Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Free Planet iPad Short: An Excerpt from Regression, A Novel by Kathy Bell

RegressionBy Stephen Windwalker
Publisher of Planet iPad and Editor of Kindle Nation Daily ©Kindle Nation Daily 2010

It's a great day for novelist Kathy Bell, and it's a treat to be part of it for us here at Kindle Nation.

The debut novel in her Infinion Trilogy of speculative fiction, Regression, was released almost a year ago but it continues to ride high on genre bestseller lists in the Kindle Store. And last week, on Thanksgiving in her native Canada, was the release date for Evolussion, the second Infinion novel and the sequel to Regression.

We're welcoming Kathy as today's feature author in our Free Kindle Nation Shorts program, and she has generously provided a 10,000-word excerpt from Regression which has garnered 45 4- and 5-star reviews at Amazon. The full-length novel, a triumph of imagination, comes with text-to-speech enabled and has been discounted by Amazon to just $2.39 in the Kindle Store!

Here's the set-up:

Fourteen-year-old Adya Jordan is too good to be true and too smart for her own good. Her skills with people, information, and technology make her the perfect new intern at megacorp Three Eleven, the company which covertly controls the world in an alternate 1985.

Could this be because this is not her first lifetime? Or even her second? Or does it have more to do with the strange sequence of DNA in her cells? 

Find out what makes Adya tick as she and a group of elite scientists strive to prevent a global disaster. 

Scroll down to begin reading the free excerpt now

What Reviewers Say About Regression

Adya Jordan, a forty-year-old mother of six, injured in a terrible car accident, awakens to find herself in her fourteen-year-old body once again. Consumed with grief over being separated from her family, she tries to live like a normal teenager. That's when she begins to notice that things are slightly different than they were the first time around; all minor things that when put together add up to major differences. Adya is offered an opportunity to join the ranks of the most powerful people in the world, an opportunity of a lifetime, making her the envy of most. She seizes it without hesitation, as anyone else would. However soon, she discovers that something will go terribly wrong in the future. With time running out on the human race, it's up to her to make the most powerful people in the world see the truth and change course before its too late. Kathy Bell has done a fair share of research for this book and it shows. As science comes to life inside the dialogue and plot in her novel, it became easy to suspend disbelief in the possibility of humans traveling Interdimensionally. All told, Regression was an enjoyable read with fully developed characters and enough plot twists to keep me turning the pages long after dark-thirty in the morning. Review 

The past, present and future meet in Kathy Bell's debut novel, Regression. Bell, who was born in a small Ontario town on the shores of Lake Huron, is an Owen Sound teacher, and, when she is not in the classroom, a novelist. I puzzled over this one, testing my disbelief as I always do when approaching speculative fiction. At first, I found Adya Jordan's time regression a bit hard to take but then I sank into the story, a time shaping novel about a mysterious corporation, Three Eleven, out to change the world. Laced with dialogue that races the story on, Regression shows a clever use of plot, time changes and an inventive mind that all add up to a surprise - a wellcrafted work of futuristic fiction. --Andrew Armitage, Book Editor, Owen Sound Sun Times

Click on the title to download Regression (or a free sample) to your Kindle, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android-compatible, PC or Mac and start reading within 60 seconds!

Check out
the newest release in Cathy Bell's Infinion Trilogy!

 *     *     *

A Brand New Free Planet iPad Short:

An Excerpt from 

A Novel By Kathy Bell

Copyright 2009, 2010 by Kathy Bell and reprinted here with her permission.

Journal of Doctor Nicholas Weaver
July 27, 98 Post Impact   

To perform the regression requires almost 70 exajoules. The amount of power consumed by humans during one year when we were at the peak of our civilization. Such incredible discharges of energy are virtually impossible to achieve. Meteor impacts, megathrust earthquakes, or a blast of 17 gigatons of TNT might approximate the power. Not simple to orchestrate. It is both to my horror and to my advantage such an instance occurs November 11, 2011, providing thirty times the force required. The phenomenon precipitates the need for the regression while also providing the means to complete it. What tragic irony.


