Kentucky Bound



Scene Title Kentucky Bound
Synopsis A homesick Kaylee makes a trip she should have made long ago.
Date July 11, 2019

“So that’s it?”

Kaylee was on her feet before she realized she was doing it, stalking away from the older woman sitting on the bed. This was supposed to be her mother, but Karen seemed to think that her daughter didn’t deserve answers her father or her past. “He’s dead and you still won’t tell me the goddamn truth?”

Thatcher Family Home

Sometime Before the War

The telepath was desperate for answers, clueless to what her childhood was really like.

Kaylee was beyond angry, because neither of her parents had ever told her the truth. No doubt, Granny and Joseph could hear her voice getting louder with each word. “My whole life you’ve been tellin’ me lies. LIES about my daddy.” Her hands go out in frustration. “Edward Ray wasn’t even a lawyer… he didn’t even work in New York. We even lived in Kansas.” And the thing that got her the most, “And you were and still are… technically married!

Though in truth, the ‘until death do us part’ probably applied now.

“Kaylee Anne…” Her mother’s voice is firm, telling her without saying to calm the fuck down. Karen Thatcher sat with her back straight, face fairly neutral through the triad. The sound of her name, said in that way might have worked when she was a kid, but right now, Kaylee wasn’t in a listening mood.

“What’s the truth, momma?” she shouts at the woman on the bed. Her stomach twists, but she doesn’t know if it is because of the argument or the fact that she was pregnant. Something, she has yet to tell her mom and didn’t feel like important news at the moment. “Quit lying to me and tell me something!” The tears were threatening, making her vision blurry, but she refused to cry in front of this woman; turning away from her.

“No.” The simple word is like a knife to the heart, just as much for the telepath, as the woman who speaks it. Secrets seem to be a family trait on both sides. I guess that made her perfect for Edward Ray.

Kaylee couldn’t take it anymore. A fresh flash of anger kept the tears from falling as the young woman threw open the door and stormed out of her mother’s room. “I’m sorry Granny, we ain’t staying,” she chokes out with barely contained fury; even though her eyes were dry. She’d probably end up crying in the car.

“What?!?” Granny looked shocked and a little hurt, standing up from the kitchen table where she was having a rather pleasant conversation with Joseph. Kaylee moved to give her a small quick hug - lest she be caught in her grandmother’s iron grip - and a kiss on the cheek. Then she stormed out of the house…

And never came back.

Thatcher Family Home

Oakgrove, Kentucky

July 11, 2019


Until now…

It was so surreal to feel the glass crunch under the soles of her boots, to smell the earthy scent of mold and mildew. The cooing of nesting doves somewhere upstairs and the buzz of insects. It was clear that the house hadn’t been occupied for sometime, in spite of evidence of people squatting there, as she was leaving footprints in the dust behind her.

After the last few months, the telepath had been feeling a strange sense of homesickness, but not for the home she had shared with her husband. This is where she had yearned to be. And yet…

WIth no electricity working, Kaylee pushed sunglasses up on her head, allowing her to see into the darkened corners of the interior. Floorboards creak under the telepath’s weight when she took a few more steps in… She pays them no mind. Even if someone was alerted to her presence, she would have sensed them long before that.

In her mind’s eye, Kaylee could still remember how Granny’s home had looked before it all went to hell. Everything was neat and clean, thanks to her Granny’s OCD for cleanliness. Every plate and knick-knacks dusted. The memory of Granny’s humming faintly tickle at the back of her mind. She always did that when she was cleaning. Duster in hand, humming some 50’s tune.. Kaylee could never remember which.

It was so surreal standing there now looking down at broken porcelain figures on the floor or watching dust motes glitter bright through ray of sunlight, where she disturbs the air in passing.

Everything was covered in a deep layer of dust.

Granny would be horrified.

A sad, half laugh escapes Kaylee, vision blurred by tears. The back of her hand presses against her lips and she quickly turns away to looking behind her out the door. An attempt to ease the pain of emotions and to cast away the sudden fear of what she might find further in.

Kaylee couldn’t see past the tears or the blurred bank of trees. If she could, just on the other side, a few miles from where she stood, Fort Campbell Army Base sat in ruins. The area had been a battlefield during the civil war, houses in various states of ruin by fires and explosions. In fact, on the way there had been a downed UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter; the skeletal pilot still strapped to the seat a grim reminder of the people that fought in the war.

