Vintage Club Stories:
Underground Movement:
Writer: Tommie J. Valle:


Tommie J. Valle is a natural born Texan. "Born and Bred" she says with a chuckle. Art and creativity come naturally to the native Texan whose late Father and one of her brothers are talented and versatile landscape artists. Tommie herself, claims to dabble in landscape art, but says her true love is pen and paper, or, with todays technology, computer and printer. The desire to write also runs rampant through the Green family, her maiden name, and her artist brother is a published author.

Tommie has written a number of short stories and creatively worded Fiction about everything from extraterrestials to life from a domestic animals point of view. That penchant for story telling helped fuel her willingness to co-write short stories and plays with talented artist and performer Cynthia Bergen. Tommies favortie writers are Stephen King, Dean Koontz and J.K. Rowlings, author of Harry Potter. She also loves the medical murder dramas by Robin Cook and Patricia Cornwell, as well as true crime novels. The good versus evil of Harry Potter and his co-horts gives her a sense of rightness with the world, knowing the good guy eventually wins the war. Call me idealistic she says, the just turned 62 year old woman has enjoyed a full and well rounded life, retiring after 23 years service as a nurse, and making the decision to write as a second career. Tommie has 2 daughters, aged 39 and 37, and a 16 year old granddaughter, the joy of her twilight years, who will be a well known author some day herself. Remember this name, Cassandra Dempsey, Tommie adds, a wicked gleam in her eye.

Tommie lives comfortably with her 2 cats, a beautiful little dog named Littlebit and her life partner Elizabeth, the love of her life. When they legalize same sex marriage in Texas, my partner and I will be at the head of the line, she says impishly, even if I'm 86. In the meantime, Tommie continues to plug away at her computer. As long as Cynthia sends the words my way, I'll keep on working them, she says.



Chapter 1

Buddy was awakened by a drop of water hitting his nose, and he scooted backward, trying to keep the water from getting him any more wet. Buddy had come under this big wooden house to hide from the Dog Catcher, but then, he had fallen asleep, afraid to come out until he was sure that the Dog Catcher was gone. It must have started raining while he was sleeping, and Buddy was sure glad that he had found this house, but he hoped no more water came in and got him all wet and cold.
That thought made him think of Timmy and Timmys Mom, who always made sure that he got to come in the house when it was raining. Buddy sighed, placing his chin on his paws. He didn't understand what he had done wrong to make Timmy not love him anymore. He had tried to be a good dog, and not chew on Moms flowers too much or tear up Timmys new shoes but they never acted like they didn't like him anymore. Timmy still brought him treats and threw the ball around with him, and took him for walks. He even taught him to swim in their swimming pool, and Buddy hated water.
Then, one day, a big truck pulled up in front of the house, and Timmy started moping around, not even stopping to pet him, or call him good dog. Buddy knew a few words of human, and he understood when Timmy told his Mom, "Why can't we take him with us?"
Mom looked sad too. "I wish we could Timmy. I love Buddy too, but we can't afford him anymore, and they won't let us have dogs in the Apartment.."
Suddenly, Dad came out. As usual, he looked gruff and had a scowl on his face. Buddy had never liked Dad. He was not only mean to Buddy, but he was mean to Timmy too, always yelling at him, and once trying to kick Buddy, who couldn't help but growl menacingly. Dad was acting different. He was acting nice to Timmy, putting his arm around him, but Buddy could tell that he was faking being nice. "I found a real nice home for Buddy, Tim. It's a nice, big house in the Country with woods to roam in and rabbits to chase. As hyper as Buddy is, he should fit right in."
Timmy looked at him skeptically. "Are you sure he'll be happy Dad? I mean, he's so used to us."
Daddy looked a little mad. "Now Tim, stop it. You're getting too old to be such a wimp for a dog like Buddy." Dad gave him a little punch on his shoulder. "Buddys not the right dog for you anyway. He's ugly, and he can't do any tricks. I told you not to get a French bulldog."
Buddy was furious, but he was also scared. Finally, Timmy did give him a hug, and said "Goodbye", and Buddy was alone with Dad. Buddy whimpered, lowering his head, hoping not to make Dad any madder. Dad looked down at him, and his eyes narrowed.
"Come on Mutt," Dad said, sounding disgusted. Buddy obediently jumped into the car with him, and then stared out of the window, watching house after house flying by, until, finally , there was nothing but trees and grass and leaves, and it was here that Dad dumped him. Leaving him standing shivering on the side of the road.
If it hadn't been for Bruno, Buddy might not have survived. He sat on the side of the road for several hours waiting for Dad to return, but of course he didn't. Finally, as it started to get dark, Buddy struck out on his own, hoping to find Timmy, and somehow tell him that Dad hadn't taken him to a farm at all. Then, scared and tired, Buddy had found some fallen limbs to hide under, so the big, wild animals wouldn't get to him, and he fell asleep, exhausted and hungry.
Buddy was awakened by a loud, crashing noise nearby, and he crouched, terrified, waiting for the big, hairy monster to grab him, and eat him. Instead, he felt a cold, wet nose sniffing curiously at his head, and he yelped in surprise and fear. The nose quickly withdrew, and a deep, gruff voice said, "Hey, take it easy kid. I'm not gonna hurt ya."
Buddy finally dared to open his eyes, and he saw a floppy eared, weird looking dog staring down at him. "My name is Bruno. I saw ya come in here, and was wondering why you were here."
"Wh...where am I?" Buddy asked. "I didn't think there were any dogs here."
Bruno laughed heartily. "You think you're the only dog that ever got dumped kid? You'd think these jerks could at least dump us near some food wouldn't you?"
Bruno sounded as though he had been living like this for a long time. Buddy, his eyes big in his pug-nosed face, couldn't believe it. "You mean, lot's of humans just dump their dogs off?"
Bruno nodded wisely. "Yep, they just dump them out like they were garbage. They don't care if they have any food or a place to keep warm."
Suddenly, Buddy was mad. "Timmy wouldn't do that to me," he said huffily, "he loves me, I know he does."
