Summons From Afar-Ch.1

A couple of weeks ago I finished a totally different series called The Second Realm. I enjoyed doing doing it so much I decided to do another. Only this one won’t be posted every week like the last one. I learned two very important things doing the last series. 1) I really don’t like deadlines. I felt duty bound to produce something each and every week.   2) I wrote chapters of approximately 1,500 words. I really didn’t like being restricted to that particular number.

So I’m throwing caution to the wind. I’m going to write chapters in full. I’m not going to holdback anything – illustrations, backstory, etc. I’ll post the the chapters when I feel they are ready for public consumption. This particular chapter is almost 3,000 words long. So you haven’t the time or patience to read that many words (that’s about twenty minutes out of your life) I suggest you read something else.

Summons From Afar and The Second Realm are two very different stories. Some elements may be the similar, but they are still two different stories. Each will be able to stand on their own merits. I would like it very much if you could leave some sort comment, in English (the only language I understand), if you like the story.

Chapter 1 – Summons From Afar –Ver. 2.

For some reason, one his parents never told him about, Brad had always liked watching the mail being delivered. He turned his head and watched the days mail crash to the floor of his new apartment. No doubt it was the usual assortment of bills, medical journals, and the daily supply of junk mail. The apartment, and in fact the entire building, had been a gift to City Hospital from the local university. The building used to be part of the universities dormitory system. But it proved to be too much for the university to handle. They were constantly making repairs. When City University gifted the building to the hospital it was with the clear understanding that the entire interior had to be gutted, and the dorm rooms would be converted into apartments. When the conversion and the repairs were complete the hospital offered the reborn apartments to the staff. For most, it was a simple case of economics, and the building was soon full.

Of course, there were a number of detractors who thought the entire arrangement was either too good to be true, or just plain fishy. In the end, the detractors were proven wrong. The staff was close to the hospital that much is true. But the fact that several hundred employees were closer was far outweighed by the fact that every employee had substantial economic savings by the elimination of a costly, and tiring commute.

But today Brad was far too busy relaxing in his Laz-E-Boy recliner reading a British medical journal called The Lancet. When he got a new apartment he stocked it exclusively with furniture from Ikea. If somebody took a close look they’d discover that every piece of furniture had a name. The shelving that held his two hundred piece compact disc collection was Besta. The sofa was Landskrona, and the table was Lack. The kitchen had even more exotic names, but none he could possibly repeat.

Dr. Brad Foster treated himself to a recliner. Although he was in his mid-thirties the ten-twelve hour stints in surgery were taking its toll. The disks in his spine were slowly being compressed. Relaxing in the chair seem to heighten his senses. The soundproofing was immaculate. The only place it was lacking was around the door frame. So when somebody moved in (nobody had moved out yet) you couldn’t help but notice it. When he heard a thump-thud from the direction of the hall he decided to see what was going on. He pulled himself out the recliner, made a slight turn at the side table named Lack, and walked towards his front door. He had a specially ordered wide-angle peephole installed in the door. The original was cracked and foggy so he had it replaced. As he peered through the peephole all he could see was the brown carpet in the hall with eggshell colored walls. Nothing seemed amiss. Then he noticed it. A small cardboard box was beside the doorway of the vacant apartment directly across the hall. There wasn’t any indication of the new owner so Brad walked back to the recliner. He picked up the copy of The Lancet and sat down. That’s when he heard another thud from the hall. Soon another thud was heard. Brad put his medical journal on the table, got up, and returned to the door. Looking through the peephole he could see the back of a young woman struggling with the door while attempting to hold onto yet another box. Brad decided to help her. When he opened his door he looked into the face of someone who looked familiar.

“Hello there. Why don’t I hold that for you?” he said grasping the box marked books.

The woman looked up. With her at five foot two inches, and him easily six foot tall she had to cock her head upwards.

Her voice was familiar as was her face.

“Doctor Foster?” said the woman who was struggling to get her keys out the door lock. “I didn’t know you lived in this building”. Then the bottom of the box Brad was holding broke open and it’s contents spilled onto the floor. It was full of paperback books.

The woman looked at the floor, then looked at Brad.

“Oops. I guess I put too many books in that box.”

“I don’t think the books minded the sudden landing. Would you mind terribly if I gave you a hand?”

The woman started massaging her neck. As she waited for Brad to say her name she noticed Brad start to fidget and become nervous.

“You don’t remember my name do you?” said the woman.

Brad tried thinking of some witty comeback. His memory failed him.

“I apologize profusely. I’m terrible with names. I know you’re a doctor and we both work at City Hospital. But aside from that, I’m guilty as charged. I try to remember names along with some attribute of the person.”

“Well, what attribute did you use for me?”

“That’s an excellent question. I have a really hard time with those too.”

The woman waited as she massaged the back of her neck again. When she tilted her head back she smiled.

“Got it!. You’re Doctor Mildred Shine. You work in pediatrics, and you drive a yellow Honda Civic.”

“Wow. That’s pretty impressive. What feature of me did you use to remember all that?”

“You have a fantastic smile. When you smile your teeth are so white they almost shine. I knew I’d remember.”

“Well thank you. I haven’t had a compliment about my smile in a long time. Do you mind if I make a suggestion?”

Brad crossed his arms in a somewhat defensive posture.

“Since it appears we’re going to be neighbors why don’t we call each other by each other by our first names. Please call me Milly.”

“And I’d appreciate it if you called me Brad. But it might be a good idea if we kept our Doctor titles when we’re at the hospital. Now, can I help you with boxes, furniture, and all those wonderful things that go with moving.”

“Would you mind terribly if peeked in your apartment. I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to furnish Casa Shine.”

“By all means. Snoop to your heart’s delight.”

Milly stuck her head in the door trying to gather as much information about Brad Foster as she could without it being obvious. As she wandered around the living room she couldn’t help but notice all the crushed Ikea boxes.

“Wow. Now I know who keeps Ikea in business.” As she reached for the closet door Brad spoke up.

“All you’ll find in the closet is a quarter ton of bubble wrap and popcorn Styrofoam. If you go to the store for a simple wingnut or a bolt they’ll put it in a box two feet square and encase the bolt in nine acres of bubble wrap.”

She slowly inspected the rack holding the compact discs. She made a mental of the titles. Then she turned towards Brad and asked him a question.

“Is everything from Ikea Brad?”

“Everything except the compact disc player, the discs, and the recliner. The rest of the apartment is strictly from Ikea. I better get the empty boxes down to the garbage room before they become permanent residents. Do you mind if ask you a question, Milly? It’s about that wonderful experience called moving.”

“Sure thing. Fire away.”

“When you’re putting everything in boxes before you moved, were there any surprises?”

“Before I answer do you mind if I sit down?”

Milly plunked herself down in the recliner.

“By all means. I should have offered. You’ll have to excuse my bachelor manners. Let me make it up by offering you a ride to and from work. I’d offer you a cup of coffee but I’m out. Now if you drank beer-”

She tilted her head back and smiled.

“Ah, Nectar of the gods. I’ll have whatever you’re having.”

As Brad moved toward the small kitchen he said out loud “Somethings tells we’re going to get along just fine.”

A little unsure of the new neighbor she asked: “What makes you think that Doctor Foster?”

As Brad reached into the fridge he noticed the sudden change in the tone of this little get together.

Milly laughed.

“Brad, you can relax. I’m just messing with you. But before I forget your question I better answer it. There were constant surprises, but they all had the same theme. When I was boxing things up I was really surprised by how much junk I had. And when I say junk I mean honest to god junk. When I was in pre-med I was living on my own for the first time. My mom got me an iron. It was great, but when it died it really died. There was a short in the plug, sparks went everywhere, and all the electronics inside it got fried. I found it just the other day. I think I was using it for a doorstop. You probably experienced somewhat the same.”

Brad took a drink from his beer bottle.

“You bet I did. First I found some old Road & Track magazines that I’d been holding on to. Then there were other magazines. Mostly Time and Newsweek. Three weeks ago I found some of my old papers from college. And I have no idea why I was holding on to any of that.”

As Milly was sitting in the recliner when her hand touched the vibrate button.

“Holy Moccasins! Oh, what’s going on? Ohhhhh that feels nice. The tension in my neck is going away. Why didn’t tell me about this chair.”

“To be honest I completely forgot. I don’t use that feature at all. I should have warned you about it.”

“Now that I know about it you’ll have a hard time getting rid of me.”

“There’s another button on the right armrest that moves the seated person back even further. If you press it you’re almost perfectly level with the floor.”

“That I’ve got to try!”

Just after she pressed the button the vibrating continued. The seat rose and the headrest dropped slightly. Brad found himself looking at the bottoms of Milly’s shoes.

“You know Doc, you really got something. But I think I’ll pass on this particular feature. Now how to do I get back a normal seated position?”

“Just squeeze the right armrest. That’s how you turn off the vibration feature and return to a normal sitting position. Maybe after work tomorrow we can retrieve the rest of your things at your old apartment”.

As the chair came down to a normal position Milly put her arms on the armrest and pushed her head up.

