Seamus

By Jon Miller


Origination. What does that even mean? The genus of civilization requires an extensive and civil thought. The purpose of adaptation is that we must see our past selves for what we were like, good or bad, privileged or not—— contrary to who we are now. We dwell in dreams about who we are,but does one ever dwell in dreams about they once were, or what would their lives be like if they remained the exact same. Perhaps we dream of the before more so than we do the after.

These were the sort of things that kept Blair awake at night. It can’t be, he would think, it is impossible for someone not to change their ways. For some it takes longer than others.Girls mature their minds much sooner, but eventually the boys do catch up.

Blair was 4,115 days old—he would count it too. More often than not, he would count those days during his late night bed conferences between body and mind.

When he wasn’t thinking about evolution, he would think about Gabby and the town they lived in. Gabby was an older woman who lived in the same rundown house as Blair. It was rundown because she never bothered to clean it up.

Blair figured that it was only a matter of time before the New York sanitary inspectors, or whatever they’re called, would put back up their busted door, only to bust it down again when they came. They’d put their pink slips on the door and wrap some yellow caution tape around the house like a towel. They’d drag Gabby out feet first as she scratched open the unkept wooden floors with her nails.

That was a sight that Blair would like to behold, but until then — he’d wait and count those days like he does.

Gabby may be young, she may have been beautiful at one point, but she gave all of that up after she brought Blair into this world and chose snowballs over a sunny spring. He had no sympathy for her even though he made her eggs for breakfast and dinner every day. It was the only thing he knew how to make but she never noticed it.

Blair got up and pressed his soft and black tar feet against the cold floor. He could feel the fragments of wood sticking up to the bottom of his feet. It was a wonder to him why he hadn’t gotten more splinters. At least if he covers his feet with red blood, he’ll have an excuse to convince himself in washing them.

In the living room was the dreaded Gabby. Blair saw the television on, but honestly did not care what she was watching. He could see the light and color reflections bouncing off her pale skin and assumed it was some fireworks or cartoons.

She wasn’t sitting up straight. Instead she was slouched over and her left arm was sticking out. Blair noticed that if he looked hard enough he could see a black, brutally worn out belt that was partially sticking out from under the couch. On the coffee table in front of Gabby was a tissue box that was covering something on the other side of it. Blair did not bother to find out how hard he had to look to see what was on the other side of it. In the kitchen with the half rolled off wallpaper and the cheap folder thin dinner table was a plate of cold scrambled eggs. Untouched.

Blair quickly scraped the eggs in the garbage and threw the dish in the sink. He wandered into the freezing outside. Under the windowsill outside was an unlit cigarette. Blair grazed his fingers under it to find it, he had trouble seeing anything with the cloud of breath coming out of his mouth and nose. He finally grabbed the delicate paper. It was a bit worn out.

There was no intention to ever smoke, but there lied an intention to look more adult. Blair never lit the cigarette, he would just stick it in his mouth breathe in whatever it smelt like. This was a two month old unlit cigarette, it didn’t smell like nicotine anymore—more like pencil shavings.

He would inhale the cigarette and cold air provided everything else.

The chomping of leaves and twigs disrupted Blair’s adult session. What was it? He’d already proven to himself that if he looked hard enough he could see anything—— what he wanted to see anyway.

Blair looked harder and saw a four-legged hound of some sort. Wolves had been a continuous issue within the harshly disheveled town. What was it?

Blair was so involved in discovering the new creature that he pretended to ash out the imaginary lit cigarette in an imaginary ashtray. Two months down the drain.

What came from the shadows was a large, brown dog. A dark green collar around its neck.

“Hey, boy,” he said softly. “Come here, boy.”

The canine was hesitant— smart dog. The town was so ridden with crime that even the animals knew better.

Blair persisted “Come here, boy. It’s okay.”

The dog remained where it was. Blair knew that if anyone was going to do the approaching he would have to break the ice.

He knelt down and slowly worked his way over. Blair got a lot closer than he expected and was able to graze his fingers along the long brown streaks of hair.

“What your name?” asked Blair.

He reached to its dark green collar where it read “Seamus.”

“See-a-muss?” Blair said, but mostly asked.

