CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and TWENTY-SEVEN
Friday afternoon — 2:13 p.m.
The word was on the lips of her mother, Quanshay, before Quanshay was even awake. Quanshay’s eyes fluttered open.
Where on earth?
Quanshay sat up in bed.
The bed was so comfortable and inviting that she almost lay back down. She looked down at herself. She was wearing a man’s old T-shirt. It was roomy and soft from multiple washings. Her hand went under the covers. She was wearing just her underwear.
She lay back down in the warm bed and fell asleep again.
Sometime later… Had it been three minutes? Two hours? She sat straight up in bed. Her daughter was talking? Was she crying or laughing?
Where was she?
Quanshay saw the old soft robe on the end of the bed. She wrapped herself in its warmth and went to the restroom. Her purse was set on the counter. Her phone was charging on a cord hooked into a socket.
She grabbed her phone and started to look at it.
She heard her daughter again.
Without thinking, she walked toward the sound. She opened a glass door that led to a lovely garden patio. There was a small pond with fish and benches around the edge of the patio. The planters were filled with winter dormant plants, but the flowing ivy and box made the patio inviting. Quanshay saw a few shoots of bulbs coming up from the soil. A foot above this beautiful shady oasis was what looked like a brightly lit driveway.
Looking up, she recognized Kallyn’s shoes moving forward and then back. There was an odd slapping sound.
If someone was beating on her daughter, they were going to have Quanshay to deal with. Quanshay trotted up a shady paved path to the driveway. Standing just out of sight in shadow, she saw that her daughter was fighting a boy with some kind of wooden sword.
The boy was much better with the wooden sword than Kallyn.
But Kallyn was good. Really good.
They were speaking… something. Quanshay knew she should recognize it but it always took her a moment. It sounded like French sometimes but it wasn’t. It slid across her mind like a river.
Quanshay sighed at her exhausted mind.
Kallyn was studying… in school. She had to get special permission and the mean kids had made fun of her but she was almost fluent in…
Arabic. The word popped in her mind.
Kallyn started learning Arabic when her father started with the language. Of course, Royce picked it up like he picked up everything — easily with a lot of grace.
Kallyn and the boy were speaking Arabic.
Laughing. They were laughing. Quanshay smiled.
The boy said something to Kallyn and her daughter turned.
“Mama!” Kallyn said.
“Watch it girl!” Quanshay said.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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