Fevers and dreams

by

Linda Delaney & Jane Daffron

(Authors’ note: this story takes place in a future time, after Harriman Nelson’s passing)

 

Sean Nelson turned restlessly in his bunk in the Nelson Institute Med Bay. He running a high fever and was delirious as well. He had been bitten by a brown spider in his parent's attic, and the bite had become infected. He was suffering from a raging infection, and that had brought on the fever. Sean had returned to the Institute in the last month, to take on new duties as a member of the Institute’s staff. Admiral Lee Crane had been working hard to bring Sean back to Santa Barbara, and to the Institute. There were many plans in the works, that Sean could be part of, and Crane wanted to make sure that Harriman Nelson’s son was a part of all of it.

Sean was thrashing about in the rack, and Frank Lerner was concerned. The normal program of antibiotics had not worked, and he needed to become more aggressive with his therapy. Sean had inherited his father’s sensitivity to Cortisone, and in order to treat Sean, Frank had to seek other anti-inflammatory medications that did not contain a cortisone derivative. And Frank also had to be careful with the sedatives that he would give the young officer, as he has also inherited his mother’s allergy to morphine. Sean had already had one allergic reaction that Frank did not like, and he was being even more cautious, now. Sean’s delirium was increasing, and further measures would soon be needed to fight the venom, the infection and the fever.

 

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A figure approached him out of the swirling grey mist. He had an air of familiarity, but he was still unknown. Sean was unable to see his face, and while he wasn’t afraid, he was uneasy.

The figure laughed, a strong, hearty laugh, and stood, arms akimbo, legs spread apart.

"Now, doncha’ be knowin’ who I be, Laddie? ‘Tis me, Himself!!"

Sean shook his head, disbelieving his ears, the voice was so familiar… too familiar…The face came into his view, and he started. He was staring at the face of his father…but the face with a difference. There was no warmth in the clear blue eyes, no feeling… the eyes were cold, very cold.

"Do I know you?"

"Aye, lad, ye may… or at least ye be knowin’ of me.. Yer da would have been tellin’ ye of me, I be thinkin’. I be yer ancestor, yer great – great – great – whatever … Seamus O’Hara Nelson, Himself!"

Sean looked at the image in front of him. The build, stature and coloring were his father’s. But the attitude and the overall arrogance of the ‘man’ were anything but. There was no way that this man could be anything but his ancestor. But, what was he doing here? For that matter, where was here? Sean was puzzled, and that puzzlement had to have been transmitted to the being that called himself Seamus Nelson.

"Aye, ye be yer da’s spawn, to be sure, lad. Ye have his reticence…I can see it in yer mind…ye’d like to know the where and the when of it all, wouldn’t ye, now? Well here be the tale, if ye be willin’ ter listen…"

"Wait a minute…Seamus O'Hara Nelson?" Sean's face must have shown astonishment because the figure raised an eyebrow and laughed again.

"Aye…Ya mean ta tell me yer da never told ye of me?" The figure shook his head and smiled slyly. "I visited the lad once or twice…and yer mother…ah…and how be yer lovely mother, lad? If ‘n I remember…" he chuckled, "Yer mother be a handsome, lusty wench…A good suit for yer da, if I may say so. Aye…lusty she was." He laughed, and a look crossed his face that Sean did not like. "I told him ’twas time he took a wife it ‘twas…and I be seein' she was a good breeder as well. I’m lookin’ at ye, Lad….an’ I can see that ye got the Nelson blood, yer do."

"My mother? But what…?"

"Now, ‘tis not yer parents that I be interested in, lad. Nor you, at the moment. I’ve a proposition fer ye, but not yet… If’n you be likin’, I be wantin’ ta take ya on a wee trip, as it were, a look around…I’ve some things ta be showin’ ya."

