A Life's Journey is Ne'er to Straight.

After a horrific epiphany, Adam Krewl embarks upon a journey to a better, more fulfilling life.

Adam Krewl had always been a man eager to please those around him.  Bending to the whims of co-workers, friends, and family had become commonplace in the latter part of his life.  He believed that his life’s sole purpose was to drift through life serving as a middle-man that helped those around him with the things that others desired to make their life’s happier.

            The dark, red ooze started to come permeating through all of the orifices of the room.  Adam started to try to make sense of this sudden shift of reality.  An acrid smell of smoke filled the air, causing Adam to cough heavily similar to a chain smoker of twenty years.  The ooze had spread to the floor which made the linoleum floor have a rosy color hew.  Once again, the metaphorical light bulb flickered shifting reality once again.  Darkness fell upon the world.

            He opened his eyes very slowly afraid of what laid in store for him.  He was laying face first, prostrate on the floor.  A thick, moist sensation covered his head, matting his hair flat against his sore skull.  Turning his head sideways to the right, a freshly fired shotgun lay only just two to three feet away from his position.  The possibilities of everything that could have happened to him started flashing through his head whether it had been assaulted, robbed, or both.  Bells ringing started thronging in his head as he braced for the pain that they would soon be causing.  The various sources of ringing bells started cataloguing through his brain.  He was reminded of the bell from the ice cream truck that often went down his road when he was around eight years old.  He realized the inanity of the ringing being caused by an ice cream truck due to it being nighttime and no person in their right mind would try to sell ice cream at his time.

            As the ringing became louder and louder, he became reminded of the bells at the cathedral that his parents had forced him to attend every early Sunday morning.  He started feeling things shifting into the right places in reality when he heard several doors slam.  The sirens gave away the fact that what had sounded like bells was truly an ambulance as they came blaring into the house.  “They weren’t bells, you silly idiot,” Adam muttered to himself.  Of course they were sirens, but why would they have parked close enough to his house for him to hear the door slams.  The banging of the front door of the house and screams to open the door seemed to echo everywhere.  A loud crash as wood splintered into towards the house and the rich smell of broken wood filled the air as the bodies of several men began surrounding his body creating a circle around him. 

            Perplexed, Adam started asking out loud, “Am I alive and what happened to me, please?”  His question dissolved into nothingness as the EMTs continued to shuffle around him and the local police arrived through the door.  A rather portly, fat police officer declared that since there was no sign of a struggle or forced entry, the only logical explanation was that it was a suicide.  Adam could feel a cold, hard slab being slid underneath his still, prone body.  Screaming at the top of his lungs, Adam exclaimed that he would never have been a coward enough to kill himself.  He truly did not hate his life that much to have went to such an extreme.  Much like the Metallica song “My Friend of Misery,” Adam had always allowed his mind to dwell in the misery of life often allowing it to swallow him much like the Job’s whale.

            As his body started moving towards the front door, Adam could see in the nearby mirror that he had been loaded on a gurney heading towards the loud ambulance outside.  Frantically realizing the possibility of truly being dead, Adam started defiantly questioning this with a great deal of fervor.  Much to no avail, the sensations would not disappear from his mind.  The fervor multiplied as the unresponsive world coldly mocked his efforts of rationalizing his situation.  CLACK!  The gurney smacked down onto the floor of the ambulance, and the doors of the ambulance slammed shut which were symbolically like the doors of one stage of life to another.  As the sirens of the ambulance roared, Adam began to stream in and outside of consciousness.

            As the journey was underway, all of the the occurrences started to mesh together into incoherent balls of psychological nonsense.  An odd conversation about the Yankees-Red Sox game suddenly shifted to the nice chest of the nurse in the emergency room who could really field a fly ball.  This infuriated Adam to no measure for the inability to keep from mixing everything up so badly.  He had always prided himself on what he had grown to be considered a marvelous mind.  His surroundings grew very dark with a loud sound of what seemed to be the horrific, gritty sound of fabric ripping.  As darkness closed in, Adam wondered wondered if this is the way he would suffer from his actions for all of eternity.