"No, Daddy. Want Mommy."
Daniel Davies shook his head, grimacing at his wife as she reached for the struggling toddler.
Adya smiled. "Poor Daddy." She winked over the head of the little blonde girl. "You just don't measure up."
"Ouch." He buckled the last of their children into the van before rounding to the driver's side window. "I'll see you in a bit; Jim wants me to help him put the equipment away." Leaning in, he kissed her, and then strode toward the ivy-covered stone building still surrounded by people in uniforms.
"Bye, honey." Adya turned and smiled over the seatback at the young ones. "You were all very well behaved for the memorial service, thank you." Singing in chorus to "One Tin Soldier" on the radio with a clear, sweet voice, she drove toward her mother's house. Twelve year old Serina leaned forward from the middle passenger seat.
"Why do we have to sit through that each year?"
"Your great-grandfathers fought in both wars, we owe it to their memories, and to−"
"Blah, blah, blah, you've said it all before."
"Serina, don't interrupt me. It's a sign of respect to attend the Remembrance Day activities at the cenotaph. People sacrificed their lives to allow us to be there today."
Suitably chastised, the child changed the subject. "So if grandma's turning sixty today how old was she when she had you?"
"I'm forty, you do the math."
Will, fifteen, spoke up, "She was nineteen, then. That's really young, isn't it?"
"Not back then. People used to have kids a lot younger than they do now. I had your brother when I was twenty-four."
"Is that when you decided to stay home with us?"
"Sort of. I did research part time on my Master's Degree, so I was still in school."  Adya glanced at her oldest daughter and smiled. "You guys were too cute to leave."
"Do you miss it, working?"
"I didn't give up working, just chose a different way of doing it. I think I would have stayed in school anyway and the experience of having you kids actually inspired quite a bit of my research. My thesis about older siblings setting the precedent for younger ones−"
Luke rolled his eyes as only a seven-year-old could, "Mom, you're doing it again."
She pulled the minivan into a gas station flying flags at half mast. "What?"
"Talking big...use language we understand, not your shrink words."
With an exasperated sigh she replied "Sorry, Luke. Anyway, you were my lab rats." Serina snorted in laughter and Luke began to squeak like a rat. Two year old Jessica squealed in feigned terror. The gas attendant approached the vehicle as Adya lowered the window.
"How's the family today, Doctor Davies?"
"They're just wonderful, John. How are your little granddaughters?"
"Couldn't be better, and they'd love to come visit again any time you want to study them. They thought it was a real hoot." He peeked into the van. "Sounds like you have a zoo in there. What's with all the animals?" The children laughed even harder while making new, louder animal sounds.
"I told the kids they were my lab rats, just like your girls were. Could you fill it up, please?"
"Yes, ma'am." John quickly topped up the tank.
"You know, I hope you don't close up this station, there aren't many full serve places left." She grinned as she passed him the payment.
"I don't son doesn't really want to take over the place. But, folks like you keep coming, I'll keep pumping." The old man limped back to his little booth. She drove on through a residential neighbourhood, to pull into the driveway of her mother's house. The children piled out the sliding doors while their mother unbuckled the infant. Grandmother Samantha approached from the front porch where she had been waiting, grey hair in a long braid down her back. She stopped to toss a fallen branch from the driveway before reaching the van.
"Happy birthday, Mom."
"Thanks, honey. I saw you at the service, but didn't see Daniel. Is he joining us?"
"Yes, he got caught up with something at the university so won't be here till later. Where's Dad?"
"Out back in his shop, putting the finishing touches on Hope's chest." She peered into the van. "You don't have room to take it with you today."
Adya shuffled bags inside the vehicle before looking helplessly at her mother. "Shoot. I forgot the diaper bag and your gifts. Do you mind if I drive back to pick them up? I'll take Hope, is it okay if I leave the others here?"
"These monkeys? I don't know... but, I do have a new game for them to play inside. C'mon guys, come see grandma's new video game." The children rushed into the house as their mother slipped back into the driver's seat. Adya reversed out of the laneway and turned the corner. The ring-shaped birthmark on her right hand began to throb, distracting her as she rubbed at it.
Her head snapped up as tires screeched on her left. A large sport utility vehicle seemed to approach her minivan in slow motion - she watched in mute horror as the side panel folded beneath the onslaught of the larger vehicle. A rainbow glitter accompanied the groan of bending metal as the windows fractured and refracted the headlights of an oncoming car. The world spun to the right, her stomach lurched, and a piercing pain lanced through her hand as she screamed before all went black.
*        *        *
"Hope!" Adya struggled to rise in the hospital bed while fighting the restraints of the entangling linens. Tears rushed to her eyes as she again cried her daughter's name. Frantically she pressed the call button. The cord pulled from the wall as she tumbled to the floor, sheets wrapped around her legs. Nurses rushed through the door. From her knees, she wailed, "My baby... how is my baby? Please God; let my baby be okay...please let me know where she is."
The nurses attempted to restrain and reassure, murmuring platitudes she did not quite hear. "You need to return to your bed. You should sit down. We'll get things straightened out for you."
Her heart pounded and her breath came in short pants as she escaped the confining sheets, stumbling into the hall. An older nurse firmly held her arm to guide her back to her room. No patience for anything but answers, she screeched, "I need to see my baby, where is she?" She struck out, flailing with all her might until a needle in her arm finally subdued her with darkness.
*        *        *
Beeping roused her. A regular, low tone sounded every second, punctuated occasionally by a higher pitched double tone. The whirring of a ventilation system and the drone of fluorescent lights nagged at her, bringing her to the edge of consciousness. Muted voices were drowned by the wail of a very young child, the sound of which finally brought recognition. She was in a hospital room. Three people were conversing at the bedside as she cracked open her eyes.
