Chapter Seventy Four
Friday November 15th, 2080: Early Night
“Ran-Ran?” Kolleen called out. All Randy could see was darkness. Kolleen’s voice had been bouncing around what looked like a very cavernous location. Randy noticed that his cane was gone and that he could walk normally once more. His heart was beating normal with his normal walk and his breathing wasn’t labored. Did I just die? He saw a bright light shining from the ceiling of this cavern which blinded him a bit.
A warming feeling embraced him as he felt his body lift up closer to the light’s origin. All his worries and pain were shed off of him like a winter coat. The closer he got to this mysterious light the more pain was cut from him. Just then the darkness disappeared and all around him were clouds, sunshine and a distinct sound of birds chirping. “Oh God, did I die?” Randy muttered. He looked down at his hands and almost collapsed when he saw them. They weren’t old and frail anymore, but young and vibrant. He saw a golden wall ahead of him which reflected like mirrors.
When he got inches from it he could see that his face was no longer flabby. His twenty year old self had been gazing back at him. “What the…?” He whispered. “Mr. Rodriguez, how wonderful it is for you to join us!” A pleasant male voice said. Randy walked towards the origin of this voice, which was to the right of these enormous golden gates.
The man had a pair of fluffy looking feathered wings that were whiter than snow. He had a thick dark brown beard and long hair. In front of him sat a desk made entirely of gold and the biggest book Randy had ever seen in his life, laying wide open. The man had a quill in his right hand and was scribbling things into the book when Randy approached him. “Sir, did I just die?” The man looked at him with somber eyes and then took a deep breath. “I do believe you did, child. What I do not believe is that your stay here will be very long. There are people attempting to revive you as we speak.”
Randy got closer and saw numerous amounts of names scribbled into the very parchment pages of that book. “So this is the famous Book of Life, huh?” he asked.. “Do you mind?” “Well this book is for my eyes only Randy but you are entitled to see if your name is in here, hold on.” St. Peter waved a hand and then the pages began to flutter around from left to right until it stopped in the R section. “There you are!” St. Peter pointed to a name. Sure enough, Randy Rodriguez was printed in fine gold lettering and in the most perfect penmanship Randy had ever seen.
“How do you know that’s me though?” “It’s connected to your family tree that goes way back even before Patrick Rodriguez.” Just then Randy felt a sharp pain in his chest, almost like a burning sensation. “You felt that didn’t you?” St. Peter asked him. “It felt like someone was burning my chest!” The angelic book keeper gazed at him and then waved the book closed. “It is not your time son, but when it is, you will know. Go, enjoy what life you have left!” he stated.
With a wave of his hand, Randy fell through the clouds and tumbled down further towards the darkness. The further he fell the more pain and anguish caked back onto him. As easily as it was shredded off, it piled on more and more as he rapidly descended. He saw a hospital room with over a dozen of doctors standing around him. A dark skinned doctor who resembled Dr. Farber a lot, was shaking his head at the others. They were just about to slide the sheet over him when all of a sudden, Randy collided with his body.
His old frail self jolted straight off of the table a half a foot and then his heart began to beat. “Oh my god! We have a pulse doctor!” A girl yelled out. Randy recognized that voice. “P-Penny?” He called out. It hurt him to even say the name, since his older sister was long gone from this world. He then felt the most familiar touch. An old, frail, yet loving hand rested inside of his. “I’m right here Ran-Ran.” Kolleen said in his ear. “K-Kol…” Randy tried to reach up to her but he was too weak. “Shh. Stay calm Randy.” She whispered back.
They ran into a nearby I.C.U. room and immediately hooked Randy up to a heart monitor as well as an I.V. bag. The dark skinned doctor nodded towards the rest and then they all dispersed. All of them, except the girl who sounded like Penny. “P-Penny?” Randy called out to her again. His heart was still breaking at the mention of the name and his eyes stung. “Are you talking about my grandmother?” the woman replied. He looked down and saw a shapely body coming more and more into focus. She had long bushy black hair and a face that resembled Penny so well.
