**Note: The below post was written by the late, great, author Shellye H. Townsend at an earlier date and found today March 24th 2017 by me, her surviving husband Doug Townsend. I found this while looking through some of her blog posts on her site. She had always given me her passwords to all of her sites and accounts so I am not hacking her account or anything like that. This is just an unfinished work by her and was saved as a draft but there was no date that it was written. I believe she wanted to release this to her fans but just hadn’t finished it. This is such a great example of her writing talent and I really wish I could properly take over all of her work but I do not have that talent at all. I do hope to one day find someone who could take over all of her stories and ghost-write the remainder of her work to be published in her name. Until that time please enjoy her wonderful writing and this unfinished story that has never been seen until now.
This is probably the most honest post I’ve ever written and ever will write.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Is it a real place or is it a fictional place? What would you do there? Who would you want to meet? Are they real people or fictional characters? I know it seems like I’m interrogating you, (Where were you on the night of July 24th, 2013?) but I really want to know.
There is only one place I would go, my book series. I dream about it all of the time. I’ve even prayed to God about it. After all, His word says, “With God, ALL THINGS are possible.” I take that scripture seriously. I’ve fallen madly in love with my fictional characters. Their world isn’t perfect, because I write realistic fiction. They experience some of the same problems that nonfictional people experience, but I want to go there nonetheless.
I asked my husband if he thought I was going mad. This is not normal, healthy behaviour, at least I don’t think so, but he keeps assuring me that this is normal for a writer to experience, but I have yet to find a writer who feels the same way. Why do I always have to be the weird one? Why can’t I just be happy with what I have?
My life is good. I have a wonderful husband, wonderful family and friends, a good church, a home, two kitties (my boy kitty is in his fourteenth year and my girl kitty is in her sixth), clothes on my back, food in my tummy, a home, a bed in which to sleep, and the career of my dreams. I love being a writer. I work from home. I’m never lonely, because I’m always with fictional characters. I get to travel without leaving my desk. I can be anything I want to be and do anything I want to do through my fictional characters. Even if I’m living vicariously through my fictional characters, it still fills those basic needs in my life.
While my life is good, there are still some things about it that I would like to change, and most of those things I would change are about me. I’m too comfortable being alone. I crave solitude. I’m happy to go off in a corner by myself while everyone around me gathers into their little cliques and groups. I don’t mind. I rarely feel left out. If I’m not invited somewhere, I don’t get upset. I think, “That’s just more time I can be using to work.” I do have my moments, but they’re few and far between. Too much solitude is probably not healthy. That brings me to my next point. I probably crave solitude due to social anxiety issues. I’m fairly sure I don’t need to elaborate there. I probably neglect my husband and my friends way too much because I’m a workaholic. I’m too much of a workaholic. I get so caught up in my work that I often neglect not just the people in my life, but myself and my own needs. While I love my job, as of right now, I don’t bring in any money. I will bring in some sort of money when I get published. (I just need an editor, because my editor is having family problems that need immediate undivided attention, a publisher, and a metric crap ton of help on making these things happen. That’s all. No big deal. *freaking out*) We could definitely use more money, I don’t know anyone who couldn’t, and if they say they couldn’t, they’re lying. There are people who don’t need any more money. There’s a difference between needing more money and using more money. That’s another story for another time.
Recently, my life took an unexpected turn.
I will try to explain this as clearly as possible, but I’m still not quite sure if this is a dream or if this really happened. Whatever it was, dream, vision, something, it happened last night. My husband and I got into bed. I was beyond the valley of exhausted, and I fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow. I was hoping for a good night’s sleep, but I was awakened around half past two. I had to piddle. I am constantly thirsty, so this isn’t a new development. I assumed that I would get up, use the restroom, and crawl back into bed. So I did my business, washed my hands, and headed back into the bedroom, I was about to get back into bed, but I noticed that my laptop was on. That’s odd. I thought I turned my laptop off before I got into bed. I shrugged and walked over to my desk. I pulled out the chair and sat down. I was shocked to see that my word document opened with one of my twenty-four books. I shut down the computer. Maybe it didn’t shut down. The, “Save Now” message was on the screen. Did I want to save it now? I suddenly cannot remember the last thing I wrote. I hit cancel and scrolled down to review the last paragraph that I had written. Satisfied, I hit the save icon. Words began flying across the screen.