“Since we just met why don’t we take things slow. No need to rush things. But I will take you up on that offer of a ride in the morning if it’s still good. I’m not sure what kind of day I’m going to have so I’ll text you if I need a ride home. Sound OK?”

The next morning Milly knocked on Brad’s door. No answer. She started thinking unkind thoughts that were most unladylike. She knocked again only considerably louder. Milly heard some muttering, and what sounded like someone cursing after banging into furniture. She heard the sound of the door being unlocked.

Brad stood in his doorway wearing striped pajamas.

“Milly I know I promised a ride to and from work but…” Brad looked his watch. “Good Gravy, its only five in the morning. Even the roosters are still asleep!”.

“I know its a little early but I have early morning shift.”

“A little bit early…

“You know the old saying…last hired is the first fired.”

“Alright, you got me. Brad Foster never goes back on his word. I promised you a ride and a ride you shall have. Just let me get dressed.”

The door closed. Milly waited some more, and was not thrilled about the delay. After ten minutes she banged on the door.

“Come on Schweitzer move it! I’m going to be late if we don’t hustle.”

A few seconds after Milly stopped talking the door opened. Brad was fully dressed.

“Holy Cow. Cleaned, watered, pressed. Even your tie is on straight. But you still forgot something, Sherlock. Your shirts sticking out of your fly.”

“Let’s go down to the garage, and I’ll show you my pride a joy. And before you start getting antsy and nervous it’s got four wheels.”

As they walked down the hall Brad quickly tucked his shirt in, and zipped up his fly.

As they walked down the hall with the brown carpet and eggshell colored walls there was a round of applause. In Milly’s haste to get the day started, she neglected to take the other residents into account. When she ferociously knocked on Brad’s door she woke up most of the floor.

“Oh jeez. I think I have a few apologies to make,” she said.

“I tend to agree. Something tells me you aren’t going to make the resident of the month this month,” replied Brad as they waited for the elevator.

When it arrived The two entered and Brad pressed the button marked PL1 for Parking Level 1.

“There’s another button marked PL2, but it doesn’t do a darn thing. There aren’t enough people in the building yet. There’s talk of turning it into a pool but that decision will up to structural engineers.”

“When we get out the elevator how far do we have to walk? I have a mild case of claustrophobia,” asked Milly.

“Not far. Only about twenty feet. I like to park as close to the elevator as I can.”

The elevator stopped moving. “And here we are. Dr. Shine your chariot awaits.”

As Milly exited the elevator her eyes fixed on 1965 fire engine red Mustang. “Now that is what I call a car! This must be a classic. These came out when my dad was still a boy.”

As she took her seat in the bucket seat she ran her hand over the upholstery. And she noticed it still had the new car smell she loved so much.

As Brad got in he said “I restored this car from the ground up. Everything in it is specific for this car model, make and year. Everything with the exception of you and me.”

Milly’s jaw dropped open as she surveyed the level of detail. She looked into the back. “This car is simply freakin’ gorgeous. It feels wonderful and smells brand new.” Her eyes just bulged. “Is this from 1967?”

“This Ford Mustang is from 1965. Everything in it is from 1965. I spent five years bringing her back from the dead. Even the screws in it are from 1965.”

Brad loved the Mustang. He loved everything about it. But most of all he loved showing it off. And Milly’s knowledge almost rabid interest in it was a bonus.

“What is your cars name? Please tell me you gave her a name,” she asked.

“You know, I never really thought about giving the car a name. I suppose we could give it a name. I’ve got one in mind but I’d need your permission.”

“Why in heavens name would need my permission? It’s your car, Brad”

“But the name I have in mind is yours”

“You want to name your car after me? I can see a Volkswagen being called Milly but not this car. It looks too good. This car just oozes sex appeal.”

“OK, then what about MJ?”

Milly looked puzzled. Brad could tell she trying figure out what MJ stood for.

“OK, I’ll bite. What the heck does MJ stand for?

“Milly Junior”

“I thought you were going to say the initials stood for Spiderman’s girlfriend Mary Jane Watson. Wait a minute. When you called her Milly Junior was that another way of saying I was sexy?”

Brad didn’t answer. He started pushing the accelerator pedal to the floor. With the engine whining to be unleashed he touched the transmission and put “MJ” in gear. The wheels spun, screeched, then grabbed the pavement beneath them. MJ, Milly, and Brad rocketed up the garage ramp and into a fresh new dawn. Their heads snapped back as MJ accelerated and Milly roared with excitement. The nearly deserted streets made the commute to the hospital a quick one. When they were stopped at red light Milly leaned towards Brad.

“Something tells me you’re not going to answer my question are you?” asked Milly.

“What do you think?” replied Brad.

“Thought so”.


“Resolution” – Chapter 13d – Panooksa

Idea by Tom Austin                                                     Written by Tom Austin

Revised by Tom Austin

Milly sat up in bed leafing through a magazine that was almost ten years old. With tubes going in and out all over her body it made moving a chore. Every move had to planned out well in advance. Turning pages had to be done very carefully because of the intravenous tubes going into to her hands. With nothing to read except one very out of date magazine, Milly was left with only one other choice and that was to try to sleep. Whenever she tried to sleep she was constantly woken up by the hospital intercom. If someone wasn’t being paged some parent was. “Mrs. Milligan, please return to x-ray. You forgot your son.” All of a sudden an orderly banged on the door.

“Everybody decent in there? I’m here with another exciting lunch from our cafeteria”.

Milly had been poked, prodded, asked countless questions by an unknown number of people countless times. She had even tried to sleep without success, and she had enough. She responded in a most atypical manner.

“No, I’m not decent!. I’m taking naked belly dancing lessons with a rose in my teeth. Do you have any idea how dumb that question sounds?”

The male orderly put the tray of food on a table. He put his hands in his pockets and slowly approached the bed.

“Look Dr. Shine-Foster. I know nobody wants to be in a hospital. Do you think I enjoy saying dumb questions like that or delivering this stuff masquerading as “food” to you?. I do it because it’s part of my job. I’ll make a deal with you. When I bring your dinner I’ll just knock on your door and say dinner. You cool it with the snarky remarks OK?”

Milly thought about what the orderly said, and what she had said.

“Sorry for biting your head off. It’s just that I’m so bored in here. I’ve been poked, prodded, and stabbed more times than can I count. And to top it all off I have my own personal vampire.  Please let me make it up to you in some small way. For starters why don’t you just call me Milly.”

“And my name is Peter. I have an idea. I’ll go get you a paper so you catch up on current events. It’ll be today’s paper honest.”

“If could hand me my purse I’ll give you the money”

“No need. It’ll be my treat. Do know how long it’s been since I’ve had a real conversation with a patient in this hospital?”

“I have no idea”

Milly tried to hand Peter a five dollar bill.

“Neither do I. It’s been that long. I’ll be right back.” He rushed out the door.

Just after Peter left Dr. Keiko Toshiro arrived followed by Brad. Dr. Toshiro closed the door.

“From what I just heard I think you’re coming down with a classic case of cabin fever. I know it’s no fun being in a hospital bed. I broke my ankle last summer and I was in here for only two days.”

Suddenly Brad cleared his throat.

“Oh, that reminds me your preliminary blood tests came back. Do you want to know?”

Brad was the first to reply.

“I want to know, to know what’s going on. But at the same I don’t want to know, you know?”

Then Milly chimed in.

“I just want to understand what’s happening to me”

Dr. Toshiro lifted her chart. First, she read the chart silently, then announced the findings.

“Well, you’re both going be parents. It looks like someone breached the dam and found a new place to live” she said to Brad.

“And I didn’t help matters.”

That statement from Milly got Brad’s attention and caused Dr. Toshiro to ask for clarification.

“Let’s try that one again. This time with clarity.”

“I’ve been off the pill for a week. I really wanted a baby.”

Dr. Toshiro couldn’t let this error in judgment pass silently. “Whoops”.

Milly started crying. Brad spoke for both of them.

“After we got engaged we talked about having kids. We didn’t plan on having children for a couple of years. We’re still learning about The Second Realm. In a way, we’re kids ourselves- new to this world. But thanks for telling us.”

Suddenly there was a terrific thunderclap. Dr. Toshiro walked to the window and looked out.

“That’s odd. The sky is blue. We’re not scheduled to have inclement weather. And there isn’t a cloud in the sky” she said.

“This is a perfect example of what I was talking about Keiko. We’re so new we didn’t know the weather was “scheduled”.” said Brad.

“Right now my concern isn’t the weather. It’s Milly. She shouldn’t be reacting in this manner. From what I can tell this should be a very normal pregnancy. If this reaction is hereditary than I feel sorry for all the women in your family. That’s why I want a blood sample from you.” Brad went white again. Dr. Toshiro grabbed him and eased him into a chair.

“Oh lordy. This so embarrassing. Do you really need blood?.”

“Brad! Tell her this very instant or I’ll tell her your middle name,” said Milly

Brad bowed his head. He moaned and whined like a little kid.

“R-” roared Milly.

“Damn Damn Damn. You got me by the short and curlies. But please promise me you’ll never ever tell another soul. Even if you think they know don’t say a word.”