Bruno just looked down at the small dog, then changed the subject. "Kid, you hungry?"
Buddy became instant friends with Bruno, but it was more than friendship that Buddy liked about Bruno. Bruno was a huge dog, with a mixture of Lab and some other big dog in him, and he had been living on the streets long enough to know how and when to find food and shelter, and how to avoid the Dog Catcher, or bullies, who just liked to torture animals. He seemed soft hearted and protective toward Buddy, once jerking Buddy into a row of hedges when he saw the Dog Catcher down the street. Buddy turned to scold him, and Bruno shushed him, pointing through the hedge so Buddy could see it.
Brunos stories were very entertaining, and sometimes a little sad, and Buddy began to understand why Bruno was so leery of humans. Bruno had belonged to a family once, right after he was born. Bruno and Buddy were enjoying a clear night, near the trash cans in an alleyway, when Bruno began his story.
"I was so young, I had just barely been weaned off my Mama, when I was taken away by this really nice family," Bruno chuckled as he remembered. "At least they seemed to be nice. You know, humans have a way of making you think they're really nice, and then, BAM, they turn on you.
It doesn't matter how much they tell you that you belong to them, when it comes down to it, they can just give you away or dump you when you get to be too much to them."
Buddy squirmed uncomfortably, hoping that wasn't true. He had been so sure that Timmy loved him.
Bruno went on. "Now, don't get me wrong Buddy, there are a lot of folks who try to get you a good home, with nice people, because they don't have enough food or they just can't keep you, but a lot of them just won't stand up for you." He added sullenly. "They're not as loyal as we are.".
Buddy was horrified until he remembered what his family had done to him. That was the day that Buddy started being really mad at Timmy and his family. He still felt guilty for blaming Timmy, but he wondered why Timmy had trusted his Dad to make sure that Buddy got taken care of.
Buddy learned some very valuable stuff from Bruno. Bruno had been on the streets for at least 3 years, and he really knew the ropes. He instructed Buddy about where the best spots for getting food were, and that he should get food at night, especially if he was raiding trash cans. He also taught him about dog packs. "There's always an Alpha dog, who gets treated real bad by his owner, and when he gets on the streets, he collects other dogs, submissive dogs, who will do anything he tells them to. That includes mauling some humans if they are foolish enough to be walking alone."
Buddy learned about finding shelter in a storm, sometimes a homeless person would share their cardboard roof or their tent, and sometimes even their food. One time, Buddy felt guilty about taking any of the homeless mans food, and pretended not to be hungry. Besides all of this, Buddy learned a lot about Bruno, particularly the stories that he told about his family. Buddy wanted to tell him that for a dog who seemed mistrustful of humans, he sure talked a lot about his.
Buddy learned that Brunos family consisted of a Mom, and 2 kids, one boy and one girl. The little girls name was Jessica, and she liked to put a bonnet on Bruno, and play tea party with him, her dolls and stuffed animals sitting obediently around the table waiting for their invisible tea. Bruno tired one day, and when Robby came out, he took the opportunity to be rescued, and jumped over Jessicas tea table, his big tail slapping her dolls and stuffed animals out of their chairs. Jessica screamed in indignation, and threw one of her china cups on the ground, folding her arms angrily.
"Ah, knock it off Jess," her brother said. "He's a dog, not a stuffed animal, and I don't think he appreciates having to wear a bonnet."
This was one of the few times that Bruno actually talked about his family. Most of the time, he spoke with derision about humans, but Buddy could tell he really missed his family. Then, one day, Bruno began talking about the day he had had to leave home.
It was the saddest story that Buddy had ever heard. Bruno was very protective of his kids, especially Jessica, and Mom often warned people not to be too rough with the kids when they were playing together. However, Bruno seemed to know the difference between playing and being just plain mean, and he would rough house with the kids whenever their playmates came over. One day, however, Bruno made a mistake that would change his whole life forever.
Jessica and Robbies friend was a big, brutish fellow, who seemed to love to tease the girls, and not only that, but to hurl them to the ground, and then laugh at their surprised faces. His name was Brad and Robbie didn't like him at all, but their Mothers were friends so he had to pretend to like Brad. However, when it came to pushing Jessica down, Robby put his foot down. He told Brad to stop playing so rough with his little sister (she was only 6). and Brad just laughed and pushed her down again. All this time, Bruno had been giving a warning growl, but now, he decided, was the time for action. He lunged at Brad, pushed him to the ground, and nipped his hand, drawing a little blood.
It sounded like a major fight. Brad was screaming his head off, Bruno was barking and Robby was yelling at Bruno to stop. Suddenly, something hit Bruno in the back of the head, and knocked him onto his side. He looked around, puzzled, saw Brads Mother with a murderous look in her eye, and a large broom in her hand, and he quickly surrendered
The upshot of it was, Brads Mother insisted that they, "Put that vicious dog down", and Mom tried to tell the judge that he was just protecting her child, and the Judge was unsympathetic to Bruno, so Bruno got the death penalty. Bruno was actually very bitter towards Mom. She came to see him in the Pound, and told him, she wished she had never found him. That hurt. It was her daughter he was protecting, and she wished she had never found him. Bruno decided, if he ever got out of this, that he would never trust another human. His opportunity came when he was being transferred to the pre-death cages. The animal control person had forgotten to latch his cage, and as soon as the doors opened, he burst from the cage, and made his escape. It would have gone really well if the humans had not tried to chase him, causing him to get careless, and run in front of a car. Bruno bounced off the cars fender and kept running, even though he was sure that his leg was broken. Somehow, he had escaped the dog catcher, and the death chamber, and had been on the run ever since.

