1.5 A Night’s Rest

•January 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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Jazmin’s shifting around that night woke Henry up a few times. This had become a common thing as her pregnacy drew on. At first Jazmin could get up and leave as to not bother Henry, but as the desease spread, the two found that any new sound or movement would wake the other.

This night, like many others, Jazmin’s trip to the restroom was given privacy as Henry would turn his back. As he started to drift back to sleep, he was waken by a hand on his sholder, shaking him.

Quickly waking up he reached for the crow bar resting an arms langth from him. It was the same tool they had used to get into the barn. This tool is a simple took, but the two had found it to be quick and effective. Not just for its intended purposes, but for defense as well.

As he could feel the coolness of the bar, he heard Jazmin whisper, “It is me, but be quiet.  I think I saw something outside.”  Completely awake as the sense of danger flooded adrenalin into his body, he quietly got up to look.  Jazmin took him to the loft door where the sound of the Nebraska wind could be heard swinging the pulley outside.  “Over by the house.  I thought I saw a human shadow move.”

Looking out the crack between the door’s boards he could see the farm house sitting no more than a football field away.  The house has one floor with a porch the seems to wrap all the way around the house.  From the outside, Henry could not tell if it had a basement or not.  Two doors lay on the ground about 5 feet to the side of the house in what looks to be an entrance to a storm celler.

At first Henry could not see what spooked Jazmin.  Then he saw it.  At first he thought it was just shadow play from the trees, but it didn’t move with the other shaddows.  It moved against them.  Now focused on the unknown shadow, he could make out a humanoid shape moving slowly from the treeline to the house.

Henry whispered, while not taking his eye from the crack, “Get our stuff.”  With that Jazmin moved quickly and quietly to pack their gear.  When first going on the run, packing seemed loud and as if it would never get done.  Over the last few months, it had become all to common and the couple had learned to be quick and quiet.  Most of their items were already packed.  When finished with an item, it always went right back into the pack thus making sure all items get taken in an emergancy.  Even the trash went with them to be discarded later at a better place and time.

Jazmin quickly put the blankets away.  Strapping everything down, she then grabbed the can containing the night’s urin. She then moved over to the ladder ready to lower it down if they needed to get going.  She paused looking at Henry, waiting for his signal.  It seemed like forever as he stood there looking out the crack.

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1.4 Supper

•January 10, 2012 • Leave a Comment

It is surprising how much conversation is had even when food is being eaten.  It is almost like a symphony as each person takes their cue to speak while others chew their latest bite.  The masterpiece this night was not all that cohesive as the conversation drifted across many subjects.

“That sounds just like my job.  Every time I speak up to point out an issue, it gets pushed aside, only to later be a huge deal that should of been handled earlier.”  Henry pauses as he puts the last bite of lasagna in his mouth.

“Yea, it will not get any better elsewhere.  I think that is just one of the issues with any business.  And of course, you always think your problems are most important.” Jazmin smiles as she pokes fun at Henry, working to lighten the mood.  “So Gerome, how is the family farm doing? Has the dry winter hurt the crops?”

Set back in his chair to make room for his now stuffed stomach, Gerome looks at Jazmin, “Moister always helps when there is to little, but then I would be complaining if we had to much.  The wheat will survive.  The thing that worries me the most is our 100 head of cattle.  This whole quarantine of our cattle better not last long.  The price of beef has already risen due to restrictions while ours has fallen.”

Swallowing his bite, Henry asks, “In just one day?  It was just in this morning’s paper.”

“Well the case was reported Friday and the quarantine was placed Saturday morning. If you ask me it was a quick turn around for such a drastic action.”

Darla sees her chance to speak as Gerome takes a drink, “I think the government is just being safe.  We pay our taxes for services, and security is one of those services.  I bet this thing will pass over by Tuesday and then all will be back to the way it was.  There is no way an infected cow would make it clear to the middle of the U.S. without getting caught along the way.  I am sure everything is fine.”

“Well said.” Jazmin nods her head.  “Now does anyone want dessert, or do we want to wait until later.  We could play some games first.  I know I could wait.”

