What would you do in the moment you realize you are dead? Make the wrong choice and someone else will have to clean it up.
Zach Dawson knew getting laid off by his company was just a business decision. He didn't take it personally. He knew he would get another job. Who he would work for? That he wasn't prepared for.
Suddenly, a Greater force is emerging in his life. A force that has been there all along, waiting for the opportune time to emerge. It soon becomes evident to Zach that the Greater force pulling his strings are directly tied to a Heavenly tug of war between God and an unseen evil which threatens his family directly. Time to get to work, Zach.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.49(d)|
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Until It's All Over
By Terry L. Kemp
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2016 Terry L. Kemp
All rights reserved.
Have you ever wondered what you will do the second you realize you have died? I mean really contemplated it? Have you ever thought you may have a few choices left? In life, no two people will make the exact same series of decisions. And in death, no one ever makes the same decisions either. Keep this in mind as you continue reading; choices are yours to make in life and after. However, as always, there will be consequences. My name is Zach Dawson. Come; let me tell you about choices. I know all about them now. I know more now than I ever could have imagined. One day I may even clean up the results of one of your choices. Me, or someone like me.
"Does he know yet?"
"No. It will be evident to him soon."
The day my life changed was not unexpected to me. It was the level and type of change that I was not prepared for. Until this day, I had always been career focused. I was constantly attempting to improve my standing within the large corporation I worked for. The best way I knew to do this was to simply outwork those around me. This work ethic did not involve stepping on people to climb the ladder. Rather, I simple beat everyone to the next rung.
"Meat Eater", that is how many of my superiors would describe me. Maximum effort was the only level I knew and this rapidly propelled me from one promotion to another. When it came to useful minutes in the day, I consumed as many as possible, and this got me noticed at every level I achieved. And in the world of home improvement companies, this was the only way to survive.
Best Building Supply had been in business for nearly two decades when I was lucky enough to get a job with them. Their growth exploded through the building boom which enveloped the southeastern US in the early 80's. As cities such as Atlanta and Charlotte and Orlando saw their populations and infrastructures grow, Best swooped in and opened store after store to capitalize.
I had begun my career with them by working in one of their stores just outside of Atlanta. In a corporation built on benefiting from opportunity the best way to rapidly climb was to emulate the efforts of the parent company. So that's what I did, from the very first day to the very last. Fifteen years after that first hard, dirty day, I had ascended to the position of regional manager, working out of a satellite corporate office.
I knew Best was going to do some job cuts on that fateful day. We had all known for quite a while. The economic conditions had turned decidedly sour over the last twelve months and rumors were flying around about layoffs and downsizing. One analyst even went so far as to describe the coming conditions as "the perfect economic shit-storm." That type of description from numbers-oriented, fact-based and highly intelligent people was quite scary.
So, I was somewhat prepared. Prepared to the point of telling people I didn't think the layoffs would come from within our department. We had dwindled from a team of thirty-six just three years prior to only thirteen on this day. So, how could they cut us any more?
Well, they did cut that day and I was one of four let go. Throughout the morning I slowly packed up my things from the office into plain brown corporate packing boxes. In my mind, I actually thought if I moved slowly enough, someone with a high company standing would realize the error and reverse all of this madness. That person never came to see me.
Occasionally, colleagues would drop by as they heard the news. From their mouths would come condolences, but their eyes would scream thank God it wasn't me. It was somewhat empowering to know that I had gone through this terrible process to this point and not actually died. I felt stronger than the terrified who came to say goodbye to me.
By lunchtime, I was sitting in my car in the parking deck, sad from the events of the day, but strangely excited about the future. Outside my car, I noticed a cardinal hopping from one empty parking space to another. He could care less about my current predicament. He just wanted to find his next meal. It was time to call Abby, my wife. My adrenaline was rising as I called from my cell.
"Hey baby." I said, trying to sound calm.
"Hey, how's it going?" Abby replied.
"Well, it ......... uh ... it was pretty bad," I revealed, using pauses to suppress the welling emotions.
"Yeah, are you okay?" she asked.
"No, not really," I stammered. "They got me."
I told her the remainder of the story as I battled back my emotions. There was no stopping the tears at that point; they were going to come out now and they did. I explained to Abby how the company had cut almost one thousand positions and mine was unfortunately one of them. She cried as well. Neither of us had been through this type of event before. It was traumatic, numbing and intensely personal all at the same time. Thus began the changes that would affect everyone in our family.
