“This is all nice and cozy but I think you forgot something and that is a rather big flaw in this big plan of yours.” He turns to look at me, one brow quirked and I know he believes I’m just pulling his chain. I’m just teasing him. But there is a huge flaw in his plan and it amuses me, really. I suppose we could adapt but I don’t think we’d live very long if his plan was what we had to work with to survive zombies. Not that either one of us believe in zombies and being demons we figure we could take them out easily anyway. We made this mock-survival plan with a human mindset, just like we see in most movies we’ve watched without Zora knowing we did. She’d have a fit.
“And what is that big flaw?” He huffs lightly, standing as tall as he can, which isn’t much considering we’re both rather short though I’m fine with how slight I am. We’re just sixteen, we’re not done growing up yet. At least that’s how I see it. I snicker at the way he holds himself and he rolls his eyes at me. I’m glad we’re back to doing this kind of thing together. For a while I’d been worried that we really were drifting apart and the thought terrifies me.
“Agni, you’ve set it so that we run and when we find a car, we take it.” I pause, to let that sink in, hoping just a little that he might realize what this flaw is but he just keeps on looking at me, expecting me to go on. I sigh, exaggerating on the sound and I roll my eyes right back at him.
“For one, I can’t drive. Can you?” He rolls his eyes gain.
“Mira, it’s a zombie attack plans, if they do attack we take them out by fire and water, now think like a human!”
“I’m thinking like a human. I’m sixteen, I come from India but I spent most of my life on the streets because we couldn’t afford a roof. The only times I’ve been in a moving vehicle I’ve been a passenger and never anywhere close to the driver’s seat. I can’t drive a car. What if we don’t find the keys anyway, do you know how to start a car?” I raise a brow at him and he rolls his eyes, I know I’m about to win that one.
There’s not much that comes from winning this mock argument, it’s just for the sake of things but it’s there, really. He throws his hand in the air and if this was a cartoon, he’d probably flip the table. I can only laugh and he shoots me a look. Of course just seconds later he’s laughing too and he shakes his head. This feels wonderful.
When we finally calm down, sitting side by side against his bed on his floor—which is surprisingly clean!—he shakes his head and looks towards one of his windows. “As is, if we were attacked by zombies, I could fry them and Zora could just keep the fire going and I could keep you safe behind me.”
“I can fight just as well as you, Agni. I can fill them with water ’till they drown.”
“But if they’re already dead, I’m pretty sure they’re not breathing so I don’t think filling ’em with water is going to do much good.”
I shrug and drop my head back against the bed, I guess he has a point. I’m a bit useless in a fight, I know. Not that he’d ever hold it against me. Never. He’s not the type.
I don’t know how long we spend just sitting side by side this way. It reminds me of when we were younger. We’d sit together under a bridge somewhere just waiting for Zora to come back when she said she was doing something somewhat dangerous and didn’t want to involve us. I still don’t know what it was she was doing and I don’t think she’ll ever really tell us.
When we hear the front door open and close, I move to stand up but Agni beats me to it and he holds his hand out. I take it and pull myself to my feet. He pulls me closer and hugs me tightly, I just hug him back as tightly as I can manage and rest my head to his shoulder for a moment. He’s my brother, I don’t want him to go anywhere away from me if I can help it at all.
“Let’s go see what we might be able to do for dinner.”
I smile at him and, walking side by side, we leave his still surprisingly spotless room, except for those few sheets of paper from earlier and we head out into the kitchen to help with the meal making. I’m not sure if I could call this a tradition but we do help with the preparation of every meal. If one of us is feeling a bit under the weather then it’s all the more reason to help whoever is left standing strong.
That way we can also all decide and pitch in on the spices we might want and not one of us can say they don’t like what was prepared. If we didn’t like it, we should have said something about it during the preparation.
When I’m finally settling under my covers for the night though most of them are folded on the chest at the foot of my bed because it’s so hard to stay cool, even with the AC and fans on, I roll over to my side and I come face to face with a pair of bright eyes staring at me from the edge of my bed.
I freeze, a scream caught in my throat and I know I shouldn’t scream. Zora has to be up earlier than usual tomorrow and she needs her sleep. I stare at those eyes, trying to understand what they are, trying to think of who it might be. If I somehow stepped into a zombie apocalypse while I was settling into bed, it isn’t funny.
Something clicks then and I swat out at those eyes and my hand connects with something a little squishy. I cringe somewhat but I bat at it again and it falls off the stool that had been set up against my bed.
By my door, I hear soft snickering and I turn the light on to stare at my brother as he stands there, looking amused in ways he honestly shouldn’t. I roll my eyes at him and scoot to the side of my bed to look at the floor. A mask. Just an ugly halloween mask. I look back up to my brother and I roll my eyes before I do the only thing I can. I roll over to my other side.
“Oh come on, Mira, this was funny. You should have seen your face.”
I stay quiet for a long moment, not honestly wanting to answer him. I just brace my shoulders and I set on ignoring him as long as I can.
“Mira, come on. It was just a joke.”
“Just a joke to you maybe but I was moments from screaming. We both know what happens when we wake Zora up on the days she has to be up early.” My voice is tense, just like the rest of me and I don’t know why I’m trying not to cry. This thing did scare me for the half-minute it was there, my heart is still beating a mile a minute. I guess I’m feeling a little hurt that he’d do something like that to me.
“I’m sorry, Mira. It really was just a joke, I was sure you’d seen the thing on my desk earlier.”
“Well I hadn’t. Now take it out of my room and put that stool back where it belongs.” Now my words are flat and I deflate. I press my face to my pillow as I listen to my brother pick up both the mask and the stool. He steps out but not before turning my light off.
“I’m sorry, Mira. Try to sleep well.”
That’s unlikely but I’m not all that cruel and I’m not out to make him feel guilty about this so I’ll just try to sleep without any nightmares.