Everyone agrees with Jazmin that waiting would be better.  After removing the dishes from the table, the group settles in for a game of Monopoly and later follows up on the dessert.  In the end, they agree that Darla was the winner, as Monopoly never seems to end, and it was getting late.

Seeing the couple to the door, Jazmin and Henry wish the friends a good night receiving the same from the departing.  “I will call you later this week to set up a time for you to help me on the basement.” Henry yells out to Gerome.  Gerome just nods and waves as he gets into his car to drive off.

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1.3 Time for Dinner

•January 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The two had a quick lunch, stopping to watch a little bit of TV, but when finished they went back to work on the projects they had been working on before lunch.  The sounds of power tools could be heard coming from the basement, with the sound of music coming from the office throughout the afternoon, but as it got closer to supper, Henry came upstairs early to clean up and found Jazmin to be doing the same thing.

Tonight some friends of the family were coming over for supper and some games.  It wasn’t planned to be a late night sense all had to work the next day, but it was the first night in a long time that either couple had got to relax.  They would of planned it another night, but everyone’s schedules only free up for this Sunday evening.

About 6:45 Gerome and Darla showed up at Henry and Jazmin’s door step.  Gerome and Darla had been married for about a year.  Both had been childhood friends of Henry and Jazmin and their friendships only grew through school.  Gerome stood a little shorter than Henry, but he was not missing any mussel.  Haveing to work on the family farm his whole life, he had kept in shape throught his years moving cattle and working on farm machinery.

Darla on the other had seemed fragile when standing next to Gerome.  She group up in town, not having any family in the rural area.  She participated in school activities which kept her in shape, but she you would not find her in the summer weight room.  She stood about as tall as Gerome, but only because of her inch thick soles of her shoes.   Henry opened the door letting the couple in from the cool dusk evening.  The sun starting to set behind the houses and trees to the west.

“Hey guys.  Nice you see you!” Henry says as the two enter.

Jazmin’s voice could then be heard coming from across the house in the kitchen, “Hi Gerome and Darla.  I am just finishing up lazania.”

“Hi Jazmin” Gerome and Darla reply almost at the same time.  Gerome then took Darla’s coat to hang with his coat on the rack by the door.  “I hope we are not to late.” Darla continues.

“Nope.  I think the garlic bread is just finishing up with the lazania,” as the three move to the kitchen, Henry continues, “And I forgot about the green beans, do you mind if they are microwaved?”  Not really stopping for an answer, Henry starts to get together the green beans.

“That is fine.” Gerome says, and then turns to Jazmin, “So what have you been up to?”

“I have been working on my blanket.  Trying to get more craft stuff done to sell.  I think I am getting the hang of sewing though.”  Jazmin opens the oven to pull out a pan of lazania. “How about you two?  What have you been up to?

Darla speaks up, “Work.  When we are not at work, we are working on our rental.”

“I heard you got one.  How is that?  Does a lot need to be done to it?” Henry says pushing the buttons to the microwave to start warming up the beans.

Gerome responds, “It is in good shape.  We just had to paint it, fix some of the plumbing, and redue the kitchen floor.  A water leak had messed the floor up.”

Jazmin carries the lazania to the table, and Darla grabs the garlic bread that was sitting on the stove top.  “Sounds like fun.” Jazmin says. “And if you want to grab those plates over there,” looking at Henry, she nods to the plates sitting out on the counter, “we should be good to go.”

Henry grabs the plates as the microwave goes off. “I can get those,” Gerome says as Henry looks at the plates in his hands and then at the microwave. “Now go set the table.”  With that Henry walks out of the kitchen to take the dishes to the table as Gerome grabs the green beans from the microwave.

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1.2 Past Time

•January 11, 2010 • 3 Comments

After about half an hour, the two finish breakfast and start cleaning the table.  Running dishwater, Henry speaks over the running water, “It is amazing at how first these solutions look so simple, but as they are put into practice, the situation becomes much more complex.”

Wrapping the pancakes in plastic wrap, Jazmin comments, “Yea.  I was told the other day that to fix this war on terrorism that we are in, that we should just start out doing what they do.  For every building blown up of ours, we should blow up a city of theirs.  The idea is to detour people from bombing in the first place and/or cause the people sheltering the terrorist to turn against them.  The idea seems sound, until you start thinking of all of the innocent life that would be taken in those cities.”

