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Coming Soon

Somewhere Else Now

by David Lee Nutter


Chapter One


Memory is a selection of images
some elusive, some printed indelibly on the brain.
Each image is like a thread
each thread woven together to make a tapestry of intricate texture
And
the tapestry tells a story
And
The story is our past...
Evie's Bayou

And

From behind her an arm crosses over her right shoulder and wraps at first gently around her neck. She lays her head back and begins to turn in anticipation of a warm, caring embrace and a long, loving sensuous kiss. The arm tightens with the thumb of the hand touching the left side of her long lovely neck as she looks back and up over her shoulder. A flashing blade transitions from cold hard shiny steel to warming hard red steel as it slices from the left to the right and back over the shoulder from where it first appeared.

&

Dylana walks across Broadway at Seventeenth Street with confidence reflecting in her stride and alluring smile. Men, and some women, can not help but look at her. Her confidence exudes to everyone looking at her that this is a beautiful woman with a defined determination of personal achievement. She steps onto the curb and walks to one of the tall buildings and opens the door, then inside the elevator she pushes the button for the seventeenth floor.  She waits midst the glances and stares of those around her which accelerates her confidence of knowing she is a beautiful woman and proud of being so.

Rising from his desk Roberto marvels at Dylana as she enters his office being escorted in by his office assistant.

"Roberto, Dylana is here. It's after five and I'm leaving. See you in the morning," the assistant says. Roberto nods back in acknowledgment.

"Dylana, it's good to see you. You are looking as gorgeous as ever. Come in and have a seat" Roberto compliments as she strolls across the thickly carpeted office floor.

"The feeling is mutual, I'm sure, and thank you." Dylana approaches the plush sofa in Roberto's office and seats herself as Roberto watches her with lustful eyes as her short skirt slips higher up over her already exposed knees. As she settles into the couch Roberto cannot resist his lingering stare at the abundant cleavage of her breast.

She removes her fashionable hat, fluffs her hair and says to Roberto, "Let's get on with it."

&

Speeding through the curving roads of the nearby mountains in his aged but well tuned and maintained Alfa Romeo GTV Chris is concentrating more on what is ahead of him… not on the road but the crisis that is mounting in his life with Dylana and Roberto. "Where will this end… how and why did I ever allow myself to get caught up in this mess?"  With thoughts storming through his head he also wonders, "Is this really as bad as I think it is… is it possible that…?

Down shifting the Alfa, preparing for the oncoming curve he slows down, then half way through the curve he accelerates the car in a mass of confusion about his life, mixed with the adrenalin rush he is getting from the increasing speed of the car.

&

"My concern," Dylana begins, "is not about what has happened but rather how are we going to handle the situation, with Chris?" 

"I'm not sure; we need to come up with something soon." replies Roberto, "He should be here within the next couple of hours. We need to think of something quick!"

"The caper came off well, don't you think?" questions Dylana.

"No problem… except for Chris. What do you think his reaction will be when he finds out?"

"I'm worried. We should have let him in on it." ponders Dylana, "Do you think he knows?"

"Hell! There's no way of knowing until he gets here."

&

Hurtling through the darkness of the night and the mountains, negotiating the winding road, speeding past slower moving vehicles and avoiding oncoming traffic Chris is angry and cursing. "Why the hell was I left out!!? Why??  Don't they trust me?

A line of cars is slowing and stopping in front of Chris. There are flashing yellow lights advancing toward him in the oncoming lane. A truck with a FOLLOW ME signon the back is leading cars behind it. "What the fuck now? ... an accident… roadwork? … What the hell is going on?"

As he sits in his car ranting inwardly and pounding on the steering wheel his anger and rage keeps erupting. The truck and the line of cars following it, passes and before the truck can turn around and get to the head of the line of cars in front of Chris, he shifts into first gear, stomps on the accelerator and pulls out into the now clear left lane. Picking up speed and anger he accelerates past the cars to his right. Ahead he sees a person waving a STOP sign on the end of a pole. The next instant the sign and the person holding it pitches to the ground as the Alfa barrels past the startled workman, barely missing hitting him. The other workmen along the roadside near their big trucks with flashing yellow lights are swearing and waving their hands and tools at the "godamn sonofabitch" taking a chance on killing himself and others around him.

Approaching the summit of the mountain road he begins downshifting so he can negotiate the oncoming turns. He is aware of the hairpin curves ahead and slowing slightly he approaches the first one. In an instant of uncontrollable rage he misses stepping on the brake pedal and hits the accelerator. There being few guardrails along the roadside he goes off the road between a set of rails and is air born as though shot from the bands of a huge slingshot. He can only hold onto the steering wheel ….

&

It is well past the two hours that Dylana and Roberto were allowing for Chris to arrive at the office.

"I wonder what's happened?" asked Dylana.

"I've no idea." replied Roberto, "Turn on the TV."

Nearly three hours passes and at 9 pm an announcement comes from the early evening local news station.  "There has been a terrible accident on the road just west of the city. It appears that an Alfa Romeo and its driver went over the edge of a cliff and fell to the bottom of the mountain exploding on impact. Rescue workers have reported that the driver of the car has not been found. Due to the oncoming snow storm, the search has been called off for the night.  Hopefully the search, assuming for the body, will resume in the morning, weather permitting… "Other news tonight…."

Dylana turns to Roberto in shock. Several seconds pass before one speaks to the other. "I guess that takes care of knowing what to do about Chris."

"Yes, I guess it does."

Roberto walks to the office safe and turns the dial left, then right and left and right again. He removes a large leather brief case from the safe and places it on his desk.