Keiko Toshiro had a look of utter confusion on her face. She had no idea what she was about to hear.

“When I was a kid I broke my nose. This wasn’t one of your typical breaks. There was blood everywhere. It was coming out in buckets. And when I saw my blood on my sleeve my legs just folded up. I passed out, and when I went down like a tree. Flash forward a couple of decades and the kid is now a cardiac surgeon. I can do multiple organ transplants. I’ve been up to my elbows in blood and guts. But I’ve never been able to give blood or have blood taken without having to lie down. Would you want a doctor who’s afraid of his own blood?”

Dr. Toshiro looked like she was thinking. Then she looked at Brad while she pointed at Milly.”

“I see your point. Now see mine. See that wonderful woman in the bed behind me?. She’s your wife. And she needs your help. Specifically your blood. Now come with me. I’ve got a cot with your name on it. And if you give me any more sob stories I’m going to personally bust your honker so bad I’ll get the blood that way.”

Brad slowly shuffled his feet towards the door to Milly’s room.

“I’ll bet you know judo and karate.”

“Yes, I do…and a few other Japanese words.”

Peter the orderly returned with the paper. As Milly read the paper she discovered there was a column with all the names of people who had been admitted to hospital in the last twenty four hours. To make things worse there was a very unflattering photo of her in her husband’s arms in the emergency ward out cold and soaked to the bone. To add insult to injury there were five words beside her photo. “She might be with child.” Milly was furious. 

“Those god damn bastards. Haven’t they ever heard of privacy?” Milly was so angry she threw the paper against the wall.  As it sailed through the air it almost hit Dr. Toshiro who was just coming through the door.

“I thought I should warn you. There a so-called newspaper that-”

She ducked and the paper sailed over her head.

“Well, I think that confirms it. You saw the photo” she said.

“How the heck do they know I’m pregnant? I just found out myself.”

“The paper “Our Town” is much like a tabloid in your dimension. I think it’s called The National Enquirer or something like that. Their “stories” are very rarely based on fact and mostly on conjecture and rumor.”

“Well somebody should take them to court or something.”

“I guessed you would not be very happy when you saw the photo so I went down to the gift shop and got you some cosmetics so you could look a little more feminine. They very rarely publish a picture of anybody looking fantastic. And from your most recent blood results, I think it’s safe to unhook you from all this plumbing.”

After unplugging Milly she went into the bathroom. “AH!. That feels so much better. Every time I had to use a bedpan I felt like was wearing a metal diaper. Would it be alright if I took a shower, Dr. Toshiro?”

Clutching Milly’s medical chart to her chest  Dr. Toshiro slowly approached the bathroom door.

“I’d like you to wait just one more day so all the holes we put in you will start to heal up. But if you want to give yourself a sponge bath have at it.”

“Oh, I’m beginning to feel human again. Thank you. And I want to apologize for being so bitchy.”

“Milly you have an excuse that has a nine-month warranty. You’re pregnant! Your hormones are going wild.”

“Whatever you say, Doctor. When I get home I’m going to soak in the tub for about a day”

Just then the hematology lab paged Dr. Toshiro. She picked up the phone.

“Toshiro here, something the matter?”

The chief of the lab answered.

” It’s Dr. Foster’s blood. I won’t say what it’s doing over the phone, but I need your opinion. Now!”

“Resolution” part 2 -Chapter 13d –Panooksa

Dr. Keiko Toshiro wasn’t fond of going to hematology. But that’s where she sent the sample of Brad’s blood. She came out the elevator in the basement, passed some sickly green ceramic tiles, and dodged some empty gurneys. When she got to the lab she was not in the best of moods.

“Alright, what the hell is going on? I sent Brad Fosters blood sample here. What’s all the damn mystery?”

She was immediately ushered to a microscope and slide. Dr. Toshiro looked through the lens.

“Everything looks normal. Wait a minute. What the hell is that?” she said.

“That’s what I’d like to know too,” said the chief of Hematology.

“Put this little bugger up on the big screen. I want to see its DNA structure.”

The chief rushed around the lab. Within a few minutes, the special widescreen monitor flickered to life.

An image flashed on the screen.

“Now we’re going to see if this thing is worth the money we paid for it.”

The chief of the lab adjusted the focus.

Dr. Toshiro crossed her arms and looked puzzled.

“OK, that’s more like it. Let’s see what’s going on.”

The chief of the Hematology lab moved the camera a micron at a time. Dr. Toshiro stood in the middle of the lab with her hands in her pockets and watched the screen.

“Good, good, good. Why were you so reluctant to say anything on the phone. And why am I here?”s asked Dr. Toshiro

The lab chief nudged the slide.

“That’s the reason I paged you'”

On the big screen, there were some objects that were clearly not human. It soon became very obvious that some of Brad’s reproductive DNA had obviously been meddled with.

“Just what the hell are you?” she asked while she stared at the screen.

With no answer forthcoming, she walked to the phone. She dialed 000, which was code for a hospital-wide emergency. It also overrode the normal hospital intercom.

“Will Dr. Brad Foster report to his wife’s room stat.”

Brad was in the cafeteria when he heard the page. He was about to pay for lunch. Instead of handing the cashier some change he handed her the entire tray.

“When ya gotta go, you gotta go.”

The cashier turned her head and quietly cursed “Damn Doctors.”

Brad turned, yelled, and started running. “C’mon folks. Be nice. Make a hole!!”

Instead of taking the elevator to the maternity wing he took the stairs. His unusually long gait allowed him to scale a single flight of stairs in approximately 10 seconds. When he was up to the sixth floor he trotted into his wife’s room. Milly looked great. And the tubes were gone.

“Oh thank god. I thought something was wrong”

Dr. Toshiro was already there.

“There is. With both of you. And why are you so out of breath?”

“Cafeteria,” said winded Brad

Brad bent over trying to catch his breath.

“So naturally you felt compelled to set a land speed record by scaling six flights of stairs. Why didn’t you simply teleport?” asked Dr. Toshiro

“New kids remember?”

Dr. Toshiro rolled her eyes then shook her head. “I swear you two are going to drive me to drink.”

Brad sat in a chair beside his wife’s bed to catch his breath. After a short while, he asked what was going on.

“OK, Keiko. What’s with the page? I hope you know you damn gave near a heart attack”

Dr. Toshiro was ready with her answer.

“I didn’t ask you to sprint up the stairs like a crazed gazelle. As for the page, we think what’s wrong with both of you. You know that blood we took from you?”

Brad wanted to make a snarky remark. But one squeeze of Milly’s hand told him not to.

It took only a few seconds for Brad to single out the words she emphasized.

“Wait a minute. What do you mean “both of us”?” asked Brad.

“Your reproductive DNA has been tampered with. Have you ever been exposed to radiation, or had a really nasty kick right where it counts?”

“No to both”

“What about head injuries”

“No to that as well. Always wore a helmet”

There was silence while the two mulled any other possibilities. Then Milly almost exploded.

“What about Messenger!”

Dr. Toshiro and Brad looked at her.

“When Brad and I first met Messenger it was at 14 Rillington Place in our dimension. He really messed with Brad’s head. Brad was sweating all over, totally incomprehensible, and had one heck of a  headache.”

“What happened right after that?” she asked.

“I had to drive him home. He could barely walk let alone drive. He was like a zombie.”

“Any other injuries?”

“Not to us”

“What do you mean?

“My father started getting an irregular heartbeat right after Messenger brought my parents to The Second Realm .”

“Any other injuries to anyone else that Messenger may have been responsible for?”

“Sirena Telford”

“I’ve met her. Charming woman.” Keiko pretended to put her finger down her throat.

“Anything else Milly”

“Not that I know of.”

“Alright. But I still want to know what is growing inside you. The monitor beside your bed measures a fetal heartbeat. We put this strap on your tummy and we have a listen. Normally we do this at the end of the first trimester.”

Dr. Toshiro moved the sheets down and exposed Milly’s tummy.

“Call it professional curiosity, or anything you want, but I want to know what’s inside you.

The stethoscope-like device was placed on Milly’s stomach and the digital readout was activated. Normally the monitor would read 90 to 110 beats. It read 220.

“That’s it. I’m ordering an emergency amniocentesis to be followed by an ultrasound’.

The procedure did not go as planned. Every time Dr. Toshiro came close to withdrawing some amniotic fluid Milly’s heart raced at an almost deadly rate. At one point Dr. Toshiro started cursing in the few Japanese words she knew.

“I don’t understand this. If I didn’t know better I’d swear the little stinker knows what we’re trying to do. Then let’s try an Ultrasound. Milly, we’re going to take the needle out. When it’s finished coming out your tummy will be covered with a clear gel. It’ll feel like some dropped a lot of hair gel on your tummy. Whatever is inside can’t stop us from taking a peek inside.”

As the gel was applied Milly said that felt cool and gooey.

“That’s exactly what it’s supposed to feel like. If you want to see what’s inside just turn your head. And watch the monitor.”

As Dr. Toshiro moved the transducer it became very apparent that Milly was not carrying a baby. Milly became more than concerned.

