Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Helping Hand

Author's note: This originally planned short story has been inserted to the book The Butterfly Dragon: Dragon Butterfly where it will become an integral part of the story line.

by Brian Joseph Johns

She'd run the same path through park many times on her jog. This night was no different. The air blowing through her hair and her heart pounding in her ears. She loved the sensation and the feeling. The freedom of being alive and on her feet. She stopped as she arrived at the end of the path and arrive at the pedestrian cross walk.

The lights changed and she started across still catching her breath. When she arrived in the middle of the road the lights hit her. High beams. She tried to run but found that she couldn't move and collapsed to the ground. Her legs were useless and unmoving. They mocked her plight. Perhaps in spite over the rest of her body's health. She struggled with her hands, pulling and drawing herself but she only made it a foot before the vehicles tires...

She woke up sweating. She'd tried to scream and only found her body had become paralyzed. Like her legs in her waking nightmare. She sat back in her bed and cried as she had the night before and the one before last. When her heart had slowed enough, she closed her eyes and fell back asleep and found her dream again. Running in the park and so free. She loved freedom and for that reason she continued her run. Towards the same crosswalk and the lights. Pressing the button and waiting. Catching her breath. Then she proceeded across under the flashing lights. No truck was going to take her freedom but then the headlights. And the truck. And the...

Little girl.

She reached out to her. Between her and the truck. Like an angel. Behind her the wings. A serpent with wings.

"Please Miss. You need to come with me. Hurry... Please. You have to trust me..." Warai spoke.

The serpent behind her hovered in place. Its face peered out from behind her. A demon of the sky or a devil? Did it smile? Was it laughing at her plight?

"Please! Welly is not bad. You need to trust us. Please!" she pleaded.

The serpent's wings grew into shadows against the headlamps of the truck. It didn't move or try to make way for the vehicle. Nor did the little girl.

"I can't do it all for you. You have to trust me. Welly won't hurt you!" Warai's eyes said it all.

The lady reached for the angel's hands and when she found them they clasped hers.

She awoke. In the waiting room. In her wheelchair. She'd fallen asleep waiting for the Doctor and her appointment. The dream was just the same and like the night she'd accepted the girls beckoning hands. She'd found her answer. The miracle that could end her nightmare. She just had to face her fear. When she'd seen the serpent at first, she thought of the devil. The snake and the forbidden fruit. She'd thought it a sign and the girl only a deception. Every night the same thing and for weeks she'd feared the serpent and then the little girl. For that simple reason.

She didn't know why then on that fateful night that she'd taken her hands.

The following day when she'd been reading a medical journal, she came across it. The thing that had changed her mind about her nightmares. It was on an advertisement from the Canadian Medical Association. The logo had caught her eye. As soon as she saw it she remembered her nightmare, which had quickly become a dream. For she had in her own imagination implied something much different upon the flying serpent the night before she had trusted the little girl. Now she had a context that she could trust. One that she could believe. It wasn't the serpent from the tree and the apple. It was the serpent of the healer. A different kind of serpent and an age old one at that.

Then two nights ago she'd had the same dream and had felt fearless in it with her new understanding. She'd fallen just as she had halfway across the crosswalk when the headlamps hit her. The wings of the flying serpent who flew behind the little girl. The little girl extended her hands pleading for her to accept. She was there to help. Then the lady accepted her and reached out.

That next day she'd set up the appointment at the clinic. It was time to get all the facts rather than stay hidden in the dark with her suspicions. Her fears. Her superstitions. She'd arrived for her appointment nervously. Something was different about this day. When the Doctor had spoken to her she'd handed her a brochure labeled SY-349: A New Start.

She thumbed through the brochure reading about the remarkable qualities of this newly developed treatment. It looked a little bit too good to be true and enough so to reinforce her sense of skepticism. When she found her way to the last page she noticed the logo. Tynan and Associates. Their logo depicted the letter T, with the intertwined helix of DNA. She looked at it carefully noting how remarkably similar to the medical association logo it had looked. The T and the intertwined DNA helix resembled the winged serpent from her dreams. She immediately agreed to take part in the program and that was the beginning.

That was two years ago to the day and she'd become a much different person in that time.

Heylyn had been reading an article in the news paper when Warai came in from the bedroom wiping her eyes.

"What's the matter?" Heylyn asked her.

