The humidity in the sunroom was stifling as Maude’s sweat damp hair clung to her forehead. She pumped her legs and arms hard on the elliptical trying to get the emotions that plagued her out of her system. As she thought back over the previous day her pace slowed and the iPod’s music that blared in her ears faded to the background of her consciousness.
Friday was supposed to be great. With the schedule for the next, two weeks done and no one calling in Maude actually got to leave early for once beating the Friday traffic. All day Brian had been texting and emailing her updates. Gainesville was a good five-hour drive from Linden and she appreciated the ongoing contact. It assured her he wasn’t just toying with her at the time…boy was she wrong.
A beep on her cell phone, heard only because an ear bud fell out, brought her back to the present. Stopping the music and gliding her elliptical to a halt she grabbed her towel and water and checked her phone. It was a text from Diane. This was the fourth one since last night. She knew Diane wanted to know if Brian made it, if she was safe and how things were going. Maude would have to talk to her soon, just not yet.
A breeze blew in through the open windows with the smell of ferns and Dogwood. Since her plans for the weekend literally disappeared, she thought perhaps she would work in her flowerbeds. Maude took a shower feeling somewhat better and logged onto her Facebook. Diane had messaged her there as well. Scrolling through her friends’ status updates on her wall she laughed aloud at the obsessive attention “The Rapture” was getting all over social media.
Supposedly, some man that led a small Christian congregation had prophesied that the world would end today at 6:00 pm and all the people who were righteous would disappear. So if you were left here after six you were basically wicked. Posts like “should I wear sturdy tennis shoes or sexy stilettos for the rapture” made Maude roll her eyes. People weren’t wasting time utilizing the advertizing potential either. There were three event invites at the local music venues with titles based around the rapture.
A beep caught Maude’s attention. Picking up her phone, she had a missed call…Diane. Who was now calling again. Deep breath in, hold it, let it out. Maude hit the answer button.
“Hello.” she said.
“Hey, what are you doing?” Diane answered, the years of constant smoking giving her voice a deep gravelly timber never ceasing to make Maude smile.
“Just got out of the shower, that’s where I was when you called.”
“Killer.” Diane responded making Maude grin again at Diane’s signature saying for the last three decades.
“What you showering for? Work up a sweat?” Diane asked.
“Yeah I was working out. It’s really humid in the sun room in the morning.”
“Hold up…where’s Brian?”
“Your guess is as good as mine. All I know is all day Friday he emailed, called and text letting me know he was on his way. At 9:30, he sent me an email saying he was caught in traffic in Marian. I didn’t think anything of it since its Friday night and that is a college town. But it’s only a couple hours away. I stayed up until 1:00 AM. I was worried out of my mind.”
“I’m sure you’ve tried to call and text him. When is the last time you tried?”
“Around 11:00 this morning. My last words to him were Satan has a special place in hell for cruel ass holes like you. I’m sure he had this planned from the beginning. I swear I’m done with meeting men online! He was probably with his buddies while he sent those emails saying he was on his way.” A lone tear escape Maude’s eye. She wiped it and sighed.
“That’s one idea. What else do you think happened? He could have been in a wreck?” Diane suggested.
“No…I doubt it. I looked online there were no deadly wrecks at all between here and there that have been reported. Or any with serious injuries. That in itself is a blessing I guess for a Friday night.”
“Huh…” Diane replied. Maude knew she was trying to find something comforting to say.
“I did have a dream last night though.” Maude offered.
“Well I dreamed he stopped at a rest stop late last night. It was completely deserted except for some tractor-trailers. He went in and used the bathroom. When he came out, he thought he heard something. You know rest stops here they are surrounded by woods. Anyways he walked faster to his truck. But when he stopped to unlock the door something jump in the bed. He looked up and there looking back at him was Raptor.”
“What?” Diane asked.
“You know the dinosaur. Anyways, he took off running and then the rest of the Raptors surrounded him and they ripped him to shreds.” Maude finished. Silence was her reply.
“I fell asleep watching Jurassic Park Diane.” With that, Diane busted out in her raspy nicotine coated laughter. Maude smiled too. When Diane finally stopped the line got quiet again as if she was thinking.
“Or…” Diane offered. “He got caught up in the rapture…and it was early.” Maude laughed so hard she cried.
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