            A bright sun beat down on Adam as the lights of the morgue suddenly blinded him from seeing his surroundings.  An atrocious ripping sound snatched his attention from the blinding lights.  The sound similar to a fabric zipper being unzipped is the only comparison Adam’s delirious mind could bring about.  What he saw next is something that almost made him feel like evacuating his bowels if his prone body would have allowed him to do.  There stood his wife of ten years with her makeup running as tears cascaded down her rosy, plump cheeks.  He wondered why he would ever thing to punish someone he had treasured so deeply as he saw the ache of heartache set deep into her eyes.  His sweet, lovely Anita looked over to the medical examiner asking, “Are you sure that he killed himself, he would never…..?” as she trailed off in heaving sobs.  She did not have the strength or where-with-all to bring up the concept of suicide.  She started to sway backwards and forwards dangerously close to the nearby steel table.  As her head collapsed onto her chest after receiving her answer, the medical examiner called for a nearby police officer to assist her outside of the room.  The last thing out of her quaking mouth as she was led out of the room was what she was going to tell her son Alex and daughter Eleanor about their father’s death.  Before she could even finish this question, it was cut short by the heavy sobbing that threatened to take all of her strength.

            Appearing half-dead himself, the gnarled, wrinkled face of the medical examiner appeared over him chastising him for breaking the heart of such a beautiful and voluptuous woman.  Adam had seen the medical examiner ogle his sobbing wife’s heaving chest in a rather grotesque way.  Like an erupting volcano, his anger started welling up as he watches the degenerate had watched her posterior as she walked outside of the morgue.  Why would he have to suffer such indignation before the dirt could even cover his body?  If he had full faculties of his body, he would have taken the nearby scalpel and slashed a horizontal line across the thin line of his neck.  Before he could try to even try to force his arm to move, the deep oil of darkness slowly washed over him again and dragged him back into the abyss.

            As his reality became overfilled with sunlight again, the tear-soaked face of his daughter stared down at him sullenly.  As he read the mixed emotions of anger and utter sadness, her seemingly adult face of his young fourteen year old shocked and amazed him.  He had never fully recognized how old his young daughter had become.  It was an old wife’s tale that grief can age someone quite considerably although he had never put much thought about the logic behind it.  His son Alex walked over to his sister’s side as he saw her quaking knees finally giving way.  Adam winced at the pained look that was now present in his only son’s face who at eighteen will have to become the new “man of the family.  It was after he felt the rigid undercarriage and pillowed surfaces that Adam came to the realization that he was laying in the casket that he had picked out just the previous year.  The strong smell of lilac carried lusciously through the wind accompanied by the sounds of weeping and sobbing.  This caused Adam to question whether it was insanity or if he should relent to accept the inevitability of his situation. 

            Rather selfishly, he had always believed that if he were to die suddenly the world would go on existing without any concern for his paltry existence.  His wife would find a better man who could properly take care of her without going through life being completely miserable.  His kids would not be burdened and berated by a bitter, old codger that was constantly in a foul mood and filled with negativity.  The incredulous, accumulative effect of the sobbing of a rather large gathering seemed to have proven exceedingly wrong in many of the assumptions that he held.  Overtaken with oncoming dread, the funeral service of Father Thomas Entore’s seemed to take what appeared to be eons of time.  Rationality flooded through Adam’s mind questioning what would have possessed to ever think of killing himself when one could see all of the people he had an effect on and how greatly.  No rational explanation could explain the horrible action undertaken to end what had always appeared to be a directionless, joyless life.  With a bitter, sour taste, dread became as wine down his gullet.

