Friday, July 9, 2010

The Dead Raiser--Part III


“It’s you.”

I started slapping at whoever was sitting on my chest before I opened my eyes. Turned out to be Vince. I shoved him hard.

“Get off, pest!”

Vince aimed his finger at me from his spot on the floor. “You’re the dead raiser,” he said.

I turned to face the wall. Bit my knuckles to keep from saying anything. How does—

Vince laughed. “Ha! I knew it!”

I turned back and looked down at him, my eyes squinty.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Yeah, right,” he said. “It is so you, and you’re gonna do it again so I can watch.”

“No way,” I said. “I’m done.”

“Oh, no you’re not,” he said. He grinned, and my stomach flopped.

“Know why?”

I gulped and shook my head.

“I got you on video. You and Tabby."

My right eye twitched. “You’re lying.”

Vince’s gaze was steady. “I’ll show you,” he said. “I filmed it all. From Old Man Farley’s tree stand. You and Tabby. And all those puppies.”

“You’re kidding,” Tabby said, when I called her.

“No, I’m not,” I said. “He says if we don’t take him next time, he’s gonna post the video on YouTube.”

I heard her suck her breath in. “What’re you gonna do?”

I huffed. “What am I gonna do?” I said. “Isn’t it more like, what are we gonna do?”

“Oh. Yeah,” she said. “What are we gonna do?”

Thursday Night

“Miss Sandy?” I said, when we got in her car that night. “Can we go someplace and talk?”

She glanced back at Tabby and me.

“Sure, honey,” she said. “What’s up?”

“Let’s go to Dairy Dream. I brought money.”

I led the way to a picnic table apart from the rest. I put my turtle sundae and spoon on the table and climbed onto the bench.

Miss Sandy sat across from us. “So? What do you want to talk about?”

Tabby and l looked at each other, then at Miss Sandy.

“I’m the dead raiser,” I said.

Tabby raised her hand. “And I’m her helper.”

Miss Sandy frowned and shook her head. “I don’t understand.”

I set my spoon down and put my elbows on the table. Rested my chin on my clasped hands.

“I brought that dead boy back to life.”

Miss Sandy’s eyes got huge. “You did?” she said. “How?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. Tabs and I went in for a drink of water—“

Tabby made a time out sign. “Her dad works at Tatham’s, Miss Sandy. He told her where the spare key is.”

I nodded. “When I saw the little guy, I thought to myself, ‘He’s so young. So small. He should have another chance.’ And then he opened his eyes.”

Miss Sandy’s mouth fell open. A little stream of melted ice cream dripped towards her chin.

Tabby leaned forward. “That’s when she called 911.”

Miss Sandy started bouncing her palms on the picnic table. “He’s doing it,” she said. “He’s doing it, girls.”

Tabby and I squinted at each other, then back at her

“Who’s doing what?”

“Jesus,” she said. “Jesus showed Tabby he’s real when he used her to raise that little boy from the dead.”

Tabby pointed at Miss Sandy with her banana split spoon.

“She brought puppies back from the dead too.”

Miss Sandy looked at me, her head tilted. Her voice was hushed.

“You did it more than once?”

We nodded.

“Oh my,” Miss Sandy said. She was quiet for a few moments. Most of the time her eyes were closed. Finally she opened them.

“I think I know what happened,” she said. “You weren’t thinking to yourself, Kat. You were talking to God. You were praying.”

I shook my head and took a bite of my sundae. “No, I wasn’t,” I said with my mouth full.

“I don’t pray. Never have.”

Miss Sandy reached across the table and put her hands over mine. “Sure you do, Kat,” she said. “Didn’t you pray when your mom was sick?”

I snatched my hands back and glared. “How do you know about my mama?”

Miss Sandy’s face looked like it was melting. “Oh, Kat-- This is a small town.”

I used my Dairy Dream napkin to wipe my mouth and eyes. I didn't blink when I spoke to Miss Sandy.

“Whatever. I’m gonna bring her back. For Vince and me. Tomorrow night. And I need your help.”

Friday Night

It was the last night of VBS. Even so, it was really hard to act normal for two whole hours. I snapped out of my funk when the parents started picking up their kids. I hugged every single child.

"Have a nice life,” I said into each one’s hair. In case I never see you again. I’d had a bad feeling all day.

We left the church and went to pick up Vince. He came out of the house toting his video camera.

I rolled down the car window. “You can’t bring that, Vince,” I said. “Not where we’re going.”

He sneered, but he put the camera back in the house and came out to the car. He got in back with Tabby. I sat up front with Miss Sandy.

“Did you see Dad?” I said over my shoulder.

“Yep," he said.  "He's on six-pack number two.  I told him we were going to a VBS slumber party.  Just like you said.”

I held up my hand for a high five. “Good job.”

I patted Miss Sandy on the shoulder. “Thanks for being our cover,” I said. "Dad never would’ve let us stay out all night alone.”

Miss Sandy glanced in her rearview mirror. “Seatbelts, everyone.”

At the first stop sign, I turned to her. “Least it’s dark now.”

She didn’t answer. No one did.

“Park on Walnut Street,” I said. “We’ll walk the rest of the way.”

I snuck a sideways peek at Miss Sandy. She looked as if she was made of stone. Her hands, on the steering wheel, and her strawberry blonde hair, blown by the air conditioning, were the only things that moved.  

“You sure you’re okay with this?” I said.

“Not really,” she said, as she flipped on her turn signal. “But I can hardly let you kids do it alone. Do you realize what you’re doing?”

I picked at my fingernails and shrugged. “I think so.”

“I don’t think you do,” she said, as she parallel parked. “Kat, there are spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms right now. Right here in Cabin Creek. “

I put my nose on the window and looked out. My breath made a fog circle on the window. I didn’t see anything.

“Does that mean you wanna bail?”

I snuck a look at her. Her face looked blue in the dashboard light.

“No, I don’t want to bail,” she said. “I fasted all day today, Kat. I’m prayed up. I’ve got my Bible. I’m ready. Besides--“

“Besides, what?”

I saw one corner of her mouth go up a wee bit.

“Besides, I think it would be pretty cool to see a miracle.”

I opened the car door. “Alrighty then. Let’s go.”

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