I don’t talk much about my childhood. For a few reasons. One of those reasons is that people don’t always believe me. If I tell a story about how I fought a stray dog for food they think I’m a bullshit artist looking for pity. Even if I show them the scars from where dogs bit the shit out of me. Which I don’t. No one can believe that kind of thing happens in this country, at this time.
I wonder what they’d think if I told them I killed and ate a dog once.
I didn’t think I was afraid of animals. I learned something new about myself. Maybe snakes are a different situation from dogs.
Adelaide took Huddie and I out to 12 Mile Swamp. I asked if we needed a boat. He said no. I don’t understand swamps. While we were walking I asked how a monster could be hiding in a swamp only 12 square miles, it seems like someone should have seen it. Adelaide said that it’s called that because it’s 12 miles from Saint Augustine not because it’s 12 miles in size. I thought I had walked around the entire thing when I walked the trail. Nope, it’s huge.
Before I could start to feel dumb for not knowing that a snake slithered out on the trail. It was four fucking feet long I fucking swear. I almost jumped into Huddie’s arms like a fucking housewife in an old black and white movie.
Neither Huddie or Adelaide even moved when that thing came out at us. Any normal person would flinch.
Adelaide looked at me like I was being crazy, like I was afraid of an unsharpened pencil. “That’s just Captain Jack” he said. “Say hello to Grace Captain Jack”. And then the fucking snake bobbed its head at me like it was waving. Like that was a fucking normal thing. And then Adelaide just kept walking! Huddie laughed right in my face.
What the fuck? I understand burning witches a little better now. You can’t just do that and then act like everything is fucking fine!
Once we left the trail I was so preoccupied, okay I wasn’t preoccupied I was fucking scared, that I didn’t notice my steps squishing until we were in a couple inches of water.
“I thought you said there wouldn’t be any water” I hated how whiny I sounded.
“No, I said we wouldn’t need a boat” he said like I was being a whiner.
“Are there alligators out here?”
He said that there aren’t, but I swear that I saw something big moving around in the water. Once I calmed down enough to notice I could feel the energy around us. It was like Ithaca or the hotel in Omaha, but most of all it was like that little fucking freezing pond outside of Friant.
Even though I know this is how it goes I still can’t believe how simple it is. The three of us joined hands and we summoned our power and we touched a few rocks and an hour later the “ritual” was done and the city is saved from the monster and we’re slogging through the mud back to the car.
Adelaide pulled out a cooler with a random assortment of beer and canned cocktails to keep us company while we dried out. Rum in a can? AG approved. While we were standing around waiting for the mud to crust up Huddie said that the wards didn’t fail, someone had sabotaged them.
“Let me guess, it was the people you want me to kill?”
He gave me a dirty look, which is justified, I was being snarky.
“I don’t know who did it Grace, you tell me, you’re the tracker.”