 "Is that it?" Dylana asks Roberto as he moves toward her while she primps in front of a mirror, straightening her hair and putting her fashionable hat back on.

"Yes."

She speaks, "I guess it's time to be somewhere else now."

From behind her an arm crosses over her right shoulder and wraps around her neck. She lays her head back and begins to turn in anticipation of a warm caring embrace and long sensuous kiss. The arm tightens with the thumb of the hand touching the left side of her long sensuous neck as she looks back and up over her shoulder. A flashing blade transitions from cold hard silvery steel to hard warming red steel as it slices from the left to the right and back over the shoulder from where it first appeared.

Dylana gasps as she reaches for her neck in utter terrified shock horror and disbelief as blood gushes from her throat over her dress and legs onto the floor into a large pool of red liquid into which she collapses.

Roberto steps back from her crumbling body midst the gasping gurgling sound from  Dylana's throat, watches her a moment as she slumps to the ground. He then turns toward his desk, picks up the large leather briefcase and walks toward his office door and says quietly, "Yes, Dylana, it's time to be somewhere else now."

&

Somewhere else now in my mind I reside at this time. It's been a few days since "Roberto stepped back, picked up the large leather briefcase from his desk… and said quietly, "Yes, it's time to be somewhere else now."

I forwarded this story to my friend and publisher and she told me she likes it and that I have the beginning of a good novel.

I replied, "How can I have a novel when two of the three characters of the story are dead." I don't remember if she answered me or not. Perhaps she just left it up to me to figure out the answer. I started thinking and writing and thinking and writing and….

These thoughts began running through my head. Roberto is on the run. He is disguised and getting off an airplane somewhere else now than where he had been. Chris is not killed in the car crash although he nearly is and he is nearly killed by a mountain lion. He meets Jon, a hunter. Dylana has not yet died. (I don't know if she will.)

How did this all come about?

Well, I created these characters, with their help, so, if they are dead I can resurrect them… can't I? And… is it not only an assumption that two of them are dead? So this is where we are… somewhere else now than where we were at another time. 

Now it is time for "us" to get to work again. Dylana is in a hospital in serious condition unable to talk.

Roberto is leaving Catalina Island (How did he get there?) on a seaplane, or a somewhat similar in some ways, mode of transportation, headed for… headed for somewhere else now.

Chris is washed downstream from the crash and while nearly dead from being beaten by the rocks and low hanging branches he is carried to the shore line where he collapses… is nearly attacked by a mountain lion but saved at the last moment by Jon who is hunting nearby. He is taken to Jon's cabin, and is aided back to reasonable health and when I left them they were in bed together.

&

Now what? Since that last sentence I was interrupted by a loud knock on the door of my apartment. It was the manager checking to see if I was OK. Some one had heard my teapot whistling loudly on the kitchen stove and got concerned that I might be lying in the apartment injured or dead like Jennie, my neighbor, was found next door a few weeks ago. Fortunately I was just involved in trying to determine where this story is going and had left the teapot to whistle away until I found a place to pause. That place to pause was found for me. So I thanked the manager for checking on me, fixed myself a cup of tea and now I am back at the keyboard writing away and wondering where this plot is going to take us.

&

Luggage slides down the ramp and onto the airport carrousel. Waiting anxiously Roberto realizes he needs to calm down lest he attract the attention of the security police just on the other side of the turnstile. (Most likely his nervousness is detected by no one other than himself.)

He picks up his suitcase from the assortment of luggage, inhales deeply, releases his breath and attempts to relax as he turns and walks toward the turnstile with suitcase in one hand… and the large leather briefcase in the other. Again he waits. The clack, clack, clack of the turnstile beckons his exiting as an attendant checks his luggage tag, nods his head acknowledging that the numbers on the luggage and the tag in his hand match. He moves on to the turnstile.    

An elderly woman with a large suitcase, a carry on and an oversized purse struggles at the turnstile just ahead of Roberto attracting the attention of the security police that have been watching the passengers. One of the men assists her with the large suitcase and she is released from her struggle with the turnstile. Clack, clack, clack. She smiles graciously and somewhat embarrassed at the policemen and as she moves forward she thanks them for their assistance, retrieves her large suitcase and continues on to her destination. Roberto moves forward to the turnstile. The policemen look at him and one of them says, "Sorry for the holdup. Have a good day." Roberto glances at them and says, "Thanks." The clack, clack, clack and rotating of the turnstile releases him with his suitcase in one hand and the large leather briefcase in the other as he moves on to somewhere else now.

&

The next morning Roberto's office assistant arrives at work and is startled as she begins to unlock the office door. Her key turns and she realizes the door is already unlocked. She enters and cheerfully calls out, "Good morning Roberto…You're here early today." Her cheerful greeting disrupts into a gasp and a horrifying scream.

Police and paramedics are summoned and in a few minutes Dylana is on a stretcher being wheeled to a waiting ambulance. With emergency lights flashing and sirens blaring it heads quickly toward the nearby hospital and to the emergency room where doctors and assistants anxiously wait to perform their services.

&

A mountain lion curiously explores the mass of it-knows-not-what that lays before it at the rivers edge. Sniffing, taking a few steps forward, sniffing and advancing again it is suddenly startled and quickly retreats back into the woods. An abrupt lurch and loud groan of pain from the man at the rivers edge has startled the cat now waiting and looking from the nearby trees.

