I stumbled along the road with a bucket of lukewater; constantly shifting it around my arms and careful not to over-spill any of the water onto my clothes top get me wet. Poppy Trotted along besides me-shiny red hair bouncing with every step. She carried a stack of towels that were all a dull muddy color.
Kate had sent us to get these items as discreetly as possible and come back to the border of the forest where she stayed with my 'father', who still was unconscious.
I shifted the bucket of water so it wasn't cutting so deeply into my fingers. I rolled away the tension in my shoulders and neck. Poppy just smiled at me, "You wanna switch objects for awhile so you don't have to carry the bucket?"
I just shook my head and we continued walk. As we got closer to the edge of the town the burning in my shoulders got worse from holding the bucket but luckily we were soon there and I could see Kate in the distance.
She was crouched in the tall grass, elbows on her knees, eyes partially closed, and was just enjoying the gentle wind that was blowing. Poppy moved the weight of her blankets to one arm so she could wave at Kate with the other. I realized Poppy hadn't met Kate before now, maybe just glimpses of her but not never a proper introduction. So, once we had reached Kate I introduced Poppy to my aunt and they shook hands politely meanwhile I got to set my bucket of water down and stretch my back and arms.
Kate's introduction to Poppy was over and she came over to grab my bucket of water then poured in an entire container of body wash soap. I vaguely remember that soap in my bathroom. Oh well. Kate stirred the mixture with her hand until it was practically overflowing with soap bubbles. Now she took it over to where the dirty greyish fur of my dad could be seen and began to wash away the dirt and blood with a rag.
I looked away. Poppy was sitting down a little farther playing with a piece of grass, so I went to sit down next to her. She glanced up from knotting and unknotting her blade of glass.
"Life has gotten pretty weird.... Hasn't it?"
I sprawled out next to her in the grass and responded, "Yeah, one day it's just a normal day at school then suddenly it's all been flipped around and you see everything in a whole new way."
"And somehow I was dragged into this.." Poppy joked and lightly punched my arm. "You're not so different than everybody else though."
"What?" I turned my head to look at her.
"I mean you still feel, you still wanna live and love and laugh, have friends, survive school.... See not so different, it's not like you lack basic emotions or somethings. You're still people."
I snorted, "What have you mean reading?" I said partially kidding but the image of that day back at the library when we found the librarian dead and the words the people in the concrete building said about her flashed in my mind.
"Well I kinda found that journal..." Poppy whispered.
"What!" I wasn't lying down anymore but sitting straight up
"Yeah, I know! I was looking for blankets or towels like I was told! But then I opened the drawer and the book slid out and I thought 'OH interesting!' so I read a page and I felt a tad bit scared so I shoved it back and got towels!" Poppy rushed the words like a waterfall before taking a deep breath of air.
"Are you sure you put it back exactly where you found it?!" I narrowed my eyes at her and the red-haired girl nodded enthusiastically.
"Good, no one is suppose to find that." I sighed in relief and whooshed back down onto the grass, Poppy followed suite. We both closed our eyes and relaxed until Kate's shadow fell over us.
I opened one of my eyes and lifted an eyebrow inquisitively. "Thank you girls for your help!" Kate smiled brightly showing straight white teeth.
"....Is he awake then?...." I asked hesitantly. "Nope. You've got quite a shock." Kate didn't drop her smile. "Oh, ok.... What's his name?" I asked somehow even more embarrassing than the last question. "Jack." Was her reply before leaving to do something in the general vicinity. "Ok." was the wisp of air I mumbled to myself
I still felt awkward about this father thing. I mean I didn't really know him, so what would I call him, 'dad' and 'father' felt wrong or too informal to call the man I basically fried in the woods. So would I call him by his name, yet still even that somehow felt weird, somehow too formal as well.
This all felt strange. Sitting up I looked around for Kate. She was back with Jack doing something.
Maybe I'll come back tomorrow and see if he's alright instead.
I decided to get, Kate could deal with my dad on her own,but I needed to go home and have my own bath. Poppy noticed my sudden movement and questioned, "Are you going home?"
I just nodded. The good natured girl that Poppy was didn't say anything. She just offered her hand and walked with me home.