I feel a cold chill run down my spine as I examine the blood smeared on the otherwise clean tile floor. It continues through the back door. I look up, to the open door at the back of the deli. My hands tremble as they search around in my pocket. My shaking fingers wrap themselves around the blade. I take it out. Slowly, I stagger to the door.
Please, God, no.
I place my hand on the door and lightly push it. A repulsive stench fills my nose.
There must be a dumpster or something.
There, outside the deli, is a dumpster and a man pulling something out of the head of another man. A knife. I recognize the tall man. Ethan.
Standing there in shock, I watch as Ethan stuffs the small knife back into his pocket, picks up his victim, and throws him over his shoulder. It’s Jim. I lower my knife.
With a loud grunt, he throws him into the rusty dumpster. My heart sinks as I watch. Even though he was a Turner, he didn’t have to treat his body like that. I try to swallow the glob in my throat, but it stayed.
Ethan turns around. His eyes widen when they land on my small figure cowering behind the door.
“Why are you here again?” he asks and looks back to the dumpster that now holds the body of Jim.
I breathe out and step out boldly.
“Quite a funeral,” I retort, straightening my shoulders a little.
“Well I was going to bury him, but I don’t have the time,” Ethan shoots back, challenging me. He really is annoying.
“What’s the rush?” I ask, crossing my arms.
“I have other family members to tend to. Ones that are alive,” he mutters. He pushes past me and struts through the door.
“What do you mean, other family members?” I ask, turning to face him, “Jim was a family member?”
He just nods and grabs a loaf of bread from my pant pocket. I blush at the sudden action and step back. Ethan rips a piece from the end and stuffs it into his mouth.
“Why did you have to kill him like that?” I ask, trying to control my wavering voice.
A creepy smile spreads across his face, “He was attacking you.”
“But you could of just, I don’t know, pulled him off of me,” I mumble as I shrug.
“Well that’s what you gotta do now. Someone else might walk into this deli and he might come. And I won’t be there to help them,” he says through his teeth. His azure eyes harden as they stare into mine.
“You killed your own uncle,” I mutter under my breath. He sighs.
“He’s not my uncle anymore.”
I stop asking questions.
“Want some?” he gestures to the bread.
After giving me a fraction of it, he puts into his large pocket.
“Hey! That’s mine-“ I shout, before he interrupts me.
“No, my dear, it’s ours,” he says, rolling the r’s.
I scowl at him. He’s amused.
“What do you mean?” I say.
“You’re one of us, now.”
I chuckle. But then I remember: This is the chance.
I grin at him, “You’re not very good at invitations.”
He returns the grin, “Well..”
After collecting some more staple foods, we slog out into the November wind. Everything is so peaceful as we walk to this house he speaks of. Part of me wishes to go back to my comfy house, but I know, deep in my mind, that that is ridiculous. I need more stable security.
“So how many people are with you?” I ask, kicking a pebble off the road.
Ethan looks down at me, “Four.”
“Who are they?” I inquire.
“Just a girl, a man, and my two parents,” he replies.
I nod and ask, “How old is the girl?”
“Older than you. But then again, I really don’t know how old you are. Thirteen?” he smirks at me.
I scowl at him again, "Sixteen, actually."
“I’m eighteen,” he says quietly and slowly, as if he was calculating the difference between our ages in his mind.
I nod, “Cool.”
Another awkward pause. He runs his red-stained hand through his messy hair. I cross my arms.
“How did you all end up together?”, I say automatically. The silence was bothering me.
He takes a moment to respond. “The girl’s parents died. I found her in the deli, just like you. She’s kind of crazy.”
I shudder at his response. Her parents were killed? Just like me?
“The man lost his family and was searching all around the neighborhood,” he says.
I stop walking, “What? He was searching all around the neighborhood?”
“Yeah, why?”, Ethan’s eyes search my face.
“Because my house was broken into, at five in the morning today,” I look at him, feeling sick.
“Oh yeah, he left this morning to ‘search for them.’ He’s insane,” he says softly.
I nod, reassured by his words.
“I just got scared,” I admit.
“We all do,” he says quietly. His hand travels up to my back, where they rub. He looks into my eyes, searching them.
I feel my cheeks burn after the small moment of sweetness and look down. Ethan blushes and turns away quickly.