When we arrived, I stepped back and let him open the door. I stood back until I heard the others scream, "Surprise!!!"
"Oh wow, for me??" Peter gasped as I gently pushed him all the way inside and closed the door.
"Yes, for you. Itís your birthday shotgun. And you deserve a special celebration," Mike drawled.
"Now I see why Len wanted to take a walk," Peter said, smiling at me.
"Hey, I would have wanted to even if I wasnít the decoy!" I retorted. "Besides, I had fun exploring!"
"Exploring where?" Davy asked.
"Oh just the set of a TV show over at Desliu! Uh, maybe Peter should blow out his candles before they set off the smoke alarm," I added, noticing that theyíd lit the twenty-six candles on the cake all ready.
We sang happy birthday and Peter blew out his candles. While Isa and Mike cooperated in cutting the cake, Peter opened his gifts. From Isa, there was a loud Nehru shirt in gold and red with a leaf pattern that reminded me of autumn. Mike had gotten him a harmonica and his card said, "Why not bring the total to eight? Good luck shotgun. Mike." Micky had gotten him a couple spare bass strings and a large pile of blank sheet music that heíd stamped Peterís name on. Davy had gotten him a lovely incense holder and plenty of incense in scents he knew Peter would like.
And I had strung several different sets of love beads. Iíd spent the past two nights, since Mikeís reminder that Peterís birthday was looming on the horizon, stringing late at night while Peter was asleep. Ten different designs: the red/white design Iíd taken from ones the "other" Peter had been wearing in Head; a blue/deep blue variation on that design with a blue dolphin bead on it; a shorter gold/silver strand in an alternating 5/5 pattern; a white/coral design with larger pinkish seashells interspersed; a design using larger coral beads interspersed with off-white beads of the same size and with a very large and virtually perfect spiral shell; three different rainbow patterns; an orange and red random pattern to match the shirt Isa had found; and one that had a lovely repeating pattern of different shades of orange, Peterís favourite colour.
"Thanks guys! I love everything!" Peter exclaimed as he ran into his bedroom to try the shirt on. He came back out wearing that and all ten beads Iíd given him. He gave each one of us, even a protesting Mike and a squirming Isabel, a huge Peter-style hug in thanks.
Things went fairly normal for the next two weeks. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays we got up late, rehearsed an hour or two, sometimes played a war game or two, and then played at the Cassandra. Mondays through Thursdays we got up with our time, played war games in the morning, rehearsed in the afternoon, and in the evening, either played more war games with Isabel when she got home or rehearsed for her. One Thursday, Isa got home from work early and was itching to exercise so we started a war game. It was Micky and I versus Isa, Mike, and Peter, since Davy had gone off on a date to who-knows-where before Isa had come over.
Micky and I were floating high in the sky, facing off against Peter and Isa. Mike was on the ground, watching the face-off with a half-smile on his face. Suddenly I heard a crack of thunder from behind. With a yelp, I zoomed off toward the beach house, my childhood phobia of thunderstorms abruptly resurfacing. I didnít notice until several minutes later that everyone but Mike had followed me, worried about what had sent me scurrying.
"Len? Len, where are you?" I heard Isa calling.
"Sheís under Mikeís bed," Micky stated matter-of-factly.
"How do you know?" Peter asked. A moment . . . "Oh."
Then I felt something tickling my feet. I instinctively put up a field to stop the tickling, and heard Mickyís chuckle.
"Come on out Len. Thereís nothing to be afraid of."
"Thatís what you think!" I sobbed and, through the link, brought back a memory to prove that to him. I reluctantly recalled one Fourth of July when I was younger, around ten or thirteen years old, when there were many thunderstorms in the area around my cousinsí house, where we were celebrating. Since it was high and dry there, however, we were outside watching the lightening in the distance and listening to the radio. When a report had come in about a tornado touchdown in another town, I had asked my uncle if it was close by. The moment heíd said yes, I had run full-tilt upstairs, grabbed my overnight bag, and then barreled into the basement, sitting Indian-style in the middle of the room, hands over my head like we had been taught to do at my grammar school. Nothing had happened but it had still been somewhat traumatizing. I relayed this memory to Micky.
"Aw, Len, nothinís gonna hurt you! Not with us around! Iíll protect you, you know that!" Micky called down to me. "Now come on out. Iíll bet you that storm is miles away and not coming anywhere near us."
I reluctantly slid out from beneath the bed and stood. We started downstairs. Peter and Isa were waiting outside the bedroom door and when we headed downstairs to the bandstand, it was just in time to see a bolt of lightning strike Mike.