"Tired..." she said as she started to cry.

"I can draw the curtains for you. Do you want to try to sleep again?" Heylyn asked her.

"No. I want to... Hey! There's the lady from my dream!" she paused mid sentence, her face lighting up as she recognized the face from the picture on Heylyn's newpaper.

Heylyn pulled the paper in a bit closer.

"You mean her?" she put her finger on the lady.

"Yes. Me and Welly tried to help her. So many times..." Warai said smiling.

"In your dream?" Heylyn confirmed.

"Yes. A Long time ago. Just after you were in the hospital." Warai said.

Heylyn had been reading the article in the newpaper over her morning toast and latte. Another one of the many expositions of another person with incredible abilities who'd miraculously used them to rescue a trucker from and impending collision. The driver had collapsed having had a heart attack and this woman had paced herself with the truck on foot and had managed to climb onto the trailer, across the top and stop the truck before it had impacted stopped traffic. The picture itself was not very good and was obviously taken from another moving vehicle, cropped and enlarged.

She picked up her phone and dialled the number of her long time friend Alicia.

"Hi Heylyn. How are you this morning?" Alicia answered her phone.

"Good. Just sitting here with Warai having my morning toast. You wouldn't happen to know anything about this incident? The one with the runaway truck? The one where she rescued the driver?" Heylyn took a wedge of toast with jam and handed it to Warai.

"No. Not really. I saw the news last night but I don't know anything about it personally. Doesn't look like Monique or Valerie. So what do you propose?" Alicia asked her.

"Looks like she's trying to help. I suppose we should just wait and see. I'll keep an eye on it though for now. Just checking with you buddy." Heylyn replied brushing a bit of fluff from Warai's hair.

"Alright. We'll talk later. I'll see you later in the week. You remembered right?" Alicia confirmed with Heylyn.

"Yes. I remembered. I already got something for him and I'll pick up some extra salad too from the caterers. I'll be there at three sharp. Bye for now." Heylyn assured her friend that her memory hadn't slipped her.

"Talk soon." Alicia hung up.

"Alright missy. Time to get ready for school." Heylyn got up and continued her morning routine.

Warai excitedly skipped back to her room eating the remainder of the toast.

Heylyn smiled taking it in then glanced at the paper again looking for something of which she was not quite sure. Her senses were trying to tell her something much like they would just before Weltherwithsp would appear. In the end she turned away despite having missed a detail that may have been too hard to see. The lady in the photo, though smudged was wearing a Police badge.

Partners

"I'll drive, you keep six." Officer Tristan said as they walked to the car.

"No way. I'll drive. You're a better spotter." Officer Tandy replied indicating how well she'd known her partner.

"Yeah. Alright. But I'm getting us back here alive after you bang up the car." Officer Tristan returned walking to the passenger side.

"You wish." Officer Tandy smiled back at him opening the driver door.

They'd been given instructions to look into some complaints they'd been receiving about a small warehouse located in the south end of the city, near the Queen's Quay West. The warehouse was tucked into an alley, behind a bottling plant. During the 1950s the area had bustled with business and since had changed much, leaving the warehouse unowned and operated for years. It had been city property and had recently seen some activity that had not been authorized.

Officer Tandy drove the short distance to the warehouse and pulled around just out of site. They then quietly got out of the car and approached, looking for any signs of recent use, wear and tear on the tiny lawn or lights in the interior. Most of the windows seemed to be sealed up from the inside and painted over. Officer Tristan looking in the mailbox and found a number of items addressed specifically a John Doe. Literally with that name.

"Whaddaya think?" asked Officer Tristan quietly.

"Looks suspicious. I think we should check it out. We've got the key and a warrant to back us up for being here. Let's do it." Officer Tandy replied whispering.

"Lets go. I've got your back." Officer Tristan assured her.

She pulled the keyring from her belt and unlocked the key container and then used the key she retrieved to unlock bolt. They turned the handle to the door and stepped in.

"Toony that better be you and you better have not forgotten my lunch either!" someone yelled from inside the warehouse.

Officer Tandy looked quizzically to Officer Tristan who signalled her to proceed down the hall to the other side of an opening where he'd cover her. She stepped across the doorway and onto the other side of the opening down the hall. It appeared to be a bathroom at the end of the hall and a dead end.

