“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 With nothing to read except one very out of date magazine, Milly was left with only one other choice and that was to try to sleep.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

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