"She was hysterical, insisting she needed to see her child. We had to sedate her to get her back into the room. I don't think she has a child, her mother never mentioned one." The nurse's voice sounded familiar, an echo in her head predating the panic.
"She's likely delusional from the head injury. We need to work through the delusion without allowing her to become too agitated." This voice familiar too.
She opened her eyes. "I'm not delusional; I just need to see my daughter." One of the speakers approached the bed as she propped herself up on her elbows. Closing her eyes again against the dizziness, she regained equilibrium and reopened them. The man standing in front of her towered over the bed, she had to crane her neck to see him. He spoke softly, with gentle concern.
"Hello there, I'm Doctor Redborne. Nurse Skinner tells me you gave them a bit of a scare. I need to ask you some questions, alright?" At her nod he continued. "What's your name?"
"Adya Davies. Where's my daughter?"
The doctor frowned. "When were you born?"
"April 28, 1971. Why won't anyone tell me if Hope's okay?"
"What's the last date you remember?"
"November 11, 2011..."
His frown deepened and he wrote a quick note on the chart in his hand. "How old are you?"
"Forty. I want to see my husband and children. Can you at least let me see them?"
The physician rested his hand on her shoulder, his face still clouded. "I need to check your vitals, make sure you can tolerate visitors. Can you remain calm while I do that?" She inclined her head, closing her eyes against another wave of pain. The doctor raised the head of the bed and flashed a light directly into her pupils. As she began to get restless, he addressed her. "Adya, you were involved in a serious car accident and suffered a head injury. You've been in a coma for seven days. This is the first time you've been conscious during that time."
She looked toward the nurse for confirmation. The nurse nodded encouragement and agreement. Her gaze returned to the doctor, still confused. "What about Hope? Is she okay? Where's my husband?"
"The brain is a mysterious organ. We're never quite sure how it will respond to trauma. During your coma you may have experienced a dream which seems like reality to you. The current year is 1985 and you are a single young lady of fourteen−"
She interrupted him. "That doesn't make any sense. You're telling me I'm only fourteen?" Seeing stars with a vigorous head shake, she persisted, "What is this, some kind of joke?"
"I realize this might be very difficult for you, you need to−"
"I can see it all so clearly, though, all the little details, everything about them. I have children, a husband, a home...and you say this was all my imagination? There's just no way." Standing up, she was ready to run from the room to find the truth. A flash of movement caught her eye, the mirror where her reflection moved in the glass. The familiar laugh lines around her eyes were missing although the clear blue colour was unchanged. No parenthesis lines at the corners of her mouth echoed decades of smiles. Not the face of a forty year old.  She slumped down on the bed while the doctor continued.
"Today is Saturday, July 27, 1985. You're in Stamford General Hospital. Your mother's in the cafeteria on the bottom floor having lunch and should return shortly." The doctor gently laid a hand on her shoulder as he spoke. "You are indeed only fourteen and have your whole life ahead of you to have those children, the husband, the house, and everything else you could ever imagine."
Adya looked solemnly into his eyes. "I'm fourteen." He nodded. "It's 1985." The doctor agreed again. "I guess I get to relive the eighties again. Perhaps this time the music will be better." He laughed with her, his relief evident, and then jotted more notes on her chart. "Will I have to stay here much longer?"
"We need to run some tests and keep you under observation for a little bit. You had a serious concussion. But, if things look normal you'll be out within the week. I'll look in on you again later in the evening. You should try to rest." With a reassuring smile on his angular face, he left the room.
The nurse added her own notes after lowering the bed, and departed as well. Adya closed her eyes and visualized the life she had been living. The faces of her husband and children were clear in her mind, especially the children. The slightly chubby cheeks of her eldest daughter. The wiry hair of Tyler as a toddler when he snuggled beside her in the morning. Hope's blue, blue eyes.
Stomach churning, she sat up again. Swinging her legs over the side of the bed, dizziness returned, prevented her from standing. Panic slid up her spine and her panting breaths ruffled the front of the hospital gown as she tucked her chin to her knees to fight the rising vertigo. Bare feet stuck out from under the edge of her gown and she focused her concentration on her toes to fight down the queasiness. Looking more closely at her feet, her eyes widened.
"The scar's gone." At seventeen a bicycle accident had left a large scar across the top of her foot. Riding on the handlebars of her boyfriend's bike when he lost control speeding down the hill toward his house, she had spilled onto the pavement and abraded the top layer of skin off her left foot and forearm. Slowly elevating the arm, she inspected the intact skin. Twisting and turning foot and arm, she gazed at the smooth flesh, running her fingers where the scars should be. She shook her head again, "No. No...they can't just make twenty-six years disappear." Her feet were steady as she slid to the floor.
Cautiously, she checked the hallway from the door. No nurses within view. The elevators were across the way and the nurses' station out of sight around the corner. She slipped over to the elevator, pressing the down button before hurrying back to her room. At the ping of the indicator, she rushed through the open doors, holding the 'close door' button down with a white-knuckled finger. The portal whooshed shut, and Adya paced the confines of the car while it glided downward.
With a quick glance through the doors, she darted toward the front entrance.
"Hey." An older lady yelled as she pushed past her. The front desk attendant rose, concern written across her face.
"Wait, young lady. Hold on." The authoritative voice did little to slow her flight. She made it through the entrance and stopped short, her gaze locked on the hospital sign. A rushing sound built in her ears and the corners of her vision blackened.


