We're headed off to spend the day with Gary's relatives to celebrate his 50th birthday a few days early. Gary is only somewhat aware of why we're going there. For his sake, I'm pleased that they want to do this. He deserves to be celebrated.
Visits with the in laws are often a challenge, largely because we are (by comparison only) the "poor relations" and this sometimes leaves Gary feeling like he missed the mark--which couldn't be further from the truth. However, this time I think I have our bases covered--everyone has had a hair cut, they all have decent clothes, Gary has new glasses (that make him look even more distinguished and handsome), is currently clean-shaven, and the mini-van has been cleaned inside and out. So while we haven't been to Hawaii or Europe, neither are we sporting the earmarks of poverty. Now all we have to do is steer away from such controversial topics as: homeschooling, Gary's job, money, politics, religion, child rearing, and the general state of the universe and we're home free.
As I am on a diet, I will be unable to imbibe myself into a two drink-sleepy-silence, so I suppose I will just have to weather the fun in a sober state.
Meanwhile-- speaking of weathering things--
Six creepers emerged from the shadow of the fence and charged them and for just a second the Boy hesitated. The essence of every nightmare he’d ever had was flying toward him in all their blackness, fangs extended, claws outstretched, shrieking his name.
The Visitor saw him pause and flew ahead to intercept the mob. He leaped and sank his teeth into the neck of the nearest Creeper and dragged it to the ground as it hacked and slashed at him, screaming in fury. Its claws sank into his flesh, ripping at him. The little dog tightened his grip and began to shake the Creeper back and forth. More cries of fury sounded around him and two more descended. If the Boy did not move, he would surely die at the claws of the creeper.
A strange high, war hoop sounded. Something flashed among the shadows. Something above him screamed and the weight of the Creepers lightened by one and then another.
The Visitor dropped the now limp Creeper on the ground and turned to charge another. He had never been in so much pain and could feel the spray of his own blood as he leapt, but the only thing to do was to keep destroying them.
To his left, the Boy was swinging his shiny stick left and right, hacking and slashing. Creepers hung on his arms, but he was oblivious to their weight as he struck and killed another, and another. The Visitor killed his second Creeper, and then his third.
He lost count, but he knew they had destroyed far more than six and they were still coming. He was afraid to look up, because he knew if he did, he’d see an army, be outnumbered and give up. And with his Boy at his side, that was not an option. The Visitor sank his teeth into another Creeper, taking more blows, aware he was weakening, knowing he could only go on just so long.
And then from somewhere nearby there was a scream. The Boy. The Boy was screaming.