“What possessed us to think it would be easier with two doo-og…I mean Shadow and Bear?” Shaw corrected herself as she walked with Root from the parking lot next to the row of graves.
“Did you ever, you know, do it in a cemetery?” Root asked as the moon shone down and the wind picked up.
“What? In a what? No!” Shaw avowed and kept walking. Then, she stopped. “Unless you count some of the lower country in Afghanistan because, man, that was just like a graveyard.” Sameen meant it as an offhand comment about some of the terrible geographic locations she’d been.
That’s not how Root took it.
Usually, Root didn’t go near the fact that Sameen rarely talked about her past lovers. She told Shaw her past didn’t matter to her and that was true. Except when she thought about the fact that Sameen had one. Shaw was still laughing over the quip, but Root was no longer at her side.
“Come on, Root,” Shaw said, waving her hand at her.
“You made love to someone on a dirt road?” Root asked.
“What? No,” Shaw said and still didn’t get it.
‘If I were closer, I’d bite her,’ Bear said to his unknowing protégé. He had an uncanny ability to sense when Root was upset, which was amazing, because Root didn’t get upset often.
“I asked if you ever did it in a cemetery and you said…,” Root started to repeat.
“What are you talking about? No, it wasn’t … it was not like that,” Shaw said, and was looking around for what could possibly interest her mother and Reese at this location. She bent down and touched the dirt and felt the same pebbly substance that was on their shoes. “I’d bet anything this is where they were. But why?” Sameen said, still unaware that Root was staring at her.
Sometimes – not often at all – but, sometimes, Root looked at Sameen and worried about losing her. It was a natural fear for someone who grew up the way she did – without anyone, without stability. It was an old fear that reared its head at moments when Root felt apprehensive that she and Sameen were on different pages. It was a tiny spark that usually was extinguished with Shaw kissing Root hard or holding her tightly. But that spark was igniting with Sameen being – at the moment – clueless about what her words were doing to Root.
“I can’t decide if not trusting my mother is a good thing or not,” Shaw proffered as she looked around. “Bear, do not let her do anything here. It’s a cemetery, for God’s sake,” Shaw lectured.
Finally, she realized Root had been silent.
“What? What is up with you? Are you freaked out? Do you want to wait in the car?” Shaw asked in rapid succession.
“How do I know one of your many lovers won’t come back someday,” Root asked and cringed at how desperate that sounded. But she knew if she didn’t ask, it would gnaw at her.
“My many what?” Shaw laughed out loud and Bear felt it imperative to do something.
So, he bit her right on the ass.
“Ouch! Did you… did he just… he just bit me!” Shaw bellowed and put her hand there.
Shadow watched intently, but had to admit, she had no idea what was going on. ‘It takes time,’ Bear howled.
“Sameen,” Root said and Shaw was starting to get she was serious. “How do I know that one of those people won’t show up at our door someday?”
There was dead silence while Bear…and Root… waited for Shaw to think about this.
“Oh,” she finally said and walked back to where Root stood, bathed in moonlight. Smiling eyes looked up at her and Sameen put her hands on Root’s crossed arms. “First, there were never… you know…many. I didn’t have time for that. And second, Root, they happened so fast, no one ever got a full name or address. There was no one, and I mean no one, who mattered to me before you,” Shaw said, her expression one of calmness as she reassured Root.
The light of the moon reflected in the water that gathered in Root’s eyes at how touched she was at her wife’s assurances. “No one,” Shaw repeated and stretched up to kiss Root’s lips.
“Thank you,” Root whispered.
“It’s the truth,” Shaw said and never once complained that they were in the middle of a cemetery, on a mission, and it was bad timing.
‘She’s learning,’ Bear said to Shadow.
Root held onto Shaw’s arm as they walked down the narrow path, past graves.
“Do you see any cameras?” Shaw asked and Root looked around. Vandalism to grave sites sometimes caused them to put security cameras up, but not at this peaceful place.
“None,” Root assured her and checked her phone.
“So, it makes sense that they’d come where there are no cameras, right? But to do what?” Shaw asked, looking around.
