No Laughing MatterMature

Sedona
Days have passed, yet I’m still in shock. I’m desperately trying to free myself from a current state of unease, but my nerves seems to be working against me. Fortunately, Dylan’s friend hasn’t been too inquisitive. Dylan, on the other hand....

“I’m surprised that you let us into your home so willingly. What if we've been plotting against you this whole time? We could be contaminated,” Dylan wonders aloud. Is he trying to get us kicked out? Now that the quarantine is over, we could be asked to leave at any time. I’m eager to interject, but Venice beat me to it.

“Shut up, Dylan.”  I silently thank her for her naivety. He has a good point. No one should be too lenient during a crisis. But if Dylan won’t change the subject, I will.

“So, uh, how long have you two known each other?” I ask. Due to my stubbornness and Venice's apathy, we have yet to engage in a full conversation. She shot a cutting glance at Dylan. Perhaps that was the wrong direction to go in. 

“Only a year or so,” Venice answers reluctantly. The discomfort in the room is reaching new heights. My eyes travel around the room, looking for a new distraction. They land on a ceramic container painted with paw prints.

“Do you have a dog?” I infer, hoping to lift the tension in the room. 

“Yes,” Venice replies after a brief pause.

“Really, where is it?”

“He’s in that jar over there. What’s left of him, at least.”

My jaw swings open. I wouldn’t call myself an animal lover, but hearing such a claim made my heart drop. I turn to Dylan, expecting him to be just as concerned. His hand is covering his face. However, this is not a horrified reaction. It’s an attempt to hide his laughter. At the sight of my confusion, Venice and Dylan both erupt into a bout of giggles. 

“What the hell?” Suddenly, my voice turns stern and sharp. I am not in the mood for practical jokes. 

“Calm down,” Dylan says between snickers. “Those are cat treats. Good one, Venice.” She nods her head in satisfaction. 

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you or anything.”

“I wasn’t scared. Maybe worried.” Dylan puts his hand on my shoulder, gently shaking it. 

“I didn’t think you’d react that way. Not so tough anymore, eh?” I roll my eyes. Etan would constantly pull dumb pranks on me when we were little. After a while, I got used to it. However, my tolerance to that sort of nonsense disappeared once we stopped talking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid. I like to be on high alert. Nothing slips by me. 

I’ll let them have their laughs now. We’ll see who the real cowards are when Etan’s buruburu finds us.

I could teach all of them a thing or two about bravery.

The End

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