That night, we explained to our children how sometimes, companies have to cut people's jobs in order to keep the company from losing too much money. The explanation, even from us, didn't help their lack of understanding.
"But why you?" was asked over and over by our nine and thirteen year old daughters.
Daniela, or Dani as we called her, was a kind and giving child. Even though she was thirteen, she had not given in to the temptation to act like her peers. While others around her had taken to bullying, teasing or worse, she had remained above the fray. She always came to the defense of the weaker kids and had stood her ground a few times against the stronger. Her small stature made this feat even more laudable and she would twist her dark curly hair and lower her brown eyes in embarrassment whenever retelling the story.
Carrie was nine at the time and she was much less fazed. She was a handful of energy and many times it would manifest itself in trouble. Like her older sister, she too had curly hair. However, hers had turned an auburn red very early in life. When you coupled her hair color with her dark green eyes, it was the perfect disguise. The looks of an angel with the acts of a mischievous, albeit innocent, little devil.
As the days passed, Dani continued to struggle inwardly with the circumstances we faced. Carrie continued on as a nine year old should, unfazed by reality. Luckily, Abby continued to have some semblance of normalcy in her working life. This provided the one and only pillar of stability we had.
The confusion and fear of the companies' decision to tell me they didn't want me anymore soon melted from the mind of Carrie. However, those feelings, along with the others that come with becoming a teen, lingered in Daniella's mind. They remained both in her and within the walls of our house and grew in scope. I was clueless to the notion that these emotions were a main ingredient for our coming changes and the associated challenges we would be faced with.
As the next few weeks went by, I ran the entire gambit of emotions. Shock, anger, relief, optimism, depression and acceptance all were experienced. Some days I went through them all more than once. Anger seemed to be the one emotion that lingered the most. Even though I rarely showed the anger outwardly, it was always there. There, invisible and unable to manifest outwardly, while glowing like a hot coal inwardly.
Weeks soon turned into months and I was constantly looking for a similar job. All the while, the anger continued to simmer and grow. Periodically, I would watch the evening news and fantasize about the top story of the day being that of my former corporate employer completely going belly up. I had no idea how deep emotions really worked in the environment around me and what they could do.
It was slow and silent, and not even really mine at first, the anger. It and fear took root in my oldest daughter much earlier than me. Dani was old enough to understand the enormity of our situation, especially as time ticked away and I still didn't have a job.
Even though my wife worked, her salary would not sustain our accustomed standard of living for long. It was more comfort money than anything else as I had been the primary income source for many years now. Ultimately, we would completely switch roles as the economy continued to tank and no one seemed to be hiring at all.
Outwardly, Abby and I continued to keep a veil between financial reality and our children. Even with the effort to whitewash our current predicament, a screaming storm of uncertainty and teen angst festered in Dani. At school, she would confide in certain, select teachers, but those instances were rare. Soon, the battle began to surface in the form of small rebellions in class or outbursts at home that would quickly explode into emotional maelstroms, raging until quieted only by parental intervention or sleep.
I didn't notice any of these behaviors or emotions at first. Neither did Abby. Mrs. Johnson didn't notice in math class, too busy playing solitaire on the computer. Coach Stevenson didn't put it together in P.E, he just thought she was becoming more competitive and aggressive. But someone somewhere did notice. They saw the opening and raced through the open door. Something terrible came in to our home.
I read somewhere once, or saw it on TV, that a poltergeist sometimes manifests during times of high emotional conflux, especially around teen aged girls. Knowing now what I do, I can say this is only partially true. There is no such thing as a poltergeist in the Webster's sense; a disembodied spirit or supernatural force credited with certain malicious or disturbing phenomena. Throughout history, poltergeist phenomena has often been linked with teenaged girls and the myriad of emotions surrounding them. There is no doubt that the emotions do play a huge part in these appearances, but not as a poltergeist, rather, as a ghost.
They feed on emotions, these dead people. Growing strong or weak based on the availability of these simple feelings that we take for granted. Think about your own emotional history. How many times have you felt drained after a strong exposure to your own happiness, sadness or anger? Sadness is especially powerful. We have all cried and afterwards are always exhausted, tired from the outpouring of our feelings. Where do you think these feelings go? After all, they are a form of energy. Sometimes, they are wasted or evaporate. They are just gone. But many times, after you release them they are gobbled up, straight out of the air, without you ever knowing. These feelings can sustain. Sustain a life long ago thought to have been extinguished. And you never even know. Let me tell you how I found out about all of this.
