Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie

How horrifying would it be if your brother became your worst nightmare? You’d fall asleep with images of his biting face in front of your eyes, his lifeless stare giving you chills, and his painful gurgles echoing in your ears. Yet, you know you did everything you could to save him from his empty life of despair. How would you rest knowing he’d be out there taking the lives of others in the same way he had tried to take yours?

Zombie
Zombie

It’s not every day your brother becomes a zombie. Maybe today is one of those good Monday Mayhem mornings where everything goes right in spite of knowing that whatever you did to help your brother, you couldn’t have stopped what would have happened anyway.

After all, your brother was there for you through some of the happiest times in your life. He was there those summer nights spent chatting on the porch about everything from the cost of gas to how beautiful the rain is when it trickles down a windowpane. He was there when you celebrated one of the most memorable birthdays and he gave you that baseball cap—that same baseball cap you no long possess because it reminds you too much of how it used to be and what you had lost.

And who can forget that fateful day at the game when he told you about wanting to marry his girlfriend of three years making you feel privileged, since he also asked you to become his best man.

But you noticed the changes before he even knew what was happening. The disease began drawing his life away months before his happiness disappeared. It started in the heart and grew slowly over the course of time. You couldn’t put your finger on it. He was different. His eyes began to grow icy, his skin limpid and pasty. His hair had lost its shine. Whatever it was he suffered, he didn’t look good. Most of all, his personality had changed.

What once was a strong, healthy, outgoing man became a shell of a human. Empty. Without form and void.

That’s when you noticed the snapping. You heard of this occurring to others, but you wouldn’t have believed it occurring to your own brother. Never. How could it? You’ve been through so much together. There’s no way he’d turn on you. What about the times you were there for each other? What about those moments of brilliance you thought he could repel anything, should an external force wreak havoc on his brain?

When the snapping took over it was too late. Just like the others you saw turn on their loved ones, your brother did so as well. You tried to save him. You tried to get him help. You tried to show him through example that what he was becoming was something unrecognizable. Something that if not fixed, would destroy his life forever.

Every so often, he’d snap his jowls. You didn’t know what it meant. Yet it came about because his life was deteriorating before your eyes and the disease that once took hold of his heart slowly seeped into the rest of his body making his skin cold to the touch and his soul filled with unbridled rage. All he wanted was to hurt you. All you wanted was for things to go back to a time when joy coursed through his veins.

The disease had no mercy on your brother’s soul. It ravaged it, sucking all the goodness and replacing it with a bitter spirit that shook the ground where he walked and numbed his bones.

You couldn’t bare watching anymore. One day you drove him away and released him in the wilderness. You said sorry for anything you may have ever done to have caused him pain, and left him lost to his own hate—dead.

But you hold on to hope that one day he will find his way through the wild and come home to you cured of his malady. You hold on to that very little chance his mind hadn’t completely turned to stone. And you hold on to the hope his heart sparks with life again to restore who he once was.

Not what he is now—zombie.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

What would you do if one of your friends turned into a zombie? Would you try to save or kill them?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

More than Friends

By the time you read this, it will have been a full two weeks since I wrote it. Yes, this is how far in advance I plan these things. Tonight, or rather two weeks ago, my wife read me a journal entry she’d written about our courtship almost a year before our marriage. I had to cross-reference it with my own journal entry for that same period to find what I thought of our friendship.

Journal
Journal

Can you believe we wrote journal entries of our experiences together before we got married, and we didn’t know we did until a few years ago? Enjoy this Freedom Friday post, it’s about my wife and I, and how we became more than friends.

As I’d mentioned, my wife and I kept journals. We didn’t know we did, and we certainly didn’t know we’d write about our experiences from two different points of views. For instance, a few months prior to making my intentions known that I’d wanted our friendship to move to a new level, she was dating other guys. Nothing came of those relationships, but she did learn what she didn’t want in a guy.

In the meantime, I’d written how I had dated widely—not the girl Widely—widely in the sense of extensively or broadly. I know, corny joke. Anyway, at the time, I’d dated almost every girl in our church. It was a goal I had, and I’d almost completed it had I not chased after my wife.

When we first met, we had zero attraction to one another. Yep. Zilch. Nada. Squat. Don’t get me wrong, we got along. We dated a few times, you know, because we liked each other’s company and all, but we didn’t have that “love at first sight” lightning bolt strike us like you hear other couples had happen to them. We just became good friends, which meant hanging with the same crowd, doing stuff together, and simply having fun. We didn’t feel any pressure to become anything more either. Our families and our church let us do our thing while they went on their merry way.

Marriage Rings
Marriage Rings

And thank goodness we weren’t part of one of those cults that grooms kids to get married as soon as they hit legal age, and then the couple pops out a bazillion kids, and then one or both feels empty, lonely, depressed ‘cause one or both had to give up their dream on account of thinking they were doing what they were supposed to do but now they’re scratching their head wondering what went wrong since, after all, they fell in love with each other as soon as their eyes met in second period Chem. class and those awesome feelings were there and, and, and…

Whew! Where am I? Oh, now I remember—us.

By contrast, our relationship grew slowly. We dated other people while we stayed friends. Our Saturday nights consisted of practicing our singing routine with our outreach group that toured retirement homes on Sundays. As well, throughout the week, we’d stay in touch by phone, talking about the mundane things in life, like the way the fabric softener hides in the clothes when sorting them in baskets.

But it wasn’t until one sunny afternoon when we’d gone to the library together that we had realized something else brewed beneath the simple conversations, the spur of the moment dinners, and the long walks. I’d noticed it months prior, yet she hadn’t come around.

I can never forget where we were. We stood between bookshelves with the Italian section looking straight at us. And it happened. A giddy moment between friends. We exchanged the words, “I love you.”

From that moment forward, the awesomeness kicked in. Whatever we thought we hadn’t felt for each had suddenly appeared in gushing waves of affection that remains to this day. Not a day goes by that we don’t hug or hold hands. Like the other day, when she picked me up in the pouring rain from my walk, and she didn’t immediately put the car in drive but just stared at me.

I said, “What?”

She said, “Well?” then smiled.

Oh, of course. I kissed her.

We drove home to where I wrote another journal entry for that day.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

How would you describe your relationship with the love of your life?