… because I’ve been working so much at my new job, I haven’t had a lot of time to write, edit, tweet, post, yadah, yadah, yadah. Below please enjoy a sneak peek at the next full-length novel that will be available on this site… Well I was shooting for the end of summer but since we’re pretty close to July already, I’m thinking it’ll be closer to Halloween before I knock this baby out. For now, enjoy Chapters 1 and 2 of A.K.A. Aurora.
Dawn’s Journal-Present Day
I am the only living child of blue-collar parents. I grew up in a small town in Michigan called Ypsilanti, whose only claim to fame was a series of murders that took place before I was born. My father, Seamus, Shae for short, worked at one of the auto manufacturer plants on the outskirts of Detroit and my mother, Ruth, worked in the cafeteria of University Hospital in Ann Arbor, which is where I was born on December 13, 1976. Just in time to be a tax deduction, my parents always joked.
In 1994, the summer before I turned eighteen, I was in a car accident that changed my life. My boyfriend, Jeremy Boothe, whom I had given my virginity to the night of our Junior Prom because I was sure we were going to get married someday, and two of my friends were killed in that wreck and the boy who was driving, Randall Swift, well, he got off without a scratch, physically and legally. That just didn’t seem fair since it was his idea to play chicken with a train in the first place. Turns out, the families of the three of us who survived, besides Randy, as well as those of my friends who died, were paid off by his parents, one of the wealthiest families in our small town, whose ancestors were founding members of the Washtenaw Country Club, world renowned for its golf course.
Of course, I just found that out about a year ago because I spent the next twelve years of my life in a coma. My own parents refused to give up hope that I would someday awaken and so they used the money they had accepted from the Swifts to keep me alive and cared for at a special hospital one of the doctors suggested. My name is Dawn Fairchild and miraculously, on my twenty-ninth birthday, I got my life back. Or so I thought…
Leaning to walk and talk again came surprisingly quick. I had a dedicated physical therapist that my mother met at the hospital she worked at who not only kept my muscles from atrophy, but toned and defined as well. My primary physician seemed able to explain the excellent physical condition even though other doctors working with me were amazed, if not skeptical, by my rapid recovery. Eventually, all was chalked up to modern medicine and the power of prayer.
I have been told that my parents came to the upstate hospital in the middle of nowhere to visit me every week until my mom got sick and then my father came alone if she was too ill, but toward the end he had to take care of her so sometimes it would be months before he came back. She died of cancer while I was comatose, a mixed blessing for me because the mother I remembered was spunky and a little on the heavy side. She was a fine looking woman with platinum blond hair and laughing hazel eyes, but the pictures I have seen of her in her final days portrayed a woman far skinnier than she’d ever hope to get and a bandana covering the bare head which no longer boasted of the silky blond locks chemotherapy had destroyed. Too bad it didn’t take away the cancer as well.
I guess the worst I have endured was waking up feeling seventeen, having those adolescent memories of my parents and my friends come flooding back and then learning of their deaths. It left me so sad and desolate, which was probably why I immediately found salvation in the one thing considered by others as yet another tragedy…
Because somehow, after twelve years of inactivity, before I was able to recall any memories relating the pain or pleasure of sex, when I did regain consciousness, or should I say sometimes in the months just prior to my cognizant awakening, I had managed to become pregnant.
My father raised hell of course. Clearly one of my care-givers had raped me while I was unconscious, but DNA testing of all the male hospital staff proved none to be the father. In a way, I was thankful. I have been able to bond with my daughter, Esther Ruth, and I don’t believe that would have been the case if I had to remember a forced conception.
My daughter is the light of my life and even strangers remark on what a beautiful child she is. If my dad hears a comment about her beauty, he is the first to pop up with a quick response.
“Well she takes after her grandpa, of course!” he is fond of chortling. I say this teasingly but that is only because reality is so far from the truth. He is no Brad Pitt, but a decent enough looking man. His hair is bright red, not pale like my mom’s ultra light hair or even mine, which tends to be more of a coppery gold. I’ve been told that it is the perfect mixing of both of theirs, lighter than what would be referred to as strawberry-blond, but neither the flaxen locks of a “blonde” blond.