“You know, as I look at the coordinates of this place,” Root said, checking her phone, “…this is directly in a triangulation of a dead zone; no pun intended. No cameras for blocks.”
“She thinks she’s so smart, doesn’t she?” Shaw said. “But what would she need Reese for? Muscle? To shoot someone? She’s been too quiet lately, have you noticed that?”
“I think the whole Martine incident really threw her,” Root reminded Shaw.
“Nothing throws that woman. It’s like she’s got nerves of freaking steel,” said the daughter who shared that same characteristic. “Which is why it shouldn’t surprise us she picked a cemetery to conduct her business. But what business?” Shaw asked.
Root wondered what her mother-in-law would see in a place like this. No cameras and away from everyone. Finally, she noticed the small structures off in the distance. “Over there, Shaw. Is it possible she’s using those mausoleums?”
“My mother… is a grave…robber now?” Shaw yelled, her eyebrows rose at the thought. “That’s just…not cool.”
“I don’t think she’s taking anything out of them, Shaw. I think she might be making a deposit,” Root surmised, thinking about the cool interior that CPU’s could operate in.
“Is she putting bodies in there?” Shaw asked, not quite clear on the possibilities.
“Let’s see, okay?” Root said and they both went to the first mausoleum, with their pets.
“Do not touch anything,” Shaw instructed the dogs. “No…bones, okay?” she said and then admitted she was losing it.
Sameen looked up and saw the surname engraved in large letters. “I’d like to apologize to the Henry Family for anything my deranged mother might have done,” she said looking around.
Root used her phone to access the security code for the lock. “Voila!” she said.
“I love it when you speak French,” Shaw said, smiling and walking inside.
There, in the darkness of the inside of the vault, were tiny green lights flashing. “What the hell?” Shaw asked and Root turned on a flashlight.
“Genius, actually,” Root had to admit.
“Why do you have to admire her diabolical ways? Didn’t that woman ever hear about not disturbing the dead?” Shaw barked.
“Given the dates on the tomb, I don’t think there’s much left of the Henry Family here,” Root said optimistically.
“So, she’s running a Best Buy out of a dead guy’s tomb?” Shaw asked.
“Well said, Sweetie, but I don’t think she’s selling; I think she’s collecting,” Root said, accessing one of the machines.
“So, she’s up to something,” Shaw decided. “And she got Lurch to help her? I’m going to kill him!”
“There are only six here. If she were building something, she’d need more than this. I bet she’s got them in all those vaults outside,” Root surmised, doing the math.
“Why would she….?” Shaw asked, wondering if it were possible.
“Build her own machine?” Root filled in the blanks. “I’m not sure yet,” she said, tapping some keys. “Oh, I see,” she finally said.
“What? What do you see?” Shaw asked, pulling Root back to look at her phone. The screen scrolled with code.
“She’s looking for Greer,” Root said and had to admire the woman’s tenacity.
“How do you know…?” Shaw asked, pacing now and trying not to trip over dogs.
“She’s searching for high end activity. And I think she’s found it,” Root said.
Now, it would be hard to say exactly what happened next because they were, for all intents and purposes, in the dark. Bear would swear he did not touch the door, but Shadow did wear a very suspicious look on her furry face. Shaw would swear she only tapped the door with her hand; certainly not hard enough to make the door close. But that is what happened.
The door to the mausoleum closed and the two women… and canines… were locked inside.
“Root?” Shaw said and grabbed her wife’s hand. “There’s no doorknob on this side.”
“I guess they didn’t expect anyone to actually need one – to get out,” Root said, smirking.
Shaw immediately went into operative mode as she tried to figure out if there was a way out. Root went back to studying the information that kept showing up on her phone.
“Someone closed that door,” Shaw said and wanted one of the canines to confess.
“I think we walked into this,” Root started to surmise.
“Of course we did,” Shaw said, losing patience.
“I think your mother wanted us to find this,” Root said slowly.
What little light emanated from the machines and Root’s phone was enough to see how wide Shaw’s eyes got. “She…set…us…up?” she said.
Root didn’t have the heart to say yes, so she just nodded her head… and prayed Shaw’s ranting didn’t use up all the oxygen in the room.
Or raise the dead.