Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Two

A Chapter by Cre8nFrmWithn
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Darren makes a connection...

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Chapter Twenty-Two

 

 

 

In the bed, Darren listened to the sounds of the house.  The Swiss clock ticked and tocked, doing nothing to sedate his ever-worrying mind.  Bedtime was early, seeing as he had nothing to do or anyone to speak with.  Zen was usually beside him, snuggling beneath the duvet and watching the silly animated shows for adults.  Not this night.

 

Zen was upstairs in the spare bedroom.  Ella had left twenty minutes ago; he heard the door lock when she exited.  He got up.  He had to se his wife.  As he put on his robe, he felt like a widower, missing her but then kicked himself.  What was he thinking?  She was just down the hall!  She wasn’t dead, just sleeping! No reason to miss the one you loved when she was still there breathing, sorta.

 

He crept down the hallway, making sure to avoid the carpeted spots that could possibly alert the little ones.  He felt ridiculous sneaking in his own home to see his wife!  What a case.

 

In her room, he spied her in the center of the queen bed, peacefully unconscious.  Beside her bed, a small Victorian lamp glowed.  Zen wanted the guest room to look regal, he remembered.  The walls were covered in a rich burgundy with eggshell colored crown molding at the ceiling, mid-wall and floorboards.  The bedding was burgundy with gold stitched filigree, just the way she wanted it.  The drapes were burgundy with sheer, eggshell curtains behind them.  It was just the way she’d requested him to do it. 

 

Darren remembered being dragged into all kinds of stores, shopping for fake gold picture frames, then having to sit and find the right black and white photos to use when affixing the colored matting and such.  It was a hassle to him but the room turned out beautiful.  He didn’t regret a single minute.

 

He stood there watching her from the doorway for a moment, smiling to himself at how lovely she was.  If she could see herself, she’d be flustered and upset.  Her hair was everywhere, as African-American bed-heads usually went.  Ella has burned a few candles to give the room a heavy lavender scent; Zen loved- loves lavender.  He had to stop speaking of her in past tense!

 

He made his way to her bedside and stood looking down on his sleeping beauty.  She seemed so at peace that he smiled.  She always looked adorable when she slept.

 

“I miss you Zen”, he whispered. 

 

Taking her hand, he sat on the edge of the bed.  Her hand was so small in his.  He raised it to his lips and lightly placed a kiss, willing her to open her eyes.  Not in this tale.

 

“I don’t know where you are but I want you to know that we are waiting for you.  We won’t give up Zen.  You can come home when you’re ready.  I don’t know where you are- I don’t know if you can hear me but I can hope right?”  He chuckled softly.  “Have you been sending me messages Zen?”

 

A strong sense of stupidity rolled over him.  Going with the dreams again?  “I feel like you’ve been telling me something.  I’ve seen a place and I even thought I saw you; I don’t think it was you but …I don’t know baby.  I just know that if you are trying to tell me something, I’m listening.  I will do my best.”

 

He waited for a moment.  He didn’t expect her to suddenly sit up and say something, just something.  He got nothing and was beginning to take on loneliness again.  Instead of moping, he climbed onto the bed and laid beside her.  He snuggled next to her, placing his chin into the groove of her neck and nuzzled. 

 

He inhaled the scent of her hospital soap and moaned in sadness.  He closed his eyes, remembering their past.  How he won over her heart; how he’d proposed at the Boathouse and when they had the twins.  How he’d bought her the house they now rested in and how he wanted to make his marriage with her the best thing he could ever accomplish!

 

***

 

When the doorbell rang, the twins shot over to answer it.  Darren stopped them and shoo’d them away.  Through the side window, he spotted a familiar stranger- the man at the park!  It was Steven.  Darren opened the door and smiled. 

 

“Fancy meeting you here.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were stalking me!”

 

The large gentleman smiled and reached out his hand.  “I go where God sends me, is all.”  He had a firm grip that Darren hadn’t learned to appreciate and allowed him entry.

 

“Have a seat”, he guided.  “Would you like something to drink?”

“Oh no, thank you.  I just enjoyed a huge glass of water before coming over.”

 

Steven sat down and glanced around the livingroom.  “Lovely place you have.”

