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20 January 2009 @ 02:06 am
plates i & ii  

plate i. chief gene parant. cocodrie, louisiana.

Cosette Ouliette was just as beautiful as the last time she died, thirty-two years ago.

His fingers grazed the back of her hand, her skin soft and peeling with decay. Her nails had separated from their beds, white with brown roots, standing at odd angles like crooked fence posts. Decay had turned her burned-sugar skin mottled, veined through with crosshatched purple bruises. Her black hair spilled over the dull steel table, curled in tight little spirals that taunted Gene to touch. There was a bloom of dark blood between the soft swell of her breasts, the wound a quarter-dollar circle tunneling into the cold rot of her body. There was a long gash across her throat, stitched up with thick black cord in uneven, messy crosses. The last time he saw her, that delicate throat had been slashed open and bled dry.

She was Eddie Ouliette's wife back then. A young bride, just barely seventeen, she had a voice like a sad sparrow and those big watery black eyes that made every man who saw her fall in love with her. There wasn't a boy in Clarksdale who didn't tie up a little piece of their heart forever to always belong to sweet Cosette. Some of them married, some of them went off and never came back, but they always loved Cosette Ouliette.

All that love ought to make a girl cold, but not Cosette. Like she didn't even notice all the attention, she stayed humble and sweet and served lemonade on her porch to just anyone who stopped by. That was how it happened, the first time.

Gene had only been on the force three years, but he'd already seen death up close. Car accidents and suicides, mostly-- murders didn't happen in Clarksdale, not before Cosette. He'd seen a man he used to know smeared across a highway like gritty jam, he'd seen the open skull of a sixteen year old who had a bad breakup and a shotgun. He'd already seen a lot, but nothing was as bad as the death of sweet Cosette. Nothing would ever be as bad as that.

Someone must have come by, and like always Cosette had brought out cold milk and sticky cornbread for her guest. The pitcher and the plate still sat on the table of her porch when the police arrived, flies perched like gargoyles on the sweet yellow bread. It was a hot night, the air already still and rotten, made unbearable by the sour, rusty smell in the house. She was just inside the cluttered little foyer, white cotton dress torn and soaked red. Her throat was cut clean across, so deep Gene was sure he could see through to her spine. Her brown skin was streaked with dark slop, dried on her arms in long stripes like someone had dragged their hands all over her. Her husband wouldn't stop wailing, and the cops were all teary-eyed because they loved Cosette too. Everyone loved Cosette.

There were fingerprints everywhere, pressed in blood all over the floor, dotting Cosette's skin like brands. There wasn't a man in Clarksdale who didn't want to find Cosette's killer. Gene thought that the second one man suspected another they would have another murder on their hands. Maybe it was lucky they never had any leads-- not a clue, not a trace. A hundred fingerprints, all from the same hand, but not a single suspect. Who would ever want to kill Cosette Ouliette?

The girl on the slab was Cosette, there was no doubt about that. Gene never forgot that face. No one ever forgets their first love. Her full lips were chalky, still cinnamon brown but dry as paper. He wanted to lean in and touch his lips to hers, to finally kiss that cold mouth and know he was the last man to taste her.

"It's Cosette, isn't it?" the man across from Gene said, his face just as worn and wrinkled as Gene's. He'd been there that night thirty years ago, staring down at Cosette on the floor. He was Marshall Trip and he left Mississippi three months after Cosette died, shipping down to Louisiana like he just couldn't stand being in the town Cosette was killed in. A lot of people moved after she died, as if they could escape the memory. Cosette Ouliette haunted Clarksdale, she always would.

Gene thought of Cosette every single day, even as he went to bed next to his wife, even when he kissed her. He thought of Cosette, but he never dared speak of her until Marshall called him during the quiet hours close to dawn, rousing him from sleep with his hysterical raving.

"Cosette. She was alive. I found Cosette."

It was a ridiculous claim, of course. Gene thought Marshall had pretty much cracked for good, and was on the verge of calling the man's wife himself to suggest she send him to a hospital. Then Marshall sent him a picture, a snapshot from the crime scene-- ethereal, beautiful Cosette, eyes wide and staring, stabbed straight into her heart and left in the murky Louisiana bayou. Gene was on a plane by nightfall.

