You know those thoughts that go through your head when you know something horrible has happened? Well they were absent as I speed down the road. All I can think of is how stupid my brother is and how he could have cost the family the one person we all need. Drawing closer I stop my bike and cut the engine. If anyone is still at the fire they shouldn’t have heard me coming over the roar of the fire and I wanted to see what I was up against before they realized they were not alone.
The closer I got the worse the smell became. Something was burning and it wasn’t animal. A scream rents the air and I know, I know that my Da is in trouble. Moving faster, but still keeping low I almost lose my lunch when I come up on the scene of the fire. My Da is strung up and has been set afire. His legs are engulfed and he’s looking to the side pleading with his eyes. I follow his line of sight and want to scream in anger and betrayal. Xavier stands with a group of young men watching as my father burn with a sick smile on his face. I wish I could kill them all but I don’t have enough bullets. Pulling out my gun I put a silencer on it and say a quick prayer. A single shot and my father slumps over. I get up and run.
Jumping on my bike I kick it into high gear and tear out for the house. Tears run down my face as I see the look on my fathers face when he realized his own son had betrayed him. How could he do that to family? My parents sacrificed living in the safety of a town so that their children would have an inheritance. I am going to kill that fucker one day.
Skidding to a stop I impatiently wait for the small room to pressurize before I rush in to find my family sitting down to dinner. My mom takes one look at my face and hits the floor wailing.
“Mom. I am so sorry there was nothing I could do.” I kneel and gather her into my arms. “I am so sorry.”
“Why? Why? Oh god what am I going to do now?” My mom looks up at me. “I have never been without your father, never.”
“We have to survive mom.” I decided to tell her about the betrayal later, I don’t think she can handle too much now. “Right now we need to move. Remember how Da said if anything happens to him we are to leave here? We need to go.” I stand up and look at my siblings who are in different states of shock. “Get moving. This is an emergency alert. We have two hours to get out of here.” Taking a deep breath I head downstairs to pack my few possessions.
“Jennifer?” Meredieth stands at the door wringing her hands. “Where will we go?”
“I don’t know, honey. First we are going to trade the harvest so we have oil and gas. When we get to the city we can make a decision. Have you packed?”
“Yes. Everyone is by the bus waiting on you. It’s funny, we have lived here all our lives and yet have no real possessions.”
“We have something better, family.” I walk over and give her a hug. “Tell the others to start packing the bus.”
I carry my small possessions to the bus and climb into the drivers seat. Holding back tears I start the engine and listen to it purr. The last time she was started my father was sitting in the drivers seat showing me how to work all the small gadgets he had put in it.
“Jennifer can we start loading.” My brothers voice scares me.
“Yes.” I look at my watch. “We have a little over thirty min to get out of here.”
I watch carefully as everyone starts bringing out the harvest first and then their personal belongings. It pains me to watch my family move out of the place we have known as home. Once everyone is on the bus I drive it a few feet away and set fire to the house and we watch in silence as it goes up in flames.
“Come on lets get moving. They would have seen the fire by now and we need to get as far away as possible.” I wait until everyone is situated before I start it up and pull out onto the dirt road. Signaling to my brother in the lookout I watch as he tosses a fire cocktail into the fields. It will not only burn everything but will make the land unable to be used for at least two years.
As we watch the fire from the rearview mirror I try to picture what the future will be like. We are now without a home and without my Da or Xavier. I know somewhere down the road we are going to come face to face with Xavier again but for now I have become leader of this small band and will have to keep them alive. This journey is going to long and hard, I just hope we all make it to the other side.

 

© 2019 by PAULINA WOODS.