Chris stirs slightly attempting to regain consciousness. He shivers in his wet and cold clothing that is ripped and torn on his beaten and exhausted body. He is chilled and trembling from the cold that is so prevalent in the early morning mountain sunrise, especially in the shade of the trees and brush where he is lying. A storm of thoughts and wonderings plague his head…"Where am I? What happened? How did I get here? Where am I?" He raises his head in an attempt to survey his surroundings only to have it crash back to the ground from an onslaught of excruciating pain. He does not intentionally move but his body trembles from the cold and the pain. His mind explores his body trying to determine whether any bones may be broken or how severe are the cuts and bruises. He can see a puddle of blood on the ground in front of his eyes and concludes that one of his injuries is from a wound to his head.

The smell of blood wafts to the nose of the cat that had stopped and turned in the woods and was watching the strange mass of it-knows-not-what. The cat again begins to approach the body enticed by the smell of fresh blood emanating from the body at the edge of the river.

As the cat creeps toward the wounded man… the author decides he is hungry and desiring a cup of coffee. He puts his pen down on the page (at this time he is transferring the story onto his computer) pushes his chair back from his desk to go fix breakfast, a cup of coffee and most likely shower and dress before he returns to the page to learn what the cat and Chris are doing and what is happening with Dylana and Roberto….

&

 Stomach satisfied, teeth brushed, body bathed and dressed, hair combed, underarm deodorant applied, (I even washed yesterdays lunch and dinner dishes) I return to the page as the cat continues to creep closer to the body in front of it. Is that whatever-it-is dead or alive? If it is dead it will be and easy meal. If it is alive it will be an easy kill.

A sound too far removed and too quiet for the cat to hear, emanates from deeper in the woods. The cat had been waiting for its return to the whatever-it-was at the edge of the river. As it approaches the body a projectile of death slides into the chamber of a rifle. The rifle is readied, it is aimed and it is fired. The thirty-ought-six bullet hurtles through space onto the flesh of the mountain lion separating its fur with a small point of impact shredding apart the skin, into and through the ribcage and explodes in the mountain lions heart. The too quiet moment for the cat to notice has thundered from the woods in a form bringing forth the cat's sudden and unexpected demise. The last vestments of consciousness and life ebb from the cat's body in the form of trembling as its nervous system adapts to the final task of if earthly beingness. Its unknowable awareness of what has just occurred leaves no measure of acknowledgement or understanding of the transmutation of its being from life to death. The cat falls to the ground in a dead state even while its warm entrails decorate the nearby brush and trees with it dripping glistening redness of blood and pale shades of brown and gray of its intestines.

Only a few inches from the cold, numbed and beaten body Chris trembles as he feels the slightness of the cats last warm breath pass over the exposed back of his neck. A semiconscious cognizance of semi unconsciousness wafts through his mind and body in awareness and unawareness of the event that has just occurred. 

&

 Roberto exits a cab in the heart of a big city far removed from his office. The cab drives away and Roberto walks into a nearby men's clothing store and buys a leather jacket, a pair of trousers, a cap and a pair of sunglasses. He pays cash for his purchases and with his old clothes in one of the stores plastic bags carries it, his suit case and leather brief case back outside, walks a few blocks through the mass of humanity that is going to and coming from wherever it is going to and coming from. He pauses at a container marked Goodwill, deposits the bag with the clothing inside the container, steps back then moves toward the curb and hails another taxi.

"Where to?" asks the driver.

Roberto tells him and they are on their way.

"Nice jacket." the cabby remarks.

"Thanks." replies Roberto.

&

From out of the woods appears a person wearing a blaze orange vest and cap. Looking at the cat to make sure… the small hole in one side and the guts spewed out on the ground and in the nearby brush the hunter confirms the cat is dead. Jacketed hollow points tend to do that to things, especially living things.

The hunter kneels beside Chris and asks, "Are you alright?"

The words had barely escaped the hunters' lips as the ludicrousness of the question answers itself.

"Hey! My name is Jon. I want to help you."

Chris stirs only briefly and mutters a muffled, "Unghhh." He again attempts to lift his head from the ground and shakes it slowly attempting to clear the confusion of his situation and to acknowledge the voice that had just said, "I want to help you." This time he struggles to hold his head up and turn it slightly toward the source of the words he has heard in his benumbed condition.

"Yes, yes, please help me!" he numbly stutters. "I'm cold… so cold."

Jon holds Chris's head in now ungloved hands. The warm touch jolts more sensitiveness into his body.

"Can you move? Can you get up?"

Chris attempts to move a little. "I'm so cold!"

"Move if you can. There is something here that can help warm you some."

"Unghhh… I'm so cold."

"Here, I'll help you. Try to roll over."
Chris begins to raise himself some and to roll over.

"No, no… the other way."

Chris redirects his effort and slowly rolls onto his back.

"Keep going! Keep going! I'm helping."

Chris rolls again and finds warmth in mid roll… warmth from the body of the freshly killed mountain lion.

"Unghhh… unghhh!

"Can you feel that?"

"Unghh… unghh." Chris moans.

"Lay there a moment. Then I will try to get you on your feet."

As he feels the heat from the dead cats body Chris begins to become more aware and sensitive to his surroundings and his condition.

"My car, my car! Where is my car? Oh… that's where it must be. I feel like I was flying. What's going on? I was flying!

In the sameness of being and not being in the moment Chris was thrown from the air born vehicle and hurled through the air and onto the ground just a few feet from the exploding Alfa Romeo. His world spun… relentlessly as he slammed into the low lying growth of the rivers edge and rolled into the swift current of the wintry cold water.

He speaks, "I'll try… I'll try to get up."