Weird name. Blair reached further back on the dog and began rubbing its hair. He felts something wet and wondered how long it was outside for. He looked at his hand—it wasn’t clear water. He brought it closer to his face, this required some effort from even the most vivid eyesight. It was red. It was blood.

“Are you hurt?” asked Blair.

“What happened, boy?”

He wasn’t sure if it even was a boy, he’d never heard of the name.

“Come on”, said Blair.

The shed was just as bad as the house. Blair didn’t even seem bothered, like he’d seen it all before and is used to it. It’s when the house is in tip top shape that he would begin to worry.

“It’s green like your collar”, said Blair, of the hose that he was about to use. He knew to be gentle with the hose and not to scare off Seamus or further injure him. He took the shirt off his back and began to scrub the blood off, at least his shirt was cleaner than the other shirts and towels lying around.

Blair knew to be even more gentle around its neck and snout. He couldn’t help but smile at Seamus when eye contact was made. When their eyes weren’t meeting, Blair tried to take peaks to see where the blood was coming from. He looked around through the thick brown, and now wet, hair.

What’s scarier? Having this much blood on you, or having this much of somebody else’s blood on you? Blair was no medical graduate, but from walking on splinters for more than 4,000 days of existence, he knows well enough that blood has to come from an open wound. Which was not visible on Seamus. With this much blood visible, there had to be more than just a paper cut going on.

“Where did you come from?”, Blair was beyond curious at this point.

The dog had its eyes on something. Blair looked to see what it was. Two dozen small rolled up white bags on the floor.

The dog got up and walked over. Its nails tapped against the concrete. It stopped a few feet from the discovery and it took some hardened sniffs. Water still dripping from its thick fur, making puddles around its paws.

“What is it?”, asked Blair.

It began a quiet growl and then it got louder and louder. The dog began pushing off on its two front feet and waving its head up and down while growling. Blair wasn’t entirely sure what it was doing. The dog continued this a few minutes. Than it stopped abruptly.

“Blair!”, shouted a female voice from the distance.

Blair moved his eyes away from the canine. Even when it turned its head and stared directly at Blair.

“Blair!”, the shout was heard again.

Blair was conscious enough not to make any sudden movements to avoid further upsetting the dog, but he slowly worked his way over to the window with his eyes still pointing down. He arrived at the window and stuck his head out.

“Be right there”, he shouted back.

He turned his head, Seamus was gone—— out the open the door. Blair, reluctant to go after him, but curious enough to take a few steps forward and see where it chose to wander off next. But into the darkened gloomy night it went. “Poor thing isn’t gonna make it through the night,” Blair thought to himself.

He walked back into the place he called home to see what Gabby wanted. Nothing. She was asleep before he got back in.

Blair laid his head against his single pillow and stared up to the ceiling, which was just as bad as the wooden floors. He knew he’d be thinking about Seamus for the rest of the night and into tomorrow. Wondering where it might have wandered off to live its remaining couple of hours before it succumbed to the evening’s cold.

The next morning was colder than he expected. “There’s no way he made it through this,” he thought to himself. His train of thought was disrupted by the sounds of three pairs of bikes riding by him. Three kids who Blair had seen before in school, but did not get the chance to make an impression on. They knew him, at least one of them did, the kid in the back of the group

stared at Blair as he rode from behind and ahead of him.

Blair went just a few more yards before he saw what the commotion was all about. The three kids on their bikes, four police cars, and a little more than a dozen people surrounded the side of the road. “What’s so special about this road,” Blair thought to himself. Sure it connected a few roads together to get into town, but mostly out. The tar was a little higher than the dying grass on the side of it, but nothing that warranted a spectacle.

“It couldn’t be the dog lying there,” he thought to himself. Blair worked his way through the crowd, but couldn’t get a good shot of what all of this was about. With each large person he was able to get pass, he began to worry more and more about Seamus.

He was never more happy to see yellow caution tape, it was almost like the finish line tape. Blair got inches away from the yellow tape and saw three police officers surrounding a small bush.

Finally he was able to get a glimpse of a pair of feet human feet and a whole lot of blood around it. Blair had trouble hearing the officers telling him to move aside. It was all a faint tunnel sound as his mind was too preoccupied with connecting the dots.