Chapter 2.

From that moment on, Buddy had more respect for Bruno, and he also understood now why Bruno had a bad limp, and one leg seemed shorter than the other. Bruno and Buddy became fast friends, watching each others backs, and warning the other one about dog catchers or bullying kids. If a kid approached them with a stick or tried to lure them in with a scrap of food, Bruno bared his teeth to discourage the kid, and usually that worked.
One day, Bruno and Buddy happened upon a cat that was lying on its side, it's fur badly burned. The poor thing raised its small head, and tried to hiss menacingly, but seemed too weak to even meow, or beg for mercy. Bruno got close enough to sniff it, his nose wrinkling at the smell of burnt flesh. "Hey little fellow," he asked kindly, "are you hungry?" Food was the only thing which Bruno knew could bring comfort.
The cat looked surprised at his compassion. "What ya got Big guy?" the cat asked feebly. Bruno found some tuna from a trash can, and even incorporated the aid of another cat to help him. This cat was leery of him, but he had never known a dog who was clever enough to set a trap for him, so he followed him to the injured cat, and took over caring for it. After Bruno was sure that the cat was in good paws, he and Buddy left, and went to find shelter for the coming storm.
One day Buddy had his first run-in with a wild dog pack, and a run-in that he hoped to never have again. Bruno was out gathering twigs and grass to make them a comfortable bed for the night, and Buddy had gone in search of food, when suddenly Buddy came to a complete stop, and felt the hair stand up on his back. Through the bushes came the biggest, meanest looking dog which he had ever seen, and right behind him was a pack of motley looking dogs who flanked his sides.
The dog bared his teeth, and a throaty, terrifying growl emanated from his throat. The big dog was so close that Buddy could smell the awful stench of his breath, and Buddy began to tremble. He looked like a dog Prize Fighter, and had enough scars on his face to indicate that he had been in many a fight. Buddy knew that he wouldn't have a chance against this angry, wild dog, and soon he was sure that he didn't have a chance, as more dogs advanced on him. Buddy had the instinct to roll over and bare his belly to the vicious dog, but he was afraid that this Alpha dog would probably rip him open. The big dog didn't seem like the sort to follow pack rules, like the honorable wolf would. "What are you doing on my turf Runt?" he growled.
Buddy tried to unstick his tongue, but suddenly, a familiar voice from behind him, sent relief flooding through him. "Well, hello Scar," the deep voice said gruffly. Buddy wanted to turn and run to Bruno, but he felt rooted to the spot.
"What are you doing here Cur?" Scar snarled. "You know this is my turf."
Bruno seemed matter of fact as he said, "So, you need a whole pack to battle one small dog do you?"
This seemed to infuriate Scar, who was literally drooling by this time. Circling Bruno carefully, he said, "I don't need my pack to put you down Bruno. Want a go?"
Bruno laughed throatily. "What's the matter Scar, are you still mad at me for not joining your pack? Or are you just afraid that I can take over from you?"
Suddenly, one of the dogs behind Scar, barked a warning. "Dog catcher," was all he said. Instantly, the dogs scattered, scampering in all directions, but Scar lingered for a moment.
"This isn't over Bruno," he warned, before disappearing into the brush.
Bruno sighed, and sat down next to Buddy. Buddy was jumping up and down in fear. "Bruno, we've gotta get outa here," he said.
"Don't worry Buddy. There's no dog catcher. I have some informants in Scars little gang. They always have my back."
"Bruno, why would they be in Scars gang if they're friends of yours?"
Bruno looked at him solemnly. "They're scared of him Buddy, and he gives them some structure. All dogs like to have structure. That's why we need humans." Buddy was startled. He had never heard Bruno admit to needing humans. Buddy was learning more and more about Bruno every day.
Buddy soon found out what Bruno had been talking about as their days and nights blended into one another, and were kept to a routine. In fact, Buddy had begun to feel that as long as they stayed in a routine, they would be safe. Bruno wasn't quite so optimistic, continuing to remain vigilant for any unusual situation. He had learned long ago, that humans could be unpredictable.
It wasn't an easy life by any means. During the cold seasons, they sought shelter wherever they could get it, even if their refuge was rat-infested. One rat took offense to Buddy right away, and Buddy casually told him that he was friends with a cat, who was always hungry. After that, the rat kept her complaints to herself.
Though Buddy had used the cats name in his defense, in truth, he really had befriended Sparkle, a name which she had given herself because of the fire cracker which had been tied to her tail, and had, inevitably set her on fire. Sparkle was not very close to other cats, but seemed to have a special feeling for Bruno and Buddy, often warning them about the approach of the dog catcher or some little punk who thought it was cute to torture animals. Sparkle had somehow survived the attack, though it had left severe scars, and hair loss in a few patches, and she often had pain when she climbed or jumped. However, she had compensated for her loss of flexibility quickly, and could climb trees for safety and to catnap during the day, when dogs roamed about looking for cats to kill. Though Sparkle truly cared about Bruno and Buddy, she had to act aloof and sarcastic around them in order to keep up appearances. The boys knew this, and accepted her usual rebuffs of friendship.
Buddy had been warned repeatedly by Bruno not to let his guard down, ever. "Don't forget there is always danger everywhere".
Unfortunately, Buddy was nothing if not young, and he tired of always being cautious. This boredom at being cautious, was what led him to get careless, and decide to go for a romp in the city park where the majority of domestic dogs went to play. Bruno was busy that day, leaving Buddy, who was still young and energetic, to fend for himself, and Buddy decided to go for a romp in the park.
He was having a ball, catching frisbees and chasing after balls, even helping kiters fly their kites. He had been so preoccupied with having fun, that he didn't notice when the dog park went deathly quiet, and he looked around to see all the dogs, the ones with tags dangling from their necks, their symbols of belonging, who were all watching him with pity. Buddys fur stood straight up, and he looked around wildly. There were so many people there. Without thinking of it further, he whirled and took off, narrowly missing a young woman with a stick and rope moving toward him. "I won't be caught", he thought wildly. "I'm not going to allow them to kill me."
Buddy used every trick in the book, dodging and weaving in and out of their legs. He soon felt himself faltering, when Bruno appeared and gave a menacing growl at the animal control people, who hesitated and soon backed up, giving Buddy just enough time to scamper to safety. Buddy never did ask Bruno how he got away from the dog catchers, especially since he found Buddys hiding place, and slid in quietly, not greeting him or even awknowledging him. Instead, Bruno lay there panting, and covered with mud and twigs. Finally, Bruno turned his reddened eyes on Buddy, causing Buddy to flinch. He much preferred Brunos good moods. "Do you know what you did wrong today Junior?" Bruno said matter-of-factly.
Buddy was eager to defend himself, and began rattling and stammering until his voice finally tapered off, and he fell into silence at Brunos shout. "Enough Buddy," he roared. "Your little holiday may have put many dogs into danger, not to mention that some humans could have been hurt if I had had to protect you. You also frightened the house dogs into thinking that we're all a bunch of savages. No wonder they stick their noses up at us."
Buddy was offended. It wasn't as if he had gone on a killing rampage or something, he just missed playing with kids. He missed Timmy, and his heart swelled with pain at the long ago memory of Timmys love and playfulness, but, he also knew that Bruno was right in chastising him. He was a homeless mongrel now, without a Master or a little boy to play with him. He thought of the tags dangling from the other dogs necks, and he remembered how Timmys Dad had taken it off before dumping him by the side of the road. Now he realized that Timmys Dad had never meant for him to be found. "I'm sorry Bruno," he said sorrowfully. "I'll try to do better from now on. I can't lose the only friend I have."
Bruno seemed to relent then, pushing his nose against Buddys neck, and licking him lightly on the ear. "I forget what it was like to be young sometimes Buddy. Don't mind me." Buddy was glad that Bruno wasn't mad at him anymore, but he still wondered sometimes why he didn't understand Bruno anymore than he did humans.
The next few days they were busy, scoping out their winter shelter. Sparkle had told them about this neighborhood which was almost all abandoned houses, some even had abandoned dog houses, but they better hurry because the strays were all hearing about the place. After scrounging through the alleyway garbage, they found some quite useful stuff, an old pillowcase, some scraps of blanket, and some left over mexican food for supper. Then, Bruno looked diligently for shelter, and finally found an old, abandoned dog house.
Buddy was so happy to be out of the chilly wind, with the possibility of rain bearing down, but the ricketedy dog house had so many chinks in the roof and walls, that he knew that they'd have to sleep close tonight to stay warm.
After they had eaten, Buddy began exploring the pillowcase, climbing inside to hear what he sounded like inside the case. He yelled out, his voice mufflled, "Hey, it's pretty warm in here."
"Buddy," Bruno said, "when are you gonna grow up?" He appeared to be stern, but Buddy could hear the amusement in his voice."
"What do you mean, I'm still a kid Bruno." A loose strand of thread from the pillowcase got caught on his ear, as he struggled to turn himself around, so his head would be at the opening.
"You're just a kid in human terms, but in dog years, you're grown up," Bruno persisted.
"Whatd'ya mean Bruno?" Buddy said, rolling over on his back and kicking his feet to dislodge the offending thread. Instead, he became more tangled, and the more frantically he kicked, the tighter the thread got around his ear.
Bruno ignored Buddys distress as he plopped down on his belly, and watched Buddys struggle. "Well, I don't know how to add or anything, but I do know that we have four seasons of weather, and, after the end of the last season, a whole year has gone by. We don't live as long as humans, so they say our years are dog years."
"It's nice that we have our own years,"Buddy grunted, beginning to pull the thread around so he could gnaw on it. "How many years are there in dog years?"
Bruno sighed, "You don't understand Buddy, our lives are measured in people years."
"I thought they were dog years." Buddy crawled out of the pillowcase with the thread still intact. He now had a pillowcase hanging from his ear. Buddy looked thoroughly confused, and so comical that Bruno had to suppress a laugh, which he turned into a yawn.
Bruno reached over and scratched the thread off of Buddys ear before settling down for the night. "You ask too many questions Little one, it's time to sleep now.", and with that, he rolled over with a huff and went sound to sleep.