With great difficulty Chris raises himself up to where he can pause and rest a moment on his elbows. He  breathes in short gasping breaths, pleased with getting up that far while struggling physically, mentally and emotionally to get off of the cold ground and onto his feet.

His mind wavers as he becomes aware that he is astraddle the mountain lion. He staggers briefly as he moves a knee to solid ground while the other knee remains in the midsection of the dead cat. He shifts his weight and in doing so squirts out more of the remaining blood and entrails of the cat onto to the ground. As he weaves unsteadily to his knees he winces as he flexes his arms and shakes the cats entrails from his tattered jacket. 

Bewildered he turns to the hunter and asks, "Who are you?"

The hunter smiles slightly and in recognition of Chris's state of confusion and only brief recovery of a semiconscious state of mine repeats, "My name is Jon."

"Oh… hi… my name is Chris."

"Hi Chris. Do you feel like you can stand up now?" 

"I'll try. Let me hold your arm."

Chris takes Jons extended arm and holding on tightly raising one foot and planting it on the ground in front of his kneeling body. He moves his weight forward onto the extended foot and leg and begins pushing. As Chris pushes Jon lifts, raising Chris to his feet. Steadying himself on Jon he struggles with regaining his equilibrium and hopefully not fall back onto the ground. He stabilizes himself, holding on to Jon and leaning on a nearby tree. Determining, hopefully, that there are no broken bones, arms and legs, at least Jon says, "Hang on to the tree a minute. I'm going to get you a walking stick."       

Chris responds, "Unghh… OK."

Jon spots a broken limb a few feet away that will work after breaking off a few small branches that stemmed from the limb.

"Here, try this."

Chris grabs the limb in one hand and distributes his weight between it and on Jon. "What now, Jon… where we going now?"

"Just be quiet and concentrate on walking a little while. You're going to be OK."

The words sounded reassuring but Chris wasn't sure he believed them.

Slowly they moved through the woods… Chris limping while struggling to find the strength to stay on his feet and move forward.

A quarter of  an hour passes and Jon keeps encouraging Chris to "Hang in there, Chris, we're almost there.

"Unghh… OK… I hope so."

To add to the already difficult situation little flakes of snow began falling.

"This is just what we need, Huh?"

"Unghh… snow… and I'm freezing."

"Hang on Chris, we're almost there. A short distance further." Jon said encouragingly.

"Unghh… I'm freezing."

The snowflakes are getting larger.

A short distance ahead Chris could make out a small clearing and a narrow road with a SUV sitting next to a cabin. 

The snow flakes were getting larger and falling faster.

Jon opens the door to the cabin and together they stumble inside. Jon assists Chris toward the couch in front of the fireplace. Chris staggers and gropes his way to the couch where he collapses from exhaustion.

Some embers are glowing beneath a couple of nearly fire consumed logs. Jon picks up some kindling from next to the fireplace, puts it on the hot embers then puts a small log on the growing fire and crisscrosses a couple larger logs on top of that. 

Chris sits shivering on the couch watching the fire grow into a warming blaze tossing sparks onto the back side of the fireplace screen.

Jon moves hurriedly across the cabin past the double bed and from a nearby closet removes some large clean towels and takes them to Chris who has struggled to get closer to the fireplace. Now feebly attempting to stand and lean against the stone fireplace Chris removes his jacket and shirt and places them on the hearth while absorbing the heat from the fire and rubbing his body with the intensifying heat from the burning logs.

"Here." Jon says "Take off the rest of your clothes and dry yourself off with these. I'll get more and you can wrap yourself in them until I get your clothes get washed and dried."

Chris graciously accepts the towels, takes off his shoes, socks, trousers and underwear and begins drying himself with all the vigor he can muster.

Jon takes a kerosene lamp from the mantel of the fireplace sticks a match and puts it to the wick and replaces the lamp on the mantel.    

"That will give us more light in here."

She then goes to the kitchen table and lights the lamp setting there.

"I'm going to heat some water for coffee."

"That sounds wonderful. I can warm my insides along with my outside." Chris replies with some difficulty.

Jon opens a quart jar of water that was on a shelf, pours it into the pump beside the sink and starts pumping the handle until the pump is primed and water begins pouring from it into the coffee pot that has been placed in front of the spout.

"This will take a while, Chris."

"That's OK, the heat feels wonderful." Chris mumbles.

Again lighting some kindling, this time in a wood burning stove near the sink, Jon waits a moment to be sure the kindling is burning then places a couple of logs on the burning kindling, shuts and latches the stove door and goes to the linen closet to get some more towels.

Chris, still drying himself, rubs himself then turns his naked body toward the growing flames holding the damp towel in front of him to absorb the heat then turns back around facing the couch and the open room of the cabin puts the warm towel on his back he pulls it back and forth across his back and lower body to get dryer and to get his blood circulating again.

Jon approaches, hesitates a moment observing Chris, then places the dry towels on the arm of the couch and tells Chris that he can wrap himself in them until his clothes get washed and dried.

"They will need to be washed to get that mess from the cat cleaned off. I'll be right back."

A blast of cold air invades the cabin as Jon steps outside. A minute or so later another one follows. Jon enters carrying an ice chest filled with food from the SUV just outside the door and places it on the table in front of the sink and behind the couch.

"Brrr… it's really cold out there and the snow is starting to pile up. I'm glad I found you when I did. You wouldn't have made it through the night out there."

"I expect you are right." Replies Chris, "But look on the bright side… the cat would have killed me before I froze to death."

"That's likely true. I don't know which would be the most humane way to go… by cat or by cold."

