unnamed story (Part 16)
Clay considered trying to lighten the mood by saying “So no monkeys then?” but thought better of it. Instead he ushered her into the living room where everyone did their best to comfort her. Someone turned on the TV but they were showing an old Detroit Tigers game so they changed the channel but it was Frosted Flakes commercial and it was obvious that Denise was imagining Tony pouring milk on the children and eating them so they changed the channel again only to see When Animals Attack was on so they turned off the TV.
“I couldn’t look away” Denise continued. “I literally watched her being eaten alive!”
Apparently she wasn’t going to let this ‘Abby was eaten by tigers’ thing go.
Watching Denise suffer got to Clay. Not just how you think but for a reason you’re unaware of. This is the shocking bit of information I mentioned earlier.
He knew of at least one other person who might also be suffering.
You see, once he figured out the common thing that all the women who’d survived whatever the hell this was he’d chosen not to answer a call from someone he worked with. A woman he was having a relationship with currently.
A woman that he thought he cared for deeply.
If she arrived Patti would immediately know that he’d had sex with her and he couldn’t have that. Old flames showing up were one thing but this was something completely different. He wasn’t sure if the word marriage still meant anything but if it did then it would be over.
He felt a brief sense of relief that he never banged a divorce lawyer.
Patti wouldn’t take him back if he were the last man on Earth. Which he might be.
So now somewhere only a few miles away there was a girl who was probably going insane. Wandering around all alone and scared.
Just like the hooker from Atlantic City he’d met during a bachelor party he’d gone to a couple years back. He didn’t even know her name but she seemed sweet enough. She certainly didn’t deserve what she was no doubt living through.
His attention was drawn back to Denise as the efforts to calm her down continued but the guilt he felt about Cindi was intensifying. She needed him and he wasn’t there for her.
He asked Patti if they had any sedatives and she replied that they didn’t.
“I’ll go down to the pharmacy and pick some up. She’ll need them to sleep tonight.”
With that he grabbed the keys to the car and departed, knowing he had one stop to make beforehand.
Almost immediately after Clay left Samantha asked the group a simple question; “Are we gonna talk about this?”
They exchanged glances, confirming that the ‘this’ she was talking about was the same ‘this’ that had been on each of their minds.
“I mean no disrespect to you Patti, and I thank you for welcoming us all into your home under such difficult circumstances, but your husband appears to be the only man left on earth and it’s a pretty big coincidence that the only females left with him are his wife and his exs.”
Patti suddenly felt defensive. “What are you accusing him of?”
“Nothing. Really. It’s just really odd” Denise said. “Abby thought he might be God.” Saying her name out loud brought back memories of their short time together and her subsequent being a Panthera tigris entree. Perhaps it was too soon for Denise to have spoken.
Tina wanted to accuse him of something but didn’t know what. Since she’d been with him he seemed as lost as everyone else. She went to speak but nothing came out.
“This is just too fucked up. Too fucked up for words. Too fucked up to be real.” Jennifer hit the nail on the head and several heads nodded in agreement.
Samantha wrestled back focus. “Does he expect us all to just be ok with the fact that he somehow dragged us all into his weird fantasy world?”
“But he didn’t” Patti protested.
“Then how do you explain us all sitting in your living room?”
“Let’s all just relax and think this through” Jennifer interjected. “We have some pressing things to worry about if this is in fact real and we’re going to be stuck in this reality for the foreseeable future.”
“I was thinking the same thing” said Patti, clearly happy to finally be able to reveal her plan to repopulate the globe. “There’s a fertility clinic about an hours’ drive form here and I think we should think about getting some of you pregnant before the power goes out and the refrigerators go out and all the sperm spoils.”
I’d like to say that this statement caused a pregnant pause but it was much longer than that. Too bad really, it would have been perfect.
Meanwhile in Atlantic City things were quiet. The only noise in the whole town was the crash of a door swinging open on the roof of Harrah’s Waterfront Tower. The breeze off the ocean was strong and the sound of it swallowed up everything else.
Eve had spent the last two days looking for her son. She was aware that everyone else was gone but she didn’t really care. All she cared about was finding Allen. She used to tell her friends that she lived and died for that boy.
She walked over to the edge of the building. It sat forty five stories up so she could see for miles. Miles out into the blue ocean and miles of the decaying structures that made up her life and where she’d plied her trade. She had been plied in most of the buildings at some time or another.
She screamed Allen’s name at the top of her lungs and then, quietly to herself, “I love you.”
Then she walked off the roof.