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Chapter 22: I Know There’s Something Going On?
“Aaron.”
Still asleep, he got to his feet, pulling himself toward the voice. His eyes were wide open and blankly staring straight ahead. He seemed terrified as he walked into the living room.
“Aaron.”
He threw the door open. There was something odd about the darkness that he stepped into. The wind commanded his hair to stand at attention. He remained motionless for a little while until he heard it again.
“Aaron.”
“What is it?” he screamed. He began to weep.
“What is it?” he screamed frantically. His eyes snapped open and he was jolted out of his slumber. Where am I? He thought to himself. Aaron tried to make sense of it all but he didn’t know why he was standing outside in the dark. Something’s not right. Something terrible was happening. He ran back into the house and slammed the door behind him. He began to scream as he ran for his parents’ bedroom. He was desperate as he bolted for the doorknob.
“Mom! Dad!”
After a second or two, he realized that he was looking at an empty bed. Where are they? Aaron was alarmed and ran for the phone. He quickly dialed his grandmother’s number and paced as he waited for an answer.
“Grandmother, it’s Aaron! I can’t find dad or mom,” he said feeling like he was on the verge of madness.
“Everything is alright, sweetie. Just calm down and I will be over there in a minute. I was headed out the door until I heard the phone ring. They asked me to come over and stay with you guys,” she said in a soft voice.
“Is there something I should know?” Aaron asked as he raised his voice.
“I will explain when I get there,” she stated before she hung-up.
A door slowly creaked open and a groggy Charles stepped out of the room rubbing his eyes and scratching his personals. “What’s going on?” He managed to yawn.
Aaron looked over at his older brother and decided to play it cool just in case he was overreacting. “Oh, grandmother is coming over. No biggie,” he lied.
“You mean to tell me that you’ve been screaming your head off like the maniac that you are and that is all you had to tell us. Why you little…” Charles muttered.
Aaron had to think quickly or he might end up with a black eye to boot.
“Um, no I was playing and I forgot that you guys were sleeping and,” said a not-so-good-improviser Aaron. Yep, that didn’t help the situation. Charles began to run after his brother with the intent to kill. And Aaron knew it because he fled for his life. The commotion woke Billy up, who was now standing in the living room with a bologna, mayonnaise, peanut butter, and ketchup sandwich in hand, and a big smile to go with it. He loved to see them go at it. As Billy munched on his sandwich, Charles pounded Aaron as he sat on top of him pinning him to the ground. Billy just stood there enjoying his two morning snacks (the sandwich and the entertainment). Aaron gave up as he lay on the floor like a helpless doll. Once Charles felt recouped from his craziness, he got up and went to the kitchen to grab a bite to eat. This did not include what Billy was eating-gross!
Their grandmother arrived there shortly after with a tense expression. She quietly shut the door behind her and the boys glanced over at their grandmother as they watched television-the only thing they could do quietly together. Hours went by and the reason for their grandmother’s arrival had never been revealed. Aaron tapped his foot steady as so his brother Charles did. Something was going on and they wanted to get to the bottom of it. They eyed each other wondering who was going to make the first move. Charles jumped off the couch and walked toward their parents’ bedroom. He looked around to see if his grandmother was anywhere in sight and low and behold, she was not. He tapped the door softly hoping he would find it empty. He quietly opened the door and peeked in-the coast was clear. Charles made his way to the phone. He punched in the numbers and waited until the person at the other end answered. His dreams were dashed as he got a busy signal. His Aunt Beverly was on the phone. She was the one person he knew who would tell the truth. Aaron found his grandmother doing laundry quite fast. She looked frazzled.
“Grandmother, can I help with the laundry?” Aaron asked.
“Just grab a pile of clothes from over there and bring it here,” she replied.
“Can I ask you a question?” He requested nervously.
“Sure, honey. What is it?” She hesitantly answered.
“I know there is something going on and we have been really good since you have been here. Although, you should have been here earlier and I might not have the bruises all over my body-anyways, what I am trying to ask is…what’s going on?”
“Um, I think that should wait,” she said without looking at him in the eye.
Aaron walked from the garage and into the living room. He looked at Charles who was now sitting on the couch and shrugged his shoulders. The rest of the day appeared to go on forever. They ate dinner and proceeded to go to bed after watching “The Wonder Years.” As sleep prevailed in the house on 1121 Dobbs Lane, there was a shift in the atmosphere.
“Aaron.”
Still asleep, he got to his feet, pulling himself toward the voice. His eyes were wide open and blankly staring straight ahead. He seemed terrified as he walked into the living room.
“Aaron.”