His eyes are blue and mine are very green, so I can only believe that Esther gets her coloring from her donor. Yes, that is what I call him because to refer to his biological connection in any other way taints the innocent tiny being that grew and sprang forth from my womb.
Our minister calls her a little “Liz Taylor,” because of her inky black hair and wide unusual eyes. The famous actress was a little before my time, but still, as a Hollywood icon, I know who she is, and I have to agree with him because my daughter’s eyes are truly violet.
After giving birth, I finished my high school equivalency and went to college, where I learned how to run my own business working as a waitress on the side. I have always loved to cook and found I had a natural talent for the skills of a chef which my father told me I inherited from my mother.
I am quite adept with slicing and dicing, so when I told my father I wanted to use part of the hundred thousand dollar settlement I received from the hospital after it was determined I had been impregnated while in a coma, he offered to use his retirement to give me the additional financial backing I needed to open my own restaurant. I took on the role of head chef and general manager. I am proud to say that with only a year into this venture, Horizons has fast become the most popular eatery in town.
As my daughter starts school, I am discovering that I seem to know of places I have never been to. I have taken on some gourmet cooking classes and find I do not have to be told more than once what the English equivalent is to dishes in French, Italian and German. I took French in high school, but I kind of sucked at it so I became quite impressed with myself at the proficiency with which I repeated the words in foreign languages.
It has been during this past year that I started having very strange dreams. They all have the same young woman in them, but I know it isn’t me, because her hair is long and dark, always kept pulled back from her face. Ever since I woke from my coma, I have kept my hair short and manageable because it is very straight and doesn’t hold curl well at all. I am tall and “blond” like my mother, but unlike her, I have managed to keep an athletic figure despite my love of food. Regardless of all the years of inactivity, or perhaps because of them, exercise doesn’t just come naturally—it’s a force that drives me. I have yet to figure out where this conditioning comes from.
It was at the suggestion of one of my therapists that I began keeping this journal. Michelle Harris has been a Godsend to me—just don’t call her Shelly, she prefers Midge. She has also become my best friend and is only a couple of years older than I, but is so much older than me, if that makes any sense. She has been married and divorced twice and has two children, a boy and a girl. Frances and Esther are playmates, although Frankie is a year older than Esther and Tony, two years older than his little sister, flips back and forth between the roles of child terrorist and big brother protector. Midge often remarks that is how boys and brothers tend to be. Since she has a couple of older brothers, I assume she should know. I had a big brother once, but he died of pneumonia when I was a baby.
When I first approached the subject of these dreams to Midge, who is just a friend these days and not a therapist, she asked if I thought hypnosis would help.
“That’s a little extreme, don’t you think?” I responded, feeling a bit foolish at that point.
“Maybe, but if they are really troubling you, it might be something to consider,” she said, glancing at me through bifocal corrective lenses. Her eyes are intensely blue and kind of “don’t go with” her dark hair and regardless of her milky, freckled complexion.
“It’s not so much that they are troubling,” I told her hesitantly. “They just seem very real, like watching a movie play out in my head. And I remember them in detail.”
“That in itself is strange, Dawn. Generally, the conscious mind does not hold on to unconscious memories like dreams. You should start writing things down as soon as you wake up after having one. Then we can look over them together.”
I didn’t, of course. I thought I was just under a lot of stress—after all, I had a lot on my plate—pun intended. But I did become a bit more curious about the skills I seemed to master without much effort, which included my proficiency with naming the new dishes I had learned to prepare. After buying some self-teaching CDs, I became fluent in several languages within a couple of months. And the dreams are now more frequent and vivid than ever.