"I'm glad I am not having to find out."

Jon again walks across the floor of the cabin toward the bed and pulls the privacy curtain around the perimeter of the bed.

A few minutes latter Jon appears dressed in an oversized loose fitting sweater, flannel sweat pants, wool lined moccasins and a pull over wool cap.

"That feels better."

"That looks warm and comfortable."

Jon goes to the stove and checks the water in the pot. It is starting to steam but not yet boiling. Then removing the lid from the ice chest Jon removes two cans of soup, a loaf of bread a package each of sliced cheese and ham and an unopened jar of Miracle Whip. A few minutes later after Chris uneasily moves from in front of the fireplace to the table at the table the two enjoy ham and cheese sandwiches, hot soup and hot coffee.

"I'm glad you have these big towels. They cover me up quite well."       

"Oh for goodness sakes, what's the matter with me?"

Jon jumps up from the table, goes to the closet and removes a blanket, returns to the table and helps Chris wrap himself in it.

"Thank you, that really feels good."

The inside of the cabin becomes quite warm with the heat coming from both the fireplace and the stove.

"This is wonderful Jon. I really am enjoying it a lot. I was really hungry. Thanks."

"You're welcome. How did you end up next to the river and so beaten up?"

"I was to meet some folks in Winter Park at The Last Waltz. A restaurant I have eaten at several times."

"Yes. I know it. I've eaten there myself many times."

"While I was waiting I received a disturbing call on my cell phone. It really annoyed me." Chris paused took a deep breath, "Annoyed me, Hell, it really pissed me off."

"And?"

"And I got in my car and started driving like a mad man back to Denver when I ran off the road and crashed at the bottom of the mountain. I ended up in the river and evidently was swept downstream to where the cat and you found me." Chris hesitated a moment then continued, "I am normally a calm man but I sure wasn't calm after that phone call. I've got to watch myself. I don't like reacting like that. It almost got me killed."

"What was the call about? No, no, no, not now. You have got to be exhausted. We'll talk more about that in the morning… if you want to."

 "Yeah, I am, and that sounds good."

"I'll put some more blankets on the bed and turn them down so you can get a good night sleep."

 "Oh no… I'll sleep on the couch.'

"You'll take the bed. You're too banged up to spend the night on an uncomfortable hide-a-bed.

Chris finishes the last of his cup of coffee while Jon readies the bed for him. He uses the table and the back of the chair to raise himself and head for the bed. Jon rushes to him and helps him to the edge of the bed where the blanket he had wrapped around him loosened and fell to the floor. Jon bends down quickly and retrieves the blanket that had also fallen. Chris lay down on his side and struggles to roll himself to the center of the bed. "This feels good." Chris mutters as he sinks his head into the large down filled pillow next to the head board.

"I'll check on you throughout the night. Sleep well."

"Unghh… you too… Thanks… Ganight."

Jon clears the dishes from the table, puts the stopper in the sink drain, some Dawn, the dishes and pours the remaining hot water from the coffee pot over them and lets them soak a while. A large pot is filled with water and when it is hot Jon brings Chris's clothing to the stove and puts them into the hot water and washes the blood and entrails and dirt from them and hangs them up in front of the fireplace.

Dishes washed, dried and put away, the quart jar refilled with water and placed on its shelf, Jon looks out the window and watches while the snow keeps falling and getting deeper and deeper.

Several minutes later, standing by the bed watching Chris sleep Jon thinks, "Hell it's going to get really cold tonight and sharing body heat would keep us both warmer than sleeping alone." Removing the oversized, lose fitting sweater, stepping out of the moccasins, the sweat pants and taking the wool pull over cap off Jon shakes her head loosening her full bodied hair to fall in waves of golden hues down over her neck and to her shoulders.  She removes her bra and panties, turns down the bed covers on one side and slips toward the center of the bed next to Chris and pulls the blankets back over her body and Chris.

"Unghh… ga night." Chris mumbles unaware of what has happened.

"Good night, Chris, good night."

&

Complying with the expression "First things first." I leave my computer out of necessity to do what nature advises I do.

Leaving Chris and Jon asleep together in bed, Dylana in a hospital with her throat cut and Roberto somewhere else now (I think I have forgotten where he is but I'll find him… or he will find me) I contemplate where their lives are heading. Possible situations rise from the "storm of thoughts" blowing through my head: Dylana, Roberto and Chris are siblings. Dylana is a twin whose sister will show up later. Dylana is a transvestite. Dylana is definitely not dead…or maybe not. Jon is a mutant vampire. (What's a mutant vampire?) Chris gets bitten by Jon. Chris leaves Jon on the couch in a burning cabin with the crackling remains of a wooden stake in her heart. Chris, Roberto, Dylana and Jon find each other and reconcile their differences, acknowledge their parts in the story and go somewhere else now to… to… to. And Oh yes. What's in the large leather brief case?

Completing what I have been doing I tidy up, wash my hands, replenish my cup with coffee, fix a snack and take my meds, all while wondering where Roberto is and where he is going, what will Chris's reaction be when he awakens to find he is in bed with a female Jon, not a male Jon and… and… and….what would have been if Jon was a man?

I contemplate their lives and mine. All of the characters had other plans for their lives, as had I. None of us expected to be where we are now in our life situations but here we are, all wondering what's next?

