Thump. Thump. Thump.
Living alone on a farm amidst a zombified land was proving to be a most undesirable existence for the Widow Farquhar, but she did her best to get by.
In her best black dress, she knelt at the side of her bed and prayed.
“Oh Lord. Forgive me for those vile words I said. Though Rain and his filthy whore are disgusting animals and deserve to burn in a pit of hellfire forever and ever, I know it was my duty to turn the other cheek. May you grant me…”
Thump. Thump. Thump. A hand was pounding on her front door.
Sarah inched closer to the front door and then heard that terrifying demand.
“Goodness!” Sarah scurried back to her bed and buried her face in her hands.
More sounds. Clip clops of horse feet. A gun blast.
Thinking she’d been saved, Sarah looked up.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
She buried her head again.
“Hello?” came a male voice from the other side of the door. It was a soft voice. Gentle.
Another thump. “Hello? Is anyone home?”
Sarah walked to the door. “Yes?”
“Oh thank goodness,” the man said. “I was traveling by your home and happened to notice this dastardly zombie knocking on your door and I feared the worst. Are you all right, ma’am?”
“I’m fine,” Sarah replied. “Thank you.”
“Might I come in?” the man asked. “I’d feel better if I checked on you is all.”
Sarah bit her lip as she pondered this request. “I don’t know. You’re not a vagrant are you?”
“Only of zombies.”
Sarah tapped her foot. “Alcoholic?”
“Are you ethnic?” Sarah asked.
“I don’t think so,” the man replied.
“Very well.” Sarah turned the knob.
She expected some doddering old fogey but instead, was pleasantly surprised to come face to face with a tall, strong, blonde haired, blue eyed adonis, dressed in his best Sunday suit.
“Oh my.” Sarah clasped her hand over her heart in a vain attempt to stop it from fluttering.
“Good day, ma’am,” the man said.
Sarah looked at the ground, where a zombie with half its head blown off was leaking blood all over the dirt.
“Pesky little devils, aren’t they?” the man asked.
“They certainly are,” Sarah said.
“I apologize for the intrusion,” the man. “I best be on my way as it would be surely inappropriate of me to chat with another man’s wife.”
The man headed for a wagon he’d left in Sarah’s yard.
Sarah stumbled over the zombie carcass as she chased after him.
“But I’m not married!” she cried.
The man spun around in his tracks. “Not married, you say?”
“Dear me,” the man said. “I do apologize for your loss.”
“Thank you,” Sarah said as she walked inside. “Do come in, will you?”
“If you insist. I could use a rest,” the man said as he took a seat at Sarah’s table. “I have been riding for quite some time.”
Sarah took a seat across from her guest.
“If I may be so bold I am surprised a woman of your enchanting beauty finds herself alone,” the man said.
“Oh,” Sarah said. She grinned and then wagged her finger playfully at the man. “I’ll have none of that now!”
The man leaned over the table and smiled coyly. “And yet I’d have it all.”
Sarah grimaced for a moment, and then her frown gave way to laughter. “Oh you!”
“I’m sorry,” the man said. “Oh that was terrible wasn’t it?”
“If you must know why I’m alone…”
Sarah paused. The man was a stranger. The idea of sharing anything personal with him seemed unwise, but she was feeling so very lonely.
“I had a fiance,” Sarah said.
“Had?!” the man asked, as if Sarah had just delivered a titillating piece of gossip. “Do tell.”
“He was unfaithful to me,” Sarah said. She looked around as if to check if anyone was listening and then leaned over the table and whispered, “with a prostitute!”
The man clutched his heart and recoiled back in his chair as if he’d just been slapped in the face. He gasped. “No!”
“Yes!” Sarah replied.
“Can you believe it?” Sarah asked.
“I cannot,” the man said. “Ma’am, I’ve only known you a short spell but if you’ll allow me I’ll say that this fellow sounds lowlier than a dog for not recognizing how lucky he was to have had you and any and all diseases he contracts from that Jezebel are well deserved.”
Sarah blinked as if she were trying to wake up from a dream. “I was thinking the same thing. It’s like you read my mind.”
“Where are my manners?” the man asked as he stretched out his hand. “Phineas Throckmorten. And you are?”
Timidly, Sarah put her hand out. “Sarah Farquhar.”
“A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Sarah.”
Phineas kissed Sarah’s hand, then instantly pushed himself back in his chair. His face went flush.
