Twisted Saga ReGenesis (book 3 of 3)

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Chapter 18- The ReGenesis

On the way home from the hospital, a long-awaited phone call goes out. It keeps the surprises rolling for Emily and Brooklyn.

“Hello Kyle, any update on Brooklyn?” Gwen opens the call, unaware of who giggles silently on the other end of the call.

“Hi mom, guess what? We’re on our way home!” She says with excitement in her voice.

At first, Gwen’s stopped by a momentary state of shock.

“Brooklyn, is that really you?”

“Yeah, mom, it’s me…”

Gwen becomes ecstatic to learn about the good news.

“It’s so good to hear your voice and such a relief that you get to go home.”

Smiles are shared as mother and daughter go silent.

“Hey, you’re burning a hole in my phone.” Kyle teases with his eyes on the road.

“Yeah, sorry, babe… So mom, what’s going on? How’s um life out there?”

Able to pick up on the hint, Gwen doesn’t hold back.

“Life is changing as we speak. I’m looking for houses in primarily North Carolina. We’re going to spread your father’s ashes. Other than that, it’s the same ole same ole, you know.”

Things turn around when Brooklyn brings up her apology to her mother.

“I’m sorry, mom, I never…”

She’s cut off before she has the chance to set herself back into a depressive state.

“Just stop right there; no need to go there. It’s done. I don’t hold either of you responsible for what happened. I’m finally at peace with it. Take time to enjoy being home. Your children don’t stay little for long. I should know I watched four of you grow up. Lilly still expects him to come home.”

The moment brings some hard realization to the front of Brooklyn’s mind.

“Wow, that’s crazy, mom. It seems like yesterday it was Aaron and me at that age wondering when dad was coming home.”

Not wanting to draw out the conversation, Gwen quickly returns about moving away from Virginia.

“Yeah, well, back to today’s events, kiddo. We’re heading down to North Carolina soon. After we get settled somewhere, you all should come down.”

“Gosh, mom, that sounds great. If it weren’t for the hotel, I’d pack us up and head out too.” Brooklyn admits feeling a change in scenery could help her heal.

Kyle can’t control his mouth at that point.

“You know you do have an executive committee to make decisions, and there are such things as video conferencing.”

His voice carries over into the receiver, where Gwen listens to his proposal.

“I like it. You all deserve a fresh start. I don’t care if you stay with us when we get settled. Ohio is a curse on our family. Get out of there!”

“I can’t argue with that on either side and yeah, we’ll begin searching. However, I don’t want to live near my mother. No offense, mom but maybe somewhere warmer like Atlanta or Daytona.” Brooklyn mentions when the itch to relocate begins to become a new obsession.

Gwen chuckles when she prepares to end the discussion.

“Well, kiddo, I need to get moving, but knowing you are home eases my worries so much. I love you, Brooky.”

“I love you, mom. Bye.”

The two sides sigh in relief as Gwen’s worst fears are now put to rest, and Brooklyn realizes peace that her mother has the strength to move on.

A fresh start is what the doctor ordered. Gwen and Lilly wrap up packing the house and place the boxes in the front room for the movers to put them in the U-Haul once they buy a home.

“Mom, are you sure you’re ready?” Lilly asks when they go out to their favorite Mexican restaurant.

“We don’t have much of a choice, and yes, I am ready. Plus, we get to break in my shiny new car. One I know your dad would’ve loved.”

Delilah scoffs when she hears the comment.

“Uh, mom, dad drove Ford’s, not Mercedes.”

Although her daughter makes a valid point, Gwen can’t help but torment her youngest child.

“It’s a sports car, and hey, it’s my first sports car in years. I’ve had four doors, trucks, and I loved my Lincoln SUV. Since it’s only us now, I wanted to spoil myself. I think I’ve done more than enough to earn it.”

“I won’t say you didn’t, mom. Just like I said, dad always had a Ford. I want a car like daddy’s when I am bigger.”

“You know I wouldn’t deny you that after all the others got cars when they turned sixteen. I wouldn’t stop you from having some freedom too.”

The eyes say it all when they light up with bliss.

“Thank you, mommy…”

Gwen’s slightly confused.

“You’re welcome, but what are you thankful for?”

Lilly sits there for only a minute without saying a word.