"It's Cosette," Gene said, touching a curl of her hair on the table, sliding it between his fingertips. "It's Cosette."

plate ii. lester lucas gunter. picayune, mississippi.
Lukie rocked impatiently on his feet, staring towards the front of the line as if looking hard enough could make it move forward. The Picayune post office was small and starch white, with nothing but the blue mail slot on the far wall to add color to the room. Lukie's cracked leather cowboy boots left muddy prints on the clean gray floor, and every time he fidgeted more mud flaked off his shoes and onto the tile. There was an ancient, senile man at the counter, practically toothless, mumbling something entirely unintelligible at the distressed postal worker.

This is why they freak out and kill people, Lukie thought bitterly. Because of old men that smell like cat piss.

All he needed was a stamp. One lousy stamp to mail in his car insurance payment, that's all. He sighed in relief as the hunched, tweed-garbed old man finally began to shuffle away from the counter, approaching the door at a painfully slow pace. Another woman moved up, getting Lukie one step closer to completing his mission.

He decided to occupy the rest of his time checking out the girl in front of him in line. She was pretty in that stuck-up bitch sort of way, with a severe mahogany bob of hair and slicks of pristine black eyeliner that made her look as if she were constantly glaring. He looked over her shoulder, trying to see down her shirt, rocking up on his feet again to give that couple more inches of elevation he'd need to get a good bird's eye view and--

"What are you doing?" she snapped, turning to look at him, cutting off his admiration of the soft V her cleavage made.

"Ah--" Lukie started dumbly, mouth dropping open. You can save this, he thought wildly, cheering himself on. You are the king of smooth talkers. He cleared his throat, eyes dropping down to the book she held in her arms before returning to her face. "I was just looking at your book. Naked Lunch. I was about to ask you about it."

"Oh." Lukie watched her relax, feeling triumphant as she started to smile at him. "Have you read it?"

"Naw, I just thought it was an interesting title. Sounds kinda sexual," Lukie said, grinning his toothy smile at the girl. Her face drained of friendliness instantly, and she glared at him all over again.

"What?" she growled.

"Everything is sexual to me," he explained, in his best smooth-talker voice. "Even the mail box over there is saying something sexual. 'All service', if you catch my drift..."

"You're a pig," the girl groaned, turning away from him, stomping towards the desk and nearly throwing her package and a handful of bills at the postal worker. She didn't wait for her change, or to hear another word from Lukie, heading fast for the door.

"What?!" he called after her, as if he couldn't understand why she would walk away from their engaging conversation. He felt a hand slam against his shoulder, and he turned to look at Penny, who shook his head shamefully.

"Good job," Penny congratulated him sarcastically, turning towards the desk with Lukie. "That was really smooth."

"Thanks, douchebag," Lukie grumbled, fishing change out of his pocket. He asked for a stamp, slapped it onto his envelope, and then handed it over to the clerk.

"You really have a way with the ladies," Penny said, still ragging on him, tucking his hands into the pockets of his beat-up black bomber jacket. Lukie grunted in response, turning towards the door with Penny trailing after him.

Penny and Lukie had been raised together, adopted by the same family when they were still toddlers. Just a few months apart in age, they had been practically inseparable since the day they first laid eyes on each other nineteen years ago. Penny was adopted from an agency in Louisiana, and Lukie from a place in Tennessee. The aunts picked them special, they always said.

That's what they called the ladies that adopted them-- Aunt Babette, Aunt Muriel, and Aunt Valentine. All three of them sisters and spinsters, they were the only family Lukie and Penny had ever known. They had a big old house on the outskirts of Picayune, off a dirt road heavy with trees and brambles. Half the house was covered with foot-a-night vines, creeping up to circle the spires and arches of the ornate antebellum architecture. The house was built of dark wood, nearly black in its murkiness, with stained glass on the windows and a sturdy iron fence all around. It always reminded Lukie of a bayou, with its black brackish water and thick green jungle of roots and sludge. It was something wild, constantly shifting and growing, alive and mysterious. It was home.

As far as every kid in Picayune was concerned, the house was haunted and the aunts were witches. They'd dare each other to run up and knock on the doors and windows, or to pick a flower from the vast garden curving all around the lot. It pissed Lukie off at first, made him feel violent and protective of his home and his family. He started to keep a baseball bat inside the door, until Penny told him he ought to make a joke of them instead. Penny was the smart one like that, and Lukie couldn't resist the idea of it. The next time a kid came pounding on the window with clammy fists, all pale and breathing hard, Lukie slammed a skull mask from the previous Halloween up against the glass and made the kid piss his pants right there on the porch.

