A woman roared bloody murder. The chicken wire on the kitchen door caught the wind, and her nose was nearly crushed as she tried getting back in the house.

It felt bad to leave her on the deck screaming in the beating rain, but my hands were too soaked to open the door. The rug that ran along the kitchen door was caked in blood and I needed to keep my shoes clean. I stared into her eyes with empathy. It'd been a rough day for all of us, except for the man in glasses laying on the tile.

It ended almost instantly for him. His burgundy flannel was being glued onto the tile by sweat and clotting blood. Many sharp black crystals were sticking out of his head, ensnared in the fibers of his brain. His pale face was quickly turning the same burgundy as it stared my way. Ammonia for dinner and cherry blood for dessert, in the ghastly grin he gave me. I think I could see him breathing, but it might have been my hope that everything would be alright.

A copper revolver was asleep a few feet from his head. I hesitantly grabbed it. It was similar to the one that rested in the man's hand, except it had rubs of turquoise along the hammer and grip. The clamminess on it felt oddly familiar.

Across from me, the kitchen window was fingerpainted with blood. The woman's moonlight eyes were eclipsed by her mean eyebrows when she beamed at me. Toffee lips beat around like angry tree branches, demanding that I let her in.

My siblings tripped up the living room stairs at the speed of my heart. Our Nana Cassie continued shooing them up to the attic even after they'd made it.

The kitchen serving window showed Nana Cass moving up and down in the living room closet. Each time she came up, the bundle in her arms had a new jacket or pair of tennis shoes. Once, a plastic grocery bag around her chubby wrist. Her cinnamon bun of hair was getting more streaks of gray and white with every moment. Her creased cheeks didn't know whether to tremble silently or scream.

Worry flooded over her voice as quickly as rain did the deck. "Vincent, what are you doing?"

I tossed the revolver onto the counter. My sticky hands took a while to let the gun go.

Nana Cassie stumbled into the kitchen. "Hurry upstairs. The cops are coming."

The bundle of clothes was placed into my arms. It was slightly cold after being pressed against her dishwatered shirt, and my crusted fingers shivered. The plastic bag, which she told me to not lose track of, was crumpled under my chin.

"When they leave, you get the young'ns and run."

My tongue felt weighted down by cotton when I asked, "But will you be okay?"

"There's nothing they'd want with me. I'm just an old gal."

I started for the lining room stairs, but had a burning sensation to turn back.

"Go to the bus stop until morning. I'll be waiting here for when you can get home."

It was as if my body had been frozen. The kitchen air became rough as ice and, with my tear as a witness, I really did not want to leave her there. Odor wafting from the man's body made my eyes sting worse than frostnip. It wasn't nearly as dead as the room.

I can't describe the expression on her face when she tried to pretend it didn't bother her. She crossed her arms and bit her lip over what to tell the police. Her eyes ordered me to get to the attic as the windows glowed up with waves of red and blue.

My face tightened. I couldn't bear the idea of the cops hearing any tiny noise, and coming to confiscate us. The carpet rustled with each step. Getting up onto the first stair was taking a hammer to a nail.

When I dared to peek out the window, lightning hit my face. A burgundy figure was trampling around outside.

The window shattered. A red crystal zipped in front of me and pierced the wall, only an inch from my cheek. Energetic ruby light illuminated the entire house as if the staircase was now blocked out by a fire. One of my cheeks burned from the shards of glass, and the other began to smoke as it brushed against the crystal.

Another hit of lightning came in and threw me down the stairs.