Chapter II-Somewhere, USA two years before 9-11
She wasn’t exactly sure where she was, but she was not afraid, not really. When she opened her eyes that morning, she had no memory of who she was or where she had come from. She knew basic things, of course… For instance, she could tell she was in a hospital room of some sort but there were no windows or even a phone or a television. She knew that it was morning though because there was a clock over the door that read in red digital numbers “0540.” She was hooked up to some machines but had no idea what they were intended for. Glancing around, she felt a tug at her scalp and looking sideways, she saw long, dark locks hanging over her shoulder that were unfamiliar as they rested against her breast. Surely there’s a nurse call button around here somewhere, she thought, trying to move her arms and finding her muscles would not conform to the command from her brain. Then she tried to move her legs and found the same difficulty. She began to panic, thinking, I’ve been in an accident and I’m paralyzed!
She heard voices just outside her door and listened, trying to decide whether or not to call out.
“You are sure she is going to wake up? How do you know?” one voice said in a demanding manner.
“Her brain scans have changed. They are showing activity that has not been there in the last five years. That is why I notified you. And we took some time to alter some things about her physical appearance. I think she will be an excellent candidate. Her memory is bound to be affected and should be easy to manipulate under these circumstances. The new drugs and methods we have developed here will help insure that will remain the case for an extended period, perhaps several years. She’s only twenty-two, so she will be ripe for training as well. Of course the final call will be yours,” the other voice concluded.
“Fine. Alert me when she wakes up. Nothing can be decided until then. You got a name for her?”
“I thought I would leave that to you,” came the reply. “Personally, I think Aurora would suit. She is a beauty.”
“Despite the similarities between her and the Disney fairy tale, don’t you think that particular name cuts a little close to the truth?” the demanding voice asked ironically.
There was a pause before the other voice continued. “If you are concerned about her making the connection, that is highly unlikely, General. Coincidences are a part of life. After all, there is a significant one between your name and hers as well. But as I stated earlier, the choice is yours. And you better decide soon because, my guess is that she will awaken in the next 48-72 hours.”
Hello? I am awake now! she tried to call out and realized, even though the words formed in her mind, she could get them out of her mouth. What the hell is wrong with me? she wanted to cry from the prison of her body. The doctor chose that moment to enter the room.
She knew one of the men was her doctor because it was obvious. He was in scrubs and a white coat, a stethoscope swinging from around his neck. The other man, she assumed from the number of stripes adorning his uniform, was some high-ranking military official. And then she recalled just moments earlier, the physician had referred to him as “general.” In the window, just outside the hospital room door, she saw the face of a man in dark glasses, a man she would later describe—once she had the frame of reference to do so—as the nemesis in the Matrix movies.
His non-descript features stood out because of the dark sunglasses he wore indoors, and ruined the effect of being inconspicuous, if in fact, that was what he was going for. But the woman in the bed soon lost all curiosity with him as she trained her open and questioning green eyes on the doctor.
“Well, good morning, Bright Eyes. Welcome back.” He saw that his greeting was confusing to her so he sat on the edge of her bed and proceeded to explain.
“You have been in a coma. I am Dr. Jonas Rupert, head neurologist here at the Master’s Clinic for Neurological Disorders. With the aid of some new remarkable and experimental drugs, I’ve facilitated your return to consciousness. I am not sure how much you recall from before your acc… aneurysm—” the doctor’s words were interrupted by the clearing throat of the officer.
She looked at the other man, wondering exactly whom he was and what he had to do with her situation. Again, the brilliant green eyes fixed on the doctor inquisitively. The doctor turned to the military man who stepped forward, clearing his throat again.
“Hello, Aurora. Do you remember me? I am your father.”
Her eyes narrowed as they shot daggers at the man towering over her. Waiting for the breath that had been knocked out of her by this new PT’s maneuver, she pushed herself up from the floor.
“I don’t know exactly what kind of physical therapist you are, but your bedside manner sucks. Who are you anyway? Better yet, which of my doctors recommended you
for my recovery?”
“Therapy? You still think you’re in therapy? Lady, you’re a bit beyond therapy.”
