Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Wednesday Briefs: Super Trooper #36 (8.3)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

While out with Evan at Partners, Chan receives word that his parents have been killed in an accident. Devastated, he's frantic to find out what has happened to his siblings. See what's going on in this week's chapter of Super Trooper. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Super Trooper #36 (8.3)

“I don’t know where to look for them,” Chan confessed as they exited the emergency room. He held tightly to Evan’s hand, afraid if he let go, something bad might happen to him too. And he knew he couldn’t handle that… The children… The words began to beat a refrain into his head.  He had to find the children.

“Don’t worry, we’ll find them.” Evan’s voice was soothing and reassuring. “They would have mentioned if they were there, so they must be somewhere else, safe and sound.”

Chan prayed that was true.

When they reached his cruiser, Evan let him into the passenger side. But before Chan could slide into the seat, Evan enveloped him in a warm hug. He rubbed circles against Chan’s back, murmuring soft endearments, before he released him and rounded the vehicle to enter the driver’s side.

It occurred to Chan belatedly that his siblings had their own phones. Well, two of them did. Madhu wasn’t even three, naturally she didn’t have one. But he couldn’t very well phone either Laksha or Kamal and ask where they were. That would be very suspicious. Not to mention, he didn’t trust his voice not to sound panicky. If they didn’t know what had happened, which was likely, he didn’t want to tell them over the phone.

At first oblivious to his surroundings, he suddenly realized where they were when he recognized his parents’ subdivision. That actually made sense to check for the children at the house. If his parents had gone out for the evening, they might have engaged a babysitter, perhaps one of the teen-aged girls who lived in the neighborhood.  His theory was confirmed when they arrived to find lights on inside the house. He could make out the flickering lights of the television screen.  Someone had to be there. His maa was a stickler for making sure the television was off when no one was home.

Thank goodness they’d found them.

Chan breathed a huge sigh of relief, but the next moment, his anxiety meter rose even higher. “What am I to tell them?” He turned plaintive eyes toward Evan.

* * * *

Evan was trying to maintain a professional demeanor. He had to in order to keep Chan from falling apart. But it was hard not to get emotional while bearing witness to Chan’s suffering. He knew the ordeal was just beginning. But no matter what, he would help Chan and the little ones through it to the best of his ability.

“The truth,” he replied to Chan’s question. The truth was always best. Although they would have to watch just how much they told them. They were very young, after all, and didn’t need all the details. Pausing on their way up the sidewalk, he searched Chan’s wide mocha eyes, trying to gauge how much he could handle, seeing the pain there, the uncertainty. Squeezing Chan’s hand, he knew what he had to do.

“We’ll tell them together,” he said.

“Thank you.” Chan’s voice shook with emotion. He clutched at Evan’s hand as though it was a lifeline. “I know there are things that need to be done, but I don’t know…”

“I’ll help you take care of them, don’t worry.” The funeral home would have to be called so they could pick up the bodies. They would have to make arrangements for the funeral or whatever Chan chose to do. That could wait until tomorrow. Right now, they had to tell three children they’d just become orphans.

With his free hand, Evan brushed back a lock of unruly hair that had fallen across Chan’s forehead. “I love you,” he said. “Just remember that I’m here for you.”

“I love you too,” Chan replied. A ghost of a smile flitted across his lips. “C’mon, let’s go.”

Approaching the front door together, Chan knocked. Moments later, they found themselves face to face with a surprised-looking teenage girl.

“Did you forget your… oh, Chan, it’s you. They’re not home yet. I thought you were them.” She stifled a yawn. “Sorry, long day. Oh, won’t you come in?” She stood aside to admit them.

“Are the children still up, Mandy?” Chan asked, not moving.

“Laksha and I are watching television. Madhu’s been in bed for a long time. Kamal went a little while ago, but I suspect he’s texting his friends under the covers.” The young teen grinned. “He thinks he has me fooled, but he really doesn’t. His mother said he can stay up as long as he does it quietly.” She glanced curiously at Evan.

“Why don’t you go on home, I’ll take over,” Chan suggested.

The girl seemed hesitant to go, then nodded. “They can pay me tomorrow, no problem.”

Payment had never occurred to Evan, but then he’d never been in a position where he needed to hire a babysitter, either. “How much?” He reached for his wallet before Chan could reply, and when she mentioned a figure, he pulled out a few bills and handed them to her.

“Thank you,” she said, glancing between the two men. “Is everything okay?”

Chan shook his head. “No, it’s not. I… I can’t talk about it right now, all right? Would you like one of us to walk you home?”

“Oh no, I’m fine. We’re just down the street, you know.”

When Evan offered a second time, she declined again. “Really, it’s fine. I’m just going to grab my stuff and go.” She walked back into the house and they followed, closing the door behind them.

Laksha sat in the living room, eyes glued to the television, as they walked in. Mandy gathered her purse and books. “I’m heading out, now. See you later, Laksha.”

“Night, Mandy.” The young girl waited until the babysitter was out of sight before turning to her brother.

“Chan, what is wrong?”

 to be continued

Now go see what's happening with the other Briefers!

Cia Nordwell

J Alan Veerkamp


No comments:

Post a Comment