” …Don’t turn me home again, I just cant face myself alone again…”
She turned to face herself in the mirror next to the door. She wished hers was not the only face she saw, that she wasn’t alone. A quick glance at the door showed that the two deadbolts and the door handle were all locked. This would be confusing for Him, if He was alone. A Big If.
On His last attempt at infiltration, deep in Tennessee, He brought the buttery blonde woman. The safe house was set with the usual props supplied to everyone in the alliance. An American flag flying in the breeze next to the front door, the NRA badge stuck to the window next to it, and a blue paper pansy with a white tag hanging from the rearview mirror of the old Ford that sat on blocks in the driveway.
A few glasses of sweet tea and many bites of butter cookies later, they were off the scent and on their way ,stepping down the concrete block steps that led to the dirt path. Neither one of them noticed the bag of colorful candy in the kitchen window, propped against the Hummel figurine holding the umbrella.
Rob had done a good job. Mary hoped she would be so lucky, but doubted it. After all, she was the one in possession of the box.
It had all started simply enough. Sitting down in front of the screen, hoping that the nights cobwebs would be wiped away and that her coffee would somehow taste better. It was habit, really, that brought her there most every morning. The inner autopilot that guides us all to our safe place.
But it was more than that. Although they were different in a multitude of ways, many of the people she talked to held one commonality. The idea that hearing from people outside of their echo chamber could bring them closer to understanding their fellow man, that propaganda legitimized under a banner of The Truth was dangerous and that there was one person in this venue who was leading this particular charge.
Something was very wrong here.
At first their messages were in cautious agreement. After time many realized that there were some outliers in the group. Professed fence sitters, casual conformists, and some who were staunch supporters of the latest pseudo-outrage, and they were note takers all. Unfortunately, for those who were committed to the project, they didn’t figure that out quite soon enough.
When the meetings began, they could only be regional. The detectives were a close team, but the miles between them dictated that their shared interests would need to be handled by whichever one of them was closest to the scene. There were one too many flights from Texas that left the Bear’s fellow travelers ripping their fingernails into the seat rests.
Mary had hosted two small meetings at her apartment while located in DC, but they hadn’t gone well. Her directions were horrible, the air conditioning only worked in one room and the coffee was practically undrinkable. The few attendees couldn’t agree upon anything. One wanted to protest at the studios, another wanted to expose a few of the many who had questionable pasts and yet another had attended expecting something different. Each of them, it seemed, had their own particular axe to grind.
So, in the beginning, there were a few restless souls looking to make their world a better place.
Mary stepped back from the mirror and turned to look at the stack of boxes against the wall behind her.A very worn microwave box, a Budweiser case and a Skinny Girl wine box leaned against the wall with three aluminum poles propped against them. There would be no way to get to the box without making noise. Stupid.
Thinking that she still had time, she broke her own gaze in the mirror and ran towards the kitchen. Her right hand instinctively went to the back of the waistband of her jeans.
She wanted to check the kitchen window. The curtains were a beige opaque material that would hide her nicely since the only light in the house was the floor lamp behind the door in the living room. It had started drizzling a few minutes ago, but she thought she could still see out.
If it was Him, so be it. There was always the chance that she could buy herself more time, the chance to finish the set up. In all that she had seen in life, since The Wars, since the senseless loss of so many innocents, she knew that Hope was the one thing that could get through. Hope was really all that any of them had.
As her bare right foot struck the moulding of the kitchen door frame, she bit into her tongue once again. This time she could feel the cut she made and remembered her dislike for the taste of copper. The windows were on the left hand wall and it would have been a straight shot were it not for the boxes of tile and tubs of grout in her way. Now , with her foot screaming, she would have to do a dance.
Stumbling through, avoiding the rough patches on the floor, the only thing that came to her mind was how much she disliked the tiles.
“Who thinks lime green seashells are a thing?”