He didn’t even realize Justine Bruce standing behind him. Blair knew his place in the system of importance. If he had to tackle his way through the crowd to get a front row seat, how would he even compare himself to the woman behind him who the crowd practically parted ways to make a path for as if she was Moses.

He caught a glimpse of her flower green dress and knew by some sixth sense that he had to step aside.

“Thank you, cutie,” said Justine. Justine Bruce was very well known within the town. Reasons Blair did not fully understand, maybe he was just too young to. Whenever she walked by someone they would place their head down, whenever she greeted someone they wouldn’t even hesitate to greet her back. She walked under the yellow tape with disregard of its existence and meaning. The police officers quickly put down their notepads and stood up straight upon her arrival.

Behind the bushes came Lionel and Curtis Bruce. They were a mixed race family with a darker skin tone belonging to Justine and Lionel, while Curtis was a little more paler and shared almost no resemblance to his mother and brother.

“Are they even supposed to be this close to a crime scene?” thought Blair. This was against the rules in every police procedural show he’s heard of. He had trouble thinking to himself since the murmuring and whispers behind him began to exceed the volume of his thoughts. People turning to each other and whispering, pointing at the crime. “Finally got it coming to ‘em.” Was maybe something that Blair heard in the sea of whispers behind him. However, the whispers came to complete silence when Lionel looked up at the crowd. It was clear to them their place in the system of importance too.

That night—after Blair’s rejuvenating family dinner with Gabby—he went outside and stood in the very same place in the hopes that Seamus would arrive. If Seamus would’ve understood, Blair’d tell him how he looked up the name at school today— “one who grabs at the heel”—whatever that meant.

Before he could decipher the meaning, Seamus came from the shadows and looked up at Blair as though a meeting had been arranged. Seamus slowly took a few steps forward and put his head under one of Blair’s dangling arms. Blair, starting with just the tips of his fingers, began grazing the top of Seamus’ head. Eventually using his palms to stroke Seamus behind his ears and neck. Blair wondered if he’d ever allowed this to happen with any other person or if there was some sort of unspoken connection between the two.

At this point, Blair realized that he’d never even considered if Seamus was responsible for the dead body this morning. It’s not that he thought he was innocent of it, he just didn’t care if he did it.

Blair knelt down to get closer to the eye level of the hound. They’re both struggling— this was Blair’s explanation to convince himself that Seamus had some hope and goodness. As he got closer Seamus was quick to leap up and back away. He made the same upward and downward movements with his head as he did last night.

“What’s wrong?” Blair asked, as he raised his hands by his head and cautiously knelt back up. “What’s wrong?” Blair repeated. Seamus moved to the direction of the house and began to growl.

Blair had to push hard to open the door to his kitchen. He walked in with Seamus treading behind him. “Watch your feet,” he warned.

Blair walked into the living room and saw Gabby in the same position she was always in—slouched over with her left arm sticking out. The worn out black belt was on the coffee table this time. Blair turned to Seamus. He turned back to Gabby and approached her slowly. He put the back end of his hand against her neck. Colder than a stone wall.

The paramedics told him it was just another accidental overdose and that they get called to four of them a day. Otis, a young black man straight out of school, gave off an impression of sympathy to Blair. He wondered how long that would last after getting more and more calls like this before he considered it just another part of the day.

Otis who was out of breath after doing everything he could to help the paramedics revive Gabby, asked Blair if he had any family to come pick him up tonight. Blair said that his Uncle Jackie is able to come. “I’ll wait here while you go and call him,” he said.

Blair went to pick up his disconnected phone and walked into his bedroom where Seamus had been waiting. Blair waited a good few minutes before he walked out to tell Otis that Uncle Jackie was coming. Blair wondered if the paramedics would remember picking up Uncle Jackie’s drug overdosed body almost two years ago.

“I’ll wait till he gets here,” Otis suggested.

“I’m fine. Thank you, though,” Blair immediately said.

It took a while to convince him, but Otis left with the body of Gabby and left all of the sympathy in the world for Blair. The paramedics left to respond to another drug-related incident in the area.

Blair sat in his bed and Seamus on the floor in front of it. His brown fur still pretty clean from last night. Blair tapped on his bed and Seamus got up and climbed onto the bed. He rested at the front corner of the bed next to Blair.