“Not to mention the fact that bombings of this kind could drive more people to the side of ‘Terrorism’.” Henry chimes in.

Pausing for Henry, Jazmin continues when he finishes, “Well as Gandi said, ‘An eye for an eye only ends up making the world blind.’  The opinion of who started it or who is to finish it seems to very from person to person.  Sometimes it is hard to turn a cheek, but sometimes in the name of peace, which I feel is the ultimate weapon of terrorism, one might need to do so.”

Now fully washing the breakfast dishes, Henry adds into the conversation, “What makes it hard to do is when one’s cheek becomes so bruised it makes the weapon of peace that much harder to use.”

Thinking about what Henry said, Jazmin continues to put away the remaining leftovers and brings over more of the breakfast dishes for Henry to wash, “True…”  Not much more is said, on the subject.  The two only exchanging words in regards to the cleanup.  When finished, the two separate into two separate parts of the house.

Henry, gets into some old cloths that he uses to work on their house.  When Henry and Jazmin bought the house, the basement was unfinished.  Over the past few months, on Sundays, Henry could be found working on the basement.  Some walls now exists where they did not, yet some only consists of the 2×4 frames as sheet rock had not been hung on them yet.  It was down in the construction area that Henry spent the rest of the morning.

After the breakfast cleanup, Jazmin retreated into the office on the main floor.  It was here she spent the morning working on a blanket she had be making.  Sowing it by hand, it had taken her some time to get to the point where she is now.  Just as Henry had been slowed down by rookie mistakes with the construction in the basement, Jazmin had been slow to move on the blanket as she got familiar with the sowing motion and process.

At about one o’clock, she hollered down to Henry between the sounds of power tools to see if he was ready for lunch.  Getting a response from him that he was ready, and that he would be up shortly, Jazmin started making tempee sandwiches.  Standing cutting tomatoes for the sandwiches is where Henry found her when he came out of the basement for lunch.

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1.1 The First Newspaper

•January 4, 2010 • 3 Comments

Rolling over in bed, Henry’s arm searches for Jazmin’s body on the other side.  His hand, swimming through blankets fails to find her.  Not finding what his hand was searching for, he slowly opens his eyes, pulling the covers tight around him.  The sound of dishes and cooking could be heard coming from across the house in the kitchen.  Slowly the smell of pancakes reached his nose helping him make the decision to get up.

Sitting up, he moved his legs over the side of the bed, and he reached down to get a pair of sweats that lay beside the bed.  Pulling on the sweats, he walked across the room to a wooden dresser lit by the sunlight shinning through an east facing window of the bedroom.

Dressed, Henry walked out of the bedroom to the sound of pots and pans in the kitchen.  Walking up behind Jazmin, Henry wraps his arms around Jazmin whispering into her ear, “Good morning.”  He follows up with a kiss on her cheek.

“Good morning.  I didn’t know when you were going to get up.  After last night I thought you would be out for a while.”

Smiling and releasing Jazmin, Henry responded, “I did enjoy last night.”  Looking at what Jazmin is cooking, he continues, “So pancakes?  That will be a nice change from cereal.”

“Chocolate chip, banana pancakes to be precise.  We had some ripe bananas so I thought I would make something special.  They are about done as well, so if you would want to go set the table, “, Jazmin hands Henry some plates, “and get the Sunday paper.  I think I heard it hit the screen door this morning.”

Henry grabs two plates and two glasses.  Walking out of the kitchen he stops at the dinning table putting the plates and glasses in their correct places.  He then walks across the room to the front door.  Stepping out onto the porch to grab the paper, Henry breaths in the spring morning air.  Looking around, the neighborhood seems silent and deserted.  Sunday mornings tended to be as such in the small town of Hancock Kansas, a town settled in the Midwest of the United States.  Breathing out a slight mist forms as his breath hits the morning air.  Grabbing the paper, he walks back in to find Jazmin bringing in a stack of pancakes to sets them on the table.

