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.................... HAPPY ANNIVERSARY ...... .........
...................... EBOOK ADDICT ...................
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There's coffee, tea and hot chocolate in the decanters on the counter. There's a variety of freshly baked jelly and cream filled doughnuts apple fritters and maple bars on the counter. Ice cold milk is in the fridge beneath.
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If you missed chapter one follow the link below.
Lightning flashed across my bed. A clap of thunder followed, rattling the windows as I sat straight up with the comforter draped around me.
Something about the night felt wrong. Sampson yowled from the foot of my bed. He hissed at the window as I pulled my feet from under the comforter, hanging them over the side. Fumbling for the light, I knocked over the empty ice cream box. My spoon clattered to the wood-laminate floor, before I found the knob and turned on the light. Sampson still faced the window, crouched low atop my comforter with his ears back and a subtle growl in his throat.
I wrapped my white, terry-cloth robe around my nightgown and dug my feet into the grey bunny-eared slippers I'd gotten last Christmas. I plodded into the hall to Grandpa's room. Knocking lightly, I opened the door to an empty bed with the covers thrown wildly to floor. I marched to the open master bathroom, flipped on the light but there was no sign of my grandfather.
I ran down the curving stairs, yelling, "Grandpa ... Grandpa where are you?"
But there was no answer.
I scurried through the house, searching the living-room and den. I stopped dead in front of the dining room mirror, shocked by the subtle blue nimbus that covered my hands and face. I shook my head, believing it to be a trick of moonlight and shadow and charged on into the kitchen.
The back door stood wide open to the night. I heard a low, throaty growl like static on a badly tuned radio. I ran across the bare stone floor and stopped in the doorway as lightning forked from the sky, showing me the horrific scene of Grandpa grappling with an enormous mountain lion.
Shadows in the moonlight, Grandpa and the big cat danced back and forth. The cat's claws dug into Grandpa's shoulders as he used his forearms to protect himself from the biting fangs that sought his life.
A wave of thunder rolled across the hills. I patted the wall for the large switch and flipped the garden lights on.
"Go back inside!" Grandpa screamed. "Call for help!"
I barged through the half open French door and grabbed the cordless phone from its charger, dialing 911 as I lifted it to my ear.
"911. What's your emergency?"
"My grandfather's being attacked by a mountain lion!" I screamed.
I raced back outside.
Grandpa lay on the grass, the cat was on top of him, its jaws clamped over his head. The phone fell from my fingers. I grabbed the garden hose. After turning on the faucet, I yanked until the circular knots jerked me to a stop at the edge of the patio. I squeezed my thumb over the end, squirting a long stream at the cat.
The stubborn feline refused to budge.
The garden shed with a host of possible weapons was at the back of the yard, behind the dangerous cat. I searched the patio near me, settling at last for the long handled spatula, hanging from the barbeque. I darted to the brick pit and snatched the wooden handle from its hook, then pivoted back toward the cat, determined to do whatever I had to, to save my grandpa.
I noticed as I went that the blue glow I'd seen in the mirror surrounded my whole body. Its brightness grew, outshining the weak garden lighting as I closed in on the cat. Blood scented the air. My heartbeat pounded in rhythm with the cautious pace of my feet.
A low snarl rose above Grandpa's heavy breathing.
My aura glazed over the cat's tawny fur, changing it to the bronze skin of a man with painted jags of red and black down his bare back. The man turned his golden eyes toward me and I smacked him in the face with the spatula.
He didn't even blink.
An icy chill in the pit of my stomach caused me to freeze like a mouse caught in a rattlesnake's glare.
The painted man leapt backwards off of Grandpa, blood dripping from his dark lips as he lowered into a crouched like a wild beast ready to spring.
Fire pulsated through my limbs, pushing back the chill. I flung the spatula aside. Blue flames danced around my clinched fists, but I felt neither heat nor pain. I lifted my right hand, palm open toward the bronze skinned native and charged forward, putting myself between him and Grandpa. The painted man backed away, wary of my implied touch.
His gaze darted from me to Grandpa and then to the back fence. He growled and hissed, his hand swiping the air like a cornered cat.
Without warning, he sprang toward the back fence, changing into the mountain lion as he leapt out of sight.
