Foe by Iain Reid

Foe by Iain Reid

Author:Iain Reid
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK

“Good morning, Junior.”

I open my eyes. Blink several times.

“How did you sleep?”

Terrance is standing over me. Grinning, rested, and fresh. He’s holding a cup of coffee. I can smell it. He has my favorite mug.

Morning, I say, squinting up at him. What time is it?

“Just before eight. Thought it best to let you sleep a bit longer today. How’s the shoulder?”

Fine, I say. Where’s Hen?

“Gone to work. She left about ten minutes ago. It’s just you and me, buddy.”

I sit up, wincing from the pain in my shoulder. Terrance hands me the mug. It’s hot, strong, the way I like it. I didn’t think I would ever fall asleep on this chair last night. When I came back downstairs, I was wide-awake. I walked around in the dark. I went onto the porch for a bit. I paced around the living room. I couldn’t get comfortable. I was restless. I considered going upstairs to see if Hen was awake, too. I couldn’t hear anything up there, so decided against it.

Eventually, I sat back down in the chair, closed my eyes. I listened to the house. I don’t know if I slept at all, but I guess I must have, at least for a bit.

“You were right out. We thought we might wake you when we ate breakfast, but you slept right through it. No nightmares?”

No, I say. Why would I have nightmares?

He doesn’t answer.

“Good?” he says. “Did I get that right?”

What?

“The coffee? Strong, with cream and sugar. That’s how you take it, right?”

How did you know?

“Hen filled me in.”

It’s good, I say.

“This, too, don’t forget,” he says, handing me a pill.

I accept it reluctantly, swallowing it with another sip. I swing my legs around and off the chair. I stand up with a yawn. I walk over to the window and look out. Another hot, sunny day. The usual thick morning haze. Maybe we’ll get a storm. Hopefully. Cut the humidity.

I grab my screen, turn on the weather forecast.

The temperature will remain steady, but the relative humidity continues to climb. . . .

Terrance is watching me, watching me as I listen to the weather forecast. He interrupts.

“Sweating is less useful when it’s so humid,” Terrance says. “Too bad we don’t have a better way of cooling off.”

I can already feel the sweat starting around my temples. It’ll just get worse as the day goes on. The more he talks about it, the more I’m aware of it.

I should probably get some grain to the chickens, I say, buttoning my shirt.

“Already done.”

I stop.

“I figured since I was up I could be of some assistance.”

You already fed the chickens? That’s my job.

“That’s okay. No worries. I did it for you. They went pretty wild for the feed. I know it’s still early, but we have limited time, and I was hoping that if I did your chores, we could get started right away.”

You mean with an interview?

“Now that Hen’s gone, we won’t be interrupted.”

I wish he’d mentioned this last night. That we’d be starting first thing.



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