The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels

chapter 56

Wednesday, September 27th, 4:17 PM

Grand Marais, MN

 

After Syrrah handed the small baggy of her hair to Dr. K, he headed out of the room, with Belinda, Art, and Kamal following him.

“Hey, would you like to try standing and walking now, to get to that room?” Evan asked Syrrah. “Only seems about fifteen to twenty feet away.”

She looked over in that direction. “Yeah, sure. I definitely would.” 

“I can help too,” Freddy said, standing up. “If you need my help, that is.”

“Yeah, thanks Fred, but I got this.” Evan carefully released his arm from around Syrrah and stood up in front of her. He held out his hands.

She grasped his hands, and he carefully lifted her to a standing position, his arms barely feeling any strain at all from bringing her up.

“You know,” she said, a slight smile on her face, “I feel a little different. Like my mind is connecting to my legs again. They move like usual. And they’re not so weak, stronger even. Maybe just hold my one hand, and I’ll see if I can walk okay.”

“Oh really. That’s good news!” He released her right hand and held only her left. “Okay, let’s give this a go.”

Holding her hand securely, he allowed her to attempt a few steps. And she was able to, not even trembling or showing signs of weakness. But she held on to his hand, nonetheless, and they walked together, with Freddy following behind.

“You know, Evan,” she said. “This definitely reminds me of what Dana had, I mean, not with the pains, at least so far, but the coming and going of symptoms. Sometimes she had severe pain, other times not much at all.”

“I totally understand. That’s how it goes with my brother Matti.”

She did so well they finally arrived at the door. Evan opened the door with one hand yet keeping hold of her with the other. They walked into the room, a large bedroom, about thirty feet wide by fifteen feet deep. 

Freddy walked around them until standing ahead of Evan. “Dude.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “Something they didn’t mention.”

“Oh yeah? What’s that?”

“I’m guessing you recall, what Neraeh told us early on. How Syrrah’s former boyfriend, Tate, comes visiting her parents now and then.”

“Yeah. And?”

“Well, he was there when we arrived. And so, he insisted on coming along too. He’s here, now, upstairs.”

Syrrah loosened her firm hold on Evan’s hand and focused her attention on Freddy. “Tate? Tate is actually here too?”

Evan studied her face. His heart nearly dropped. Her eyes were wide and bright. She was excited, interested. He didn’t know what to say.

She noticed. She blinked several times, glanced away, and then appeared a bit surprised. “I mean, I would really like to see him again. It’s been years.”

“Yeah, sure,” Evan said, his eyes on the room, taking it all in to ignore his thoughts. A room filled with expensive, rustic-looking log frame furniture – a king size bed in the left corner, several matching dresser bureaus, an end table, and several chairs and a couch with red cushions. Plush tan carpet on the floor. “I understand, Syrrah.” He focused on the bed, covered with a plush white and blue blanket. “I don’t know what we’re supposed to do in this room, but I guess let’s sit on that bed.” He held her hand and walked over, helping her to sit down to his right side, his left side closest to the pillows and head frame. He released her hand, reluctantly, once they were both sitting, since his palm was building sweat. She didn’t seem to mind and simply held her hands together in her lap.

Freddy sat down in one of the chairs, across from the bed on the other side of the small room. “Dude. How, you know, have you been trusting all of this, with this doctor?”

“Those thoughts have crossed my mind,” Evan answered. “But, if Art trusts this doctor, I think we can too. Besides. Who else can help us now?’

“Yeah, true that. But, we’re basically stuck here.”

“I know,” Evan said. “But they’ve been okay with us so far.”

“So, Freddy,” Syrrah said. “That’s nice your mom came along too.” She was obviously changing the subject, same as Freddy had. 

“Yes, it is. I don’t have any siblings. And my dad, he’s out in Oregon somewhere. We don’t really keep in touch. But yeah, my mom, she knows about most of this, and is actually quite into this kind of thing.”

“She’s quite the science fiction, conspiracy theory buff,” Evan said. “Bet she was quite eager to come here.”