"A trip? What do you mean a trip… where am I anyway? I seem to remember being in the Med Bay…I was sick with a fever…"

"Aye, yer body is still there, lad. This is a different place, here. ‘Tis another plane…an’ ye’ll be here fer a while yet. So why not be spendin’ the time with yer long lost relative… I promise ye, it’ll be an interestin’ trip." Seamus winked at the young man, and then reached into his pocket for his snuff box, taking a deep snort in each nostril, and then sneezing strongly. "Clears the head…would ya be likin’ some, Laddie?"

Sean shook his head to the negative, " No… no thank you…"

Nelson laughed heartily. "Yer da didn’t want to try it when I offered some ta him. Seems that ye be a lot like him! Mayhap ye’ll not like me offer, but seein’s how yer have the time, I’ll be showin’ ye the parameters… afore I be makin’ it…."

Sean was puzzled and confused. If he was here….where was it? And why was he here…Seamus Nelson answered the questions he was thinking.

"Yer body is fightin’ fever and infection, Laddie. This is another plane that yer on… ‘tis the reason that I kin be talkin’ with ye. But enough! Are ye willin’ ta come with me? Tis no commitment from ye. Come on now, gimme yer hand, and I’ll be takin’ yer on a trip of a lifetime…"

Sean hesitated. He began to remember what his father had told him about this man, who had claimed to be an honest trader, but actually had been a slaver. Sean wondered whether or not to trust him…

Sensing the uncertainty in the young man, Seamus extended his hand to the younger Nelson. "Come, Lad…"

Curiosity won out, and Sean slowly reached for Seamus’ hand, and found himself being pulled away…

 

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Frank was watching the monitors set to give him all the current in formation on Sean’s condition. He had called Rachel Adams in as consultant, because the fever that showed no sign of abating. Sean had already had one seizure that Frank attributed to the fever and spider venom, and he wanted the neurologist present, just in case. He was truly puzzled by the current readings, and he was glad that he had someone to bounce his diagnosis off of… Karen Nelson, as well as Lee and Caitlin Crane, were waiting for some word in the outer room, and he had to have something to say to them, he just didn’t know what to say. Sean should not be as ill as he was.

Frank turned to Rachel Adams. The young neurologist had recently joined the Institute medical staff. She had been one of Harriman Nelson’s many protégés, since that day, long ago, when Sean Nelson had given her his winning egg at the annual Easter Egg Hunt. Harriman Nelson had seen that she had the opportunities for education, and advancement, and she had come to the Institute to return the favor. With the rebuilding of the Med Bay as a full fledged Medical facility, Rachel had been tapped to head the Neurology Department.

"Well, Rach, any thoughts?" Frank asked her.

She shook her head, puzzled… "No… Commander Nelson shouldn’t be in as deep an unconscious state because of the bite, or the infection for that matter. My concern it that the fever, lasting so long, and being so high, will cause some kind of brain damage…I’m monitoring that, but we won’t know for sure until he comes out of it."

"Well, we’ve got a group of worried people out there to face… I know what I’ve got to say, especially to Karen, but is there anything else? At least from your perspective?"

"No, Frank, nothing here…" She lightly laid her hand on Sean’s restless shoulder. "I just wish…"

"Umm, well I think we both do…C’mon, let’s go face the firing squad, and get it over with. I’ve already made arrangements for Karen to be with him, just so you know…"

"I thought you would. Mrs. Nelson is going to want to sit with him, until he begins to get better."

"Well, it's not the first time she's sat with a Nelson man..." Nodding in affirmation, he swung the door open for her, and they went into the waiting room to talk to Karen Nelson and the Cranes.

 

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Karen sat deep in thought. How many times had she kept vigil like this for Harriman? God, how she missed him… all the time, every day, every moment…but she had promised him to see that the Institute, and all that it encompassed would go on, and it had…Sean's return to the Institute had brought her such joy. Why, oh why, did he feel he had to clean out the attic as one of his weekend projects? There was nothing up there that she would be willing to part with. Just a whim on his part. She thought that perhaps, he wanted to search through the things that were stored up there, to reawaken some memories of his father, and their lives here….She knew he missed his father almost as much as she did.