&

Again back at my computer I watch the trail of words being left on the page. A couple of dogs have been barking outside for over two hours. I sip my coffee and contemplate the characters in my book and my life. I wonder about Dylana lying in a hospital bed drugged and asleep with IVs in her paled arms, an oxygen mask covering her nose and several other devices attached to her body connected to monitors next to her bed. She sleeps and I wonder… for the purpose of story how much detail I need to give to the surrounding hospital equipment that is helping keep Dylana alive in awareness of the amount of blood she lost from the time Roberto cut her throat, being found by his assistant and rushed to the hospital while paramedics did their jobs inside the speeding ambulance with lights flashing and sirens blaring.

Is it necessary to describe in detail the bandage around Dylana's neck and all the medical equipment in the room or the expressions on the nurses and doctors faces as they tend to their critically injured patient?The situation is tense needless to say.The doctor looks at Dylana then at the nurses then as he leaves the room and says "Watch her closely. She is in critical condition."

The nurses acknowledge the doctors words and affirm his request "We will doctor."

&

The guy that wrote On Writing* is right. You can let the characters of story have their own lives. Right now I am unsure of what is going to happen next… maybe I don't have a clue.  Is that because I am expecting me to know what is going on and not  letting them share with my what they are doing and me just taking dictation?  They have their lives as I have mine but we need to work together in order to fulfill our task of completing this book.   I am thinking of Chris and Jon right now. Why may Chris going to get laid and I'm missing out? Is that a fact or an assumption that he is going to get laid? Or that I am going to miss out? He is pretty beat up after that car crash and the experience with the mountain lion. He's sound asleep and totally unaware of the naked woman that has gotten into bed with him and is snuggled up close sharing body heat. Is Dylana going to live? I may have screwed up trying to get her killed in the beginning of the book.

"Yeah you may have. Perhaps that's the way it should be for now. Can you and I work together and help her live?"

"Let's see what we can do. Do you think we need each other to get through this situation?

"Seems so. Let's both get on with finding out what is going to happen next."

"Does this remind you of something some other guy wrote?"**

"In a way it does. We both believe we are here but you question the hell out of it no matter what  concept of I am that I am you may have at any given time of any given day."

"I just feel we are here together. Maybe I even believe we are."

"Gotcha. Now let's cut out this philosophical palaver. You do what you need to do. I've got to get on with being somewhere else now."

"Ok, get going. I'll catch up with you later."


*Stephen King
**Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God

&

Standing by her bed a nurse checks Dylana's IV and changes the near empty plastic bag for a full one. Dylana stirs and she gazes groggily through narrow slits of her eyes and watches the nurse finish replacing the bag on its hooked stand next to her bed. 

"Good morning" says the nurse to Dylana "How are you this morning." 

Dylana tries to speak but no words form and pass over her lips. She raises her hand slowly from her side to her throat… feels the bandaging around her neck and again attempts to speak. Nothing.

You rest, dear. Don't try to talk. What's in this bag will help you to go back to sleep and reduce your pain. What's in the other bag will nourish you. I'll be back in a while to exchange it for a fresh one."

Dylana opens her eyes a little further and again tries to speak. Again nothing. The expression on her face speaks for her "What happened? How did I get here?" Her eyes close as the nurse says, "You rest now. The doctor will be here soon to check on you." As Dylana drifts back to sleep she says to herself "I'd rather be somewhere else now."  Then she sleeps.

&

Roberto asks, "Is she going to live?"

"We'll see."

&

Morning is dawning. Jon is awake, up and dressed in her lose fitting sweater and sweats. In her moccasined feet she approaches the fireplace, stirs the few glowing embers, places some kindling on them along with a small log waits a moment for the flame to rebirth then puts a couple of crisscrossed logs on top of that. She hugs herself, shaking off the early morning chill, goes to the kitchen stove and repeats the process with kindling and logs, primes the pump and fills the coffee pot with water and puts it on the stove. She then walks to one of the windows and looks outside. Chris sleeps.

&

I have been writing story and journaling about myself in this book (the note book in which I have been writing in longhand.) I find that interesting. I am enjoying the combining of my life with the lives of Dylana, Roberto, Chris and Jon and participating in the overall observation that we are creating each other. We have become friends.

&

Simone Weil has been credited with having said:
Imagination and fiction make up more than three quarters of real life.

&

Friends… I have friends. For the most part we are not close in distance but we are friends. Some are a few… some are many miles from where I am presently. Right now they exist nearby… not physically but in my thoughts. I regard friendship as being close. Not only in distance but close in feelings for each other… enjoying each other's company whether in the same room, across town or in far away parts of the country or world… or perhaps in the wonderfully creative realms of the universe and dimensions of my own mind.

"The glory of friendship is not the outreached hand, nor the kindly smile… it's the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him with his friendship."  Emerson

My friends Dylana, Roberto, Chris and Jon exist, not physically but in my thoughts. In my thoughts they exist. They are real and what will happen to them in "their reality" they will reveal that to me and I will write it on pages.

I have read and heard that a writer's life, a creative person's life can be a lonely life. There are creative people that create midst other people being around them. There are those who cannot. Relating to my creativity I am for the most part a "cannot." Usually when I do my art work and writing I prefer being alone and quiet. I have done some of my art work with other people around but that has been in a teaching environment… attempting to help others to get in touch with their own creativity. Did it work? I don't know and most likely never will know if it worked for them. I do know that I benefited from the sharing and encouraging them to reach out and touch their own creativity.
As for writing…

To live is to battle with fiends in the vault of heart and mind.
To write is to sit in judgment over one's self.
~ Ibsen

&

Dylana, Roberto, Chris and Jon are calling to me and asking what we are going to do today. Excuse me now. I am going to join my friends. You are invited to come along with us.