“Yeah, definitely.” Freddy stood up. “Hey guys, so, Doctor K said he wanted just you two to meet with Syrrah’s mom. So I’m going to spend some time with Neraeh. And then later, I’ll join up with you guys again. That sound good?”

“Yeah, sure Fred,” Evan said. “Sounds cool. We’ll be fine here.”

“All right then.” Freddy started his hand off as a salute but then turned it into a wave, something he’d done times before. “I’ll see you guys later.” He walked out and closed the door.

Though Freddy’s comical salute had broke some of the shade, Evan couldn’t hold it back anymore. “So. You still love him?”

She looked into his eyes. “Evan…I, well, I honestly don’t know what I feel about him. I haven’t really thought about him for years.”

“What, were you two getting married?”

“Well, we did talk about it, some. I think he wanted to, eventually.”

“Oh, I see. He wasn’t too sure, huh.” Evan sighed and stared down at the floor. He recalled something dark he had thought about previously. He looked at her. “I got a question for you. Where was this guy, Tate, when you visited that night club, and then eventually wandered into that semi, getting your soul forced into Dana’s body?”

She turned away. He could tell she swallowed, though. She glanced at him and then focused on the floor. “He was either attending wrestling practice for his team’s sectional meets, or they were in transit going there. It was quite important for him.” She looked back into his eyes. “I mean, we had our own lives too, you know.”

“Well, I’ll tell you what, baby. I would have never let you out of my sight, wrestling, martial arts, football practice or anything else be damned. And yeah, if you want to call that possessive and controlling, you would be right. What a stupid shit he was to do that to you, Syrrah, gosh damnit.”

She looked at the floor again. “He’s not stupid, Evan.”

“Yeah, whatever. Book smart. But street smarts? He obviously sucks.”

“He’s…you just don’t know him, and—”

The door opened.

Dr. K stepped in. Directly behind him was obviously Syrrah’s father, Hanson, a tall, broad-built older man with greying blond hair. He was pushing Syrrah’s mom in a wheelchair. Her mom had a frail, thin-looking body, her long hair mostly brunette but showing many streaks of grey. She looked older than her 49 years.

Soon as Syrrah saw them, she jolted into action, rising herself up carefully from the bed. “Dad? Mommy?” She covered her mouth; Evan could tell she was holding back from crying. “I can’t believe this.”

Evan immediately stood up too. He took hold of Syrrah’s small shoulders to keep her steady.

“It’s all right, Syrrah,” Dr. K said, his tone gentle. “Try not to be too overwhelmed, just relax. And go ahead, Hanson. Feel completely comfortable to approach her.”

Hanson’s jaw dropped. He released his hands from the wheelchair. He stepped around the wheelchair and walked forward a few steps but then stopped. “As I told you, Kwan, as a Christian man, this is difficult for me.” His eyes, expression conveyed disbelief and maybe even fear. “Syrrah, love, is that really you?”

She walked a few steps closer, her balance unsteady, but Evan held one hand on her shoulder and stepped with her, keeping her mostly able to walk on her own. “It really is me, though, I don’t know how. And I don’t see how it’s possible, but it is me.”

“I was explained the circumstances, of what happened, your…your switch with Dana Zypher, but this is very hard for me.” Hanson slowly edged closer, staring, blinking intermittently. Then he paused in his motion. “Answer me this. Where did I hide that birthday gift for your mother?”

She stopped in her steps same as him. “You…you don’t believe it’s me, dad?”

“Answer his question, Syrrah,” Dr. K said kindly. “It would help your father feel more comfortable.”

“This is something only Syrrah and I would know,” Hanson said, his face yet plastered in disbelief and fear.

She stared at the floor, quietly. She looked back at her dad and smiled. “Oh yeah, I remember. You hid it in the barn on that old shelf, in that small wooden box with the lid…you know, the one you made. You had bought Mommy this really nice necklace…you know, it had, umm…” She became quiet again, thinking, until her face brightened. “Oh. I remember. A silver necklace, with the ruby heart-shaped pennant, and it had roses in the background of the stone. Mommy loved it.”

