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   Chapter 16 Brownie Oxford and the Ashland Affair

Brownie Oxford and the Ashland Affair: Brownie Bk1 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 13126

Updated: 2018-03-07 14:28

Chapter 16

Time fell into a more or less steady routine. I ran in the mornings and visited the residents in the cemetery. After a consult with Dr. Alan, I provided the energy the others needed to fully interact. After a week of steady interaction, Dr. Alan asked that I spend a week focusing on one person in the same manner I would when dealing with someone like Mrs. Ellison.

After that week, he asked me to focus on one resident the way I would when working with Swift. Once levels had been recorded and checked against previous scores, Dr. Alan had me work on my newly forming skills, and I watched various memories, discovering that with practice I could use as many or as few of my senses as I wished. I could even block the images from arising should I want, which gave me a great feeling of relief. Adding to my collection of nightmares had never been a high priority.

The residents traded out participants, each one seeming happy to help, letting me wander through their memories and see their lives. It was much more scientific than anything I had managed on my own and I felt a level of confidence rising in me. I knew together we would figure out a way to break my dependence on the pills.

As the days slipped by, I gained a detailed first person's perspective of live in Mayenfield and even watched the town being built. It amused me to find that while Mayenfield was today a quiet, quaint little town, at one point it was a wild place with more saloons and brothels than genteel stores. While some of the later residents seemed ashamed of the rough and tumble stories, looking mortified by the tales of shoot outs and bar brawls, earlier residents took great delight in the details of the accounts.

As we progressed, Barbara, the nutritionist, offered suggestions for meals to help improve my liver function and lower my need for the pills. Whenever any change in my levels occurred, she suggested a change to balance them again before the pills could be needed. Upon finding out scrambled eggs was the limit of my cooking abilities, many of the residents, including Jonas, a former cook at the Whistlestop Café, offered their expertise, showing me in step by step detail various ways to prepare the foods Barbara suggested I consume.

Slowly, my skills in the kitchen increased and I added various items from Bobby-Jay's junk shop to my small collection of cookware. I even went into the high end kitchen goods store to pick up a brand new spatula and silicone muffin mold. The fact that I now knew how to make blueberry muffins made me feel like I could tackle anything.

I paid various visits to the library, did my laundry on Mondays, completed my winter coat and continued adding pieces to my wardrobe, visiting The Busy Bee when necessary to re supply. Once a week, I stopped in to ask Paul if he had heard from Swift, always receiving a negative response. While Paul had not warmed overly much to me, he seemed content that I was willing to follow a basic routine and for the most part, stay out of sight. I was happy he followed a basic routine as well, and learned it as he learned mine.

Paul arrived at the B&T at seven am and opened up, a fact I knew more from his word than personal observation as he was always in place when I returned from my running. He worked in the store until noon and then took lunch at the Whistlestop Café. After lunch, he would return to work, closing the store at eight pm and heading back to his house a few blocks away.

At first I told myself that I was watching him to make certain I could find him if something happened. I'm sure this is what he believed and why when I asked for clarification of his schedule he approved and gave me the details I wanted. As time passed and my list of meals that helped me refrain from taking the pills became more solid, tested, and more importantly consistently repeatable, I realized that I was taking notes on Pau

aw the dented brass stand, the different colors of the light as it passed through and around the shade. I even pictured the gleam of the wooden nightstand next to the bed. I felt something inside me jerk, like I was a kite being ripped from its string or a fish caught on a hook, although the hook seemed to be fixed deep in my belly instead of my mouth. I opened my eyes in reaction and found myself once again in my bed.

I looked around me in shock. Had I managed to escape the dream or had the dream changed? I pinched myself and it hurt. Could I hurt myself in a dream? I didn't know. I looked at the clock. Only twenty minutes had passed. If I had escaped the dream, was it waiting, lurking until I fell back asleep to pounce? Again, I didn't know. I swallowed hard. I watched the numbers change on the clock. When five minutes had passed, and nothing strange happened, I felt confident that this was reality and not another dream. I lay down and closed my eyes, hoping for the best. I fell asleep and stayed mercifully dreamless until morning.

My accomplishment caused much excitement among the residents the next morning. I was congratulated by Stella, who had shown me how to make pot roast, and watched Farley, who once played piano in one of the local saloons, break out into a jig.

Thaddeus looked as though he were ready to burst his buttons with pride and kept saying "Well done, my dear, showed him what's what, I tell you. Well done." I felt as if I had just aced the science fair or won a spelling bee and couldn't help the foolish grin that spread across my face. Dr. Morely, the one resident therapist, made me recount all of the details repeatedly, taking great delight in the fact that a book meant for therapists had proved itself so useful to me.

My confidence soaring, I returned to my apartment, finished my dress and picked up a pencil and sketchpad I had found in a local stationary store. Rather than work from any of my accumulated patterns, I began to sketch something I had seen in a magazine. I adjusted it here and there to better suit me and then broke it down into components so I could make my own pattern.

"I can leave the dreams Martha, " I told my headless companion as I worked. "If I can leave, there is no way he can force me into the tower, even if Dave tells him my name. I can just walk away." I was filled with a deep sense of relief. "With luck, I can repeat it next time, " I told her voicing my one major concern. Would my trick work a second time? I decided to worry about it later and began humming to myself as I began laying out my pattern.

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