Wednesday, June 19, 2013

7 - 06-20-13 Interlude

Isaac had begged Kennedy to have the baby but she was set on an abortion.  She'd already apologized for cutting each other with a razor blade leaving long, thin scars across both their bodies, but Isaac didn't care.  He wasn't out to win any beauty pageants.  It was the baby he wanted.  He and Kennedy had decided to marry but, in hindsight, neither one of them had their heart in it.  At the time it was just something that seemed to be the right decision what with the baby and all.  But after several months of pregnancy and bickering, Isaac had asked Kennedy if she was happy.  Her response was a wordless sigh.  It was enough to tell Isaac that things had taken a wrong turn.

Yet still. Kennedy was pregnant with their child.  That was the most important thing to Isaac.  He already had a name picked out: Layla.  It was from the Eric Clapton song.  At this point, he knew the child was a girl.  Kennedy was days away from giving birth, but their relationship had been strained.  He had taken a job working for a carpentry company, and between the hours, and Kennedy's predilection for wild behavior, it was enough to drive a hard wedge between them.

After many months of arguing back and forth, the day came.  Isaac had convinced Kennedy to have the child (under the false belief that they would give the baby up for adoption), and she gave birth to a healthy baby girl.  Of course, after she found out Isaac had no intention of giving up Layla for adoption, Kennedy was more than upset.  It was as though Kennedy didn't want anything to do with the child.  Apparently, motherly instinct was not all inclusive.  Isaac took to raising her as best as he could.  He doused her with love and attention any chance he got.  Kennedy moved out of their city apartment, and then one day Isaac received a package in the mail with instructions on where to sign to dissolve their marriage.

In the end, he didn't care.  He signed the papers, put them back in the mail, paid the last month's rent, and made for a countryside manor left to him by his late parents.  It needed a lot of work but he was up to fixing up the place.  Besides, the warning he had been given by his friend from the Special Forces, however surreal it had been, was a constant thing inside Isaac's mind.  Killing his friend was one of the worse things Isaac had ever done.  Shooting someone you know is a lot harder than shooting an nameless enemy as it was in Afghanistan.  But after seeing was the only thing he knew to do.  Since that time, Isaac had stashed the revolver away in a lock box inside his closet.

Ham and eggs became the staple diet along with a variety of vegetables Isaac was trying to grow in a contained garden.  Layla was growing fast, and Isaac knew it was important to interact with her as much as he could.  Isaac continued to work as a carpenter for a local farming contractor in charge of erecting barns, and other such structures.  In his off hours, Isaac would spend time with little Layla teaching her everything he knew about the world, which wasn't as much as he would like to tell her.  Kennedy had been gone and unreachable for some time.  During his divorce, Kennedy had surreptitiously worked in a monthly child support fee that was way beyond what Isaac expected.  He thought perhaps she was getting money from the government somehow but didn't question it.  At this point, he hadn't spoken to her in several years.  But the money kept coming.  Isaac was at least grateful that the mother of his child wanted to help in some way.  Then, one sleepy Sunday afternoon, he gets a call.  Kennedy was dead.

He'd heard about the ordeal with the New York City Influenza.  That must have been hard on Kennedy.  The things she had to do to survive while the FEMA and the CDC were trying to sift through the rubble one stone at a time.  In Isaac's mind, it was just another Katrina.  The failures of the government to act in time to save the optimal amount of people.  Isaac had never spoken directly to Kennedy.  The conversations always took place through a mutual friend who happened to work for a very specific branch of the CDC involving highly contagious diseases.  Isaac wasn't exactly sure to what degree his friend was involved, but it seemed high up; like top shelf liquor.  You want the good stuff, you pay for it one way or the other.

Being a survivor of the disease, Isaac had guessed that Kennedy was something of an anomaly.  He imagined her bantering on about her experience and how helpful she could be to the right test market, and for the right fee.  The last Isaac knew, Kennedy had volunteered for a very hush-hush experiment, and that no other details were given.  He didn't know what exactly she had volunteered for but he had a feeling it was not good business.  A month later, Isaac received a check for $150,000 dollars and a note from Kennedy that simply said "Take care of her for me.".  A week later, a Sunday, the phone rang.

"Hello, is this, uh, is this Isaac?"
"Yes.  Who is this?  How did you get this number?"
"I don't have time to explain.  I just thought you should know.  K, I mean Kennedy, she's, well she's dead.  It was the experiment.  I can't go into details.  I am afraid I've said too much already."
"Who is this?"
"My name is Andrew.  That's all I can say.  I'm sorry for your loss.  K, er Kennedy seemed really nice.  Listen, I've got to go.  I hear something.  I think there is..."

The phone went dead and Isaac slumped onto the floor with the receiver still in his hand.  He sobbed.  As if on cue, Isaac could hear Layla begin crying in the background.