It was late afternoon on the tenth of the month, the first day that everyday civilians traveled from Earth to Papyrus, when Mel finally saw some sign that he and his niece might ever return home. Lying in the woods in the center of a nearly-overgrown and then recently traveled path that the two had found themselves on was a torn up piece of stained cloth. Mel picked it up and sniffed at the red stain to confirm his suspicions.
Maybe she’d acted a bit too quickly.
Carla did not have grandparents, at least not any she’d ever met, but from what she’d learned of her family their fatal flaw was a penchant for rash decisions. Her mother had been kicked out of the house for getting pregnant and her father, well, he’d gotten her pregnant in the first place. Then he had to go and die, leaving Carla nothing but his genes.
Well, that and the hat. There was always the hat, except when it wasn’t there, and that was now. Because like an idiot, Carla had decided to blow up at her uncle and storm out without taking her dad’s old hat.
“Uncle Mel, what’s wrong?” Carla poked her uncle in the chest. The hamburger hat on her head mirrored her movements, nearly poking Mel in the eye with its meaty little fingers. Shock can be paralyzing, but a good way to get over it is to have a hamburger hat puppet thing poke at you. That hat had never been Mel’s favorite when Carla was a kid, but it was worse now, drawing way too much attention to his niece now that she was a young woman. It was also sort of unnerving, between the cartoonish eyes and the fact that it often mirrored its wearer’s movements. Thus Mel shook himself out of his daze and forced himself to answer.
A large black man shut off the TV. Through the orange jumpsuit a network of tattoos peeked out. Visible on the fingers of his large left hand were four letters from some semi-literate tattoo artist spelling out D-E-T-H. The man let out a frustrated sigh of relief and turned to the group to discuss politics. “He just keep going to all these schools tryna keep up appearances. When y’all think the big man gonna come down here?”