Zaire could only remember one other time where he slept so horrible and it would have to be the night he found out about his illness. He tossed and turned all night with Quinn on his mind. For the most part of the night he laid in bed staring at his ceiling counting the tiny dots that are speckled above him. He found himself weighing all of his options and the only thing he knew for sure was that he doesn’t want to die. But as he thinks about that his mind wanders back to the phone call and wonders who it was and why they called.
He stood on his front porch smelling the morning air just as the sun began to rise over the horizon. His mind was full which confused him. He held a large cup of coffee in his hands sipping it slowly as it burned all the way down. The higher the sun got into the sky the more he wanted to live. The more he wanted to see more days than just the few he has left – how many, he still doesn’t know. The more he wanted to be able to say he accomplished something – anything, and live to see his life unfold.
He sighed to himself, “I’m only thirty-one. I still have so much to do.”
Anytime he thought of his illness or the fact he was destined to die his heart broke a little more each time. He figured after so many years that he would eventually just accept it and move on; live the rest of his days doing the stuff he wanted to do. But as he begins thinking about that, that’s when he realizes he hasn’t done anything to be able to do anything. He knows that makes no sense whatsoever, but to him, it’s everything, especially when his dream, the one thing he wants to accomplish and have live on past him, is a novel. But he knows to write said novel he has to have done something – seen something, or even just felt something that he hasn’t. Go with Quinn. A small voice in the back of his head repeated those words over and over. He wanted to listen to it and go but he was scared. But what exactly would he accomplish if he continues being scared? He knew he finds himself complaining or whining about not doing things then something like this falls into his lap. He had never had the opportunity to go to Tesla Island, and here it was – perfect for him and he may blow it. Why? Because he’s scared. But what exactly is he scared of? Actually accomplishing something and feeling great about himself for once? Or failing. But how will he know if he’ll fail if he never tries. His mind was heavy.
Zaire grunted loudly to himself and shook his head. “I have to get out of here.”
Swiftly he started down the road on foot.
He always found the morning time comforting. Most people were still asleep, getting ready for work, or just getting off of work. The hustle and bustle you found during the evening hours didn’t exist and it was almost as if no one else was around. The walk seemed to do him some good even if he had no idea where he was going or when he’d turn around. He doesn’t walk as much as he used to because it wears him out and makes him sick. But today it was something he needed.
The more he walked the drier his mouth became. He began hearing a loud ringing in his ears and his sight began to blur. He knew he shouldn’t have walked as far as he had, but he knew he needed to get away. He needed something that was located at his house. When his legs became wobbly and he felt the ground connect to his person, he had made up his mind. He will need to find Quinn and begin the trek to Tesla Island to see if they could find what they needed to cure him and her whole town. He was tired of being sick and finally decided to take care of the problem. When he realized he was on the concrete is when he remembered that he had no idea how to get ahold of Quinn.
His head pounded behind his eyes as he gradually sat up. He glanced around and realized he was sitting in his bed. It’s never a good thing when you are somewhere but you have no idea how you got there especially when the last memory you have is of you falling to the ground. He tried standing up but his body began pounding from aches in places he didn’t know existed. Knowing he needed to figure out what was going on he pushed through the pain and stood up.
He shakily made his way through his house and into his living room that was cleaned up and a smell wafted through the air. He closed his eyes and sniffed hard – he felt his stomach growl. It had been a long time since he could remember smelling bacon being cooked in his house. As much as the smell of bacon being cooked excited him, it also frightened him because he has no idea who is cooking bacon in his kitchen.
He lives alone.
Calmly, figuring it could get really bad if he isn’t, he made his way into his tiny kitchen. He stalled at the doorway briefly trying to talk himself out of this and reconsider everything he was about to do. But it’s his house and no one should be frying bacon in it unless it’s him and he doesn’t really know how to cook bacon so they must go. He took the corner and entered his kitchen and nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw Quinn poking her head around the doorway of his refrigerator.
“Hey sleepy head,” Quinn smiled before stuffing her head back in the refrigerator and went back to making noises by moving things around.
“What,” He paused for a moment trying to think of what to say. “What are you doing in my kitchen frying bacon in one of my skillets digging through my refrigerator?”
She chuckled to herself as she shut the door, “Do you ever buy groceries? Shoot! I had to go to the freaking store this morning and buy what I am making. But I forgot cheese and you don’t have any.”
“I don’t normally eat here.”
