CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and FORTY-SIX
Four months later
Saturday early morning — 5:30 a.m.
Cherry Creek running trail
Nelson had driven Tres’s sedan down University Boulevard to the Cherry Creek Trail. He parked and got out. Grabbing his athletic face mask and his water bottle, he began to run in the direction of the Cherry Creek reservoir.
The beginning of the pandemic had been fun. They’d taken care of children and planted seedlings. They’d moved into their new home. Jeraine had put together his concerts. Jacob, Blane, and Aden had worked to save Lipson Construction. Delphie’s weird raised bed project had gotten off the ground. Blane had started his clinic in the medical offices of the Castle.
But as the summer heat rose, the pandemic lingered on. Mr. Matchel went home. The seedlings, so joyously planted, were slowly growing. Jeraine’s concerts were a big hit. They settled into a routine in their new home.
And the battle lines were drawn between people who didn’t “believe” in the virus and people who wanted to keep themselves and their families safe. Of course, the ERs remained full of patients. People were still dying every single day in Colorado.
Yet, around Nelson, only some people wore masks. He wanted to scream but he knew that there was nothing he could do. Every other day, Nelson had headed out to this trail to run with Dr. John Drayson. They’d been friends since they were both young doctors working in the ER. Nelson was one of the few people who could truly understand what John was going through. They commiserated while they ran. On particularly glum days, they ran in companionable silence.
Somehow, Nelson’s father had held on. Jill and her grandfather visited regularly to strengthen his father’s body. Yet, Nelson felt a lot of pressure to get this God damned moronic Templar trip together to find that ridiculous jewel and save his father.
France was willing to foot the bill for the expedition, but wanted to wait until the pandemic was over.
His father was hanging on; Nelson was waiting for the pandemic to be over.
The pandemic lingered on.
In order to avoid the bikes and the idiots, Nelson kept to the grassy creekside of the path. He was just reaching the spot where he picked up John when he saw John’s wife, Alex, waiting for him. He’s heart skipped a beat.
“Where’s John?” Nelson asked in a flurry of words as he coming to a stop. “Is he sick? Is he okay? What’s happened?”
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...
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