‘Damn!! A stupid accident, and now, her son, their son… was fighting for his life…Damn! Damn! Damn!!!!! Sean, why couldn't you have waited? You didn't need to get up into the attic right now? What in the world were you looking for? I really am getting too old for this, Sean Nelson!!

She looked up as Frank Lerner and Rachel Adams entered the waiting room. Lee was standing by the window, and Caitlin had been sitting next to her, lost in her own thoughts. Frank came to her, bent over, took her hands in his, and kissed her cheek with a familiarity built of years of dealing with the details of the lives of the Institute’s Senior Staff and their families.

"Frank?" her voice was as firm and clear as her eyes. " What’s going on with my son?"

He slid into the chair on the other side of Karen…Lee had moved behind her, placing a hand on her shoulder. She let one of Frank’s hands fall free, and covered Lee’s with hers, absently patting his hand. Frank took a deep breath, and began. "Karen, he’s young and strong, and he should beat this thing."

"Beat this thing, Frank??? This thing? He’s fighting for his life, if what I saw in the ER is any indication. And don’t try to sugar coat it for us… we’ve been here…I’ve been here… too many times before. What is wrong with my son?"

Frank sighed. "Alright, Karen…Clinically, he was bitten by a brown spider. He had a bad reaction to the venom… and the bite site became infected, and developed a bad lesion. All this is common with these types of bites. However, we’ve had to deal with his allergic reactions to both corticosteriods, like the Admiral had, and his sensitivity to morphine, from you. With all of that, our options were considerably narrowed when it came to treatment for the infection and the venom… We had a few setbacks there. The fever’s a result of the infection. When we were finally able to get the infection cleared, we were then able to get the fever under control… The puzzling thing is the depth of his unconsciousness… In any other case, it wouldn’t happen. I just have to believe that it’s the residual of the treatment. Hopefully, he’ll wake up soon…"

Quietly, Karen asked, "Will he? Wake up that is? Frank, will my son recover?"

"Frankly, Karen, I don’t know. I wish I had an answer for you…for all of you," he looked up at Lee and Caitlin Crane. "If I did, I’d tell you…believe me. Right now, both Rachel and I have to believe he’ll recover, but we’ll have to wait and see… there isn’t anything else that we can do."

Karen looked up at Rachel Adams. "Rachel, why are you here? You’re a neurologist…is there a little problem that ya’ll aren’t tellin’ me about?"

"Frank called me in, Mrs. Nelson. There’s always a danger with high fever of involvement with the brain. I’m here because of that, and other reasons, too. If Sean hadn’t been so kind to me all those years ago, at the Easter Egg Hunt, here at the Institute, I wouldn’t have met the Admiral, all of you, and had the opportunities I’ve had. Helping Frank with Sean is one small way that I can repay you all. So here I am." She smiled slightly at Karen, and Lee and Caitlin, and sat in one of the chairs, continuing to talk to Sean’s mother.

 

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Seamus touched Sean on his shoulder, and Sean found himself on the fore-deck of a four-masted sailing ship. The ship was at full sail, and the wind blew strongly, billowing the sails. The ship was moving at fast clip, and shadows of men who had been, climbed the riggings, and manned the deck.

"Well, Laddie…" he shouted over the roar of the wind and the waves, " What are ye thinking o’ me ship… She be a fine, lass, my Banshee’s Wail’… a fine one indeed!"

Sean Pearce Nelson gazed around, mesmerized by the sight and the feel of the ship. He had never been aboard one of these ships in his life, and the feel was hypnotic. He glanced down, and saw he wore the breeches, boots, and hose of a sailor of the 18th century. He found he was wearing a loose shirt, also in the style of the officers of the time… Seamus Nelson laughed at the surprised look on his face.