“I’m sorry,” Phineas said. “I’m not sure what just came over me. Oh, here you were kind enough to invite me into your home and I start carrying on like some kind of perverse Frenchman…”
Phineas stood up. “Farewell, ma’am. Do accept my apology and I won’t darken your doorstep any longer…”
Sarah stopped her guest from leaving. “No,” she said. “It was…quite all right.”
“Oh,” Phineas said. “Even so, I shall be sure to beg the Lord’s forgiveness at evening prayer.”
The Cheshire cat never flashed a smile wider than Sarah did that day.
“Prayer?” she asked.
“Morning, noon and night,” Phineas replied. “Oh if only I had the time to pray more.”
Sarah picked her bible off the table and showed it to Phineas.
“A fellow devotee of the good book,” Phineas said.
“Yes,” Sarah said. She was bubblier than a schoolgirl at this point.
“I always carry mine with me,” Phineas said. He reached into his coat and pulled out a leather bound book, but the cover did not read, “Holy Bible.” Instead, it read, “The Book of Mormon.”
Sarah made an expression as if she’d just been run over by a flagellant horse.
“Oh,” she said as she sat back down.
“Something the matter?” Phineas asked as he joined her.
“It’s just that…”
Phineas waited patiently for an answer.
“I’m feeling rather fond of you,” Sarah said.
“And I, you,” Phineas replied.
“But I’m a Christian so it could never work,” Sarah said.
“Ah!” Phineas shouted as he wagged a triumphant finger in the air. “But that’s where you are wrong, my dear, for I too am a Christian!”
“You are?” Sarah asked.
“Indeed!” Phineas declared. “Tell me, do you adhere to the teaching of the Old Testament?”
“Of course,” Sarah said.
“As do I,” Phineas replied. “And the New Testment?”
“Certainly,” Sarah said.
“As do I,” Phineas repeated. “And in addition to those two sacred texts, I also follow the lessons set forth in the Book of Mormon.”
“The Book of Mormon?” Sarah asked.
“Yes,” Phineas said. “The Old Testament tells us the stories of the sufferings of the Hebrew people and how God took pity on them by burning them and drowning them and such.”
“Correct,” Sarah said.
“And the New Testament was all about how Jesus died for our sins,” Phineas said.
“Naturally,” Sarah replied.
“And the Book of Mormon continues the story after Jesus died and came back to life,” Phineas explained.
“It does?” Sarah asked.
“It does,” Phineas said. “It’s one more sequel to make a trilogy. Every good book series needs a trilogy.”
Sarah frowned. “This all sounds very suspect.”
“Oh no,” Phineas said. “Read it and you’ll learn all about how Jesus and his people came to the Americas long before any of us did.”
“Came to the Americas?” Sarah asked.
“Of course!” Phineas said. “The natives of these lands are all descendants of Judea.”
Sarah sighed. “Now I know you are pulling my leg, sir. The natives don’t look very Jewish to me.”
“Have you ever seen a Jew before?” Phineas asked.
“Neither have I!” Phineas proudly declared. “So who am I to question Joseph Smith?”
“Joseph Smith?” Sarah asked.
“The founder of our church,” Phineas said. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He found the words of the Prophet Mormon etched into gold plates buried in a hill in New York and was kind enough to translate them into a book so that we could all be educated in the further adventures of our Lord.”
“He did?” Sarah asked.
“Goodness,” Sarah replied. “Well, I’ve never known a religious man to lie to people before.”
“Nor have I,” Phineas said. “Oh Sarah, I hope you’ll read it. You’re too lovely a women to be stuck in Second Class Heaven.”
Sarah was shocked. “Second class heaven?”
“Oh,” Phineas said. “You see there are three glories or levels of heaven. Right now you’re bound for the second level, or Terrestial Glory. That’s where people go if they are good followers of Christ of any denomination, as you clearly are. But to get into the Celestial Glory, the highest level of heaven, you must be a Mormon and marry a Mormon I’m afraid.”
Sarah’s mouth opened wide. “But I want to be in first class heaven!”
“I don’t blame you, my dear,” Phineas said. “Between you and I, the service in second-class heaven is lousy.”
“What about third-class heaven?” Sarah asked.
“It’s strictly for the riff raff,” Phineas explained. “People who weren’t religious, didn’t believe in Christ, but in general, tried their best to live decent lives and didn’t do anything too terrible. I’d say your fiance and his prostitute might end up there but their sins will most likely land them in Hell.”
“So you believe in Hell?” Sarah asked.
“What good is a religion if bad people aren’t being tossed into Hell?” Phineas asked.
