The bottle came back around and Frankie took it, held it in her hands like a newborn, and this time she was sure.
It isn’t just me, she thought. We’ve all changed.
But none of them looked different, and except for the thing with the bottle none of them acted any different. Maybe they were quieter than usual, but that could be attributed to the weather. An ugly storm was setting up in the night sky like a band before a gig, tuning instruments of thunder and wind. The night was cool and smelled of approaching rain.
Harpo had built a fire in an overturned hubcap, feeding it rags and leaves until it matured enough to consume segments of a dead tree branch. He sat on a wobbly office chair toward the rear of the concrete room that had once been a factory or warehouse, Frankie wasn’t sure which. There was something wrong with his left knee that prevented him bending it, so he had improvised a pedestal of upended cinder blocks to keep the hubcap up where he could reach it. To Frankie’s eyes, the structure looked like a sad mock-up of the Olympic pyre.
Mikael had found a tarpaulin and dragged it inside. He'd laid it out, weighted down with jagged concrete shards, to protect them from the damp of the floor. And now he sat and stared at the bottle.
Lorne had set snares before the sun drifted down to the horizon. He'd caught two rabbits and prepared a stew. He said nothing, just glared at Frankie.
Frankie tried to pass the bottle to Harpo, but Harpo shook his head. "One thing," he said. "One thing is all you had to do. The simplest task of us all. Bring the fucking corkscrew."
Opening: JRMosher.....Continuation: Anon.