Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Six

Hi friends and happy Monday! Good God, can you believe it’s LABOR DAY?! I hope you’re enjoying your long holiday weekend (at least my US friends). Summer has flown past, and so is this story! Are you ready for another chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature story with Demetrius and Cody?

So far this story is untitled, but we’ll see what comes up as I write it, shall we?

Today’s prompt is: There were sirens.

Now, grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and settle in. Enjoy!

Story Orgy Creature Feature

Chapter Six

Hank Edwards

(c) 2015

There were sirens approaching, and Marshall Singleton slowed and pulled the car to the curb to allow the ambulance to pass. Demetrius studied his father’s profile, noting the thick white hair swept back from his narrow forehead which was now lined with deep creases, nose that seemed somehow larger—dear God, was this what Demetrius had to look forward to?—and the square jaw with the deep cleft right in the center.

“So many ambulance runs down here,” Marshall said, his deep voice sounding tired. “Those companies make a fortune off us seniors.”

Demetrius squeezed his father’s shoulder and gave him a quick smile. “You want me to drive, Dad?”

Marshall frowned and gripped the wheel tight. “I’ve been managing to drive for almost 80 years, Demetrius. I think I can manage to get from our condo to the hospital.”

“Okay, I was just offering.”

Demetrius looked out his side window at the retirement communities and acres and acres of swampland they slowly passed by. His father was a slow driver, always had been, and it made Demetrius think back to when he had been growing up in Parson’s Hollow. Because his parents were so much older than pretty much every other set of parents in town with kids his age, Demetrius had always felt like an outcast, at school, among his few friends, at their community pool, and at social events like picnics and even Cub Scout meetings. His parents were always the oldest parents in attendance, their silver hair standing out among the younger and hipper parents, and Demetrius felt somehow responsible for that. He sensed their awkwardness when interacting with the other parents—awkwardness which extended to both parties in the interaction—and Demetrius felt bad for them. He felt so bad, he stopped telling them about every event, and took to showing either alone or as a member of Cody’s jumble of brothers with his calm, down to earth mother or his environmentally conscious father.

A few years after he and Cody had become friends, Cody had cajoled Demetrius into figuring out how old his parents had been when Demetrius had been born. Instead of just coming out and asking, Demetrius had made it a kind of investigation. He snuck into their bedroom and checked their driver licenses for their birth years, then he did the math and was surprised to discover that his mother had been forty-seven years old and his father fifty when they’d had him. He remembered being stunned at those ages back then, and still to this day.

All through his life, Demetrius had heard the story of how he had been conceived and born. Marshall and Olivia Singleton had tried to have children all throughout their twenty-five years of marriage. Only a few pregnancies had resulted from their countless nights together, and each of those had ended in a miscarriage. The two had put all thoughts of having a family behind them when, three months following their silver wedding anniversary, Olivia had discovered she was pregnant yet again. She was anxious about the pregnancy, and her doctor had cautioned her about the dangers of childbirth at her advanced age, but she took her vitamins and exercised and ate right and went to see her doctor more frequently than a younger mother would. The next six months went like clockwork and finally, on August 26, a stormy night in 1987, following ten hours of labor, she gave birth to their son, their precious little miracle, and they named him Demetrius Barnaby Singleton. Demetrius had been his mother’s father’s name, and Barnaby was the name of his father’s favorite relative, an uncle who had died more than a decade before.

Story_Orgy_logoHis father turned into the parking lot of Coastal Waters Memorial Hospital, and Demetrius looked up the side of the ten story building that blazed white under the hot sun. Thankfully, a tall parking structure was attached, and after searching for ten minutes, Marshall finally found a spot on the fourth level. They walked without speaking to the steps and Demetrius was glad to see his father walking down to the crosswalk with no problems whatsoever. He was 78 and still pretty spry. Demetrius had that going for him, at least.

Marshall waved to a number of older people they passed in the halls, greeting several of them by name. When they were alone in the elevator, Demetrius asked, “A lot of your friends are here it seems. Are they visiting Mom?”

The smile Marshall gave him seemed grim. “This area is just a way station to the grave, Demetrius. We all came down here to die.”

“Jesus, Dad!” Demetrius exclaimed. “That’s a bleak way of looking at it.”

Marshall shrugged as the elevator doors opened. “It is what it is, son. We’ve had a good life, and we have enjoyed living down here. What happens next is just like what happens with everybody else.”

“Well let’s hope it’s put off a little bit, okay?” Demetrius said as he followed his father down the hallway. “No need to rush the reaper, if you know what I mean.”

“Oh, I know what you mean all right,” Marshall replied and stopped at the hydraulic doors leading to the Intensive Care Unit to turn and look at him. “I don’t want to alarm you, but your mother may look … bad to you.”

“Bad?” Demetrius repeated. “Bad how?”