            The many faces of people he had cared for and affected began making a people-train to bid their final adieus as he could only watch from his new plush prison.  As he watched the tear-streaked faces of colleagues, family, and friends, Adam dwelled in his own self-reflection of his life.  One never truly realizes the affect one has on those he loves and respects, and it is never truly evaluated until the timing is too late and the end is near.  He had once told young Alex that one judges his life by his effect on others and how that role fits in helping those around him.  Bitterly, he explained further that this was a truly ambitious endeavor for many people would be content with taking advantage of the fact someone else would be willing to undertake their task in a means of helping them.  Adam became furious with his constant acceptance of the negativity that he had warmed himself with as if it were a blanket.  One would only have to look at the faces of sadness and the barely there whispers of “Thank you for everything” to prove the amount of bull to this belief.  He could feel the chunks of granite that he allowed to develop around the chambers of his heart. 

            Five minutes had passed when Adam realized that the last person had already left the procession.  A scruffy, unkempt man stood above suddenly reaching for the lid of the coffin to close it in preparations of the final steps of Adam’s journey.  As he felt the coffin slowly being lowered in to the semi-warm earth in this early August morning, Adam realized that his experience on this beautiful earth was nearing the end.  A desperate desire for the mysterious bright light many people who have experience near-death experiences attest to began to ferment deep within his soul.  The sound of dirt hitting the coffin shattered this desire and brought back the sour taste of dread.  Each shovelful of dirt had the sound effect similar to thunder that would burst through the wood, making shambles of the nice coffin that he would have thought wouldn’t be in use so soon.  Miniscule portions of soil started to sift through the borders of the door of the coffin.  Filled with claustrophobia, Adam became very nervous and worried that these tiny leaks would act as a thief to steal away the precious oxygen required for him to survive.  The feeling of suffocation started to overwhelm his chest causing it to feel as if his torso had been placed in a very tight vise.  Panting for air, the feeling of consciousness began to gradually slip away from his grasp.  Feeling overwhelmed, Adam began to wonder if this was hell especially since he had always attempted to do the right things with good intentions.  If this were truly hell on earth, he was certain that he could not go through an eternity with this endless pain and suffering.  As the weight of the soil continued to pound heavily onto the lid of the coffin, the dark abyss of finality began to overtake his reality only to swallow him completely to a place were he could never feel, sense, love, or anything ever again.  Becoming one with the darkness, he reluctantly opened his arms in an embrace of the end for maybe he deserved this.


Chapter II:  Redemption…….or Realization?


            Bolting upright in a sitting position, Adam could feel his body sweat-soaked with little consideration to the soaked sheets that his loving wife Anita was sleeping on beside him.  Thousands of thoughts rushed through his mind in multitudes of directions with the speed of a locomotive.  He wondered if it had all been one horrid, lucid dream or a vision of the future to come.  Feeling like ice water, the sweat coating his extremely damp skin brought shocking revelation that it could truly have been all of those things.  His heart was pounding and his muscles ached with exhaustion.  It was as if he had just finished running the New York City marathon in a record time.  Adam laid back down on his right side with the taste of dust and soil saturating his taste buds.

A gentle, soft hand rubbed his left shoulder with a loving caress that could only be from his wonderful wife.  As she sat up in the bed looking over his left shoulder, Anita asked, “Honey, are you okay?  You were screaming so loudly and shaking so badly that you were beginning to really scare me!”  Uncertain of what had happened himself, Adam tried to re-assure her that it was simply a nightmare and that she should try to get some more sleep.  “It must be the food from Ricardo’s messing with my system,” Adam lied badly.  No amount of food or alcohol could ever account for such a surreal experience.  Sensing his still troubled spirit, she squeezed her body closer to him in a spooning position with her forehead resting high on his upper torso.  “Remember that we have each other and our family!” Anita said re-assuring him.  The rigidity of the coffin filled with dirt started haunting his thoughts and caused his chilled heart to make his body shudder.  Anita squeezed even closer with her bosom pressing in to his shoulder blades.  He turned onto his left side, staring into his wife’s beautiful sky blue eyes.  Staring into those seas of beauty could bring all things back to their right places.  The warmth of their love came over him as she placed small but full kisses on his lips.  In this loving embrace, Adam fell back asleep to what appeared to be an uneventful finish to the night with his body intertwined with Anita’s.  Adam resolved that no darkness shall overtake him with such amount of love surrounding him.

