Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Thirteen

A Chapter by Cre8nFrmWithn

What dreams we walk


Chapter Thirteen



Darren dreamed.  He stood in a beautiful field of wheat.  The land was vast, the sun was blue and the weather was that of a comforting, Spring day.   He’d never been there before, that was for sure.


Never in Darren’s life had he been in any fields.  The country wasn’t his thing.  He hated the outdoors, unless it was a nearby park or something with the kids.  Nah, he had never been there.


         He turned in a complete circle, taking in all of his surroundings.  He tried to see if anyone was around but found no one.  This was not going to be a good dream.


He quickly realized he was asleep.  He remembered a while back in college, when one of his female triumphs was into reading palms, tea leaves and even dream interpretations.


She was like his own personal gypsy for three weeks.  He remembered something about fields and plowing.  If things were about right, he was dreaming of fields for one of two reasons. 


Either secretly, deep down he was in love with nature.  Or he was in a state of feeling free and happy.  He didn’t think either one was correct.  To think of it, she wasn’t right about much of anything.  She’d dropped out of college.


Overhead, Darren looked out, over the trees.  There were dark clouds off in the distance, like someone was burning leaves.  He decided to check it out because that’s what people did in strange places.


He walked forever before arriving at a farm.  Well, it had been a farm.  There had been a fire that left the house in charred ruins.  Even the barn was gone.  The place was-


A man.  There was a man was lying in front of the house!  Darren wasn’t sure if he was alive or dead but he sure as heck wasn’t moving. 


He took a few steps closer to see that the man wore clothing from some other era.  He looked like some sort of peasant, with his funny looking pants and a long-sleeved tunic.  He also wore a wool vest but it had been torn in a few places.  One place held an awful gash, dead center of the back.


Darren walked up to the body, darting his eyes about to make sure the coast was clear and he wasn’t walking into a trap.  No one seemed to be around.


“Hello?”  Darren spoke barely above a whisper.  A low groan was the man’s response.  He sounded weak; he was probably dying from the wound in his back.


Around the body, the ground was disturbed.  It looked like several animals walked around the man but the footsteps told him better.  There had been people here; probably the ones who dished out this sentence.


Darren got down on his knees beside the man and rolled him onto his side.  The man grimaced in pain.  He was a handsome fellow, sorta young-although Darren felt judging a man’s looks was a little on the ‘wrong’ side.  He wasn’t one of those funny guys.


“Hey, you’re gonna be alright”, with his fatherly, assuring voice.


The guy had dark hair, kinda long..  His hair was plastered to his head, where blood had caked, mixed with soot and dirt.  His face was bruised badly; it looked like his jaw was broken.  Someone really roughed him up.


“Why?”  He managed to whisper to Darren.  He probably couldn’t see Darren; both of his eyes were swollen shut.  Darren didn’t know but guessed that he was attacked for food or money.  Although it didn’t appear he had much.


“Is there something I can do?”  Darren asked.  He hadn’t any medical training and he doubted there was a first aid kit lying about.  Not like he could fix that stab wound anyway.


The man raised his arm, weakly.  He pointed across Darren’s chest,  towards the house and gave a gurgled sigh.  The man exhaled, his body fell limp.  Darren didn’t need to feel his pulse to know he’d passed.


Gently, showing gentleness that he’d never shared at home, he laid the man’s head back onto the ground.  He stood over him and wondered what his name was; what his life was all about.  Then what had he done to deserve such a death.


Slowly, he turned to face the house.  The wood smoldered but was mostly clear.  The dying man wanted him to see something. 


To his shock, he spotted something lying in the doorway.  It was hard to notice th shape but there was definitely something in the strange entrance.  What was with that thick opening?


Darren looked around the area again, just to make sure he wasn’t being watched.  He knew he’d walked upon something terrible and didn’t want the troublemakers to spot him and implement their abuse on him too.