A horn blared. Adya turned toward the sound. The angular fenders of a tiny Toyota reflected the light from the sign. A 1984 Toyota. She slowly wilted to the ground.
*        *        *
"−fluctuations in serotonin and dopamine. Right now her levels are high." She faded in and out of consciousness.
" -aggression and paranoia at the high end, depression and apathy at the low end."
"Will it improve?" A familiar female voice, soft with worry.
"Hard to say. She'll be under observation here for at least a week."
"What does it mean? Is she going to be normal?"
"She might exhibit paranoia and delusions. Serotonin is involved in the control of emotions, but I expect levels will return to normal after she recovers from the shock of awakening." The sound of quiet weeping echoed in her ears before she succumbed to shadows again.
*        *        *
Adya could barely take her eyes from her mother's more youthful visage as she came to.
"Hi." Samantha's voice quavered.
"How do you feel?"
"Okay. I..."
Samantha approached the bed and gathered the young girl in her arms. Softly caressing her daughter's back, her voice was thick.  "I love you so much. I've been worried about you."
A tide of tears welled from deep within, great wracking sobs rocking her shoulders within the confines of her mother's embrace. The flow slowed and finally stopped.
"I heard from the nurse you lived a whole lifetime in the past week..." Uncertainty dulled Samantha's eyes. "I'm supposed to ask..."
"I guess I was really out to lunch when I woke up." A tremulous smile crossed her lips. "Have we ever been to Brighton?"
"We've driven through on the way to grandpa's house but we've never stopped there. Did you dream about Brighton?"  
"Yes, that's where I lived." She shook her head, pushing out the memories. The lancing pain twisted her lips.
"Are you alright?"
"Yeah, shouldn't have moved my head so fast. Is Dad coming to visit?"
"Your father will come in tomorrow. He's working out of town tonight, dear. He really misses you."
"How's everybody? Evan and Annie are okay?"  She shrugged her shoulders with a wry smile. "It really feels like years."
"Evan got the job at Colbert's he was shooting for. He's been working lots of hours. They're really pleased with him."
"The grocery store don't remember it? It's been there for years, hon." Samantha gently patted her child's head. "I'm so sorry, sweetie. We don't know what effects the coma will have. Do you remember the accident at all?"
"No, not really...everyone else okay?"
"Yes, but the deer didn't make it. Aunt Sarah felt terrible about that but she felt even worse about you. She asks every day if you're gonna to be alright, you really should write her a letter to reassure her you're fine. She won't take my word for it." At Adya's continuing puzzled expression she added, "You were on the way to grandpa's cottage with Aunt Sarah, Uncle Jack, Penny and Cyndi when the deer ran out."
"Oh, no, I ruined everyone's holiday." The cottage, located on the shore of Lake Huron, was a favourite family activity each summer.
"Don't think of that, honey, just get well, okay?"
A nurse entered the room. With businesslike brusqueness she turned down the lights and ushered Samantha out. Adya sat quietly in the darkness, barely moving. A chill shook her body, then another. One small, muffled sob escaped before she regained control. Inhaling deeply, she collected herself. Resolve straightened her spine. She would make the best of this, and figure out if she was crazy, hormonal, or just recovering from a head injury. Turning on her side, she fell into a restless sleep.
*        *        *
A technician collected her after breakfast the next morning to wheel her down to the diagnostics laboratory for an electroencephalogram.
"Have you had an EEG before?"
", but I've seen it done." She eyed the transfer gurney he positioned beside her bed. "I can walk, you know."
"Sorry, procedure. I wheel you down; we don't want to risk any injury. You did only wake up yesterday from a serious head trauma." He lowered the sides of her bed, pushed the lighter transfer bed up close, and assisted her in moving from one bed to the other while keeping her discreetly covered with the blankets. She blushed as the handsome young man helped her reposition.
"No worries, I've had lots of practice.  Now, the nurse told you yesterday not to use any conditioner in your hair, right?"
"Yes, she was quite clear."
"And you ate your breakfast?"
"I love oatmeal."
"No coffee?"
"No, can't stand it anyway."
"Great." He wheeled her into the hallway to the patient elevators, pressed the down button, and waited for the doors to open. "Nervous?" She shook her head. "Good, there's no need to be anyway. We always run EEGs on patients with a head injury to make sure everything is firing normally in the brain. "
"Hopefully you'll find something working in there."
The corners of his mouth crinkled as the technician grinned, the smile reaching his eyes. He deftly manoeuvred the bed out the doors into the Diagnostic Imaging Laboratory while continuing the small talk.
"You can just stay in this bed, the less movement the better it is for recovery. I'll elevate the head, though." He used the foot pedal to raise the bed slightly; Adya rearranged her weight on the bed more comfortably. A second technician joined them, placing electrodes carefully on her scalp.
"It's very important you remain still during the entire procedure, even your eyes. Eye movements can interfere with the readings."
"Okay." She kept a straight face in spite of the patronizing tones of the middle-aged man.
"Please keep your eyes closed as best you can for the entire two hours. We're ready to begin."
She shut her eyes, her situation sinking in as she listened to the hum of the machine. The year was 1985, she was fourteen. Memories of a former life were undeniably strong in her mind. Was it all a dream? Not only could she recall faces, names, and numbers, she could remember specific concepts from her university degrees. The sort of details she really would not understand as a fourteen year old. Meeting her husband at Lakeport University in Brighton came to mind...
"Wow, that one came up quickly." The slim young man with wildly curling brown hair joined her under a campus bridge during a sudden and violent downpour.
"Not much warning, no."
"I'm Daniel." His aquamarine eyes glittered with humour and interest as he proffered his hand. She did not hesitate to shake it while thinking he was not quite her type.
"Adya. Nice to meet you. You go here?"
"Yeah, second year. You?"
"Yup, got one more year left. If I can stand it. Seems like everyone thinks they know everything but really knows nothing. Guess you might not know what I mean."
"Actually, I think I know exactly what you mean. I wonder how they ever got admitted." She looked out from under the bridge to see the storm had passed.
"Perhaps we can figure that out over a cup of coffee?"
She glanced again into the green eyes, full of entreaty, and a thrill of interest burned through her stomach. "We can try."
The coffee led to drinks and then dancing until the early hours.
*        *        *
"Thank you for being such a cooperative patient, time's up." The baritone voice of the technician startled her out of her reverie, heart dropping as she returned to the present. The image of her husband lingered just a bit longer as the men removed the electrodes. The acrid smell of the acetone had her crinkling her nose.
"My nose seems to work fine." The older man levelled a glare at her before returning to his work. The younger caught her eyes and rolled his. She smirked. He wheeled her bed toward the elevator. Adya smiled up at him. "Could we stop at the gift shop? I'd like to purchase a journal."
Gesturing at the bed, he explained "I can't really wheel you in there." Her face dropped. "One of the candy stripers can come up with some for you to choose from. Will that work?"
The smile returned on her face. "Yes, thanks so much." Back in her own bed, she grinned again as he gave her a last salute. Shortly, a teenage girl arrived with a selection of six journals. A deep red book with a golden ribbon was perfect, and Adya immediately began to write.