“I am Doctor Eliza Rodrigo, granddaughter to Penny Rodriguez. To your left here is Doctor Anthony Farber the Third, grandson to Doctor Anthony Farber the First. It is nice to finally meet my great uncle after all these years.” Eliza replied. Randy began to notice that Eliza had more of an hourglass figure than Penny did. Just then Anthony stepped beside her and had an arm around her waist. Randy could see that he looked just like his grandfather but was a lot more slender. “This dog here…” Eliza started. She laughed a bit as he kissed her cheek.
“How long have you two been engaged?” Randy asked them. Both of their eyes opened in shock at this question. “Good observations sir!” Anthony stated. Eliza cleared her throat and then replied. “We’ve been engaged for about a month now, though we’ve been boyfriend and girlfriend for over three years. Our wedding is next week actually!” Randy couldn’t help but smile at this young couple ahead of him. He then felt Kolleen’s hand as it rested on his shoulder. He found the strength to reach up and grab a hold of it with his own.
They kissed each other and then turned their attention back to the room. “Oh crap! Where are the kids?!” Randy exclaimed. “They’re fine Ran-Ran. I notified our grandkids and they came by to pick the great grand kids up. Don’t worry though, they’ll be here shortly.” “Jesus Kol… Why does this have to happen to me?” He was getting so sick and tired of having these heart complications and always being in and out of the hospital. It felt like such a conundrum and there seemed to be no end in sight.
Kolleen slid a chair up to his side and rested her feet. She rubbed Randy’s arm to try and keep him calm and awake. Just then his great grandkids appeared as did his grandkids. Charlie and Lori ran up to his left whilst Randal and Roy walked up next to Kolleen. “Are you going to die?” Lori asked. “Lori! That is not how you address your elders.” Ellie stated. She was standing at the end of Randy’s bed and her appearance blew him away. She looked just like Kolleen but had a more of a Russian face, with her heightened cheekbones and chiseled jaw line.
She was standing with purse in hand and an enormous man to her left. He looked just like Gorgon Streinholme, right down to the massive arms and wide chest. “It is nice to see you again sir!” Gorgon II said. “Where are our twins?” Randy asked. “We’re right here grandpa!” Roy and Randal stated. “I see that.” Randy replied, laughing a bit. “But I mean Lorie and Robert? Their kids are here, but where are they?” “We’re right here father.” A male voice replied. “Excuse me Gorgon.” “Oh, sorry Robert.”
He stepped aside and revealed the kids who seemed happy, and healthy. They looked old, but still seemed alright. Lorie had jet black hair and blue eyes and resembled Randy a lot. Robert had blonde hair, green eyes and looked more like Kolleen. “Where’s Laura?” Randy asked Robert. “Oh, she had to stay back and take care of some business. Our company is already becoming understaffed at over two hundred workers. We have to hire an entire new wave. The lawyer firm business is quite a hard thing to get into, but once your foot’s in that door, you’re set!” Robert Sr. replied. “Where’s Tony? For that matter, where’s Amelia?” Randy asked.
“Father, it’s been a long time since we all got together. You keep yourself cooped up in that old mansion of your grandfather’s. It’s hard to call you much because I’m so busy with my firm and the rest of us have to keep doing our jobs…” Robert Sr. trailed off a bit so Lorie decided to pick up on it. “Hmm… How to best explain this situation. Here it goes. Amelia died recently, Dad. She passed away from heart failure just a month ago. Obviously, with his wife just dying, he was very depressed. He drank so much; I just… I wish he would have never lifted a bottle!” Lorie exclaimed.