It was easy on the inside looking out. In the house, Penny and Lukie could laugh at the scared kids standing outside the gate and daring each other to run up the porch. They could sit in the upstairs window, huddled together and giggling, ready to drop a rubber hand out the window on the first kid brave enough to approach the black wood porch. Inside the house they were safe, tucked into bed by the aunts, fed honey and oatmeal every morning and fat red strawberries at night. They were protected from nightmares by a special blue candle the aunts burned between their beds, and they were protected from loneliness by having each other just within reach. The aunts had turned the attic into one great big bedroom for them, with paper stars dancing from the ceiling and colorful oriental rugs tossed down on the floor to brighten up the dark wood. On clear nights the moon cast pale blue light through the warped glass windows, and when it rained the boys huddled together in one bed, protecting each other from the storm.

The magic of the house couldn't protect them from the world all the time, though. At first the boys had been excited about the idea of going to school, of meeting other kids their age. They'd only ever known each other, and the promise of a great big world beyond the dirt road thrilled them so much they could hardly sleep the week before their first day of preschool. In the beginning, it wasn't so bad-- the other children hadn't learned to shun each other yet, and the boys were welcomed into the fold just like any other child. Their welcome didn't last for long. Social hierarchies caught on fast, and Penny and Lukie found themselves at the very bottom of the food chain.

It was partly because of them and partly because of where they were from. Being the sons of witches certainly never helped the boy's case, but it could have been alright-- some children were enraptured by the concept of living in a haunted house, and if they had been savvy about it, they could have been the talk of the first grade. The problem was that Penny was spacey and strange and Lukie was confrontational and edgy, and together they managed to alienate every child in the school.

That's when the teasing started. It began with giggles behind their backs and being picked last in gym class, subtle jabs that made Lukie spit-gut furious. Penny always seemed oblivious to the laughs, to the faces other kids made behind his back-- widening their eyes and spinning their fingers by their temples, like Penny was crazy. Penny never noticed, but Lukie did, and those kids got a mouthful of his fist the second he caught sight of it. It wasn't hard to provoke him, and by junior high he was in what basically amounted to permanent detention for giving so many of his classmates a taste of his knuckles. Penny would sit outside the school waiting for his sentence to be up, braiding the long saw grass into scratchy green crowns. Once he busted out, they made for the ice cream parlor and Penny never dared ask what Lukie had done to wind up in trouble.

By high school it all became a serious problem, because the kids got meaner and Lukie got bigger. He grew tall and lean, with wiry muscles and tough, callused fists. He could cause serious damage with his punches, and he often did. The toughest boys took on provoking him, just like they used to dare each other to knock on the windows of the big old house years before.

"Bet you can't grab one of Gunter's books and get away before he hits you," they'd goad each other. "Bet you can't close his locker on his head."

One week in eleventh grade he got suspended, and he just never went back to school. The aunts knew the boys could learn a lot more just from tending to the garden around the house than any school could ever teach them, so the night Lukie grumbled something about never going back to that goddamned shithole, the aunts made sweet sloppy drinks with whiskey and half-rotten plums and let the boys guzzle it down in celebration. Lukie and Penny got so drunk they howled at the moon all night long, and when dawn came they slept like babes in the soft cradle of zoysia grass and soda apple bushes.

Penny never went back to school either, even though he never got in trouble and all the teachers adored him. It was hard not to baby Penny, not to fawn over him like he was some starving little orphan boy. He had grown up as beautiful as Lukie had grown hot-headed. He had the face of an angel, with white-gold curls of hair framing his freckled cheeks and big amber eyes you wanted to drink in like good bourbon. He never seemed very human to Lukie, and the aunts always called him their Angel Child.

Penny was something special, Lukie knew that for sure. It wasn't just because he was kind and beautiful, there was something more to him that everyone seemed to notice. People loved Penny, they loved him like their own child or else they were downright spooked by him. Lukie figured it was because there was a power that all but radiated off of him, a power he hardly even seemed aware of. Lukie always thought it was kind of like the whole world loved Penny, like every single object on the planet had some kind of thing for him. It was the only way to explain why Penny never woke up after playing in the woods covered in poison oak, while it seemed like Lukie only had to step foot outside to end up covered in itchy red bumps a few hours later. It was why Penny was never asked to pay his late fees at the library and why the lunch ladies always saved a chocolate milk for him. It was why every time Penny cracked an egg it had two round yellow yolks instead of one.

While the world loved Penny, Lukie was convinced it hated him. Lukie was just as unlucky as Penny was blessed, and it seemed like everywhere he turned he was getting stung by bees and nearly hit by cars. Penny braided a charm for him once out of leathery vines and a pure white ribbon, tying it around his wrist to protect him and change his luck. It worked for a long time, giving Lukie luck near as good as Penny's, but when he went on a road trip to New Orleans to make use of that lucky streak the bracelet up and stopped working, and Lukie never had the heart to ask Penny to fix it.