Adya Faith Jordan (Davies?)
DOB: April 28, 1971

Daniel Jacob Davies
DOB: September 7, 1967
    Phone (parent's) 555-555-2222
    Phone (ours) 555-222-1234
Lakeport U: 555-333-1234

The Kids

She kept the journal by her side to record as much information as possible, furtively hiding it when someone entered the room. Phone numbers, addresses, concepts and ideas rapidly filled the pages, as did small sketches of her children's faces. The image of Hope especially drew her and she returned again and again to the page with the tiny, cherubic face topped by a mop of curls which had been the talk of the floor when she was born. "Why do you haunt me?" she whispered as a tear dropped from her cheek to the cheek made of paper.
*        *        *
"Here's a mirror," Adya's father Matthew presented the blue handled article, a huge grin splitting his face, "try not to break it with your reflection."
"Thanks a lot, Dad." Raising the glass up to look at her reflection, she made a silly face. "I look just like you, you know."
He laughed then sobered. "Actually, love, you're the spitting image of your mother. So beautiful." Reaching forward, he hugged her tightly. "I've missed you, can't wait till you come home. Just a few more days."
"Love you too, Dad." After he left the room she picked up the looking glass again, staring at the unfamiliar face. "Who are you? Look at those cheeks." Prodding her cheekbones first, she gently traced one across to her nose and around her eye. "Ah, why do I expect to find wrinkles?" She poked at the slightly protruding incisor. "I swear I already got you fixed once. Braces again. Oh, joy, oh, bliss. The memory of pain sure lingers even if imaginary."
Adya slid out of the bed and placed the mirror beside the sink before making her way down the hall to the shower room. Slipping off her hospital gown, she stood in front of the wall mirror, twisting and turning to view her reflection. She patted her firm belly and ran her hands over her thighs and buttocks. "Not exactly what I remember. Six kids do things to a body." Spinning one more time, she smiled. "Won't complain, though." Stepping into the steaming hot water coursing from the showerhead, she washed away the remaining aches from her mind and body.
*        *        *
She awoke from a dream that night, fading images quickly described and sketched in her journal. A large crowd had walked with her in the nightmare, almost pushing her, toward a precipice. Their indistinguishable voices began to blend into one, uttering a word not quite audible in the dream. She looked at the faces around her, only to see her own visage everywhere she turned. The crowd tilted their identical countenances in unison to the sky, fear reflected in their eyes. She raised her own, following their gazes. Try as she might, she could not remember what she saw when she looked heavenward, but the sense of both hope and desolation remained long after the final words were drying on the pages of her journal.