“That face…it’s not human…it’s….” Dr. Toshiro nodded and a nurse gave her something to knock her out. The face resembled that of a gargoyle.

When Milly became conscious she was back in her room. She noticed another intravenous bag and another tube going into her arm. Brad was in the room as well as her mother and father. Milly was holding her mother’s hand with her right hand and Brads with her left hand. The wind picked up outside.

A glow suddenly appeared near the wall. Then a human looking person suddenly appeared. The glowing silhouette of a person stood near the wall. First, it addressed Tyler.

“Dr. Shine, Messenger erred in the worst possible way. What he did was not according to the plan, He did what he wanted to do. He was to bring people here that truly wanted to be here. He was not to bring people who were about to die from an accident. Nor was he supposed to cause injury when bringing anybody to this realm.”

“I was your Sentry award. I was sent here to watch over him and to intervene when and if necessary. Dr. Shine, I must apologize for Messengers clumsiness. His ineptitude caused the heart flutter. Only your going back in time will erase the mistake which caused it.”

The creature looked Milly and Brad.

“Messenger knew he was dying. When he injured your head Dr. Foster he altered your reproductive DNA. I must ask you never to have any other children in this timeline. They will not be human.”

The silvery figure looked at Milly.

“Messenger wanted his replacement to be from his body. You are not carrying a human baby. You are carrying his replacement. It will resemble him”

Milly started to cry and squeezed the hand of her mother even harder.

“Finally, there is the matter of Sirena Telford. There is no excuse for what he did and no way to make up for it in this timeline.

“The only way to correct the mistakes of the past is to go deeper into it. Brad, Milly, you will be returned to the morning you first met Messenger or as you called him Panooksa. You will have no memory of The Second Realm, the doorway, living together or anything that transpired during that time period. Everything that happened after you met Messenger will be erased from your mind.

“You mean everything Brad and I experienced will be gone?” Milly protested.

“Everything from that day forward will be gone for it will never have happened. You have a chance to rekindle what you have now, but only in your past.”

“Dr. Shine. You and your wife will be returned to that point in your time to the car you were in before its brakes failed. You have a second chance to see your daughter grow up.”

“And Sirena Telford will be returned to her living room before she sat down and picked up the pistol. She will not remember this for there won’t be anything to remember.

Brad tried to say something but there was a flash of light.

A moment later Milly found herself trying to navigate traffic in the city. Brad pulled up to his parking spot beneath the hospital. The car Tyler and Tilly were in was parked. They decided to walk down the road moments before the brakes gave, and Sirena found herself in the living room of her mansion staring at the gun.

The End

Diary Of A Series

I’m finishing up writing my Brad and Milly series. Actually I finished writing it a month and half ago. I’ve been revising, re-writing, and fine tuning it ever since. I found it very hard to a write a series with a fifteen hundred word limit. I’ve discovered over the last few months that unless somebody really wants to read your post, and it’s over 1500 words, very few people will read it. As for actual comments those can be helpful but they’ll also be rare.

If you do want to write a series write an outline. Now I know some people hate doing an outline, and that a lot of people would rather have a root canal. If an outline is something you can’t tolerate under any circumstances call it your blue print.  They are the bones that will hold up your series. Now give your characters physical attributes and write them down.

You don’t want to introduce your main character in chapter two and tell the world he or she is five foot five inches tall, then change your mind in chapter four and have them grow three full inches in two chapters later. Write down their correct height and keep it constant through out the entire series. Also take note of their hair color. For Brad I made him a height I always wanted to be. Brad is six feet tall. I didn’t quite make that (I’m five foot ten and 3/4 inches tall).

What do your characters do?. Research that occupation. Brad is a cardiac surgeon. Fine. So he is a doctor. Now you have to concentrate on the tiny details that make him a doctor. Ask yourself “Does he/she wear a stethoscope?” Doctors and nurses will do one of the three things. They’ll hang them from around the neck, they’ll drape them around the back of the neck with each end on the chest area or they stuff them in a coat pocket. But they usually do one of the first two things. Now, ask yourself “What do I want them to wear?”. That usually depends on their age. Dress them appropriately. Make it believable. Does he/she drive? Again the answer may be in their personality. Are they a good driver or a poor one? These are what I call snowball attributes. You give them one attribute which snowballs into a second, then a third.

Names. The idea seems simple enough. Once you’ve established your characters age give him or her a name appropriate to the time they were born. Brad is in his early thirties so that means he was born in the early eighties. If you’re stumped for a name check what baby names where popular for the year your character was born. If you have a character that’s as old as you think back to when you were in junior school. What were the names of your classmates? Names to avoid are usually you names you just can’t stand hearing. If you can’t stand hearing the names Myron or Lance it’s very unlikely you’ll want to read about them.

Last Names. They are just as important as the first. Even you have no plans to ever use a characters last name in the series give him/her one. Because you never know when a secondary character is going to ask about a primary characters last name. I’m going to paraphrase the Boy Scout motto: always write prepared. Try to know ahead of time what’s going to happen, and who’ll say what lines. You can always change it – it’s never carved in stone. So don’t be surprised if A says something that you planned to have B say. Write down ideas for lines, potential scenes, words that simply sound neat, and quotes. You may not use them at all in this series, but this info may come in handy when you write something else. If you’re like me and have truly awful handwriting you can always invest in a thirty dollar voice recorder.

Try to steer clear of politics. Politics nails down your series to a very short span of time. or a very uncomfortable period of time for the reader. Try to make your series appear that it could happen at anytime.

Try to know ahead of time who the series will be aimed at. Who is your target audience? I wrote and posted long before I knew who my audience was. If you already have a blog or web site ask your readers if they would mind seeing a series. And if the answer is a resounding “NO” go ahead and write it anyways. It’s your blog/website and you just might enjoy yourself. I certainly did. So much so I’m going to do a second.

“Dreams” – Chapter 13c – Panooksa

Idea by Tom Austin                                                 Written by Tom Austin

                                        Revised By Tom Austin

She had never dreamt in black and white, it was always in color. So this by itself was highly unusual. The surrounding land was very hilly, and the clouds were fluffy. All around her were people. It was strange seeing people in black and white. She felt that she knew them yet didn’t. But she soon she entered a city. She felt that she knew this place. On the corners were lamp posts and on the sidewalk chalk outlines for a game called Hop-Scotch. As she walked down the street she noticed there were posters advertising fights at some venue called The Palace. Soon she found herself outside a building at 14 Rillington Place. She walked up the stairs at the front and soon found herself in the lobby. The tiled floor was missing quite a few pieces. But when she was a little girl she enjoyed doing jigsaw puzzles. At one side of the lobby floor, she saw a pile of loose tiles near the wall. She walked over to the wall, lay her apron on the floor, and piled hundreds of tiles on it. When she felt she had enough she carried them back to where she thought they should be. She sat on the floor and started placing the tiles on the floor. A shadow blocked the sunlight that streamed in through the front door. She looked up, shaded her eyes and looked towards the front door. A little boy suddenly appeared in the doorway.

“When can we go home mommy?” said the little boy.

“Mommy is busy right now Pan. We’ll go home in a little while.”

She played with the tiles. They were black and white ceramic octagons. They were cool to the touch, but when she placed one on the floor it would glow and it would become fused to the other tiles. All of a sudden the tiles came to life before her and spelled out full sentences. One group of tiles simply said “Hello Milly” while another said “Run Milly Run.” Unnerved she walked towards the lobby door and bumped into the little boy.

“Are you going home now?”

Milly looked at the boy who had called her mommy. Milly was horrified. The little boy didn’t have a face.

“Don’t worry mommy. I get mine next week”

Milly started running. Slowly at first, getting faster every second.

She woke with a start. Again she that sudden urge she was going to be sick again. The sound of her retching and gagging woke Brad.

“Oh crap. Not again.”

He ran to his wife’s aid. He found her soaked in sweat. He dabbed the sweat from her brow and put a cooling compress on the back of her neck.

“That’s it. I’m calling your parents. I’m in over my head” said Brad.

“Please don’t tell them about the pregnancy tests. We don’t know what’s going on” pleaded Milly.

“OK. You’ve been violently ill four times with a lot of sweating. I’ll tell that them that.”

Brad looked at the phone.

“This damn thing hasn’t got any buttons.”

Milly was wrapped up in a heavy blanket, and she was still sweating. Milly came over and showed him how to use a rotary phone. She looked up at Brad and said “Techno-klutz”.

When Brad dialed his parents-in-laws house Tilly answered.

“Tilly can you put Tyler on. This is an emergency.”

Milly was hugging the blanket and pacing and forth in the bedroom.

As Tilly was calling Tyler to the phone she overheard Brad say “Sit down before you’ll up-chuck again.” Milly responded with “Too late.”

Milly raced from the edge of the bed and into the bathroom. Tyler finally came to the phone after what seemed like an eternity.

“I don’t know what’s going on but you have my wife really upset. Make it good son” he growled.

