I sincerely apologize for taking so long to get this second installment out however, as everyone knows, life doesn't always allow you the time to do what you like to do all the time. In any case, I am proud to present the second chapter of The Sentinel, which was written in a little wooden cabin in the middle of White Juan...
Janet swung with her shoulders, the mop sliding over the smooth surface as she put the finishing touches on the kitchen floor. Somewhat pleased by her accomplishment, she knew in the back of her mind that the floor would be dirty again by this time tomorrow. Part of her felt frustrated but another part of her knew that she wouldn’t be here for much longer. It was only a matter of time before she could move into a better place. Everything lately was only a matter of time, she thought.
A commotion out in the hallway distracted her thoughts. She listened for a moment before shaking her head. It seemed that this particular apartment complex was becoming Commotion Central. She hoped it wouldn’t continue on into the night. She hadn’t been sleeping well and neither had her daughter.
She mopped at her brow, her brown skin moist from the heat and her labour. She looked into the living room to see Cantrelle playing with her dolls, the six year-old apparently content. She felt pride well up inside her chest as she decided to take Cantrelle out for a walk and maybe even track down some ice cream. She felt extremely proud to have such a wonderful child.
Before she could act, a loud knock sounded at the door. Puzzled, Janet laid the mop against the kitchen counter before moving to the peep hole.
“Who is it?” she called out.
“It’s me, Dave, open up. I forgot my keys.”
Janet confirmed that through the peephole but noticed that Dave was also in the company of three of his friends and they all looked nervous.
She disengaged all the locks and admitted the foursome. They entered quickly and slammed the door behind them. They moved hurriedly into the kitchen and Janet felt a sense of dread, partly due to her recently cleaned floor and partly because she knew that this motley crew was up to no good. A quick glance to Cantrelle noted that she was watching everyone’s movements.
“Cantrelle, put your toys away, Baby” Janet tried to say as calmly as she could, despite the fact that her voice still trembled. “We’re going to go for a walk, okay?" Cantrelle nodded nervously as she scooped up all the dolls and their accessories, putting them into their toy chest as quietly as she could.
Janet moved into the kitchen and caught the furtive glances of the men huddled there. Matt, Jeff, and Troy huddled around Dave like he held the treasure of the world. Janet bit her lip before asking the question she unfortunately already knew the answer to.
“What’s going on, baby?” she managed to squeak out.
“Just a little somethin' me and the boys gotta take care of,” Dave answered.
Janet stole a glance at the table and saw the neatly packaged bags. When her eyes met Dave’s, she saw the drug-induced haze and part of her died.
“You promised to get away from that shit!” she hissed. “We’re supposed to get out of here, remember?” All that she had sacrificed for, wasted for nothing.
“Just this one time, baby,” Dave said, doing his best to placate her. Even in his stupour, he knew it wasn’t going to work any better this time than it had in the past.
“No, dammit! No!” Janet flailed at him. He pushed her away and grabbed the mop, smacking her wetly on the side of her head, sending her crashing into the bucket and sending murky water all over her newly cleaned floor.
“Momma!” Cantrelle cried out as the men began to scramble. She stole out the door as they filled their pockets with the bags and raced out the door behind her, leaving Janet slightly dazed on the floor.
It was the roar of the car engines outside her window that finally snapped Janet back to full consciousness. She looked around for Cantrelle but didn’t see her anywhere. “Cantrelle, honey?” she called out as she dragged herself to her feet. She began to move faster when she received no reply. She checked the bedroom and closets but to no avail. She found down the wave of panic despite the throbbing in her head and her wobbling feet.
Lengthy squealing of tires brought her attention to the window. The rear ends of both vehicles were enveloped in blue smoke as they burned rubber, gaining momentum. Good riddance, she thought until she looked further up the street and saw Cantrelle standing there.
“CANTRELLE!” she screamed as she ran for the door. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion as she tried to get her feet to move. Running down the stairwell and bursting outside, she ran as fast as she could and yet her feet felt as though there were mired in quicksand. Tears burned her eyes as she screamed out her child’s name, drowned out by the roar of the vehicles.
Despite the sluggishness of reality around her, she blinked with incredulousness as events unfolded before her. As everything moved in slow motion, she watched in disbelief as a man in black glided effortlessly across the street, apparently oblivious to the two cars racing towards him. He scooped Cantrelle up in his arms and stepped out of harm’s way just as the two vehicles thundered past him, causing his long black coat to flutter about his feet. He placed her safely upon the stone steps of another building before returning his attention to the hot-rods.
The twin vehicles had screeched to a halt and turned around, one flipping over in the process. The second vehicle came to rest before revving his engine and launching itself towards the man in black. Janet stopped for a moment as she stood staring perplexedly at the man as he moved back into the street. She stood open-mouthed as he brought his hands together in a flash of light. As he drew them apart, it seemed as though he was pulling a polished sword out of his hands like some kind of magician’s trick. The car continued to gain speed as it approached him. He up-ended the sword and buried the tip into the asphalt before angling his body.
Janet could hear nothing but her own heartbeat as Dave’s car slammed into the man and his sword in a shower of sparks and loosened car parts. She stared slack jawed as she watched the car slice neatly in two; one half ramming into a dumpster while the other slammed into a telephone pole in another shower of sparks. Lights flickered up and down the length of the street. The man stood and extracted his sword from the street, vanishing the same way it had appeared.
Janet shook her head and took off again for Cantrelle. She found her sitting safely with a look of wonderment upon her small round face.
“Momma!” she cried out as she leapt into Janet’s arms. Janet cradled her against her breast and kissed her forehead, tears running unabashed down her cheeks. “The man told me not to worry, that you would be here to get me.”
“Did he tell you that?” Janet managed to stammer. She pulled back to see Cantrelle nodding at her and that her gaze was fixed at a point somewhere over her shoulder. When she turned around, he was standing there.
He didn’t appear to be overly tall, but he held himself high. His shortly cropped hair gleamed blue-black in the light. As she looked into his eyes, her breath caught in her throat as she realized that they weren’t just dark; both of his eyes were entirely black, as if staring into twin pools of darkness. Despite their darkness, they shone unearthly.
“Thank you,” Janet managed to mumble.
The stranger’s eyes closed momentarily as he bowed his head.
“Tank you,” Cantrelle mimicked her mother. The stranger lifted a hand to caress the side of Cantrelle’s face. A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth briefly before it returned to its stony expression. He gently caressed Janet’s cheek with the back of his fingers before nodding once.
The squeal of tires and piercing sound of police sirens momentarily distracted Janet as she watched the squad cars pull up. When she looked back to where the stranger in black had been standing, he was gone. Janet gazed lovingly at Cantrelle, glad that she was safe from the evil that Dave had brought into their lives. Cantrelle reached out and touched the base of Janet's throat. Janet covered her daughter's hand with her own and felt something else. Looking down, she saw a stylized silver pendant with a ruby center.
"Where did that come from?" Janet asked. She didn't remember putting it on, nor did she remember the dark stranger placing anything on her but nevertheless, she was wearing a new pendant.
"He gave it to you, Momma, the man with dark eyes," Cantrelle said with a smile.
"But he didn't even give us his name, baby," Janet said as she watched several police officers approach her.
"He told me, Momma. It's...."
TO BE CONTINUED
| Legends Of The Sentinel - Main Page |