Blair rubbed the dog’s thigh as he looked forward trying to hold something back. Suddenly, like a rocket, Blair bursted out a sobbing sound. It took him a while to realize that streams of tears were coming down his cheeks. He didn’t know why he was crying. He hadn’t really considered Gabby his mother since she started her addiction many years ago. Maybe it was the thought of disowning her that made him cry.

Seamus moved around to lay across Blair’s lap. Not long after Blair had run out of tears he fell asleep in the position that he was in with Seamus.

“Where did he come from? Why did he come here? Why’s all of this happening now?” Blair thought to himself. With more questions than answers provided, Blair was forced to go through the next few days with the knowledge of uncertainty overbearing him.

 

Cigarette teeth and a well-groomed mustache. That is what Blair noticed most while sitting across from the police captain. It looked like whatever he lost in dental care he made up for in the neatness of his facial hair. The captain sat across from Blair as he went through the statistics of drug related deaths within in the town. Apparently statistics make people feel better.

The captain went on about how the recent increase of drug trafficking has put a bad name on the town. He went on about this one and that one dying, and how the Bruce family is profiting off of that. The Bruce family—— that was a name that Blair was familiar with. Blair never bought anything from the Bruce family, but who knew where to find their ranch house. Everyone in and around town knew where to find their ranch house, but no one ever used their hand to knock on it without some cash in the other.

Justine Bruce and her boys lead the biggest drug trafficking enterprise in this region. Something that many of the police officers and other officials are aware of, but don’t do much about since many of them grew up and went to school with the Bruce boys—— Lionel, the oldest, Wade, the second born who died in prison for still undisclosed reasons.

Currently Lionel, Tom, the third born, and Curtis, the illegitimate son of the family, run the business. Since the captain spent most of his time talking about Lionel and Curtis, Blair assumed that Tom wasn’t in the picture anymore. When he asked the captain about Tom the captain informed that the body that was found was Tom’s.

“You live near there don’t you?” asked the captain, “Did you give a statement?”

Blair was quick to respond, “Yes. We weren’t of any help.”

“I guess that explains why it’s not here”, incompetently said by the captain. “Sorry again for your loss, son. Do you have any other questions?”

“Where are your missing dog flyers?” asked Blair.

A bulletin board with photos of dogs covered the once brown board. Blair looked long and hard to find any dog that shared the name Seamus or at least took resemblance. Nothing.

Blair walked outside the precinct where Seamus had a piece of rope tied to his collar at one end and the other tied to the railing. Blair untied the railing end and walked with Seamus down the street.

They stopped at the end of the street as Blair figured he’d entertain the idea of just plain asking. “Where did you come from?” he asked

Seamus looked around the street.

“Where is your home, Seamus?”

Seamus, finally finished looking around, stared directly at Blair for a few moments and then turned his head. He walked away leaving Blair alone there.

Blair followed him. They walked to a block of houses. Houses that strongly mirrored his own. Rusted fences, failing paint, windows with cardboards to cover them. It was something that Blair had grown so accustomed to that he didn’t even consider how the people in this town lived.

The house that Seamus stopped at was no exception. It was a house that looked like it was once green, but is now light brown. Weeds and overgrown grass covering the house from a sidewalk view. There were three broken down stairs leading up to an equally broken down front door. In between those was a screen door with net cut open.

“Who lives here?” asked Blair. “Is your owner in there?”

Part of Blair wished that it was uninhabited, but he knew Seamus was smarter than that. Seamus gave the house a good stare before he realized it was a staring contest that he was unable to win. He began to stroll away with Blair treading behind him.

Blair wanted to know so much what Seamus was thinking. As they walked back to Blair’s house, he looked at Seamus as he walked beside him to maybe get a better understanding of what Seamus was trying to say.

Maybe it was a place he used to live and the owners had to leave. Maybe there is still something inside of the house that Seamus needs. Maybe Blair can help him get it.

“We can go back tonight,” Blair sternly said.

True to his word, after a quiet meal of scrambled eggs with Seamus, the two walked back to the once green house later that night.

Blair cleared a path among the fallen weeds and leaves for him and Seamus. Stepping on the three wooden stairs made more noise than it would have to break the door down. Seamus, however, had no difficulty silently getting onto the porch.

The porch wrapped around both sides of the house as Blair checked every window in the hopes that one was left unlocked. The cold air made the rails feel like ice.