But Marshall had slapped his hand on the plate to open the doors and was already power walking away. Demetrius grumbled a curse and followed after his father who he found just around the corner at the nurse’s desk.

“This is Demetrius,” Marshall said with a wave of his hand.

“Hi Demetrius, and you’re they’re grandson?” the nurse asked with a smile.

“I’m their son,” Demetrius corrected.

“Oh. I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right, Peggy,” Marshall said with a smile. “It happens a lot. I just wanted you to know who he was since he’s come down to see to us. Anything you tell me or Olivia you may also tell him.”

“Well, it’s very good of you to come down,” Peggy said with a smile. “I will make a note that Demetrius may be updated about Olivia’s condition as well. Let us know what we can do to keep Olivia comfortable. Her surgery is scheduled for two days from now, so any questions you have in the meantime or any items you all might need, just let us know.”

“Surgery?” Demetrius said, looking between Peggy and his father. “What surgery? When was this decided? Why wasn’t I told?”

“I’m sorry,” Peggy said, flustered once again. “I thought your father would have told you.”

Demetrius looked to his father but found himself looking at Marshall’s back as he walked off down the hall. “Yes, I would have thought so, too.” He put his hands on the counter and smiled at Peggy. “Apparently, my Dad isn’t up to discussing this with me. Can you please give me a quick overview of my mother’s condition?”

Peggy tapped some keys on her computer and gave him a quick update on his mother. Olivia had suffered a rather severe episode of angina. While not technically a heart attack, it was a symptom of a heart condition. After a number of tests, the doctor had discovered she had a number of blockages of her coronary arteries, and so had scheduled her for a triple bypass.

“Oh my God,” Demetrius said, his voice barely above a whisper. He felt cold and a little light headed. How could his father not have told him about all of this? He’d mentioned the possibility of a bypass during the phone call, but why hadn’t he told him about the surgery on the drive over?

“It’s really a much more simple procedure these days,” Peggy assured him. “The surgeons here do a number of them every day. She’s in very good hands.”

Demetrius gave her what he hoped was a genuine smile. “Thank you, Peggy. For the reassurance and the update. And for taking care of my parents.”

“They’re very sweet,” Peggy replied. “The whole staff likes them both and we’ve been taking good care of your Mom. She’s down the hall in room 38.”

Demetrius thanked Peggy and headed down the hall, pausing outside room 38. He heard the low murmuring of his parents conversing and took several deep breaths, preparing himself for his mother’s condition. His father had warned him his mother would look pretty bad, and Demetrius didn’t want to make her feel any worse than she probably already did. When he felt he was ready, he fixed a big smile on his face and stepped into the room.

“Demetrius! Oh, my boy, just look at you!”

He stopped and stared, his smile falling as his expression went slack. His mother sat in a recliner pushed into the corner, her left leg crossed over her right thigh as she applied polish to her toenails. Her silver hair was cut short and worn in gentle waves that framed her tanned face. She had applied a light layer of lipstick and her blue eyes practically glittered with vitality when she saw him.

“Mom!” Demetrius managed to say. “You look great!”

“Oh, stop lying and come over here and give me a hug.”

Demetrius crossed to her and leaned down. Olivia pulled him close for a strong hug and kissed both cheeks before releasing him. She smiled up at him, practically beaming.

“I thought…” Demetrius looked to his father and found Marshall looking through a magazine. He looked back to his mother and shook his head. “Never mind. Anyway, you look really great for everything going on.”

“Well, I do get tired easily,” Olivia said, “but I thought that was the new blood pressure medication or something. Anyway, I cut back to three yoga sessions a week, and I’ve only gone to the track twice a week. The doctor says the blockages are most likely genetic and hereditary, so you might want to see your doctor when you get back home.”

“Okay, yeah, I will. Are you nervous about the surgery?”

Olivia widened her eyes. “I’m terrified! And I’m going to have a scar on my chest.”

“She’s going to obsess about it when she puts on her swim suit for water aerobics,” Marshall said and turned the page of the magazine.

“Oh, Marshall,” Olivia said before bending back to polishing her toes.

Demetrius stood at the foot of the hospital bed and looked between them. His mother sat in the recliner with her leg pulled up practically to her crotch in a show of flexibility that put him to shame, and his father sat in a plastic chair across a small table from her, looking through a magazine aimed at active geriatrics. If there wasn’t the smell of antiseptic in the air, the quiet calls for doctors in the hall outside the door, and the hospital bed to his left, Demetrius might think he was standing in the living room of his parents’ condo.

“So, you look well,” he said, unable to get past how youthful and vibrant his mother appeared. Had she always been this way and it had just taken Demetrius spending years apart from them for him to see it?

Olivia smiled at him, then gestured to the bed. “Have a seat, honey. Tell us about your company. What’s the name again? Critter Catchers?”