Somehow, this house was one of only a few somehow still standing in a virtual wasteland. Each a stark reminder that there had once been a bustling military community.

Taking a deep breath, Kaylee turns back towards the darkness, moving deeper into what used to be her home. Thick ivy was already starting to creep through windows, blown out by some mysterious force, to clinging to rotten curtains as it starts it’s invasion. If she came back in another eight years, she’s probably find it completely reclaimed by nature.

The whole area, she imagines.

One day it would be like the Civil War battlefields she visited as a kid. Rolling unnatural hills with plaques talking about important moments during the height of the war and reproductions of base buildings to show what daily life was like.

What a time to live in.

Moving deeper into the house, Kaylee takes her time to look through the house and even very carefully venturing upstairs. It was a search for possible bodies, thoughts of her family. The faint smell of old smoke clung to everything, with evidence of past squatters and looters everywhere. But beyond the odd small animal, it was empty.

Standing in the dining room, Kaylee couldn’t decide how she felt about the lack of dead bodies. It was a mixed bag of emotions; relief and hope, warred a distinct lack of closure and the need for it. Fingers brush dirt off the old heavy wooden table. Too heavy for the looters it seemed and too sturdy to break apart for firewood.

The chairs didn’t fare as well; they were scattered about, broken apart, and evidence of a small fire. Who knows how long ago that was… and was it her family?

Only one chair seemed to have been spared, laying on it’s side in a corner.

Kaylee picks it up and grabs a dingy old napkins and wipes off the seat, brushing grime from the painted back. The table had been her great grandparents. Granny said built by her daddy’s hands.

Granny would cry to see the state of it.

Brushing at her own tears, Kaylee takes a step back to look at her work. There is a crunch of glass under her heel, startling her of her self pity. Looking down and lifting her foot, the edge of a picture frame catches her attention. A piece of glass falls as she picks it up and turns it over.

Pain twist and digs deep, when she finds herself looking at a picture from her graduation. Her and her Granny standing side by side, two peas in a pod. She remembered her mother taking the photo, looking less than pleased.

Kaylee knew the smiles were fake, her mother had made a comment and her Granny defended her. The argument that ensued was embarrassing, yet she managed to get them to take a moment for photos.

Looking out at the disaster of her former home, the view obscured by the tears, Kaylee says shakily, “I shoulda asked Joseph and Flint come get you when they went for Hannah.” Even before this, there were times Kaylee thought that, said it to her husband. Regret…

“I could really use you right now, Granny,” she murmurs, gently plucking a piece of broken glass from the frame and dropping it. “You always knew what to say when I was feeling lost.” Swallowing and scrubbing the heel of her hand against her eye, Kaylee adds with a soft whine edging her works, “I’m feeling so lost right now.” Fingers work at the corner of the picture, extracting it from the frame.

“Sure messed things up, Granny.” Kaylee says, after the frame is dropped, her words thick as her throat works to push back the emotions. “You’d be so disappointed in me. Mom would laugh though. I told myself I’d never be neither of them… yet here I am. Just as much of a fuck up as they were.”

Kaylee huffs out a half hearted chuckle, a hand gripping the back of the chair. “Guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree after all.”

While deep into her pity party, something heavy hits the floor behind her. Startled, Kaylee turns on her heels, her own personal glock pulled from under her shirt and pointed in the direction of the sound. There is a surprised blink and her gun dips down with her gaze, to closer to the floor.


The scratchy guttural sounds is enough to make Kaylee grimace. The source? A mangy looking brown tabby sitting near the doorway, kinked tail tucked around paws. The fur was crusted with who knows what and it was missing ear tips… but something about it. Putting her pistol away, Kaylee stares at it and it stares back with a lazy green-eyed look.


“Holy — Willy?”


The old mangy cat seems to react to it, padding towards the telepath with tail held high. The sounds coming from him were an attempt to sound cute, but instead it sounded like gravel scraping together; rough. He shoves his side heavily against her legs, before gracefully leaping up on the table next to her. Kaylee for her part chokes up as the cat sprawls, eyes squinting up at her with a chirp that vibrates with the purr that rumbles to life.

