Chapter 7: A bond renewed
Ben looks to his son panting, he attempts to swallow but his chest seizes. Chip pats his dad firmly on his back without a word. Ben doesn't know what to make of what he'd witnessed clearly the quality wasn't great and it was more than obvious. Whatever the video showed wasn't "normal human behavior." "So dad..." Ben Jr. speaks up "what do you think? I mean it doesn't prove anything one hundred percent but I'm thinking your decision to hold up down here is pure genius at this point." Ben looks to his son nodding "But Jr. I can't just cast Carl out he's my best friend and we have his family here." Ben pulls himself up using the workbench for support. "Maybe they'll find out if he's got 'it' ..... Ah whatever the hell 'it' maybe down at St. George's!" Ben exclaims snapping his fingers together. "Dad we don't know what he would have and we have no clue as to how it passes from person to person. Carl maybe your friend dad but we are your family." Chip places a heavy burden squarely on his dad’s solid shoulders. Ben thinks back to his days in church. He wishes that he'd spent more time there in light of recent events. God’s word told him that "he was to be his brother's keeper" but it also commanded that he be his "family’s protector."
Ben turns about in a circle placing both hands down on his workstation his head is hung low chin resting on his heaving chest. "Chip if he comes back we can keep upstairs until we ensure that he's well." The boy looks around unlocking his wheelchair "dad how!?" the young man calls out. Big Ben "shushes" his son coming to his ear. "He and I will go get supplies from their house and that way we can keep him busy and watch him." What happens next shocks the man his son grabs his shirt by the collar. "Dad there is no way you're going out there with Mr. Fullerton and he's infected too!" Who's yelling.……? What’s going guys?!" they both turn to face Anne James. Umm ... Honey…” the two James men straighten up like guilty mischievous children. Ben smooths out his shirt coming over to sooth his wife "honey ... Anne." He begins looking slyly over her shoulder at the passageway to their shelter. "Babe look ..." he embraces her rubbing her arms. "How are Bianca and the girls? Anybody injured or hurt?" Anne pulls her head back eyeballing her husband suspiciously "No ... why? What were you two carrying on about?” Anne peaks around her husband at the sound of the laptop snapping shut.
"Mom!" Chip stammers "Dad ... he uh doesn't feel that I can help him uhhh….. Upstairs… and I'm tired of being treated like a kid! Like because I'm in this chair, he thinks I can’t grow up!” Ben's spine tingles at the verbal back stab. His son uses the truth to deflect Anne's suspicions and it hurt like hell. Anne cast an accusing glare at her husband who had recoiled slightly at the truthful lie. "Sorry… honey" Ben Senior blurts sheepishly. Many a night Anne and Ben had argued the same point and many a night they were sure Benjamin "Chip" James Jr. was listening. Ben's forces his eyes up in vain attempting to meet his wife stare of disapproval. She folds her arms across her chest "the universal sign" of a visit to the dog house. Secretly Ben was wishing he'd followed through on adding that spare room in their shelter for just such an occasion. "Take him with you Benjamin Robert James." He flinches at the dreaded use of his middle name “yeah doghouse for sure“. Ben muses. "Ok.... ok honey!" holding his hands aloft warily. "Anne head back into the bunker seal the door. Chip and I will give the signal if we need to get in.” Anne's posture relaxes as she uncrosses her arms planting a kiss on her husband’s cheek. She sways her way back down the passageway and vanishes. The door grinds on its hinges before clapping shut.
Ben waits until he hears the locks deploy turning to his son. "You turkey!" he shouts punching Chip in the arm. He giggles at his father’s jovial anger which brings Ben a moment of levity. "Come on son hop up!" he tells him squatting down. Soon a familiar sensation as Chip hoists himself upon to his father’s wide back. Once the boy is free of his chair Ben uses a few quick motions to collapse the chair before standing up. With his son on his back carrying the chair Ben huffs up the stairs one at a time. Memories float back into Ben’s mind of days past how many times had he and his son made this journey. He couldn't recall but one thing was certain his upper body strength had become that of a man. "Son… son…” he croaks. “Yeah dad!" comes his answer. "You’re choking me ease up!" Ben taps his sons elbow. "Sorry dad! You must getting old Chip chuckles in his father's ear. They crest the stairs and Ben flips the wheelchair open as Chip glides down into his seat from his fathers back. Chip raises his hip and pulls a pair of black batters gloves from his back pocket he slips them onto his hands wiggling his fingers. Chip rolls swiftly into the large ornate dining room he continues right into the living room where he comes to a stop. "Chip question....." his dad calls walking up behind him. “In a movie when a person gets bitten by zombie.”
The two are now side by side sizing up their partially secured front door. “Don’t they turn pretty quickly? I mean if you’re right son Carl’s not coming back right?” The boy cranes down from his wheelchair and snags a small metal mallet. He tucks the wooden handled tool down besides his right leg knowing they would soon have to repair their fort. “Well dad … I can only tell you what I know from TV. In Hollywood zombie victims usually show signs of turning pretty quick. They get all sick and sweaty …..“he pauses “…while vomiting and bleeding everywhere!” Looking up to his father “Dad did Mr. Fullerton look sick!?” Ben appears lost in thought then he answers “No son he was fine other than the bleeding. He looked completely normal even took time to comfort Bianca and the girls.” Chip flaps his arms in exasperation “then I’m just speculating dad.” Big Ben walks over to his boarded front window bending down peering through a crack between two boards. He observes the street from what he could see was deceptively quiet. “Son I’d like to thank you for giving me something else to worry about needlessly.” Chip laughs aloud “I get it from you pops!” The day floats by easily enough as the father and son relive days gone by. They check the house to ensure the home is still secured and await Carl Fullerton’s return. After a few hours Anne brings them a picnic styled lunch and a lantern. Just past four in the afternoon as the Sun is losing ground on this day with out power. Chip is parked out in front of the crack between the boards on the houses front bay window. “Dad!” the boy shouts pulling his father over to the crack. “It’s him Mr. Fullerton dad!” Ben sees his friend Carl moving under his own strength but with much effort zeroing in on his homestead.
Looks like the James men have found themselves renewing their father son bond. After a day spent discussing zombies and the impending return of their neighbor Carl Fullerton. Who suffered a wound at the hands (well mouths to be exact) of some "drug addicts" during his early morning work out. Ben Jr has convinced his father that Mr. Fullerton is going to return form the hospital a "zombie!" It won't belong now before Ben Sr. finds out if his son is right or wrong. Carl Fullerton has appeared in the street and heading back to his family and The James' household.
Return the week of September 23rd what becomes of Carl Fullerton in Chapter 8!