"Okay, enough tests already." Adya could not prevent a muttered oath as she returned from another barrage of tests. Six days in the ward had dampened her spirits even with her family's daily visits.
Carefully and secretly, she wrote biographies for each of the six children while resting per the doctor's order. Sketching their faces at various stages of development, they came to life on the pages. Many of the sheets were tear-stained. Daniel had more pages devoted to him than the children, documenting a love affair she had to believe never happened, else believe herself crazy. She stuffed the journal under her pillow as the doctor entered the room.
"How do you feel this afternoon, Adya?"
Replacing the recent bittersweet tears with a bright smile for his benefit, she cheerfully answered him, "Just peachy. It would make my day even better if you told me I could go home, though."
Glancing over her charts, especially the test results, he nodded to himself before returning his attention to her eagerly waiting face. "Looks like I can do that. I'll speak with the techs about your most recent scan, but I think you'll be good to go tomorrow."
Her smile broadened and her heart began to pound, thinking of finally going home. "Thank you so much for that great news, Doctor Redborne. And, thank you for your excellent care. I know I haven't been the easiest patient." She glanced down at her hands, flushing in embarrassment.
"No worries, dear. Just continue to get well. I'll see you tomorrow."
*        *        *
On the day of her discharge, she changed into street clothes while waiting for Matthew and Samantha to arrive. Relieved to finally be free of the gaping hospital gowns, she enjoyed the sensation of slipping on jeans and a t-shirt over her bra and underwear. Stretching her arms, she startled when her mother entered the room.
"You look ready to take on the world. I'm so pleased you're feeling well, honey, we were worried about you." The doctor and Matthew entered the room together.
"−it is of some concern, but should level out with time."
Matthew's brows were furrowed in worry. "But, she can still go home with us?"
Samantha gasped. "What's going on?" She reached for her husband's hand, clasping it tightly.
"It's alright, Mrs. Jordan. Adya's serotonin levels have fallen off from their high last week, and are now lower than usual. If you find she has less interest in her hobbies and seems emotionally flat, it should be documented." He addressed Adya. "Can you be sure to let your parents know if you feel really sad, uninterested, short of breath, or just generally down? There is a change in your blood which might make you feel different, and we need to keep an eye on you to see if you need supplementation."
"Do you think chances of that are high?" Stress raised Samantha's voice.
"No, but just to be safe we should test again in two weeks. Otherwise, she's able to head home." The doctor patted Adya's shoulder as they left the room.
"I feel fine. I haven't been allowed to do anything but sleep, eat, and read for the past week. I can't wait to get out and actually do something."
"Now, Doctor Redborne did say you should avoid strenuous exercise for the next little while, you're still healing from the accident. Any memory of it yet?"
"No, nothing, Mom... you ask me every day. I don't remember a thing."
Samantha touched her arm, "I'm supposed to let the doctor know if you show recovery of any memories, dear," her tone chastising. Matthew joined them from the nurse's station.
"Sorry, Mom." Adya took her father's hand, smiling broadly. "Let's get out of here; I'm ready for a change of scenery."
They walked to the elevator, a young family with a little boy already waiting. They rode in the car together and her fingers itched to run through the toddler's downy soft brown hair. The sting was sharpest in her right hand underneath the birthmark and she absently began to rub it. He smiled up at her, slipping his little hand inside hers. Warmth flowed through her as she looked into eyes reminding her of her youngest son. The little boy's mother reclaimed his hand, "Sorry...come here Jonathon, don't let go of Mommy's hand." Everyone disembarked on the main floor and exited the hospital. The drive home was short but still too long as her parents quizzed her about her memories.
"You never told me about your dreams, the ones the doctor mentioned you had while in the coma," Samantha prompted.
"It's quite funny, really. I had six kids and was−"
Mathew's face darkened as he interrupted, grimacing. "Six kids, now that's a bit much. I'm not ready to be a grandpa yet, anyway. Who did you marry, do we know him?" He smiled maliciously. "Should I get out the shot gun?"
She giggled. "No, Dad, it wasn't anyone you least not for real, it was a movie star."
He reached over to pull her closer on the bench seat of the car. "We're just happy you're okay, and you're finally coming home. I don't want to have to resort to violence for another twenty years, though."
"Twenty years? I'll be ancient by then. Give it ten, okay?"
At the house, she took a moment to gaze at the warmly weathered exterior, the trim work faded but still attractive on the Ontario farmhouse style brick structure. Approaching the door with anticipation, her steps were light.
The stone floor of the front foyer cooled her toes as she took off her shoes. Cobwebs in the corners sent a shiver up her spine as the huge daddy long-legs vibrated away. Her father looked in the direction of the spider and pantomimed a sweeping motion. She squealed.
"Don't you dare bring that thing down on me, Dad. You know I can't stand them." Jumping back, she glared at him while looking for her mother. "Mom, get the broom. How could you let such a big one nest up there, right above our shoes. Eww, imagine if he climbed into my shoes...ahhh." She screeched again as the creature slipped down on its web, heading right for her hair. Matthew saved the day with a corn broom, twisting the handle to collect all the webbing and the offending monster before taking the broom outside and leaving it on the porch.
"Hey little sis, good to see you home." Evan nodded, his face tense. Annie ran straight toward them waving a little lei.
"Look what I made for you, a welcome home lei." Adya obligingly lowered her head to accommodate the flowers, rewarded by the glowing smile on her sister's face. She glanced at Evan over Annie's head, smiling tentatively. He relaxed slightly, accepting the olive branch. She wondered what she had done before the accident to cause the tension. Fingering the blooms in the lei, she turned to Annie. "It's lovely, sweetie, thank you so much. Did you collect these flowers from the garden?" Carnations, baby's breath, mums and even a couple of gladiolus flowers graced the wreath. A flashback to her own children making leis from flowers grown in their garden weakened her knees. She found the comfortable sofa in the living room and sank into it. The familiarity of the family chatting, dishes clattering in the kitchen as Samantha prepared lunch, and even the smell of flowers mingling with the scent of egg salad and lemon cleanser used on the coffee table restored her equilibrium. She stood, collected her suitcase, and headed up to her room.
*        *        *
After placing her suitcase on the bed with a thump, she meandered around her bedroom. Her mother must have tidied what normally exhibited typical teenaged disarray. A slight smile tugged Adya's lips as she peeked into the closet, prepared for a tumbling attack, but the neatly arranged rows of clothes brought the sting of tears to her eyes. She muttered, "Thanks, Mom, sorry you had to worry." There had always been something better to do than pick up after herself.  Samantha's concern must have driven her to organize the books, papers, and cassettes. Waves of excitement filled her as she thought about all of the things she could do differently because of what she knew now. She was a different person than the child who kept her room in such disorder.
Near her closet, a hand-carved dresser stood but she could picture it in the place of honour beside the window in the master bedroom in her dream life. How could she imagine the setting so clearly if it was a dream? She approached the piece, shaking her head.
Matthew had crafted the dresser. Many hours in his shop were spent building what would later become family heirlooms, a labour of love performed for each of his children as his gift to them at their births. She felt for the name and date engraved on the back of the upper right drawer, finding the etched wood exactly where she thought it would be. The same had been done for each of her own her dream. Adya touched her image in the mirror.
"Oh, Dad, if only you knew. You loved the kids, all six of them. You made dressers for each of them, just like this one." She ran her hand through her hair before looking down at her fingers, expecting to see a diamond ring on her left hand.  "Am I crazy? Are all of those memories just my imagination? Is there really someone named Daniel Davies, the man I will...did...might marry?"
She unpacked her bag, finding her journal and leafing through her notes. "This can't be full of dreams. It's all too real." Her finger traced down the list of names and numbers. "Let's see...Lakeport University was where he worked." She crept to the phone at the end of the hallway, checking to ensure no one was watching while she dialled long distance.
"Lakeport University," a female voice answered. Expecting to hear the automated voice system, she hesitated a moment. The voice on the other end prompted, "Hello?"
Adya muttered "Sorry, wrong number," and hung up the phone. Her hands shook as she punched another number.
"Hello, is Jim there?"
The familiar voice on the line answered, "I'm sorry, he's working right now. May I take a message for you?"
"Is this Carole?"
"Yes, it is... May I help you?"
"No, sorry for bothering you, goodbye...I love you," the last was whispered into the phone as she hung up. Her mother-in-law had been very dear to her before the woman's death from cancer, and hearing the beloved voice once again was almost her undoing. She placed the receiver into the cradle and rested her head in her hands. It was all real. The life, the family, the memories. Somehow she had left them behind and returned to her fourteen year old self.
Quietly she crept back to her room where she wrote again in her journal, this time recording the events of the present. She had the proof she needed, at least for herself, to believe her life experience really happened. Her musings were interrupted by the cry from downstairs, "Lunch's ready." Adya closed the journal with a snap, secreting it between the mattress and box spring of her bed. She pulled out a book she had 'borrowed' from her brother. No wonder he was angry with her. It needed to be returned immediately with an apology. The first step in her new life.
*        *        *
Later that evening she again sat cross legged on her bed, ruminating and writing. Concepts like closed timelike curves, worldlines, and parallel universes filled the pages of her journal as she wondered which explanation fit her situation. Only her consciousness travelled through time, not her physical body, so the laws of physics had not necessarily been had never been able to explain the existence of discrete consciousnesses in any event.
Inside this fourteen year old body is the mind of a forty year old. The experiences of a forty year old. How do I disguise something like that? I was a wife. A mother.  A university graduate. National President of Volunteering Canada. Local member of parliament. Treasurer for Girl Guides of Canada. Coach of little league - never call me a soccer mom, though. How does this person keep quiet? How do I maintain the façade of innocence?
Adya shut her journal with a sigh, eyes burning with fatigue as she glanced at the clock. Four in the morning. She really needed sleep. As her lids drooped shut, a true sense of peace and comfort washed over her. A sense of purpose filled her−there was something she was meant to do this second journey through her life. She slept.
*        *        *
She walked alone on an empty beach. To her left stretched an endless horizon of water, still as glass. To her right, the landscape featureless and level. Walking on the boundary between two surfaces, her feet were dry. She spied a small object in the distance which began to take shape as she approached it. The mist coalesced into the dresser her father made for her. She advanced and looked in the mirror. Her image reflected onto infinity within the confines of the wooden frame.
Adya stared into her own eyes, noting the face looking back at her was her mature self, not her present teenaged visage. As she watched, the likeness began to blur and disappear. Another copy replaced the fading one, slightly different from her true reflection. She touched her unblemished cheek where the mirror image showed a scar running from lip to temple. That figure waned into nothingness and she shifted to look at the next countenance. No older than her, it blurred from sight as she tried to focus on features. The faces began to merge faster and faster, a time-lapse of images until one final pair of eyes met hers and mouthed the words "It's up to you."

