Zera and the Green Man: Chapter 26

Looking out the kitchen window, Nonny Green sipped her second cup of coffee. The sun was halfway up the trunk of the blue spruce; it had to be well after 9:00 A. M.

“I wonder when she’s going to get up.” Nonny directed her remark through the pocket doors of the kitchen to the dogs in the living room. Alice and Cato looked up, cocked their heads. Alice jumped off a chair, trotted up to Nonny’s chair, and laid her head on Nonny’s lap.

“She used to get up with the chickens.” Nonny stroked Alice’s soft, spotted head. “She must be exhausted from yesterday, poor darling.”

Nonny tried Theodore’s v-phone again and this time she got through to his answering tape. She watched a video of Theodore, looking so professional and serious, telling her, “I am not available at the moment, but I will return your call as soon as possible.”

“Please call me, Ted, I need to talk to you,” Nonny said to the image. She could see her own worried reflection over her son’s on the monitor.

She finished her coffee and stood up with the help of her cane. She checked the living room’s mantle clock. “Nine forty-five.” Clunking over to the staircase, she called, “Zera, honey, it’s time to get up.”

No answer.

“Zera. Sweetie,” she called a bit louder, “it’s almost ten. Hattie and Grandma Wren will be here soon.”

Still nothing. Nonny looked at the dogs. Alice was back in her lounging position on the couch next to Cato.

“Alice. Go get Zera.” Nonny slapped her thigh.

Alice pricked up her ears but did not budge.

“How about you, Cato, old boy?” tried Nonny. “Where’s Zera? Go get her.” She waved one arm toward the stairs.

The old black lab slowly got down off the sofa, stretching his back legs on the cushion with arthritic lethargy as he made his way down. He ambled stiff-legged in the opposite direction, to a kitchen counter, on which sat the dog biscuit jar.

“You dogs are worthless. You’d let a one-legged old lady climb the stairs, wouldn’t you? Phooey on you, then.”

Nonny began ascending the steps, holding onto the handrail with one hand and her cane with the other, calling for Zera. When she made it halfway up, Alice bounded up the stairs. Standing on the landing she watched Nonny continue her climb.

Now you take some interest.”

“Zera!” Nonny called, and then caught her breath. At the top of the steps, Nonny felt a crushing pain in her heart. She pressed her free hand against her chest. “Oh, please, don’t let it happen now,” she whispered. She stood there for a moment, trying to will the pain to stop, but it increased. She lurched to the door of Zera’s room and opened it, then collapsed on the floor. She didn’t see Zera lying on the floor near the terrarium. She didn’t hear the rumble of Hattie’s truck in the driveway.

Nonny’s heart had stopped.

Hattie entered the house with Ben and Grandma Wren. “Guinevere! Zera! Are you here?” The dogs were barking wildly, Alice upstairs at the landing, Cato downstairs. Alice ran halfway down the stairs, barking frantically, then back up.

Panic gripped Hattie as she raced up the stairs. Ben followed her.

“Oh, no!” Hattie’s hand flew up to her mouth to stifle a scream. Nonny, lying in the doorway, Zera on the bedroom floor near her terrarium. Hattie bent down over Nonny while Ben rushed to Zera. Zera was breathing, although unconscious, but Guinevere had no heartbeat. Hattie began CPR and yelled at the top of her lungs, “Grandma, call 911!”

By siegertmarc (The open window  Uploaded by MaybeMaybeMaybe)

By siegertmarc (The open window Uploaded by MaybeMaybeMaybe)

To purchase your own copy of Zera and the Green Man, visit the official website now. Paperback and Kindle versions are now available.

Zera and the Green Man is a novel by Sandra Knauf, a local author and sustainability advocate living in Colorado Springs.


Published via US Represented by consent of the publisher:
Published by Greenwoman Publishing, LLC
P. O. Box 6587, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80934-6587, U.S.A.

First published in the United States of America
Copyright © Sandra Knauf, 2013
All rights reserved

ISBN: 978-0-9897056-0-8 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-0-9897056-1-5 (ebook)

Cover drawing by Paul Spielman.
Cover photography by CanStockPhoto 11569383
Cover and interior design by Zora Knauf.


This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or living-dead, is entirely coincidental.

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