            Pouring through the curtains, the heat from the sun slowly started overheating Adam causing him to kick the majority of the covers off of himself.  The sound of bacon popping in the frying pan and the aroma of biscuits, gravy, and hot cakes seemed to permeate through all of the walls of the room.  Adam lazily rolled out of the bed and started to attempt the act of standing up for what seemed like ages.  The vertebrae in his spine shifted just a little as he lifted his arms toward the sky.  His right knee popped loudly, making Adam wince at the pain that now throbbed in his leg.  Stumbling to his dresser, the dress slacks Anita had set out had become a staple in his wardrobe.  Pulling the slacks on and the belt off of the back of the computer chair, he threaded the belt through the loops and performed the one-legged hop to get each one of his over-sized legs in to the slacks.  Adam took a deep breath and wandered into the kitchen.

            The sound of yelling and the thumping of running feet through the house could be heard everywhere as Alex and Eleanor came popping out of the top of the stairs from their downstairs bedrooms.  With his mind still slightly muddled and groggy, Adam could not process Eleanor’s loud complaints about Alex sneaking and stealing her diary.  Like the strong woman she was, Anita stood there stoically hearing Eleanor out while giving Alex the occasional stern look.  “What do you think I should do in this situation?” asked Anita prodding Adam to register some type of input in what sort of discipline should be dispensed.  Sighing heavily, Adam commanded, “The road trip you have planned this weekend with Tom and the guys to Mt. Washington is no more, no negotiation.”  As soon as the words left his mouth, Alex yelled that the punishment by no measure was fair.  Adam raised his index finger to his pursed lips to signal to his son that he should keep his mouth shut before digging his hole even deeper.  The strength to deal with such nonsense escaped him after the disturbing events of the previous night.  The noisy sound of the school bus shimmying down sleepy Auburn Lane caused his children to pack their jowls hilariously like chipmunks with what breakfast they had left on their plates, pausing only to grab their respective backpacks as they darted out of the door.  Standing and observing, Adam gazed upon his beautiful wife with a loose fitting Marshall University sweatshirt and matching pajama pants on.  The floppy puppy ears of the house shoes she was very fond of bounced synchronously as she took the plates off of the kitchen table and sloshed them down into the soapy water in the sink.  Quietly, Adam stepped behind his wife and placed his strong hands onto her soft shoulder muscles.  Slowly kneading the muscles, Adam could feel the tension slowly dissipate out of his wife’s shoulders.  Turning Anita around to face his gaze, he placed small and delicate kisses on her left cheek, forehead, and on her right cheek moving to the left so that their lips would meet.  After a deep and passionate kiss, Anita laid her head onto his left shoulder seeking his heartbeat.  As his right hand wandered down to her right butt cheek, she looked up at him sarcastically demanding, “Not right now, honey!  You have to get to work soon and I have to get to Mrs. Florence’s house to work in her garden or she will surely have an epileptic fit.”  Smiling sheepishly, Adam wandered to the bedroom door in order to grab the mauve dress shirt hanging on the doorknob, sliding it onto his frame.  She handed him his briefcase, shoved a granola bar in his pocket, and gave his right butt cheek a small, playful pinch.  Blowing him a kiss, she watched her husband as he ambled to the tan civic that would take him to Lip Shultz & Tanner.

            Adam slid down into the driver’s seat and threw his suitcase into the seat beside him with a quick thud.  Backing out of the driveway onto Auburn Lane, he quickly started his trek towards a job that he truly dreaded.  He could feel the anxiety coupled with chest pressure which had become an everyday part of his life since beginning this job ten years ago.  A job as an accountant was not a hard one for someone good with numbers; however, the shifting workload could certainly kill any normal, mortal man.  It is as if management of any company automatically recognizes a workhorse in their midst and must take advantage of such an excellent occasion.  His ribs feeling tender and chest tight, Adam tried to drown out the oncoming depression by replaying images of Alex and Eleanor playing touch football in the backyard with Eleanor ending up in a pile of leaves he had finished raking just a few hours earlier.  The image of Anita shined bright in his mind with her floppy puppy house shoes scuffing across the floor.  Glancing up real quickly, Adam realized that the exit for U.S. 50 had came up on him sooner than he had expected.  He hit his brakes rapidly which allowed him to swerve into the merging lane in just the nick of time.  He shot himself onto the road, cutting an older white man driving a BMW off.  Surprisingly for a man his age, the gentleman flipped him the bird before shifting over into the passing lane.