“I’m sorry about that Tyler, but I don’t what passes for an ambulance here but we sure need one”

As soon as Tyler heard the word ambulance he put the phone down, put his hand on his wife’s shoulder and thought “We need to go to Brad and Milly’s.” A second later he appeared in Brad and Milly’s living room with Tilly who was cradling his doctor’s bag.

“What seems to be the problem son?” he growled.

“Milly’s been throwing up, sweating profusely. We think she might be -”

“Brad, you promised!” said a very soaked Milly.

Brad continued “And I don’t know if this means anything but she’s been having some really unsettling dreams lately”

Milly passed out and crumpled to the floor. Tilly screamed.

Tyler started giving Brad orders.

“Pick her up and take her into the bedroom. Strip her then cover her with a heavy wool blanket”.

After Brad had done as Tyler ordered he was told to get out the bedroom. Tyler slammed the door. First, he checked his daughter’s heart. It was pounding away at an unusually fast rate. Her color was extremely pale. When Tyler checked her blood pressure it was very low.

Brad took this time to apologize to Tilly. “I’m sorry. This has got me all frazzled. Plus that damn phone.” He pointed at it. Immediately Tilly understood and chuckled. “We have a different technology here Brad. You’re used to pressing buttons. We’re used to dialing. You’re forgiven.”

The bedroom door opened. And Tyler came out of the bedroom.

“You were right to call Brad. That’s one sick young lady.”

“But what’s wrong with her Tyler?!” Tilly could not contain herself.

“Damned if I know. She’s as white as a sheet, her heart is hammering away at high speed, her blood pressure is lower than a gophers basement, and she’s really weak. As her doctor of record, I want her in hospital stat!”

Tyler then went to the phone.

“Dr. Shine here. I’m about to arrive. The patient’s name is Dr. Milly Shine-Foster. I want the usual blood and urine work-up stat. The patient may be pregnant so no x-rays. Repeat no x-rays.”

Brad wrapped her up in another blanket then picked her up in his arms. She was unconscious.

“Don’t leave me milady. I wouldn’t know what to do without you.” He kissed her forehead. She had stopped sweating, and her skin was warm to the touch. He told Tyler and Tilly.

“Damn! She’s got a temperature now” said Tyler.

When they arrived in the emergency ward a Dr. Keiko Toshiro took over. She ordered antibiotics for Milly who was running a temperature well as a saline intravenous drip to re-hydrate her. In the morning they were going to take blood and urine. Dr. Toshiro needed to know if she had any allergies. Brad couldn’t answer the question. It was then he got a taste of the Dr. Toshiro’s bedside manner.

“How could you not know! You’re the woman’s husband for Pete’s sake.”

As she wheeled Milly into an examining room she muttered.

“I swear when a patients next of kin is her husband they go all to pieces and are about as useful as a bag of hammers”.

The kids in pediatrics somehow found out about her and together with some nurses created a large card. The kids also started demanding “Dr. Milly” updates.

Brad went where ever Milly went. When she was finally admitted to a ward Brad went too. He fell asleep in a chair. Even though it was the middle of the night Nurse Drake from the pediatric wing stopped in to see Milly. Milly was still out cold. Tilly came up to check on her daughter. When she found Milly still asleep she started to exit the private room but stopped when she noticed Brad sleeping in a chair. She covered Brad in a warm flannel blanket before she left.

The morning sun illuminated the room. Milly woke up with an orderly named Reuben slapping her arm.

“Oh brother do I have a headache,” she said.

“I’ll bet you do. You’re one sick lady” said Reuben.

When Brad heard her speak, he got up and darted out the room to get Dr. Toshiro. After doing so he returned to her bedside.

Reuben said he had special orders to get some blood from Milly every six hours.

“Just what I’ve always wanted. My own personal vampire.”

Dr. Toshiro, Tilly, Tyler, Brad, and Nurse Drake gathered outside the room. Dr. Toshiro said she wanted to talk to Milly alone. Then she pointed right at Brad with an index finger that looked loaded.

“And you Dr. Foster I’m going to want some blood from you. So make yourself available and don’t even think of leaving this floor.”

Then he asked Tyler about Dr. Toshiro.

“I know I’m the new kid around here, but is she always so abrasive?”

“Dr. Keiko Toshiro was one of the best students I ever had. I grant you her people skills are sorely lacking but she more than makes for that with incredible diagnostic skills. If I were sick I would want her as my doctor.”

Dr. Toshiro walked past Brad towards Milly’s room, Then suddenly did a u-turn. She walked up to Brad till they were nose to nose. “Don’t you dare leave this floor, Dr. Foster. Our resident vampire wants to meet you. And he takes orders from me!

Brad went white as a sheet. Tilly thought he might pass out. “It’s only blood.” Brad started talking quietly with Tilly.

Dr. Toshiro pushed the door open and walked towards Milly’s bed, her stethoscope draped around her neck, and her hands in her pockets.

“Finally. I thought you were going to sleep through the morning. When you came in you were out cold so we’ve never been formally introduced. I’m Doctor Keiko Toshiro. That’s quite a fan club you have in the hall. From what your husband has been telling me you’ve been having some pretty wild dreams. Care to elaborate?”

“You’re going to think they pretty silly.” Milly blushed a little.

Dr. Toshiro rolled her eyes.

“Oh please tell you’re not going to be one of those patients who get shy or blushes at the drop of a hat.” She looked at Milly like she had just been caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

Dr. Toshiro talked to Milly. “Let’s get one thing straight right now. Me doctor. You patient. My patient. I’ll decide what’s silly and what’s not. I’m not going to tell this to anyone if that’s what you’re afraid of.”

She sat on the edge on of the bed. She leaned forward till she and Milly were about a foot apart. “And I want every detail. I don’t want the abridged Shine-Foster version. If you hold back one single detail I walk and you can get yourself another doctor.”

Milly told Dr. Toshiro about the rape dream and about the boy named Pan who didn’t have a face.

Milly stopped talking. Normally Dr. Toshiro wasn’t surprised, but this time she was.

“Normally I’m supposed to have a poker face but that dream about being raped sends shudders down my spine. And the black and white dream, and I really shouldn’t be telling you this, is just plain spooky.”

“The Test” – Chapter 13b – Panooksa

Idea by Tom Austin                                                   Written by Tom Austin

                                      Revised by Tom Austin

She walked over to bed number four.

“I’m looking for Robbie Burnside,” she said.

Robbie didn’t even look at her, or verbally acknowledge her existence. He simply lifted his hand. But something in her voice got his attention. He stopped looking at the magazine he was reading, raised his head, and looked at Milly.

“Who are you,” he asked.

Milly answered with pride. “My name is Doctor Milly Shine-Foster.”

“What kind of name is that?” he asked looking puzzled.

“It’s my name.” She took off her name badge and showed him.

“Here it says I’m a doctor here.” Then she pointed at her first name.

“And that’s my first name.”

Robbie pointed towards her last name.

“Shine was my last name before I got married, and that horizontal figure is called a hyphen. When I got married my last name changed to Foster.”

Doris Drake looked on in awe. Brad made a quiet entrance with his index finger in front of his lips. He began to whisper.

“How’s is she doing Doris?”

“Well I don’t know how she did it, but she got that little rascal in bed four to start talking. We’ve been trying for days with no luck. You’ve been holding out on us Doc. She’s now the department’s secret weapon.”

Milly pulled out a bunch of wires from her pocket.

“Know what these are Robbie? These are called electrodes. You’re scheduled for an electroencephalogram in a few days. If you can’t say the medical term you can always say E-E-G. When I was just a little older than you I had twenty of these electrodes put in my scalp. Do you think you could try just one for me.”
“Well I don’t know,” said Robbie looking at the wires.
Milly moved and made sure her back was to Nurse Drake. She started whispering.
“I’ve got a bet with Nurse Drake that I could get you to try just one in the scalp. This is my first day, and I really need your help. I might get fired too. Can you help me? You’re the only person who can help. I really don’t want to get fired on my first day.” She sniffed a bit.
“Oh alright. But I get an extra portion of Jello.”
“How about this. One portion but you get a large bowl?”

“Okay. Now you’re talking my language.” said Robbie.

Milly asked Robbie to lean forward. She found a good spot for the electrode, swabbed his scalp with alcohol, and pushed the electrode gently into his scalp. Robbie heard a squishy-crunching sound as the scalp closed around it.

“That’s all there is to it,” she said.

Doris stretched her neck out and watched this in utter fascination. Robbie noticed this and stuck his tongue out at her.

“How many else are there?”

“Usually there are nineteen more for a total of twenty. Sometimes it’s fourteen electrodes, but it’s usually twenty. How does it feel”

“It feels sort of creepy. Having wires in my head will make me think of the Bride of Frankenstein”

Milly took the electrode out. Again she swabbed his scalp and made sure there wasn’t any blood.

“I’ve got an idea. It’s kind of experimental but I think you just might be able to handle it.”

Milly pulled a small cloth cap from her pocket.

“What’s that?,” said a curious Robbie.

“This particular kind of cap is called a Snoopy cap. Very tiny plates are on the inside of the cap. They touch your scalp. The electrodes connect to the plates on the outside of the cap. The electrodes never touch your skin. I have one with me if you want to try it on.”

