When the song was finished, I looked up. Caden and Tim were staring at me in wonderment. "What the hell was that?" Tim asked. " Just memories of a forgotten past." I answered. I got up and grabbed some stuff. "Come on, let's go. We've got some work to do before the sun sets." I said. The song still playing in the back of my mind, and I quietly hummed while walking to the lighthouse building. Caden jogged up next to me, boxes in hand. "That was really good. It reminds me of some of the music I used to listen to back before..... well, before all of this." he said, a memory or two flickering across his eyes. There was something about Caden. I think it was his quiet nature...... or the blue eyes. They were deep pools of knowledge, as if he'd seen and been through a lot in his existence. What, I wasn't sure of. Maybe later in time he would tell me.
All of the supplies out of the house, we went into the lighthouse building and started fortifying the small quarters. The windows already had bars on the inside, to keep possible vandals from breaking in and taking anything, so we figured they were pretty safe for now, being top of the line steel bars. We then used a pulley system to pull up some of the left over metal sheeting from when Tim had redone the roof on the housing unit. Put it over the glass on the lighthouse beacon and drilled small holes in it, so we could see. Or fire a gun through, whichever was necessary at the time. I know it wasn't Fort Knox, but it was pretty damn close as far as I was concerned.
After everything was done, it was time for a little sleep. We decided to go in shifts, Tim would take the first watch, then me, then Caden. I chose the late night shift, because I was used to staying up most of the night. I had done it so long while going to school..... I had a job to help put me through my schooling that required me to stay up from 10 pm until 6 am, almost every night of the week. I had always been a sort of night owl (so to speak), so it really hadn't phased me to stay up long periods of time. I hugged my children and fell into a deep sleep, feeling we were safe.
It's November. I'm sitting at the piano playing..... lazily tapping the keys. The kids are at the table right behind me drawing pictures. I can hear them giggle, then hushed talking, then back to the giggling again. I have no idea what their conversation is about, but I was sure they were cooking up some great idea for a drawing. I continue to play until I hear a knock at the door. I get up and open the door, and it's one of Bryan's friends. "Is the old man in?" Zach asks, standing in the bitter cold and rain. "No, but he's due home any minute. You can come in if you want." I tell him, and he comes inside out of the weather. Takes his shoes off, and sits on the old plaid and wood loveseat. I return to my piano, writing down notes as I make up some random song. I’m not much of a musical genius, but I know this song is going to be something meaningful to me. It’s something I am writing for a special occasion, something I know will not be appreciated but I enjoy doing all the same. Liam runs to Zach and starts to jump on him. Zach always rough housed with him, and Liam liked actually being able to be a boy (with two sisters it was hard sometimes to wrestle around with them).
The door opens, and Bry walks in. He drops his tool bag on the floor, and walks up to Zach. Punches him on the arm (they always greeted each other in this fashion for some reason) and Zach gives him a hearty punch back. Bry then walks over to the kids, gives them each a small hug. “What are you guys up to over here? I hear you giggling” he says, and the kids show him their handy work. “We made a picture.” They say in unison, and hoist the huge paper up for him to see. On the paper is a picture they had drawn, one mimicking our wedding. There was Bry and I dancing, and in the background was Kelsey on the floor, throwing a temper tantrum. She had been almost three when we had gotten married, and was very upset when she didn’t get to dance with us for one dance…. Only they added to this picture. They added Kayla sitting on the floor next to Kelsey kicking her feet, and Liam standing on his head with his tongue sticking out. They garnished my dress with glitter. The picture was so cute, and you couldn’t help but laugh at the thoughtfulness. Bry walked up to me, from his pocket he pulled a little box. “This is for you dear.” he said, and opened the box to reveal a necklace. On the necklace there was an imprint of The Tree of Life. It wasn’t anything fancy, but he had seen me eyeing it up at the store. He had known it was what I wanted, without words. And he had bought it for me. Even with everything that had been happening……….
I woke up to Tim shaking me gently. “Hey. It’s 4 am, your turn….” he said, sleep clouding his voice. “4?!?! I thought you were going to wake me up at 2! Why so late?” I asked, trying to shake the dream from my eyes, sleep heavy in my voice as well. “Well, I didn’t feel tired. I don’t sleep well these days, with undead walking around. I worry about Lily, about her nightmares. I see she’s taken a liking to your kids pretty well, this is the most she’s slept without nightmares in about 5 months. I think it’s great that there is some bonding between people in this horrid time.” he said. I could tell he was worn out. At one time, he may have been a nice looking man. His boyish features were now rugged with exhaustion, and his eyes paled to all that he had seen. His eyes were the lightest shade of blue gray I’ve ever seen, his body frame small due to not eating very well. He was definitely in need of some food. “I made some coffee if you want it.” he said. He was a godsend……. Coffee. I hadn’t had coffee in two or three months at least, and it sounded great. I got out of bed carefully, so as not to disturb the children huddled around me. “I’ll take a cup” I said quietly, and threw on the sweatshirt Tim handed me. It had gotten cold. Really cold. I couldn’t even remember what month it was, I just knew it was around the fall season, because the weather was changing. The leaves were turning from green to a brilliant red and sunny yellow on the trees, muted browns and oranges as well. Shivering, I walked out of the room and glanced back at the children sleeping peacefully. It was amazing that they could sleep at all, the hell that they had been through. It was nice that there was a little normalcy to their lives once in a while.
Walking into the lighthouse tower, I felt eyes on me. At the top of the tower was Caden. “I thought you were going to take third shift” I said, a yawn escaping me. “I was, I just can’t sleep.” he said, although from his voice he sounded weary. Something was up with him, I just really wasn’t sure what it was. I wished I could read him better, as he was really making me nervous the past day or so. His mannerisms, his behavior, and the looks in his eyes said something wasn’t right. I just wasn’t sure. “Your voice is weary, and you look like shit. Something’s up, want to tell me? Or keep bullshitting me?” I said. It was time to stop playing games, and open a line of communication between him and I. Trust was a valuable part of human communication, and he wasn’t being very trustworthy as of late. It seemed I had to keep prying information from him. He let a sigh escape his lips, and finally opened up to me a little. “Well, to be honest, I’ve been sick. For a long time.” he said, and stopped. His stare fixed behind me, out one of the holes in the metal…. “We may have a problem.” he said, and I turned to look. Outside, there were HUNDREDS of them. Maybe even thousands. I went to run down the stairs to get Tim and more guns. Got to the last three stairs and tripped…. Shit. I landed on my wrist, blinding pain. Yelled for Tim, hoping the kids wouldn’t wake up as I’m yelping like a dog that had just been hit by a car. He came running, ran past me up the stairs to assess the situation, as I propped myself up on the wall. Situation assessed, he came barreling back down the stairs, and stopped when he came to me. “Are you okay?” He asked, worry and panic filling his voice. “Yeah, I think it’s just sprained.” I said, although I was sure it was broken. “I have a wrist splint in the med kit, I’ll grab it for you on the way back through with the guns. The kids should be okay, there’s no windows in the room and the door is reinforced steel. Someone will have to stay in there with them in case they wake up though. I think you should do it.” he said. I nodded, although I really didn’t want to sit like the damsal in distress. I wanted to help rid our backyard of these things, these savage teeth mashing meat machines. But now wasn’t the time to argue, we were in for the fight of our life……..