Undead and Unsure


My shoes ex machina dumped me on my front porch.

"Yes!" I was so pleased I hugged myself. But not for long! My poor husband and bereft friends, likely worried to death about me, would be hugging me soon enough. And soon after that, Sinclair would be hugging me naked while I hugged him back while we moved up and down a lot. Sex: hugs, only better.

I seized the doorknob, only to find it locked. Eh? Their cars were in the driveway. They hadn't been here long, either; it was snowing lightly but their windshields were wet and snow free: they'd been driving with their wipers on until very recently. Alas, when Laura dumped me into the hellfog, I hadn't grabbed my keys. And although I could eventually kick in our enormous ancient front door, I had no interest in spending the time or, ultimately, the money.

Side door? Sure! They were probably in the kitchen comforting themselves with sadness smoothies, so that door was probably unlocked, and if it wasn't, they could take a break from their mourning long enough to let me in.

"Guys?" I trotted through the side yard and up the walk to the kitchen door. My silver shoes had surprisingly good traction. Also, now that I was out of the hellfog, how long would these shiny shoes stick around? Something perhaps to ask my wise husband. If I ever found the mournful s.o.b. "I'm back, so you can start with the rejoicing!" I couldn't hear anything, but the door was unlocked. "Guys? Time to swap out the sadness smoothies for smoothies of triumph-guys?"

Nobody in the kitchen.


Argh! Reason #26 I hated texting: texting invaded the language, infecting even those who did not text. Invading even my thoughts! What I meant was: What the fuck?

Nobody in the kitchen. Recently driven cars in the driveway. Nobody was looking for me, nobody was listening for me. Tina and Sinclair should have both heard me by now. Ergo, they were in trouble or they weren't here. The third option, that they were here but somehow their every thought wasn't bent on finding me, didn't bear considering.

Were they in trouble? Oh, jeez, while I was blundering through the hellfog restraining myself from strangling the Watsons with their own spinal cords, had my family been in trouble? Dying forever trouble?

Call for them or sneak around hoping to get the chance to brain any would-be bad guys? There were advantages to-

"Ow, Goddammit, ow!"

Jessica. And this probably wasn't her standard bitching about taking a room on the third floor.

I ran at the stairs. Really ran, because there was something like forty stairs on two floors apiece but in next to no time I was ready to bash in her door (it was a day for me to be confronted with doors I couldn't open, I s'pose) except her door was open.

Her door was open and she was on her bed and Marc and Not-Nick were also on her bed and at first I had the horrified impression it was some sickass "Dear Penthouse Forum" insanity, except-

"No, it's okay, now you get to push! Go ahead and push!"

"Get to? What, like it's a fucking prize I've won? I swear to God, Marc, I swear it, if you weren't dead, I would fucking kill you."

"Hey, guys." I waved. Multiple heads-Jess's, Not-Nick's, Marc's, Sinclair's, and Tina's-all swiveled toward me. "I'm back. I guess."

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