Blair found the very last window slightly cracked open by less than an inch.

“Over here, boy,” he whispered to Seamus as he heard the sounds of four feet prancing over.

Blair squeezed his fingers under the rails and cracked open the window. He poked his head in and saw a few lamps on. He went in with his right arm and leg first.

Blair and Seamus walked around the large house. All kinds of insects inhabited the cold ground while the spiders and their cobwebs inhabited the walls and corners.

Blair went into the living room— removing the cobwebs to do so, noticing a head lying on the ground with a dresser covering the rest of the view.

Blair stormed in and saw the body of an older man. The belt still wrapped around his arm with the needle sticking upward. White bags on the floor surrounding his body. Seamus stood beside Blair. Blair turned his head down to ask him.

“Do you know him, boy?”

Seamus walked over to inspect the body. Blair walked over to the wall full of photos. It was the man seen before him, but it also wasn’t. The photos depicted a different kind of man. Some of the photos had him in suits and shaking the hands of other men in suits. Drawings of the man by a child. The man sitting next to a young girl by her bed. The man with the same girl, now older, sitting outside the park. They both had bandanas covering the top of their heads.

Blair looked at some more. No photos of Seamus. He turned to the dog, “Who’s house is this?” Seamus was too occupied with the man’s lifeless body to really care to react.

Blair looked back at the photos and decided that if he were to ever get any answers to his vast amount of questions—he’d have to make some of them up.

He continued to look at the photos and imagined that the man was a professor. He taught history and loved the color green. He wife died of cancer, but not before giving birth to a daughter. A daughter that the man truly cherished since she was all he had left in the world.

The man tried his best to be a good father, but had some difficulty. He had to learn to adapt to the sudden change. He worked with what he had to provide for his daughter. Instead of reading her bedtime stories, he would tell her lessons from his history courses like the Battle of Hastings or the Haitian Revolution.

Getting her interested in history was something that he was very proud of because he knew she was exceptional, and if she were to become successful, it would be, in part, because of his influence.

The girl eventually graduated and was able to get into a very good college. The man was able to help her through her history studies and until she didn’t need him anymore or at least until she was diagnosed with the same cancer as her mother.

The man would often lay in his bed and dwell on the dreams that could have been lived by his daughter. He thought about his life before more often than his life after. Why would he want to think about the after part? Watching two people succumb to the same illness. It was better to dwell in dreams than adapt to reality.

 

Because the reality was so overbearing that it took the use of drugs and isolation to get over it a second time. This was the story of the man in the once green house.

Blair turned to Seamus to see what he thought of his version of events, but he was not there. Blair looked around the cobwebs to see where he had gone.

It was three sudden knocks on the front door that made the realization of the situation much more genuine. Blair was quick to run into the narrow hallway and into the bathroom. He didn’t have time to run past the door and out the window since the sounds of a drill erupting through a hard surface began to arise.

The drilling suddenly stopped and what followed was the sound of a piece of metal hitting the wooden floor. Blair climbed backward into the tub as if he’d now be invisible behind the shower curtain.

The squeaky opening of a door was heard as well as the sound of the door hitting the wall behind it. Foot steps came forward.

“Maxi! It’s Lionel” said the hardened voice. “Maxi! You can’t keep avoiding me and hope that I go away. Max!”

“Maxi! It’s me. I’m coming in.” Blair now began contemplating the possible outcomes of this situation. Lionel Bruce knew he was there and saw the body than he couldn’t just let him walk out of here, but maybe he would if he saw how scared he was. Blair decided that the best thing to do is to walk out and take what Lionel had to offer.

The sounds of Lionel walking around were heard. “Disgusting. I hope your truck is a lot cleaner than this. No wonder why everyone has asthma now.”

As Blair stepped out of the tub and slowly creeped out of the bathroom, he heard the footsteps stop. He knew he saw the body. Blair took a few more steps forward.

Lionel came rushing out in front of Blair with his back facing him and his phone to his ear.

“Mom! He’s done. He O.D’ed,” yelled Lionel.

The sounds of a feminine voice on the other end was heard. Lionel continued: “I don’t know, some squatter, but the truck, mom.”

Lionel turned around and captured Blair with his eyes.

Into the phone, “I’ll call you back.”