Ellie hugged her mother tightly as they both felt the sadness creeping over them. “My god… I am so sorry.” Randy replied. He felt his eyes welling with tears once more. They dripped down his face, which he covered. “I’m so; so sorry…” Ellie, Lorie, Robert Sr. Gorgon II and Kolleen all turned their attention towards him once more. “It’s okay grandpa, you didn’t know.” Ellie stated. “But hey, do you all remember why we started calling Anthony Tony?“ she added in. Kolleen chimed in this time, with a laugh. “Yeah, we called him Tony because he had the same name as our family’s physician.” Everyone laughed a bit following with a full sigh. Ellie rubbed Randy’s foot for a second and then folded her arms. “This is like the tenth time you’ve had this problem father.” Robert stated.
He walked up beside Kolleen, and rested a hand on Randy’s shoulder. “Are you sure you wouldn’t like Laura and I to set you and Mom up in a nice home? Somewhere that you’ll have complete, one hundred percent attention and care?” “I appreciate the offer son, but I just can’t abandon that house. The last time I left my house it was vandalized and I’m not gonna have that happen again.”
Then something just occurred to Randy. “Where’s Daniel?” Randy asked. “Daniel’s been dead for years, Grandpa. He passed right near your birthday, remember?” Ellie replied. He saw the depression in her eyes which made his heart break. “Dear lord, not another one? Why does this keep happening?” Randy asked. He felt his heart breaking over and over again as the time wore on. “How did Lori and Charlie take it?” Lorie gazed at him with confusion in her eyes. “They took it like any child would take an event like that. They took it pretty badly but over time were able to move on.”
“That’s good… That’s g-great!” He couldn’t believe how much he had missed over time. Kolleen took this opportunity to show Lorie, Ellie and Robert the video she took earlier that day. “The great grandkids love moments like these.” She stated. Eliza re-entered the area and saw the crowd gathered around Randy’s bed. She slid by them and then checked Randy’s heart. “Seeing as though you’re being stubborn and refuse to leave your house I can do you a solid. I’ll swing by your place twice a week, on Monday and Friday, to check in on you. Does that sound okay?” she asked.
“I’ll do you one even better!” Ellie stated. “You seem to like talking to Roy and Randal and they love you a lot as does Charlie and Lori. Seeing as how Gorgon and I are taking care of all the kids now, we have the rights over them. I figured, now that you have a personal doctor coming over, we can leave the kids with you and Grandma until Monday and we’ll see where it goes from there.” Ellie stated. Anthony had returned who was already ruffling through papers. “It says that you are free to go tomorrow morning. We’ll be keeping you overnight for observation.” Anthony said.
“I already told Anthony that I volunteered to watch over you twice a week. Seeing as though your vitals are back to the way they should be, it seemed alright to release you in the morning. Though I’ll be keeping a super close eye on you those two days a week and I expect Great Aunt Kolleen will watch as well.” Eliza stated. Kolleen nodded at her and started rubbing Randy’s arm again.
“Okay, we’re gonna get going since visiting hours are ending.” Robert said. He walked over and hugged Randy and then hugged Kolleen and kissed her cheek. Lorie did the same and said, “I love you.” before exiting the area with Robert. Ellie left the area as well after saying her goodbyes. Randy watched the children follow her like a herd of sheep. They were alone now, Randy and Kolleen. “Please don’t scare me like that again Ran-Ran.” “Come here.” Randy replied, waving her towards him. She rested her head on his chest and felt his old heart beating in her ear. “It’s sad news about Tony and Amelia though, isn’t it?” She asked.
Randy ran his fingers through her gray hair and sighed. “It’s quite a small world to be honest. How easy it is for someone to pass away. I mean it, Kol. I can’t get over as to how I’m still breathing. I was up at the golden gates themselves talking it up with Saint Peter. He showed me my name in that big book and it just hit me. Death can come to anyone as swift as a fox. It targets all ages, and has no remorse for even the little ones. I can’t stand it.”
“I know Ran-Ran; I know.” They laid there in silence for the rest of the night, until both of them dozed off. Deep in Randy’s mind he could see the images of Tony and Amelia. They still had two beautiful boys to raise and were now gone from this world. He felt his heart break for a second time and then his mind trailed off.