&

We know that Dylana is in the hospital and we listen to her thoughts. "I'm recovering. Roberto obviously didn't notice the chocker around my neck when he attempted to kill me. The high necked collar of the sweater I was wearing evidently hid it from his view. He damn near succeeded though but it looks like I most likely am going to live. That's my plan anyway.  I'm not pleased with this tube that is in my throat and having a scar on my neck. I can't talk now. I'm in shock and confused. That Roberto would have done this to me leaves me dumbfounded and scared. What if he comes back and finishes me off? I expect he doesn't know yet that I am alive but I don't know that he doesn't. You are the only one I can communicate with. Does he know? What is he going to do?"

"Are you trying to talk Dylana?" asks a nurse. "I would rather you not try for now. Rest. Sleep now. You are too weak to talk. Your bandages will need changing later but your vitals are OK and getting better. You rest… sleep… sleep… sleep."

"She can't hear me. She can't hear me. She only thinks I was trying to talk when she entered the room. I know that I was but she doesn't know what I was wanting, or trying to say. You are the only one I can talk with David. You know that don't you David?"

"Yes, Dylana, I know that. Your medicine is working. You are going to sleep now. We'll be back together soon."

"The nurse just finished writing something on my chart and is leaving the room. She said something… not to me but to the policeman stationed outside my room. Why is he there?"

"It's OK Dylana… it's OK. Sleep now please, just sleep. OK?

"OK."

"I'm leaving now. I'll be back later. Sleep now Dylana."

"OK."

David pauses for a moment and looks at Dylana then leaves the room unnoticed by the policeman beside Dylana's door or by the nurses at their stations and busying themselves in the hall.

&

I watch the trail of words being left on the computer screen. A trail similar to the wake of a very small boat as it slices through a body of water. Across the page the words head presently toward an unknown destination.

&

Roberto stands on the deck of a tourist boat moving westward toward an island that is twenty six miles west of the southern California shore. A chill is in the air and the cold further enhances the nervousness Roberto is feeling. He completely zips up his new leather jacket, puts his hands in the pockets and shivers as he begins to feel some warmth from his jacket and the morning sun on his back.

"Brr… cold."

Roberto turns to see who is approaching. He is briefly blinded by the bright sun shining in his face.

"Ah, yeah, it is."

"Been to Catalina before?"

"No, first time."

"Me too. Almost made it several years ago. I was with some friends on a fishing outing. We were headed this way but didn't make it… weather, mechanical problems… don't remember why we turned back… but we did. I did win the pool though for catching the biggest fish… a two pound something-or-other, a halibut or flounder I think it was… one of those fish that lies on the bottom with both of its eyes on the same side of its body. The competition wasn't very great. Mine was the larger of the two fish we caught that day. Had a good time though. My name is David I'm a writer."

"Hello David my name is Rober… Bob… I'm a… I'm just another tourist."

"Bob… just thought you might know something about Catalina but since you haven't been there either it looks like its going to be a new experience for both of us."

"Yeah… looks that way."

The man excuses himself and goes below for a cup of coffee and solitude.

As I stood on the deck of the boat, now by myself, I noticed a strange mystical waving stream approaching the island from the sky. It was not truly visible but it gives the appearance of actually landing in the water some distance from the island.

"Hmm, I wonder what that is. Whatever… a cup of hot coffee is calling me below deck too."

As I sipped the coffee I glanced around and saw "Rober… Bob" at a table with a newspaper in front of him and a large leather brief case at his side. He too glanced my direction and instantly returned to reading the newspaper… or appearing to read it. I thought there is a man that does not want to be disturbed by a stranger or anyone else… especially me. I finished drinking my coffee and returned to the boats upper deck.

A half an hour or so later we docked and disembarked. I paused and took in my first sight of Catalina Island and quietly started humming the melody of: 

"Twenty six miles across the sea
Santa Catalina Island is a-waitin for me
Santa Catalina Island the island of…     "

"Hmm, The Four Preps… 1958… I remember that. It was the year after I had moved to California and the year I got married the first time… nearly a half a century ago."

"… the island of…."

As I look around I see "Rober… Bob" carrying a leather briefcase and suitcase moving among the crowd of people headed for their pre-determined destinations… or not. We see each other only long enough to acknowledge each others presence as he moves on into the crowd. Suddenly there was a great deal of confusion around "Rober…Bob." A crowd of people are gathering in the area where I had last seen my newly found, but allusive, acquaintance. I was too far away from the scene to observe what had happened but the next thing I saw was a small dingy with Roberto aboard and motoring away from the island to  the sea plane or whatever it is which waited mystically with its engines running prepared for an immediate takeoff. The day is clear, bright and sunny but the sea plane… that "Rober… Bob" entered glistened in an eerie, bizarre way suggesting that its presence may not have been real. The door opened. "Rober… Bob" boarded and the door closed. The engine revved up for take off but while the surrounding environment was calm and quiet, save for the din of tourist milling about and festive music playing and the crowd that had gathered where I last saw "Rober… Bob" on land I heard no sound of the engine and saw no wake from the plane as it moved across the water and into the sky. "Rober… Bob" had directed one last glance toward me in acknowledgment of perhaps our knowing each other from somewhere else now. The expression on his face was one of wonder, confusion and fear. No one else seemed to be observing what was happening only a short distance from the shore. Was I the only person there to notice this strange phenomenon? I looked back to the area where "Rober… Bob" had boarded the dingy. There was no dingy, no wake, no sound… just the mystical waves and seemingly undisturbed air moving into the clear blue sky as though it was a mirage trailing an ascending aircraft.