“No, no, no, no, no! OMG, what’s happening?!? I can’t lose my work, I can’t,” I cried.
Behind me, my husband moaned in his sleep.
“Wake up, my computer’s gone crazy,” I called. “I may have lost everything!” I stopped. My husband turned into a pile of words and they began falling off of the bed. I gasped. What was happening? My first thought was, “God said…” It’s right there in Genesis. “And God said let there be…” He spoke everything into existence, including us. We are made of words. As I contemplated this, everything continued turning into words. They were swirling around me, and I was afraid. I didn’t know what would happen next. I felt myself falling, quickly at first, and then I slowed down. It was more like floating, but on what? I heard paper rustling as I continued to gently float downward. I stopped abruptly and found myself in a white room. I looked around.
“Hello,” I called. “Hello?”
There was no answer. I looked around. I heard what sounded like typing, and words appeared on the screen.
“Step inside,” the unknown writer typed.
“How,” I asked aloud.
The words began gently dropping down from the screen. I moved out of the way. After all, words hurt. But none of them dropped on me. The words began forming something. As they took shape, I realized they were forming a book. Before my very eyes, twenty-four books were formed. The title to each one was obscured. Just my luck. I have twenty-four books and no titles, and I STILL didn’t get any insight as to what I would call each one, but here they were, lined up in front of me.
“What now,” I questioned.
One of the books opened.
I walked over. I read the copyright information and the year, but the title was still obscured. I turned the pages slowly and carefully. I heard music. Where was it coming from? As I turned the page, my hand went straight through it. I gasped and tried to pull it back, but instead, I fell, hard, onto a carpeted floor.
I looked up. I was in a lavishly decorated church. I gasped. Someone reached down to help me up. I recognized his hand. He had wide, short fingers. His was calloused from all of the hard work he did as a young boy. He gently pulled me to my feet.
“You’re Paul Harris,” I managed.
Paul smiled. “In the flesh,” he replied. “Are you okay?”
I couldn’t speak. I just stared at my fictional character. He was everything I had pictured. He had straight red hair that was neatly combed, bright green eyes with that twinkle of mischief lurking within them, and his smile, I could see why it drove Tallullah Wallace so crazy. My heart started pounding.
“Don’t just stand there, say something,” Paul begged.
I looked around the sanctuary. I noticed more of my fictional characters. I saw Paul’s wife, Tallullah. She was standing at the front of the sanctuary, waiting to see what would happen next. She was even more beautiful that my imagination had allowed her to be. She had porcelain skin. Her chin length, jet black hair was tucked behind her ears. She wore a black pants suit and red heels, which didn’t surprise me. She was a lot like me in many ways. She wasn’t the type who liked to wear dresses. Her dark blue eyes were the color the bluest ocean. They were filled with concern as she waited.
“Tallullah,” I stammered.
Tallullah walked over. “Is she okay?”
Paul turned to her. His boyish grin had faded. “Maybe you should have Steve take a look at her.”
“Steve’s here,” I asked.
“Who are you,” Tallullah demanded.
That was one question I did not know how to answer. I struggled to think of a fake name. I could be in real trouble if they found out I was the writer. I knew that Dr. Leah Wallace-Tenenbaum would punch me dead in the face. After all, I wrote that she and her husband, Ryker, had two sets of twins. I should probably punch myself in the face for that.
“We’re waiting,” Paul urged gently.
Tears welled up in my eyes. “I don’t know,” I lied.
“I’ll get her something to drink,” a familiar female voice offered. She took off out of the room.
I turned in the direction she went and waited for her to return. I knew the voice was familiar. It was my character, Daisy. She was stunning. Her waist length raven hair was down and hung in gorgeous waves that flowed down her back. She was dressed to the nines in a belted maxi dress with navy blue and white chevron print, A white cardigan and red Prada heels completed her look. She ran over and handed the bottle of water to me. Her bright blue eyes scanned my face.
I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out.
Daisy reached up and tucked my hair behind my ear. She put her arm around me and guided me to the front. “Sit right here and drink your water,” she instructed. “When Steve comes back into the sanctuary, I’ll have him look at you.”
I nodded. I took a few sips of the water and tried my best to calm down. I had no idea how I got there. I was sure I was dreaming, but everything felt so real.
Daisy sat down next to me. I glanced over at her a few times. She was incredibly beautiful. She looked over at me and smiled. She had her mother’s smile. I smiled back.
