Stu came running into the house, blood and rain made his clothes sticky.
"Hey, are you okay?" I ask running to my brother.
Stu says nothing but runs past me to the bathroom. Shower water begins to run and I take a seat on our couch. Worry flows through my veins as I ponder over what could have happened. I mean he was just hanging at the gas station. what's the worst that could happen?
"A man almost crashed into the pumps at Hap's..." Stu says sitting next to me a good ten minutes later fresh out of the shower. "He was sick, it was like the flu, but so much worse. His wife and kid were dead, but I don't just mean dead. Their skin was peeling from them. It was sick. The hospital came and got them, and I left not long after that."
"Wait what?" I ask in shock. "Some dead guy just pulled into the station?"
"More like crashed..." Stu gives a small smile, but it quickly drops into a grimace. "It was really creepy. The man died in my arms, Elayne."
I pat him on the arm sympathetically, "You're gonna be fine. Everything is just fine, don't worry."
Stu just gives me a light hug and announces he's going to bed. I walk to my room of our house. Getting ready for bed, I stare at myself taking note of my features. Light brown hair hangs dully just past my shoulders. My dark green eyes shine in the bright lighting from my lamp. My olive skin looks even darker in the shadow. I have a single tattoo on my lower back of two butterflies, both blue. When I got it on my eighteenth birthday, three years ago, it was to remind me that one day I will find my other butterfly. The two appear to be in flight, leaving together forever. I frown at the sight of it, I still haven't found my damn butterfly.
I awake to the phone riniging, Stu picks it up before I can even process getting up. I roll over to go back to sleep. but my door opens and a bag is thrown in my face.
"The government's coming, we have to pack some stuff."
Moving the bag, "Wait why the fuck is the government coming?"
"They're taking us to Braintree to see if we have what that guy had. Just precaution, I don't really blame them."
I shrug because I feel fine and I'm sure we'll be back home in a few days. Packing a bag of necessities I gaze around the room I've lived in for twenty-one years. I decide to take a rubix cube, some books, and I grab my beaded necklace. The rubix cube and the books are just for if I get bored, and the beaded necklace is for a reminder of home. When I was a kid, I used to make jewlery and sell them to whoever would buy them. We've always been a poor family. Stu worked when he was just 14 trying to help, I sold shitty jewlery.
This particular necklace has a yellow butterfly charm in the middle and green beads around it. Childish and dumb, but it's something I made and one of the few I kept. I originally made it for my father, but after he died I just took it back. I'm one to never truly let someone go.
"You and your damn butterflies," Stu laughs noting the necklace around my neck.
"I quite like butterflies," I say proud of my necklace. After Norma, Stu's late wife, died he just moved back in with me in the family house which I kept since I'm the youngest. Stu's my closest brother of the three. But with one dead and the other moved far from here, what choice do I have?
He nods, "I know." I smile and sit on the couch with him. Waiting for the government to come lock me away in a hospital is frightening, but I don't feel sick and I don't think they'll keep Stu and me for too long.
A knock on the door disrupts me from my daze. Stu opens it, bag in hand. I stand behind him and peer over his broad shoulder.
"Stuart Redman and Elayne Redman?" A man asks. He wears a blue mask to protect him from whatever germs we may carry. A soldier stands next to the man whom I pressume to be a doctor.
We step outside and the man continues to talk, but I don't really listen. Instead I watch our neighbors scream and refuse to be taken to Braintree. I roll my eyes and realize I'm now being shoved into a truck with Stu and our neighbors. The truck reeks of oil and there's no air conditioner making the situation much worse than it should be.
Stu tries to comfort the girl next to him while I pull out the rubix cube and try to fix it, but don't succeed. A voice suddenly comes from nowheere, the voice seems to be an an old woman's.
"You won't be returning to Arnette, dear."