            During the course of the drive, he began to try to sieve through the previous nights events to the best of his abilities.  He started wondering if he had used the wrong criterion to evaluate his life experience.  Certainly there had been bad days that caused him great pain and suffering; however, the days of memories of the faces of those he loved and cared for would make up for this.  It could simply be that the dream/vision was alerting him to the importance of finding a career that truly made him happy so that he could be there in the full capacity for his family.  The big task would be the act of figuring out what career choice accomplished this for him.  As the internal mental landscape started to fade back into reality, he would see the metaphorical pyre of flames and fire which would surround the door of a placed filled with despair in only fifteen minutes.  Cursing under his breath, he tried to wash out the bad thoughts with good memories yet again.  He started to pray fervently as he pulled into the parking lot, begging God to take him away from such a miserable place.  Adam made his way quickly into the building and to his office, looking to see if he was alone in the building at the time.  The building was empty except for the rich aroma of Lysol from the previous nights cleaning.  He made sure to shut his door to keep anyone from bothering him for the first hour of work.  Sinking into his chair, Adam grabbed a piece of paper out of the printer and started to write things that made him feel fulfilled in a disorderly list.  He kept writing until his right hand started to ache profusely.  Looking down at his newly created list, he began evaluating what life directions would make him happier.  He gave each individual item careful consideration, imagining in his mind what his life would be like with each one.  The first one on the list was the idea of starting his own company, which would require a good deal of investing.  His family was not rich but they were not poor.  Could he risk the financial health of his family to pursue such an avenue?  Simulating the possibility in his mind, Adam realized that the chance of failure might be too great causing him and his family too much pain with risk of his vision becoming true.  Tasting the soil on his tongue, he quickly began reading the second thing on his list.  The second one on the list was that of running for political office on the local government.  Adam liked this idea a little better but the risk involved of his family being attacked in any way concerned him too much.  He could see this idea leading to ruin also, so he quickly eliminated this possibility from the list of options.  The next two ideas could be accomplished together which filled Adam with a good deal of excitement.  Theology and creative writing had always played a large role in his life; however, he had picked a career path that he had been good at which also provided well for his family.

            These two career paths would allow for a creative outlet which he had yearned for while allowing him to investigate the roles of different philosophies when dealing with the various religions.  He could be able to analyze historical texts and serve in the ministry while being able to exercise his creative muscles to affirm others with tales of adventure and grandeur.  His office door opened shaking him out of his thoughts which made it hard for him to focus.  A presumptuous and pompous man in his late thirties, Erik wandered into his office with a stack of files under his bloated hands.  “Isaac Lip Schultz wanted to discuss a few clients’ accounts with me over brunch, so I assumed that you could help me with a few account analyses this morning,” Erik pronounced confidently.  Seeing a look of disdain and anger, Erik quickly laid the files onto his incoming tray, backtracked out of his bragging.  He began to try to tell Adam how much of an invaluable part of the team he had been and that it could not be done without him.  Seeing that no headway was made with the coddling, Erik made a quick and hasty retreat to his junior executive office for which he was grossly under qualified for.  Relenting to the stack of files, he settled into a deep monotony in hopes of finishing his work early for the day considering the extra effort.