He sauntered to the opening and gasped.  There appeared to be a person, laying prone.  There seemed to be a lump of something on top of the body.   The view was nightmarish.


The skin was charred; most of the flesh was burned away, displaying blackened bone.  Because it has been completely burned, it didn’t smell.  He was afraid to get closer but he had to see if the dead man had a survivor.


He made his way forward, with squinted his eyes to  see through smoke induced tears.  He knew the scene was going to be bad; he braced himself for the worst.  The man wanted him to check- although Darren had a feeling that this person had left the world long before the man out front had.


Darren stepped close enough to get a better view and immediately realized it was the body of a woman.  The remaining scraps of her dress had burned so badly, she looked almost naked.  But she didn’t quite look naked either.


Her body was a silhouette of her former self.  She was completely black.  If Darren had stepped on her body, she’d have shattered and spread across the area.  It was a saddening sight and it made his heart feel a deep sorrow. 


Strands of her remaining hairs fluttered in the gentle breeze.  When they flittered across the scorched skin, pieces of ash blew away.  She was completely burned.  He sighed, careful to not inhale any of the woman’s remains.


When he dropped to one knee in the opening of the home, he discovered the odd shape on the woman’s burned body was a child. It was a little difficult to tell, since a beam was atop both bodies.  The boy seemed no older than seven or eight?  How sad;  It made him think of his own children.


From the look of it, the boy either died from the fallen beam above or he had passed out earlier from smoke inhalation.  She must have been carrying him- the boy was lying across the body, directly under the timber.


He reached out, to touch the head of the child, wishing there was a way he could help.  But there was nothing.  They were already dead and away from the pains of this world, wherever this world was.


His fingers tenderly touched the body of the child.  With shock, he watched he body fall away.  The shapes crumbled, causing the lower half of the woman and her son fall into a pile of ash.  Stupefied, dazed and dismayed, he gasped and fell on his butt.


The dark flakes fluttered in the following breeze past him and into the sky and yard.  Darren said nothing as he watched in gloom.  He felt lost, like he’d just lost a friend.  His heart actually allowed him to feel empathy for the family.  He looked back at the man’s body.


Darren figured the man had the unpleasant beating then had to watch his family suffer.  He witnessed them crawling to escape the flames, only to be pinned down and burned to death.  There was no way he could imagine the pain.


There was a lot of scuffling around the body too.  While his wife and son burned, people beat him.  Horrible, Darren thought.  Just horrible-




Darren jumped to his feet.  On the wind, he heard his name.  He quickly left the entrance and stood out in the opening, near the dead man and listened.  The voice was so familiar.  Was it Zen?


“God help me!  Darren!”


“Zen!”  He shouted without thinking.  His heart began to race and he felt a shiver down his spine. He looked and turned in all directions, trying to pinpoint her location.   She was calling to him for help and he didn’t know where she was!


But he did.  Realization becan to surface in his subconscious mind.  He knew he was dreaming, Darren knew Zenolyn was in the hospital.  So how was she calling to him?  And why was she calling for help?  Was she in pain and no one knew due to the coma?


He had to get home; he needed to get to the hospital and see how he could help his wife out of her coma.  Somehow she was communicating with him and she needed him.


“Zen!  I’m coming!”


Darren ran.  He wasn’t sure where he was going but he figured if he ran far enough, he’d get back to his family.  Back to his wife, so he could help her.  She needed him, was calling for him!


As Darren began to feel his legs burn, the acids causing the muscles to break down and rebuild, he pushed on. He wanted to stop but didn’t have the energy to put on the brakes.  He had to run.  Run.


His lungs burned, his legs ached and a knot began to form in the pit of his stomach but he didn’t stop.  He chanted to himself to keep motivated.  He had to get home. 


He pushed with everything in him, all along repeating his prayer.  “Please.  Please let me help her.”




