(Last week: Chartan watches his son build a block wall on the floor while he retreats from the memories of the dead passengers.)

Chartan had no choice—he went to the bathroom, the only place he could avoid the stares of his wife and son.  He needed to think, to summon the focus that gave him the super powers of deduction that had always put him on the right path. But this time,  where should he go?  He sat on the floor, the toes of his feet pressed against the bathtub, his eyes locked on the curve of the white porcelain.

I need to drive limos to support my family, to keep the Bentley…to keep things as they are. I’ve long lost my mission to help others see their shortcomings, their fears. I no longer teach.  When Brazil and I were on the mountain top, my thoughts were clear, directed. But when I came down I met Gina and I entered a world I’d never been in.  

“Are you almost done in there? Jake needs to go!”

An hour later in the parking lot Chartan was behind the wheel of the Bentley with Gina next to him and their son in a car seat in the back. The old black luxury car no longer gave a smooth line, instead, sunlight bounced off its many dents and imperfections, accentuating the hills and valley of worn sheet-metal—this is what Chartan was thinking when Gina asked where they were going?

“I want to stop by Sloan’s and figure out my schedule for the next week, then we can drive to the hills for a picnic.”

“But we don’t have anything to eat.”

“We’ll stop by the deli.”

“Isn’t that pricey?”

“Gina, I’m working—we can afford it.”

He eased the car out of the parking lot and back down the road he’d been on a few hours ago. He knew he’d be passing the house with the old lady. He wouldn’t’ look her way. His first step was to get over the death of the mystery passengers and her taunt,” I know who you are. She doesn’t know me at all.

To be continued next Sunday…

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