“Sure thing”

Robbie tried the cap on with great gusto.

Milly cinched up his chin strap.

“Hey I feel like one those early pilots”

“Is it alright if I attach one of those electrodes”

“Sure thing. Fire away”.

Milly attached it. “How do you feel”


Robbie wore the cap for about an hour. Milly returned to the nurse’s station. Milly picked up Robbie’s chart. She made a slight adjustment to his diet. All it read was “Dessert to be served in a large bowl.”

Doris was fascinated. “How in heavens name did you manage to do that?”

“Jello did all the work. Just plain Jello”

Brad and Milly had the following day off. Brad was really beat. At eleven o’clock Milly woke him by clobbering him with a pillow.

“Get up you great big falumpus! Half the day is gone and we have to go shopping.”

Brad sat up in bed. Milly broke into hysterics.

“What’s so funny?” said a befuddled and weary Brad.

Brad had acute case of bed-head.

“You must have been really out. You’ve got hair going in every direction. But what’s really cute is that Dennis The Menace patch at the back of your head.”

“What the heck is a falumpus?’ You called me that the night we broke the bed in your parents guest room”

“What do you mean “we”? That bed was designed and built for one person. But no, you had to get in the bed with me to introduce me to spooning. We still owe mom and dad a new bed.”

“OK, But you did like spooning. But what the heck is a falumpus?”

“It’s a flower-eating cartoon I used to watch when I was a kid. Just be glad I didn’t call you a Snuffleupagus.”

“Alright, I’m going to pretend that I’m really interested. What pray tell is that?”

“A Snuffleupagus is a woolly mammoth type creature that was an imaginary friend of Big Bird on Sesame Street. He sometimes went by the name Mr. Snuffy.”

Brad lay down in bed and covered his face with the pillow.

“Why do I ask these questions?”

Milly grabbed the pillow and clobbered Brad with the pillow again.

“Get into that shower you great lump. And stand a little closer to your razor. I’m getting a rash”

Twenty minutes into the shower the water was still flowing. Milly barged into the bathroom and banged on the shower door.

“What are ya doin’ in there? Building an ark?”

Brad listened and suddenly wore a devilish grin on his face

No answer. Just silence.

All of a sudden the shower door slid open and clouds of steam obscured Milly’s vision. A pair of wet arms grabbed her and hauled her into the shower.

“What are you doing! Brad Foster, I’m getting soaked!” she shrieked.

“You’re not the only person who watched Sesame Street. Say hello to Mr. Snuffy Sr. He’ll give you something for that rash.”

An hour later she was in the process of getting dressed for the second time that day.

“I’m late” she blurted out.

“Late for what,” asked Brad quite innocently.

“My period. It usually comes like clockwork, but not this month.”

Brad suddenly grasped the gravity of his wife’s concern.

“Have you given yourself one those early pregnancy tests?”

Milly stopped drying her hair and shot her husband a look of extreme exasperation.

“No. I’ve never had to. And you know that perfectly well.”

“Well go to the pharmacy at the hospital, get yourself two or three, and test yourself.”

“That sounds like a plan. No use crying over spilled milk. Who knows, maybe I’m getting a cold and that’s why it’s late.”

The next day at the hospital pharmacy she bought three EPT’s and shoved them into pockets of her lab coat. She transferred them to her to her locker where they stayed till she and Brad were ready to go home. When they teleported home she put them on the counter in the bathroom. More than a bit curious she read the instructions.

“OH GROSS! Do you have any idea what I have to do?”

“It’s called progress. When you’re mother was pregnant with you I think she had to wait a week for the results.”

Milly humphed. She wasn’t very impressed by the attempt at soothing banter from her husband.

“I bet a man designed this crazy test.”

Milly started muttering as she closed the bathroom door. Twenty minutes passed as she stared at the first test.

“YAHOO.” According to the test she wasn’t pregnant. Then Brad shattered the all too brief euphoria.

“Try it again. It might have been a false-positive.”

Twenty more minutes passed.

“OH CRAP!” Brad knew what the results were. Milly announced she was going to try again.

“I’m going to try after dinner. But contrary to the instructions I am not a camel. I just don’t have it in me.”

Brad came up from behind her and wrapped his arms around her.

“I know this isn’t what we planned, and neither of us wanted to be parents quite this soon. But I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to be here with you for everything.”

Milly smiled and held on to his hands firmly. “Thank you.”

She turned towards her husband. She hugged her him while she put her head on his chest.

“You have no idea how much I needed to hear you say that right now.” She turned around and faced him. She put a hand on his face and kissed him. Her eyes told Brad she’d been crying.

At dinner, there wasn’t much conversation. Both of them were deep in thought. When there was conversation it was short and uninteresting. There was a lot of thinking to do and very little time in which to do it in.

After the dishes Milly knew what she had to do. After twenty minutes Brad heard her sniffing and sobbing. He knew what he had to do. He just wasn’t quite sure how to do it.

When Milly opened the bathroom door Brad was waiting for her.

“I’m not a diplomat so I’m simply going to say it. What do you think we should do about this?. And I mean “we” in the married sense.” Brad put his hands on his wife’s tummy. He continued talking. “After all this is  a Shine and Foster production.”

“I’m so lucky. A couple of months ago had you put your hands on my tummy I probably would have freaked out. Now it feels perfectly normal. When I was in Med school I had a girlfriend who was always getting pregnant. She got pregnant five times and aborted five times. Her insides were so messed up she couldn’t have any kids a few years later when she really wanted one. I don’t want to risk that. I want to keep it. Since we don’t know if it’s a boy or girl why don’t we call it “Oops”. But I think I should warn you. Not only do pregnant women get mood swings-”

Brad interrupted. “I know all about it. Your husband is a doctor. You reminded me when I started admiring your sexy behind remember?”

When Brad stopped Milly continued.

“Ya, but we can get awfully horny too. So be prepared to deliver the goods at a moments notice. I don’t know it that’s going to happen with me but both of us should stock up on vitamins. I’m going to take mine for the baby. You’re going to take yours…well lets just say he should be at attention for the next nine months.”

Milly pointed below his belt.

“I can honestly say I didn’t know about that part”. Brad looked a bit frightened and a bit dazed. Somewhat like he had just been hit in the head with a baseball bat.

“You never know when I’m going to pounce. It could be at eight in the evening or four in the morning. Maybe never. But if I do be prepared. I could be like the Energizer Bunny. I could get going and going, and going in which case you should be prepared to give, give, and give.”

Milly started biting her nails which was a sure sign she wanted to ask a question that made nervous.

“Can I make a request. Can we please tell mom and dad in a couple of months?”

“Sure thing. And by the way I love you.”

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There are only two chapters left…

What will Brad and Milly do? What happens to the unborn baby?

36 Years–Holy Cow!

My wife Rosaria and I are celebrating our thirty-sixth anniversary today. We’ve been to Portugal together twice, England, Scotland, Wales, Aruba, and Paris France. Somebody once said that time flies. Well, for the last 36 years we’ve had a ball. If I had to say what was the best part of all those places we’ve been the answer would be very simple: Rosaria was with me.

When we got married the temperature was in the seventies. A week later, we returned from a honeymoon in Florida with tans  and shorts, only to be greeted by my parents carrying two extra parkas – it had snowed somewhat significantly in one week. Did I mind? You betcha! If there’s anything we Canadians do really well is complain about the weather. But the one thing that made the whole experience tolerable was Rosaria.

I can’t say everything we experienced in the last 36 years has been enjoyable. I’ll admit it. Cancer scared the stuffing out of both of us. My voice is still pretty weak, and its murder competing with just a radio. If I’m trying to say something and a radio is on I’m done for. My voice is that weak. But of all the people I saw or met during that whole horrible experience the most important would be Rosaria. Yes, I love her that much. I’d rather sound like Mickey Mouse and have her in my life than sound perfectly normal and not be married to her.

Twitter is a BULLY


I tried to sign up on the 13th. Email address was OK. Password was OK. Username was OK. Then they started badgering for my phone number. Then they froze the account and wouldn’t release it from their icy grip until they had my number. With so many web oriented services boasting about having top notch security, then getting caught with their pa…firewalls down, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that I don’t want them to have it. I DO NOT want it it floating around the internet only to have some idiot to pluck it out of cyberspace. If they want me to sign up I will but they will have to do it minus my phone number.  If data is on the net it’s simply a matter of time before it’s hacked. A person may not have figured it out yet, but it can be done and eventually will be.

“Nightmares” – Chapter 13-Panooksa

Idea by Tom Austin                                                      Written by Tom Austin

                                         Revised by Tom Austin

After three and a half weeks of married life Milly almost had her house the way she wanted it. And she found it wonderful being married. There was always someone to talk to, someone to reach for things you can’t, and someone to talk with about subjects you wouldn’t dare talk about in front of your parents.

Brad and Milly decided to grow their own vegetables to help stretch their finite finances. Carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, and green beans. The soil was perfect for growing veggies, and since one their neighbors was a dairy farmer there was seemingly endless supply of fertilizer. So Brad and Milly spent most of their honeymoon working the soil. Brad turned the soil while Milly hammered stakes into the ground.