Chapter 3.

Tim sat at his desk, pencil in hand, a page of notebook paper under the pencil, and a heavy text book open in front of him. He was frustrated. All of his teachers had told him that he had tested very high on the pre-High School test, and so they had placed him in Algebra. ALGEBRA, for Gods sake. This was the hardest Math course there was, and he was supposed to be smart enough to learn it. Why did he have to be so smart? Most of his buddies were in General Math, which he was sure he would probably get after he flunked Algebra. That was fine with him, except his Mom would be disappointed in him, and he hated to disappoint his Mom.
Tim didn't know what was wrong with him lately. He felt edgy and angry so much of the time, and sometimes he took it out on his Mom. She kept telling him that she had to work so hard just to pay the rent and put food on the table, and sometimes it sounded to him like she was just whining. He wanted to say, "Well, nobody told you to divorce Dad, and try to support both of us". But that would be cruel. After all, Dad was one man who deserved to be divorced, and he hadn't paid a cent of child support, nor had he attempted to see Tim even once, since the divorce 2 years ago. He had to admit that he was still angry about his Dad getting rid of his dog, just because they had to move, and the only reason they had moved was because his Dad wouldn't work most of the time, and they couldn't afford the house any longer.
Tim realized that he was madder about the dog than he was about his Mom and Dad getting divorced. Buddy seemed to have been his only friend while all the fighting was going on, and he had been such a lovable little guy. Tim still wondered if Dad had taken Buddy to a farm like he said he was. He was so mean, that it would be just like him to kill the dog or something, cause he really hated Buddy. The day that Tim had seen him kick Buddy, he had felt sick at his stomach. Especially when Buddy had yelped like he was in real pain. His Mom had had the nerve to defend her stupid husband by saying that he hadn't meant to kick him, and that he would never hurt a helpless animal. Yeah, Tim thought bitterly, he would just hit his defenseless wife when he got loaded.
There was a light tap at his bedroom door, and then his Mom stuck her head in. "Timmy, you've got dishes tonight," she reminded him for the umpteenth time.
"Mom", Tim said irritably, "what good does it do to knock, when you're just gonna barge in anyway? I might have been in my underwear or something."
His Mom smiled, that irritating smug smile. "Honey, like I've never seen you in your underwear before."
"Mom, I'm 14," Tim protested. "and please stop calling me Timmy. I told you, I want to be called Tim now."
His Mom continued to smile, looking as though she was enjoying his discomfort. "Yes Sir Tim. You have dishes tonight."
Tim felt unreasonably angry at his Mom. "I know," he said sharply, "You've only told me that about 50 times already. Do you want me to finish my Algebra or wash dishes Mom. Make up your feeble mind."
Tim was instantly sorry because of the look of hurt that crossed her face, then she turned stern. "Tim, there's no reason to use that tone with me, and I'll thank you to remember who pays the bills around here."
He didn't seem to be able to stop himself, as he suddenly rolled his eyes. "I know, I know, you're the bread winner, so I have to toe the line, is that what you're telling me?"
Tim was glad to see his Mothers face harden into anger, instead of looking pitiful, like she had when Dad yelled at her. "Just try making it by yourself for awhile young man, and see how easy it is."
"Alright, alright," Tim threw his hands up in surrender, "Just give me a few more minutes at the books, and I'll go wash the dishes." Though he was mad at having to give in, he somehow, felt relieved that someone was strong enough to take charge around here. His Mom hesitated at the door for just a second before she softly closed the door, and left him alone.
Tim really wasn't relieved. He felt bad for making his Mom feel bad. He was so worried lately that he would turn out just like his Dad, mean and cruel to helpless people and animals. That was why he was worried about his temper lately. Sometimes, he sounded just like Dad, and it scared him.
Later, Tim walked into the kitchen, and saw his Mom washing the dishes. He became instantly defensive, and just as quickly calmed down. "Mom," he said softly. "I'll do them."
Her jaw was set determinedly as she turned to him. "I don't want you to break a sweat by working too hard Tim." she said crossly.
Tim quickly controlled himself. "Mom, I'm sorry I was such an ass awhile ago. I don't know why I get so mad sometimes. I think I'm getting like my Dad."
Tims Mom turned quickly, a look of concern and genuine love on her face. "Honey, is that what you're afraid of? You are nothing like your Dad Sweetie."
Tim shrugged. "Our Biology teacher is teaching us about genetics, and things like temperment are sometimes inherited. Maybe I can't help but be like Dad. I feel like I'm doomed," he concluded.
His Mom had a difficult time keeping a straight face, but then, she realized that Tim was really serious. "Oh Honey," she reached out to him, squeezing his shoulders, and wishing that he wasn't too big to take in her arms and comfort him. "You are not doomed. In fact, your Biology teacher should have told you about nurture versus nature."
"What does that mean?" Tim asked, surprised.
"Honey, your Dad had some serious issues that caused him to be like that. Besides which, he drank too much, and that changed his whole personality. Timm...Tim, Dad is mad at the world, and some day, he's gonna wake up and see how much he's lost."
Tim didn't know if that made him feel better or not, but at least he did feel somewhat kinder toward his Mom. "Okay, but Mom, I don't want another dog. I don't think you can replace someone that you love with someone else, so why do people think they can replace a dog they love with another dog? I'd rather just keep looking for Buddy. How many farms can there be in this County?"
His Mom sighed. "Tim, it's been 4 years. Even if we did find Buddy, do you really think he'd remember you?"
Tim hesitated before he spoke. After all, he wasn't a kid anymore. "Mom, I can't explain it, but I feel like Buddy is alive out there somewhere, and I can only hope that he's safe. I can't believe that Dad took him to a farm though, because we've checked and checked all the farms in this area."
Helen O'Conner sighed. She wasn't sure if it was healthy for Tim to keep believing this, but what could she do?

