All Is Not As It Seems – Chapter Four

With x-rays and the daily report in hand, Dr. Burt knocked on the King’s door.

The King’s most trusted ally, Lucius, also known as the King’s right hand, answered the door.  “Yes?”  he said as he carefully scrutinized Dr. Burt.

“I know this is a bit irregular but I wanted to give the King this information personally,” Dr. Burt said.

The King was standing in front of a large window, with his hands in the pockets of his casual Armani suit.  A face to face with the King was indeed irregular and would have never been allowed, had it not been for the unusual circumstances.  It was said that he was more protected than the President of the United States.

Not much was known about him and only those within the family had ever seen him but the word on the street was that he was a remarkably handsome man.  A man’s opinion might differ from a woman’s but even his soldiers commented about his striking looks.

He didn’t turn as Dr. Burt began.

“Sir, I haven’t much in the way of new information but I wanted to give you what I have.  I believe Roy has informed you that we ran fingerprints and found no record on file.  Of course, unless she has a criminal record, was in law enforcement or had a concealed permit, nothing would.”

Dr. Burt didn’t know that Foy was a step ahead and had already erased all records of her fingerprints from the data bases.

There was no response from the King.

Dr. Burt continued.

“Aside from what you have already been told, there has been a development.  It is my opinion that this woman has had plastic surgery to alter her looks at some point and it’s also my belief that the reason is from suffering unbelievable brutality of some sort.

I would guess her age to be in her early thirties and just from my point of view, she is exquisitely beautiful.”

There was silence from the King, who still hadn’t turned to look at Dr. Burt.

Clearing his throat, Dr. Burt said “I believe the blow to her head has caused total amnesia and in my medical opinion, I’m not sure she will recover any memories but I will continue to work with her, if that is your wish.  Of course, there’s always the possibility that she’s a very good thespian but as I said, I believe her loss of memory is genuine.”

“I’ve seen a lot in my day and I usually know when I’m being played but I believe her when she says she has no memory of who she is or how she came to be on the yacht.  I’ve used different tactics to try to ‘trip her up’ as it were but she has remained steadfast in that she remembers nothing.

There seems to be a great mystery surrounding her…who she is…why she was where she was…what happened to the companion she obviously had, but I just don’t have the answers right now.  As I said, if it is your wish, I will continue to work with her and I have a suggestion.”

Dr. Burt suggested that she be allowed to leave her room and co-mingle with some of the staff.  “You never know.  She might form a bond with one of them and possibly confide in them.  As I said.  It’s just a suggestion.”

The King slightly turned his head and said “just find out who she is.”


To be continued________________

All Is Not As It Seems – Chapter Three

Dr. Burt was clearly puzzled when the only word that seemed to register with Adeline was “yacht.”  Nothing about memories or storms or injuries or even a man’s clothing gave her pause.

There was no “hmm,” or “what are you talking about?”  He hoped that he had triggered something but he didn’t want to push her.  He waited for questions or comments but none came.  She seemed almost robotically uninterested.

“Okay,” he said.  “I’ll be back later and we’ll talk some more.”

Adeline turned her back, walked over to the window and casually dismissed him as she said “I’m sure you will.”

Dr. Burt ordered a full body x-ray before he readied the usual daily report for Roy.  He expected everything to be unremarkable but thought should it show anything remarkable, it might be useful to coax Adeline’s memory if it revealed something such as a previous broken arm or leg.

While the x-rays were being read, Dr. Burt went back to visit Adeline.

He tried an old psychiatrist’s trick when he casually asked “what shall I call you?”

Many times, the mind will instantly react and the memories will suddenly come back as if a light switch had just been turned back on.

It didn’t work with Adeline.  She looked at him and said “what do you mean, what shall you call me?  How the hell am I supposed to know what you should call me?  Haven’t we danced this dance before?