            As the hours ticked away, the stack of files started to slowly dissipate off of his desk.  Feeling the strain of exhaustion in his bones and muscles, Adam stood up from his desk to start the walk down to the company break room.  Taking his “World’s Greatest Dad” coffee mug from the cabinet, Adam poured the slightly old coffee into it in an effort to utilize the caffeine to jump start his internal engine.  Sitting quietly at the table next to the window, he never registered Angela coming toward him in a desire to sit and converse with him.  Angela had always dressed in low-cut shirts which accentuated the size of her chest, making her breasts seem as if they were in a fierce battle to free themselves.  Trying not to stare in the wrong direction, Adam looked into her pale, green eyes and asked nicely, “How has your day been?  Have you started to feel over-whelmed by your work yet?”  Mistaking his obliging the niceties expected in a professional environment, Angela started to dispense her whole life story which caused a great deal of regret in his mind.  Noticing the lack of interest, a look of true hurt appeared as she quickly left the break room in a huff.  His head dropped back down onto his right hand causing him to sigh and realize that he would soon need to head back down to his office to finish the remainder of files sitting on his desk.  As he left the break room, he decided to walk around the large square of cubicles in the middle of the room.  A sudden sense of despair started to wash over him as a thousand eyes stared at him disapprovingly.  Beads of sweat began to form on his brow as he sped his slow walk to a full gait.  Walking into his office, Adam quickly shut the door to eliminate the onslaught of empty staring eyes.  Flopping down into his chair, Adam grabbed the photos of his family in one hand while grabbing a small silver crucifix out of the top right drawer of his desk.  Staring at the faces of his loving wife and kids, Adam began to whisper a quick, silent prayer.  His chest slowly changed from frantic breathing as the world’s weight started rising off of his shoulders.  Soaked with sweat, Adam leaned back in his chair to regain his composure.  A rather in-depth conversation sprung up within him between competing factions of his mind slowly obsessing over the pro’s and con’s of quitting his job now or allowing whatever was meant to happen to occur naturally.  Knowing the psychological effects the job placed on him, he knew that a decision would have to be made sooner than later.

            The hours ticked by with the rest of the day proving to be considerably uneventful.  Adam carried the completed paperwork to the inbox just outside of his supervisors’ offices.  Shoulders slumping, he walked by his office for his briefcase and made his way out of the building.  Jogging over to his Civic at a pretty fast pace, he was relishing in the strong desire to get home to his family.  As he pulled out of the parking lot and prepared to get back on U.S. 50, Adam began wondering what his family would think of the possible differences that their lives might contain when he sought after a new career direction.  They would be shocked and curious to what could have brought about such a strong reconsideration of the future, but he would have to be wary about informing them about the nightmarish vision that had awoken him last night.  Aside from not wanting to cause unwanted concern, he realized that alerting them to this would not serve any good purpose and that their happiness would be in the ignorance of it.  Horns blaring, he realized that he had been driving fifteen miles under the speed limit perturbing many of his fellow commuters as they tried to rush home themselves.  Meekly mouthing sorry to the angry faces as they peered into the tan Civic that had impeded their journey home, Adam turned his eyes back onto the road and sought out the exit to Auburn Lane. 

            He drove down Auburn Lane looking to the left side of the street in an effort to monitor any movement in or out of his house.  As he pulled in front of the brick split foyer that had been home to his family for the past fourteen years, Adam only saw the light green Kia Sportage that his wife used parked in the driveway.  The kitchen lights appeared to be the only ones on in the whole house, which perplexed him due to the confrontation between Eleanor and Alex earlier that morning.  He quickly pulled into the driveway in an effort to catch his wife by surprise since it appeared that they may be alone.  Adam walked into the kitchen only to be mesmerized by the sight of his wife with her favorite sundress on with her bare feet gliding from the oven to the dinner table.  She glanced up with a smile in the corner of her mouth which spread completely as she took in the relief of her husband’s eyes as he digested her appearance.  He walked over with impetus only to grab her up in his arms, swinging her around as if they were attending a dance recital.  Noticing only two places set at the table was intriguing her husband, Anita clarified, “Despite my best judgment, I allowed Eleanor to go to a sleep-over tonight and Alex is at Tommy’s for the night.”  Not wanting to argue with the angel beheld unto him, he allowed her judgment to suffice for the both of them.  Adam knew it had been a long time since they had been able to have these romantic dinners as their kids had gotten older and more involved with out-of-school activities.  Her eyes became troubled as he realized that she must be thinking about his shaken state from the previous night.   Neglecting to tell her the full extent of his vision, he told her about the “dream” that had woken him and how it had triggered some buried desires and talents within him.  Listening quietly throughout his tale, she nodded her head with each idea that had been written down on the spare piece of paper not wanting to disrupt him during his confession of events.  Adam finished his story with the focus on his desire to pursue a career in theology accompanied with writing as the same wonderful smile spread across his wife’s face.  He sat there waiting for his wife to say anything.  She simply sat there with that smile on her face for what seemed to be an eternity.  “I wondered when you would figure that out,” she said with confidence in her voice.

