Story (c) 2000 by Keith Dickinson. All rights reserved. Characters
Sabrina the Skunkette, Amy the Squirrel, Tabitha, Carli, Tammy Vixen Shiela
Vixen, Clarisse, and Carrie Squirrel (c) Eric W. Schwartz. Character Roxikat (c)
John Barrett. Character Thomas Woolfe (c) Michael Higgs. Characters Chris Foxx,
Susan Felin, Cindy Lapine, Debbye Squirrel, Clarence Skunk, Mr. Canis, Dexter
Collie, Angel Collie, Sarge and Endora Mustelidae, Wendy Vixxen, and Wanda
Vixen(c) Chris Yost. Character Florence Ambrose (c) Mark Stanley. Character
ZigZag (c) Max BlackRabbit. Character Cyberhorn (c) William Morris. Character
Terl Skunk (c) Rodney Stringwell. Character James Sheppard and Marvin Badger (c)
James Bruner. Character John Silverback (c) Himself Character Kittiara and the
restaruant "Callahan's" (c) "Kittiara" Character Katja (c) Herself Character
Mark the cheetaur (c) Mark White Eric W. Schwartz (c) Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz.
Arden Eastridge (c) Keith Dickson. All rights to additional characters
reserved by their respective owners.
Sheila sat, cross-legged on the hospital bed looking out the window. Watching the traffic as it passed by on the street below, she tried not to look at the clock. Watching it wasn't going to get her out of here any faster. The fact that, although she slept through the rest of the night, she had still dreamt about Arden. Some times it was at the accident, then the hospital room, and strangely enough, with them dancing in a ballroom. The ballroom had been filled with shadows of people dancing, making them the only two real people there.
Her train of thought was interrupted by a knock on the door. Turning her head, she saw it was Philippe. Standing, she went over and gave him a hug.
"Philippe! You wonderful little man! What on earth are you doing here?"
Moving into the room with his equipment, he started to get setup. "Philippe was told that we were getting out today and Philippe thought it would be best to make sure that we were presentable."
Picking up the chair, she moved it to the middle of the room and sat down with her back to the wall. "You don't know how miserable I've been here Philippe. You're just what the Vixen ordered!"
Concern showing on his face, he began to brush her fur, "Tell Philippe all about it and Philippe will make it all better."
As she related the story of the accident and discovering the body in the ditch, Philippe made the appropriate noises of comprehension.
Trying to decide if she wanted to tell Philippe about her dreams, or what happened with Arden yesterday, he interrupted her thought.
"And what of this strange man who knew your name? Surely there are thousands, no, MILLIONS of people who know your name. That is not to be unexpected, no?"
Shaking her head, "You don't understand Philippe. There's something strange about him. I don't think he's just a fan."
Leaning close, Philippe spoke into her ear, "What are we keeping from Philippe? If Philippe does not know, Philippe can not fix."
Feeling the luxurious sensation of Philippe's brush running through her fur, Sheila tried to lose herself in the sensation. A snort from Philippe brought her out of it.
"So, not talking to Philippe are we? Philippe is hurt. We do not trust Philippe any more."
Putting her head down, she spoke quietly. "It's not that Philippe. You don't understand. It's more than just that."
Philippe hummed, the tone rising to make it a question.
"I've been having dreams Philippe. About him."
Philippe smiled, "Ahhhh," and waited for her to continue.
"Some of them are nightmares Philippe, and others are normal. I don't know what to make of them."
Confused Philippe stopped brushing, "He is in these nightmares?"
Shaking her head, "No. I don't see him in them, but I know some how he's related. My dreams with him in them are of the accident, although last night I dreamed we were dancing together in a room full of shadows."
Philippe continued brushing out her fur, "The accident was a most traumatic experience, no? So it is expected for one to have bad dreams about them. The mystery of his background makes you uncomfortable. Maybe that is why we see the shadows when dancing, no?"
Perking up a little, it suddenly dawned on Sheila that she never told Philippe about his memory. She turned her head and shot Philippe and accusatory look. "How did you know he has no memory?"
Putting a paw to his chest, Philippe mimed being wounded. "We think that Philippe does not what everyone knows?"
