Zera and the Green Man: Chapter 29

A red-eyed Hattie Goodacre sat on a long beige couch in the waiting room of Peak County Hospital.

“They’ll be okay, Mom,” said Ben, sitting beside her. Hattie wished she could believe him. She could tell by his tight mouth, the obvious hurt in his eyes, that he wasn’t convinced. The truth was, they just didn’t know.

Cosmic Dan walked down the hall toward them, his expression serious, until Hattie caught his eye. He attempted to grin but failed. Hattie caught her breath.

She and Ben stood as Hattie dabbed her eyes with tissue. “You talked to the doctors?” she asked.

Dan nodded. “Since they were unable to get in touch with Theodore, they finally let me know a little bit about what’s going on.”

“What did you find out?”

“A few things.”

Dan motioned for Ben and Hattie to sit back down and parked his long, lanky body next to Hattie’s. His closeness gave her comfort. “You told me you knew the situation with Guinevere, Hat, and you said you told Ben this morning.” He rubbed his jaw, visibly troubled. “The cardiologist, Dr. Ball, said she’s in pretty bad shape, might not last the night.”

Hattie burst into tears, and Dan held her while she sobbed. Hattie blew her nose and made an effort to regain control of her emotions. “She was having problems even before Sally and Ewan died. And these last years, they’ve been a struggle. But Zera doesn’t know, and Ted, well, he knows she’s been sick, but he’s never known just how serious her illness has been. That’s what gets me. She swore me to secrecy, and I feel like I’ve been helping a stupid, stupid conspiracy because Guinevere wanted me to, and now it feels like a huge mistake.”

“What about Zera?” Ben asked Dan. “Any change?”

“No.” Dan’s brow furrowed. “But she seems to be okay. It’s strange. She won’t wake up. It’s not really a coma, there’s no injury, and her brain patterns show a person who’s experiencing deep sleep. It’s all REM sleep, you know, rapid eye movement, like when people dream. It’s unlike anything they’ve seen. No one can figure out what’s going on and they want to wait until they get in touch with Theodore before they go further in trying to wake her.”

“I told you what she said she saw up on Tava,” Hattie said, her voice quavering. “Grandma Wren too. I’m sure it’s got something to do with that.” She dabbed her eyes again, tried to smile, then took a deep breath to compose herself. “I’ve got to pull myself together . . .”

Ben had put a hand on his mother’s other shoulder and Hattie patted it. “I haven’t been able to get in touch with Ted all day,” she said. “Talked to that bimbo secretary in L.A. probably a half-dozen times. I finally got out of her that Ted left yesterday for some family emergency here in Colorado! I don’t know what’s going on.” Hattie blew her nose again. “She said she’s been unable to get in touch with Ted’s boss. She did tell me Ted’s president of their Biotechnology Division. Guinevere never mentioned that; I don’t think she even knows.”

“We’ll find him,” Dan said. “You just need to hang in there. Zera’s going to wake up soon. And you’re going to be right there with a beautiful smile for her.”

Hattie tried to produce even a weak imitation of a smile, but found she couldn’t. “Is Grandma Wren still with her?”

“Hasn’t left her side.”

Hard rock music came from the floor, the v-phone in Hattie’s backpack.

 “They call me Doctor (Doctor Love)

They call me Doctor Love (calling Doctor Love)”

 Hattie looked at Ben and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Changed my ring tone again?” Ben jumped up as Hattie picked up her backpack from the floor. He looked ill.  “That was . . . I did that yesterday after you all took off to Pikes Peak. I thought it’d be funny, to Zera. I’m going to get a drink of water,” He took off down the hall.

Poor kid, Hattie thought. He had a crush on Zera, it was written all over him, had been since he’d seen her at the house that first day back home. When he was out last night until 11:30 she suspected he might have gone over to see her. Could it have been just yesterday when they were all working in the garden so happily at Elsie Mayfield’s? It seemed like a million years ago.

Hattie dug out her phone. “Maybe it’s Ted, finally,”

She paused for a moment, staring. “Oh, all buttons! UGH!” She uttered a swear word as the tune of Calling Dr. Love continued, then stabbed at one of them. “Hello?”

An extremely handsome man appeared on the screen. “Hello. Is this Hattie Goodacre?”

“Yes.” Even in her overwrought state of near-despair, Hattie couldn’t help but think — he looks like a movie star.

“Ms. Goodacre, I’m Langston Void. I’ve been trying for hours to get in touch with Theodore Green. Is his niece okay? I heard she’s had an appendectomy.”

<<–Chapter 28  | Chapter 30–>>

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.