Authors: Glenn Bullion
by Glenn Bullion
Copyright © 2011 by Glenn Bullion
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author's imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from Glenn Bullion.
Cover Design Copyright © 2011 by (http://DigitalDonna.com)
Also for the new addition Rascal, and his big brother Oreo.
Special Thanks: Nicole Wick and Randi Scott
Five-year-old Mason Thomas woke up on the ceiling. Nausea overwhelmed him as men and women beneath him moved around at an odd angle. The room was unfamiliar. He couldn't remember how he got stuck above everyone else. Was he dreaming?
Terror gripped him as he realized something was horribly wrong. He shouldn't be seeing the tops of heads and shoulders.
He called the first name he could think of.
The men and women below didn't hear him.
The adults spoke quickly to each other, almost running around the room. There were machines making loud noises. Mason put his hands to his ears, but that didn't help drown out the noise.
A scent touched his nose that made him gag and dry-heave.
In the middle of the room below were three gurneys. There was a person on each one. The two larger figures were burnt beyond recognition. He could only make out the tiny body beneath him.
It looked just like him.
He finally recognized he was in a hospital. He watched enough TV to know what a hospital looked like.
A doctor ran into the room. "What do we got here?"
Another doctor cut Mason's shirt up the middle and ripped it away. He couldn't look away from the tiny child beneath him. It was like looking into a mirror, only his eyes were closed.
"A lightning strike," a woman said. She gestured to the two motionless figures next to his body. "The parents are gone. The boy's alive, but we're losing him."
"Mommy! Daddy!" Mason shouted. "Where are you?"
He was lost and confused. He didn't understand what the doctors and nurses were doing. They no longer even looked at the two gurneys next to him. They shouted at each other and rubbed something on his chest. A doctor rolled up a cart with another of their many machines on it.
Mason tried to turn on his side. He pushed away from the ceiling with his elbows.
It didn't work.
His little mouth opened in horror as his elbows
inside the tile ceiling. He could feel the roughness of the tile surrounding his elbow. He shouted, then crossed his arms tightly. He rubbed his forearms, still feeling the flesh on his bones.
He slowly started to float toward the body beneath him. A second ago, he wanted nothing more than to get down from the ceiling. As the body on the gurney got closer, he wanted to go back up.
"No! Get away!"
He drifted through his body, like it wasn't even there. For just a brief flash he saw things no five-year-old should see. Blood vessels, tissue, his own optic nerves. He emerged through the back of his skull, drifted through the gurney, and landed gently on the cold floor.
He cried, yet no tears stained his face.
"I want my Mommy!"
He tried to crawl away, moving in between the legs of the doctors working feverishly to save his life. He ran from the room, knowing the two blackened things back there weren't his mother and father.
The hallway was much quieter. People walked back and forth, talking to each other and looking at clipboards. Mason looked up and down for his parents. He knew they had to be around somewhere, probably looking for him. He didn't want them to worry.
Everyone ignored him as he walked down the hall. The hallway opened up to a waiting room. Mason looked around with wide eyes at the many people sitting and pacing, either waiting to be seen, or waiting for loved ones. As he searched their faces, trying to spot his parents, something terrifying settled in his mind.
He didn't know what his parents looked like.
He shut his eyes tight, trying to remember them. He knew his name was Mason Thomas. He was five years old, with black hair and brown eyes. He had a mother and father.
And that was all.
He didn't know his teacher's name, or if he even went to school. He didn't know where he lived, or if he had any friends.
Worst of all, he didn't know his parents.
He felt tears running down his face. When he went to wipe them, he again felt nothing. He walked up to the office in the corner with the window and the pretty nurse.
"Miss Nurse?" he said. "Could you help me find my Mommy and Daddy?"
Mason tried to put his hands on the desk. His hands passed through the top. He yanked them back and stared at them.
The nurse picked up the phone.
"Hey, it's me. You should have seen the family they wheeled in here. Killed by lightning. Can you believe that? I think they were holding hands or something, got all three of them. It's so sad."
"Miss Nurse," Mason said, jumping up and down. "I'm right here. Can you help me please?"
A doctor approached the desk. He stood almost on top of Mason. The boy's body penetrated the doctor, all the way up to his ear. He could almost hear the doctor's blood pumping inside his body.
"Hey!" he said, jumping away. He was angry at everyone ignoring him. "I want my Mommy and Daddy!"
He reached out to put his hand on the wall. He hadn't touched anything solid except the floor since falling from the ceiling. Still surprised when his hand dipped into the wall, he moved it around for a moment, feeling the drywall and metal studs. For just a moment, it was the coolest thing in the world.
Mason looked up and noticed the doctor didn't look at him. The nurse behind the desk, the people in the waiting room, the technicians and the janitor that walked by, no one saw him.
He was surrounded by people, but he was alone.
"I don't like this dream. I want to wake up now."