“So then, this is the start of my training?” she asked in confusion. “I just barely agreed to take part in this program. I thought I was supposed to be a soldier of some kind. Why is this one-on-one and not with a whole company?” she continued breathlessly, bending over to rest her hands on her knees.
A year ago, she couldn’t walk or speak. Part of her therapy included not just calisthenics, but some self-defense maneuvers as well. She knew shouldn’t be so ungracious, but this man was unlike any of her other physical therapists. He wasn’t trying to build up the physical capabilities being in a coma robbed her of. If anything, the man was trying to show her how weak she still was. But considering what she had agreed to do, to become, her strength and weakness would mean everything to her in a few more months.
“You’re not here to ask questions. You’re here to learn how to defend your country through pre-emptive striking, to defend yourself from those who will try to kill you and for technical, geographical and political knowledge that I deem fit to teach you. You can call me Yown.”
“What kind of name is Yown?” she asked contrarily, regardless of his previous directive. It was an odd reference since she’d been told his name was David Curry.
“Your Own Worst Nightmare.”
“Well, you can forget about calling me Aurora. Call me Tigby instead.”
“Oh, yeah, Aurora, why is that?”
Looking at him levelly, she sprang to her feet, at the same time using a sweeping kick to send him down to where she’d been only moments before—facedown on the athletic mat cover the floor.
“Because when we are through here, Then I’m Gonna Be Yours.”
Curry pushed himself up, hiding the smile of satisfaction he experienced at the young woman’s ability to take him down as she had. She was turning into quite an adept student and he was pleased. The general would be, too.
“I saw you talking to my father earlier. What did General Bellenfant want?” she asked, emphasizing a haughty formal tone in reference as she said his name. She backed off and lifted her arm up, wiping the sweat from her brow on the shoulder of the gray tee shirt she wore. If the man thought her sarcasm was disrespectful, he gave no indication. Aurora herself had yet to feel the familial connection to the man; quite the contrary. His brisk manner and lack of affection toward her made it very hard to summon any tender emotion for the man. She acknowledged it, because ever since she’d awakened, everyone around her seemed to reinforce that awareness. According to Dr. Rupert, the fact that the feeling hadn’t connected inside of her was another side effect of her comatose state. She still did not recall any memories of her childhood or of the mother she’d been told died when she was young.
Curry grunted as he pulled himself up to a sitting position on the mat. “He asked me if I thought you were cutting the mustard,” came the curt reply.
“And what did you tell him?” she asked, extending a hand to the older man as she offered him aid in standing.
“I told him you were a bit cocky and might not be right for the assignments they have in mind for you,” he lied. Another few weeks and she’d be ready to move on to her firearms training. For that she’d be turned over to someone else, but they would still have daily sessions to keep her in shape.
His answer brought a petulant look to her features. Damn, she’s pretty, he thought before he could stop himself. He reached for a towel resting on a bench, wiping away his own sweat and covering the look of appreciation that flared in his eyes. He knew better than to go there. Besides, he was twice her age and definitely not the May-December type. In fact, he now felt like a pervert. She was young enough to be his daughter.
“Why’d you have to go and do that for?” she asked in a slightly whining tone. David felt even more like a pedophile as he realized the young woman still probably felt like a teenager. After all, until she woke up a year ago, she’d been unconscious since was seventeen.
“Stop whining like a child, Aurora. With an attitude like that, who would trust putting a weapon in your hands?” he barked a little harshly. Her eyes narrowed in anger but she bit back any further remarks. David was please to see she’d begun to show more verbal discipline. When she’d first awoken, although she wasn’t aware he’d been around to observe her behavior, she’d blurted stuff out quite frequently once her speech had returned. And she’d cried a lot. It was a good thing that the doc had kept her sedated when she’d had visitors.
“Come on,” he said, a bit more gently. “We still have a five mile run ahead before we break for lunch.”
Ok, folks. That’s not all she wrote, but that’s all you’re getting for now. Hope it intrigues you enough to come back for the full download and please, share my ebooks with your friends. I don’t write for the love of money. I write because I have the soul of a bard(ess!)