I don’t know what you should call me.  I don’t know what I should call myself.  How about ‘the woman with no name’?  Or ‘nobody’?  Or ‘the foundling’?  Or ‘whatever the hell you want to call me’?

A knock on the door put a halt to her rant.  Sam, the radiologist peeped in and told Dr. Burt “you need to see this.”

Dr. Burt waved him off but Sam was insistent.  It annoyed Dr. Burt but he excused himself and walked over to the door.  Holding the x-rays to the light, his only response was “my God.  What happened to this woman?”

He told Sam to hold on to it. “Tell the King that I will be delivering the report personally.”

He knew he worked for a drug lord but he had never forsaken his duty to act nor had he abandoned his empathy.

He had never been commanded or even asked to kill.  He had made it clear from the beginning that he would turn a blind eye to the “business” but his medical skills were for healing, not ending lives.

Something terrible had happened to this woman.  He had already suspected that at some point in her life she had undergone plastic surgery.  Only a discerning eye could see the tiny tell-tale traces of scarring in the right places but the injuries shown in the x-rays were the result of something horrendous and he felt overwhelming compassion for her.

Back in the room, Dr. Burt starting seeing Adeline in a somewhat different light.  Whoever she was and wherever she came from, this woman had been to Hell and back.

What’s wrong?” Adeline asked, reading his face.

“I was just wondering…about your name.  How about for now, I call you Sela,” he said.

“Sela?” she asked.  “Yes,” he said.  “You look like a warrior to me.”

She smirked and said “you think I look like a warrior?”

Dr. Burt said “yes and let me tell you why I chose that name.”

“This woman named Sela, was a fifth century warrior princess who was the sister of Koller, the King of Norway.  She fought with him against King Horwendil and made her mark as one of the bravest warriors in history.”

Adeline said “are you a historian as well as a doctor?”

Dr. Burt smiled and said “I enjoy history as well as medicine.  I particularly enjoy tales of feudalism.”

“Hmm.  So you want to call me Sela?” Adeline asked.

She repeated it.  “Sela.  Sela.  Okay.  I don’t really care for the princess part but I do like the idea of a strong female warrior.”

In that moment, Holly, who had become Adeline, had now become Sela.


To be continued_______________



All Is Not As It Seems – Chapter Two

A still groggy Adeline awoke the next morning and discovered that she was alone.  She held onto the bed as she tried to steady herself enough to walk over to the window.

Looking down from the second floor, she scanned the meticulously kept grounds.  Honeysuckle bushes were boldly climbing up the brick wall on the side of the house.  She smiled as she watched a tiny hummingbird flitting from flower to flower.

In the distance a Gazebo, heavy laden with Wisteria lent a romantic view one would expect from a story such as Romeo and Juliet.

As she was thinking “this is incredibly beautiful,” her thoughts were interrupted by a slight tap on the door.

“Ah.  I see you’re awake,” said Dr. Burt.  “How are we feeling today?”  As her eyes cut to him, he caught himself, cleared his throat and said “I mean.  How are you feeling today?”

Adeline said “I’m a little groggy from whatever it was you gave me yesterday but other than that, I feel okay, I guess, but I feel like I’ve been put through a ringer.  Do you know what I mean?”

Dr. Burt said “I do indeed know what you mean.  You’ve certainly been through an ordeal.  I’ll order some x-rays to see if there is anything going that we may have missed.”

Adeline continued. “I still don’t know what happened.  I still don’t know where I am.  I still don’t know why I’m here.”

“And, have you remembered who you are?” asked Dr. Burt.  Adeline looked down as if ashamed and said “no.  I don’t remember who I am.”

Dr. Burt began his questioning:  “What’s the last thing you remember?

Adeline said “I think I remember someone pulling me or something.  I think I remember being wet and cold.  I know I remember waking up here and I was in this hospital gown.  Do you know what happened to my clothes?  Did you take them off?”

Dr. Burt said “I helped.”

