Read The Lynnie Russell Trilogy Online

Authors: R. M. Gilmore

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Mythology & Folk Tales, #Teen & Young Adult, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Paranormal & Urban, #Fairy Tales

The Lynnie Russell Trilogy (10 page)

BOOK: The Lynnie Russell Trilogy
10.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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I couldn’t get to the truck fast enough. I knew if I stayed there any longer I’d never leave. Also, if I didn’t get my butt home I’d lose my nerve and never go back. The idea was not out of the question quite yet.

 

 

 

 

Home Again, Home Again

 

It was only a ten minute drive back home, not long enough at all. I tried to get my thoughts together. Tried to figure out how I’d get on with Garret from here on out. Ok, I was trying to come up with a damn good lie, but I did need to figure out how to live my life, become that stupid beast, and not kill anyone I loved along the way. There was no way I was going to do that in the eight hours I had left before I had to go back to my spot in the woods.

 

Before I knew it, I was headed up the gravel drive that takes you to Garret’s place. There was no avoiding him after that. He was sitting out on the porch with Hattie and mama.

 

“Damn it.” I said to myself wanting to turn around and head back the way I came.

 

They all stood up on the porch and watched my truck come closer. Before I could even put the brakes on, Garret was off the steps and opening my door.

 

“Well, Garret, lemme get the damn thing parked.” I could barely get the words out since he was leaning over the top of me unstrapping my seatbelt.

 

“Where the hell have you been?” He pulled me off my seat and damn near carried me away from the truck. Just the toes of my boots drug across the dirt.

 

I couldn’t really see over my brother’s shoulder, but I swear I saw Hattie take the keys out of the ignition.

 

Did they really think I was gonna run off? I bet they did. Could I blame them? Nope. Not one bit. Was I gonna get those key back? You bet your ass.

 

“Can you put me down?” I asked.

 

“Where have you been? Lynn, I been so worried. We all have.” He let me go and I slid down until my feet hit the wood porch. “Hattie and me looked all over the woods for you. We called the sheriff. He said he couldn’t do nothin’ ‘til you was gone a few days. Said you probably just needed some time away after what happened with…” He couldn’t say his name. I wanted to tell him everything. Tell him that Rusty came to me twice, that he was ok, that I thought he was some kind of angel or something. I couldn’t tell him. Not now. Not with mama and Hattie right here. “I called mama.” He looked at me with a face that told me he knew that was stupid and I wasn’t gonna be happy about it. I wasn’t

 

“I see that.” I said, looking over at my mama then back to my idiot brother. “I’m fine. Just needed away. Went to nanny’s this morning. I’m feelin’ a lot better now.” I smiled and patted him on the shoulder.

 

I’d thought of a million lies to tell him that weren’t half as good as the answer he’d already accepted as the truth. I rolled with it. Just needed away. In some ways that was true. Sort of.

 

“Carolynn, baby, where’d you run off to?” My mama was talking to me from the end of the steps.

 

“Where you been mama?” I asked, not really looking at my mother.

 

“Oh, you know, I was out.” She looked down at her painted toes peeking out of her sandals. “I’m so sorry I wasn’t there for you. No body called to tell me you was in the hospital.” She shot Garret a look that would have sent him running from a switch to his hind end fifteen years ago. He still flinched a little.

 

“Out.” I nodded my head. I knew what she meant. I love my mama, but she had what some people call issues. She had love issues. She needed a lot of it and my daddy didn’t give her enough of it. “I was out too.” I shrugged my shoulders. I don’t like my daddy all that much, but I’m a believer in marriage and all that that entails.

 

Mama met me on the steps and gave me a tight hug. She loved me, I know she did, she just seriously disappointed me. I’m sure if I’d stayed home with her she wouldn’t be this bad about running about. Since I moved out, it’d gotten worse.

 

“Thanks for comin’ out mama, but I’m fine. Honest. I just wanna lay down and rest a while. Maybe eat somethin’.” I pulled away from the hug and tried not to let the image of poor Percy Glendon enter my head.

 

“Oh, Lynn, I got dinner on the stove. Kept it hot for you.” Garret sounded like a little kid he was so excited to have me home.

 

“I love you Lynnie. I love you more than I could ever tell you. Why you livin’ out here with your brother? Come on back home where you’re safe. Where I can keep an eye on you.”

