Pushing Up Gravestones – Chapter 31

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An owl gave a hoot, and there seemed to be something crawling on the roof. There were screams of the dead in the air, but there no moans and groans from the undead in the present moment. There was just the owl, the breeze rustling the trees, and the little cabin bam in the middle, surrounded by a thick forest of trees, and had four resting souls who had just stopped by. 

Denise stretches her arms, and it takes her a while to realize she had just awoken. She tries to squint and look outside the window, and she keeps still in her bed. It was much too early to get up and proceed outside. Maybe around about three AM? Denise thinks to herself. It was clearly much too early to wake everyone up. 

Denise fidgets, and shuffles, and frets. In the end, she can’t withstand the silence and sits back in her bed, her back resting against the headboard. She doesn’t feel like going back to sleep, but what else is there to do? Keep watch? But again, everyone will wake up and be all grouchy.

Denise tries to lie back down in bed, and instead, she hit her head – hard – against the headboard. “Ow!” Denise squealed, resting her head in her hands. 

 In an almost slow motion kind of fashion, Tina sprang out of bed and wildly looked around the room. Almost instantly, everyone else followed. 

“Denise!” Ferrah scolded. “Why the hell did you make such a loud noise? Even after everything, you still don’t understand what not to do?!”

“I’m sorry! I won’t…do that..again…” Denise releases her hands from her head and stares blankly at Ferrah. Ferrah glares at Denise. “Stop staring at me. Please.” Ferrah pouts and starts shaking in her tied position. “Can somebody please untie me? Seriously. It’s not nice. I’m pretty sure my hands have swollen up.”

Denise looks across the room and she shares worried looks with Rory and Tina. Denise felt fear well up in her, stomach that feels like it was tied up tight. Denise gulps, and slowly rises from her bed. 

Rory joins in and stands beside Denise, them both standing still before Ferrah. Tina is cowering under her bedsheets and carefully watches to see what the two do next. 

Ferrah starts to get impatient.  “Come on! I’m not a zombie, am I? I won’t spring at you and eat you after you untie me.” Ferrah responds to the stares of the two before her. Ferrah shifts her head to the side to take her fiery red hair out of her face. 

Rory hesitates before speaking. “Right then. We’ll untie once we’ve completely made sure that you’re not turned. Is that okay?”

Ferrah made an attempt to shrug, failing with the ropes tied around her. “I don’t care either way, just…make it quick.” That last word was raised to make it sound like a question. Denise knew that Ferrah likes Rory; she remembered their fight. And then she remembers that unpleasant talk with Rory that…other day? Denise wondered. Was it really that other day or was it a month ago? Denise has lost almost all sense of time, and it feels much too strange. 

Rory and Denise begin a checkup and check for all symptoms. Tina watches intently and all toughness leaves her at that moment. It was so hard to believe that Ferrah might be a zombie. Tina begins to breathe unevenly, before just taking a big breath altogether. All she can do in this present moment is to wait. 

After a few minutes, Rory breathes out a sigh of relief and just smiles like crazy. “She’s clean!” He announced. Tina gives a smile as well and laughs. Denise joins in as well, and everyone is back to normal again. 

“Guys.” 

Everyone turns around to face an angry looking Ferrah. Her flaming hair expresses her anger, and the team feel slightly unsettled. 

“Un. Tie. Me.” Rory rushes over and hastily gives the rope a few tugs and Ferrah pulls free from the brown old ropes. She stretches dramatically and quickly checks her hands. “Swollen! See!” And she brings her hands up to Rory’s face. 

Rory sighs, and uses his hand to take her hands out of his face, and begins to comment on Ferrah’s earlier actions. “Your hands are not swollen. They’re barely even red. It’s your wrists you should worry about.”

Ferrah’s eyes widen, quickly examines her wrists, and gasps. “Rory! Damn it! You had me worried there!” She thumps her fists on Rory’s shoulders, while he just stands there smiling. “That’s barely tickles, Ferrah.” 

Denise forces a smile, and presses her slight jealousy down deep inside her. Enough of that. 

“So…Ferrah hasn’t turned? Why’s that?” Tina pipes up and joins the conversation. 

Rory answers in a low voice. “Perhaps…low exposure to infection leads to immunity over time? It might be possible. At least, it’s not unreasonable. We don’t know much about this apocalypse, so that may be as much true as it is untrue.” 

A hush lies over the conversation, and everyone feels uncomfortable. They have already encountered “immunity” with Tina. If Tina is immune, then what are the chances Ferrah is? It should way below zero. 

Tina suddenly recoils. “Do you hear that?” Everyone then turn into defense mode, and listen out. It takes a few moments before Denise can safely say and assure everyone, but she does. “That’s my phone!” And she makes a mad dash to her bed. Denise swipes her phone out from under the pillow cover and breathes heavily as she sees the caller ID. Mom. 

“Mom?”

Denise hurridely pressed the answer button with her finger and swiftly brings the phone up to her ear. “Mom?” Please answer…Mom…

“Denise! Thank the Heavens!” Sobs could be heard from across the line, and Denise realizes how much she has missed her family, and vice versa. She breathes a sigh of relief before proceeding into the conversation. 

“Mom! How is the family? Where are they? Are they…” Denise found it difficult to say the next word. “Dead?” she hoarsely whispers. She fears her mother may have not heard her and she might have to repeat it again.

 “They’re fine. A little shaken, but who isn’t, when all this….monstrosity is happening..” Her mother’s voice trailed off, and Denise fears that not many more lines will be able to be spoken before either the phone disconnects or…

“Mom, tell me where you are. Quickly, we may not get much more said.” Denise ushers. 

“Uncle Bob’s Farm. You reme…mber Uncle Bob, right? You remember where…lives…..?”

“Yeah, Mom, I do! We’ll come over there as soon as possible!” Denise starts to panic as she heard the line breaking up.

“We…? Who…..you…..with?”

“I’m with people I met. I promise they’re not zombies, mom! Look, the line’s breaking up, I…”

Ferrah gives Denise a faint smile, and that smile sealed everything. They’re going to Uncle Bob’s.

“Be….q…uick…..”

The line went dead.

“Mom…” Denise breaks down into sobs, and turns around, facing the wall rather than the rest of the team. Her nose is running and big glassy tears can’t help but fall from Denise’s eyes. That two minute conversation was more than enough to get Denise motivated. “Enough…tears….” Denise turns around, and tries to smile. Everyone is uncertain that Denise is okay. Her smile against a tear stained face is not overly convincing. 

“We’re going to Uncle Bob’s. That’s where my family is. They can help, I’m sure of it.” Denise reassures. 

“Okay. But where is this farm? And…a farm? Will that really keep us safe?” Rory asks softly, yet his tone suggests he is skeptical.

“Uncle Bob…is an ex Vietnam veternarian. He’s a little crazy. However, we’re lucky that he’s crazy.” Denise smiles. 

“Lucky?” Tina seems skeptical too. 

“That’s because Uncle Bob has constructed his farm into a locked up fortress, not so long ago. There should be everything we need.” Denise explains. 

“Nice! We should get going soon then!” Ferrah laughs, full of excitement, eyes hungry for adventure once more. 

“Well then. Everything’s settled then.” 

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