“I just…I just don’t understand why God would give us such a blessing.” Hanson’s voice was shaky, on verge of crying. “We are only simple, ordinary people.” He slowly stepped closer to Syrrah.

“Dad, I don’t know why too.” Evan released his hand from her, and she in turn stepped closer to her dad.

Hanson was even drawing closer now.

Syrrah lunged forward and rushed to her dad. He took her in his arms and embraced her closely.

Evan wasn’t sure all they were saying, but he could tell they were both crying, tears of happiness, bewilderment, shock, and amazement as Hanson spoke God had somehow, most likely indirectly, achieved this miracle for them by means of the Savior.

The Savior, the one they had met in Heaven, whomever he truly was, and wherever Heaven truly was located.

They didn’t embrace for too much longer until releasing each other and approaching Syrrah’s mom, Beverly, in the wheelchair.

Evan inched a little closer, careful not to be too intrusive.

She knelt before the wheelchair. “Mom.” Beverly only stared at Syrrah. “Mommy.” She wiped her own eyes and then lifted her mom’s hands, holding them tenderly. “It’s me, Syrrah. Do you remember me?”

Her mom’s eyes only stared, empty. But then, like a light gradually brightening, Beverly’s eyes widened, her empty expression became more alive. She wrapped her fingers around Syrrah’s hands. Her mouth opened, as if to begin speaking.

“Oh my Lord.” Hanson knelt next to Syrrah. “She seldom tries to speak directly to anyone. She hasn’t really done this in years. This can’t be happening.”

Syrrah rose higher and leaned in closer to her mom’s face. “What is it, mommy? What do you want to say?”

“Sy…sy…syrrah,” she spoke very softly.

A shocked, though happy expression filled Hanson’s face. “Praise the Lord.”

“Mommy.” Syrrah leaned in and gently encircled her mom’s small body, giving a close but soft hug, until releasing her and looking into her face.

Her mom blinked a few times, like some type of awakening, and she stared at Syrrah, seeming to notice her with certainty. A slight smile began to form on her mom’s face.  

Hanson wrapped his arm around Syrrah but locked his eyes on Beverly. “This is…this is another miracle. She hasn’t responded like this in years, Syrrah, not in years.”

“Syrrah!”

Evan looked at the doorway, from where he heard the voice. Freddy and Neraeh were standing there.

“Hey,” Dr. K said. “Thought I told you two to wait for a while.”

“Neraeh just couldn’t anymore,” Freddy said, smiling. “She just had to come see her sister.”

Syrrah stood up. And Neraeh walked in.

Neraeh walked around the wheelchair, until Hanson and Neraeh both embraced Syrrah. And then they all spoke to, softly touched, and hugged Beverly.

Hanson, Syrrah, and Neraeh spoke amongst each other, happiness and disbelief infiltrating their words and actions, with even more elation flowing around them from the miraculous change in Beverly’s behavior. Beverly even attempted to speak a little more and show more interest in interacting with each of them, something Hanson again marveled at, repeating several times she hadn’t done so in years. 

Freddy walked into the room and motioned for Evan to step over to a corner some distance from Syrrah and her family. Evan did so.

“Dude, heads up.” Freddy spoke quietly.

Evan studied his face. “Why? The boyfriend?”

“After his initial shock at finding out teleportal travel truly exists, and his repeated words that he knew the government was hiding more advanced science, he changed. I thought he was rather nice at first, but I guess that was only his disorientation. He’s actually rather obnoxious.”

Evan focused his gaze back on Syrrah with her family. “We’re a threat to him.”

“Maybe. That could be it. Or he’s just an a-hole.”

“Is he heading down here now?”

“Yup. Soon.”

Evan sighed quietly. “Wonderful.”

Syrrah locked eyes with Evan. She slowly, carefully navigated between her family members and walked over to him. “Evan. I’m sorry. I have been so rude. I want you to meet my family.”

“You haven’t been rude, hon, not at all. Totally understandable. And sure, I would love to meet your family.”

Evan walked back with her, noticing she seemed more able to move on her own.

“Dad,” Syrrah said, approaching Hanson. “This is Evan.”