The bliss of leaving school didn't last forever, though the few months they went without a care made the boys lazier and more spoiled than ever. Eventually the aunts told Lukie they wouldn't pay for his car anymore, and he had no choice but to get a job. His car was his baby, a rusty '67 Pontiac GTO, sleek black with cracked leather seats the color of honeyed cream. No way was he letting her go, so he got a job as a mechanic at Johnny Shine's Auto Repair. Fixing cars was something he could never fuck up. All those little belts and screws coated in thick black grease spoke in a language he could always understand, and he could read their hum better than he knew his own voice.

Penny always did what Lukie did, so when he got a job Penny started working too. Lukie didn't know how he advertised, how Penny started getting business at all, but people from town started showing up at the house for charms and little vials of potion, dumping piles of dimes on the table as they were the only currency Penny accepted. It was crying women begging for beauty usually, and Penny would braid a lock of their hair with scarlet ribbon and bury it in the dark earth to take root. Love spells and luck charms were always in demand as well, but sometimes people came to Penny with darker lusts.

Penny started getting orders in the mail from all over the place, requests for charms and strange objects that Penny always managed to procure. Lukie never asked how, and he never asked what they were for. Penny had come to the post office with Lukie to mail a soft flannel bag filled with holy ghost root and althaea leaves. He packaged it up tenderly in brown paper and wrote the address by memory in his swirling, elegant handwriting, affixed far too many stamps to the corner of the package and then dropped it in the box. It took him less time to do that than it took Lukie to get a stamp, a fact he had to try hard not to be bitter about.

"It's cold out," Penny complained, bowing his head against the wind as they walked back to Lukie's car. The early winter breeze was sharp and stinging, swirling Penny's cornsilk curls into a wild mess. Lukie squinted against it, fishing his keys out of his pocket when he spotted his car.

"Yeah, it's like... having coffee thrown in your face. Except cold," Lukie said.

"That's the worst analogy ever," Penny said, hunching his shoulders to try to bury his chin in his jacket.

"Your mom is the worst analogy ever," Lukie returned dully, unlocking the car in one swift movement of his wrist and then dropping into his seat, reaching over to pop the lock on the passenger door for Penny.

"You know, 'your mom' jokes stop being funny after you've already made six of them today," Penny said after he crawled into his seat, pulling the door shut and curling up to prop his feet on the dashboard. Lukie chose to drown him out by turning the key in the ignition, listening to the feral growl of the engine and feeling the car hum to life all around him. The radio came on full-blast, belting out Three Dog Night over the chugging gurgles of the engine. Lukie automatically began to sing along, all but tearing out of his parking space and onto the highway.

"Open up the window, sucker, let me catch my breath," Lukie sang, rumbling along with the car, his voice a rough Southern croon. He turned towards Penny as he altered the next line, just to tick him off. "Your mama told me not to come!"

"Euurgh," Penny whined, shoving Lukie away when he leaned in to shout in Penny's ear. "Cut it out and give me a cigarette."

"Give you a cigarette, huh? It's always about you. 'Give me a cigarette! Drive me to the post office! Put your dick in me! Me, me, me!'"

Lukie drew his cigarettes out of his pocket as he harassed Penny, while the other boy just rolled his eyes and cranked the window down to keep the smoke from clouding the car. Lukie bit the end of a cigarette to draw it out of the pack, then offered one to Penny. He patted his pockets until he found his silver Zippo, given to him by Aunt Val for his fifteenth birthday. He flicked up the top and snapped his thumb over the wheel, breathing in to light his cigarette. The tip singed and then caught the flame, burning a dull and satisfying orange. Lukie passed the lighter to Penny, who never could use the Zippo himself. He always hesitated before he flicked the thumbwheel, too wary of the flame he knew would snap up the second he drew his thumb over the lighter. Lukie just let him struggle with it for a few seconds, before he sighed and snatched the lighter out of Penny's hand.

"Give it to me," he snapped, and in one easy move he had the flame lit, holding it for Penny to lean in and light his smoke. "I'm the Brett Favre of lighting cigarettes."

Penny sucked on his cigarette to light it, then dropped back against his seat with a satisfied sigh. "Do you think Nerissa had her babies yet?" he asked thoughtfully, speaking of one of the dozens of black cats the aunts kept around the property, this one fat with kittens ready to be born.

