The clock on the wall read 2: 30 p.m. Serenia Connor anxiously looked at it every other minute for the past hour and a half. She and Derek were in the living room waiting for John and Kate to arrive. Serenia was staring out the window when Derek cleared his throat to break the silence. She turned to him, as he spoke, “Look, I don’t think they’re coming. They would’ve been here by now.” Serenia’s shoulders sagged and she leaned her head against the window. This always happened. Something always prevented them from coming home – always. But she decided to try being positive, “They’ll be here. Just wait,” she said without taking her eyes off of the driveway.
“That’s what they said about your birthday, and did they show up then?” Even before he said it, he knew he shouldn’t have. Serenia stood up and raised her fist towards his face. He flinched but Serenia didn’t have it in her to hit her best friend on purpose. Her hand fell to her side and she sat down next to him on the old couch, “I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up…” Derek punched her in the shoulder and she punched him back. The two smiled.
The rumble of a car engine sounded outside and Serenia was up off of the couch in two seconds. She threw the door open and ran outside. Derek followed her out. When Serenia saw the car, and the gentleman who came out of it, she knew something was not right. The man had a somber look on his face. He stood in front of Serenia and removed his hat.
“Serenia Connor?” he asked politely. Serenia nodded slowly. He looked her straight in the eye and said, “This afternoon, your mother was shot and killed by a Terminator, Series 800.” Serenia felt the color drain from her face. She all of a sudden felt very light-headed. She almost didn’t want to believe it. She didn’t think there *were* 800s anymore. “Are you kidding me?” she asked, her voice weak, not taking her eyes off of his. He shook his head slowly, “I wish I was.” He produced a small bag that held an old beaded necklace. Something broke inside of Serenia. She reached out like a zombie and daintily grabbed the plastic bag from his hands, like it was made of glass and would shatter if she dropped it. She stared down at the necklace she had made for her mother years ago. Kate never took it off. Serenia could feel tears starting to build behind her eyes and without looking up, asked, “What about my father?” The man hesitated a moment, and in that silence, Serenia heard everything she needed to hear. She dropped the bag in the grass and bolted into the house, zipping right past Derek. He heard a door slam shut and looked at the gentleman apologetically. Derek walked over to him.
Re-entering the house, he found it even quieter than before. All he heard was a slight banging sound. As he neared Serenia’s room, the banging got louder and he pushed the door open. Serenia sat on the floor, facing the wall. The banging sound was being produced by the slamming of fists against the drywall. Derek ran over to her and grabbed her wrists, holding them away from her. She struggled for a moment before turning around to face him. There were no tears in her eyes, just a distant, empty look he had never seen before. Then, Serenia did something unusual. She threw her arms around him and hugged him fiercely.
Derek was so taken aback; he didn’t know how to respond besides returning the gesture. She let go of him and slid against the bloodied wall. She looked down at her knuckles, which she had beaten raw. All she could do was shake her head, hoping that would make this nightmare end. No such luck.
Derek pulled the necklace out of his pocket and handed it to Serenia. She took it and stared at it, all her childhood memories flooding back to her. She was torn away from memory lane by Derek’s voice, “You ran off before he could finish, you know.” Serenia put the necklace in her pocket and said, “Learning about one death is enough, I don’t want hear about a second one.” “But it’s not a death.” Serenia stared at him, “What?”
Derek smiled, “John is still alive.”
Serenia’s eyes lit up, “Where is he? Is he okay?” she asked with genuine concern. The smile died on Derek’s face, “I don’t think so. He’s in the hospital. But, he’s alive. That’s all that matters.” Serenia jumped up. Derek looked at her and caught her eye, “What are you doing?” She grabbed his hand and brought him to his feet, “I’m going to go and see him.” Derek grabbed her shirt as she slid past him, “Not a good idea.” “Why not?” she asked. Derek still had a hold of her shirt, “I don’t want you to feel any worse than you feel now.” Serenia pulled away from him, “I’m going whether you want to go or not. And by the way, nothing can make me feel worse…”
She walked out of the room and into the bathroom to wash the blood off her hands. Derek sighed and headed for the door.
Serenia came back from the bathroom a few minutes later, her hands bandaged. The bleeding didn’t seem to want to stop, but she figured she’d be okay for a while. Upon entering the living room, she saw Derek standing in front of the door with his arms folded, a smile playing across his face. She came over to him, “So, you decided to come after all, huh?” Derek nodded slowly and opened the door for her. She walked past him and headed to his car. Derek closed the door behind him.
Serenia climbed into the passenger seat of Derek’s little Cadillac. He got behind the wheel and tried to start the car up. It didn’t work. It purred for a second and then sputtered out. Derek slammed his fist a couple times on the dashboard, but to no avail. Serenia slammed hers once on the dash and the car roared to life. Derek gawked at her. Serenia laughed as he put the car in gear and took off down the road.
The drive to the hospital was a silent one. Derek had to glance in Serenia’s direction once or twice to make sure she was okay. Every time he did, she was staring out the window at the passing scenery with an empty look on her face. Derek just continued driving, not wanting to bother her. He was able to relate to how she was feeling, because he felt the same way after his older brother left him seven years before. Derek focused his attention back on driving. The last time he thought about his brother while driving, he crashed his car.
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