Hanson stepped closer and seized Evan’s hand in a hearty handshake. “Yes. We already spoke on the phone with each other, when Neraeh traveled with Freddy and Evan to Casper, last month in August. And Freddy has explained much of what happened, how you set out to help Syrrah, when she was Dana. You never gave up. And for this, I thank you tremendously.”

“Well, thank you sir. That means so much to me, truly.”

“Yes, of course. Certainly.”

Evan couldn’t tell exactly, but Hanson did seem to like him and show approval of his closeness to Syrrah.

Syrrah then introduced Evan to her mom. He spoke kindly to her and gently touched her hands, to get some response. She did give a slight smile, yet she didn’t speak anything to him.

Neraeh spoke to Evan briefly too, her words mostly centered on questioning how he was doing, and he assured her that yes, he was fine, of course, but then she seemed far more interested in speaking further with Syrrah.

A dark silhouette abruptly blocking light from the doorway, Tate arrived at the room’s entrance. Evan eyed him over quickly. He appeared a bit different from his photo on Syrrah’s dresser. Somewhat shorter, about six feet tall, strong, big build, only a little less bulky than his own build. Dark, short hair, but spiked with blond streaks. Yup. This part was similar to that photo. And like Hal. Another one dying his hair? And he was good-looking. He was wearing a dark red sweater and blue jeans. Tate directed his eyes on the doctor. “Doctor K,” he said, giving him a nod at the same time. “Thank you again for having me here.”

“And you are welcome,” Dr. K said. “Not a problem at all. Quite happy you came along.” 

Tate’s eyes then went to Syrrah. Evan felt his heart drop again; Tate’s gaze was one of someone deeply obsessed, full of desire, and dare he even believe, full of love.

Of course. Any man would want Syrrah.

Evan felt his blood pressure rise uncontrollably.

“Syrrah,” Tate said.  “I cannot believe you are here.”

She immediately ceased talking with Neraeh and stared at Tate. “Tate? I can’t believe I’m seeing you!” She left Neraeh and attempted to walk toward him, a bit unsteady. Hanson noticed her struggle, and seemed quite eager to help, taking her arm, bringing her closer to Tate. And though she was turned, Evan’s view mostly of her profile, he could tell. She still loved him.

Just as Tate was closing the distance between himself and Syrrah, Evan got slammed by another view; Dad, Mom-Kyleigh and Matti appeared at the doorway. And then Freddy’s mom just behind them.

Evan flung his hand up, waved at them, smiled, but then directed his eyes right back to Syrrah and Tate. 

With her dad still helping, Syrrah now stood before Tate. She stepped forward and wrapped her arms around him, giving him a close hug. And he hugged her back.

A dark, sickening feeling plunged deep down within Evan at the same time rage boiled upward, directed completely and only on Tate. Though he could contain it, he was not going to stand by without doing something. 

Dad and Mom-Kyleigh could thankfully sense the situation. They struck up a conversation with Freddy’s mom, Rochelle, and walked Matti and themselves over to the other side of the room, near the king size bed.

Evan walked around Beverly in the wheelchair and stood several feet from Syrrah. He crossed his arms and continued to fight the building rage.

Dr. K noticed too and stepped closer.

Tate released Syrrah and she slowly backed away from him, though keeping her eyes connected to his gaze. But then she turned, to see Evan.

Again, he could tell she sensed his crushed feelings, maybe even his anger. “Oh, Evan. I’m sorry.” She glanced at Tate, and then back to him. “This is Tate, Tate Hernandez.”

Tate held out his hand. “Heard a lot about you, Evan.”

But Evan didn’t budge a bit from his crossed arms. He glared at Tate. “Heard about you likewise, Tate.” 

A sudden shove hit Evan’s right leg and body, though it failed to move his firm stance. He looked down. Matti had rammed up against him, with a big smile on his face. “Evan! I missed you!” He wrapped his arms around Evan’s legs.

“Hey, you little rascal.” Evan unfolded his arms and ruffled Matti’s hair, even reaching down to give him a brief hug. “Missed you too, bud.”

