Rob sat in a darkened room, eating beans from a can. He was staring off into space, as he chomped down slowly.
This boy had been through more in his short life than most adults endure through their entire life span. He's seen a world crumble before his eyes. He'd had a father abandon him in a dead world. He has had to fight just to stay alive. And, to top it off, he had to endure a double life shifting from his own mind to another's. Suffice it to say, he's become very hardened to reality.
Linda, on the other hand, has had her mind blown in recent months. Having once been a stay-at-home mom, she's had to endure her husband's collapse, his shifting mind, The Fleece and Pat, and now a world she thought she'd never have seen. Although the world around Rob had hardened him, Linda found it all exhausting.
As Rob stared off, continuing to eat, Linda slept behind him. Her eyes moved back and forth as she was now in REM sleep, dreams permeating her subconscious mind. They say you dream a thousand dreams while you're in deep sleep. You only remember the dreams going on right before you wake up. And of course, sometimes you don't have dreams at all.
But as Linda slept on this day, a decaying world surrounding her, she had visions of a past life that was now long forgotten.
She saw the joy of bringing her children into the world. She saw the day that she and Jay were married. She could see the laughter, the love, and warmth of family. Her life, as it seemed, was flashing before her, in continuous repeat.
Finally, she came to a moment that was shrouded in gray. This didn't seem like a memory. It seemed real. Like she was in a different place. The sun was shining, but all the color of the world was gone. She was literally seeing things in black and white. In the distance, there was a man, dressed all in black, standing against a deck rail, overlooking a mountain view. It look like the Old Smokey Mountains to her. A breathtaking view to say the least. As she approached the man, he turned to reveal Jay. He looked at his wife as she approached and began to smile at her.
Linda always loved Jay in black. This moment was no different. Finally, she stood right before him as he turned completely around to face her. He took Linda's hands in his own and began to speak.
"Hey Linda. I'm sorry I can't be with you right now. But I want you to know, I'm still here. They haven't taken me away from you yet. They could never do it that easily."
Linda smiled at him.
"I told you I'd never leave you, and I never will. This is not the end. You have to find a way back to me. I know you can do it. I know you'll figure it out. Their deceptions here are pretty powerful. But nothing can overcome our love. Nothing in this world, or any other."
Linda smiled even bigger, and began to cry.
"Linda, you have to find them. Don't give up until you do. They are still there, Linda. They are waiting, patiently for someone to find them. I know you can do it. It's your only way home. Once you do, we can be together forever. Just remember, I'll always love you, no matter what. Find them."
Linda woke up, repeating Jay's final words out loud. This grabbed Rob's attention. He looked over his shoulder at the half awake Linda, who was looking around the room emphatically.
"Where....where is Jay?"
Rob rolled his eyes, "Did you forget where we are?"
Linda became aware of her surroundings again. She realized she had just been dreaming.
"No, I haven't forgotten you little brat."
"Kiss my butt lady. Not much gratitude for a guy that saved your neck."
Linda walked over to the shelf and got a can of beans herself, "You're no guy, little boy."
"I'm the only guy you've got right now, lady. But that can change really quick if you like?"
Linda turned around and marched over to Rob. She threw down both cans of beans and hoisted Rob up by his shirt.
"Hey! Don't waste that, food is life around here. Let go of my shirt, lady!"
"Who are they?"
"What?" asked Rob, utterly confused.
"Who are they?"
"Who is who?"
"Don't mess with me kid! You know way too much about this world and you are that bastards son. So you tell me who they are now?"
"I don't know what you're talking about, lady! Now let go of my shirt!"
Linda let go all right. She threw him to the ground.
Rob was not happy now, "What was all that for? You want me to throw you back out there by yourself? Let those things have their way with you when someone decides to take you out?"
"You said those things can be controlled? Obviously your dad put me here and he must also control them, right?"
Rob said nothing.
"So where is he doing it from?"
Rob looked down, after that question. He seemed a bit defeated.
Linda stepped towards him, "Where is he controlling everything from in this world, Rob?"
"Don't you think if I knew that I would go to your world permanently? I'm just as much in the dark about that as you are. I just know something controls them. I really don't know for sure if it is my dad or someone else. I just know they strike when they want to."
Linda could tell he wasn't lying. He really didn't know where the control of the zombies was coming from. He just knew they were being controlled. And that was her new mission. She had to convince Rob to help her, however.
"Well then let's go find who is controlling them?"
"What?", asked Rob.
Linda stepped toward him some more, her hands to her hips now, "I said, let's go find them."
"Lady, they could be anywhere in this world."
"My name is Linda, kid."
"Well, mine is Rob!"
"Fair, enough, Rob, will you help me find who is controlling all of this or not? Don't you ever want to leave this world?"
"I was leaving this world, Linda. Every time I got to be in your husband's body."
"That's not leaving, that's using someone."
"Well, it was working for me!"
Linda grabbed Rob's face and squeezed it. This time Rob slapped her upside the head. Linda took the blow, and immediately backhanded Rob back to the floor. For a little woman, she packed quite a wallop.
As Rob righted himself, again, Linda pressed on, "I'm not asking you anymore, I'm telling you. You're going to help me find them. And then we're both getting out of this world."
Rob rubbed his face as he looked back up at Linda. An obvious red marked filled up his right cheek. Linda stood there, staring at him with cold intent.
Rob was a bit intimidated, and intrigued. He'd never had someone really fight back with him before. He had always used his childish appearance to get what he wanted in this world. But Linda had stood up to him in her world before, so appearances made little difference to her now.
Rob finally stopped rubbing his face and look up at her again, "Ok."
He stood up beside her, as Linda continued her Wonder Woman pose.
"But one question, Linda, "he said rather sarcastically, "just who are they anyway?"
"I don't know, but Jay does, and that's good enough for me."
"How does Jay know?"
"He told me in a dream. We have to find them."
Although Rob was skeptical, again, he was intrigued. Intrigued more by Linda than her statement.
"All right, let's go find them. You lead the way."
"No, I insist that you do. That way I can keep my eye on you."
"Don't trust me?"
"Never will, little boy."
Rob did not like that response at all, but he gathered his stuff, as did Linda.
When they were both ready, they met at the door.
"You ready, ma'am?"
"After you, son."
That statement really made Rob mad, as he unbolted the door and they both exited the building.