"Who the heck is that? You better have a good... Holy crap!" a male in his mid twenties in a cutoff shirt jumped behind cabinet.

Officer Tristan smelled the air. They'd been cooking something. Not food for certain and there was a slight smell of pungent chemicals. Officer Tandy nodded to her partner.

"Police! Come out with your hands in the air above your head. No sudden movements." Officer Tandy yelled.

Officer Tristan kept his hand on his holster.

A man ran out from the room beyond a small gun in his hand. He fired twice and hit the wall beside Officer Tandy.

Officer Tristan immediately drew his pistol and went in low while Officer Tandy covered him with hers.

"Now do what she said! Do it! Drop it!" Officer Tristan proceeded low into the room observing three men, one with the pistol and the other a sawed off shotgun. The one with the pistol fired several shots clipping Tristan's armor. He proceeded eating the pain and fired back, hitting his target in the the arm holding the gun.

The male with the shotgun fired hitting Tristan square in shoulder spinning him to the ground leaving him screaming.

Officer Tandy leapted almost too fast to be seen into the room grabbing the shotgun swinging it like a club, bringing the burly man down. The third man fell to the ground pleading for her not to shoot. She immediately kicked the weapons away from them and retreated to Tristan's spot.

"This is Officer 715 on site at warrant 316-052015. We have an Officer down! We need backup and medical now!" she said yelling into her belt radio keeping the assailants covered.

She side stepped to Officer Tristan who was breathing erratically and struggling to stay alive.

"I think... Its fading... Just tell... My... Wi..." Officer Tristan struggled to get his last words out.

Officer Tandy put her free hand onto the wound. Her hand started to glow and she struggled against a great pain of her own. Tristan's breathing eased as his wound disappeared. He jumped onto his feet grabbing his pistol.

"What the heck did you do to me? They didn't teach me that in training!" Officer Tristan joked with Officer Tandy, who was struggling to remain conscious.

Officer Tristan kept his focus on the assailants though he'd felt different. He felt stronger and the room seemed very strange to him. Like he could sense everything about it. From all angles. He'd even seen the assailants as they were, before they'd entered. They'd been the back. It was a cook house. A place that gangs would use to cook raw cocaine into crack cocaine. It was a small operation but enough to keep a good portion of the downtown supplied.

A moment later another group of Officers burst into the warehouse, tactically finding their way to Officer Tandy and Officer Tristan.

They immediate cuffed the assailants while another two officers checked on Officer Tandy and Officer Tristan.

"Can you hear me?" the newly arrived Officer spoke to Officer Tandy checking her for injury.

"Yeah. I'm OK. Just grazed me and I got a little scared is all." Officer Tandy replied.

"What about him?" the Officer asked of Tristan.

"I'm alright! I thought I was a goner but..." Officer Tristan was interrupted.

"I pushed him out of the way. No harm done." Officer Tandy interrupted him.

"Yeah. That's what happened." Officer Tristan confirmed looking at Officer Tandy Quizzically.

One of the things they taught you is to be a team. You and your partner. You had to be in sync and if you weren't, you were dead. She had taken the lead in that conversation for a point and he'd have to wait until later to find out from her what it was about. Until that time he was just grateful that she'd somehow been able to heal his wound, and even improve him in some way that he didn't understand.

"You'd better just take it easy for a bit too, Tristan." Officer Tandy told him.

"Yeah. I'm going to take a look and see what we got." Officer Tristan told her.

"Just be careful. Don't touch anything. The crime scene lab is on the way. We'll be too busy in an hour from now filling out paper work." she reminded him.

"Well that's a lot better than spending it in a freezer. Thanks partner." Officer Tristan nodded, making his way into the cook shop to have a peek.

He'd seen a few, but it wasn't as bad a problem as some might think. It seemed to grow and shrink in cycles, in conjunction with supply and the availability of facilities. Most of the business and use had moved indoors as the prior attempts at getting it off the streets had forced the entire market indoors. Most of the sales and use would be confined to a few floors of low income buildings, which tended to relocate to other building in groups, making them hard to track. One recent investigation had even employed the expertise of a biologist, who studied migration patterns in birds. She'd helped Police by attempting to map their data to a predictive algorithm based upon the known pattern of relocation, often discovered by the custodians who cleaned the buildings. On the second attempt to use the algorithm for a bust, the task force had arrived and successfully dismantled the entire operation in one fell swoop. That was a year prior to this find. Cook shops operated completely independent of the marketplace and transferring product to distribution was often a matter of getting it from a low population traffic area to high one. The more people in motion in the area, the less attention it would attract for the couriers and the dealers who would show up to buy it in volume.