"Why, Lad… didja think I’d be lettin’ ye wear those foolish clothes of yer time? Now ye look like yer belongin’ here on the fordeck…and below as well…would ye be carin’ ta have a tour of me lady, Lad?"

"Why, yes… I would… I still don’t understand this…"

Seamus clapped him on the shoulder. "Don’ be tryin’ ta figgur it out…go with it, Lad… yer da fought me…don’t you be doin’ the same… at least let me show ya me world…a’for I make ye the offer…"

Again, Seamus had mentioned ‘the offer’ and Sean continued to be puzzled by it all…as well as entranced by this ship and all that it encompassed… He willingly followed Seamus, as he led him to a door to below decks…

 

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A short time later, they stood below at a cabin door… Seamus had his hand on Sean’s shoulder in an attitude of total familiarity. "This here be where ye’ll be restin’ a bit, Lad… tis me own cabin, but I was thinkin’ that I’m needed above, and seein’ as how ye’ve been so ill, ye’d be needin’ to rest a bit…. Go on, now!! Go… and rest yer bones… I’ll be seein’ ya shortly…" He clapped Sean’s shoulder hard, and gave him a push into the cabin, slamming the door.

Sean stumbled in, and was taken by the opulence of the cabin… all rich, mahogany wood and shining brass covered the room. A large desk dominated the far side of the cabin. It was well lit with many lamps, and it gave off a feeling of warmth and welcome… On the desk was a decanter, filled with amber liquid, and several glasses setting at its side. As he turned to the starboard side of the cabin, he stopped, and stared… in the large bunk was a woman. A beautiful, naked woman, with long, dark hair, falling to her waist. Her eyes were liquid chocolate, lit with fire. Her skin was the color of light cocoa, and when she saw him, she smiled the most amazing smile, and reached out her arms to him… he couldn’t resist her welcoming gesture, and he went quickly to the bunk. She rose to her knees, lifted her arms, circling his neck, and pulling her body close to his, kissed him warm and full…part of his mind was surprised but most of his mind blurred, and he responded to her kiss as warmly as she had kissed him…her hands eased the shirt from his shoulders, and down his back. Her gentle tug pulled the shirt from his breeches, and it fell to the deck. Her hands traveled over his chest and back, caressing, and stirring fires of desire. He continued to kiss her, and his hands began a gentle exploration of her body… her soft sighs and murmurs spurred him to become more bold, and quickly, his remaining clothes found their way to the deck, and he found himself in the bunk with her.

 

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Seamus Nelson laughed loudly at the figures entwined in the sheets of the bunk… "Aye, laddie, a Nelson ye are…’tis no doubt!" He slammed the door, startling the two to sudden awareness. The girl sat up in the bunk, and smiled at Seamus.

"Massa, did I do good?" she asked .

"Oh, yes, wench!! Very good….very good indeed!!!" She rose and went to him, and circling his neck with her arms, she kissed him as soundly as she had kissed Sean. Seamus wrapped his arm around her waist proprietarily.

Sean watched her with Seamus, amazed, and horrified…snatching at his breeches, he quickly stood and drew them on, as Seamus looked at him…

"Aye, ye’re a Nelson, by all that’s holy." He stared at the young man, fixing his attention on Sean’s privates. "It’s no wonder that the wench was tired…" and he laughed long and hard.

"You bastard!! You…you used me!!! And her!! …you … you called her a wench!! She’s a slave?!!!"

"Aye, lad… how else would I be havin’ a female in me bunk…? Me darlin’ Maggie would ne’er be takin’ a voyage wi’ me… too many wee ones to be carin’ for. She’s ta home…keepin’ the farm, and the family… She knows me needs…" He crudely gestured. "An I’ve ne’er been one to shake off me needs." He laughed again. He slapped the woman’s buttocks and she squealed, and ran from the cabin… "She’s kept me warm on many a wicked night!"

"How could you?? You sold human beings!! Like they were nothing more than sacks of flour!"

