Prelude

I don't know about all 93 year olds, but I'd been feeling delusional since my birthday three weeks earlier. I kept hearing a voice in my head, asking me the same questions, over and over again.

"Harley, can you hear me? Can you answer me, Harley? Harley can you hear me?"

Over and over again.

Not continuously, mind you, but every few hours, regular-like; 'Harley, can you hear me? Can you answer me, Harley? Harley, can you hear me?

Oh, I answered of course, but since my stroke, my voice was pretty weak, and I had a hard time making myself understood to anyone. My great grandson Brandon did the best job of understanding what I was trying to say, but he wasn't around much.

The staff at the White Oak Assisted Living facility where I'd been while I still had some money in the bank had tried some, but the folks here at the Sherman House didn't bother. They knew I'd been pawned off on them because I was dying, so why bother? I was too: dying that is, at least my body was. The damned thing had been failing me in stages since I'd hit my 60's, but the last ten years had been the worst. My body had failed spectacularly and often, and the sad thing was that buried inside the wreck of it, my mind was as sharp as ever.

"Of course I can hear you, you idiot," I mumbled back at the voice for the umpteenth time. "I can hear you!"

I shouted that last one, but I didn't have the lungs for yelling anymore, and the esophageal tube and oxygen mask muffled everything anyway. It pissed me off even more that I still felt so sharp-witted but was succumbing to the delusions of dementia. I didn't have enough energy to shout again, but in my head I screamed one last time. "Yes, I can hear you, now shut the hell up!"

"Ahh, at last!" the voice said this time, and then the world flashed white in an instant before everything went black.

Chapter 1 ยป

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