It felt cold but was only 50-degrees when I dumped a pile of leaves on the garden where self-sown edible pod peas were already a couple inches high—past the sprout stage last winter. The thin pale sun failed to burn through hazy mist suspended high in the southern sky.
Day after day, the new book series evolved, called the Origin of the Human Hybrids. The three novellas, Human Hybrids, Dangerous Visions and Wasted Time, will be released in 2019 in a boxed set!
Mai Martin lies quietly in a hotel room made up as a hospital room. The whir and click of the EKG monitor’s white noise washes over her in the dim light. The equipment LEDs cast a cold glow upon the sterile ceiling and walls.
Her rustling in the bed wakes Dr. David Ludwig lying on a cot beside her in a lab coat and with his long hair tied back with a rubber band.
Ludwig flips on the lights and watches Mai’s lips twitch with clinical interest. She jerks, convulses, goes rigid and convulses again. Sitting up she gasps for air, choking with each painful breath. She doesn’t process that it’s Ludwig who holds her arms. To her he’s a white coat. She feels the baby kick.
“Where am I? What’s going on? Who are you?” The questions spring forth in rapid fire from her lips.
“Mrs. Martin, please lie back. You’re fine. This is Dr. Ludwig.”
He calls his assistant, the loyal Mr. Trung. It’s this moment that Mai breaks his grip. At the sight of the IV in her arm, she yanks it out screaming, “I said no needles! Where am I?” she repeats, her panic accelerating.
Ludwig, grasping the serum bag swinging on a wheeled rack, urges her, “Please, Mrs. Martin, stop struggling. You’re hurting yourself. You need that,” he shouts, meaning the serum. “Stop that! No! Not that!” He reaches for the IV tube as Mai elbows him and jumps off the bed.
Trung and a Japanese doctor burst in, followed closely by Ron Zhao, her lover, and Rick Martin, her husband. Ludwig has Mai around the waist and drags her to the bed. She rakes her fingernails across his cheek, drawing blood. He yelps, dropping Mai onto the floor.
“Put her on the bed,” screams Ludwig, dabbing blood with a tissue he’s fished from his coat pocket. Suddenly sweating and red-faced, he mops his forehead with the same tissue.
Mai shouts, “Stop!” The faces of those around her shift into familiar focus. The large man in a white coat is Dr. Ludwig. Relieved, she sees her lover, Ron and her husband, Rick, surrounding her.
“Get him outta’ here,” she chokes panting, her red face getting redder and her eyes bright with blue sparks.
Ron strong-arms Ludwig to the lobby while Rick pushes the others out the door, but he stays behind with his wife. Mai crouches on the ground on all fours, quivering in her hospital gown printed with azure shooting stars.
“Give me a hand up, Rick. And tell me what the fuck is going on! The last thing I remember is lying in warm spa water,” she says standing, suddenly collapsing again, hitting her head on a bed rail on the way down.
The door flies open, Ron takes in the scene.
“Help me lay Mai on the bed,” snaps Rick, bending over Mai’s backside. Her flimsy hospital gown falls open and exposes her spine, curving at the sacrum and disappearing into the cleft of her glutes.
Dr. Ludwig pushes into the room, “How is she?”
“Passed out again. Stood up and fainted, hit her head here,” answers Rick, gesturing to the chrome rail.
“I must complete the injection,” asserts Ludwig.
“She said no needles,” reminds Ron, turning his attention to Mai’s breathing, rubbing her cold hands.
“This procedure is incomplete. There’s 20mL left in the bag. Let me finish this,” pleads Ludwig. “Her life is dependent on completing this as planned. Gentlemen allow me to finish!”
Ron and Rick exchange looks and back to Mai’s blue lips.
“Dui, okay, do it,” concedes Ron.
By the time the serum bag empties, Mai’s complexion returns to rosy health. Ludwig swiftly removes the needle, and she stirs. Remembering, she sits while holding her stomach.
“What’s going on here? Will someone tell me?” She turns to Ludwig, shivering, “Are you hurting the baby? Is the baby alright?” Her voice rises in pitch as a tear streaks down her flushed cheek.
Rick combs his fingers through a shock of curly blond hair, thinking how to explain the past two days in a few words. “You were bleeding from your vagina and passed out. Right in the hot tub. Nolan flew Ludwig here. He gave you a transfusion last night.” He’s amazed at how quickly she’s recovered. “Are you okay? And the baby?” The next priority.
“I felt it kick, tell me it’s okay,” she demands, holding hands to her hot face. Relief quickly devolves into a wave of frightened tears. They stream down as she chokes and sobs, hunched over and embracing her little belly.
“Is the treatment over, Doctor?” asks Ron, hovering over Mai protectively.
“Yes, for now. We wait. Return to your suite, Mrs. Martin. I can get you a wheelchair,” answers Ludwig.
Heaving breathlessly, she manages to say, “I can walk.” Stifling a sob, she sweeps the little room with a glance. “Where are my clothes?”
The Japanese doctor, a woman, retrieves a hotel kimono and slippers from under the bed. Mai hops off with Ron’s help.
“Do you mind giving me some privacy?” she asks the men. “Don’t look,” she says turning her back and wrapping the robe over the hospital nightgown.
Confronting the situation, she says, “Let’s go.”
Dr. Ludwig, waiting in the lobby, stands at the sound of the door opening. Mai coolly surveys him through narrow eye slits as she passes and steps into the waiting elevator. Conscious of her bare exposure in the skimpy kimono, she hugs herself defensively. Her black hair shows a line of natural brown, a condition which normally looks terrible on women, but on Mai looks intentional. Stylish, thanks to the artistry of a smart cut in the hotel beauty shop. No more chemicals, she said. No needles. No more altering.
She’s calmed down enough to speak to Ludwig.
“Was that blood? What happened to me?”
“Let’s call it a reboot,” answers the doctor, staring at the numbers lighting up as they rise.
“What?” asks Rick, confused.
“It’s … technical, I’m not sure I can explain,” Ludwig answers.
The elevator door opens. As they spill out into the hallway they see Mama standing in her pajamas, framed in the open door of their suite.
“How long was I out?” Mai asks Ron, avoiding looking at Ludwig.
She heads into her bedroom followed by Zhao and his mother. Tearing off the garments, she passes into the glass enclosed shower. In a few moments, steamy condensation blurs her pale body, blending with the white tile, her dark head moving in the mist.