know what it was.