When Darren woke, he was on the sofa downstairs.  He hazily remembered leaving the kids in his bed and going to grab a drink.  He didn’t remember going to sleep, but there he was.  Groggily, he managed to his feet and shuffled to the master bedroom.  Twice he fought the urge to retch and managed to hold it off.  He didn’t want the kids to see him in a bad state; he hoped the kids were still asleep.  Wrong.


They were in the bathroom, brushing their teeth.  Both of them were fully dressed and brushing with Darian leading by example.  She was making sure Damon brushed properly,  getting their teeth as clean as possible.  He watched them, amazed.


Since Zen went into the hospital, Darian had changed.  Darian was the one to realize Zen had fallen.  She’d run upstairs and screamed in Darren’s ears while he’d slept .  When he finally jumped up to ask what was wrong, she was nearly deaf!


They ran outside and found his wife laying on the ground, blood trickling from her nose but looking as though she’d taken a nap.  Only she was beside a ladder He’d ordered Darian to call 9-1-1 while he tried to revive his wife.  Tears fell from his eyes, wishing she’d say something.  She said nothing.  He felt as though he’d died inside. 


Since then, Darian had changed.  She was still a smart-mouthed, little brat, but she was a little less so.  It was like she knew her mommy was in trouble and she needed to be on her best to make things easier for him.  He appreciated it.


He smiled when Darian looked at him via her reflection.  She grinned back, showing a mouth full of pasty foam.  She could be so perfect when she wanted to.  She looked so much like him but he could see Zen in her eyes.  She was truly their child.


“Hi Gaggy” Damon said, with his mouth full.

“Hey guys, good job.”

“Daddy, why did you sleep downstairs?”

Darren walked away, “My back was aching.  Brush your teeth!”  Dang, they saw him.


He didn’t feel like explaining to the kids about falling into a drunken stupor.  He walked into the master bathroom and stood before the mirror.  He looked like a bum.


His face was pallid; he had stubble that was about three days old and he needed a haircut.  Zen would never have allowed him to look so frumpy.  She always bought their clothes and had him looking great, even his suits for work.  How would he manage? 


He sighed and ran his hands through his hair.  He had to keep things together, for the kids.  Somehow he would fare until Zen recovered and returned home.  There was no doubt; she would be home soon.  That’s what he told the kids.


He showered, dressed in a pair of pants and henley shirt then took the back stairs to the kitchen where he knew the kids waited for him.  He fixed a simple breakfast of scrambled eggs, orange juice and toast.  He didn’t cook too much but when he did it was always scrambled eggs.  Thanks to Darren, the children also ate their eggs with ketchup.  Something Zen detested with a passion.


He drove them to his mother’s house.  He needed to see Zen and didn’t want them camped out in the sitting room.  A hospital was no place for children to be sitting, unless it was a happy occasion.  Their mother in a coma did not qualify as a happy occasion.


His mom, Doris was more than happy to keep her grand-children.  She loved them dearly and enjoyed helping out with their schoolwork.  She knew Zen’s methods and kept them on track every time they needed to be placed in her care.  It was an honor for her.


Darren stood in the doorway when he dropped the kids off.  “Thanks Mom.”

“It’s okay baby.  You don’t have to thank me.”

“I know”, he said while the twins made their way inside the ranch-styled home.  They headed straight into the living room where Grandpa had already turned on cartoons until school time.  “I really need to see her before going into the office for a bit.”


His mother eyed his attire, “You’re going in, dressed like that?”

“My supervisor knows what’s going on.  They don’t expect me to stay, just coordinate my work that’s been dished out to about four other workers.  It’s hard for them to all do what I do in one day.”


Darren tugged on the collar of his shirt and smiled, “I’m a professional.” 


His mother gave him a gentle smile and hug.  “You be careful and give Zen our love, okay?”

Darren hugged his mom and walked back to the car.  It was time to see what was going on.  

© 2012 Cre8nFrmWithn

Author's Note

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Added on March 23, 2012
Last Updated on April 4, 2012
Tags: fire, family, fear, voices, help, dream, lost



Kirkwood, MO

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