There was complete and utter silence between the two that would have caused a silent explosion.

“I know you, right?” he asked Blair with no answer. “Right?” he yelled.

Lionel began storming towards Blair, but what looked like a shadow hovered over Lionel’s right shoulder. It nearly knocked him down, but he got back up and began pounding on the back end of the shoulder. He turning quickly enough for Blair not to know what exactly it was, but enough to see the long thick, brown fur.

Blood coming out of chewing marks began to appear on Lionel’s neck. Blair chose to focus on a cobweb in the corner of the room so he didn’t have to see the whole thing.

A lamp was knocked over since the lighting shifted on the cobweb. Blair just had to focus a little bit more on it and drown out the sounds of a struggle.

While staring at the cobweb he saw glimpses of shadows that appeared to be a fight to the absolute death.

A while had gone by before Blair realized that he no longer had to try to drown out the sounds since it had already stopped. He looked down and saw a chair on its side with a human body behind it and a substantial amount of blood in and around it.

Seamus stood behind the body with blood still dripping from his mouth.

Fearless as ever, Blair walked out of the room past Seamus and out the front door without a worry or concern. He figured if he walked home like nothing happened then it would be easier for him to absorb tonight’s events into tomorrow’s morning. The idea, however, had no intention of working since all that was on Blair’s mind as he lay in bed was the brutal attack of a man. The cold walk from the house and into Blair’s bed was mere a blackout. He was home before he knew it. Time goes a lot quicker when you have something on your mind.

What did they do to Seamus? thought Blair. Something so bad that Seamus couldn’t forget. It wasn't that hard to believe since the family is very well known within the community and are probably responsible for most of the crimes that go on.

Blair knew that happy endings were a ridiculous notion. Even the story that he made for the dead man had its fair share of tragedies. But Seamus’ story was not like the other tragedies that occur in this town. This was a story that could end with a potentially hopeful one.

He remembered hearing someone from the crowd mentioning that they “finally got it coming to ‘em.” Maybe they did. If it wasn’t Seamus, it would’ve been someone else who would eventually come to collect the family debts. Blair figured that whoever it was, it was important that it was for personal reasons and not business. If that was ever the case, it would have to be Seamus.

Blair may never know what drove the dog to do the things that he has done, nor does he really care anymore, as he saw it—this was always meant to be a conflict between animals.

With three of her sons having been killed throughout her life all that was left was Justine and Curtis. Was Seamus going to turn to them now? Blair wanted to help him in any way he could just to understand him, but he didn’t want to be involved in this capacity. This was plain murder through and through. Now Blair, an accomplice, was involved whether he wanted to be or not. Gabby wasn’t always bad, she just never learned to adapt to her changing environment. Blair wouldn’t allow this to be his story. Blair would learn to adapt.

He’s already gone this far with Seamus—to cease at this moment would mean that Blair hadn’t adapted to his new environment. This would resort to him lying on his bed and dwelling on the past that he could have had if he would’ve followed through.

In a way, Seamus provided something for Blair. He wasn’t sure exactly what it was, but he knew he felt a sense of calm and collectiveness when Seamus was around him. He figured that Seamus was loved and taken good care of at one time. He was fed and bathed. Someone gave him the protection he needed and considered him part of the family. For whatever reason, that was taken away from him in the most brutal way, and he blames that family for it.

Blair was once cared for and protected; he just didn’t remember when that was. This was, of course, before his father’s death when Blair was still a baby and Gabby’s spiral into what the Bruce family was selling to her. In a way, he had a lot taken away from him too.

Maybe that is the source of his and Seamus’ implicit camaraderie. Maybe Seamus was just as scared at Blair and he provided something for him. Their companionship granted the both of them a sense of calm and collectiveness. Blair was able to rest easily with that thought in his mind.

 

He was barely able to eat his scrambled eggs. He would much rather hear the sound of his fork hitting that plate. The sound of heavy breathing and whining was heard in the backyard. Blair got up and walked to look out the door.

Seamus was sitting by the side of the door. Blood dried around his mouth and chest. It had to be true. Why else would he come here if he wasn’t seeking any kind of protection?

Blair washed off the blood from his mouth and body, he scrubbed with the shirt on his back. Seamus climbed off the table and shook himself dry.

“You hungry, boy?” asked Blair.