Journal of Doctor Nicholas Weaver
August 10, 98 P. I.       
My father's journals keyed me into the nature of Time. He and my mother died when I was fourteen. I never realized I was responsible for their deaths until later, but that is a story for another journal entry.  Father was researching the geomagnetic polar shift with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the years before he died. I found his journals Post Impact. Fortunate to not have lived near the impact site, I continued to visit the house during the Strife years, often living there for months at a time. It was peaceful, filled with memories of happier times. But, I digress.
Those journals made note of unusual magnetic signatures within the Earth's orbit. The magnetosphere was well studied, but these anomalies he discovered appeared to exist on their own, having no relationship to the magnetospheres of either the Earth or the Sun. Father died shortly after his discovery, just before Impact drew everyone's attention away from anything but survival. I will follow his protocol, and document my understanding.
Quotes, both famous and infamous, echo through my mind. Robert H. Goddard comes to the forefront.
It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.
I do what I do for Hope.


The Summer Carnival and Fair was an annual tradition. It marked the closing weeks of the summer, held on the second weekend of August. Mid-way rides, buskers, games, and of course the fortune tellers made for an entertaining evening. The livestock on exhibit for the fair included cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, chickens, and other species. The carnival set up each summer on the lake shore and patrons could wander through the tents, booths, and rides before walking one of the many paths cutting through the dunes to the sandy beach. The family arrived late in the afternoon.
"Let's do the ring toss, okay?" Annie dragged Adya toward the stand while Samantha and Evan went to the midway booth to purchase ride tickets. Throwing two rings at the same time when the attendant was not looking, Adya grinned as one of them landed perfectly on a yawning bottle top.
"Wow, awesome toss." The little girl scorned the minuscule toy being offered by the carnival attendant, pleading with her big sister, "Do it again, I want a bigger toy."
The attendant shrugged, collected their money, and turned to serve another customer. Tossing two rings again, Adya looped the same bottle neck.
"Yay. Again."  
She continued to ring bottles, earning successively larger prizes for her excited sibling. Finally they walked away with a giant unicorn, taking it back to Samantha's car.
"Let's go see the animals. Do you hear that cow mooing?" They toured the stockyard, admiring the beautiful Arabian horses and looking into the soulful eyes of the Jersey dairy cattle. The sharp tang of fresh hay was in the air and they breathed deeply of the scent mingled with the musky smell of animals. Annie began to sneeze. They left the stock area, the smaller girl dragging her feet with slumped shoulders.
"I want a pony"
"They make you sneeze."
"So. What's a little sneezing if you can ride like the wind?"
"How about a pony ride, see them over there?" Adya pointed to the tiny ponies walking in circles inside a temporary fenced enclosure. The riders' enraptured faces were alight with pleasure but the ponies themselves moved with heads down and eyelids almost closed. Sidewalkers maintained the safety of the riders. One of the ponies was larger than the others and Annie admired her glossy black coat and brilliant white stockings.
"Can I ride that one? Her name should be Midnight."
The attendant spoke with a grin. "That's her name and she would love to have you ride her." After collecting payment, he swung the child up on the pony where she joyfully sawed away at the reins during her two minute circuit around the enclosure. With a satisfied smirk, Annie gave Midnight a pat before being lifted off.
"I didn't sneeze once."
"No, you're right. I think it's the hay."
As they walked past the various booths, each operator attempting to get them to play their game or purchase their wares, Adya thought poignantly of her own children and how much they would have enjoyed the festivities. Annie pointed with delight to the work being done by a caricature artist. They observed the stylist as he captured the essence of the current patron. A sample of his work, a self-portrait, emphasized his roman nose and sculpted cheeks.
Adya took both Annie's hands, crouching to be eye to eye with her sister. "I want to get one done, will you watch?"
"Oh, that'll be fun." They waited as the artist finished his impression of the man occupying the chair, turning the patron's long face into a horse with wispy hair emerging from the sides of a bandana, the mullet making him fair game for the wit of the artist. The subject left the artist with a tip and a laugh. She assumed the seat he vacated and smiled at Annie.
"I am afraid to see what he does to my face. I hope he isn't too mean."
"I can be kind, especially with someone as flawless as you."
She blushed at his blustering compliment, smiling in spite of herself. "I bet you say that to all the girls." Pointing to the line of sketches, she continued, "I would like one of the pictures which puts me into a background. What can you do?"
"You don't look old enough to have a job," he gestured toward the samples where people sat at desks or leaned over tables, "What's your name?"
"Adya D... Jordan"
"Okay, Adyad."
"No D, just Adya."
"Here, just let me look that one up. Adya's a very unusual name. Jordan refers to descending or flowing down and specifically relating to the river Jordan." The artist made a few quick pen strokes then bent down and rummaged through a duffle bag. He pulled out Origins and Meanings of Baby Names and leafed through before glancing back at her.
"Your name in Sanskrit means Mother Earth. Turn your head to the side, please." He began to sketch in earnest. She jumped up, glaring down at her right hand to check for the insect which stung her.
"Hold still, please," the artist complained.
"Sorry, something bit me." She rubbed at the stinging birthmark while he continued, not allowing her to see the portrait until it was complete. Annie giggled frequently as she watched, increasing Adya's curiosity. With a final flourish, the caricature was presented.
""  A flowing, glowing creature reminiscent of an angel sported the hint of a halo in her hair as it gently waved around her head. In the drawing she stood in profile surrounded by a sea of children. With a bittersweet smile, her image led them all toward a distant horizon. A shiver ran up her spine as she paid the man, tucking the portrait under her arm and leading Annie to Samantha.  
"Mom, I'm going for a walk down to the water, okay?"
"Sure, hon, we'll be over by the food booths."
*        *        *
She stood and watched the waves gently roll in, allowing everything else to fade away with the ebb and flow of the water. Inhaling the sharply ionized air, the lake drew her while she walked along the shore. Couples strolled hand in hand, some stopping to kiss. Others sat on the warm sand, tempting her to take a seat herself. She hesitated-she needed answers about her future first, though, and was going to visit the psychics.
Holding the opinion they were merely play actors or at best very good at reading people's physical responses, Adya had never visited a psychic. Intrigued at the possibility they might be legitimate, able to detect her unique nature−someone truly connected with the future should be able to sense her own connection−she was especially eager to go. Returning to the main carnival area she immediately ran into her family. "I'd like to visit the psychics, Mom. Wanna come with me?"
"Really? You never wanted to go any time I asked." Samantha sounded aggrieved.
"I changed my mind. I think it'll be fun. Are you game?"
"Yeah, sure."
Evan spoke up. "You guys are crazy spending money on those quacks. I'll take Annie to the rides. Then she won't fall under your influence and begin to believe in hocus pocus." He guided the little girl away, narrowly missing the smack Adya aimed at his shoulder.
"Hocus pocus, go work some magic on those games and try to top my unicorn."
They laughed as they approached a gaudy, brightly decorated tent on a hillock overlooking the carnival grounds. They peered through the billowing entryway, hesitant to enter. A woman in her twenties stepped forward to greet them.
"Which of you ladies would like to see Madame Lenormond first?"
Samantha motioned to Adya. "It was your idea..."
"Okay, I'll go first." She stepped forward.
The woman directed Samantha to a small nook.  "Please have a seat in the antechamber while the reading is completed." Adya was led toward a second room within the confines of the tent. "What is your name, my dear?"
"Adya Jordan," she replied while handing the woman the twenty dollar fee for the reading.
"Madame Lenormand will see you now, please come this way."
They entered a third room, meeting eyes with the ancient woman seated at the round wooden table. A glass sphere rested on an ornate pewter hand, the ornaments above it swaying slightly with the movement of the tent. The gypsy slowly stood to greet her, the top of her head barely reaching Adya's shoulders. Flowing garments and colourful scarves floated around her body and her tiny black eyes sparkled in her creased cheeks. The younger woman left the room. The crone cackled, "Ah, the young girls always want to know if they will find love."