At the end of the day both went into the house and sat down in the kitchen. Brad rested his head on the table.

All of a sudden, without warning, Milly blurted out “I want a baby” .

“What did you say?” asked Brad in disbelief.

“You heard what I said. I want a baby.”

“Milly I thought we discussed this matter. I thought we both agreed that since neither of us are working at the moment, and since we have no income it would be a mistake and irresponsible of us to bring another life into this world. Maybe in few years-.”

“Most of my girlfriends already have one or two children. I have a biological clock that is saying loud and clear that this is the right time to have a baby.”

“As I was saying maybe when I’m more established here. Maybe then we could have one or two kids, but to have one right away would be foolish. I know women have a “biological clock” in which to have kids. But to have one right now would be a mistake.”

“OK, I had to try. But will you at least make love to me tonight? I really want him. I want to feel him pulse and throb inside.”

“That I’m more than willing to do. Do you want to christen the kitchen again, or shall adjourn to the bedroom?”

“The bedroom will be more romantic. Could you treat me like I was a virgin again?. You were so gentle with me. It made me feel really special.”

She lay naked upon the bed. She felt Brad giving Butterfly kisses to the inside of her legs. The feelings running through her were too numerous to count. She heard Brad say “I love you”. Looking down she could see Brad slowly crawling up her body and kissing her tummy. He was on top of her. Slowly and gently he pushed her legs apart. Milly knew what was going to happen next. Suddenly a gag was over her mouth and the hands suddenly didn’t feel like Brad’s. Someone was forcing themselves inside her! Who was it? Milly tried to cry out but the gag prevented that. Then there was a disgusting, almost sulphuric smell in the room. Then they thrust so ferociously it was painful. She lifted her head as best she could to who was on top of her. It was wasn’t Brad. His face had been replaced with the face of Messenger! Milly tried to scream but couldn’t. Messenger moved inside her. And then it was done. The seed had been planted.

Milly woke up with a start. She was soaked in sweat and raced to the bathroom to throw up. The sound of the toilet flushing woke Brad . As propped himself up in bed one of his touched the soaked clammy sheets. He noticed Milly missing, quickly got out of bed and rushed toward the bathroom. When he got there he saw Milly sitting on the tiled floor, white as a sheet, crying.

“What’s going on,” asked Brad.

“Oh, it was horrible! I dreamt Messenger raped me! He was inside me. And he…he…well you know!”

Brad hugged her and rocked in his arms.

Suddenly she pushed Brad away, put her head over the bowl, and threw up again.

Brad towelled the sweat off his wife’s body. Milly didn’t even mind having Brad seeing her nude.

“Jesus. When you have bad dreams you don’t fool around” he added.

Milly got up off the floor, bent over the sink and rinsed her mouth out. When she came back to bed she was cold and shivering. They spooned and the warmth of Brad’s body soon warmed her up. But she never got back to sleep. Thoughts that were totally alien, and beyond her comprehension raced through her mind.  She started shivering again.

The following morning she was still rattled. She tried apologizing for waking Brad then realized she was the one who was raped. What was she apologizing for? Every time she thought of the dream she threw up.

Then Brad came up with an idea.

“Why don’t you come to the hospital in The Town with me. I’m sure there’s something you could do there. I hear they’re thinking of starting a daycare center for the children of the employees. Maybe we can put that maternal instinct of yours to work there. Besides, it’s my first day there, and I’d love to have a gorgeous face to look at during lunch. You’re dads face is OK but I’d much rather gaze at yours. Plus I could fantasize too.”

“Do you really fantasize about me, or are you just practising to be a dirty old man?” asked Milly innocently.

“My fantasies are just about you and totally X-rated”

“Oh do tell”

Brad leaned over the breakfast/lunch table and whispered in her ear.

“Brad ! I’m so shocked I’m agog.” Then she asked “ Can we try it tonight?”

“On one condition.”

Brad leaned over the table again and whispered some more.

“You got a deal! Really, with me on top? Never thought of that.”

Brad was trying his best to get Milly’s mind on something more pleasant. But he was working in uncharted territory. In all the time he had known Milly she never had a bad dream.

The two decided to brown bag it that first day at the hospital in the town. As Milly sat at the breakfast/lunch table she took pride in writing the initials M. S-F. on her lunch bag. On Brad’s lunch bag she wrote Dr. Foster. She held the bag out in front of her. She muttered to herself  “Dr. Foster consider yourself well and truly bagged.”

Unknown to Milly her husband was standing quietly behind her. And when she finished talking Brad  said “And I wouldn’t want it any other way Mrs. Shine-Foster” her eyebrows just about jumped off her head in surprise.

She got out of her chair and playfully pawed her husband.

“Hey, I sort of like the sound of that name. I think I’ll keep it.”

Brad sort of pouted.

“ What do mean “Sort of?”

“Ask me in fifty years or so. I’ll know by then.”

The two teleported to the lobby of the hospital. They were hand in hand. Tyler, who was teaching that day, came up behind them and said “Now that you two have finally come up for air I’d like to surprise my daughter.”

Brad approached information and told them he was new there and asked where was assigned. The woman behind the desk pointed at Tyler and said: “Ask Dr. Shine.”

Brad looked at Tyler then at Milly. To him they were both were doctors and both had the last name of Shine. So he asked what he thought was an extremely easy question to answer. He turned his head towards the woman at the information desk and asked “Which one?”.

While Brad was conversing with the woman at the Information Desk Tyler surprised Milly.

“When the human resources staff read about your education and your training they thought you’d fit in really well in pediatrics. Want to give it a try? There is one tiny condition. Brad has to be your tutor.”

Back in the city Milly had hoped for a career in pediatrics. She hugged her father so ferociously she heard a crack.

“Holy Fuzzbucket!  Did I do that?” she asked.

“Don’t worry. That happens every so often to persons of my vintage so there’s no need to be concerned. So it looks like you’re both going to be here. You have no idea how happy this makes me . Just you wait till I tell your mother.”

Milly and her father got in  the elevator and headed up to Human Resources. When they got there they had to get in line with other people. Tyler hated lineups almost as much as he hated forms and paperwork. Tyler was not religious by any stretch of the imagination but he was convinced that filling out seemingly endless forms was the closest thing to the devils work there was.

Human resources had a dozen forms to fill out, before you can do anything in the hospital just like in the city. That was one of the reasons Milly left medicine. She was a healer, not a paper pusher. But it seemed no matter where you went, forms, in all their different permutations, and multi-colored variations, were an evil you simply had to tolerate. And Milly tolerated them all. Barely.

But the part Milly hated most was having an identification photo taken. ID photos were always terrible. No what you did to look your very best your photo almost always ended up looking like a bad mug shot from a wanted poster.

Milly finally got her name tag, and lab coat. The name tag read “Dr. Milly Shine-Foster”. She couldn’t help but feel proud. It had been a long road but she’d made it. Yes, there was a small sabbatical, but it was more than worth it. She wouldn’t be the doctor and woman she was without it. She soon found her locker. She dropped off her lunch bag in the fridge of the staff lounge in the pediatrics wing. All that was missing was her first page. It wasn’t long in coming.

“Will Dr. Milly Shine-Foster please report to pediatrics. Will Dr. Milly Shine-Foster please report to pediatrics.” Milly beamed so hard her facial muscles hurt.

She took the elevator to the pediatrics wing. Her journey wasn’t without a few false starts. She got lost twice. When she finally found the wing she approached the main desk and said “Dr. Milly Shine-Foster reporting for duty.”

The nurse on duty looked at Milly and after a pause said “Oh goody. From the way you’re smiling I’m willing to bet this is your very first patient.”

To which Milly responded “Actually my first patient was my husband after he  had a slight difference of opinion with our cat.”

The nurse was very underwhelmed. “Would you be offended If I asked what might be construed as a personal question?”

“Ask away” said Milly

“Is this your very first day?”

“Indeed it is. Does it show?”

“Let me put it this way. If your smile gets any wider you’re going to need emergency dental work. But back to the matter at hand. Its the boy in bed number four. Everything points to him having epilepsy. His grandfather might have had it. His dad might be -”

Before the nurse could continue Milly asked why he was there.

“He said he was climbing a tree. Suddenly everything got dark, and he finds himself on the ground with a broken wrist. Typical little boy stuff. He’s scheduled for an EEG only he’s scared silly of it. The idea of twenty electrodes in the scalp would scare me.”

Milly asked where neurology was. The nurse told her. After a few more false starts she eventually found the neurology wing, and the room where EEG’s are conducted.

She asked the technician for an electrode bundle and a Snoopy cap.

With these stuffed in her pockets she returned to pediatrics.

She went to the nurse and asked her two questions.

“If I’m going to be working with you I’m going to need to know your name?”

“Doris Drake”

“And what is the boys?”

