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.”