Hello, beautiful people, it's Peytona! Happy Excerpt Tuesday! How are you? I'm doing well. God has been so good to me over the years. I feel very blessed.
Okay here's the next chapter of The Mutates. Enjoy!
The day was finally here. We were going home. It was hard to believe. No one slept the night before. We hardly said a word. What was there to say? We already knew each other’s thoughts. We were relieved and scared. Could we go back to the way things were? We all had changed so much. Was it possible for us to adjust?
Bran came down the stairs with a cheerful look on his face, but his smile faded when he saw us. There was concern shining in his eyes. “What’s wrong, guys?”
We all looked at Tyler. He sighed heavily before he answered, “It’s just hard to believe we’re going home. All these…” he swallowed the lump in his throat, “… all these months we’ve been trying to and now…” He couldn’t finish.
“It’s really happening,” Lola added softly. “We’re worried about it. About trying to fit in again. I mean…” She looked down at her hands as if she saw them as talons.
“We’re not… normal… anymore,” Samy finished.
I took a deep breath before saying, “It’s going to take us some time to… get back into the swing of things.”
By then, Vince and TJ had come down as well. No one said a word for a while.
Finally, TJ cleared his throat and said, “How about we take things one step at a time? We made breakfast. As soon as we’ve eaten, we’ll give your folks a call. Sound good?”
We agreed and made our way to the kitchen table. Pancakes, bacon, eggs, and orange juice greeted us.
“The kettle’s hot if anyone wants a cup of tea,” Bran said, taking a seat at the table.
“I wouldn’t mind a cup,” I said, getting a cup and heading for the kettle. “Anyone else want any?”
“I’ll have some,” Lola said, sounding gloomy still.
“Here; I’ll take your cup,” Samy said, coming my way. “I could use a hot beverage.”
“Thanks for the food, guys,” Tyler said, sipping at some orange juice.
“No worries. Today’s a big day,” Vin smiled. I know he meant well, but mentioning the significance of the day didn’t help. He must’ve sensed that because his smile faded a bit. It was quiet again until we all came to sit at the table.
“Andy?” Tyler looked at me with a knowing look.
I nodded and we all bowed our heads. I wanted to just pray for the food and be done with it, but I felt anguish thinking about what would happen. I couldn’t speak immediately. I clenched my eyes tighter to try and control my emotions. Suddenly, I felt Lola’s hand in mine. She squeezed my hand encouragingly. I took Tyler’s hand next to me. “Good morning, God,” I began, choking back the pain, “thank You for allowing us to see today. … Thank You for bringing us home.” I could feel all four of us fighting back tears. “Please, bless this food. Bless Bran, Vin, and TJ for taking care of us and helping us. … Thank You. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”
“Amen,” everyone replied.
I opened my eyes and felt a tear slip down my face. I brushed it away and saw that everyone else was doing the same. Breakfast was pretty quiet after that. True to our mutate appetites, there were no leftovers when we were done. We cleaned up the table and kitchen together.
“Alright, who should we call first?” TJ asked, pulling out his cell. We all turned to look at Tyler.
He squared his shoulders and said, “I’ll go first.” He took TJ’s cell and dialed his dad’s number. The silence in the room was tangible. He hung up when the greeting came on. “He must be at work or something. I’ll try again.” He redialed the number and waited. Samy came up to him, taking his free hand in her own. He gave her a weak smile and squeezed her hand.
“Leave a message if he doesn’t pick up. Tell him you’ll be home this evening,” Bran suggested, looking at TJ for confirmation. TJ agreed silently.
After the greeting finished, Tyler opened his mouth to speak, but no words came. He looked like he was choking back tears. He closed his eyes and tears fell down his face. He managed to say after a while, “Dad, it’s me. I’ll be home soon. Don’t worry. I… I’ll explain everything when I see you tonight. Bye.” He hung up quickly and gave the phone to TJ. He looked paler than usual.
“It’s gonna be okay, Ty. You’ll be home before you know it,” Vinny placed a hand on his shoulder comfortingly.
Tyler nodded and took a seat at the table as Samy said, “I’ll go next.” As she waited for Aunt Denise to pick up, she ran her hand through his hair. “… Auntie… it’s me, Samy. … I’m so sorry I’ve been gone for so long…” Samy couldn’t continue for a moment as sobs wrecked through her. “I’ll be home soon. Love you.” She hung up.
Lola was crying already, rubbing Samy’s back. A soft yowl escaped her.
“Andy?” TJ called, handing me his phone.
I shakily took it and started to dial Mom’s cell. When she didn’t pick up, I called Dad. No answer. “That’s strange,” I noted, dialing Dad’s number again. “Usually one of them would pick up.”
“Maybe they’re busy at work?” Vinny questioned.
“They have flexible hours though,” Lola sniffled. “They used to always pick up.”
“Dad, it’s Andy. Lola and I are safe. We should be home tonight. See you soon,” I said weakly before I hung up. I was fighting back tears again and not succeeding.