 

I was waiting for that. I knew if she caught wind of the poop storm she’d wanna drag me home. I moved out to get away from her. I couldn’t tell her that, but that was the truth.

 

“I’m fine here mama. Garret takes care of me ok. And if I’m not here who’s gonna clean this trash heap?” I smiled at her and went back up the steps to stand with my brother.

 

Hattie was sitting on the porch swing watching my family fight nicely over my safe keeping. She’d been doing that for years. Nothing new to her.

 

“She’s fine mama. Just scared is all. It weren’t nobody’s fault but that damn animal that attacked ‘em. She’s lucky she’s alive. Could’ve happened to anybody.”  Garret ignorantly came to my defense.

 

“I’m fine. I’ll be by next week for dinner. I really just wanna go to bed.” I felt bad sending my mama away, but she was the last person I needed to handle at that moment. I figured after a few days of getting used to becoming that thing I’d have a better handle on life. Maybe even get to actually live it.

 

“Fine. Fine. I’ll be gone.” She shook her head like she wasn’t happy about leaving without me. She turned to leave but stopped and looked at me. “Happy birthday, Lynn. I know it’s a bit late, but I brought you something.” She pulled out a small bag made of flour sack. “Should keep you safe.”

 

I pulled on the brittle drawstrings and the bag opened up. Inside was a black jagged stone wrapped in silver wire that hung on a black string of leather.

 

“A necklace? It’s pretty. You didn’t have to buy me nothing mama.” I liked the necklace, but it didn’t seem like something my mama would give me. Seemed like something you might find over at Mama Lee’s shop, Cauldron Bubbles.

 

“Of course I did. And I didn’t buy it. It’s kind of a hand-me-down. Been holding on to it for your twentieth birthday. It’s from all your nanny’s and your mama. To keep your soul about you.” She leaned forward and kissed my forehead. “Bye, Lynn.”

 

Mama was walking back to her car by the time my brain told my mouth to call out to her. She’d said the same thing nanny did. She’d told me to keep my soul about me.

 

“Mama, what’ya mean? Mama!” I called out to her and ran out to her car. She was in the seat and buckled by the time I got there. “What’ya mean, keep my soul? What does that mean?”

 

“Just an old saying my granny Ellie used to say. It sounded a helleva lot better in her Irish accent, but still has the same meaning in my southern one. Means don’t lose yourself along the way. Keep your soul about you, it’s all you got and in the end it’s all that matters.” She started the car. “I love you baby. Keep that close to you.” She nodded her head at the stone hanging from my clenched fist.

 

I stood there in the gravel drive and watched my mother drive away from me. Her white car shined in the bright afternoon sun.

 

“Why is everybody so damned concerned with my soul? Folks should be more worried ‘bout my body at this point.” I was talking out loud to myself like a crazy person.

 

“I’m worried ‘bout both, Lynn.” Hattie scared the piss out of me when she stuck up behind me and started talking.

 

“Hattie, how long you been there?”

 

“Long enough to watch you feel sad over your mama and talk to yourself. You look terrible.”

 

“Thanks.” I turned around and started walking back to the house.

 

“It’s the truth. How long since you had a proper bath?” She kicked at the gravel with the toes of her shoes walking next to me.

 

“Feels like a hundred years.”

 

“Looks like it too. Is that blood in your hair?”

 

Oh, shit. “Umm, no, no, must be ketchup or something. Listen, thanks for comin’ out, but…”

 

“Your fine?” She scoffed at me. “You ain’t fine. You’re ‘bout as fine as a cat in a snare. I don’t know what kinda mess you’re in, but you better get yourself out of it. You brother’s half gone crazy over you and he’s taking me with him. He won’t talk about Rusty, but I will. I’m sad, we all are. Hate to think how you feel.”

 

“He told me he loved me.”  I said out of nowhere.

 

“He did?” I nodded. “Wondering how long it’d take him.”

 

“What?”

 

“Oh Lynnie you know he’s been in love with you for years.” She said it like she really meant that.

 

“There’s no way. He was always an ass…” I wondered how many people knew about Rusty. And how many thought I was a damn fool for not noticing.

