I began boring myself with my writing. Running out of people to write for. So while at work I decided to email the woman who runs a monthly hand out paper and asked if I might be able to write a story for it. After talking about a few things we decided on an on-going story. I figured I would share it.. I have no idea where I’m actually taking it but this is the beginning and I’ll have Part Two in June.
He dodged the strike as the bolt of lightning flew just passed his face pushing him over onto his back. He rolled underneath a broken tree and flung himself forward getting back to his feet and without missing a beat he continued to run. He could feel his heart beat in his toes but pushed forward hoping to escape. But where he was he couldn’t quite figure out as all of the scenery around him was new.
Zaire was scared, a feeling he hasn’t felt in a long time, but tonight as he made his way through a forest trying not to trip, he felt it. He didn’t waste any moments by stopping and looking back to see if he was out running them, or try to find things to hurl at whatever may or may not be behind him. He didn’t like the chase he was in but he has to keep going; had to let it keep following him to get to where he needed to be.
The lack of knowledge is what scared him the most. He had no idea how many people were behind him or what they were after.
His breath hitched and came to a complete stop the moment his body came in contact with a large Oak tree. Falling backwards he slammed hard onto the ground a tiny puff of dirt flying up around him. His head was groggy but he could see the figure standing above him. It didn’t move, but span the length of three large trees and continued to grow. Zaire felt the eyes of the large shadow bore into his soul. A small growl rumbled around him as his eyes fluttered shut.
Zaire stumbled out of his front door dropping all of the paperwork he had been holding. He huffed as he bent picking up one paper at a time. Lucky for him the wind wasn’t blowing and was actually able to pick them up without having to run a mile; he was pretty sure he wouldn’t have made it. The last few days for him have been good days but today didn’t seem he was as lucky.
He took a couple deep breaths sitting in his driver’s seat trying to settle his stomach. He fiddled through the papers he had dropped attempting to put them back in order from ascending date. He knew he should have bought that brief case he was looking at the other night but talked himself out of it thinking it wasn’t an important purchase. Surprising, even to himself, he hadn’t started purchasing items that wasn’t necessary.
The sun was bright as he made his way the new doctor’s office, 1124B Room 13 West Sioux Ave – he repeated that to himself many times since he googled the address. His last doctor decided he needed to see someone who may specialize in his condition and actually help, rather than give a time line of when he may perish all together. Anything was better than nothing – he felt as if he still had a lot to live for, even if there is nothing in his life.
He did have everything he could have imagined including a job, and a girlfriend. His job was great, for him, at a book publishing company as an editor. He may not have made as much money as he wanted to but he had so many opportunities of moving up in the company that he just wanted to wait for his turn. His girlfriend left three months into the whole process, just as his hair began falling out, stating that she wouldn’t be able to be seen around town with a bald man who could fall over dead at any time. It took a while for him to recover the break up; especially since she did it over the dinner he planned to propose. He still has the ring sitting in a drawer – for the longest he hoped she’d come back.
She never did.
He stood on the sidewalk out front of the doctor’s office and hesitated for a brief moment. The building wasn’t what he was expecting especially since it was more of a duplex and it was connected to a large strip club he used to frequent as a teenager. A few friends of his recently took him in there and either he was stupid as a teenager or his taste had changed.
He noticed that you were no longer allowed to smoke inside of the bar but instead it reeks of incense and the lights are kept dim, he was sure it was to hide stretch-marks as the “talent pool” wasn’t terribly deep and they didn’t want to ruin the general male fantasy. One of the bartenders that were leaning against the bar; she had to be near thirty with a Barbie-thin waist and was ridiculously fake-looking. She stood out compared to the rest of the bartenders as they were ordinary, like they went into a Wal-Mart and picked random customers to mix drinks and smile – a lot. The building is run-down and sad – a nice older building that was aging badly on the side of town that is still circling the drain and losing many manufacturing jobs in the past forty years.
He was having second thoughts about going to this doctor.
Taking one last long breath of fresh air and adjusting the hat he had put on getting out of the car he made his way up the dark steps and into the building that seemed just as dark as the coloring of the building. Maybe some of the lights were out, he thought to himself as he began looking for room 13. The building almost felt like a library to Zaire as he walked, almost in a tip-toe, down the long corridor. The walls were bare and solid white and smelled of licorice.
He cautiously approached room thirteen, not knowing for sure what was about to happen – will he finally be told how to cure whatever it is he had? Or will this be another dead end for him?
The door squeezed open as he pushed on it gently and he walked into a large well decorated room with thirteen chairs and three welcome windows. A woman in her mid-forties smiled a large crooked smiled in his direction and waved him over. He faked a smile as best as he could and stood in front of the window she slid open.
