WELCOME. Ahl Kayn Publications started out authoring and publishing booklets on Alternative Medicine for health care providers. We soon expanded our focus to address both physical and emotional health for the general public as well, and we have now added "Eating for Good Health".
by Irwin Tyler
Copyright 2013 by Ahl Kayn Publications
He awoke, momentarily startled, then, realizing it was the clock radio, he began his customary daily routine. As he quickly turned off the radio, hoping his wife would not awaken, he paused for a moment before turning toward her, wanting to fix his latest dream in his memory but, as usual, it had immediately faded from his consciousness. No matter.
He moved slowly and quietly, not wanting to disturb his wife any more than he had to. But now glancing at her empty side of the bed he remembered that she was not at home: she had not wanted to come home so late from her annual “ladies night” out that she so enjoyed these past twenty-two years.
He turned toward the sun streaming in through the window, foretelling of a beautiful summer day. Well, “It's surely worth taking that in,” he thought, and moved slowly to the window. The sky was a hazy, powdery blue, not a cloud to be seen. The street was bare of traffic, with no sign of people taking their regular walk to work, unusual for an early Tuesday morning but just a strange coincidence of timing, he supposed. No matter.
He showered, as usual, dressed himself in a short-sleeved shirt against the coming heat of the day, and headed downstairs to prepare his breakfast. On the wall above the bannister he and his wife had hung more family pictures than he could count. The usual yearly birthday photos of the children, some family parties, their vacation in the Canadian Rockies, memories that brought a smile to his face.
He tuned the radio to the local news and then prepared a simple bowl of cereal and fruit. He sat alone at the kitchen table, looking at the empty chairs that otherwise would have seated his wife and his two children, both busily engaged in the academic worlds of Northwestern and Drake. He felt grateful that he had been able to develop in his children the ability to decide for themselves where to continue their education, and they, in turn, made him proud that both had resolved to excel in their chosen fields of study. And excel they did.
He glanced at the clock and saw that he actually had enough time to walk to work this beautiful summer day. It didn't happen often but he was glad for this gift. It gave him a chance to greet some friends and neighbors along the way that he didn't see as often as he really wanted to. And so, with an extra lightness in his step, he slung his laptop carry bag over his shoulder and went out the front door, humming that strange tune that always introduced the morning weather report.
There was a car parked here and there, not as many as usual, but no traffic and no one in sight in either direction. No matter. He turned right and began to walk the block to Foster Road, where he would again turn right and walk the mile to his office. Two houses down from his lived the Leonards and their four children. As he neared their lawn he tried to guess which toys their children had left on the lawn overnight this time; it had become the neighborhood guessing game. As he neared their lawn he saw not a single toy. Wow! That wasn't expected! Whatever had prompted the Leonards to bring the toys inside? Hmm – that will be the talk of the neighborhood for the next few weeks. “What an exciting town,” he laughed to himself.
He continued on and, looking ahead, saw that the traffic light at the corner was red in his direction. He reasoned that traffic should be building by now but as he stared no cars crossed the intersection ahead.
As he neared the intersection he glanced left across the street at Patty's barber shop, not yet open for business. He fixed in his mind that he needed to stop in before the weekend, when they would be joining his wife's parents in celebrating their fifty-fifth wedding anniversary. They were good folks, and they always pointed out to his wife how good-looking he was. No need to disturb that image now.
He reached the corner and as he was about to make the right turn he, again, realized that he had not seen any traffic pass through the intersection, nor had he seen anyone crossing the street. This made him a little uneasy. He glanced up at the sky: nothing had changed. It was still sunny with that same hazy, powdery blueness, and not a cloud to be seen.
Yet, it was still fairly early so he didn't expect to see many stores open for business, even on Foster Road. “Walter Redmond, Attorney-at-Law” was probably still asleep but Marcie, his secretary, usually came in about now. Looking across the street at the second floor office window he saw that it was still dark. Maybe Marcie was meeting Walter in court this morning. It could be. Not usual, but it could be.
“Quality Hardware” further down the street also was not yet open. Covering the store window was the not-yet-taken-down sign announcing their spring garden sale. He wondered why by now it had not been changed to the “spring left over sale”, as he had seen it last year. He supposed it was the slow pace of the town, the reason he had moved here in the first place.
Next door was “Mary's Hattery”. He couldn't see into the interior through the lowered sunshade that kept the window samples from fading. Mary Swedbourg had made her mark with the ladies at both the Catholic and Lutheran churches in town. They were her most avid fans and customers. There was something unique about her hats, a touch that was only Mary's. His wife never wore hats but he often thought how wonderful she would look in one of Mary's creations. Well, maybe yet one day.
It was several blocks further on before he noticed that he had not had to pause at each street crossing. There was no cross traffic to block his way. In fact, there was no traffic of any kind. At the next corner he looked ahead and behind, left and right. Except for an occasional parked car he saw no traffic and no pedestrians. He looked diagonally down the block at the Rocky Mountain Diner. He could see dimly through the windows that several people were in the diner, each intently reading a newspaper. It must have been an especially slow day since no one came out during the time he took to reach the end of the block. There still was no traffic.
A block ahead was Town Hall, it's stately wooden structure telling the world that this was a quiet, peaceful town that did its work with care and love for its residents. He quickened his pace, thinking to stop in to ask if anyone knew what might be the reason for the lack of traffic and activity in town this morning. He wasn't aware of its being a holiday. Was it Sunday and he was just confused about the calendar? No, he was sure that wasn't it. He couldn't imagine that there had been a disaster or prison break outside of town and everyone except he was aware of an order to remain indoors for everyone's safety. Well, they'd certainly know about that at Town Hall.
As he neared the steps of Town Hall he looked around one more time. Nothing had changed: no traffic and no people on the streets. As he started up the steps he looked ahead at the large doors and saw through one of the glass panels two men standing inside. That, at least, was comforting.
It took just that instant of inattention to cause him to misstep. He lurched forward and reached out for the ornamental concrete bannister to catch himself. As he grabbed hold and put his weight onto his arm the bannister gave way and he fell, landing amidst a heap of plastic foam. His knee throbbed as he picked himself up but at least it seemed no bones were broken. He didn't remember there being a damaged bannister that needed replacing but he may just not have heard the news. This temporary cosmetic plastic foam bannister certainly looked real enough. “They should have had a sign posted about this actually useless bannister,” he thought. He made note to attend the next Town Board meeting and bring up this issue.
At the top step he began walking slowly toward the front door, limping slightly. The two men, he could see through the glass panel, were still in the lobby. He grabbed the handle and tried to turn it but it would not move. He tried several times, to no effect. The door shook in its frame each time he pushed on the handle, and that wasn't right. Glancing at the glass panel he saw the two men, still in the lobby, but they were not reacting to his efforts to open the door.
With no other choice he raised his fist and brought it forward to knock on the panel, hoping to gain the men's attention. When his knuckles reached the panel they met no glass: his fist burst through the panel, tearing through painted cardboard. And as he fell awkwardly against the door the entire front of the Town Hall fell away from him – there was nothing behind it.