“Thanks, it’s not much but it’s home.”

“Thank God.  Many don’t have homes.  How long have you lived here?”

“For about ten years and hopefully much longer.  I like the neighborhood, it’s quiet.”

“Sure is.”

 

Okay, enough with the small talk.  What do I need to do to quickly get you outta here, Darren thought.  “So how do we get this started?”

 

Steven sat back and began speaking.  He started with his background in church; how he began teaching Sunday school while attending school and met his wife.  He described how they became friends, and vowed purity rings.  He detailed how the purity rings were exchanged for an engagement ring.

 

He spoke of how happy he was and that he was the one who looked forward to the huge wedding with friends and family.  He told of how Gina desired children, how he’d craved a family but didn’t seem to be in the cards. 

 

Then he told of the wedding anniversary trip that took young Gina from him and returned to Heaven.  How he’d fallen into a depression as deep as a chasm; it seemed to have no end.  How he was blessed with an inner-strength that allowed him to pull himself from the hole and help others.

 

Darren listened with interest but felt they didn’t have that bond in common.  Zen was alive, not dead.  She was upstairs, breathing on her own and more than capable to revive herself once her body was ready.  All the tests showed her brain activity was in working order and they saw no damage, though unable to guarantee anything. The body did strange things. 

 

He knew to not expect miracles but also knew that he wife was coming back.  He would hear Zen’s laughter again.  His children would graduate from high school with Zen, their mother as their teacher.  These things would come to pass.

 

“There were times”, Steven said.  “When I thought I heard her speaking to me.  When I was alone, on the verge of sleep I guess.”

“I’ve heard Zen”, Darren blurted before realizing it.  Quickly he reeled is excitement back in.  He didn’t want to appear crazy.

“I know, it seems far fetched but I know it was God working with my sweet Gina.  I think it was His way of assuring me she was alright.  Back with Him.”

 

Darren thought on his words, chewing on his bottom lip before speaking.  “Well, I don’t think God has Zen but I do believe she sent me a message.  She’s alive and coming back to us Steve.  Can I call you Steve?”

“Sure, sure.  So you think she’s talking with you?”

 

Darren sat back.  He knew that depending on his response to such a question, Steven could either refer more talking or a shrink.  No one was going to take his blessing for a sign of insanity.

 

“Well, I don’t know.  I do know is that I’ve heard her and I think I’ve been to a place she’d frequented.”

“Uh, frequented?”

 

That’s it!  “Never mind.  I just know that she’s here, not just physically in this house.  My wife is coming back.”

 

The men stared into each other’s eyes for a brief moment.  They didn’t blink or glance away.  Had Ella not walked through the front door, who knows how long they’d have sat there.

 

“Oh, I’m sorry Mr. Maysfield-“

“You’re fine Ella, we’re just talking.”

 

Ella nodded at Steven and made her way to the second floor.  Darren informed Steven of the assistance and they got to talking again.  Darren spoke of his romance with Zenolyn before marriage.  Before they’d realized it, an hour passed and it was time to close the meeting.

 

“Do you mind if I close us with a prayer Darren?”

 

Darren cleared his throat and pushed his hands into his back, jean pockets.  He’d never prayed with a man alone, other than Pastor.  It was odd but he didn’t refuse.

 

“Lord, during this trying time, we know you are in the midst.  We know you are watching over the Maysfield family and we know that you have Zenolyn here for a reason.  If in fact you have allowed her to communicate with her husband Darren, please allow the message to be clear.  Allow Darren comprehension and the ability to act on it.

 

“Also give him the strength he needs to care for his children and himself while waiting on Your move with his wife.  We know that something is going to happen Lord.  In your time, let Your will be done.  We pray, …”

 

“Amen”, they said together.

 

Darren cleared his throat and shook hands with Steven.  “Uh, thanks Steve.”

“No, thank you for allowing me into your home.  I would like for you to call me please, on a day next week that we could meet.”

“Next week?”  What is this, Darren wondered.

“Yes, with Stephen’s Ministry we meet every week until the situation is resolved and you won’t need me anymore.  I can work with you and your schedule; I’m retired.”

