The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels

chapter 6

Monday, August 7th, 1:17 PM

Sauk Centre, MN


“You think we’re done?” Evan took one last bite of his burrito.

Freddy wiped his mouth with the napkin, having taken a huge bite of his taco. He chewed for a moment, thinking. “Yeah. I believe so. Walmart. That hardware and auto store. That supermarket. People seem like they do in Park River. Mostly friendly, but reserved. Not sensing anything really weird or out of the ordinary. How about you?”

Evan shrugged. “I guess so.” He wrapped up the remainder of his burrito and put it back into the bag. “Glad they had a Taco Bell here.”

Freddy smiled, nodded. “Definitely. Me too.”

Hoping to relax his charged-up body, Evan inhaled a deep breath and let it out easy. “This is it.” He wiped his face thoroughly with the napkin. “I’m just going to drive us up there.” 


“Gonna walk in, and ask, if she’s working, if we can meet with her, maybe on her break or something.” 

“Dude. That’s if she’s even working. Suppose she is on vacation or something? Or doesn’t even work there anymore? Like you said, Facebook is not dependable.”

“I know.” Evan let out a loud sigh. “If that fails, we try meeting with her mom, or dad.” He started up the Ram. “And if they’re not available, then we’ll try to reach out to friends we can find on Facebook.” He looked at Freddy. “Bottom line. I’m not leaving here until I get some piece of information about that girl. I’ve just got to get this settled.”

“I know, man. I understand.”

Evan shifted into reverse, backed out, and drove the Ram onto the road. He headed north, toward the nursing home.

“Been having these dreams too, for a while now.”

“Dreams?” Freddy asked. “About the accident, like when you see her waving at you?”

“No. When I first get trapped, in the hull, and I’m terrified and angry at the same time, and collapse to the ground, can’t breathe. Syrrah, she comes to me. She kneels down by me.”

Evan paused in his talking; traffic was getting heavier.

“Yeah, and then what?”

“She looks so incredibly beautiful. Like an angel.”

A semi-truck suddenly switched lanes, ending up right in front of the Ram.

“Evan! Watch out!”

He hit down on the brakes. With ease, the Ram quickly halted its forward motion. “Damn. They do seem to drive more reckless here.”

“Thank God for this truck.” Freddy let out a breath of relief.  “I definitely feel safer in her.”

“Yeah. And I go and smash the hell out of her.” Evan patted on the cracked dash area, the duct tape still adhering, keeping it smooth and connected.  “Stupid thing to do.” 

“Dude. Chill. It’s all right. Just another reason why we’re doing this.”

“I know, I know.” 

“Then, what happened next, in your dream?”

Felt good to know Freddy showed some interest. “Pretty much the same thing, every time. She leans closer and touches the hull’s surface. And then my fear, anger, and panic disappear. I can breathe again.”

“Cool. It was a good dream then.”

“Yeah. I guess you could say that.”

They both became quiet for some time after this, with Freddy mostly sight-seeing or checking his phone. Evan concentrated on the drive and what he would say.

It wasn’t long before Sauk Centre Intermediate Care nursing home showed up ahead on the left side of the road.

Evan drove into the facility’s parking lot and parked the Ram. He took his hat off and tossed it on the back seat, next to his Taylor.

They both exited the truck but then Freddy took hold of Evan’s right shoulder, by the driver’s side door, stopping him. “So. You sure you know what to say?”

“I think so.” Evan swallowed, and turned his head away from Freddy’s gaze. “Don’t want to think about it. But I think I know.”

“Well, I have another question.”

Evan stared into his eyes. “What is it?”

“If her sister, looks like Syrrah…are you going to actually see Syrrah before you, like with Heidi?”

“Damn, Fred. I sure hope not. That would make this even more awkward.”

“What is the plan, then?”

“I don’t know. I’ll just pretend she is Syrrah’s sister, not Syrrah. I’ll just have to force myself to ignore any fake image, like I should have done with Heidi. But, passion got the best of me.”

Freddy patted Evan on his shoulder. “It’s all right, dude. You’ve asked for forgiveness. God forgives you. But, you got this. I believe you can do it.” 

“Thanks. Let’s just go in and do this. No more thinking.”

“All right.”

They both walked until they came to a front entrance under an arc-shaped canopy. Evan pulled open the right-side glass door, so Freddy could grasp it too, and they both walked inside.

Freddy stayed back a bit, as they planned. Evan went up to the front counter.

The lady behind the counter, maybe in her 40s or 50s, brown hair, and heavy set, smiled broadly. “Well, what can I do for you two handsome young men?”

“Oh, thank you.” Evan smiled slightly. Her behavior helped to calm his hyped inner turmoil, if only by a small amount. “I umm…I was wondering if we could speak to Neraeh Van Meir.”

Darn. Her former friendly face took on a suspicion veneer, though not by too much. “And who may I ask is requesting her?”