Embarrassed that she hadn't thought of that, Sheila turned back.
"On the other hand, this morning Philippe did have the honor of transforming him into a work of art."
Sheila's head snapped around so fast it hurt. "You saw him this morning?"
Nodding, he used a paw to turn her head around. Taking out some clippers he began to trim off the uneven ends of her fur. "Philippe did talk to him. He is a most extraordinary person. He is under the impression that he has made us afraid of him and never want to speak to him again. Is that true? Do we not wish to ever see him again?"
Her feelings were confused, she couldn't quite get a handle on them. "I don't know Philippe. He's so strange, and yet there's this pull I feel towards him. It's not physical and yet it is. Oh Philippe I don't know what to do."
Putting her face in her paws she began to cry. "I'm so confused Philippe."
Setting his tools down he wrapped his arms around her and hugged her. "Philippe has never steered us wrong, no?" After she nodded he continued, "Then listen to Philippe. Philippe talked to him about this a long time, and is sure that we are precious to him. He would never allow any harm to come to us. Listen to Philippe and give him another chance. Philippe is certain that we won't regret it." Saying a small prayer he thought, 'At least Philippe hopes we do not.'
As Philippe's words penetrated her emotional fog, Sheila began to come to grips with what he said. Turning her head, she gave him a quick kiss on the side of his muzzle. "Thank you Philippe."
Releasing her, he picked up his tools and set back to work. 'Ah, to be young and in love again,' he thought.
Still belly down on my bed, the pain was slowly fading from my tail. My talk with Zig Zag had been pleasant once she got over my little barb. Apparently she had an apartment they used for out of town talent to stay in. Once I was released from the hospital, I could stay there while looking for a place of my own. It wasn't scheduled to be used for a couple of months until Bjorn Otterson came over from Scandinavia to film Bjorn to Party. Still not sure how I was going to be of use at ZZ Studios, I re-emphasized that I didn't want a position in front of the camera.
Zig Zag only chuckled. That woman has a one-track mind. Unfortunately I was afraid it was aimed between my legs. Ah the burdens of having a fantasy body in a fantasy world.
As I was thinking about how to find a computer job without revealing that I remembered my past, there was a knock on the door. Looking over I saw a tall male Tiger in a cheep suit. He had brown on black coloring rather than orange. He'd be murder to spot in the dark.
Coming in he picked up the chair, turned it around and sat down with the back to me.
"You're a cop, right?"
His ears perked up at that, "How did you know?"
"Well, so far every person who's sat with the back of the chair facing me has been a cop so far. That and the suit kind of gave you away."
Giving a quick nod, he took a wallet out of his sports coat, flipped it open and handed it to me. He was Michael Jones, Detective Sergeant with the Columbus Police. I handed it back to him.
"What can I do for you Detective?"
He pulled a folder out of his brief case. Opening it, he looked at me, "I have good news, we've been able to identify you."
I wouldn't have been more shocked if he'd reached down and done that little trick Zig Zag had done. Not being prepared for it I'm sure my confusion must have shown on my face. How could this be? I didn't have a background here. I didn't exist before that fateful Sunday evening.
"How did you find out? The other cops said my fingerprints turned up negative!"
Examining the contents of the folder, he kept glancing at me as he spoke. "The officers who ran your prints did so at 4:35pm on Monday, at which time they came back negative. When I re-ran them today, I got a positive hit, a most unusual positive hit at that." His eyes narrowed as he looked at me.
I was at a total loss here. This was impossible. How could my prints NOT be there, then show up a day later? Something was wrong! "Unusual how?"
He handed me a high-resolution fax. It was of a death-certificate for one Arden David Bearridge who died at 10:35 Sunday evening from injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Kansas City, Missouri! The same time that Zig Zag hit me!
As I read the report I couldn't believe my eyes. This was me! It had my old address on it, the same car, the same license plate, everything! My God, I had an alternate in this world, and he had been killed in a car wreck!
I suddenly realized I couldn't breathe. Grasping at my chest, I kept trying to catch my breath. The room felt like it was spinning. I became aware of Jones yelling for a doctor or nurse. The last thing I heard before passing out was laughter. That damned laughter.