“Robbie Burnside”

“Here’s his chart. Good luck. He’s really scared. Good luck”

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Writing Vivid Settings + Writing Fight Scenes

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Now any of you who have followed my blog for any length of time will know I don’t normally do book reviews. In fact in the life of Abitsa ( this blog) I think I’ve reviewed four books. So you may be wondering if these books are special. You bet your boots they are. Writing Vivid Settings is only 108 pages long, and crammed with all sorts of very useful information. Vivid Settings is a fantastic aid that I heartily suggest you put in your writers toolkit right now. I want to write a book that takes place in England. The problem is I was last there twenty-five years ago. Time has a nasty habit of blurring detail. Vivid Settings brought back details I had long forgotten. Have you ever tried to write about a smell? What about something you touched? Or the weather? (If any of you have that phrase “It was a dark and stormy night” running through your heads stop it right now). This book does something no others I’ve read on writing do. It treats you like a human being. It makes the assumption you don’t know  everything, and respectfully adds to your knowledge. It won’t and doesn’t throw terminology such as slush pile about without politely explaining what the term slush pile means. A lot of books toss literary terminology around like candies bouncing in a pocket but this one doesn’t. It treats you with respect, knows you are trying to learn as best you can, and when a literary term is used it is explained in plain simple English.

Writing fight scenes is great. I’ve got a Star Trek story that at present is work in progress. Capt. Kirk is about to do battle with a blood thirsty Romulan. And I had to come to a dead stop because I didn’t have a clue on how write a fight scene. But thanks to Rayne Hall I now know what I have to do. This book covers almost every single weapon imaginable. Swords, axes, spears, knives, daggers, magical weapons are all mentioned in the book. I haven’t finished it yet but I’m pretty sure sling shots are mentioned. I was prowling around her website last night and discovered that she has live-in, four legged editor by the name of Sulu.


These two books are well worth the price considering the contents are priceless. But wait there’s more in the Writer’s Craft series. I think at present there are 21.


OK. I’ve written about just two of her books, and you’re wondering if you should invest in a copy. Well if I could get the whole set my answer would be

                             You Bet!

Thank you Rayne Hall for telling me what to do with Capt. Kirk.

Goodnight Sulu.


“Hitched (At Last)” – Chapter 12d – Panooksa

Idea by Tom Austin                                         Written by Tom Austin

                                    Revised by Tom Austin

Without the very timely intervention of Tyler the wedding would be in shambles. Brad wouldn’t have his white tuxedo, and Milly wouldn’t have her wedding gown and shoes, not to mention church, hairdresser and photographer. And still with all that there still remained a great deal to do. BB and Mike just didn’t work well together. And they would have to be informed that they were no longer required.

Brad and Milly returned to their own dimension so they could tell them in person. Brad and Milly had decided to tell them they had eloped and were only back in the city long enough to inform them face to face.

Milly found BB during a lull in her rounds. BB said she was disappointed she had missed the wedding but wished Milly all the best. Mike, however, was a different story. Brad went down to the garage but Mike was nowhere to be found. Brad looked under cars, behind the counter, even in the overhead tire rack. No Mike. Then he checked what Mike called his office. He found Mike sitting in a wooden office chair, with his head lying in a stack of bills a few inches deep. He was as drunk as a skunk. Brad got Mike sitting up, and poured some hot coffee for him. But there was a stench any doctor would recognize. That of vomit and urine. Mike had wet himself and thrown up. Brad told Mike to get some help. He also told him he and Milly had eloped, and that he missed his chance to be best man. He doubted anything he had said would sink in so he wrote Mike a note and stuffed it in his hand. Mike got himself into this mess, and he would have to get himself out of it. Brad was disappointed with Mike and left.

When Brad got back the apartment he told Milly all about Mike. But they both agreed there was nothing they could do. They continued to box up all their goods and chattels. In the midst of the organized chaos, Brad looked around and was amazed at what he saw.

“I had no idea we had so much junk! Some of this stuff I can understand, but who in the world needs five popcorn poppers.” Eventually, almost everything was boxed up. The only thing that remained was Milly’s bedroom, all the bathroom stuff, and a few things in the kitchen. Quincy was not amused that his world was suddenly populated by boxes and that access to his favorite place to sleep was blocked by boxes. Brad had asked Milly a question, and she was still mulling it over a day later. Brad had suggested inviting Sirena to the wedding.

“Please tell me you joking. I’d rather invite the plague.”

Brad shook his head. “I’m not wild about her either, but we’re going to have to learn to live with her. She going to be a neighbor too.”

Milly looked rather unhappy at the idea of having her for a neighbor.

“All right. I suppose you’re right. We have to learn to live with her. I’ll even ask if she would be a bridesmaid. But on one condition. I can also bring her a bottle of the perfume called Poison.”

Brad thought it was a great idea. The perfume could act as a peace offering of sorts. After all its the thought that counts.

“Is that perfume new or something? I’ve never heard of it” asked Brad.

“It came out ages ago. Fifteen or twenty years ago. It smelled great then. But I really have to wonder if it will smell the same. The drug store has had a bottle in the window for about ten years. Maybe I should get her Shalimar instead. That’s a little more recent and more reasonably priced. What would you think if I got her a Pet Rock?” asked Milly.

“I think that would be pushing it a bit. The woman may be a horrible human being, but she’s not a moron.”

Brad took all the boxes through the doorway to the new house. The boxes were gone. Most of the furniture was gone. The sofa remained as it was Brad’s bed. With her hands on her hips, Milly surveyed the apartment.

“I’m going to miss this place. A lot of good memories.” The two hugged in the middle of what used to be the dining room, their arms wrapped tightly around the other.

Milly had her head against Brad’s chest. But now she looked up and rested her chin on it.

“Did you know that sometimes when you were still asleep on the couch I played with your hair?’

“You sexy little devil. No wonder it was so hard to comb in the morning. Some people at the hospital are convinced I had a permanent!” He kissed the tip of her nose.

“Brad, I’ve got to ask you a question. Should we hang onto the apartment? If we don’t we can never come back. We won’t have the doorway.”

Brad rested his head on top of Milly’s.

“I’ve been giving that very question a lot of thought too. I don’t like the city. It’s grubby, and every year it gets more expensive to live in. I think when we move it should be a clean break. Sure we’re going to have the memories of this place. Those won’t be gone till we are. But I’d prefer to start with a clean slate, with you, and Quincy in the house. This didn’t really feel much like a home. An apartment never does to me. Even if we never knew about The Second Realm or the doorway this place would always be temporary. A real home is someplace permanent, like a house.”

Milly thought about what her soon-to-be husband to be had said.

“I guess you’re right. Besides all I really want is what I’m hugging right now. So I guess this is our last night here. Here’s to new beginnings” said, Milly, as she pulled Brad towards her. She stuck her hands in his back pockets. Her fingers could feel a piece of paper. She pulled it out of Brad’s pocket.

“What’s this”

“That, my love, is something you dad gave to me. He wants me to pin it to the door on our wedding night.”

Milly opened the piece of paper. There were four lines on it.

Milly turned around and leaned against Brads chest. She slowly unraveled the crumpled piece of paper. Her eyes bugged out when she read it. She turned to face Brad. She tried to say something but was so surprised she stammered a bit.

“My father-my dad gave you this? You know I think my dad is slowly becoming a dirty old man.”

Milly lay on the bed in her parent’s guestroom and stared at her wedding dress. Somebody knocked. Whenever anybody knocked she always asked who it was, before zipping up the garment bag and unlocking the door.

Her mother was at the door.

“The hairdresser just called and she wants us both there three and a half hours before the ceremony.”

All Milly could think was there were now less than twelve hours to go.

Brad started getting nervous. He was pacing back and forth outside the house till Tyler called him in for dinner.

“Hey, Brad. Get in here. It’s dinner time, and stop wearing out the road”

Tilly tried giving her daughter a shot of Brandy to help her sleep. Sleep did not come easily that night. For anyone.

Tyler insisted on wearing tails. He said if it was good enough for his father it should be good enough for him. Tilly accompanied her daughter to the hairdresser. It was hard for Milly to really believe this was happening. She carried the wedding gown with her. The jaws of life wouldn’t be able to separate her from the gown now that she had it.


There he was. At the end of the aisle. In his white tuxedo. Brad. Milly looked sensational. She was gorgeous. Brad found it hard to believe this vision of loveliness had consented to be his wife. They exchanged vows and then got the surprise of a lifetime. A majority of The Town had turned out to see them. Sirena was there. Merlin was the ring bearer. Tyler acted as best man for Brad. Joe Crangle, the jeweler Milly and Brad woke up to get the engagement ring sized supplied the wedding bands for free. The reception took place at Sirena’s new house. And when Tyler shook Joe’s hand at the reception he handed over the Rapala fishing lure. The woman from the frame store handed Milly a gift on behalf of the store. It was a small frame with a piece of cloth inside. Inside was what left of Brad’s lucky boxers.


When they went to their house Brad carried his bride over the threshold. Inside they found a brand new brass bed with a note attached – “Let’s see you break this one. It’s got a twenty-year guarantee with love Tilly & Tyler.”

Brad did as he was told. He put the note on the door. It read…

If you think you hear squeakin’

And there ain’t no talkin’

Don’t bother knockin’

Just start walkin’

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