"And made a fine livin’ at it…did fine enough ta leave plenty fer ye, and yer family. Made me a grand livin’ I did."

"We never knew!! My father never knew you were a slaver until late in his life… he had always been told you were a trader in rum, and tea…"

"Aye! That’s what I had planned, lad… "

Sean suddenly felt weak, and held his head… he staggered backward to the bunk, and sat… Seamus became concerned. Sean straightened, and looked at his ancestor… Seeing the young man recover, Seamus smiled… "Seeing ye, and the wench reminded me of yer dear ma… ahh, but she was fine… very fine… yer da was a lucky man, lad… a very lucky man!!! He’d had no need o’other comforts wi’ yer ma on his ship!"

"My mother? …What the hell do you mean?" He stood and was again overcome by dizziness.

"Easy, lad…time grows short…and I have a proposition to make ye, now… that ye’ve know the delights of the wench!" He hooked his thumbs in his belt, and rocked back and forth… "How’d ye like to be here forever? Have the wench or many, all the time….do what e’r ye want, and go where e’r ye be wantin’, sailin’ the seas, ferever….Ye kin have me place…all o’ this kin be yers."

"What do you mean… sail forever?"

"Take me place, Lad…"

"Why would I do that?"

"’Cause yer kin, Lad… ‘Tis the opportunity of dreams…"

"Not dreams…nightmares…I… " Another wave of dizziness overcame him, stopping his thoughts…he felt blackness approaching and Seamus’ voice became stronger… more demanding, but Sean heard another voice…a feminine voice…That one was becoming stronger and drowning out the spirits…

"Lad!!! An answer!! I be needin’ an answer!!!" Seamus cried out.

"No!" Sean shouted out… "No!!! Keep your life, wherever – what ever it is…I don’t want to trade places with you!!" Blackness overcame him and he slumped onto the bed… Seamus stood over him…

"Well, Laddie, ye’ve won this round…Ye’ll be goin’ back ter yer world…this time… but ye and I’ll have further opportunities… Unlike yer da, ye’ve tasted the fruits here…’tis hope fer me yet… and when ye return home… give yer dear ma me best…she be a fine comfort for a man on a cold night!! A fine comfort!!!"

 

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Rachel Adams stood next to Karen Nelson. The young doctor had seen changes in the EEG monitoring Sean…decided increase in activity on an unconscious level. She had leaned over the bed, and was calling his name, talking softly to him, hoping to bring him awake. While his fever had broken several hours ago, and they believed that he should be waking soon, he hadn’t as yet. Rachel had taken the aggressive action of trying to wake him…something was going on, and neither she, nor Frank could figure out what… Moving away from Karen, and closer to the bunk, she laid a delicate hand on his chest. "Sean, c’mon…its time to come back here. You’ve been out of it too long… and we need to see you awake… you’ve given us a good scare…so let’s be done with it, and wake up! Come on." She turned to Karen. "Mrs. Nelson, maybe if you talk to him too… He knows your voice."

The older woman looked down at her son. The vision of him laying there was so eerily reminiscent of earlier times...when she would sit silent vigil with his father. How many times had she been by a bedside...how many times? She had lost count.

"Rachel...can you leave me alone with him? Somehow...someway...it's best." Karen sighed and looked down, stroking the reddish hair of her only living link to Harriman Nelson. "I've done this before...but I never thought I'd have to do it again...He's his father's son, though."

Rachel consented and quietly left the woman standing by the bed.

Karen Nelson picked up her son's hand and entwined his stilled fingers with hers. Looking down on him, she examined her son from head to toe and smiled somewhat to herself. He'd grown into a very handsome man. He was taller than his father by several inches, but his features were that of a Nelson. He had a mixture of his mother's laid back temperament, but could also have his father's Irish temper. She remembered the first time she held him in her arms the day he was born and then looking up into Harriman's teary eyes as he saw her with him.

