Survivors of the Z’s- Teddy Baker, Gatewick, outside Wales
The car came to a halt. Not much talking was done.
Non at all.
All traumatised. Them more than me. Seeing their mum and gran come back to life.
Another human being. It was bound to blow a few brain cells
The place we stopped at took me back. The place where we were going to be
The garden was big back in the day when I was little
An innocent mind that knew only the things that were in front of him.
The garden was of average size. Smaller, a lot smaller. The place I am speaking of was my parents house. We walked down it. Jack and Lianne walked tardily behind. I reached the door. Now a shadow of my past. A lot smaller like the garden
And it opened. My dad stood there. A large smile caressed his old- wrinkled- face. He opened his arms. I walked toward him and fell into his arms. I stood taller than him, but he was still the bigger man.
“My boy,” he said
I moved to one side and his smile grew even more. The kids were revealed. He bent down to their level. They both smiled a beauty and nearly knocked him over. They ran into his arms like I used to and he fell from the kneeling position and onto his backside.
The village of Gatewick. Just outside of Wales. A beautiful little place. Surrounded by mountains.
A friendly place
A quiet place
Out of the way from it all.
The birds tweeted outside of the window. It was like the horror that was quickly seeping into everybodies lives didn’t exist.
The kids walked into the garden. I looked out of the living room window and watched Jack grab a football that was already ready for him. Lianne tried to play with him. They both looked lifeless. The house was of olden times.
Everywhere I looked took me back. The hallway where I used to run down drawing on the walls like my kids did. The old height markers. Where I used to grow that bit more and it was marked on the wall. Just a bit higher than the last one. I used to get so giddy when I grew. Everything was a welcomed sight
He came in with a brew, sat it down on the table and sighed, “good to see you son”
“Good to see you too dad”
“How’s Jules?” He asked
What to say?
Lie of course. I mean. I’m not going to tell him everything. Why would I tell him that I’d killed my wife?
His daughter- in- law
He loved her as much as I did or probably more or probably a little bit less. I don’t know. All I knew is that he wouldn’t have let me stay if I had told him.
“She’s good, she’s just at work, busy day”
I hadn’t spoken to him for awhile so he didn’t know the recent news that her and I weren’t getting along.
I just played the game really and let my ability to lie through my front fucking teeth do the talking.
“This virus thing?’ He began, “has it happened in London?”
“It has,” I said, “in the underground”
“Wow,” he said, “its getting worse, aren’t you worried about Jules?”
I decided to give him a slight taster. What had really happened, but left out the horror that his son was now a murderer.
“I’ve got to be honest with you dad”
He leaned forward. A concerned look on his face.
“We’ve split, that’s why she isn’t here because she’s gone to live with her mum, ”
His forehead creased into a frown.
“What the hell happened son?”
“Arguments, we just weren’t getting along”
“Jesus christ son,” he said, “you know when your mother and I had an argument, we always figured it out”
‘I miss her,” I said
He put his hand on my shoulder.
“So do I son, but she’s up there now enjoying herself like she always did…” he looked at the sky, “she will never grow old”
“Can’t believe it’s been ten years,” I said
I looked at him. The man I used to look up to looked old and weak.
It’s amazing how life changes a human being. One time strong. The next vulnerable and tired. He was now an old man who once used to wear cool- looking- trendy- clothes with a muscular frame that would make you feel safe.
He was a fat old man that needed protecting
not in his head.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her, son, sometimes I wake up and say good morning to nobody, she isn’t even there anymore and I just stand and stare at the space she used to fill”
His head was eighty percent bold. His hair like near- to- death leafs hanging in there in the deadly seasons. His clothes not what they once were. A change in style that summed up his age. I never grew out of the shock what age brings to a parent. But, he was still the rock inside.
“Your kids look sad,” he said
“They’ve been like this since the split”
“It’s your twos jobs to not let them get any worse, your kids come first Ted, always”
A bit of fatherly advice never hurt no one.
He didn’t have any idea what was coming. The world was changing dramatically.
I felt it
I perceived it
Everything happening in front of my eyes. Hells creatures were rising and I was the guy to protect them. I was now the guy that I wanted to be. The man who chose to stand up for himself.
“Thanks dad,” I said
I walked to the window. Jack looked at me with the same hateful gaze
“I hate you”
The words stabbed my heart, but I said, “I love you”