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. 
Identity Crisis - Chapter 7
You're the reason I came back.

  They were back in the car, driving down that rain slickened road.  Once again Sheila was hunched down in her seat, cringing with each bolt of lighting to split the night.  Looking out the front window, she could see the bolt of lightning approach the road in slow motion.  As it struck the ground, there was a flash as the lighting scattered across the road in a spider web pattern.  As the image faded, she could see him, kneeling in the road where the lighting had just struck, bathed in a strange fire.  As she watched, the car began to spin, the view outside whirling in a montage of trees, illuminated by the front headlamps.

  Suddenly she was walking across the road again.  The mist was rolling across the ground, like waves lapping across a pond, clinging to her feet as she shuffled across the warm asphalt.  Slowly she walked down the embankment to look at the stranger laying in the grass.

  Once again, he handed her the strange amulet.  Standing up she let it dangle from her hand.  Spinning, it gave off an eerie glow.  There was another flash of light, and now she was standing in a strange house.  The walls were made of simple wood, and rough in nature.  The floor was planked wood, with a simple throw rug in the middle.  As she turned, she saw a rocking chair, a bed, and finally a mirror.

  Approaching the mirror, Sheila saw herself for the first time.  She was standing in a peasant dress with sandals on.  It was then that she noticed her face, it was all wrong.  There was no fur, and her snout!  It was gone!  Replaced by a small protruding nose and flat mouth, similar to that of some monkeys, but still wrong.  There was no fur, except for her shockingly red mane on top of her head, tumbling down her back and over her shoulders.  In horror she looked at her paws and again saw no fur, but instead she saw delicate fingers, with short, rounded fingernails.  Looking into the mirror again she opened her mouth and screamed to the sound of a menacing laugh.

  Sitting up in bed quickly, she grabbed her ribs and lay back down.  The dream had been so real that she could almost believe it had happened.  Turning on the light over her bed, she took her handbag out of the stand next to her and withdrew a mirror.  Examining her reflection in the looking glass, she breathed a sigh of relief.  It had been just a dream.  Replacing the mirror, she looked into the bag again, and withdrew the amulet.  Looking at it she studied the face again.  It was as familiar to her as her own face in it's own grotesque way.  Once again she wondered just what was so damned funny.

  On the back, she once again traced the symbols with a claw, wondering what they could mean.  Putting the amulet back in the bag, she tucked it safely away in the stand for safekeeping.

  Turning off the light, she leaned back in bed, remembering the dream.  What was it supposed to symbolize?  How was this medallion and the stranger they had hit related?  With these questions rolling around in her head, she closed her eyes and tried to get some sleep, all while that laughing voice was rolling around in the back of her head.

  After Zig Zag got herself together, she gave me a quick hung and a kiss, then left to go check up on Sheila.

  "Young feller me lad, if you're going to be stuck in a dream world, this is one heck of a dream world to be stuck in."  I said to myself.

  Laying there, enjoying the ability to see again, and the smell Zig Zag left behind on my fur, I began to like being this new me.  So there was a little pain involved, but there is pain with any new birth.

  Eventually the doctor came back.

  "Well my boy, I see you are no worse for the wear from your guest.  I take it you know her from somewhere?"  He asked, pulling up a chair, he sat down next to my bed.

  "Well doc, ever heard of Zig Zag?"  I asked him.

  His eyes widened as he realized whom I was talking about.

  "Yep. That was her, in the flesh....err... fur as it were."  I told him, grinning like the cat that ate the canary.

  "So your memory isn't as bad as you wanted to let on this morning eh?" He said slyly.

  I had been thinking about what he said this morning.  He had me dead to rights.  If I was going to trust anyone, I might as well start with this guy.

  "For you, yes.  There's no way I could ever explain what happened to me and be believed by anyone else, and I think you know that."  I said to him.

  Leaning closer he spoke lowly, "So tell me how you came to be here."

  Sitting back I related the events that led up to my to my appearance on the road.  As I finished up my story he leaned back in his chair and thoughtfully stroked his chin.

  "And your rapid healing, this is also because of the amulet?"  He asked.

  "I don't think so.  Since I no longer have the amulet, I don't see how it could be helping with that".  I answered.  Looking at my hand I added, "Unless this brand counts."

  Furrowing his brows the doctor thought about what I had said.  "I doubt the mark would do it, although it is possible.  Later I will want to take photographs of the image.  Maybe we will be able to find more out about this amulet.  But wait, you said that you no longer have the amulet.  Do you know where it went?  He queried me.

  Thinking back, I couldn't get a clear picture.  "I don't know.  I could have dropped it when I was hit, or maybe over in the ditch where I landed.  Hell, it could have dropped in the ambulance or the ER."  I replied.  Aggravated, I banged my head against the pillow.  Fortunately it wasn't a hard one.  "The damned thing could be anywhere.  I don't even know if I had it with me when I appeared."  I said.

  Frowning the doctor let out a sigh of disappointment and lowered his head, "So there goes my chance at possibly finding what happened to my father."

  I could understand what this guy was feeling.  The loss of my father had been part of what had led me to the amulet in the first place.  "Look doc, I can understand what your feeling, but wouldn't your dad be dead by now?"  I asked.

  As he glanced up, I continued, "I don't mean to be insensitive, but it's been almost fifty years since your dad vanished.  He would have to be over a hundred if he was still alive!"

  Smiling a little, as if to a private joke he finally replied, "How old did you say you were, my boy?"

  Huh?  "I didn't, but I'm thirty eight."  I answered thoughtfully.

  Still smiling he cocked his head to the side, "I thought so.  Somehow, I couldn't see someone in their early twenties seeking out such an object."

  Now he had me confused.  "What are you talking about?  Early twenties?"  I demanded.

  Nodding, "Ya.  Early twenties.  When you were brought into the ER, they had no idea how old you were.  One of our male nurses who is a Kodiak checked you over and estimated your age to be in the late teens or early twenties."  He answered.

  He let that sink in for a while then continued, "So you see.  If what happened to you, also happened to my father, than he would now be about the same age that I am, no?  So you can you can understand my desire."

  "Ya doc.  I see what your saying.  And I'll help you find a way to track him down if possible."  I told him.  That nasty little subconscious of mine pointed out that if the person who used the amulet became twenty when they appeared in their new world, then this could be a veritable fountain of youth.

  No wonder Lisa was talking about someone giving it to her a lifetime ago!

  He stood up and put the chair away, "Thank you.  Now if you don't mind, I must be going.  Oh yes, we're going to be moving you out of Critical Care tomorrow.  I see no reason to keep you up here when you are improving so well."

  "Glad to hear it.  I said.  "Any idea when I might be able to get up and move around?"  I asked.  Hope springs eternal.

  Laughing for a second, he finally answered, "My boy, you were hit by a car less than twenty four hours ago.  It's a miracle that you are being moved out of ICU already.  I wouldn't worry about getting up and around.  In a few days, we shall see."

  As he turned to leave, I remembered what Zig Zag had said about Sheila.  "Hey Doc, one more question.  Do you know about a patient named Sheila Vixen?"  I asked.

  Turning to face me, "Yes, she's employed by that lovely lady that visited you today."  He told me.

  "Do you know how she is?  Zig Zag said that she had been hurt in the accident." I queried.  I'd come across realities to meet this chick, I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to lose her.

  Seeing the look on my face he chuckled, "She will be fine.  She cracked a couple of ribs, and had a small bump on the head.  Nothing to worry about at all."

  Feeling a weight lift from my shoulders I laid back.  "Thanks doc.  I just needed to make sure."

  After a while I looked at the face in the palm of my hand.

  It was my turn to laugh.

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