“Dude, seriously, with your illness you should be cooking at home not eating out.”
Zaire shrugged and sat down at his kitchen table. “I just never really learned and last time I set my stove on fire. Not something I really want to repeat in this lifetime.”
Quinn turned toward Zaire holding a spatula toward him and waved it around. “You need to learn how to cook.”
He tried once, well, a few times. He figured since he lived alone he really needed to know how to make his own food but every time he tried his stove would catch on fire so he decided against attempting that anymore. He figured being a bachelor that frozen foods would work, they couldn’t be too bad, but once he tried eating a few of them he realized that they were worse than he thought and just gave up. It takes him briefly twenty minutes to go to Taco Bell and back and he has many menus’ hanging next to his front door. Most of them deliver. Why should he lie to himself into thinking that one day he will be able to cook when he can just order out.
“I’m actually glad you’re here.”
Quinn plated the food and walked it over to Zaire. She took the seat next to him. “Eat. Why so happy for me?”
“I realized that I didn’t know how to get ahold of you.”
She laughed. “Did you check your mail?”
He took a bite of perfectly crisped bacon. “I…” He paused for a moment. “I don’t think I’ve checked it in days.”
“Maybe you should?”
“Meh, it usually only has bills and I don’t have the money to pay them.”
She smiled, “It also has my information in it. When I left the other day I put it in there thinking you’d check it, see it, and call me to go on my expedition.”
“Well, lucky for you, I didn’t find the paper and I still thought of you.”
“Wait. Does that mean you’re going to go with me?” Quinn’s eyes lit up with happiness.
He shook his head. “I think I will. Even if we don’t find the cure and I still end up dying a horrible death. Something will come of this trip and if I don’t do it I’ll never figure out what it is.”
She stood up and clapped her hands together once holding them out in front of her. “Great! That’s fantastic! Oh! We have to start preparing!”
“Woah! Calm down Quinn. I’m sure we have a couple days to get everything together.”
“No Zaire, we don’t. We have to go now or we might as well just not go.”
“It cannot be that bad.”
Quinn plopped back down into the chair. “You don’t understand, Zaire, this is something that has to happen now. If we wait my whole town will die out and you’ll be gone. Then where does that leave me?”
Zaire looked at her with little emotion in his eyes. “At least you’re not dead.”
Quinn, for the next four days, basically never left Zaire for more than twenty minutes. Usually just long enough to go to the store and restock his kitchen and bathroom supplies. They went over the rules and how Tesla Island is and she explained just how long it was going to take them to get there – by boat.
“I hope you don’t get sea sick.” Quinn chuckled as she packed his last bag.
Quinn had already explained to Zaire that they weren’t able to take a lot, just enough to survive because of how small the boat is. He figured it was fine since all he really needed was food, water, and shelter. She busted that bubbled once she told him that there may be times where there isn’t any shelter. He wasn’t sure what he thought about not having shelter at all times.
“I have never really had an opportunity to find out.”
Which was true and he often wondered why he had never gotten into a boat, even just a simple paddle boat. Their tiny town was surrounded by water, at times, people thought it was an Island, but it wasn’t considered one. The town was housed to about 25,000 people and there was one road out of it and most people didn’t know there was a town there. He figured most people found it by accident when traveling in California by taking the wrong turn. Once they travel down the 25 mile bridge and end up in Davenport they don’t normally leave. It’s basically a flat area with large houses, one movie theater, shopping mall, some well-known restaurants and two grocery stores. It’s very secluded, which is what most people that stay like about it.
“Have you never left Davenport?”
Zaire shrugged, “Never really had the chance to leave or actually needed to.”
Quinn laughed suddenly, “Dude! You need to go to California or something.”
“Why? What’s in California that isn’t here? It’s just a long drive across a boring bridge into a state that is full of crazy people.”
Her face distorted, “How do you know? You haven’t been there? Don’t knock something if you’ve never seen it for yourself.”
“You’re lucky I’m joining you to Tesla Island don’t push it by talking about going to California. Okay, how about this…”
Quinn smiles, “I’m listening.”
He picks up his bag and puts it on his shoulder and nods, “If we find the cure and I become healthy again, I’ll go to California but you have to go with me.”
She chuckles to herself, “Okay, fine, I will make that deal.”
He felt a small wave of relief thinking if she was willing to make that deal then maybe, just maybe, this cure is real. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly thinking that he might just be able to see a bright future rather than the dim one he’s been staring at for years.