Looking at Henry as he walks back to the table reading the headlines of the morning paper.  Reaching the table, he places the paper on the table and Jazmin speaks up, “We still need flatware and juice.”

“I can get it,” Henry says as he walks past Jazmin into the kitchen and grabs the orange juice out of the refrigerator. “I see that there was another terrorist attempt aimed at a passenger train on the east coast?”

Jazmin back at the dinning table, reaches over an picks up the paper reading the main article on the front page. “Well it looks like a person tried to derail an Amtrak train as it was passing through New York.  He tried planting an explosive to go off as the train passed over.  The maker of the explosive has yet to be caught.”

The sound of forks and and butter knives can be heard as Henry grabs the flatware for the two.  “Targeting of random people just makes things crazy.  With so many people in the world, it is hard to protect us from everyone.”  Henry states while walking back into the dinning room and up to the table.

Skimming over the rest of the front page, Jazmin stops on an article in the bottom right and read further.  Out of the corner of her eye she see Henry pouring juice in his cup, she grabs her cup, handing it to him with her eyes never seeming to leave the paper.  Henry speaks up as he pours her glass. “What are you reading?  Still more about the Amtrak indecent?”

“No.  It looks like their was a reported case of mad cow desease in the US.  The paper said it was found in a feedlot not far from here out by Dodge City, Kansas.”  Henry sets down her glass as Jazmin starts reading from the paper, “Sense the removal of the cow suspected to be infected, others in the heard have started to become sick.  The state animals of Kansas have been place in quarantine, while state officials investigate the incident at the feedlot.  Currently the federal government is helping track down where the cows where shipped from, and where any of the cows already shipped out have gone.”  Stopping reading and looking up from the paper, Jazmin adds on, “That is horrible.  Things like this make me glad to be a vegan, but the though of these poor animals.”

“And I bet most of these animals will be killed and discarded.”  Henry adds. “What a waste of life.”

With the table set, the two sit down to eat their breakfast, getting up only to get some forgotten condiments and talking about why they no longer eat animal products, and how the recent outbreak only affirms their choice.

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1.0 The Barn At Night

•December 28, 2009 • 2 Comments

Chapter 1

Henry sat on his butt rocking forward and back.  His once short dark blond hair now reached his shoulders.  His bangs reaching his cheeks swinging in and out of his eyes, with the motion of the rhythmic rocking.  Inside his white hairy arms, he held Jazmin.  Jazmin, slightly shorter than Henry, sat leaning against Henry.  Rocking with him, she pulled his arms around her waist placing his hands on her stomic, which held their child.  Her stomic showed that of one who is in her third trimester.  Six or seven months could of easily have pasted sense she had first found out about her pregnancy, but an accurate sense of time has slipped her mind due to the events that have brought them to this farmstead.

The two sat in silence, a common thing now when the night takes the light from the day.  The moon could not always be relied upon to provide the light needed to see, and the creation of such light had brought to much trouble in the past.  For these reasons, the senses of hearing and touch are more important that of sight when the night comes.  The moon did shine this evening though, and its light came through the partial open barn door on the floor below.  A group of trees outside the barn caused the light to dance on the floor as the wind moved them from side to side.

It is this that Henry watch from the loft above, as he felt Jazmin’s breath slow and grow deeper.  Slowly her head seemed to push back on Henry as she fell asleep in his arms.  The rocking slowly caused the blanket that was wrapped around the two to fall off his shoulders.  Slowly he grabbed the ends of the blanket and pulled it tighter around the two, slowing bringing the rocking to a halt.  When the rocking came to a halt, he leaned back on the wall behind that stood directly behind him.

Sitting their he could see both the ladder that lay on the loft floor that had been pulled up for the night, and he could see the barn window with a rope and pulley on the other end of the loft.  Henry had shut the door to the window earlier to block the cold wind from blowing through the barn bring in the cool evening air.  Sitting there with Jazmin asleep in his arms, he thought back to the start.  It took him a while to think of of when it all started.  Was it the night him and Jazmin conceived their child, or was it when the first people returned.  Or maybe it was in the feedlots prior to it all.  Holding Jazmin in his arms he thought of this as he slowly drift off to sleep.

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