"What are you, her midwife? You keep asking me that," Lukie grumbled, smoke billowing from his mouth as he spoke.

"I think they'll come tonight," Penny said, unfazed by Lukie's crossness. He tipped his head back against his seat, closing his eyes and lifting his cigarette to his flower petal lips.

"Why tonight?" Lukie scoffed, glancing over at Penny, then back at the road. Penny was usually right when he said stuff like that. Probably because the world rushed to please him the second it heard of his expectations.

"Full moon tonight," Penny said, opening his eyes and gazing lazily at Lukie. "It'll be tonight, watch."

"Well, I'm not watchin'," Lukie said, steering the car sharply around a corner, speeding through the streets of Picayune recklessly. "I'm going to a party. You gonna come?"

Penny shrugged one shoulder, but Lukie knew he would come. Penny didn't particularly like parties, but he always followed Lukie. "Maybe," he said, which was as good as a yes. Lukie didn't understand why Penny came with him to parties, as the boy tended to sit outside or hide in an empty room drinking by himself while Lukie pursued the goal he'd come there for (getting laid, of course.) Lukie didn't mind that he insisted on coming, though. He rather liked the way Penny followed him everywhere and did everything he did; he never liked being separated from him.

The streets of Picayune were lined with more trees than houses, the bare and gnarled winter-stripped branches tangled together all along the sides of the road. The houses were low and boxy, most of them looking as if they were squatting as close to the ground as possible awaiting summer's hurricanes. Drying clothes hung from porches while farm equipment decayed in front lawns, and clusters of rusty trailers huddled between the trees and houses.

The house was out off Broken Bridge Road, where swampy ponds glimmered with black water through the trees. Lukie twisted the car sharply off the road when he saw the dirt and gravel that led to their home, barreling down the familiar drive.

Lukie parked his car outside the black metal gate, and even though people were too spooked to even come around the house (let alone steal something from it,) he locked the doors. He just couldn't rest easy if he didn't.

Penny was already heading up the stone-paved walkway to the house, moss and grass creeping up between the gray rocks that no one bothered to maintain. He dropped his cigarette butt into an empty wine bottle full of them, set out on the porch steps and kept there so the boy's didn't pollute the garden with their cigarettes. Lukie did the same, letting the brown sticky water collected from rain and rotting tobacco to extinguish his cigarette.

The double-doors were tall, carved of black wood, with diamonds of old bottle-green, blue, and violet glass tiled in the windows. The boys went through the unlocked doors while a skinny black cat darted past them and out of the house, hardly noticed by them. There were cats everywhere, most of them large and black, a few of them dark blue-gray. Lukie could never tell them apart, but Penny knew every single cat, knew their names and could tell them each from each with only a glance.

The house was cluttered, full of strange trinkets and stacks of books, vases of long-dead flowers and furniture scarred and worn with age. The house never seemed abandoned, and it never felt empty-- even when you thought you were the only one home.

Penny dropped his jacket on the huge old coat rack inside the door and toed off his shoes, always preferring to go barefoot. Underneath his jacket he wore a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds t-shirt, the material thin with age, nearly gauzy from wear. Lukie left his boots on as he started to head down the long hallway to the kitchen, stomach growling for last night's leftovers.

The ceiling was high in the kitchen, and the windowsills were lined with leafy green plants spilling over their pots and vases. Some strange vines grew out of the neck of a bottle of bourbon, long fingers of flowered rope creeping along the windowsill towards the sink. There were jars upon jars of spices and herbs along the counter, the cabinets above and below made of old dark wood with distorted glass panes in each door. Some of the cabinets were doorless, the shelves lined instead with ancient books bound in leather and thick cloth.

Penny followed Lukie into the kitchen, but he stopped with a gasp when he noticed that one of the jars had been knocked over, the contents spilled over the floor. A scrappy cat was crouched in the midst of the grains that had spilled out, little kernels shaped like pointed rice. The cat flicked his tail, sending some of the seeds skittering across the floor.

"Floritzel! My barley!"

"Why the fuck do you have barley? Are we opening a brewery?" Lukie scoffed, tugging open the door of the refrigerator to fish out a container of leftovers. The sound of the door slamming shut again scared the cat off, and it scampered away, scattering more barley in its wake. "No, Floritzel! Don't disturb it! In six to eight months we might have a lager!"