            Rocking back in his seat, he was amazed at what had heard from Anita since he did not realize this about himself until last night.  With a wry smile, she explained that she had always known that he was miserable at his job but that it was necessary for them to make a life for themselves. She had watched him get historical, philosophical, and societal books only to devour them in a very short time.  When they were first married, she would come downstairs to find him in the study writing short stories only to tear it out of his notepads and throw them into the nearby trash bin.  She had tried to encourage his creativity only for him to become frustrated by it.  Adam was taken aback at his wife observing something so in tuned to his nature that would escape him so easily.  Anita comforted him be telling him that their family was strong enough to withstand a sudden shift in direction to accommodate his happiness.  She told him that whatever sacrifice had to be made would be welcomed by all members of their family.  Sensing his growing uncertainty, she pulled her chair beside his and placed her head softly against her shoulder.  He glanced down at her face looking up at him with tears glimmering in both of their eyes.  Smelling the meatloaf’s aroma rising gently into the air of the kitchen, Anita rose to her feet and glided on her bare feet to the oven.  She set the pan down on the top of the stove to cool for a minute as she grabbed the wine glasses from the top cabinet.  He tried to stand up in an effort to assist her in setting up dinner but was quickly shooed back to the dining room table.

            They ate their dinner in mostly silence with the occasional jolts of laughter as they would glance up at each other.  It was as if they had their own private joke on the world that could beheld by them.  After dinner, Anita led him to the study where she pulled him onto the couch beside her.  Before he could pull her close to him, she arose out of sight much to his protest.  She appeared before him again carrying the Dell laptop that he had used for some of his work that he would bring home on the weekends.  Sliding beside him, she placed the laptop in the middle of their collective laps.  Looking quizzically at her, he asked her why she had brought the laptop to where they were.  She mouthed two words to him.  Bible College.  He told her that his journey would not be only be involved in any type of ministry but that it would deal intrinsically with the philosophy that is intertwined within it.  “I know that but theological studies at any of these schools would allow you to indulge yourself to the full extent of your curiosity,” Anita implored him.  They continued in the search for a nearby school up into the night till Anita pulled the computer away from them and pulled her loving husband into her grasp.  They laid there wrapped in their love, unaware of the oncoming storm that laid in wait.  The storm clouds were setting above their loving home as a dark shadow started unfolding toward their house.  It rolled down Auburn Lane encapsulating Mrs. Anderson’s collie with no sound being uttered from the creature.  Reaching the doorway of the Krewl household, the shadow waited as if in anticipation of attack.  Suddenly, it pulled away from the house and back into the background to lie in wait of things to come.  The shadow was curious of how things would turn out before making its move to overtake its prey.  For now things will be allowed to develop before the prey will feel its icy grip again.  For now at least.

Chapter III.  The Calm before the Storm

           A beautiful Saturday morning spread across the sky as the loving couple awoke in each others arms and smiled.  The kids would soon be returning from their stays at their friends’ houses; however, this caused no particular hurry in movement for either Adam or Anita this morning.  The wondrous revelation of the previous night had provided both of their souls with an electrical charge of energy which appeared to be never-ending.  Anita had grabbed his t-shirt off of the coffee table and slid it on to begin the process of making apple strudels for breakfast.  The sound of pans hitting against one another shook Adam out of his half-slumber, yearning for a fresh cup of coffee to provide the necessary jolt of energy that his body needed.  Sliding on his pants and shirt from the previous night, he stole quietly into the kitchen where his wife had become completely enthralled in her process of making breakfast.  Sneaking behind her, Adam turned her and grabbed her into a bear hug spinning her in circles as she began to cackle in laughter.  The melodious silk laughter that he had fell in love with as a young man.