I stood staring into the darkness; terrified and confused, wondering if I'd imagined the whole thing? I turned back toward Grandpa. He was still on the ground, his breath shallow with blood bubbling from a gouge on his neck. I ran to his side, tearing off my robe and folding it against his wound. Sirens wailed in the distance and I hoped they were coming here. The 911 operator should have found our address and sent the paramedics. I prayed they'd get here soon.
Grandpa drew air to speak, but he coughed harshly, wheezing.
"Hold still. Help's coming." I folded another layer of my robe against the sopping red cloth and held it against his wound as tight as I dared.
Grandpa grabbed my hand, drawing my gaze to his. He mouthed the words, "Uncle ... go." then his hand went limp.
Only the bubbling wheeze of his breath let me know he still lived.
The next thing I knew I was surrounded by uniforms. A woman knelt beside me, stripping the paper from sterile gauze, before nudging me aside to tend Grandpa's wounds. In no time, they had him on a stretcher wheeling him out to the ambulance as I woodenly followed, numb with shock. I climbed in the back of the ambulance with Grandpa and the paramedics. The driver closed the doors and we roared off, turning right onto Green Valley Road to the hospital in Folsom.
Time seemed to stand still, my mind completely blank until the ambulance backed up to the hospital doors. I jumped out and stood at the side while the paramedics rolled Grandpa out and pushed his gurney inside. Following at Grandpa's side, I squinted at the bright lights of Mercy Hospital's emergency room. Grandpa's breathing was shallow and he sputtered intermittently around the oxygen tube in his nose. His life hung by a thread. I half-ran beside the gurney, Grandpa's hand in mine. A woman in pink scrubs pulled me away as the double doors of the sterile room swooshed open. Inside a team of people dressed in teal surrounded Grandpa. Something told me I needed to be by Grandpa's side, so I fought forward, but only managed a few feet before two others caught me and dragged me away from the closing door.
The nurse's grip loosened. "Calm down, Miss. Let the doctors do their job."
I let the nurse guide me to a nearby seat. Shaking from the cold trauma of the attack, I sat while she checked my vital signs and wrapped a warm blanket around my shoulders.
I looked down and realized all I had on was my sleeveless, white-satin nightgown now stained with Grandpa's blood. I pulled the blanket around me.
A gentle hand patted my back. "You gonna be alright, Miss?"
I looked up into the hazel green eyes of the nurse and nodded, though I had no idea whether I'd be alright or not. After all, that freaky mountain lion-whatever it really was-could come back at any time.
Did that just happen, or am I going crazy?
I shook my head softly and let my gaze wander. Nurses passed as they checked on people in curtained rooms. Antiseptic flavored the air, and a baby bawled somewhere out of sight. The last time I was in a place like this ... I was born for the second time, with no memory of who I was. He came for me then, a man with burnished skin, graying temples, and a dark braid. My grandfather.
I looked down at my hands. They were no longer trembling. I closed my eyes remembering the blue nimbus that had surrounded me during the attack. It was gone now, fading as that crazy man-cat jumped the fence.
I still don't know who I am. What I am.
A flash of pink caught my attention. The nurse was back. "If you're feeling better now, I'll take you to the waiting room."
The nurse helped me to my feet and guided me to a room with chairs lining the walls and a small flat panel TV tuned to CNN.
I took a seat and grabbed a wildlife magazine from the end table. Trying to distract myself, I thumbed through the pages. My fingers stopped dead, along with my heart, as the golden eyes of a mountain lion stared up at me from an article. The feline picture held the same wild fury that I'd seen in the painted man's eyes.
I closed the magazine and tossed it on the table, then pulled the blanket tighter around me. I felt nauseous and leaned over, letting my head sag between my knees. My face felt hot. Sweat clung to my forehead. I closed my eyes, but opened them quickly to shut out the memory of those burning orbs. I laced my fingers together over my head and rested my elbows on my knees.
A breeze from a newly opened door cooled my face. A man stopped in front of me. My gaze traveled from his glossy black oxfords, up the stripe on his uniform pants, to the tan shirt of an El Dorado County Sheriff. Brown eyes peered from a lightly tanned face, framed by black hair tinged with grey. A thick moustache hid his upper lip.
"Excuse me, Ma'am. If you're feeling up to it, I need to get a few details about the attack."
My mouth went dry.
If I say what I saw, he'll send me to the psych ward. I was there, and I still can't believe it.
***ETC TY Kathy***