Inhuman (11)

To read from the beginning, please visit the Inhuman page.

“Hi, Mom,” Amanda said into the phone. “I made it. The movers just left.” After the unsettling trip out to her car, she had needed a little comfort and reassurance. She just hoped her mother wouldn’t pick up on the anxiety in her voice.

“Dear, you sound like you’re out of breath. Is everything alright?” her mother asked.

Amanda laughed nervously. “Oh, yeah. Fine. Just hauled my luggage in from the car. That’s all.”

“Ok, good. Now are you sure you don’t want your father and me to come and help? We could leave here bright and early. I could bring breakfast…?” 

As much as she wanted the company of her family, Amanda knew they’d be safer staying away. “No, really it’s fine. The movers already took care of most of it. Just going to run out to the supermarket for a few things and then I’ll get started putting my clothes away and…”

“But Amanda, we’re just dying to see the place. Couldn’t we…?”

“No, Mom. Really. Let me get settled and you can come for a proper visit.”

“Alright,” her mother sighed. But…”

After a few more minutes of gentle persuasion, Amanda made her excuses and said goodbye. She really did need to get some food in the house. Maybe the town wouldn’t seem so strange if she got out and had a look around and maybe talked to a few people. Even if it was only the cashier at the supermarket.

The afternoon shadows were growing long so before grabbing her keys, she drew the blinds closed on the front windows and turned on a lamp. None of the curtains moved on the houses around hers this time but she couldn’t shake the uncomfortable feeling she was being watched. “I’m being ridiculous,” she murmured. “Of course the neighbors are going to be curious. And small town people can be suspicious of newcomers.” And with good reason, she thought. If they had any idea they had a secret government laboratory in their back yard…

Amanda retraced her steps to the supermarket she had passed on her way into town and found a parking spot near the main entrance. Mentally, she was composing a list of supplies she’d need to buy when she realized she was gripping the shopping cart handle like her life depended on it. Taking a deep breath, she willed herself to relax. Lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, onions… she filled her cart with vegetable basics. One of the store clerks stocking the shelves smiled and nodded. That’s better, she thought, relaxing a little more. 

After she had collected everything she would need from food to personal care, she wheeled the overflowing cart to the checkout aisle and began to unload. The cashier chuckled at the size of her order and asked, “find everything you need?”

Amanda smiled and said, “Yes, I just moved here and I needed almost everything.”

“Well, that’ll keep you for a while,” she said as she scanned each item. “That’ll be $189.98. Cash or card?”

“Cash,” Amanda said, handing over four $50 bills.

“Here you go. $10.02 is your change. Thank you and welcome to Makepeace, Ms. Connor.”

“Thank you. I appreciate that,” she replied with a smile. Maybe the town wasn’t so strange after all. Then, as she was loading the bags into her car, it hit her. The cashier’s words echoed in her ears. “Welcome to Makepeace, Ms. Connor.” But she had never given the woman her name.  

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