This  one was small in the scheme of things though from what he saw he estimated it was probably capable of turning out a lot more than its appearances suggested. They had a few home made burners and a propane gas feed to fuel it. There were a few containers of dry chemicals which he assumed to be sodium carbonate or another catalyst necessary in the process. This one seemed to use shallow pots and frying pans, mostly stainless steel telling him that they had some experience doing this. The whole thing was setup on a large workbench. He inadvertently put his hand on the bench when he went to check the cubbies under the workbench and he was immediately thrust into a memory.

The strange thing was that the memory was not his. It wasn't anyone's he'd known. He was suddenly the audience of a play, like he was watching a dream. There were four of them, there and they were preparing a batch. One of the guys from this dream preparing the drug left the table. He followed the guy into the back, where there was another bathroom. The guy reached down just outside of the bathroom and found a carefully hidden wire. He pulled the wire and it lifed a hidden handle which he then pulled opening a trapdoor. He climbed down the trap door into a crawlspace that had been dug out and found a bag from a stack of product. There had to be at least a few million dollars in the stack indicating that this was a much larger operation.

Officer Tristan fell back away from the table waking from his dream. He shook his head a moment trying to see if he was hallucinating. It was dangerous business clearing a cook shop and fumes were always a problem. When he'd gotten his senses, he walked to the back and into the room he'd seen in his dream. There was another bathroom there just like the one he'd seen. He immediately fell to the floor and started feeling around for a handle and found the wire after a minute of looking. He pulled the wire, which of course revealed a handle. He turned the handle and the trapdoor opened just like his dream.

There within the crawlspace was the biggest pile of product he'd ever seen in one place.

"Tandy?! Buddies?! You better get over here. I think we hit the jackpot!" Officer Tristan yelled as a few came over to his location.

"What's this? A storage cache? This is huge..." They took a look as the Commanding Officer arrived.

"Alright. Let's back up. We gotta let the Crime Lab check this out." he said pulling a camera.

"For your look and see picture album?" one of the Officers joked.

"Now that you've had a look, you can go see if the Crime lab is here. Outdoors. Oh and Tristan. Good job!" the Commanding Officer told his Officers holding his thumb up for him.

"No Sir. It was all Tandy's. She gets the credit. I'll take the assist." Officer Tristan told him.

He nodded admiringly back to Tristan and closed the trapdoor as they proceeded outside.

Officer Tandy had felt much better and had stepped outside for some air.

"How you feeling partner?" Officer Tristan asked her.

"A lot better. How about yourself?" she returned the concern.

"Great. You mind telling me what happened in there?" Tristan asked her candidly.

"You weren't well. So I healed you." she said nonchalantly.

"C'mon. Listen to you. What's that supposed to mean. Are you like a faith healer now?" Tristan joked.

"You're my partner right?" she checked with him.

"Yeah. Of course. What kind of question is that?" he seemed a little puzzled.

"Well, I just need you to promise me you won't tell anyone what I'm about to tell you." she looked at him seriously.

"What? That you want to do your own secret Vaudville Show on ice or something? You can tell me anything partner and its as good as keeps." he assured her.

"Two years ago, I used to be in a wheelchair. I was paraplegic. I completely had no use of either of my legs. Whatsoever." she confided in him.

"Come on. Don't play with me here. I've never seen anyone run like you. What are you saying. You're like the Bionic Woman or something?" Tristan asked her again trying to lighten it up.

"No. I'm not the Bionic Woman." she giggled, hitting his arm before continuing.

"I went through an experimental treatment. For my condition. It had worked on a lot of other people very well. Gave them normal lives. Some not so successful but it gave results more so than anyone ever would have imagined. Well, during the treatment I'd noticed that I was healing faster than the program had predicted, and in the first month, my musculature and nerves had completely regenerated." she said to him an intense look on her face.

"That's unbelievable." he said.