Chapter 4.

The Winter months were the worse months for the stray dogs and cats. Though Buddy and Bruno had found a nice dog house for shelter, it was drafty, and when it rained, they invariably got wet. Food was scarce too, and there were many a night when Buddy went to bed with a grumbling tummy, which caused him to be grouchy with Bruno. Buddy relied on Dominick, the cook at their favorite restaurant for food. Dominick, while cleaning the kitchen after hours, would often put scraps out on a paper plate for the dogs, but you had to be quick or some other dog would get the food. Buddy was glad that he wasn't afraid of Dominick like some dogs were. Sometimes Dominick would even call for Buddy, and put the food out, watching him sneak up on the food and start to devour it.
"You hungry little pooch," Dominick would say in his thick accented voice. "You need nice home, cause you a nice doggy."
Buddy wasn't sure about everything that Dominick said, but Bruno had cautioned him against letting a human take him in. "Don't ever go in someones house or let a human lure you into thinking they like you. You never know what kind of people they are, or if they're gonna turn you in to the pound."
Buddy always heeded Brunos advice, and would quickly shy away from a human if the human even tried to pet him. Sometimes he would even bare his teeth to scare them off. One time a little boy on the street tried to pet him, and he almost let him, until the boys Mother showed up, and grabbed him, telling him that he shouldn't touch strange dogs, they could have a disease or something. Buddy wanted to tell her that maybe she had a disease, but, of course, she couldn't understand him.
One night as Buddy and Bruno huddled together for warmth, Buddy, his stomach growling painfully, asked Bruno some questions to take his mind off of food. "Bruno, why is Scar so mean?" He expected a simple answer, instead, Bruno sighed and looked troubled.
"Buddy, humans made Scar mean, he wasn't born that way."
Buddy was surprised. "What did they do to him?"
"He was trained by his owners to be a fighting dog Buddy, and when he fought, he had to fight to the death with his opponent or the other dog would kill him. It's what he's known since he was small."
Buddy was wide-eyed. "Why would humans do something like that?"
Bruno gave Buddy a sad look. "Buddy, there are some humans who should never have animals, because they abuse and neglect them. They raised Scar to fight by beating him daily. They made him wear a heavy chain around his neck in order to strengthen his muscles, and threw him scraps of food. The only time he got petted was when he killed the other dog, so you can see why Scar just wants to fight all the time. That's the only way he knows."
"Well then, how did he get on the street?" Buddy wondered.
"Much like me, he was scheduled to be put down, but his owner let him loose so the law wouldn't see that he owned the dog. Their proof was running around the street, terrorizing humans and other dogs." Bruno shook his head, "He's a wanted dog Buddy, and the police have been urged to shoot him on sight."
Buddy was terrified at the thought. It was one thing to worry about being picked up, but to know that the police wanted to shoot you had to be the most awful feeling. For the first time, Buddy really felt sorry for Scar.

Chapter 5.

Buddy thought that Winter would never end, but then, one day, he stuck his head out of the dog house to the sound of chirping birds, and a happily glowing sun warming the slightly moist ground. With a whoop of glee, Buddy rushed out and began to run wildly through the crunchy, dead leaves, and rolled around in them. Bruno strolled out in a more mature fashion, but you could tell that he was excited about the warm weather too. "Are you hungry little one, or are you having more fun playing in the leaves this morning?" Bruno asked casually.
Buddys ears perked up at the thought of food, and he sat up quickly. "Do you know where we can get some?" he said hopefully.
"I have a couple of ideas," Bruno said, and started off, with his long legged stride hard for Buddy to keep up with.
Buddy couldn't help but try to catch birds and squirrels as they loped along the sidewalk, Bruno, as usual, keeping a close eye on the neighborhood, watching for cars and dog catchers, while Buddy just played. They finally found the place that Bruno had scoped out for a good place to eat. It was the alleyway of a fast food place, and the morning cooks had begun throwing out half eaten breakfasts in the back dumpster.
After they had eaten their fill, the 2 dogs decided to go to the park and enjoy the warmer weather. Even Bruno seemed more playful than usual, but as they went through a hedge to the park, Scar jumped out, startling them. Scars lips were already peeled back from his teeth, and his fangs were glistening with saliva, his voice was low and rough. "Not this time Bruno. This time we fight."
Buddy was so frightened of the crazed looking dog, that he jumped quickly behind Bruno, yelping in surprise. Bruno stood his ground, firmly and boldly. "I told you, I won't fight you Scar," he said.
Scar laughed a hideous laugh. "Then I'll just have to take our your little friend," and with that, he threw himself on Buddy, and began to claw him. Buddy squealed in surprise and fear. Scar was so much bigger than he was, and then, suddenly, a heavy body knocked Scar off of him, and Bruno turned angrier than Buddy had ever seen him.
The 2 big dogs rolled over and over on the grass, teeth flashing like steel knives, blood and fur flying, and Buddy got angry with Scar. "Stop it," he barked, "why do you want to hurt Bruno? He's never done anything to you." Scar growled at him, and suddenly, Bruno flipped him over on his side, and grabbed him forcefully by the neck, his bared teeth poised to bite. It seemed that the pack dogs and Buddy were holding their collective breath.
"Finish me," Scar croaked, his breath coming hard and fast. Bruno hesitated, as though he didn't know what to do, and then he let go of Scar.
"No Scar, I won't kill you today. Maybe some other dog, some day, but not me." He stepped back, and Buddy could see the deep scratches and teeth marks on his forepaws and face, but still he stood tall and straight, and dignified.
"Kill me," Scar howled, "or they will. I won't let another human ever touch me. None will put me down. I will kill them first."
Bruno actually looked sad. "Then, you choose your own destiny Scar" and he turned and walked away from Scar, and from his dwindling pack.
Buddy ran along side of him, talking a mile and minute, asking him every five minutes if he was alright. Bruno grunted and walked silently beside him, limping a little. Finally, he growled, "Be quiet Buddy before I bite you."
Buddy was taken aback, and then quickly recovered. "You won't really bite me will you Bruno? Will you?"
Bruno grunted and kept walking until they reached the dog house. Bruno immediately crawled in and lay down, making a painful wince as he did. "Buddy, if you want to stay with me, than be QUIET." Than Bruno began to lick his wounds. Buddy followed his request, but he began to help Bruno lick his wounds, and scooted close to him for comfort.
It was much later that night, when Buddy decided to find them some food. He found Dominic, and Dominic was especially nice that night, filling a paper plate up with scraps. "Enjoy Little one,"he said heartily. Buddy ate, and then took some food to Bruno, who was still lying in the dog house.
Bruno was asleep, but Buddy tried to wake him up so he could eat. Instead, Bruno said, "thanks little one, but I'm not much hungry," and he went back to sleep.
Buddy lay next to Bruno, dozing occasionally himself, but then awaking to check and make sure Bruno was still alive. Finally, Buddy awoke to find Bruno staring at him. "Did I ever tell you about my Dad, Buddy?"
Buddy said "no", glad that Bruno was up to telling one of his stories. Bruno blew air out, and started his story. "My Mother, you see, was a labrador, and my Dad was a German Shepherd. My Dad was also a Police officer." Buddy was surprised. He had known that Bruno was a half breed, but he had no idea that Brunos Dad had been a Police officer.
"Anyway," Bruno continued. "I don't know if my Dad didn't know about me, or just didn't care. I saw him once when he had returned from a bust. All the Policemen were petting him, calling him a good dog, and he was eating the praise up." Bruno shifted painfully in his spot. " I don't know whether he knew about my Mother, and just didn't care, or he just didn't know she had had pups. Anyway, I was the only pup who survived. The others died about 3 weeks after they were born." Bruno chuckled, "I guess I was a stubborn little runt. In any case Buddy, that's why I don't like to fight. I don't want to be anything like my Dad, and besides, I vowed I would never shed blood again, after I bit that little boy."
Buddy felt like crying. "Bruno, that wasn't your fault, and neither was your fight with Scar. Scar was determined to make you fight him."
Bruno sighed. "Buddy, all I want to do is sleep now. Leave me alone and find something to do."
Buddy couldn't help but be worried. Things had changed so drastically since the fight, that he felt frightened and worried most of the time. He still went and got Bruno food, encouraging him to eat, and Bruno still refused, saying he didn't feel like eating. Until finally, one day, Buddy got so angry and distraught that he lost it with him.
"Bruno, what are you trying to do, kill yourself?" he barked. "If you are, that's not fair to me. What would I do without you?"
Bruno looked startled, and then his face darkened. "Buddy, how many times do I have to tell you to count only on yourself. You don't need me as long as you have yourself. You've been on the streets 4 years now, and have survived. You've even survived without me," Bruno snapped.
"I know I can survive without you Bruno, but I don't want to," Buddy said quietly. "There's more to life than just surviving you know."
"What Buddy? What else is there?"
"What Bruno? There's love, friendship and fun, that's what. Yeah, life is hard, but we can make it better if we try Bruno." Buddy ducked his head down then, too afraid and ashamed to look at Bruno.
Bruno looked as though someone had hit him over the head with a baseball bat, he was so stunned. "Buddy, are you saying you love me?"
"Yes," Buddy said boldly. "You're my only friend, and you've always taken care of me. That's what friendship is all about. It's about friendship and caring. Don't you care about me Bruno?"
Bruno closed his eyes, a wondering look crossing his face. "I'm sorry Buddy. I didn't know that I could care for another dog, but you've helped me to discover that I can care. Thank you Buddy."