"I really don't care about falling in love, that's not why I'm here."
Madame scanned her face, "Oh, but you will find yourself surrounded by men, only men, who do not have the right answer. You do."
"I have one question for you and if I don't like your answer I do not wish to have a reading done and will go to your competition−Madame Zita."
"Ask, child, that is what I am here for."
"Where have I come from?"
Madame Lenormand examined her eyes and responded, "My dear, you came from that place which all people came from, one person's love." Adya turned and left the room.
"That was quick." Samantha's brows rose in surprise.
"I didn't like her style. Let's go see the other one."
"Okay, visiting the psychic was your idea. Lead the way."
The second tent they approached could not have been more clichéd. The faded stars and moons printed on the exterior had once been gaudy and bright but now looked dull beyond measure. Samantha recognized an old friend and hailed her just before they reached the entrance. Adya patiently waited as the two chatted, becoming restless after ten minutes. "Mom, would you be terribly upset if I went in on my own?"
"Oh, honey, I'm sorry...I haven't seen Jane in quite some time. Jane, you remember Adya? Go right ahead, honey. Or, did you want me there?"
"No, I'm good. I'll be out soon."
"Good luck."
A small room with a tattered couch contrasted Madame Lenormand's extravagance. She took a seat as indicated by the sign near the door. The low murmur of voices came from the other side of the curtain dividing the tent space. Eventually a young woman stepped forth, weeping with whatever news had been shared by Madame Zita. She took a moment to compose herself before thanking the gypsy and exiting the tent. Adya rose at the psychic's directive, scratching her right hand with annoyance at the return of the itch.
"Please do come inside. I expect you did not find the answers you seek visiting Madame Lenormand." Her violet eyes crinkled at the corners in silent laughter.
"Perhaps not, perhaps I will not find them here either." Adya pointedly glanced at the modern day jeans and blouse.
"I am not what you expected." Not a question, but a statement. "You are confused about many things, but one fact is clear - you have greater experience than your years...and more years than you know."
Adya gasped. Madame Zita might actually have the ability to see the future.
"I can't see everything. I only see small parts of the entire panorama, like working on a jig saw puzzle without the guide picture." She smiled slightly.  "No, I can't read minds, but your face is like an open book, every emotion and thought is there to be read."
"How can I be here and now the way I am, do you have any idea? Are you like me?"
Zita shook her head. "No, I have been and will only be my physical age. I am able to see flashes of people's lives, playing like a silent television show. Sometimes their past. Sometimes their future." Glancing at her hands, she grimaced. "For the past ten years the futures have been finite for so many people, like the show is ending in our lifetime. They ask me for reassurances which I have not been able to provide. I am scared, have been for a while now." The seer directed her toward a table set with two chairs and took a seat across from her. A brass bowl filled with water was centred on the surface. Concentric rings carved into the oak underneath appeared to radiate from the basin.
"You will face much danger. Sadness, loss, confusion, but you must follow your instincts. Your journey will begin very soon, sooner than you are ready for." The oracle removed a pebble from a pouch around her waist and handed it to Adya. "Please drop this river pebble into the bowl."
She savoured the velvety smooth texture of the tiny stone, rolling it between her fingers before dropping it into the bowl slightly to the left of centre. It made a small 'plink' as it punctured the surface of the water. Both women watched the ripples which formed, mesmerized by the water's movement until the last undulation faded away. The soothsayer tracked one of the lines on the table, and then raised her eyes.
"Great pain will afflict you soon. Block it out, or all is lost. What I see in you is the continuation of the show, beyond everyone else. Beyond even you. I can't tell you what that means, only you can interpret the vision I see. But the image is of you standing alone, looking out over an endless horizon of white. Behind you are shadows. They are not menacing, just silhouettes fanning out in your wake, extending on beyond the horizon. That is what I see in your future. But, to make it there you must endure much."
"Does the future look something like this?" Adya unrolled the caricature. Zita's eyes widened.
"Yes, very much like that. Where did this image come from?" The psychic traced the drawing with her fingers, almost reverently.
"You mean you don't know?" The seer's forehead wrinkled as she fixed Adya with a stern gaze. She blushed, grimacing. "Sorry, couldn't resist." Tapped the drawing, she continued. "The caricature artist here at the fair did it not half an hour ago. Perhaps he has...what do you call it, sight?"
"You say this was drawn by a man?"
"Yes. About thirty, dark brown hair, roman nose, brown eyes."
"There's normally only a female artist. This is all too strange...and exhausting. I apologize but I must rest now. I will look into your mysterious artist later."  She led Adya to the doorway and hung an ON BREAK placard. "It takes a great effort to foresee even the small details which I described to you."
"Can you please tell me more? There's so much I need to know."
"I'm sorry. I don't have the energy. After each viewing I require a rest but I knew you needed to hear from me. I really need to lie down, please excuse me." Madame Zita retired behind the curtain, leaving Adya to ponder the significance of a great line of shadows standing behind her. She left the tent, her eyes adjusting to the early evening light. Turning toward the beach, she collided with a solid chest. The boy she crashed into picked her up and spun her around, teasing, "I'm the tall, dark and handsome guy the fortune teller just told you about." He and his drunken friends laughed as he spun her a second time.
Pushing at his chest, she struggled to be released.  "Actually, she said a short fat bald guy was in my future."
His reply made her blush as he moved his hips suggestively against hers, "I can show you a fat bald guy, not too short." His friends took up the chant, "Show her, Darren, c'mon, she wants you."
Adya twisted to escape his grasp and the reaching hands of his friends. She glared over her shoulder as she walked off. "Grow up, idiots." They simply laughed again, in high spirits. Soon after she ran into her friend Jessica, needing a moment to recall the girl's name. The first strains of music from the carnival dance could be heard.
"Adya. Hey, how are ya? Haven't seen you all summer."
"Hi, Jessie. I'm okay, ran into a few jerks that had too much to drink, though." She glanced back toward the boys, still in sight. They waved. She flashed her middle finger at them but softened the gesture with a flippant smile.
"Hey, not too shabby," Jessie observed, a smile on her lips and speculation in her eyes.
"No way, don't even think it."
"Oh, that's my favourite song." A top ten song began in the background, Jessica grabbing Adya's arm in response to the pulsating beat. "Adya, can you please ask your mom if you can go to the dance with me? My mom won't let me go alone but if you go I'm sure she'll say okay. Please say you'll go." Jessie pleaded while dragging her toward the music.
She deliberated, rubbing at the birthmark on her hand as it started to sting, before smiling excitedly. "Sounds like a great idea. I left mom back this way." She indicated the opposite direction. "I haven't danced in feels like." They went in search of their respective mothers.
*        *        *
Samantha still chatted with her friend, sitting at one of the picnic tables on the perimeter of the fair grounds.
"Hi Mom, Jane. Mom, may I please go to the dance for a bit with Jessica?
"I don't know..."
"We'll be back for ten thirty."
Jessica added her voice to the plea. "Please, Mrs. Jordan, I haven't seen Adya all summer, please can she come with me?" Her most persuasive puppy dog eyes appealed. Samantha and Jane exchanged looks of exasperation.
"Are you sure you're up to it? You are still recovering, you know."
Jessica's face fell, flooded with concern. "Oh, Adya, I forgot. Will you be okay to dance?"
"I'm fine. Mom. Please."
"Alright, I'll hold you to your promise to return by ten thirty, though. No late night tonight."
The girls were already running away with a quick "Thanks." Jessica's mother was also nearby and the girls obtained her permission before heading to the dance area.
The carnival dance throbbed in the centre of a natural amphitheatre formed by terraced stone benches surrounding a stone floor fronted by a slightly elevated stage. A band covered top forty songs from the years before. Adya could feel the beat of the drums reverberate through her and the bass guitar drew her out onto the dance floor. She had never felt quite like this before, like she was one with the beat. Her hand throbbed, but she began to dance anyway.

... continued ...

*     *     *

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