5:31am, part 14

Tommy cradled Lamarr fiercely, expecting something godawful to burst through those aging doors. The slabs of metal, painted a solemn green, started to shake violently. Eventually they were flung open, revealing a dark hooded figure wielding a a bow. Beyond the doors, dark figures with arrows protruding from their flesh caught Tommy’s attention, and Zeke gave a polite gasp. Tommy got the impression that his friend wasn’t all that phased by the violence.

“Are you Ronald Reagan?” Zeke asked. Tommy couldn’t help but chuckle, and the hooded figure gave him the stink eye.

“No, I’d actually rather my name not go down in history. For the record. Anyway, you have a limited amount of time before Milton summons more of his henchmen.”

Before the hooded figure left,  he came closer to Tommy and stroked Lamarr’s cool scalp. “You’ll be fine,” he said. After that, he fled the mausoleum and a fog started to roll in.

“We should go. Can I crash at your place?” Zeke asked.

With Lamarr seemingly just fine, Tommy was feeling magnanimous if still a little suspicious of Zeke’s motives. They walked home quickly and quietly in the increasingly dense fog until Zeke grabbed his shoulder.

“I couldn’t handle those history lessons anymore,” Zeke said. “That’s why I had to leave. I mean, I almost pissed myself when he mentioned Ronald Reagan.”

“And now he’s running for POTUS. Yeah, I get it. Still sucks you lied to me though. We can’t get around that.”

Tommy started to walk again, anxious to show his mom and dad that Lamarr was okay. They wouldn’t believe it over the phone.

“Has your sister always felt this cold?” Zeke asked as they walked onto the screened in porch.

“She was in that mausoleum for god knows how long. That’s probably the reason why.”

Zeke didn’t respond to that. Tommy’s parents opened the front door, cradling Lamarr and Tommy and giving Zeke a curious look.

Tommy explained, exaggerating Zeke’s situation but leaving out the absurd details, which seemed like a contradiction, but it did the trick.

“You’ll stay in our spare bedroom. Oh, it’ll be nice to have a full house again!” Tommy’s mother said.

“Thanks, Mrs. B!” Zeke said, giving her a quick hug of gratitude. Mr. B offered his hand. Zeke shook it. And with a soft and awkward handshake, everything seemed to slide back to normality for awhile.

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