“Oh god. It is you,” Kaylee gasps out from behind the hands that cover her mouth.

Kaylee remembered when Granny brought the kitten home from a friends to be a mouser, told her not to get attached that he’d be an outdoor cat. Boy, had the old woman been wrong, what they ended up with was a lazy lap cat. Granny even named him after her favorite singer, Willy Nelson, because he always look ‘kinda stoned.’.

He had to be what? Fifteen, sixteen or so now?

Instinct has her reaching for the cat, wanting to feel that he is real, only to have him dart away. “No no no… Wait!” She panics at the idea of him possibly running away. Then she might never find him again. The telepath slowly settles into the chair to become less threatening, while the cat watches her from the other side of the table. The distrust is a bit disheartening, but how could she have expected him to remember her or maybe he did, but by the look of him… things happened in those years she’s been gone.

So… Kaylee starts to talk to him, softly, telling him all that had happened to her. Explaining why she hadn’t come earlier, “I was afraid what I would find… “ she looks around her, she sighs out a, “and I was right.” Brows furrowed, Kaylee tries not to think about how attached the cat was to her Granny. Willy never left Granny’s side. The thought persists, digging in. “I bet you know what happened to her, makes me wish I was feline telepath.”

Willy seems to relax a little, enough for him to sprawl out again on the table top.

Teeth bite at the telepath’s lower lip to try and keep it from quivering. Kaylee didn’t really know if her family was dead, but in that moment, it felt like it. He was there alone. Tears slide down her cheeks, her attention turning down to the photo in her hands. It swims and blurs with her tears. “I should have made them go with us.” The kids would never know their great-grandmother or their grandparents. Just one more thing taken from her by the war. One more thing she couldn’t protect from the bunker. “Should have sent Richard and Warren…” The rest catches in a throat thick with emotions.

“Shoulda, woulda, could of…” Kaylee murmurs one of her Granny’s favorite sayings, through the sorrow; because you can’t really change the past.

The tears block out the silent movements nearby… but… soon, something touches the side of Kaylee’s head, followed by the tickle of whiskers, then… bump. Willy bumps his head against her head. Hey! He was tired of waiting, clearly. It startles Kaylee, her back straightening so the next bump ends up against her jaw. It warms her heart and brings out a watery chuckle. “Sorry for scaring you, Willy. I don’t know what you went through, but… it must have been bad.”

This time the movement is slow, but Kaylee reaches out to scratch along his crusty jaw. Her efforts are rewarded with a deep and happy purr, his head pressing down on her fingers. “I’ve missed you.” He seems satisfied enough that she won’t hurt him, he hops off the table into her lap, giving her chin an insistent bump. Arms slowly wrap around the cat and she just holds him her ear pressed against his side listening to his deep purr. Eyes hold fast to the photo still held in one hand. A part of her felt like she could almost sense a piece of her Granny.

It was like her Granny knew she needed him and sent him to her.

’God knows these things, sweety-baby. He gives us what we need, when he thinks we need it.’

“You want to go home with me, Willy?” Kaylee asks straightening to look at the cat, who just sighs through his purr, eyes still squinting up at her and settles into her lap. “A warm spot, good food?” A small smile tugged at the corner of her mouth as he gives another chirp. He was a cat, he had no idea what she was saying, still….

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

Looking around the place, Kaylee felt no less burdened, but she didn’t feel so alone anymore.

There’d be some digging around, things with meaning piled into a box, to include a little rusty tin recipe box filled with yellowed and water stained index cards she found tucked into the back of a cabinet. It was a boxful of little things she would have taken for granted at any other time.

Now they were little treasures.


The shadows stretch long across the ground; Kaylee sits in a car filled with memories and an old cat riding shotgun. The scruffy cat lays curled up on an old moth eaten quilt Granny made a long time ago. “You ready to go back to the pampered life, old man?” Willy answers with a purred chirp.

“Then let’s get going,” Kaylee says with a chuckle, giving his furry chin a quick scratch.

As the SUV slowly pulls away from the house, Kaylee’s take another look at the place she grew up in and the echo of memories it brings with it.

A message in black was painted on the side in big letters.

Mom. Granny. Find me in the Safe Zone. New York.

A spark of hope in a bleak landscape.

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