My personal awakening didn't happen slowly like you would think. No. This was a slap in the face. It was an undermining of my own perception of what reality was; a direct attack on my own Faith in God. And I thought that finding out how hydrogenated oil was manufactured was life altering. Looking back now I realize just how naïve I was.
"Dad can you come up here?" Dani called down from her upstairs bedroom.
"Yep." I replied in frustration not wanting to miss any of the baseball game I was watching.
"You are supposed to be asleep, Dani. Why are you still up?" I asked.
"I can't sleep," she wined. "Every time I get comfortable, it feels like something is pushing down on me."
"Are you worried about school tomorrow?" I asked.
"No, I mean something is really pushing down on me," she exclaimed.
"That is probably just stress," I argued.
And then it happened. Not subtly, not softly, but with force and malice. My head was suddenly forced down. My chin violently impacted my chest. The muscles in my neck caught fire with pain from the sudden push. In my mind I was thinking, "What the hell was that!?" Once my eyes regained focus I looked around the room to see who had done this. Dani had slid herself across her bed and had her back against the wall, trying in vain to protect herself from whoever had done this to me. At least that is what I thought; who? But not in the sense that you are thinking of. No, I really expected to see someone else standing there in the room with us. There was no one, at least not anyone that I could see at the time. Dani, on the other hand, had seen it. I looked around, but there was no one there.
Not surprisingly, Danni slept with her mother that night. I stayed awake most of the night attempting to catch a glimpse of whatever attacked me. Eventually, I succumbed to sleep and passed the remainder of the night on the floor of Danni's bedroom.
The next day, I knew it was time to ask some questions of my oldest. When she returned home from school I approached her.
"Sometimes it is just a feeling of being watched, and sometimes there is actually a black shadowy thing" she responded to my question.
"For a few weeks" she answered the next one.
"It's getting worse" she volunteered, without my asking another question.
"Why haven't you come to me or mom about this?" I asked.
"I don't know" she said. "What would I say to you anyway? I kind of just try to block it out whenever something happens."
"Have you been touched like I was?" I followed up.
"No, this was the first time I have seen it with the lights on and it has never touched me" she said, looking me in the eye for the first time in this conversation.
I was relieved to hear the last part. The thought of me being the only one touched by this thing was somehow weight lifting for me. What was causing this? Was this the source of her behavior changes? I had noticed changes in Dani's behavior recently. Not a lot at one time, but escalating instances that seemed to be occurring more often.
Even though I was still partly in denial, I had to learn more about what we were going through. I also knew I needed to discreetly inquire about such instances or feelings with Abby and Carrie.
So I spent the next few days and sleepless nights trying to research anything that might explain this type of event. Muscle spasms, mass hallucination, stroke, immediate localized gravity failure, anything I could think of. I Googled and Binged and Yahooed any and every natural occurrence I could think of. Most of the searches returned something, but none came back with anything that matched up with or explained what I experienced. So, eventually, I began looking into the last option I could think of, the paranormal, ghosts and etc. Not surprisingly, there were lots of explanations and theories on that stuff on the internet.
Doppelganger didn't seem to fit. Why would I come back and assault myself? Or would that be going forward? Anyway, it couldn't be that because that would be too confusing to be realistic.
Astral projection from a different alternative universe? Really?! Like those people in that universe don't have anything better to do! "Hey, I can transport myself to a different reality; I think I am going to go slap someone in the back of the head and then run." They should be able to do that in their reality.
Poltergeist? Now this seemed to make the most sense, based on what I was reading. As much sense as the whole situation could make, that is. And so that is where I landed, planet poltergeist. This was going to be the theory I ran with, but like I said earlier, only partially correct.
In addition to the research, I began to casually ask probing questions of Abby and innocent inquiries to Carrie. Abby didn't seem to have anything remotely ominous to report. Her only concerns were of household chores and cleaning not being delegated or followed up on. She certainly hadn't been accosted by any unseen forces or felt any unseen eyes on her.
Carrie, being the youngest in the house, needed to be treated much more delicately. Even though she was my conniving child, she was also the one I held my breath with. I had a tendency to worry more about her even before the beginnings of this situation "Hey baby." I would begin.
"Have you met any new imaginary friends recently?" I asked.
"No daddy" she answered with a giggle.
Excerpted from Until It's All Over by Terry L. Kemp. Copyright © 2016 Terry L. Kemp. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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