“Thanks Steve. I appreciate your visit.”

 

At the door Steven stopped and turned to face Darren.  “Didn’t you say that your wife is here?”

“Yeah, that was her nurse you saw earlier.  She’ll be leaving soon.  She takes care of Zen.”

“Nice.  May, may I meet her?”

“Zen?”

“Yes.  I mean, normally the relationship between us is strictly between you and I but this, to me is a rather delicate situation.  I’d like to see her, if that’s alright.”

 

Darren tossed the idea around before affirming the idea.  He walked Steven down the hall and up the stairs.  At the end of the hallway was Zen’s room.  The door was ajar, with Ella inside.  She was tucking the blankets when they walked in.

 

“Is something wrong?”  She asked.  She stepped away from the bed.

“No, you’re fine Ella.  Thank you for your work.  I just wanted to introduce Steve to Zen.  Can you give us a moment?”

“Absolutely”, she said and walked out.

 

It was awkward, making an introduction to his wife while she slept but he did it.  Then he stood back while Steven walked over to her and sat in the chair Ella was using.  He smiled and patted her hand.  He looked up at Darren and winked.

 

“She’s lovely.  I think the two of you have a lot to discuss very soon.”

“Oh I’m sure.  I just want her back, I don’t care what we discuss”, he said.

“I think you will.  She’ll be talking to you soon.”

 

With that, Steve stood up and they left the room.  Another ten to fifteen minutes later, he was gone.  Darren liked the man but thought him a bit strange.  And what was that line about talking soon?

 

 

 

Darren took a shower as soon as Ella left.  He threw on his boxers and walked into Zen’s room again.  He sat on the chair and just stared at her.  He remembered times before they had the kids; he cherished those times more than ever now.  Times were simpler.

 

When they were spontaneous and carefree.  There was one time in particular that he loved the most.  It was when he took Zen fishing for the first time.  She’d been leery of the worms, fish, and dirt (girl fears) but he was more than capable of setting her hook and line, keeping her from the so-called icky stuff.  What he wanted was for her to gain the experience.  He wanted to be able to tell his friends that they spent time fishing…something most of his friends’ girls and wives never did. 

She did great.  They were in the New Madrid area, Darren had seen photos online of flathead and blue catfish that weighed up to seventy and eighty pounds caught.  He couldn’t imagine them catching anything that big but he did want something.  That day ended with them catching six of the smallest Blues ever!

 

Then right before they set back to shore, Zen fell out of the boat!  She was trying to reel in her line, standing because she thought it happened faster and toppled over.  The scene was frightening and he just knew she’d been ruined for fishing but she came up squealing and laughing at the same time- a twelve pound flathead on her hook!

 

She amazed him that day, not being sour on the experience and bragging to all of her friends.  He was so proud and happy.  Zenolyn was the greatest woman he’d ever met.  With that happy thought, he drifted to sleep.

 

***

 

The streets were shoddy and void of life.  Everywhere he looked, papers floated in the wind.  Cars were demolished, some inside of store windows and over-turned on sidewalks.  The place looked as if it had been placed in a Yatzee cup and tossed.  How could a town be so ruined?

 

As he walked, Darren peered upward.  The clouds drifted overhead, covering a deep grey sky.  There was no color in the area.  A heavy fog or smoke floated by, making the streets look like a warzone instead of the business district.  It was difficult to see in some areas but there appeared to be shapes periodically.  Were there people wandering about in this?

 

Then the quiet was broken by the sound of footfall quickly coming in his direction.  Darren wasn’t sure if he should move or not so he stood still, waiting to see who’d emerge from the soupy mist.  There, just ahead a form was taking shape.  Yes, a person was running right at him. 

 

Darren put his hands out to his sides, bracing for possible impact.  That’s when he heard the others.  Behind the shape running towards him were others.  Many feet and…was that moaning?  Yes, there were moans, like a thousand souls in abysmal yearning.  Who were these people?

 

He waited for what seemed like forever.  The hurried feet still approached but he saw no one.  The voices rose in volume but they didn’t show themselves.  He waited. 

