A small town doctor in the Shawnee Nation is severely injured and briefly dies in an Internation highway pileup. When the doctor is brought back, he recovers and returns to work but has residual seizures and paranoia. The doctor and his immigrant town are then increasingly plagued by the presence of a menacing dark figure, and the figure appears to contribute to a number of deaths in the town.
The smell of hot dogs and stale popcorn filled the otherwise dry, clean air. Only I could smell them, and I hated hot dogs and popcorn.
It was starting over again, and all I could think was 'we make our own hell...we make our own hell...'
It had once been simple. Wakeup.
Go to work. Work.
Go home. Eat.
Go to bed.
The pattern fell apart during 'go to work' number whatever, a particularly regrettable weekend day on which I had been covering my friend's patients for him while he was on vacation out of the Shawnee Nation. Cross coverage is a standard practice among physicians, and you do it for others if you ever have hopes of taking vacation yourself. That, or pay through the nose for a locums doctor and have complaints from your patients for months afterwards because let's face it, a temp is a temp. Patients would generally rather have their own doctor, but in their doctor's absence, they preferred a handpicked local colleague over a temp any day. It's reasonable. Opening up the details of your bladder, bowel habits and everything else medical is rough on a person. Throw in some diarrhea and a little STD or some sexual dysfunction and, well you get the picture. Having to cross that 'Hello, this is me and this is my disgusting and embarrassing problem' bridge once in a lifetime with a stranger is already one too many. That aside, I was filling in for my friend and had to take a quick ride to Marion to do hospital rounds on the few patients he had there. This
entailed a short drive north up the congested Internation freeway, and then another short hop to the hospital.
We have to insert "CRASH" at this point.
Actually, not just "CRASH", but "CRASH WITH LIFE- THREATENING, COMA-INDUCING, PLATE IN MY SKULL HEAD INJURY".
It started like this...the smell of hotdogs and stale popcorn...
The accident had been horrific. Thirty-two dead, a hundred and seventeen injured. Fog had been to blame, or at least fog, and a long convoy of eighteen-wheelers. It had been early A.M., and a high-speed traffic stream had been headed up the freeway towards Chicago. Crazy fog lulled us all into a driving stupor. Then, one mistake led to another, and..well, I think the picture has been made pretty clear..
I was one of the lucky ones, not dead, but not really all that alive either. You see, I was in a coma. Peacefulness and bliss under the influence of morphine poured into my veins to sooth my horrifically broken body. Outward appearances could be deceiving, but not in my case. That was as good as it would get for me after that wreck.
Or, at least, that was as peaceful as it was going to be for me from then on. Of course, I didn't know this at the time because I was in a coma.
Like I said, peacefulness...bliss...
Life sucks, and then you die, but only if you're lucky.
For me, the smell of hotdogs and stale popcorn filled the air.
O.K., here we go...Rhythmic, but uncontrolled 'flopping' (i.e. seizure), and my coma world shifted. The horrid smell of hot dogs and stale popcorn faintly lingered, but nothing else was familiar.
That was what it was like the first time it happened I can theorize, and one of several times I don't really recall because of the coma. Even so, the beginning is always the same now, and I can
speculate that it was always the same when I was comatose because it hasn't changed since. At least not until the next painfully fateful day I have to tell you about. This one truly changed everything.
As with me, I suspect that reliving the past is a tremendous nightmare for most people. I doubt that very many people would honestly want to go back and repeat a stretch of their lives without being able to edit as they crawled back through the seconds of that time. Imagine my misery as I recalled and related that brief period in my past to you. Not the best example of a good day in my life, to say the least. Now imagine even the best day of your own life...take the time to imagine that single, wonderful day....and then, fill the spaces left between those very fleeting moments which you actually choose to remember. What do you come up with but another crappy, miserable day that you desperately cling to for the shear sake of preserving your sanity? All in all, as I said, life sucks, if you haven't heard it and actually acknowledged it before now.
My name is Marcus by the way...Marcus Lemonte.
Doctor Marcus Lemonte as if anyone particularly cares at this point. Welcome to my own personal hell. And so we begin...