“How may I help you this fine morning?” Her long straight red hair bounced as she spoke.
He squinted toward her name tag that dangled from a lanyard around her neck, still clutching all of his paperwork tightly to his chest, which read Ruby. “I have an appointment to see the doctor.”
“Oh yes, yes, yes.” Ruby clicked a few buttons on her keyboard and blinked toward the computer screen. “You must be Zaire.”
“Yes ma’am, he told me to be here around ten and that he would be able to fit me in. It isn’t going to take long for him to tell me I’ll be dead in a month.”
Ruby shook her head, “Oh darling, don’t think of it like that. Doctor Zephor has performed miracles before. Maybe you’ll be his next.”
Zaire made sure not to hold his breath for miracles. When everything first began it just a headache then moved to body aches and chills. From there he began having muscle pains and his bones began breaking easily along with scabs forming on his arms without hurting himself. Then his hair loss began along with the sight in his left eye, which is now glossed over, and is missing about four teeth. He either wanted the cure for whatever it is he has or death – which ever happened first.
A thick accented voice called from an open doorway, “Zaire McIntosh – the doctor will see you now.”
The office was pretty empty except for a cluttered desk holding a laptop, a television that hung in the corner, and two chairs. He sat nervously still holding all of his paperwork close to his person waiting for the doctor to come and speak to him about options. Zaire leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. His body was so tired all he wanted to do is go home and lie down and sleep for a little while. For a brief moment he dozed, finally able to shut his brain off momentarily.
A small wheezy voice broke into his slumber slightly waking him. His eyes opened enough for a light to shine through and he turned toward where the voice came from. At first he didn’t see anyone and figured he had to have been dreaming but then, as he began to doze again, a girl with long brown hair and large brown eyes sat beside him.
“You don’t look very healthy.” Her voice squeaked at every other word.
He blinked at her a couple times, “I don’t feel very healthy. That’s why I’m at a doctor’s clinic.”
“Do you have hemogoblinataris?” She asked in a matter-of-a-fact way.
Zaire coughed, “I don’t believe I know what that is.”
“It’s what my town has that’s destroying the whole thing. You resemble what a lot of them look like.”
“Did you come here to get medication for it?”
Laughter freed itself from her. “Medication… No, there isn’t one; the doctor will even tell you that. I however know there’s a cure.”
“If there isn’t medication for this then how would there be a cure?”
She sighed, “It’s like an antidote, if you will, and I was told where it’s at.”
Zaire crinkled his forehead, “Then why are you here and not there getting it?”
“I came to talk to the doctor because when I was told about it they said it’s either here with this crazy doctor or in the other location. So I came here first and spoke to Dr. Zephor to see if he had it. He said there is no such antidote for this disease and anyone telling me different is giving me hope that doesn’t exist.”
He sighed, “Is this contagious?”
“There isn’t much known about it, but as far as I have seen, no, it’s not. I haven’t gotten it but ninety-percent of my town has it. I was one of the lucky ones that were out of town when the grains came in. Everyone made so much bread that week and everyone who ate it got sick. Do you know how you got it?”
He looked at this girl who sat in front of him with so much more knowledge about something that was killing him slowly and he knew nothing. He has visited so many doctors and had so many tests but no one could tell him what it was or how he got it. But as he sat there he thought back to when he first began getting sick. “When did they get the grain?”
“Oh goodness, three years ago, I think.”
His thoughts drifted off into space, “And you said they made bread out of the grain?”
Her eyes softened slightly, “Did you eat it?”
He sighed, “I think so. Of course, I’m not one hundred percent, but I’m pretty sure I did.”
Zaire placed all of his paperwork onto the desk belonging to Dr. Zaphor and leaned back in his chair, his heart pounding. He was told once a while back that it was probably something he ate but of course he kept denying it. Why would someone poison food that could and would harm people who hadn’t done anything to anyone else? He couldn’t grasp why anyone would think someone would deserve to die.
The girl let out some air, “My name is Quinn.”
He kept looking off into space, “I’m Zaire.”
Quinn nudged Zaire’s right arm, “You know, I’ve decided to go on a mission to get the cure. If you’re able, you know, you could come with me. I could help you and you could help me – especially since you and I both need the same exact thing.”
He thought about it for a couple moments thinking about the fact that this was the first time he had met her. What would possess someone to ask a complete stranger to accompany them on a mission trip to find something that they honestly don’t know if it even exists?
“How do you know for sure it actually exists?”