 

The sounds never left his ears.  They were coming but it seemed like forever- then the person pushed through the billows, head turned away, looking over their shoulder.  The person was wearing a pair of beige pants that were covered in stains.  A white tank top stained with who knows what, worn underneath a strap holding a backpack.  Sticking out of the backpack was a shotgun!  What tha-

 

In the person’s hand was a purple, aluminum bat that dripped a thick, black liquid.  It swung back and forth in their hand, throwing the liquid everywhere, even on the already nasty shirt she wore.  She.  It was a woman.

 

And now the shadows in the mist began to show themselves.  There were faces coming clear, looking to be mottled with blisters, cuts and burns.  Their eyes, they were white like cream.  The pupils were yellowed orbs underneath the milky film, making them look empty, evil.  Some had clothing that appeared to have come from a nearby landfill, darkened, tattered and torn while others were stained with what Darren thought to be blood.  It was a ghastly sight.

 

The smell wasn’t very friendly to the senses either.  All of them, the running woman included, smelled of rancid meat.  The smell that assaults you before you pass the buck that was struck down on the roadside had nothing on this clan.  They’d been rolling in something decaying- no, they were fetid- they were dead!

 

Darren was about to dodge the mob headed in his direction when he saw the woman stop and take a stance to fight.  He tried to yell at the woman to move, to find safety but nothing fell across his lips.  He couldn’t make a sound.

 

He watched the woman bring her left foot forward and swing.  Her arms straightened, turning at the waist, making a perfect home run swing.  She stopped with the bat over her opposite shoulder and then she braced to swing in reverse, bringing her right foot up front.  The head of a deceased cop burst on her left side, sending black blood in a spray around her.

 

She brought the bat down and swung upward, throwing a woman’s jaw up into her sinus/maxillary area.  The crunch was audible even at Darren’s distance.  The body flew up and back, knocking three other bodies down.  Two more bodies ran up to take place of the fallen.

 

The woman dropped the bat and pulled the shotgun from the backpack.  Two loud booms emanated from the fire stick and bodies disintegrated, leaving a cloud of black blood floating on the breeze.  A loud schook schook came from the gun and she put it back into her bag.  The area was clear.  She heaved two heavy breaths and then turned to Darren’s direction.

 

Darren’s stomach plummeted, it was Zen!  Her hair wasn’t loc’d and her body was thinner but it was her.  She had her hair in a ponytail that was covered in ash and grime.  Her face was filthy, along with her arms and chest and clothing but it was her.  His wife was alive, and fighting like Ripley against the aliens!

 

She didn’t look at him but past him, through him.  She knelt down and picked up her bat and took off again.  She ran hard and fast.  He could see the determination in her face and body as she moved along.  She didn’t see him.  She was running and she was fighting for her life.  His wife- his everything was in danger and he couldn’t even speak with her. 

 

Darren called out again after she passed him by.  He tried to run behind her but she gave no indication of his presence.  Minutes later, he felt the whooshing of other bodies flying past.  There were more of the dead giving chase.

 

“Zen!”  He shouted.  She faltered and looked over her shoulder.  Did he hear her?  “Zenolyn!  I’m here!”

 

She looked but only saw the monsters closing in.  She turned back and ran for her life.  She didn’t see her husband and her husband couldn’t help his wife.



© 2012 Cre8nFrmWithn


Author's Note

Cre8nFrmWithn
Hi! You're not going to hurt my feelings- please let me know what you think about my tale. I just like to write, no worries. Tell me what you think! Thanks.

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Wow, this chapter was really emotionally charged. That's really all I can say, you did a wonderful job at getting into people's heads and expressing their thoughts and feelings as if you were them. I would recommend reading through for typos though, like "he reeled is excitement" I'm guessing the is should be his. I know it's super minor, but that's really all I can think of to improve it.

Posted 9 Years Ago



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Added on April 4, 2012
Last Updated on April 4, 2012
Tags: Stephen Ministry, zombies, fighting, connection, love, longing


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Cre8nFrmWithn
Cre8nFrmWithn

Kirkwood, MO



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My name is Alyssa and I am a Domestic Homeschool Engineer. I like to write, leaving some details to the reader's imagination. I describe but do not wish to over-indulge. Many things are best when l.. more..

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