Word Count: 819
The sound of Rayn snoring softly on top of me was the first thing I registered when I woke up. At some point in the night, he had crawled up on top of me and curled up on me, his head resting on my stomach. As he twitched and elbowed my leg sharply, I realized it had been that that woke me up.
Uncurling the fists I’d made without thinking, I blinked up into the bright morning light streaming through the gap in the curtains. Pain shot up my leg as Rayn elbowed me again, burying his face in my shirt. The quiet whimpering noises he was making told me he was having a bad dream. I shushed him, playing with his hair to try and calm him down before he woke himself up. With my free hand, I pulled a packet of cigarettes out of his pocket, lighting it.
A couple of hours sort of came and went; I spent them half asleep, only partly able to ignore Rayn’s fidgeting around. In that time, Rayn had shuffled down onto my legs, his head uncomfortably wedged in my crotch. I’d been torn between waking him up and making him move, and letting him sleep. In the end, I’d opted to just leave him alone.
I spent my time thinking about what was going to happen to us. Was this thing just gonna sort of blow over? Or get worse? I had no idea if it had spread to other countries, or if it was just America that was this fucked up. After a while, I decided I didn’t really want to think about it. The more I questioned it, the more I considered the negative answers.
Carefully, I dislodged Rayn from my lap, doing my best not to wake him. He sleepily clutched at my shirt and let out a mumbled protest, but otherwise didn’t stir. I gave him a cushion to cuddle and wandered off to find something to eat.
I found some sausages in the freezer and a few of those part baked baguettes lurking behind the meat. I guessed a temperature to set the oven to and stuck them all in on a tray, hoping for the best. Rayn hadn’t exactly been lying when he had told Joe that I shouldn’t be allowed in a kitchen.
The smell of cooking soon woke Joe up – he shuffled in, groggy and grumpy at the world for making him sleep on a hard motel sofa. His bright ginger hair stuck up at all angles and there was something odd about the fact he didn’t have his glasses on yet.
“Morning,” I grunted as he stood next to me where I was sat in front of the oven on the floor, watching the food through the little window on the door.
“Good morning,” he greeted me, not sounding like he believed that it was good at all.
“You’re a cheerful one in the mornings,” I said flippantly, rubbing down my gun with a cloth. I figured cleaning it properly would pass the time until I could eat, so in Joe’s irritated silence, I pulled it apart hardly looking at what I was doing. He glanced down at me, through the steam of the water he was boiling, looking like he wanted to ask me something. I half sighed, “just ask it,” I told him.
“How… how come you’ve known how to use a gun for so long?” he chose his words carefully.
“My dad used to get me to clean his gun when I was a kid, every week without fail, every Friday morning. He took me to a shooting range for the first time when I was… seven, I think.” I looked at him, absent mindedly wiping down each part of the gun gently. He still had a question on his lips, but he didn’t look like he felt brave enough to ask it. “And the reason I go to stab someone when I get woken up… well let’s just say I’m a good example of why kids should stay in school,” I gave him a grim half smile.
“You didn’t go to school at all?”
“No one thought to put me in a school til third grade. Everything was so far ahead of me that I just fucked about in class, if I bothered going at all.”
“So you really don’t know how to read, then,” he said thoughtfully, “I just thought you meant you were dyslexic or something.” I laughed at that. It was a pretty funny thing, to think that someone thought I’d been to school. I’d always figured it was pretty obvious that I was lacking in the education area. “Maybe I could teach you to read? As an exchange for teaching me to shoot?”
“Rayn already tried that. It didn’t last long.”
“Well I’ll be persistent, then,” he told me, “if you want.”