“Tu Casa Es Mi Casa”
Waking up inside a hospital with no memory of how you got there makes for an interesting adventure when you’re leaving it behind — more so when multiplied by a century.
I was somewhere in southern Texas, near Galveston according to my driver, a place creatively called “Texas City,” of all things. To my disappointment, I saw neither an abundance of cactuses nor oil wells, but there were plenty of elevated cement roadways and all manner of vehicles to occupy them — fast, too. I couldn’t dwell on any one thing for long. There would be time for that soon enough.
Four lanes merged into two as the roadways narrowed, the traffic dwindled, and the buildings grew farther apart. The evening sky was growing dark by the time we arrived, stopping at a neglected fence line surrounding an overgrown plot of land, maybe a couple of acres in size. The only source of light for the mysterious single-story home was one of the same too-bright electric lamps stretched out from their wooden poles along all of the other roadways. The back end of a small hideous-orange car was visible at the farthest edge of where the light could reach.
“This is it,” the driver said.
It certainly was. A casual glance around suggested my nearest neighbors across the street groomed their properties far more diligently and kept their dwellings in better repair than my predecessor. Were my finances destitute?
“It’s twenty-nine fifty. I’ll get your walker out of the back.”
Did he mean dollars and cents? For a ride in a ten cent box? Dining out for a month shouldn’t cost that unless it was catered at an upscale hotel. And who was my walker?
There were enough bills in the wallet to cover the expense plus a bit more, but it was seeing the aforementioned walker that was a source of distress: the two-handed foldable metallic crutch intended to afford some freedom of movement to me was similar to the one I tried with the physical therapist. Amalthea must have arranged for it… and all without mentioning it to me. I intended to be free of the accursed apparatus as soon as mortally possible.
“Do you need help up to the house? Looks like a heck of a walk from the gate.”
“I’m perfectly fine, but my thanks for your assistance.”
After hastily leaving me a card with his business details, the driver departed for another fare. His name was Amos, no doubt named for the third of the Twelve Minor Prophets.
A set of keys among my belongings included a small one fitting the front gate. There was a hushed sound that droned over the area, not unlike distant roadway traffic, while the barking of a lone canine came from a few houses over. While fumbling with the oversized lock, I noticed a silhouette in my neighbor’s window.
I was being watched.
My world had grown empty and silent on a dark street devoid of life, and my residence presented the least-friendly appearance in the neighborhood.
I smiled in the direction of my watcher.
Yes, I was curious about who lived here, too.
Continue Reading In Chapter 5
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