“Being there for me when I’m sad. You’ve been there every time I feel sad.”

It’s a tender sweet declaration that leaves Lilly with blushed cheeks, and Gwen’s heart flutters with butterflies.

“You’re my daughter; of course, I’ll always be there. Enough mushy stuff, let’s finish this and have fun this evening because tomorrow we hit the road. We’ll use the old vacation house at the Outer Banks, and we’ll check out Greenville.”

“Sounds like fun. I can’t wait.” Lilly giggles, excited for their new adventure.

They finish up their meal then head home to spend their final night there, killing time with a movie on the couch. Throughout the night, Lilly tosses and turns with the angst to hit the road in a matter of hours.

It’s a different scenario for Gwen during her sleepless night. She barely dozes off when she’s transported far from the couch.

Trees surround her, sunshine cascades through the branches, with birds chirping all around her. Gwen finds herself in a state of confusion.

“Hello? Anyone out there?” She shouts over the noises of nature.

She refuses to budge from where she stands, but she notices the silhouette in the far distance.

“Who’s there? Hey, where are we?”

The daydream comes to a sudden halt when her alarm draws her back to reality.

“Weird…” She says to herself, shifting her weight before she gets to her feet to shake off the effects of the illusion.

Once they pack up what they need in the car, the mother-daughter team heads out and blows a kiss to the house they once called home. They hit the road for their first destination.

Distance and time feel like nothing in the brand-new Mercedes when they arrive in the late morning hours to enjoy the local sights along with some greasy food at a vintage 1950’s diner at the edge of the tour.

“Mom, I have a question…” Delilah begins while they wait on their food.

Gwen’s curiosity takes control.

“Alright, I’m all ears.”

“If you could change one thing in your life, anything at all, what would you want to change?”

Without hesitation, Gwen surprises Lilly with her answer.

“Nothing, nothing at all, as I’ve learned in all my time, is that the decisions made today lead to who you are tomorrow. That means if you change the slightest detail could alter who you’re meant to me become.”

Lilly’s jaw drops, causing her eyes to resemble a barn owl.

“Wow, not what I thought you would say.”

“Let me explain, do I miss people? Yes. My parents, friends, your father, and it sucks to miss them. If they were still here, I might not be here with you. Driving and enjoying the sights, sounds, smells, and experiences we have to enjoy. If it weren’t for what’s happened in my life, I wouldn’t be here now, and well, I love the fact that we’re getting close like you and daddy were.”

A new light bulb illuminates in Lilly’s mind. For the first time, she sees the message in her mother’s explanation, unlike in the past, when it sounded like garbled gibberish.

“I think I see what you mean.” She states with a smile across her face.

“That’s my girl, sharp as a tack and quick like a cheetah.” Gwen compliments.

Together they enjoy the day of relaxation. Once the morning sun is perched in the clear blue sky, they return to the road with several stops.

“We’re almost there, sweetheart. We’ll stay in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Your dad loved driving through them, and we’ll scatter his ashes.”

Once again, in a sleepless state of mind, Gwen arrives at the same location. Only this time, it’s early morning with creepy unnerving fog over the ground.

“Hello… Hello out there, can anyone hear me?” She calls out as her voice carries through the woods.

“Gwen…” A voice replies echoes along with the tress as a cold shiver travels down her spine.

“Yes, I’m here. Where are you? Do you need help?” She asks, beginning to feel anxiety in her body with her blood turning cold.

The voice takes its time before it speaks again.

“Need, I need nothing. I am the guardian. I will be watching until we meet again, soon…”

It’s enough to shake Gwen out of her insomnia. In an instant, she sits up in a cold sweat, breathing deeply.

“Son of a bitch…” She mutters with her eyes locked on Lilly, asleep in the other bed.

A vision like that is enough to keep her awake the rest of the night. She stirs in her bed, thinking of the phrase ‘the guardian’ she heard from all around her. Her mind races with possibilities, but she can’t recognize the voice at all.

“Mom, are you okay?” Lily questions at breakfast, seeing a lost look in her mother’s eyes.

“Yeah, just some rough dreams, nothing to worry about, sweetheart.”

They drive all-day through the mountains. The only sound in the car is the music selection on the radio.