Chapter 6.

After that night, Bruno began to eat, and to get better. He let Buddy help to clean the dried blood off of his fur, and to lick his wounds, so they would heal faster, and soon, Bruno was ready to leave the house. Bruno seemed surprised at how warm it had gotten, and he had to squint in the strong sunlight. "Wow, you were right Buddy. It's beautiful out here."
During their walk through the park, they saw Matlock, one of Scars old pack mates, and the one who had called "dog catcher", in order to stop the first fight Scar tried to get Bruno in. Bruno narrowed his eyes until he saw how happy Matlock was to see them. Matlock came running up, sniffing them, and wagging his tail. "Bruno, I thought you had died," he exclaimed, after examining him closely.
Bruno said, "No,but I was pretty banged up for awhile. I'm getting to be an old dog Mattie."
Mattie grinned at him. "You aren't so old that Scar could beat you. I'd say that makes you Alpha dog."
Bruno looked disgusted. "Do you really think that I want to be an Alpha Mattie? I could have done that a long time ago if that's what I'd wanted."
That shut Matlock up quick. "What's happened to Scar?" Bruno inquired.
Matlock looked troubled. We have'nt seen him since, but I'm sure he went somewhere to die. You really hurt his pride by not killing him Bruno?"
Bruno shook his head sadly. "I'm not a killer Matlock. You know that. I couldn't bring myself to kill him, and I won't have anyone else's blood on my paws."
"I understand Bruno, but you know that Scar doesn't understand that. Just leave him alone, and let him die in peace. At least that's what I told the others. They've all scattered to the 4 winds now."
Bruno didn't look happy at the outcome. Maybe he had been expecting Scar to change, not to act like a wild animal, and go off somewhere to die. "Scar chose his own destiny," Bruno said gruffly, sounding almost envious.
The one thing that troubled Buddy the most at Bruno, was that his fight with Scar had left him deaf in his right ear. The ear had been torn, which made Bruno look more like a Shepherd than anything, and Bruno seemed to like the change. When Buddy first found out about Brunos deafness, Bruno had chewed him out, telling him that his instincts were still good enough to alert him to trouble. Unfortunately, that proved not to be true, as they discovered a few weeks later. A sunny day which would be etched in Buddys memory as long as the day he had been abandoned had.
It was beautiful and bright, and Bruno, uncharacteristically, wanted to go to the park with Buddy and enjoy the company of some house dogs, and play with them. The day promised to be a fun-filled energetic day, and Bruno was really feeling his oats. One boy, in particular was enjoying throwing the frisbee to Bruno, who was very adept at catching it in the air. Buddy, who had never had the knack for that, was watching intently. So intently, that he didn't notice the change in the air, or in the actions of the other dogs. When he finally looked around, they all seemed frozen, and then Buddy saw the Animal Control people moving in with ropes and sticks, and Buddy whipped around, and barked at Bruno to run, but Bruno couldn't hear him because of his bad ear, and so Buddy ran toward him. Too late, Bruno whirled right before the rope dropped over his head, and he jerked back in surprise.
Buddy longed to do nothing more than run to Bruno, and try to rescue him, but his own instincts for survival kicked in, and, instead, he ran right into the hedges, huddling and whimpering in fear. He heard, rather than saw, the loud squeal of tires, and the sickening thump, followed by an equally sickening thud, and he stuck his head out of the hedges. He expected Bruno to just get up and run off as he had the last time he had escaped from custody, but not this time.
Instead, Bruno lay on his side with blood seeping out from under him. "No," Buddy screamed, and tore out of the bushes toward him, zigzagging the animal control officers, until he reached Brunos side, and placed a protective paw on his neck. Bruno lifted his head, his eyes already glazed and filled with pain.
"I hope there's a doggy heaven little Buddy." Then, he put his head down and died. Buddy watched his chest stop moving, and his eyes empty of who he had been, but Buddy refused to leave his side, snarling at anyone who came near him, or Bruno.