"We continued with the treatments despite my faster than average healing. They said that it might have been a spike, in my body's response to the properties of the formula. So they continued regardless expecting things would balance out. Over the next month, I'd started having strange dreams anytime I'd interact with something, I'd like remember its past. The more I tuned myself to something, the more I'd get about it. Where it was, what happened around it. Everything. Then one day, the same thing happened with one of the workers at the lab. I touched them, and I saw them. Their home life. Their past. Everything. As it continued, things just got more and more bizarre and when I'd finished the program, it took a week for me to calm down enough to even go outside. When I did. I could do things that I'd only ever dreamt of." she told him.

"No. Really. That's unbelievable." he said with a straight face.

She paused looking at him scornfully before he smiled at her.

She giggled again and hit him a bit harder on his arm.

"Ow! That really hurt! Ok. Now I believe you. You're like Super Police Woman. Ow, that really..." Tristan tried his best to lighten her mood, though rubbing his arm.

"You finished?" she asked him seriously.

"Ok. Go on." he nodded to her.

She looked at him a moment with a bit of a smirk before she started speaking.

"So I thought to myself after only ever having had run in my dreams, that I wanted to do something physical. Something that would require me to be my best. I did the entrance exam for the Police College and was in class training the following week. Since that time I've been learning the ropes of Policing and my own limits. The limits of these new abilities. I've only touched the surface. Who knows what's in store?" Officer Tandy finished her story.

"You said you experienced hallucinations. Kind of like waking dreams? Kind of like you were there at a different time?" Officer Tristan asked her.

"Yes. Exactly. How did you know?" she asked him.

"Because after you healed me with your Super Police Woman powers..." he dodged her attempt to hit him before continuing.

"Something similar happened to me. When I was investigating the cook shop." he told her.

"So you're saying that you have the same powers now?" she asked him.

"Well maybe. I mean that's exactly what happened. I touched the workbench and wham! There I was, a few days in the past and they were cooking up a storm. I followed one into the trapdoor we found and that's where the jackpot was." he explained his experience to her.

"You mean then that I can make other people... Like me? How can I test that?" she asked him.

He looked around for a moment and then got an idea.

"Hit me! Not in the arm. I mean in the face. Leave a bruise. Really!" he pointed at his cheek and held it out for her.

"I'm not going to hit you! Are you nuts!" she laughed at him.

"Come on! Then I can try to heal it! You can try to heal it. Then we'll do it again and I'll try." he offered the suggestion and his cheek.

"Fair enough." she wound up and hit him square across the cheek.


"Arrrgh! Owww! Did you have to hit me so hard!" he held his hand to his face.

"Well you said..." she started.

"I know. I know. Just try to heal it!" he told her his face puffing up and welling out.

She put her hand up to his face and concentrated for a moment.

Nothing happened.

"Wait! What's happening. Why isn't it working?" she asked him looking at her hands in amazement.

"Ok. Let me try." he said putting his hand on his wound.

Moments later his hand began to glow and his bruise disappeared.

"You stole my powers!" she accused to him.

"You gave them to me!" he replied.

"No I didn't. I tried to heal you. You were wounded." she explained.

"Well maybe they wanted to come to me. Maybe they liked me better." he said to her.

"But you can walk." she said to him.

"So can you apparently." he replied to her and then he thought about it.

"Wait a minute. You're saying that if they were transferred to me, that you eventually might not be able to walk. Your legs might just fold. Not work anymore." Tristan attempted to understand her.

"Exactly! It might take a while, but my legs might just seize. I might just fall where I am unable to walk anywhere." she confirmed her theory to him.

"Well then. I'd better give them back. Just in case." he said to her.

He put his hands to hers and after a moment, his hands lit up and her body glowed momentarily.

"Ok. Now how do we test that it worked?" he asked.

She wound up and hit him again in the cheek.

"Owwww~!!! What did you do that for?!" he said rubbing his face.

"Ok. Try healing it." she said.

"Oh. Alright." he put his hands to his face and attempted to heal himself.

He stood there for a moment realizing that it wasn't going to work.

"Alright. I guess that means that..." he realized that she could not heal him.

"...you're going to have a bruise for a bit." she said to him going to the car and retrieving the first aid kit.

"Here, I'll do it the old fashioned way." she said to him.

"Thanks partner." Tristan replied.

"What are partners for?" she answered with that age old question.

To be continued...

Copyright © 2015 Brian Joseph Johns

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