Once they arrive along the exit, the mother-daughter team makes a necessary pit stop to eat at Gwen’s favorite spot, Fazoli’s Italian restaurant.

“Hits the spot!” Gwen states with her favorite selection, Chicken Fettucine Alfredo.

Lily has her mouthful of Baked Ziti.

“No way it beats what I have. I’m in love!” She says with a funny face as her mother laughs after she swallows her food.

They manage to find a reasonable hotel at the edge of the mountain. Gwen relaxes, going through the mini-bar when a call comes in from Audrey.

“Hey girl, how’s the trip going? Y’all have been on my mind all day.” Audrey begins the conversation

There’s a full moon high in the sky by the time Audrey and Gwen get in some girl talk.

“Yeah, it’s fine, and we’ll head out early but thank you for calling. It means more than you’ll ever know. I’ve never felt much love from the family.”

“I love you, sis; I’d never turn my back on you. I didn’t turn on you when you needed me back when Aaron and Brooklyn were born, and I won’t now. You took Josh from a lost and angry kid and made him a good man.”

The compliment touches Gwen, and all she can manage to say is “thank you” to Audrey before she walks to the bedroom while Gwen talks about the shadows she’s seen in her insomnia spells.

“I’ve been having these weird dreams. I’m stuck in this wooded area, and I hear this voice. I can’t figure out where it’s coming from or who it is.”

“Wow! It sounds scary, actually, but hey, let me get off here and get a shower. I got in from work a little bit ago, and I need some bubbles in my life.” Audrey says with a hint of a giggle to her voice.

“Have fun, send Sean my love. Bye.”

Stretched out on the bed, Gwen sighs in an attempt to relax. Before she realizes it, her eyes have glazed over. Once again, she’s transported back to the woods. This time it’s right before dawn with an ominous soft glow in the background.

“Alright, this is the third time you’ve brought me here. Tell me who the fuck you are and where you are; so I can kick your ass!” Gwen threatens even though she still can’t move her feet.

A voice comes from right out in front of her as the silhouette of someone approaches.

“It’s time…” The voice ricochets through the trees.

She squints her eyes to see a shape beginning to come clear. More becomes apparent when the arms extend open—someone with short blond tips, tan skin, and a thin figure makes their way to her.

Gwen’s failed to notice that she’s transformed back to her seventeen-year-old self. The age when she met Josh for the first time.

“Nice to see you, Gweny.” The male voice calls out with a pale light from the sun shines on his face.

“Josh!” She cries, bringing her hands to her mouth, unable to believe her eyes.

He continues to walk closer, but she fails to notice like her, he’s transitioned back to his eighteen-year-old self.

“Nice to see you could join me here.” He says to her within an arm’s reach where she leans over, trying to grab him.

“I want to hold you damn it, come here!” She yells with her arms still extended.

Josh stands there as the glow illuminates through his body.

“You can’t be here! This is all a dream, and it’s all about to end.”

The light shifts with the sun slowly rising. Josh starts to fade away a little more.

“NO!” She screams, watching as his body goes in and out of focus.

It’s enough to scare her to break free from her spot to rush to him. Her arms wrapped tightly around his body. It gives Josh a chance to laugh as they stand there.

“About time, you got yourself free from that spot. Just in time, too, walk with me. It’s almost here, the regenesis.”

“A regenesis? I’m confused, sweetheart; besides that, I don’t want you to go! I love you, and please stay with me.” She pleads, squeezing his neck tightly.

“Walk with me. We’ll end this together, Gweny, and I’ll never forget you. I’ll see you again one day. Goodbye, Gwen, my dream love.” He whispers, giving her a final farewell kiss.

Confused, Gwen doesn’t fight back when it clicks, and she somehow understands what he means. Hands locked together. They walk towards the woods with the sun rising towards them. Everything behind them starts to crumble and fades away in the distance until they’re the only ones left in existence.

“Find me again one day, please! I couldn’t have made this expedition without you!” She mentions unwilling to release his hand.

“Let’s just walk into the light together. This isn’t our last time to see each other. Fate will always remain a twisted friend between us. I’ll always be here in your heart.” His words vibrate as they fade further in the light.

The sun finally cascades over them as the background dissolves. The last sight either of them sees is a smile they exchange as everything fades to white.

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