Quinn laughed to herself, “I don’t know that it does for sure. The only thing I do know is that I have to try everything I can to help my town. I cannot just let them all die and you look like you’re a little too young to die yourself. So why not?”
“What is old enough to die anymore? Everyone is dying too soon to everyone in their lives unless like are in their 90’s – then everyone says the same thing, well, they lived a full life. Did they really? How do we know if they fulfilled everything they wanted? Who is to say they lived a full life? We aren’t them – we don’t know.”
“Woah, Zaire, I’m going to take it you’re not quite ready to die.” She smiled to herself, “Come with me.”
“So, let’s say I agree and go with you, where exactly are we going?”
Quinn stood up and walked over to the door before stopping, “Tesla Island.”
Zaire stopped for a moment, “Seriously?”
“Yes, I’m completely serious. They say there is an old cave on it and right next to it, not in it, but next to it there is a spot that if you dig you pull up an old box. Inside the box is the recipe of how to make it.”
“Wait, we have to make it?” Zaire didn’t like the idea of doing that.
“Well, yeah, how else would we get enough for you and my whole town?”
Zaire knew better than to agree to this. He knew better than to put all of his hope into something that more than likely doesn’t exist. Why would someone just randomly put a recipe for a disease that no one would know if someone would ever get in a box on an island? How did Quinn find out about this? If someone messed with grain knowing they’d all die from it who would go against that and help cure it?
“One last question before I say yes or no. Who told you about where it’s at?”
Quinn opened the doctor’s door and looked at him with an emotionless stare, “It came to me in a dream.”
“Seriously, a dream,” Zaire was speechless. Who, in their right mind, starts on a mission from something they seen in a dream? “I think I’m going to sit out on this one. I just don’t think I can bring myself to do this if it’s just a guess.”
“Fine,” Quinn huffed, “Suit yourself!”
On the drive home Zaire had a lot of information to process. Doctor Zaphor finally came into his office after Quinn left and told him exactly what the others did. He said within a year, if even that, he’d be dead and it would probably happen when he’s asleep. The thought scared him – not because he’d be dead, but because he hasn’t accomplished anything he wanted to. What does he have to show for himself? Who is going to remember him? All of the thought swirled around in his head making it hurt. He knew this wasn’t healthy but he was nowhere near ready to part the Earth.
“I wanted to write a book,” He said out loud to himself as a tear began to fall.
But he couldn’t write a book – he hadn’t done anything. He played it safe all of his life and now – now what does he have to show for it? Nothing – an empty house, no friends or family around, no job and no love of his life.
He pulled into his drive way and put his car in park. He got out and walked away leaving everything he once thought would save his life behind in the car. He made his way into his house and straight into his bedroom where pictures had been scattered. He stopped and looked around realizing this isn’t how he left his house. Who had been in here? Curious, he made his way back into the living room and then into the kitchen – both rooms had been destroyed.
What would someone be looking for in his house? It’s not like him to keep things sitting around that has great meaning or worth a lot of money. He only has one prized possession and that’s a ring that he put in a box in a vent – no one would find it.
His cell phone ringing startled him.
“Hello?” He almost didn’t answer since he didn’t know the number.
A monotone voice rang in his ears, “Do not go with Quinn.”
“Excuse me, who is this?”
The voice’s tone didn’t change, “Do not go with Quinn.”
“I don’t…” Before he was able to get all of the words out his phone went quiet. He held his phone in his palm staring down at it. What just happened? What could Quinn be into that would have someone call him out of the blue and tell me not to go?
A small tap at his front door brought his attention from the caller. He made his way to the door. He wasn’t used to getting visitors since he had gotten sick. It was if everyone had decided that what he had was contagious and they just stopped coming around. He was more or less okay with that since every time someone was around him they’d only give him the I’m so sorry your sick look and he was tired of it.
He cracked the front door open just wide enough to see out of it. “Quinn?”
“I really need your help Zaire. I cannot get this cure without you.”
Zaire thought about the phone call and wondered if this was such a bright idea. But the side of him that was hoping for a cure was a lot stronger than the side telling him not to. “Why me?”
Quinn fidgeted on her feet. “I need someone that has something to lose to do this with me. I need dedication.”
“I just don’t know if this is something I would be interested in doing.”
She huffed, “So you’d rather just die than go on a small vacation with a person who just wants to help?”
“You don’t want to help me; you don’t even know me…”
Quinn interrupted him, “Who cares whether I know you or not. If you want to die I will leave and if you don’t be ready by eight in the morning because that’s when I’m catching the boat.” She turned quickly and left before he had the chance to say another word. Great, he thought, now I have to think about this all night.