Penny huffed, crossing the room to the spilled jar of barley. He swept the barley that had fallen on the counter back into the jar, careful not to spill any more. He sat on his knees beside the mess of barley on the floor, and he began to scoop up the grains with his hands, dumping them back into the jar. Lukie leaned against the counter nearby, eating cold spaghetti out of the container and watching Penny clean up.

Penny's skin reminded Lukie of the cups of warm milk the aunts used to set out with their breakfast, sprinkles of cocoa on top like the freckles dotting Penny's cheeks and scattered over his arms. Penny was long-limbed without being gangly, though he never got quite as tall as Lukie. When he reached out to gather the barley, his shirt stretched across his back, showing the delicate notches of his spine and a patch of skin before the waist of his old jeans. Even cleaning the floor, he looked a bit heavenly.

"Ah!" Penny suddenly gasped, flying backwards as something slammed against the glass-paned back door. Savage, frenzied growls and barks were muffled by the glass, and both boys gaped at the enormous black dog that was suddenly snapping and barreling against the door. Lukie was stunned for a long few seconds, just staring wide-eyed at the dog's long yellow teeth and purple-black gums, at its blazing yellow eyes that seemed to stare right back at him with ferocious hunger. Its bark was chilling, so feral and full of a hungry sort of rage, as if the dog ached to tear at them with its dull-edged teeth.

"What the fuck..." Lukie said slowly, as Penny rose to his feet. The dog stepped back from the door, still growling and seeming to stare them down. It made a quick turn and began to run away from the door, thundering across the back porch. Penny immediately scrambled for the door, yanking it open and running outside.

"Jesus christ!" Lukie cursed, taking off after Penny, nearly slipping on the mess of barley before he stumbled out the door. "It'll kill you, you stupid fuck!"

But Penny was just standing on the edge of the porch, staring off into the dark woods behind the house, the trees suffocated by the skeletons of leafless kudzu, the ground soggy and interspersed with shallow swampy ponds. The dog was gone, Lukie didn't even hear its heavy paws falling against the ground or its wild growls. Lukie opened his mouth to tell Penny to get back inside, that it could still come back, but Penny spoke before he could.


Lukie's eyes snapped to Penny, then followed his gaze to look down at the spot on the ground that Penny was staring at. He took a step forward, standing beside Penny at the edge of the porch, looking down at the same patch of earth Penny was staring at. The ground was wet, the soil sticky and black from all the rainfall. Wet enough to catch a footprint, dry enough to keep its shape without flooding the indents with more mud. Lukie's eyes followed the dog's massive paw prints, deeply pressed into the soil for several feet before...

"They just stop," Lukie whispered, half in awe and half in confusion. The prints abruptly ended, as if the dog had come to a sudden standstill, but there was no dog standing there. There was no dog in sight. Lukie lifted his eyes, turning his gaze towards Penny, who was staring into the woods again with narrowed amber eyes. Lukie couldn't read them, had no clue as to what Penny was thinking. He wished he could reach into Penny's head the way Penny always seemed to be able to reach into his, but Lukie was never as perceptive as the other boy and the things that churned inside Penny's skull were a mystery to him.

"Come on," Penny said, turning away from the woods, heading back into the house. Lukie looked down at the paw prints one more time before he turned to follow Penny, frowning absently to himself.

"Pen... That was just some rabid dog, you know," Lukie said, as if his words could comfort Penny. He wasn't sure he believed what he was saying, but he was saying it anyway. Penny knelt down to sweep the rest of the barley back into the jar, not saying a word. His silence made Lukie even more nervous, and he shifted uncomfortably before busying himself with putting the container of spaghetti back in the refrigerator.

"I'm going to go take a shower," Penny finally said, dumping the barley from the floor into the garbage and putting the jar in the sink. He didn't say anything else to Lukie, hardly even glancing at him as he passed the other boy and headed towards the stairs. This was how Penny dealt when something heavy was troubling him, he withdrew from Lukie and slipped into some secluded, quiet place in his mind. Lukie had to fight to reach him there, and sometimes he couldn't get through to Penny at all until he chose to allow Lukie to.

The dog had chilled him, but nothing scared Lukie more than watching Penny walk away from him and not knowing how long his best friend would be lost.
(Deleted comment)
codie: crossroads ※ lukie srslittlegreen on July 15th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
Sometimes it makes me wibble a little too <3 I love those boys!!!
gapicuff on April 12th, 2011 11:07 pm (UTC)
Very intereresting reading. thx

garconuqej on November 2nd, 2011 05:38 am (UTC)
pimples are really annoying, you can kill them using benzoyl peroxide but it will also make your skin red.