Demetrius sat on the edge of the bed. “Yeah, Critter Catchers. It’s been, well, it’s been a bit wild.”

“Oh?” Marshall put down the magazine and sat with his hands folded in his lap and an expectant expression on his face. “Wild in what way?”

“Well, we’ve had some really unusual cases.”

“Are you getting paid?” Marshall asked.

“Yeah, we’ve been paid,” Demetrius replied, and thought to himself, When our client didn’t end up dead.

“Making enough to get by?” Marshall asked.

“For the most part,” Demetrius said.

“How’s Cody?” Olivia asked, and smiled as she shook her head. “That boy is quite the charmer. Is he still charming?”

He was surprised to feel a genuine smile cross his face at the thought of Cody. “Yeah, he’s still charming. It’s been kind of fun running the business with him.” Demetrius left off saying that it was also a little confusing and sort of frustrating as well.

“Amelia loves when you two stop by her house,” Olivia told him. “Every time I talk to her she just raves on and on about you two.”

Demetrius shifted position on the bed, a bit uncomfortable at the fact that his mother—and, by extension, Aunt Amelia—made him and Cody sound like some kind of couple.

“Well, we both like to keep an eye on her,” Demetrius said.

“So, any nice men in your life?” Olivia asked.

“God, Mom, really?”

“What? A mother can’t ask about her son’s love life?”

A nurse walked in at that time with a plastic bin. “Time to donate some blood.”

Marshall got to his feet. “I’ll take Demetrius down and show him where the cafeteria is located.”

“Oh, bring me back a fruit cup,” Olivia said, then looked at the nurse. “Can I have a fruit cup?”

The nurse smiled. “Save your money. I’ll get you one from the cart.”

“So sweet,” Olivia said with a smile. “See you boys in a bit.”

Demetrius followed his father to the elevator and they rode down to the first floor in a group of men and women, all of them quiet as they watched the floor numbers change. When he stepped off the elevator behind his father,

Demetrius stopped to look at a bulletin board covered with missing persons flyers.

“Dad? What’s this all about?”

Marshall turned to look. “Oh, those are people missing from the area. Their friends and relatives post their pictures and information in the hospitals in case they’re brought in or wander in. Some of them most likely have Alzheimer’s.”

“This is a lot of people, Dad,” Demetrius said in a quiet voice as a chill went through him. “Has there always been this many?”

His father shrugged. “I guess so. A member of our pinochle group went missing six months ago.”

“What? That’s awful. Have they been found?”

“Not yet. We thought she might have wandered off into the Everglades and got taken by a gator. Lots of pets lost to those around here, you know.”

“Gators?” Demetrius looked back at the flyers and counted eight. “Do you think gators could have gotten all of these people?”

Marshall shrugged again. “I guess it’s possible. There are a lot of gators out there in the swamps. People don’t realize just how fast they can run, you know?”

“Yeah, but, did all of these people wander off into the Everglades?” Demetrius wondered.

“The ‘glades are big and wild, Demetrius,” Marshall replied. “No one really knows what happens out there.”

“You’re sounding kind of creepy there, Dad,” Demetrius said.

“Didn’t mean to.” Marshall put a hand on Demetrius’s shoulder and turned him away from the bulletin board with the smiling photos. “Come on, son, I’ll buy you some lunch and you can tell me about these wild nights catching critters.”

Demetrius allowed his father to lead him off down the hall, but he couldn’t stop thinking about the flyers posted on that bulletin board. How many other flyers were posted at different hospitals in the area? Weren’t the police involved in this at all? If he was back home in Parson’s Hollow, he or Cody would go to the police station and have a talk with Lucia Durant, a sheriff’s deputy and another in a long string of Cody’s ex-girlfriends. She usually gave them a difficult time whenever she saw them, but Demetrius could always count on her to be honest with him. Down here in East Glades Bayou, however, he had no connections at the police station, and if he were to pay them a visit and ask what they were doing about their many missing person cases, they might take offense.

It was probably a good idea to keep a low profile for now. Besides, he had his mother’s impending surgery to worry about.

~ * ~

I hope you enjoyed this latest chapter of my Story Orgy Creature Feature. Leave a comment if you’d like (it’s always fun to get mail!), and then hop on over to the blogs of the other Story Orgy writers. Some of us may take a week or two off, but we’ll be around for the most part. Like our Story Orgy Facebook Page for details about all of our writing. Feel free to like my pages as well if you’re interested in becoming a true Hankie: Hank Edwards Facebook Page or the Venom Valley Series Page, or follow me on Twitter. Go ahead and give the other participating Story Orgy writers a read: Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows as well as Em Woods, who might drop in for a prompt or two. Have a very good week and I’ll see you next Monday!

Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Story Orgy – Creature Feature – Chapter Six

  1. Havan says:

    Love how this book is progressing! <3