“My…my name is Evan Turrone.”

She looked at Freddy. “And this other young man?”

“Oh, sorry. And this is--”

“I’m Freddy Jergensen.” Freddy stepped closer to the counter. “Evan and I are friends.”

“Very well, young men. She is working now, but I’ll let her know. Excuse me for a moment.” The lady arose from her chair and walked towards another room that was separated by several walls near the receptionist desk.

Freddy gave that slight nod and eyes of ‘good call, she is here and working’.

Trying not to appear too obvious Evan watched intermittently as the lady headed into that other room. Nurses in chairs were working on computers or stood by the counter doing other things, in this other room, the typical scene you would view at most clinics or hospitals. His mind wandered a little. For a moment, the counter resembled the white, long counter in that lab room, after Syrrah as Limati had floated him past the chambers of alien hybrids and deformed humans. No. Stop! Push that memory away! He concentrated back on the now. The receptionist lady was speaking to a few younger women. Several of the women turned to see Evan. One woman was rather pretty, a 20-something brunette girl. She stared and smiled at him a moment, and then spoke with the receptionist again.

He didn’t see Neraeh. And that pretty brunette was cute, but not as pretty as Syrrah. Like always, no girl was as pretty as Syrrah. 

The receptionist lady came back to the counter. “Neraeh will be here shortly to speak with you. You two can have a seat over there.” She pointed toward some sofa seats near the window, just to the right of the entrance and about six yards from the counter.

“Okay,” Evan said. “Thank you very much.”

They walked over to the seats and sat down.

Freddy looked at Evan. “Dude.” He spoke quietly. “You need to appear more relaxed.”

“Do I look that nervous?” Evan asked in a low voice.

“I know this is hard for you, but yeah, a little. I feel nervous myself.”

“Okay. I’ll act more relaxed.” He immediately inhaled a deep breath and imagined the air flowing through his body, something Master Ren would advise.

They both didn’t speak anymore to each other, only looking at their phones. The map for Sauk Centre was the top app on Evan’s phone. He closed it off and opened his Firefox browser instead. Need to do something distracting. He began searching for different repair methods or installs for the dashboard.

Must have been about three minutes of looking at YouTube videos when he could see from his eye’s corner a woman dressed in light blue hospital garb approaching. He looked directly at her. Yes. It was Neraeh. She had her blond hair pulled back in a tight ponytail. But, ugh. She was bringing a male security guard in tow. 

Evan stood up. Freddy did too.

Neraeh approached closer, though the security guard wasn’t too far behind her. “Hi,” she said. “Do I know you two from somewhere?”

Without much effort Evan felt all his energy focus directly upon her. He had to gaze downward more; she was about five and a half feet tall, if not shorter, and was taller and heavier than thin little Syrrah. But her eyes. That Facebook photo didn’t do her justice at all. Her eyes were blue, not green, but then it hit him, hard, like a kickbox hit to the stomach; he was gazing into the eyes of the sister of his beloved Syrrah. And things got worse. Her eyes nearly resembled the beauty, shape, and brightness of Syrrah’s eyes. But fortunately, he wasn’t actually seeing Syrrah before him now but was clearly viewing Neraeh for who she was, as her physical self. He cleared his throat. “Umm, hi, Neraeh.” The security guard, an older, bald dude who obviously didn’t like their presence here, stepped closer, crossing his arms, giving that ‘one trip up, and you guys are history’ look. Evan focused back on Neraeh. “I am Evan, Evan Turrone.” He looked at Freddy. “And this is my friend Freddy Jergensen.”

“Hello, Neraeh,” Freddy said, raising his hand in a quick wave, and giving one of his warm smiles. 

“Yes,” she said, “so much I have heard already. But do I know you two? I don’t recognize either one of you.”

“Uh, I understand,” Evan said calmly, keeping his composure, hiding his nerves. “Well, it is…a long story. Years ago, actually, about six years ago, when my dad…see, my dad, he was driving me and my mom to the Mayo clinic, when--”

“Hold on.” She put her hand up signaling stop. “Please. Summarize for me what is going on here.” 

Freddy was thankfully keeping quiet.

This was becoming a disaster, Evan realized.  Just let it out. Might as well end it here and now, and then think up another plan. “I knew your sister, Syrrah.”

Neraeh’s brow furrowed. She blinked several times. She stared intently at Evan for a moment and then gave Freddy a good stare.

Seemed for sure she was getting ready to shout insults at them for even bringing this up, though her stare wasn’t hateful.

She glanced down at her watch and then looked at Evan. “It’s one-forty now. I get done at two PM. We can talk about this then.”

The security guard and Neraeh looked at each other. “I’ll head back now,” she told him, and the two of them walked away.

“Okay, thank you.” Evan made sure not to call out too loudly. “We appreciate it.”