 

“You must be as dumb as you are filthy. Rusty Kemp would’ve done damn near anything for you. Hell, he might’ve even di…” She stopped right there. She knew he did do anything for me. He even died for me.

 

Hattie and I didn’t talk anymore while we walked back to the house. Garret was sitting on the top step holding a beer. He’d been looking down at the toes of his boots when we walked up.

 

“I’m gonna head on home.” Hattie said.

 

Garret’s eyes lit up when he looked up at her. He stood up and said, “Al’ight, thanks for comin’ out. I really ‘preciate it.” He leaned in and gave her a hug.

 

He’d known Hattie for years so it wasn’t nothing new to see them hug. But this hug was different than any other hug Hattie had ever gotten from my brother.

 

I smiled wide inside seeing my brother hold a woman the way he held Hattie right then. Something in me lightened a bit knowing there was a possibility that if something happened to me, my brother had someone to keep him on this earth. A sadness over took that feeling when I realized I didn’t have that. If I ever lost Garret, if I ever did something to him, I had no one. The one person who might’ve been there is dead. Dead because I killed him.

 

“Bye Hattie.” I waved at my friend while I passed the two on the porch hoping they didn’t catch the crack in my voice. I was done watching people be happy. I went inside to wash the stink off me and sulk about my horrible misfortune.

 

The bath water was running when I finally heard the screen door open and slam shut. I walked out of the bathroom in my pink fuzzy robe to find Garret standing square in the middle of our living room staring at nothing. He looked lost. My guess is he probably was.

 

“Hungry?” Garret asked.

 

“I’ll have a bite. Just looking to get clean and get some sleep.” Felt awkward saying I was gonna sleep in the middle of the afternoon, but I knew it’d be my last chance to get a little sleep before night came to take me.

 

In the kitchen Garret had a meatloaf and bread and butter out on the table. It smelled good. And I was hungry. But I knew that wouldn’t taste too good when I threw it up during my change later.

 

“You been out drinkin’?” He asked in the silence.

 

“Don’t I wish.” I smiled and took a bite of Garret’s meatloaf. It tasted like mine. He must’ve actually used my recipe box I leave on the counter.

 

“You’re not gonna tell me where you been are ya?” He hadn’t taken his eyes of me much, it made me feel a little uncomfortable to have him staring at me. Worried me that he might see something in me that wasn’t there before.

 

“No on your life. Good meatloaf, brother.”

 

“You scared me half to death.” He sat in front of a plate full of food but never touched it.

 

“I can handle myself, trust me. You don’t have’ta worry ‘bout nothin’.” I smiled with a mouth full of food. He wasn’t happy but he got the hint that I was gonna tell him anything and gave up.

 

We made small talk for a bit, eating our meatloaf at the ugly yellow Formica table we’d bought at a yard sale. After a good five minutes I remembered my bath.

 

“I better go turn off the water before you have to build an arc.” He was laughing a little when I walked away.

 

I soaked in the tub for a long time. It felt like I’d never get all the blood from under my nails. I made sure to wash my hair twice, too.

 

I snuck into my room in my fuzzy pink robe and bare feet. I didn’t want to talk to Garret anymore for a while. Also, he needed to think I was asleep if I was gonna sneak out to change.

 

The light was starting to move across the sky outside. Garret had cleaned up all the broken glass for me and fixed up the window with clear vinyl until the new window came in at the hardware store. He’d stuck it up with Velcro so I could open and close it pretty easily. Let some air in, I bet he was thinking. Let the beast out is more like it.

 

I was layin’ in my bed, my wet hair soaking through my pillow. I tried not to think about anyone or anything. Just lie there and let my body and mind stop for a while. After a few minutes I got restless. I pulled the black stone necklace from my pocket and pulled it over my head. The little bag it was in looked like something my nana would’ve made. Just simple squares of cloth stitched together to form a purse.

 

Inside too was a piece of fabric so ratty I could almost see through it and with ink so old it looked the color of dried blood. Written on it was a funny little saying.

 

“By the Moon, power in thee, this stone charged in protection be. Who wishes harm render still, not spoil a soul nor bid thy will. Hear my plea on this night; impart protection on this bearer of fight. By these words power shone, grant your guard upon this stone. Wholly in power and divinity, by these words so mote it be.” I read out loud.

BOOK: The Lynnie Russell Trilogy
10.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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