Sarah rested her chin in her hands and gazed into Phineas’ blue eyes. “Your logic is impeccable.”
“I know,” Phineas said.
“And to think all this time I knew none of this.”
“It can be unsettling at first for a new comer whose eyes have been opened for the first time,” Phineas said.
Phineas collected his book and stood up. “Come with me!”
“What?” Sarah asked.
“To Utah!” Phineas declared. “Where my people have congregated because dirty sinners and non-believers try to shoot us and hang us wherever we go!”
“They do?” Sarah asked.
“It is to be expected,” Phineas said. “Non-believers would rather root around in their sinful muck then listen to our good words.”
“Of course,” Sarah said. “But oh…I couldn’t leave my farm.”
“Oh but you should,” Phineas said. “It isn’t safe in these parts. I had to leave my farm when it was attacked and alas…”
Phineas’ blue eyes welled up with tears. Sarah grew very concerned and rubbed her guest’s back. “There…there. What is it?”
“My wives,” Phineas said. “They were all turned into zombies.”
“Oh, how awful!” Sarah said. “Wait. Did you say, ‘wives?!’”
Phineas ignored the question. “I know we have only just met, Sarah, but I feel such a strong connection to you, as if the good Lord willed me to find you.
Sarah stood up and held Phineas’ hand. “I…I feel the same way.”
“When my wives were turned into foul undead monsters I never thought I’d love again until I met you,” Phineas said.
“There,” Sarah said. “You said it again. You must be very tired because you keep saying ‘wives’ plural.”
Phineas ignored the inquiry yet again. “To Utah we go!”
“Ohhhh….” Sarah looked around the empty house. The prospect of being alone with no man to protect her from zombies weighed heavily on her mind until finally she grabbed her bible and relented. “You’ve talked me into it!”
“Splendid,” Phineas said.
Phineas and Sarah walked hand in hand toward the wagon.
Sarah stopped. “Wait. There is one problem.”
“What is it?” Phineas asked.
“It pertains to a very unseemly topic,” Sarah said.
“My dear,” Phineas said. “There is nothing you could say that could make me think any less of you.”
Sarah leaned up on her tippy toes and whispered into Phineas’ ear.
“Uh huh,” Phineas said as he listened. “Right. Oh…oh goodness…yes…yes…through a hole in a bedsheet? Yes…not a problem!”
“Not a problem?” Sarah asked.
Phineas undid his belt buckle.
“What are you doing?!” Sarah protested.
“You’ll see.” Phineas dropped his pants and unbuttoned his shirt to reveal that he was wearing what appeared to be clean, white long-johns underneath his clothes.
Sarah was puzzled.
“Magic underwear!” Phineas declared.
“Magic underwear?” Sarah asked.
“Indeed!” Phineas said. “Comfortable. Form-fitting. They protect your body from sin and more importantly, they’re easily adjustable so that husbands and wives can lay together without a hole in a bed sheet.”
Sarah was beaming. “Mormons are geniuses!”
“That we are,” Phineas said as he pulled up his pants. He buttoned his shirt then helped Sarah into the passenger’s seat of his wagon.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” Sarah said. “I’m not one to throw caution to the wind.”
Phineas took his seat, snapped the reigns, and his horse took off. “Fear not for the rest of your days, my dear, for I shall take excellent care of you.”
“What?” Phineas asked.
“I’ve been waiting my whole life for a man to say that to me!”
Phineas put one arm around Sarah and pulled her in close next to him. “Oh how precious you are.”
Thump. Thump. Thump. “Gack…ack!”
“What was that?” Sarah asked.
“What was what?” Phineas asked.
Sarah heard several groans coming from inside the wagon, followed by a strained female voice asking for, “brrrraaaains.”
“That!” Sarah said.
“I didn’t hear anything,” Phineas said.
“Grrrr,” came a second female voice. “Brrraaains.”
Sarah freed herself from Phineas’ arm. “Now I distinctly heard something…”
“No!” Phineas shouted. “There’s no need to look back there.”
Sarah took hold of a wooden slat and pushed it to the left, to open a small pass-through slot. She peered inside the wagon to see six women, all young, ranging in ages from twenty to thirty, and to her shock, all zombies.
The widow closed the slot.
“Your wives,” Sarah said. “Plural?”
Phineas’ face turned red. “Yes. I was going to tell you…”
Sarah folded her arms and leaned back in her seat. She listened to the melodic clip clopping of horse feet for awhile as she pondered her dilemma, then shrugged her shoulders.
“Oh well. You’re still the best man I’ve ever met.”