            “Go to the kitchen table,” Anita demanded of her sometimes lunatic husband as she placed two of the eight apple strudels she had been preparing.  Behaving like a scolded little puppy with its tail between its legs, Adam quickly made his way over to the head of the table waiting for his lovely wife to join him.  They had discussed all of the possible locations of where he could engage in his studies further, finding that the majority of schools would require the family to move to another town.  Knowing this would be harder to convince Alex and Eleanor of a possible move, Anita and Adam had decided that they would go out for a family dinner to where the pros and cons could be weighed and debated.  Anita was still confident that this would not be an issue for the children relative to their ages.  Alex would be soon going to college in a little over a year, and Eleanor had always been an adaptable child.  Making friends out of strangers with relative ease had become a talent that they had fostered in their daughter. 

            As the sounds of running footsteps into the garage resounded into the kitchen, Anita rushed into their bedroom to slide her blue wildflower sundress onto her beautiful frame.  Eleanor popped into the door first immediately asking where her mother was.  As Adam tried to interject to what was so important, Eleanor blew him off with “You wouldn’t understand because it’s a girl thing.” As fast as she was there, she darted into their bedroom and pulled Anita onto the bed with her.  When she saw Adam’s observant eyes glancing in, Eleanor quickly pushed the door shut.  “Girls, sheeees!” came from his son sitting across from him at the kitchen table.  The next thing out of his precocious son was fairly illegible with his effort to eat one of the apple strudels in one solitary bite.  Alex accidentally began choking on a chunk of strudel that had apparently gone down the wrong tube.  Chuckling to himself at his son, Adam asked him if he needed any help or a pat on the back.  Alex shook him off as he grabbed the glass of milk in front of him in an effort to drown this nefarious chunk of strudel that battled him.  Adam began questioning his son about his sister’s issues once Alex had regained his physical composure.  Alex muttered something about a Mark, a broken heart, and a friend’s betrayal.  In other words, the modern day soap opera of a teenage girl is all it was about.  Looking up at his father, Alex asked his father how he could look so rested and tired at the same time.  Knowing the uncomfortable silence the truth would cause, Adam decided to say that he and his mom were finally able to have some quality time together.  Alex groaned as he realized the implications this comment had created.  The sound of crying coupled with coddling words of Anita could be heard through the silence of the kitchen.  Upon the top of Sherman’s Hill which overlooked their quaint little neighborhood, the dark claw of a shadow began flexing towards a house where new prey may have come to draw its appetite.

            The master bedroom door opened quickly as Eleanor came into the kitchen, wiping the tears from her cheeks.  She gave a look of foreboding to her father as he opened his mouth to ask what had bothered her so severely.  Much like her mother, Adam found it wiser to keep his words to himself.  “Have you told Alex about the new developments?” Anita asked of her husband, expecting him to not keep his son in the dark for too much longer.  He looked to her as Alex jerked his head towards his direction demanding, “About what?”  Feeling no other recourse but to come clean with what had happened Adam began divulging the story of the dream/vision and the shifting in the direction of his life.  Both Alex and Eleanor began protesting their parents’ decision to change so much of what they had learned to love about their life.  Aside from leaving life-long friends, the lower standard of living they would have to endure was too drastic of a cut for the lifestyle they had grown accustomed to.  As the initial shock of their parents’ revelation began to wear, both children looked to Anita and Adam with one singular question.  When?  They confessed to their children that a school had not been chosen yet or a specific course of action when one was decided on.  Relieved, Alex had realized that he would likely be off to college himself by the time that his father would be embarking on his own educational journey.  A look of guilt spread over their faces as they asked how long their father had been miserable in his job.  With guilt increasing, the children realized that Adam had been subjecting himself to abuse and depression in order for their lifestyle to be attainable.

The End

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