Adeline’s lips tightened as she wrapped the furnished bathrobe around herself like a cocoon as if to hide what had already been seen.  “I’d like to get out of here, if you don’t mind.  Could you call me a taxi?”

Dr. Burt asked her where she thought she was going.  “Somewhere.  Anywhere.  I don’t know.  I just know that I want to get out of here.”

“You don’t know where you are.   You don’t even know who you are,” Dr. Burt said.

Glaring at him she said “Right now, I don’t care where I am but I’ll find out who I am.  Surely someone is looking for me.  Could you find my clothes please?”

Dr. Burt explained to her that she wasn’t going anywhere in her present state.  “So I really am a prisoner.” she said.  “No, you are not a prisoner but I would like for you to calm down and talk to me.”

He took a fatherly approach as he said “amnesia is strange and sometimes, misunderstood.  Memories that have been lost can be restored in a matter of minutes or months but in some cases, they may never be recovered.  You need to understand that but before we admit defeat, I’d like for you to try to remember as much as you can.  Even something as simple as a smell can trigger a memory that will ultimately result in total recall.”

Adeline sat down and said “I honestly don’t remember anything.  Maybe if you showed me the clothes I was wearing, I might remember them.  Or if you told me where you found me.  Or if you told me how you found me.  Or if you told me any fucking thing!”

She was clearly becoming agitated again.  “Dr. Burt smiled and said “obviously, you remember how to curse.”

Adeline gave a weak apology and said “I just don’t understand.  Why can’t I remember anything?  How long am I going to be trapped in this anonymous world, with people like you asking me questions and refusing to let me leave?”

Dr. Burt said “I’m going to go against protocol a bit.  Normally we like for the patient to use their own devices to try to recover their memory but I am going to give you a few bits of information, if you like.”

“Please,” said Adeline.

Dr. Burt began.  “You were found on a yacht.  You had obviously weathered some sort of storm that threw you off course.  We found you unconscious and near death from a pretty severe head injury, possibly from being tossed around but that can’t be accurately determined.”

He hesitated and made sure to look for any reaction in her face when he said “we also found some men’s clothing aboard.  As far as any identifying items, such as drivers’ licenses’ or passports, none were found for either of you.”

Dr. Burt was surprised by her response when all she said was “a yacht?”


To be continued________________




Sweet Jane

I didn’t know her very well.  Actually, I didn’t know her at all…this tiny wisp of a woman named Jane.

I used to see her walk by my house.  She never looked my way and she never spoke but I could hear her mumbling to herself.

Rain or shine, freezing cold or blistering hot, she walked.  Sometimes I would see her husband Ed, walking with her.  Slow and steady, always with his arms behind his back as if trying not to seem aggressive.  He patiently walked with her, knowing that she no longer knew who he was.

Several months later, I noticed that she seemed to be more and more confused.  She would have on pajamas, with no coat and wearing mismatched shoes, carrying the mates in her arms.

A few times, I coaxed her onto my side porch.  She showed me the things she was holding like they were her most valuable collections.  Paper plates, sweaters, shirts and cards.  She said she was on the way to give them to somebody but she wasn’t sure they would want them.

Eventually, I would text Ed and tell him that Jane was “loose.”  He would come tearing around the corner, looking for her.  She got lost several times and the police escorted her home.

I would find her wandering around in my yard and young son would take her hand and lead her home.  Sometimes I would walk with her and try to get her to come to my house so I could call Ed.

She had an unassuming elegance about her and even though who she used to be was lost, her eyes danced when accompanied by a rare smile…this woman named Jane.  The ravages of time and disease had taken their toll but you could tell that at one time she was a great beauty.

Last week, Ed had to put her in a home.  He cried on my shoulder when he told me the last thing she said to him before he left.

“Please.  Can you tell me my name?”

All Is Not As It Seems – Chapter One

The yacht with no name had been driven into the protected waters surrounding the Phantom King’s private island.  With the swiftness of a cast of Peregrine Falcons, the yacht was surrounded by an army of men known as members of the “family.”