A part of him knew that Seamus understood what he was saying. He was going to help him. He was going to help him claim the life of Justine’s remaining son. To Blair, Curtis could be just as involved, if not more, than his brothers. But where did it end? Was Justine as involved in the family business as Blair suspected? Were there other family members? It did not matter to Blair. Seamus was still here, which meant that he still had a reason to be.

Blair’s bright idea was to bring Curtis here. Having their number required no difficulty, finding it amongst Gabby’s mess was more of a hurdle. She only had a handful of numbers on her call list. One of them wasn’t under a name, but was called more than twice a day.

He just hoped it was Curtis who would bring it over. The thought of it not being him and than being stuck with one of those cancerous white bags of dirty habits that started all of this—it was too much of a pressure cooker for Blair.

A male voice answered on the other end. “Who’s this?” asked the voice.

Blair tried to make his voice a little deeper “Do you have a bag?”

“Who is this? Why are you calling this number?” asked the surprisingly timid voice.

“It was given to me,” said Blair in his deep voice.

“When?” the voice asked.

“A few weeks ago,” Blair replied quickly. “Gabby gave it to me before she died.”

There was silence between both ends of the line. Blair finally broke the silence.

“Is this Curtis? She told me to only buy from Curtis.”

Silence is about 30 minutes of every minute in real time. What felt like an hour had gone by, the voice reluctantly confessed, “Yes, it-it’s Curtis.”

Blair’s late night bedtime confessionals paid off in confidence over the phone. The two settled on tonight. Blair quickly hung up once they agreed to avoid a last minute rethought. Blair wondered why Curtis would agree to do tonight. He’d never sold a gram of what Curtis sold, but even he knew not to go along with what Blair proposed. Something must be up.

It didn’t matter to him though. He knew that once Seamus was given the opportunity he’d be quick to take advantage of it. He looked to Seamus and saw that the dog’s eyes were already met with his. Calm and collectiveness. This is what the two had to offer each other for now.

Before Curtis was to arrive, Blair moved the cheap dinner table and dusty chairs out of the way. He lead Seamus to the hallway closet for now.

“When you think it’s the right time—— you come out. I’ll get out of the way,” he whispered.

As he went to reach for the doorknob, Seamus caught his hand with his wet snout and dug his head under his hand. Blair scratched the top of his head and then his neck. He wanted to kneel down and hug him like he had done before, but Blair did not want to convince himself that this was the last of their companionship. Instead he continued to stand firmly, gave a subtle smile and reached for the doorknob. He closed the door a little more than halfway so he wasn’t entirely in the dark again and he could still hear from the kitchen.

Blair paced around the spacious kitchen before one large knock was heard followed by two smaller ones. Blair gave a quick glance to the closet door as he walked over to open the front.

Curtis, childish looking with a slouched body and clothes too big for him to wear, let himself in. He gave a look around the living room as Blair signaled him to the kitchen. They walked in as Curtis gave another inspection.

He finally looked down at Blair. “You-you wanted just one, you said?” asked Curtis.

“Yes,” said Blair.

“It-it’s usually 80 bucks, but I’m in a bitta rush, so I take 40.”

From the kitchen light above Blair got a better look of Curtis. He seemed to have gotten paler in the last few minutes. Looking around the floor and walls—— he seemed very unsure of himself. His right eyelid was unnervingly twitchy. Constantly sniffling to open up his nostrils as if something was clogging them.

His hands were quite the polar opposite. As Blair handed him two 20’s, he noticed a soft and pure hand reach out. A direct contrast from the white innocent hand holding the white bag of vile.

Blair began to feel a sense of pity for the young man. Little by little he began to embrace the pity until he uttered out the question— “Why do you do this?”

As if he felt obligated to give Curtis the opportunity to explain himself before his untimely death.

To be honest, Blair wasn’t expecting an answer. And he certainly wasn’t expecting an answer so quickly.

“C-Cause of my family,” uttered unsurely by Curtis.

“What do you mean?” asked Blair.

“So, they know,” said Curtis.

Blair was quick to throw another question, “So they know what what?”

“I can be part of the family.”

The words resonated louder than a thunderous storm in Blair’s mind. Part of the family? To convince the most important people to you that you have a purpose in this family is the most oppressively cruel feeling one could carry. It was a feeling that Blair was all too familiar with—— and Seamus.

