When it got dark, I stood in my bedroom and looked out towards the mini-camp. Flashlights and lamps and the tiny blue bobbling shapes of phones and laptops and pads floated like neon vessels.
The sound of the crowd washed towards the house and a large portion of the noise failed to penetrate the wood and glass, but still some managed to seep inside. Not only had Dad brought dinner (burgers and shakes from the local drive-in), but he’d stopped at the hardware store and asked for the earplugs carpenters used, the kind that would really do the job and keep noise out.
Things wouldn’t get too loud out there. A deputy remained posted. The news vehicles had left for the night. Ruth Arnett’s car was gone, but a black SUV remained in our driveway, occupied by security courtesy of the Church of Lucentology.
I lay on my bed in the dark and tried to imagine the crowd out there getting even bigger. And then at some point, something triggering them, like a noise or signal, and the crowd ran down the driveway, swarmed the guards, and the fans, the raving mad and the simply curious, washed up around the base of the house, like flood waters reaching a house without crashing through. Whoever was in the home couldn’t leave. Wouldn’t dare it. Not with the water at its doorstep. The hazards the water presented too stark.
Then Sherman showed up, parting the crowd, getting me to safety. I smiled at the image, at the merging of imagining the crowd and water, Sherman arriving at the house in a boat of some sort. I was trying to reconcile the mash-up of images in my tired, exhausted brain when sleep rolled me up into her arms.
Birds tweeting, the sky a murky predawn white, I woke on my side, the unopened package of earplugs near my hand.
Lucid cover sketch courtesy Jenny Dayton.
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