“What the fuck is this,” James looks at the items we brought back.

“Antiques,” Isaac provides an answer as Michael snickers in the back.

“From a plantation, most of these are from the 1800s or hold some place in history of sugar production in the South. While they may not be valuable immediately, they can be sold to collectors for high value,” I try to run through my logic.

“We need money now motherfucker and you want to run a show and tell in social studies class,” James picks up where he left off.

“No, the goal was to bring something of value. We brought something of monetary value, historical value, and even emotional value. You want value, I brought value in more ways than one.”

“You brought a history class.”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

“It is a bad thing you nerd.”

“It’s only bad thing for a backward hillbilly high school dropout.”

“I’ll show you hillbilly asshole,” James steps close until we’re chest to chest.

“James, you’re not a fighter and I get the feeling the scrawny nerd from up north has a little more blood on his hand than he shows,” Sampson steps between us. “Seriously, back down James, he’s not afraid of you at all.”

“We can’t let this shit slide, it’s worthless,” James keeps yelling.

“That’s for Granny and Old Ben to decide. Know your role,” Sampson is much more intimidating than I’ve ever seen him look before, and I’ve fought him.

Tensions are high with everyone here except Michael and Isaac. The rest of exchange glances while we wait for Granny and Old Bill to make their way out for the appraisals. We get a moment of relief when the girls fly up the driveway leaving dust behind them and blasting music. Attention is immediately taken off of us as we check out what they brought. They broke into a pawnshop and stole a bunch of jewelry. It’s less than what we brought, a lot less, but it looks more impressive. Still, all it is jewelry. Maybe I’m overconfident, maybe James is right. They might just care about the money, but if I’ve been reading Granny correctly, she’ll make a grand show about it. I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop with her, and I’ll play along for now. We’ll both look great and she’ll be willing to train me on everything that I’d need to know until I can get out of here. This doesn’t seem like a long-term place to be, it feels more like a cult than a family. I still don’t know what Granny’s real name is and it seems to be the only thing anyone calls her.

Speak of the devil herself. She makes her way out with Isis by her side. She takes a great deal of effort opening a small wooden box. Inside she pulls out a magnifying glass, some kind of machine and gloves. Making a big show, like I thought she would.

“Well, lets see what you all brought back.”

She’s instantly impressed by the gold and jewels, I take it the girls passed with flying colors. James continues to shoot me dirty looks and talk about how smart the girls were. It’s clear his praises are less for the girls and more to trash us. I just take it and smile. I’m sure I’ve played my cards right tonight.

“You know, gold and diamonds they are plentiful in Africa. That’s where we’re all from. I’ll spare you the lecture tonight. I know you ladies are tired. Well, congratulations, you’re one step closer to not having to sleep every night.”

She takes her time going through everything we’ve laid out across the lawn. The paintings get the most interest. There’s a chuckle from the sewing machine. James keeps whispering how worthless this stuff is, as if I can’t hear him. I’m just as much vampire as he is, but he seems to forget that, maybe that’s why Sampson warned him. Isis holds up certain garments or paintings to be inspected. There’s some jewelry as well, I don’t remember grabbing that stuff so maybe Isaac did. I watch as she stares down the scope of the gun and runs her hands across it as if were bringing up old memories for her. It takes time for her to go over everything, never saying much to us. She didn’t say anything to the girls, but it was a much quicker check.

“James tells me that all of this is worthless,” she finally speaks.

“I disagree,” I speak up without hesitation.

“Why is that?”

“All of these items can be sold for money, but they have more than just monetary value.”

“I agree with you. This was surprising, comical, but you understood the true purpose of the trial and didn’t place all your bets on monetary value. Still, you have an impressive monetary value here.”

“Thank you.”

“How do you expect me to sell this stuff,” James angrily intervenes.

“I understand that it is late, but watch your tone James. Were I someone else, that could have gone badly for you.”

“I apologize Granny.”

“I accept. As for what to do with it, this was your trial, you chose it. It is your job to decide what to do with it.”

“So we pass,” Isaac finally speaks up, causing Michael and Granny to laugh.

“Yes, you pass. Go get some rest boys,” Granny says with a smile.

“Thank you,” I continue to play her game.

I give Isaac a nudge in his side, “yes, thank you very much Granny,” he caught the hint.

“You boys are real charmers. Reminds me of Old Ben back in the day.”


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