A stab of pain gripped his chest, and the waiting room vanished in a flash. Three doctors peered down at him, a bright light behind them.
Then he was back in the waiting room.
He buckled over from the pain.
"Please help me," he whispered.
He clenched his eyes shut and bounced back and forth between the two places. The doctors shouted mysterious words and directions to each other. Then he heard the relatively quiet whispers of the waiting room, and the occasional page over the intercom system.
Finally, he was awake, sitting up screaming. He looked into the faces of the men and women that just minutes ago he watched from the ceiling.
"It's okay, son! It's gonna be okay."
A doctor tried to gently lay him back down onto the gurney, but Mason fought.
"Where's my Mom and Dad? I heard you talking, about the lightning. I was just getting ready to go look for them some more." He looked to his left, at the empty spots where those black mannequin-looking things were. "Where are the tables that were there?"
The doctors traded puzzled looks. One of the nurses stared at Mason, her eyes filled with fear.
A doctor wheeled him away. Mason was only half listening.
"You'll have your own room...meet a nice doctor lady named Mary..."
The nice doctor lady named Mary wasn't prepared to meet Mason Thomas. She was ready to tell Mason he was an orphan, help him during the traumatic adjustment period, and transition him into foster care.
She wasn't prepared for his memory loss.
Or the vivid nightmares of Mason waking up in strange places.
Mason awoke on a carpeted floor. He blinked twice and rubbed at his eyes. He could hear the quiet hum of fluorescent lights as he pulled himself into a sitting position. The world slowly slid into focus. Despite the familiar feel of the carpet, he didn't know where he was.
He looked up to see teenagers walking back and forth. The sounds of lockers opening and closing filled the halls. He heard parts of conversations. A small smile touched his face as he finally recognized where he was.
He climbed to his feet as a group of pretty soccer players strutted by, laughing and talking. Students tossed a ball back and forth as they jogged down the hall, a teacher yelling at them. Two honor students compared notes near the water fountain. A boy sold weed to a girl in the corner near a set of stairs.
This was where Mason was supposed to be.
He was sixteen years old. That would put him in tenth grade. He was supposed to wake up every morning and eat a breakfast his mother cooked. He would make fun of his father as they ate at the table. Maybe he'd pet the cat, if they had one. He'd go to school, maybe the very same one he stood invisible in now. Get rejected by girls, attend a soccer game, maybe do a little homework.
Mother Nature decided she didn't like that plan.
She even took away every memory of his family.
A bell rang out over the halls. He'd visited enough high schools to know that was the warning bell. Students had five minutes to get to their classes.
Mason spotted a gorgeous blond walking, several books tucked under her arm. He fell in behind her just enough to pick up her alluring perfume. He never had a chance to pass a note to a girl in class, or look at one long enough to let her know he was interested. He followed her as she headed to class. He dragged his hand through the lockers as he walked, feeling their contents in between cold metal. Jackets, books, mirrors, even a gun or two.
The blond ducked into a math class, Mason a step behind. Most teenagers did everything they could to get out of school. He wanted nothing more than to get in.
The bell rang as the class took their seats. An elderly man in his sixties scribbled notes on a whiteboard. Mason found an empty seat near the back. He scooted in, making sure to keep his hands to himself. He learned long ago that he wasn't really sitting in the seat, but his projected consciousness was.
Just once, he wished he could sit through an entire class.
Today wouldn't be that day.
As the teacher started talking about polynomial equations, he heard a loud knock. He looked around the class, surprised no one else heard it. They simply focused on the strange notes on the whiteboard.
He heard it again, and realized what it was before he heard the voice.
"Hey, Mason. You'd better wake up over there, or you'll miss breakfast."
Mason closed his eyes and let his body pull his mind back. The feel of the hard seat was replaced by a nearly-as-hard bed. The open classroom faded. The twelve-by-twelve room he slept in every night took its place.
He opened his eyes slowly and made sure he didn't move too fast. He didn't feel like getting sick again.
Big Dave the security guard stood at the open doorway. Big Dave was one of the few people Mason liked. Still, he wished Dave wouldn't just open his door. The doors to every room only locked on the outside. Privacy was something that wasn't cherished much at Yingling Behavioral Health. Or the nuthouse, as Mason called it.
"Thanks, Dave. What are we having this morning?"
"I don't know, but you'd better get moving."
Mason waved and nodded, and Big Dave vanished from the doorway.
He looked around at his surroundings.
"Home, sweet home."
A far cry from the high school he just visited. Everything in the room was white, from the walls all the way down to the sheets. There was a white dresser that held white gowns, white shirts, white pants, and white underwear. Even the clock and radio on the nightstand were white.
He made his bed before heading to the cafeteria. He tried to avoid contact with everyone, like he always did. Some of the people that finished breakfast early enjoyed the morning sun out in the garden. Mason watched them as he stood in line, waiting for his warm bowl of oatmeal.