"Sean," she said, trying to keep her voice from cracking with emotion. "Sean...it's time to come home, ok? What in God's kingdom did you mean by getting up into the attic going through all that stuff?" She played with his fingers the way she'd done when he was a baby. "You know...I remember the times when your father would be in this same position for some reason or another. I had to talk him back a couple of times...now, Sean, it's your turn."

Stopping a moment she looked down his form, outlined under the hospital sheet. He had a fine form, even a mother’s eye could see that, hardened from years of physical conditioning, yet still similar to that of his fathers. Looking deeper into his face, she could have sworn she saw first a smile, then a frown.

Karen forced her voice to become stronger...more direct. "Sean! It's time to come back. Now!!! We need you..." Her voice softened just a bit. "I need you, Sean. You're what I have left of your father. And if truth be told...I do believe that there's a young lady doctor who would be very disappointed if you didn't come back."

There were rapid eye movements...something was registering, but she wasn't sure what. His body, restless with the fever, had been still since the fever had broken. There had been little movement, even as the machines began to register the return of awareness…

Karen held his hand, and stroked his forehead, brushing back the red hair so like his father’s. He suddenly gave a shuddering sigh, and abruptly sat straight up in the rack, shouting …

"No!!! Keep your life, wherever – what ever it is…I don’t want to trade places with you!!" His frame then crumpled back in to the bed, breathing heavily, and twisting in the covers. The various machines began to squeal, and scream, bringing Frank Lerner and Rachel Adams running into the room.

"Karen! What the hell?!!…" Karen was standing next to the rack, and moved aside to let the doctor’s examine her son. The young man’s body was bathed in sudden sweat, and he tossed about, murmuring " No…no… I don’t want too… need to go… need to go home… Mom…Rachel…. Home….." Karen looked at the young neurologist, seeing that she had not registered Sean’s ramblings. Frank had taken hold of his shoulders, and shook him, calling his name as he did… "Sean!! Sean!! Wake up! It’s okay!! You’re here in the Med Bay…Wake up! C’mon!"

He let Sean lay back in the pillows, and watched as the young man fought his way to consciousness. He moved restlessly in the rack, his head turning back and forth on the pillow.

"No!" he cried out… "No!!" and he opened his eyes with a sudden jerk. His eyes were open, and initially unfocussed. Grabbing a better handle on reality he focused on Karen, Rachel and Frank.

"Mom…? What… where…?"

Karen laid her hand on her son’s shoulder, her eyes glazed with tears of gratitude. "In the Med Bay…" she paused….then quietly to him, a small smile playing in her face. " The next time I want the attic cleaned out… I’ll hire someone!! I wish I knew why you decided to do that!"

"’Cause it needed to be done?" he said softly… "Sorry to give you such a hard time… really… I really had good intentions…"

Karen smiled softly… "I know…and I also know what comes of the good intentions of the Nelson men…" she rose from the chair. "I’m going home to rest, now that you are okay…these older bones don’t do these vigils as well as they used to… Rachel’s been here the whole time, and she said she’d sit with you tonight on my behalf…If you don’t’ mind."

"Mmm, no… not at all… but mom, there’s something….something I wanted to tell you…I just can’t remember…" he sighed, " maybe later, when my head is clearer…"

"Yes, when you’re head is clearer…Rest now…" she kissed him lightly on the forehead. "I love you, Sean."

"I know, Mom…I know… I love you, too." Karen walked out of the room, talking to Frank Lerner. Rachel Adams moved to the side of the rack.

"Mind if I sit and talk to you a while?" she asked.

"No, Rachel…just afraid I won’t be much company. I’m tired…" He moved about in the rack, trying to find a comfortable spot. Finally settling, he lay quietly looking at her… His one arm still had an IV in it, and he was still attached to several monitors, but he was able to move, and with his free hand, reached for hers. "Guess I’m pretty lucky." He took her hand, and held it tightly in his.