The Ghost Within

Whitney didn't remember getting out of the bathtub. In fact, the last thing she did remember was settling down in the warm bath for a nice soak before the craziness that was her life started over again. When is it going to end? she had often asked herself. Or did she really want it to? She had been in the spotlight for half her life, and for the first part of that, it had been exciting and fun, and had made her feel heady with power. She had had more control than she had ever had, but power didn't make a person happy. All these people were at her beck and call 24-7, yet there were times when she honestly wished they would just go away and leave her alone. Yet, when they weren't there, she felt so lonely, and she wondered if any amount of money would ever take the loneliness away.
I want my Mommy, she thought, and then felt stupid, but she couldn't help it. Her Mommy had always been her rock. It's true that they hadn't always gotten along, especially when she was hurting herself with the drugs and her relationship, but she knew that Mommy loved her, and was frightened for her. The only good thing which had come out of that relationship had been her daughter
Whitney smiled when she thought about her daughter. All grown up now, and with a mind of her own, and the stubborness of her Mother. "Oh Baby," Whitney murmured, "don't make my mistakes." Whitney was surprised by the hollow sound of her own voice. It sounded hollow, because there was no one to hear her. In fact, there was no one there at all. The room was empty of people, and as Whitney left the room, she realized that it wasn't just the room. The whole town was gone. Everyone. Her heart clutched at her throat, and a wave of panic set in. She was all alone, truly alone for the first time in her life. Where had everyone gone? She turned slowly on the street, not knowing how she had gotten to the street. Suddenly, she heard a voice behind her, "Whitney." Just her name, nothing else, but at least it was someone. She whirled and saw a woman standing in front of her. She was a beautiful woman, with nearly white, blonde hair, and a warm, welcoming smile. "I'm here to help," the woman said quietly. Whitney wasn't sure how this crazy white woman was gonna help her, and, besides, she wasn't real sure that she needed help. Well, maybe she needed company, but certainly not help. She was handling it the best she knew how. Whitney tossed her head back defiantly.
"What makes you think I need help? Can you get me home to my Mommy?" Then Whitney lowered her head, not wanting the woman to see her tears, the terrible longing inside.
"I can help to guide you where ever you want to go Whitney, but the decision to rest is yours. It always has been."
How did this woman know that she needed rest? Whitney stubbornly shook her head, "I've got a show to do. I'm a star you know." Why had she said that? She was tired of trying to perform, to keep her voice good enough, to keep from looking old. She could almost hear the applause and the cheers, and automatically, she bowed, as though to an audience. "You see?" she said triumphantly, "they love me, and I love them. I want to use my voice to lift them up..." her voice trailed off, as though she had lost her train of thought, and then, she turned, and began walking away from the woman, her walk turning into a run. What was she running from? Whitney plowed headlong down the street, and then, came to an abrupt stop. There was a cloud of fog in front of her, near a park bench. She was somehow afraid of the fog, and so she sank down on the bench. The woman seemed to have caught up with her, and stood there calmly, not the least bit angry that she had run away from her. Whitney tilted her chin up proudly, "Maybe I haven't been doing so good lately, but who are you to judge me? Those demons just won't leave me alone."
"Whitney, demons have no power over you. You're a child of God, and He wants you to know how much he loves you. His son said, "Come unto me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest"
Whitney sat with her head down. "I was a Star," she whispered. "I sang from my soul, and people, millions of people came just to hear me." She stood up slowly, bowing regally from one side to another, "Thank you," she said, throwing kisses to the masses. "I love you all," she cried, and then, the tears did begin to stream down her cheeks.
Out of the fog appeared a figure. He somehow looked familiar to Whitney, but she wasn't sure she wanted to know. The man had a white jump suit on, and thick, long sideburns, as well as a cape. He was stout, his belly straining the buttons on his jumpsuit. "Hey Whitney," his voice had a lilting quality to it, and Whitney couldn't see his eyes because of the dark shades he wore. "Girl, you really wowed them didn't you?" Did you have a big fancy house with a pool and a lot of TV sets?" He semed eager to hear about her material gains.
"Aren't you...? She didn't get to finish the sentence.
"You know who I am Princess," he said sharply, "Everybody knows the King." The man reached up and pulled off his glasses, and Whitney wished he hadn't. There seemed to be things squirming around in his dark eyes, but she couldn't tell for sure. She was glad when he put the shades back on, and smiled, a pudgy, dimpled smile.
Whitney saw other shadowy figures milling around the fog. A young woman, pale and wraithlike, wearing a simple white shift, with dark hair cascading around her shoulders, stood swaying near the "King", pulling at the long strands of hair, and smiling, a mirthless smile. The "King" looked down at her. "This is Amy, Whitney. She's one of us too."
"Once of us?" Whitney barked. "I'm not one of you. I have nothing to do with any of you." She whirled, and saw Blondie, still standing nearby. "Is this your idea of a joke?"she snapped. "If it is, it's not funny. This fat bumpkin, and skinny little pale face..."
Suddenly, the form she had seen sitting on the same bench with her, began to unfold his arms and legs, which had been drawn up to his chest. He stretched like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon. His hair was a shaggy, streaked blonde, his eyes red-rimmed as though he had been crying, but his face was firm, strong jawed, and so sad looking. "She's right ya know," he said, a slight accent to his voice. "She hasn't made her decision."
"She made her decision when she threw her life away Heath," Amy wound herself around Whitney like a snake slithering around its prey. "You just gave up didn't you?" Amy said accusingly.
The King looked troubled, though it was hard to see through his dark glasses. "Hey little girl," he told Amy. "Don't be so hard on her." He leaned toward Whitney with almost a leer on his face. "You were jus havin a lil fun weren'tcha?"
Whitney recoiled from him, taking a step backward. Tears were flowing freely now, as she turned, looking for her guide and not finding her. Was it too late again? Had she missed her chance? As Whitney turned back, she saw a figure emerging from the fog. His walk was so familiar, but he was wearing a white suit and a hat, which was pulled down over his eyes. "Michael!," she suddenly screamed, running toward him. She stopped herself when she got in front of him, unable to go further. "Michael, I've missed you,"she whispered.
Michael smiled, but it wasn't his usual sunny smile, or had that been from all the drugs he took to make him feel better about himself. He didn't raise his hat, but looked solemnly into her face. His voice sounded raspy as he spoke, "Whit, I didn't want this for you. No one did. Don't you know that you can have all the love and adulation in the world, but if you don't love yourself, you have nothing?" He reached out as though to touch her, but then, pulled his hand back. Whitney missed him so much. She longed to embrace him again. Michael said, "go with her Whitney. Maybe it will give the rest of us the courage to move on." He looked around him sadly, waving his hand at the crowd that had gathered, Janis Joplin, Judy Garland, Jimi Hendrix, all of the long ago greats. Whitney realized that some of them had been great before she was even born.
"I'm afraid Michael," she whispered. "I got so used to hearing the applause..."
"We're all stuck Whit, because we loved what we were instead of who we were. We became commodities for other peoples pleasure, instead of gifts from God. All the praise in the world can't make up for Gods eternal love."
Whitney felt herself getting heavier and gloomier with each minute. "I think I've waited too long Michael. I just couldn't let go of the only life I knew." A hand touched her shoulder, and she straightened, turned, saw the blonde woman who was dressed in white, who was surrounded by light.
"Whitney, it's not to late, even for them." She waved her hand at the fog shrouded ghosts. Elvis was trying to dance, but finally gave up trying to swivel his big hips, and grinned sheepishly, Heath had turned his back on them both and Amy twirled a lock of hair in her fingers.
"How do you know what's next Whitney?" Amy giggled. "Can you trust anyone?"
Whitney thought she saw Amy smile in satisfaction, as Whitney raised her head high, and reached for the shining womans hand. She was going to have to put her trust in someone, and these people weren't the ones. Immediately, Whitney was infused with a bright light, and she looked down at herself and the sparkling white robe she wore, and the smooth, youthful appearance of her hands. Looking at Blondie, she said, "Can I still sing? I do love it so."
"Forever and ever," the smiling woman said.
As they left the ghosts behind, Whitney said, "Can I ask just one more favor of you?" The woman nodded, and Whitney smiled, "Can I say goodbye to my Mommy?"