Armed with AK-47s, they boarded and searched the yacht.  They found what they thought was the lifeless body of Adeline, until they heard her moan.  Quickly radioing base, they followed instructions to tow the yacht to shore.

Only a select few of the family’s members actually had direct contact with the Phantom King.  Even fewer knew his real name.  There was a rumor that the King had once shot a member in the face for calling him by his first name without permission.  His body was then cut into pieces and fed to the pack of guard dogs who freely roamed the estate.

The family had several Lieutenants with definitive pecking orders.  It was the lower echelon who attended to small details like controlling the situation when a visitor, whether accidentally or on purpose, happened to invade the privacy of the Phantom King’s domain.  Purposeful visitors had never lived to tell the tale, or so legend had it.

The Phantom King’s domain was entirely self-sufficient.  An actual “hospital” wing had been established and doctors and nurses were on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  Being given handsome salaries bought their expertise, their silence, and their loyalty,  They wanted for nothing.  Attorneys’ had elaborate accommodations not far from the main house and they too, were paid handsomely for limiting their practices to one client.

Two days after the yacht with no name was towed to the island and carefully disassembled, there was a happening.

In a brightly lit room, the curtains  softly billowed by a gentle breeze.  The smell of honeysuckle wafted through the air and the sound of birds singing lent an almost fairy-tale ambiance to the room.  Adeline was aware of someone standing over her asking “can you hear me?”

Her head was throbbing and her eyes could barely focus but she managed a nod.

“You can call me Dr. Burt,” he said.  “How do we feel?”  Adeline said “I don’t know how you feel but my head hurts.”

Dr. Burt chuckled and said “yes.  What else?”  Adeline looked around the room and said “I don’t know.  I mean, I don’t recognize this place.  Am I in a hospital?”

“Of sorts,” said Dr. Burt.  “Can you tell me your name?”

“Of course,” she said.

Dr. Burt looked at her and said “well?”

“Well what?” she asked.

Dr. Burt said, “you were going to tell me your name.”

“It’s…it’s.  Dammit.  I know it.  I just can’t seem to remember it right now.”

“Okay,” he said.  “We’ll give you a little while.  You just rest.”

As he turned to leave the room, Adeline said “where am I?”

Dr. Burt said “as I said.  You’re in a hospital of sorts.”

Adeline was clearly starting to get agitated.  “What kind of hospital?  A mental hospital?  A psychiatric hospital?  Am I the only patient?  Am I a prisoner?  How did I get here?  Who put me here?”

Dr. Burt tried to calm her down and said “nobody put you here, my dear and you’re not a prisoner.  You’ve had a shock.  We’ll talk more tomorrow,” and motioned for the nurse to give her a sedative.

When he stepped out of the room, he gave his report to Roy, who was assigned to guard the room.  “Tell the King that she has no memory of what happened.  She doesn’t know who she is or where she is and she has no idea how she got here.  It might take a while, but I’ll find out what’s going on.”


To be continued___________







The Lovely Ladies of Lochineau – Part Two

“Who are they?” I asked, still searching the distance for even the slightest afterglow of those ethereal figures of beauty.

Old man Brooks said “we calls them ‘the lovely ladies of Lochineau’.”

“Not everybody sees them and those who does, sees them but once.”  Old man Brooks sighed and looked down as he said “I seen ’em, I reckon, might near a year ago.”  I could tell there was more to that statement than he was letting on but I didn’t ask.

“But…I saw them today,” I said.

“Yep,” and that’s the only time you’ll be a seein’ ’em.”  Old man Brooks turned and said “you know, you’re a might young to have already seen ’em.”

I asked him what he meant and he interrupted me by once again reminding me that the horses needed to be shod.  I was trying not to be impertinent when I asked him about the urgency to shod horses when there seemed to be so few and none of them ever left the sleepy little town.