She didn’t let his hand go, instead she held it more tightly. In gentle admonishment, she replied, "I’ll say. You gave us all a bad time, Sean. Your mother, well, I don’t think she was too sure that we were going to pull you thru. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but here you are. The only thing that we have to worry about is that lesion on your thigh. It’s going to have to be watched for several days… you’re here for the duration."

Sean smiled at her, and as sleep began to tug at him, said, sleepily, " If you’re my doctor, I won’t fight it…Stay Rach…please…" he sank into a deep slumber…and she continued to hold his hand…

 

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The lights in the room were darkened, and a single person sat in the chair next to the rack…Sean was sleeping naturally now. He was exhausted, and he needed to sleep more than anything. Rachel Adams sat next to the bed. Sean’s recent crisis had stirred her to make a decision. She’d been in love with him since they were children at the Easter Egg Hunt… Sean had been six at the time, she had been five. She knew, even then, all those years ago, when he handed her the egg, that she loved him. She vowed that she would be telling him in the next few days, and wanting to know from him just how he felt. He sighed in his sleep and she pulled the blanket up closer on his shoulder. Taking a risk, she leaned toward his face, and kissed him lightly on the cheek… "I love you , Sean Nelson," she whispered, and brushed a hair from his forehead. "You know you frightened me, and your mother, and all of us… You won’t do that to me again, not again!!" she sat back in the chair, and held his hand tightly.

In the shadows of the room, a specter stood and watched the scene. Chuckling to himself, he said softly, "Ye’ve got yerself a fine lookin’ woman there, Laddie… seems she’s lovin’ ye too. Yer showin’ good taste, lad…very good taste…just like your da… your mother… a fine woman…equal ta any man in her bed…. And I know, Lad… I know…" he sighed a bit, and then smiled again…. "‘Tis at times like this that I miss me Maggie… but if’n ye be takin me up on me offer… , mayhap I’ll be seein’ her at a future time… Ye'll be hearing from me again, Lad, have not a doubt!" and he laughs... "No doubt at all…" and he faded into the wall, leaving a chill. Rachel shivered, and pulled her jacket more tightly about her, surprised at the sudden coolness in the room…

 

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Karen Davis Nelson wearily went about preparing for bed. Sean was going to be fine… this time… How many more times did they have to go through this? How many more, before one that didn’t end as well, and as happily? She sighed, wishing mightily that Harriman was still with her. She sat on the bed, his side of the bed, and began to brush her hair. Finished, she put the brush down, and took the pitcher and glass on the nightstand, and poured a glass of water. Sipping at it, she closed her eyes. Finishing the water, she turned to put it on the nightstand, and froze as she heard a familiar laugh. She looked around the room, for the source of the sound.

A ghostly figure stepped from the shadows, with an eerie familiarity to the woman sitting on the bed. "Greetin's, darlin' I be glad ta be seein yer again!"

Karen let out a small cry, and dropped the glass in her hand. Her other hand went in instinctively to her heart. "You!"

With a chuckle, the specter continued, " Well, now, and it’s scarin’ ye I am, is it? I’m sorry, darlin’… I was just wantin’ ta tell yer that yer lad is a fine one, Karen, me dear. Ye, and yer late husband did a fine job wi’ him." He chuckled ribaldly, and continued, "Let me tell yer, he'd proved he's truly a Nelson in every way Treated the wench well...and then called ‘Himself’ a bastard ta boot!" And he laughed heartily again.

Suddenly fearful of what Seamus Nelson meant, Karen angrily questioned, "What the hell are you talking about...proved? Of course he's a Nelson...he's his father's son. What did you do to him, you bastard? What the hell did you do to my son?"

"Do? Why, I dinna do a thing to the Lad…’twas him that was doin’, not I! And darlin’, I be no Bastard…Nay, me da, and me ma was married… I was already a presence," he shrugged, ‘but they was married. An’ as ta the Lad, why nothin', nothin' at all... I just offered him... an opportunity."