“Oh my gosh,” Syrrah said. “This is your little brother!” She removed her attention from Tate and leaned over. “Hey there, Matti. I’m Syrrah.” She held out her hand and Matti eagerly shook her hand gently. “Nice to meet you.” 

“You too! Nice to meet you too!”

Syrrah stood back up and looked at Evan.

“He’s obviously not feeling so bad today,” Evan said. “Full of energy.”

Matti rushed around Tate until standing at the doorway. “Hey. Those games out there look really fun!” He pointed toward Mortal Kombat and the others. He faced Dad, who was thankfully approaching. “Dad, can I go play them?”

Dr. K told Dad sure, he was free to do so.

Any attention Matti needed now would have to wait. Evan stared back at Tate. And Tate was staring right back at him. 

“Well, let’s start this again.” Tate held out his hand.  “Heard a lot about you, Evan.”

His rage now decreased, only mere agitation, Evan reluctantly brought his hand out. He seized Tate’s hand and gave it a firm thrust down and then released. “And I hope what you heard was good.”

Tate drew his hand back and hung both his hands by his sides, evidently assuming a ready stance. “Oh, well obviously. Goes without saying. Thank you. You saved my girlfriend, Syrrah, and I guess I owe you one on that.”

“Yeah. Well obviously more than what you were able to do.”

Tate cocked his head sideways a bit and glared. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

Dr. K approached. “Gentlemen.” He placed a firm hand press on both Evan and Tate’s shoulders, his arms spread wide from the distance between them and focused on Evan. “Are you aware Tate is attending the same medical university I went to?”

Evan slid his stare to the right, at Dr. K, but then directed it back on Tate. “No. I wasn’t aware of that.”

Dr. K released his hands from them but didn’t move away. 

“University of Minnesota Medical School,” Tate said, proudly. “And I was able to skip an entire year, due to my grades, and above par overall excellence.”

“But all your excellence couldn’t save Syrrah, now could it.”

Tate blinked a few times, obviously thinking. “Syrrah is her own person. I didn’t keep her locked away like some ornament in a gilded cage.”

“Yeah, well maybe you should have. Would have spared her the absolute horror she went through in all of this.”

“Hey, you two,” Syrrah said. “Just to be clear. It was my own fault, I…I did it to myself. There truly is no one else to blame, but me, seriously.”

Evan looked at her. “Well, I don’t see it that way, and I never will.” He focused back on Tate. 

“He’s one to talk, Syrrah.” Tate locked a dark, angry glare on Evan. “With the business he’s in.”

And Evan gave him the same glare right back. “Business? What business?”

“Taking people down. You know, taking lives down. All that martial arts business.”

“Yeah, that’s right.” He walked a little closer. “So, you better watch your step.” 

“Hmm. Seems as if I’m perceiving a threat here.”

“And that you are.”

“All right, both you men,” Dr. K said, stepping between them. “I think we need to settle down.”

Hanson positioned himself next to Syrrah, wrapping his arm around her. “Yes. I agree. Kwan, can all of us, Tate included, spend some time alone with Syrrah?” He glanced at Evan. “And without Evan and his family. This heated situation is not helping Beverly whatsoever, and just after she showed signs of finally recovering, for crying out loud.”

“Yes, of course, of course, I understand.” Dr. K looked at Evan. “How about you spend some time with your mom, dad, and brother?”

Evan turned to Syrrah, finding confusion in her expression.

“I don’t want Evan to leave,” she told her dad. 

Hanson patted her softly on the shoulder. “Just for a short time, my love.”

“Yeah, would be nice to take a break from him,” Tate said, “being he’s more about destroying lives.”

“And of course you would say that.” Evan remained unwavering in his own intense stare. “Why would I expect anything different?”

“A doctor saves lives. A martial artist…breaks lives.”

Dad approached. “Let’s go, Evan.” He grabbed Evan’s arm and tugged him along, toward the doorway. 

Evan looked back at Tate. “Yeah, whatever. Just remember. You could have saved Syrrah’s life, and you didn’t.”