Excerpt - "Becky"
On the ground floor, the center of the hospital opened into a small courtyard, an insecure space with too many places for insurgents to hide. I took a quick breath and tensed.
“Wait up, Ralph.”
“It’s okay, Freddie. You’re safe here.”
“Give me a minute. It’s my first time out.”
I surveyed the perimeter. A few benches. A flower garden dominated by hydrangeas, but not like the softball-sized blossoms my mom used to grow. These were small and paler than the Cape Cod variety, which were a blue that could compete with the sky.
At once, I could see my mom, hands buried in the hydrangeas, grooming her flowers—one of the few memories I could bear to recall. Me and my brothers in the driveway shooting hoops. Mom telling us to keep the ball out of her garden. She was happy then, surrounded by her family, her garden, and the ocean.
I looked past the hydrangeas to find purple asters and some lilies too. But no roses. For some reason, I’d been hoping for roses.
Despite the nice day, the courtyard was deserted, except for a woman about my age who sat on a wooden bench, finishing up a brown-bag lunch. Her eyes were closed and her head tipped back to take in the sun, making her appear to be dreaming. Sitting alone on the bench, her face seemed framed by flowers.
When she heard us coming, she sat up, straightened her scrubs, and smiled.
“Hey, Ralph. What do you have there? Another victim for me?”
“Becky,” Ralph said. “What’s up? This is Freddie, Lt. Williams, our newest patient. We’re trying to bring him back from the dead. Freddie, meet Becky Marshall, one of our physical therapists.”
I nodded a greeting to her, not much in the mood for small talk. She tilted her head to one side as if evaluating me. Then she gave me the kind of look that said we’d met before, if not in this world than in another, and that she intended to make a difference in my life.
“Is he ready for me?”
“Soon. If he’s assigned to you.”
My attention was drawn to a soda can on the bench next to her. I’d seen too many IEDs in soda cans.
She caught me fixating on it and grinned.
“Just my diet Pepsi, Freddie. See?”
She chugged what was left and tossed the can into a nearby trash basket. Then she crumpled the bag into a ball and to show off, stepped off exactly five paces and shot the bag into the basket in a perfect arc.
“Nice shot,” I said.
“I make that shot every time.”
She came close enough that our knees were almost touching and hovered over me, sizing me up.
“You’ll be mine,” she said finally. “I can tell. I get all the hard cases.”
As she walked away, light on her feet like a dancer, I fumbled for the wheel of the chair, trying to spin it around so I could watch her go. But Ralph had set the brake.
WINNER: Readers' Favorite Book 2013
Bronze Award Winner, Drama Category -Fiction
A Tragic Warrior Lost in Two Worlds...
The war in Iraq ended for Lieutenant Freddie Williams when an IED explosion left his mind and body shattered. Once he was a skilled gamer and expert in virtual warfare. Now he's a broken warrior, emerging from a medically induced coma to discover he's inhabiting two separate realities. The first is his waking world of pain, family trials, and remorse--and slow rehabilitation through the tender care of Becky, his physical therapist. The second is a dark fantasy realm of quests, demons, and magic that Freddie enters when he sleeps.
In his dreams he is Frederick, Prince of Stormwind, who must make sense of his horrific visions in order to save his embattled kingdom from the monstrous Horde. His only solace awaits him in the royal gardens, where the gentle words of the beautiful gardener, Rebecca, calm the storms in his soul. While in the conscious world, the severely wounded vet faces a strangely similar and equally perilous mission--a journey along a dark road haunted by demons of guilt and memory--and letting patient, loving Becky into his damaged and shuttered heart may be his only way back from Hell.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy
Rating – PG
More details about the author