He threw the door open. There was something odd about the darkness that he stepped into. The wind commanded his hair to stand at attention. He remained motionless for a little while until he heard it again.
“Aaron.”
It was all happening again. Aaron quickly snapped out of his sleep and looked around for the voice that was calling him. He knew the voice well but he could not place it. And then the phone rang. He had seen the 1979 movie “When A Stranger Calls” and at this very moment he was not about to answer it. The phone rang over and over again and then it stopped. He proceeded to check his pulse as he tiptoed through the front door. After shutting the door, he decided to go back to bed. As he crept down the hall, the door to his parents’ bedroom opened. His grandmother came out and looked a little startled seeing her grandson walking down the hall.
“Aaron, get your brothers we have to go,” she whispered.
He tapped on his brother Charles’s door and slightly set it ajar.
“Charles, grandmother said that we were leaving. So, get some clothes on,” he loudly stated.
“Okay,” Charles grunted as he rolled out of bed.
After getting Billy up, the four of them set out to a secret destination or so it presented itself that way. They drove in silence until they pulled up to the hospital. Aaron looked up at his grandmother with his big brown eyes that said it all. She took one hand off the steering wheel and placed it on Aaron’s shoulder. She rubbed it as only a grandmother can do. They got out and went to the front desk to check-in. The boys followed their grandmother like little orphans waiting for someone to adopt them. They felt lost and alone. They walked one foot at a time at a slow and mechanical pace. Their faces were emotionlessly staring straight ahead. The noises around them seemed to be drowned out with complete and utter silence. The waiting room was a blur to each of them and it had a dark and dreary ambience. They sat down in the shadows that surrounded them-still not uttering a word. The music played in their heads. It was a beautiful operatic piece that made one cry.
The nurse walked forward and crouched down to talk to them. They barely could read her lips because it was as if no sound was coming from her mouth.
“Your mom had to go into the hospital because she was having stomach problems. She has been in surgery all day. She stopped breathing after the surgery and she is now on life support. I will let you go and see her but you have to be calm because it could upset her and it could cause her further problems.”
The boys stood up in a daze and followed the nurse. The music was still playing in their heads. Gloom filled the atmosphere as the boys moved stealthily to the ICU. The door swung open in a slow motion and Aaron stared at his mother. It was not her. He fell to his knees and began to scream. She looked dead, a pale blue, with a machine coming out of her mouth and stomach.
The nurses ran into the room and grabbed Aaron. They had to drag him out because he was screaming to the top of his lungs, “NO! NO! NO! NO, Mom, NO!”
The other boys looked hopeless as they just stood there and stared with tears streaming down their face. They turned around in shock and they saw the rest of their family. Grandmother Carraway, Granddad Carraway, Kay Carraway, Aunt Beverly and Uncle Wilbur, Tara, Kelly, Aunt Tressa and Uncle Fred, Danny, and their Grandmother Nelson stood by the door holding each other. Where did everyone come from? They all walked into the waiting room to gather themselves.
“Danny, what exactly happened?” Tressa asked her brother-in-law.
“Rhonda had some tissue build-up from her earlier surgery and had an operation. It was a simple surgery but she had complications. She told Kay earlier when she was alert to pray for her and to tell everyone that she loved them. We told her to stop talking like that but then she looked up and said that she saw her dad and Jesus,” he said with tears forming.
Aaron composed himself and wanted to see her. Charles walked him in along with a nurse. He walked over to the bed and rubbed her hand gently. He began to weep and talk to her.
“Please, mom! You have to get better. I can’t live without you. I need you so much. Mom, can you hear me?” He cried.
Just then, Rhonda sat up in the bed, opened her eyes, and looked straight at Aaron. It scared him really bad. The entire family was instructed to gather into the room. Everyone was bunched up and talking in a whisper. It was hard to make-out what they were saying. Aaron glanced over at the monitor and noticed the numbers were going down. What is going on? They kept going and going and soon a flat-line buzzed loudly in the air and shock fell over the place. She had her last breath and then in a flash she was no longer alive. The entire room burst into tears and could not contain themselves. How could this have happened? One of the nurses walked over to Danny and began to talk to him.
“You need to get her records and fast. I believe the papers have been tampered with and the doctors involved knew what they had done. Her gallbladder was nicked. Instead of fixing it they sewed her back up and left her to die.”
As soon as she had the words out of her mouth, she disappeared. Danny’s jaw dropped in disbelief and he took action immediately. Aaron sat in the waiting room crying with his family. It then dawned on him that his mother had been calling his name in his dreams.
She was the one warning him.