In The Midnight Of His Heart
By AL BRUNO III
April 26, 1993
The grass in John's back yard was ankle-deep and thick with dandelions. The trees grew tall and wild, their branches mingling as though they were holding each other for support. Birdsongs filled the air, Phil watched as a squirrel scampered along a branch only to be attacked by a mother sparrow. It was only passing through but in moments it was flailing wildly, trying to fend off the airborne attacker. As he watched the squirrel fall to the ground Phil wondered to himself if that was what it felt like to be John.
He chuckled to himself at the thought, If only it were that simple.
The squirrel showed no signs of moving. Phil thought about investigating but then thought better of it; Rabies was on the upswing this year.
Zara stepped out into the backyard, her black T-shirt spattered with red. She sat down on the back porch steps and sighed heavily. She was the only physician John would let near him.
“I did the best I could.” she said flatly, “The rest is up to him.”
“He'll be fine.” every aspect of her posture told Phil that she wanted him to sit down beside her, put his arm around her and comfort her. She would have to wait, he had things on his mind.
“Luckily the bullet passed through him. He should still be in a hospital though.”
Phil snorted derisively, “Sure, they'd just love to see him in a hospital.”
“We must still have some connections-”
“-that won't mean squat the minute someone in the know sees what he is. He'll either be killed or taken away for study at some Godforsaken government lab.”
“You don't know that.”
“No, I don’t but I don’t feel like risking him either. We may still need him.”
Zara shook her head with frustration and then turned her attention to a pair of yellow finches hopping along a low hanging branch, “Do you know what happened to him?”
“He got shot.” the buzz of an airplane filled the air. Phil used a hand to shield his vision and searched for the source.
“I mean why was he shot you ass.”
“He went out looking for trouble and he found it.”
“It’s like nineteen sixty-three all over again.”
“Yeah and just like in nineteen sixty-three he didn’t kill any potential Nobel Peace Prize winners.”
“Why did he kept saying ‘I am alone’?”
Phil gave up watching the sky and turned his attention back to the dead squirrel, “He's got the hots for some waitress a fourth of his age.”
Zara raised her eyebrows, “Really?”
“I think he must have run into her boyfriend or something and it pushed him over the edge.” Phil looked at her, “He asked me to kill him, and then when I wouldn't he tried to force me.”
“Poor thing.” she shook her head and then corrected herself, “Poor man.”
“That's what happens when you're one of the last of a dying breed.” he approached her, he touched her cheek and she kissed his wrinkled palm, “He's not so different from us in that way.”
“Him or me?”
She patted his belly, “There's nothing poor about you.”
“Were there any signs?”
“Signs of what?”
Zara looked up at him, trying to gauge his expression, “He can't do that. You know that.”
“I don’t know anything anymore.”