Old man Brooks pointed and said “nobody takes their horses out yonder.  There’s a steep drop-off.”  When I asked why they didn’t put a fence up, I didn’t understand his answer at first.

“They was too late,” he said.

“Too late for what?” I asked.  I was totally confused.  Old man Brooks had a way of confusing me.  He was a kind old soul but could be a bit harsh when it came to making me “toe the line” and “shoe the horses.”

After several minutes, old man Brooks shook his head and repeated “you’re a might young to have already seen ’em.”

I said “you mean the ladies?  That’s the second time you’ve said that.  What does that mean?”

Old man Brooks looked at me and said “sit down son.  I’m going to tell you a story.”

“What about the horses?” I asked.

“The horses can wait,” he said.

This town is known for the “Legend of the Lovely Ladies of Lochineau.”

“What you saw was three ladies dressed in white, riding in a white gilded carriage pulled by three white stallions, right?” he asked.

“Yes!” I said.  Before I drifted off into another dream world when I would be in that carriage with them, I asked “who are they?”  Old man Brooks said “they were three sisters who were on their way to their wedding day.  They were to marry three brothers and they were almost like royalty to the town.”

“Were?” I asked.

Old man Brooks said “yep.  Were.  Somewhere along the way, their horses must have been spooked by somethin’ and they ran over the side of the cliff…the cliff that the town never bothered to put a fence around.”

“They have been seeking their revenge on the townsfolk they blame for their deaths for the last hundred or so years.  Their intention is to kill the town the way they believe the town killed them.

Every year on the day of the accident, they come riding through town.  They always stop for a few seconds and glance toward somebody.  That person is the only person who can see them and whoever that person is, always dies within a year.  The legend is that not until every single person in the town is gone, will they stop riding through and taking souls.”

“So you see, my young friend.  My time is here and your time is near.”






The Lovely Ladies Of Lochineau – Part One

I remember the first time I saw those visions of indescribable loveliness.  It was just after dusk and the soft glow of the streetlights illuminated their gilded carriage being pulled by three solid white stallions.  They were surrounded by an air of mysteriousness that was almost palpable and it was my pleasure to see them up close but for a brief moment.

Their dresses, made of flowing white gauze covered with lace, concealed forbidden places that mere mortal man could only dream about visiting.  Handkerchiefs were tucked into cleavages that glistened with the sweet perfumed perspiration of those Southern ladies.  Their large, feather plumed hats adorned faces that could possibly make a man sell his soul to the devil for just one kiss.

When these three women glanced my way, I felt as though my heart would stop in mid-beat and I gasped for air.  Had my heart stopped beating, I would have died a happy man having witnessed such an elegant, alluring sight.

One of the two in the back of the carriage had long, loosely flowing flaxen hair that danced as the seat swayed from side to side.  The other had an unfettered braid of golden hair that fell gently over her shoulder, tied with a large white ribbon.  The one sitting across from the others had sunflower colored, waist-length curls that looked like the gentle ripples of a slow-moving stream with an attitude.

“Who were these visions of loveliness?” I thought.  “Who were these aloof, beguiling, scrumptious, voluptuous, audacious, bodacious, dazzling, perplexing ladies who held my gaze until they were completely out of sight?”

The brief fantasy world that had temporarily enraptured me was abruptly halted by the gruff voice of old man Brooks.  “Stop staring off into space and get back to work!” he commanded.  “We got to get them horses shod.”

Still in somewhat of a daze, I remember thinking that I wish one or all of their horses would suddenly need to be shod.

Again, old man Brooks’ voice rang in my ears.  “What’s got into you boy?” he asked.  “You look like you just seen a ghost.”

I pointed to the street but couldn’t get the words out.

I looked at him with my best apologetic face and said “sorry, sir.”

Old man Brooks paused in mid-step, turned, scratched his head and said “ah.  You seen them ladies, din’t you?”


To be Continued_________________