What had happened? What had I just observed? Was it real? Is my mind playing tricks with me? I stood there in wonderment of what had and perhaps had not just occurred. My own "reality" manifested in my knowing I am alone now on this island to which I had never been How am I to be somewhere else now so I can move on with this story? Right now there seems to be a simple solution to my dilemma so I answer my own question. "We'll see."

In a state of confusion and questionable state of mind, I shook myself back to a somewhat normal realm of reality and realizing I am hungry I enter a restaurant and am ushered to a table overlooking the beautiful and enticing landscape and scenery while pondering what has happened only a short time ago. I order a glass of raspberry iced tea and the special of the day for an early lunch. I look around the room some more and notice a woman looking around the room too. Our eyes meet and linger a moment. We smile at each other and I wonder… could she be The Third Angel?  She is wearing a yellow dress, a yellow hat with a beige ribbon and yellow dots. I wonder what she is wondering as our eyes enhance this chance encounter. My thoughts embrace the mystical thoughts of The Third Angel about whom I have written on pages elsewhere several years ago.

Our meals arrive at our tables and my eyes move from the woman at the table across the room from me to the plate of food that now enhances my table. We acknowledge our wait persons, glance again at each other and wonder what the other is wondering as we imbibe in consuming our morsels of physical nourishment.

"The Third Angel."

He returns with renewed consciousness and awareness
Observing cautiously romanticism and caringness
He hears clearly that if there is an angel it is she
With personal observation he tends to agree
He knows of another and is aware that neither are free
His awareness has been fancied by angel three
She wafts gently through his thoughts and mind
He wonders if there may be a tie that could bind
The two of them in unified caring
And soulful sharing
One knows of one of whom he is speaking
The others know naught of this travelers seeking
Whether or not whatever is meant to be
He wonders as he wanders about
Angel three.

&


As I eat my lunch my thoughts become intertwined with thoughts of The Third Angel and thoughts of my friends in Somewhere Else Now.

&

Chris is waking up. In pain and confusion he attempts to compose himself. He looks around the cabin and at the blazing fire in the fireplace, inhales the aroma of fresh brewing coffee along with the smell of sizzling bacon and eggs.  Attempting to clear his head he becomes aware that he is obviously not alone. He pulls the blankets which he had been sleeping under closer to his naked body for warmth and of reassurance somewhat resembling a child with its security blanket. Jon enters the room coming from the cabins pantry. Chris shakes his head vigorously in an attempt to clear the befuddlement from his mind and thoughts.
Jon looks across the room at him, "Are you ready for coffee and breakfast?"

"Unghh… where am I? Who are you?"

Jon sighs a small sigh in acknowledgement of Chris's confusion and pain and says,

"Chris, my name Jon. I found you and brought you here last evening. You were at the river bank passed out, injured and cold. You were nearly attacked by a mountain lion. I had been hunting hoping for a deer but I got a mountain lion and you instead. Do you remember any of that?"

"I think… some of it."

"I got you here and out of your clothes, warmed up, fed and into bed after patching up some of your cuts and bruises. I don't think you have any broken bones. None that I can tell."

"I sure hurt."

"I'm sure you do. Are you hungry?"

Pausing as though trying to remember what all had happened the day before Chris replies, "Yes, I am hungry… very hungry."

"Good, I've fixed breakfast for us. Here's coffee. Drink it. I washed your clothes last night and I'll bring them to you.

Chris takes the coffee and begins sipping it.

"Here are your clothes. They're pretty much tattered and torn but they are better than what I can offer you. You are considerably bigger than I and besides my clothes… well I think you would not really appreciate them."

Chris wondered about Jon's comment. Why would "he" say something like that?

Jon puts Chris's dry warm clothes on the bed, pulls the privacy drape and leaves Chris alone to dress. "How's the coffee?"

"Unghh… hot, hot, hot and good. Thanks."

"You're welcome."

As Chris dresses something reaches his mind. He realizes that he recalls some of being rescued. Rescued by a hunter in a blaze orange vest and cap with it flaps pulled over his ears. He remembers getting warm in front of the fireplace, pulling a warm towel back and forth on his back while facing into the room of the cabin. He remembers Jon changing into lose fitting clothes and wearing a wool pull over cap. He remembers… He remembers. Oh my God. I remember thinking that the hunter, his rescuer, Jon was a man. He realizes that when Jon laid his clothes on the bed and pulled the privacy drape Jon was not wearing the pull over wool cap. He realized he was seeing a full head of blond wavy hair over his… her neck and onto her shoulders.

Chris takes the blankets from his body and puts on his clothes and opens the privacy drape. He looks at Jon with her beautiful head of hair and studies her face and notices that the lose fitting sweater… while lose fitting does reveal anatomical variances from that of a man wearing a similar sweater. He sheepishly smiles at Jon and starts to apologize for his lack of awareness of her being a woman and not a man.

"Chris, no need, no need. You don't have to apologize to me for anything. You are safe and I am glad you are not seriously hurt. Besides I am glad to have your company… especially in light of what is going on outside. With some assistance from Jon they go together to one of the cabin windows and look out. The snow has continued throughout the night and has drifted to the outside lower panes of the windows and across the entrance to the cabin. In the driveway next to the cabin sits the semblance of an oversized SUV white marshmallow. Jon comments that she is glad she emptied out the SUV last night before she went to bed. "I sure don't want to try to get into it now. I'm glad all of the food stuff is inside. I usually keep at least a week's supply handy for when I come here to hunt and to write. Now since we are here together it most likely wont last that long. But we are OK for now."

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