Katie Lockhart sat off to the side in the police room where she would not be in the way. She placed a gentle hand on her baby belly and smiled. Anna from New York and Miriam from the FBI came from opposite directions.
“You need to come with us,” Miriam said in her best FBI voice
“Over here,” Ellen Martin waved. “You have to see this.”
“See something?” Katie asked.
“Surprise!” The dirty old interview room was set up with chairs and the decorations said boy or girl? Lisa was there, with Emily, Latasha, Miss Libby, and all of the others. And there were presents and punch and plenty of treats with an over abundance of donuts.
Miss Libby Carter was from Arkadelphia, Arkansas. She was eighty-eight and a ball of fire as well as laughs. She took Latasha under her wing from the start and met with her every day when Latasha came home from school. They told Latasha’s mother she was tutoring Latasha in history, and her mother bought the story. Latasha did learn a lot of history, too, but mostly it came in the form of stories about growing up in the south and living through the depression, the World War and the booms and recessions since.
“Yes, ma’am.” Latasha called her ma’am.
“And it is Libby. I am your sister, not your ma’am,” Libby always responded.
“Yes, ma’am, Libby.”
They were out front on Wednesday, practicing as well as they could without arousing suspicion, when Libby shook her head sadly. “We need practice dummies,” she said.
“I have three older brothers,” Latasha suggested with a very broad grin.
“Your mother might not appreciate that,” Libby responded with a look at the house.
“In daylight?” Libby reacted. The late afternoon sun was still up. “Hold still,” she told Latasha and stuck her hand out to be sure the youngster did not rush out to attack. “Do not waste your energy going to them. They will be here soon enough.” The van roared off, but it might have been just to the corner to watch or maybe to turn around.
“Pick your target and your time,” Libby instructed. The zombies came on to the front property, and Libby said, ‘Now.” A small knife flew from beneath the shawl the old woman wore against the cold. She had on about five layers of clothing. She was from Arkansas, what did she know about New Jersey in December? The small knife struck perfectly in one zombie’s heart. The zombie stopped moving and looked down as if somehow trying to judge what just happened. Libby moved, and Latasha moved at last.
Libby pulled her very long knife from somewhere in all those layers. Her stroke took the zombie’s head off without her getting a scratch. Latasha’s ax was more forcefully driven. It easily separated the head from the body, but sent it six feet in the air to bounce into the bushes. Then she got a small scratch on her upper arm as she fumbled at the button for the spike. She got it and quickly finished the job, but by then her mother came to the door.
“Just some practice dummies. We were talking the World War, you know bayonets and such. Hands on learning is always the best.” Libby caught Latasha’s mother by the elbow and gently directed her back toward the house. “Tasha tells me you were born in Shreveport.”
“Yes.” Tasha’s mother let the old lady lead her to the steps but her head remained turned and her eyes stayed on her baby and what certainly looked like two dead bodies.
“My connection to Shreveport was the race track. My husband used to love going to the Louisiana Downs.”
Latasha’s mother turned her head to the old woman. “My father used to work the stables every season. I grew up around those horses.”
“Of course, Shreveport was where we had to go for our liquor, ours being a dry county.”
“Why Ms Carter, I never would have guessed.” They went up the stairs to the porch and back inside.
“Why Ms Carter!” The door closed.
Latasha cleaned her weapon and saw that Ms Carter’s long knife and little knife were already gone. Cleaned and returned to their place, she thought. She was going to have to work on her speed. Once her ax was clean and her spike clean, she returned the spike to its place inside the handle. She got out her cell, but she could not call right away. Her big brother Darren, the brother that was into so many of those drugs stepped out from the bushes, the severed head gripped by the hair.
“You dropped this,” he said and let it thump to the ground.
“Thanks,” she responded, but she did not have time for more. She hit the contacts button.
“Does Mama know you are killing people?”
“These were already dead,” Latasha held her phone tight.
“I can see that. Wonder how they managed that.” Darren gave her his best stare. It was the one that said she best not try to lie. “Nice ax. I think you better explain.”
“I could beat it out of you,” he suggested.
“You would lose,” she responded and he rushed her. She put a stiff arm right in his chest and knocked him back on his butt, hard. Then she ignored him and made her call. Darren looked bewildered, especially when he heard what his sister said. “They know where I live.”