-XVI-

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           John wept for what felt like hours.  The Keepers and Athan let him be.  He sat in the dirt, a few feet from the blood spatter that should have been Athan’s head and a few feet from the face that was his own body.  He wasn’t weeping for fear.  He wasn’t weeping for confusion.  He was weeping because somewhere deep inside himself, he started to realize and understand that something big was happening and that he was a part of it.  He would have to listen to the Keepers.  He would have to expect surprises and react to them with calm.  He would have to deal with whatever was waiting outside…
           “I’m sorry,” John whispered.  He grabbed a wooden pillar and pulled himself to his feet.  He brushed his clothing off and wiped his face, leaving streaks of wet dirt.
           “Now you look like you’re ready to fight,” Athan said with a smile.
           “I don’t know what go into me,” John said.
           “I do,” said the Keeper of Souls.  “Reality.  Life.  Hope.  Purpose.”
           “Hush down,” the Keeper of Minds shouted, “let’s not scare him more.  We have to talk.  And talk serious.”
           The Keeper of Minds reached into his robe and pulled out a pocket watch.  He clicked it open and shook his head.
           “He’s moving time…”
           “How?” asked the Keeper of Souls.
           “He controls life and death,” the Keeper of Minds replied.  “That means he controls time.”
           John looked at Athan and saw he was just as confused as he was.
           The Keeper of Minds looked up and spoke, “See, he can’t just kill people.  That’s not how it works.  He can however adjust time… let’s say he wants you dead, John.  He could speed time up until your death comes.  Then once you’re gone, he can reverse it.”
           “If he reverses, then won’t I be alive again?” John asked.
           “No,” the Keeper of Souls said with an evil look on her face, “once the soul is lost, it’s lost forever.”
           “Keep calm, he’s only asking the obvious,” the Keeper of Minds said.
           “I control all souls,” the Keeper of Souls said, “and there’s no turning back.  I will never return a soul.  I cannot.  Even… if he plays with time…”
           The Keeper of Souls bowed her head.
           “Maybe we should go back inside,” Athan said pointing to the door.  “John and I will go inside.  We can sit and talk.  And then you two can join us.”
           The Keeper of Minds nodded.
           The first thing you have to do is trust us, John, the Keeper of Minds said to John.
           John nodded and followed Athan back inside.  As the door started to shut John looked back hoping the Keeper of Souls would be okay.  He saw that she had her head back up and had a stoned look on her face.  He heard a few words muttered between she and the Keeper Minds:  “test, fight, die”.
           John grabbed Athan’s shoulder.  Athan pushed through the kitchen door of the restaurant and gasped for air.  The tables were full.  People sat at them.  Lots of people.
           “What is this?” John asked.
           “I don’t know,” Athan replied.
           John turned and saw that the kitchen door was gone.  It was now a wall.  John pushed the wall, hoping it was cave in but instead it made a loud noise.  Every person at the table looked up at John and Athan.  That’s when John realized they weren’t people… they were zombies…
           “What do we do?” John asked.
           The zombies all stood up, sending tables, chairs, plates, and glasses flying.  They charged.
           “We fight,” Athan said.

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About Jim Bronyaur

Jim Bronyaur writes mystery, thriller, and horror books. Grab a book at www.JimBronyaur.com Tweet him @JimBronyaur And for those who have Kindles and Prime, you may be able to get some of Jim's books for FREE!
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