"You weren't satisfied with the fact that you couldn't have Harriman, were you? An opportunity? Well, obviously, he turned you down....just as his father did!"

Seamus laughed… "Aye, but then he took advantage of the delight in me bunk, and served her well. His da would ne’er be doin’ that!"

"Sean would never do that willingly either. Never!!"

"Karen, me darlin', I’m tellin’ ye, he did and then some… the wench was well pleased! And me havin’ a good look at the lad, well, he is a Nelson! He performed well, he did..." He shook his head in mock sorrow, his eyes glowing with glee at her discomfort. "Now, me darlin’ Maggie would have been proud of a lad like him...right proud… and o’ his performance as well…"

"He's Harriman's son....and he's mine. He’s nothing to you…nothing at all!! I don't know what the hell you did to him....but understand this...You will not have him....Not as long as I stand on this earth. His father may be gone, but I'm here!"

"Aye, ye’re here… and there’s the rub, so ta speak. Yer world an’ mine are not in concert, so ye’d better realize that now… an’ as far as that fine broth of a lad, 'tis not your decision to make, me darlin'… tis his, and I know that I've piqued the lad's interest… T’wasn’t the lad’s first time in the sheets… a practiced eye can tell!" He grinned at Karen with nothing more than a pure look of absolute delight… "tell me… the lass that was with him...in yer hospital, is she good for him?"

"That’s none of your business, you old lecher!! And what were you doing watching him? Getting some kind of pleasure out of it..?"

"All I’m sayin’ is that he's tasted the wine, darlin', my special wine, and he's liked it . And if ye be answering his questions, well, yer answers may or may not sway him. I’m thinkin’ it depends on how he’s feelin’ about the woman and the wench… one o’ them will be winning the lad… the one that is stronger, methinks…"

"The woman?…" Karen thought for a moment, trying to organize her thoughts in the face of this spirit from the past. "Rachel! Why, yes...she's good for him… her love for him is strong. And Seamus, I do know my son....and he's like his father… he’ll turn you down again and again…"

"Well, darlin’, I’m wonderin’ after all, fer, ye know, this be my world, not yours... and I have hold here, not ye, as much as ye'd like to think. He's drunk deep of my wine, Karen Nelson... and the wine ‘twas a sweet one. a very sweet one…"

"We'll see, indeed, Seamus O’Hara Nelson! ....We will see. I know my son, he's as much my child as he is Harriman's. Just go away and leave him and all of us alone...do you understand me????? Leave him be!"

"Nay, darlin... I'll not be leavin’ him alone… there'll be other times I’ll be visitin’ him and askin’ him the same question. And then we’ll see…" He grinned at her.

"Then you and I will tangle too, Seamus....whether here on this earth....or afterward. But I swear to you... you’ll not get your hands on him!"

"Darlin’, there are things about the lad, that you don't know...that no proper mother would be knowin’ and I do… nay, I'll not be leavin’ him alone… I miss me Maggie, an' I've the desire to see her again!"

"What the hell do you mean by that? How does my son...?"

"He's the way for me ta get to her... I'll be wantin' him ta take me place at the helm. And, now that he knows the fruits of me labors… he just may .... Someday…Karen Nelson…Someday!!!" He laughed, loudly, tipped his hand to her in a jaunty salute, and disappeared.

Karen gripped the edge of the bed, whispering, "No! Sean would never do that....Never!.... No, Seamus....you think he may... and you may have tricked him... But I know my son....Harriman Nelson's son...and you won't win… You’ll never win!!"

 

Finis

( A note or two: Friends, here’s hoping that the brogue of Seamus O’Hara Nelson isn’t too disturbing to the pattern of the story. We couldn’t write about him without the brogue…the phrase, ‘fine broth of a lad’ simply means a big strapping male!!! And here’s ta yer all… we’ll be hoping ye’ve enjoyed the tale, and assure ye that we’ll be doin’ more…:-) )

 

 

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