Heíd been running towards the Pad. The others had followed me in before there was any visible sign of a storm, and Mike was unaware that there was one coming. Heíd remained on the beach until the storm was near, and it was a storm that moved quickly. The lightening struck him on the top of his head and his body was suddenly stiff. Light poured from him, both from the lightening and his powers. Then he was still.
"Mike!!!" Isa cried and moved to run out to him. Micky stopped her with a field.
"Donít -- itís too dangerous. Peter can carry him in from here."
"Thatís right. Iíll do that right now." And Peterís eyes glowed brightly as he telekinetically lifted Mikeís unconscious body and carried it towards the Pad. I opened the porch door and held it open while Peter floated Mike in and laid him on the black chaise.
"Is he . . . ?" Isa gasped, clinging to Micky for comfort.
I knelt beside Mike and, shielding my hand with a field for safetyís sake, fumbled around for a pulse. When I didnít find one right away, I dropped the field and felt again. After what seemed like hours but was most likely less than a minute, of fumbling I gave up and rolled up his sleeve, feeling for the large artery in the crook of his elbow. Finding a pulse had never been one of my talents and that artery was the only one I never had trouble finding.
"Heís got a pulse!" I cried, "Weak but steady . . . " I paused a moment to check for breathing. "And heís breathing. Now itís just a matter of keeping him comfortable until he wakes."
Isa sighed and collapsed against Micky, deflated like a balloon. He smiled and carried her to the couch.
"Dr Peterson? Peter. Thereís been an . . . accident. Mike got struck by lightening. No, there was a huge storm here. Itís moving past us now. Heís unconscious but breathing and he has a steady but weak pulse. Oh great, thanks!" Peter hung up the phone. "Dr Peterson is on her way over to take a look at Mike. She said to cover him with some blankets and try, if possible, to get some fluids in him."
"Iíve got the blankets!" Micky cried and dashed up the stairs.
"Can you get some water, Peter? I wanna keep a close eye on him until Ericka gets here," I said, shifting to a more comfortable sitting position next to the black chaise.
"Sure thing. Where did you put the salt last time? She said to put a little salt in water to help him stay Ďhydratedí -- whatever that means."
I giggled. "Hydrated means keeping him from loosing too much water from his body -- thatís a very bad thing and can happen all too easily in a case of shock, like this. And the salt is in the bottom shelf, first cabinet on the left."
Peter found it and started pouring some in a cup. "How much do I put in? I donít want it to be too salty . . . "
"Put a teaspoonful in to start. And have the water jug ready -- Iíll taste-test it first and then we can dilute it if itís too salty."
Peter nodded and a moment later handed me a glass. I took a sip . . . and smiled. "Just right Peter. Here, help me sit him up a little." Peter helped me raise Mikeís head and I put the cup to his lips. Just as I was getting a little of the salt-water down, there was a knock on the door.
"Iíve got it!!" Micky cried as he slid down the staircase with blankets in hand. He dropped the blankets by the chaise and opened the door for Dr. Peterson. "Hey there Doc!"
"Hello Micky! Whereís my patient?" she asked pleasantly.
"Right over here Ericka. Just giving him some salt-water now," I said. I laid Mike back down and, handing the glass to Peter, slid a blanket over the tall Texan. "Heís all yours."
"Okay. All of you . . . go somewhere else. I want to examine him in private," Ericka ordered. Micky, Peter, and I headed into the downstairs bedroom, since it wasnít safe to go outside on the verandah with the storm still raging. Isa just stared at Mike, eyes wide, from the couch. "You too!" Ericka barked, pointing at Isa. Peter ran over and helped her stand and walk into the bedroom. We left the door open a crack.
There was silence from the other room for a while. Isa and I both jumped at each thunder-clap, Peter holding her for comfort, Micky keeping me enveloped in his arms.
"Do you think Mike will be all right?" Isa asked worriedly.
"Heíll be fine. Heís got a thick skull!" Micky joked. But to me, he said, Iím worried Len. Did you notice that he wasnít glowing? Ever since we got our powers, he always glows when heís asleep.
Maybe itís because heís not just asleep, heís unconscious? I suggested.
Yeah maybe. I hope heís all right.
Me too. We remained silent after that, and I just closed my eyes and stayed curled up in Mickyís lap, grateful for his company and his comfort during the nasty storm. Some childhood phobias you never truly overcame.
Several minutes passed, then we heard Mikeís distinctive scream. Isa wailed incoherently and tried to run out. Peter grabbed her and whispered something to her that calmed her down, then gave Micky and I a silent order with his eyes, Go find out whatís wrong.
We walked out into the living room to see Ericka comforting a now-conscious Mike. She spotted us and said something to Mike, softly enough that we couldnít hear. He looked up and in our direction. But he didnít really see us. His eyes didnít focus.
Mike was blind.
Last updated 23 OCT 98
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