Author: Lauri Broadbent
Diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, Michael agrees to an experimental and secretive operation. While recuperating, he begins to have flashes of fragmented images that have no connection to his life. He soon realizes he is an unwilling participant in a murder initiated by his donor. Michael must choose between keeping his word to the person who saved his life or attempting to save the life of a complete stranger.
The pain was not subsiding. The doctor said I would know when it was time to check in. Actually, he put it quite simply...the pain would be excruciating.
Resigning himself to another sleepless night, Michael Peterson struggled as he dragged the overstuffed chair forward, trying to position it to face the fire. He frowned, realizing just how much the last couple of months had changed him.
“There.” He gave the heavy chair one last shove. A well-worn neon tennis ball rolled out from beneath the chair. Michael bent down and picked it up; smiling, he thought about Dakota, the golden retriever mix he had adopted at the pet fair. He had been the perfect pound puppy, and they had been inseparable for many years. As he held the ball tightly, a lump formed in his throat. So many losses in such a short amount of time. I can’t change anything now...even if I wanted to. He turned and slowly set the ball down on the coffee table. For the first time he felt truly alone.
Taking a deep breath, he looked around the room, grabbed a couple of extra pillows and tossed them onto the chair, hoping they might make him more comfortable. But in the end, he knew it really wouldn’t matter what he did.
Easing his thin frame down into the chair, he twisted and turned trying to find a comfortable spot, but even with the added padding, it was nearly impossible. Finally settling in, he focused his gaze on the flames as they cracked and danced to a rhythm all their own. Absentmindedly, he ran his finger down the left side of his nose along the almost invisible scar, the result of his first and only attempt at playing football. Michael was hoping to clear his mind and quiet his thoughts for as long as possible in an attempt to delay the inevitable.
The last couple of times he sat through these night-long vigils he wondered if he would even see the morning again, but this was the choice he had made. He couldn’t bring himself to sit in a hospital room waiting for that so-called perfect opportunity.
Within minutes his eyes began pulsating. Hour by hour the waves of throbbing increased. He took a deep breath and pushed his body deeper into the chair, gradually easing his head back until it rested lightly against the top of the seat. His knuckles whitened as he gripped the arms of the chair. He squeezed his eyes shut as the onslaught of pain proceeded to pound in full force.
Squinting, Michael peered tentatively around the room; its brightness made it difficult for him to make out anything. As his eyes gradually adjusted, he began to recognize the familiar things around him.
His skin was sticky by the drying sweat and a slight dampness clung to his dark brown hair. He had made it through, but the tightness in his stomach and the dull ache in his head still lingered. This one was different, the worst one yet. Time was running out.
He stood up and slowly maneuvered the chair back into place, then stretched to relieve his arms and back from the tight ball he had been curled in all night. He really hadn’t expected the pain would be so intense. Instinctively, he knew he probably could not ride out another one alone. He hated to admit it even to himself; he was scared.
It was time to check in.
Why is your featured book a must-read?
Images is an entertaining, enticing, fast-paced read.
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Images is Lauri Broadbent's debut novel. She retired after 35 years with the Clark County Department of Family Services in Las Vegas, Nevada, working with abused, neglected and abandoned children. Lauri currently lives in Henderson, Nevada, with her husband and her two quirky rescue cats. She has two wonderful daughters and a brand new granddaughter. Lauri is also published in Chicken Soup for the Parent’s Soul.
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