Blair would realize that Curtis wasn’t even part of the family. Sure he was the brother of Lionel and the others, by part, but he was unfortunately in no part related to the matriarch of the family, which meant he was in no part related to the family. It was an approval that Curtis would seek his entire life, but would never obtain. A part of him probably knew this, but it was the mere hope that drove him.

Blair decided that he had to tell him. He looked up at Curtis and made his attempt to express what was about to happen to him with the use of the cluttered words in his mind. However, the numerous disheveled words in his head made it difficult for him to choose the order for which they should come out.

What was going on in his head correlated with the look on Blair’s face. Curtis knew he was trying to tell him something, so he declared the question, “Are you going to kill me?”

Blair wasn’t able to fully evaluate anything about Curtis beyond his physical appearance, but he was able to realize that Curtis wasn’t a very smart man. A man wouldn’t be scared of a child. But in a sense, Curtis was a child. He was neglected at a young age and was never given the time to grow with care, so he just never grew or adapted. Blair began to worry if that was going to be him in ten years now.

“No,” Blair replied.

“Is someone else going to-to kill me?” he asked.

“Yes”, Blair replied.

“W-Where are they?” asked Curtis, worriedly.

As opposed to answering, Blair wanted to know something else, “You’re not like your family are you?”

Curtis thought about this for sometime before answering, “I-I wanted to be,” he looked down at the splinter-filled wooden floor, than continued, “My m-mother is not a good person.”

“She’s the reason why all of this is happening, isn’t she?” Blair asked.

Curtis looked up and nodded. They were silent for a few moments before Curtis finally asked, “Is the person who is going to kill me here?”

Blair turned around and looked at the closet door. It was slightly more open than when he had left it. Blair quickly walked over, not caring how many pieces of wood got stuck onto the bottom of his feet. He peaked inside the closet, Seamus was no longer there. Blair turned to Curtis when a sense of realization dawned over what seemed like the both of them.

Before he realized what he was going to do, the both of them were already outside running. Blair, in his mind, had no idea where he was going, but his body did. With his body in control and Curtis treading behind him, they walked under the blazing street lights along the desolate roads. They arrived at a ranch house that was at the end of the street.

Blair didn’t know why he was there or why he cared so much to go inside. Intuition, he proposed. He turned around to Curtis. Curtis was less influenced by intuition, he knew exactly whose house it was. It wasn’t like any other house in the town. This one was well kept.

Blair walked past the fence and to the partially open front door. Curtis waited outside, seemingly out of breath from running or just the gravity of the situation.

Blair walked inside of the cozily furnished home, warm from the fireplace in the living room. It didn’t take long to find a bloody trail that led into the other room. As Blair approached the door holding the massacre on the other side, he heard the soft steps of four feet behind him. He turned around and saw Seamus standing in the hallway with blood dripping from his mouth.

Blair knew he did not have to go into the other room. He knew what was on the other side. Instead he walked to Seamus and knelt down. He lifted up the bottom of his shirt to clean off some of the blood off Seamus’ snout.

“Let’s go, boy,” said Blair.

He knelt back up and saw the kitchen. A whole dinner table overflown with thousands of white bags and white powder ready to be packaged. Seamus couldn’t take his eyes off of it all. Blair had to pull him from his collar to take him to the front door. As they approached, Blair realized that all of this was about ending something bad before it could get worse. Wherever Seamus had came from, this was all he had left. The will to cease the assault that had ceased something from him.

Blair left Seamus at the door and walked over to the fire place. He clutched onto a boiling, tar colored piece of wood engulfed in flames without a care about the burn marks that would appear afterwards.

He walked into the kitchen and tossed the flames onto the dinner table of vile. Blair knelt down to the back of the oven and began pulling the tubes. He could feel the hot air and sudden fierce smell of chemicals.

He got up and walked past the dinner table where the table cloth was beginning to sizzle up from the center.

Walking out the door, Seamus was sitting by the stairs waiting. The two walked side by side out from the gate where Curtis stood. From his face, Blair could see the reflection of shaping lights from the fire beginning to erupt inside of his once disapproving home.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 For better or worse, tonight was the night when everyone had to adapt— adapt to something new.