Tallullah made her way back to her seat.
Paul returned to the platform. He told the choir to sing their next song.
Steve walked into the sanctuary. He approached Daisy. “Sorry I took so long. Ashtyn wanted me to stay with her for a few minutes.”
“Is she okay,” Daisy asked.
“I think she’s missing Declan,” Steve replied.
“I know I am,” Daisy admitted.
“Me too,” Steve agreed. He turned his attention to me.
I recoiled. Steve was my favorite fictional character. He was the perfect man, just completely perfect. He was 6’1. His wavy, light brown hair was perfect chaos. His gray eyes looked like the perfect storm brewing on some windy evening. He was beautiful in every way, especially his hands. He had long, skinny fingers. His hands had performed surgery, and that made them even more attractive. He was very intelligent and a hyperpolyglot. (He spoke seven languages fluently.) He had on a navy blue suit, white button down shirt, and navy blue and red diagonal striped tie. He had on black Italian loafers. I just kept staring at his shoes nervously.
“She passed out. She doesn’t remember her name,” Daisy began.
“I’ll go get my bag,” Steve said.
“Can I go with you? I need some air,” I managed softly.
Steve reached his hand down to me. I was afraid to take it. What if it turned into words and disintegrated? I reluctantly took his hand. He helped me to my feet and escorted me into the narthex. He stopped to open one of the ornate double doors.
My breath caught in my throat. What would happen when Steve opened the doors? What would happen when I stepped outside? Would I return to the real world?
Steve opened the door. Sunlight flooded the narthex. I cautiously peered outside.
“What are you waiting for? You said you needed some air,” Steve reminded me.
I nodded. I followed him outside. It was cold. I crossed my arms, shivering as the wind whipped around me. I looked down at myself and realized that I was in my pajamas. I was embarrassed. I took in my surrounding, looking at the barren trees. It had to be winter.
Steve turned to me. He removed his suit jacket and approached me. He draped it around my shoulders.
I hugged the jacket to me. I caught a whiff of his cologne, that clean smell. It comforted me and scared me at the same time.
“You look absolutely panic-stricken,” Steve observed.
“I am,” I admitted.
Steve smiled sympathetically. “Everything’s going to be fine.” He turned and headed for the parking lot. “My BMW is over here.”
I followed behind him.
Steve got into the car and retrieved his bag. He hit the lock button and turned around. “Let’s get you back inside,” he said. He guided me back toward the church.
When we stepped back into the narthex, Paul was standing there, waiting for us. “You can take her into my office.”
“Thank you, Paul,” Steve said gratefully.
Paul nodded. “Text me and let me know how she’s doing.”
“I will,” Steve promised. He turned to me. “Follow me, please.”
I followed Steve through the narthex, into the hallway, and to Paul’s office.
Steve opened the door. “Ladies first.”
I stepped inside. I was scared to death. My heart started pounding with a mixture of excitement and fear. God had answered my prayer. Here I was in the midst of my characters, and I had no idea what to do.
“Lie down on the couch,” Steve instructed.
I stretched out on the couch in Paul’s office, placing one of the pillows underneath my head.
Steve got into his medical bag. He began checking my vitals. “You have absolutely no memory of what happened?”
“I don’t even know how I got here,” I informed him.
Steve looked at me. He raised an eyebrow. “Where were you before?”
I cringed. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
Steve’s eyes met mine. “Try me.”
I sighed. “I was at home, asleep in bed. I woke up around two. I saw that my computer was on, so I went over to turn it off. That’s the last thing I remember. Then I fell on the floor right in the middle of service.”
Steve’s gaze was fixed on me. “According to your vitals, you’re telling the truth, at least your body believes you’re telling the truth, but that can’t be possible. There has to be an underlying cause. Maybe you experienced trauma and you’re blocking it out. It’s a crazy world out there.”
“You can say that again,” I remarked.
Steve finished checking my vitals. He put his equipment back into the bag. He pulled out his phone.
“Who are you calling,” I asked nervously.
“Dr. Sheffield,” Steve replied. “He’s the top neurologist at Wallace Memorial Hospital. A CT scan and an MRI couldn’t hurt. Maybe he can help figure out what happened to you before you got here.”
“That would be great,” I lied. I already knew what had happened, but I couldn’t prove it.