The Rift

I know that there are many skeptics, pragmatics, and cynics who don't believe in the supernatural. These are the people who find a logical explanation for every occurrence, no matter how bizarre the explanation is. The thing is, I don't know why these people refuse to see the evidence of a supernatural event, yet are willing to believe an illogical explanation. That the atheist, and agnostic prefer to believe that we just wink out of existence when we die, seems awfully grim to me.
I am one of those skeptics, with a difference. I have had some absolutely paranormal events happen to me, and have tried, without success, to give them a logical explanation. I'm a Christian, but not a raving fanatic about it, but even that belief seems rather fragile to me sometimes, as I struggle with questions like, "Why did you let my daughter get cancer? Why did you let my sister get cancer and die?" Of course, my faith gets shaken, but not torn down. I have often wondered, when I read about NDE's, why I haven't been given a glimpse of the light, or heaven. I actually envy the ones who have experienced these phenomenon. In any case, I have a tale to tell, which I know many will not believe, some will scoff and say, "yeah right. She's nuts". That's OK, because I've often had those feelings about other cases I've read. And, I know full well that there are many charlatans who are out to make a fast buck on peoples gullibility. I hope that no one thinks that about me, because I won't get one red cent for sharing my story.
It was 1988, or 89, and I was living with my second husband, and my 2 teenage daughters. This was a good time for me, even though I didn't love my husband, and had married him in order to get a better home for my children, who had been living with their Dad for 3 years. I knew that it was rather calculating, not to mention unfair, to marry someone for convenience, but I was desperate to get my kids away from their Dad.
My husband, who we will call Jim (not his real name), did love me, and would have done anything for me, but I was unemployed, due to some bad decisions I had made, and I pushed him to get a job( he was drawing social security disability at that time). I didn't feel all that bad, because I was planning on going back into Nursing, and would be able to provide for my kids. At least I wasn't expecting Jim to support us all. I guess I have to give myself a little credit, to keep from feeling so guilty.
Jim was perfectly willing to work at the labor hall, to supplement his income while I was still looking for work. Every day, Jim went out, carrying his lunch pail, and returned at about 4-5 PM with a perpetual scowl on his face. I could tell that he wasn't happy about being the only one working. However, I had gotten used to Jimís mood swings, and he seemed awfully good to my kids. In any case, it wasn't unusual for Jim to walk right past me without speaking to me.
Let me give you the lay-out of my apartment before I begin my story. It was a small, 2 bedroom apartment, with a room for Jim and I, and one for the girls to share. The bedrooms were on the opposite sides of the apartment. The living room was fairly small, but our furniture fit comfortably. The kitchen was typical for apartment kitchens. The kitchen sink, and counter faced the living room, and there was an opening that looked out on the living room. You could easily see the front door if you were standing at the sink. The kitchen also opened on both sides, these 2 sides providing access to the living room, and the stove, refrigerator, etc. were behind the sink, or in front of it, considering your point of view. I also had a beautiful black and white tabby named Baby, who was an affectionate, sweet cat, who liked to play chase with my 14 year old, every night before she went to bed.
That day was like any other day for me. The kids were in school, and I had cleaned house, and was beginning to run water into a pot, standing at the sink to do so. I glanced to the left and saw Baby sitting on his haunches watching me, as he always did. That took about a second, because I was distracted by the opening of the front door. Jim came through the door, surprising me, because it was about 3, and he rarely got home until 4 or 5. As Jim walked past me toward our bedroom, I greeted him, while simultaneously, glancing to my right to see Baby sitting on the other end of the open kitchen in the exact manner at which he had sat on my left. I blew it off, as I know how fast cats can be. As Jim walked by, his shirt was soaked with sweat, but surprisingly I didn't smell any sweat on him, but I did ask him why he was so early getting home. As I turned back to my work, the front door opened and Jim came in, in exactly the same manner as before, and Baby was on my left again. Stunned, I asked him why he had gone back out. The bigger question was, how did he get past me without me seeing him. Jim gave me a strange look, and just said, "What?" Then he asked me what I was talking about. I just shook my head and began to doubt my sanity. How could this have happened? It defied explanation. However, I have narrowed it down to 2 possibilities; 1. I took a minor, 1 minute step into the future. But wait, I was doing the same thing I had been doing the first, and the second time he had come in. 2. I quantum leaped into a mirror universe, which explains why the cat was on one side, and then the other. No logical explanation has been presented to me by anyone that I've told this story to. Well, I mostly told it to people whom I knew would believe me. Telling a cynic is another thing altogether. All I know, is that it was so real to me, that I actually spoke to the phantom Jim, and got no response. I don't believe that I was within the vortex of the phenomenon, because I was the only one who seemed aware that it was a phenomenon.
If anyone can offer a logical, natural (as opposed to supernatural) explanation, I welcome any input. I have had other paranormal events happen to me, but this one was the most compelling.