by Raji Singh
A noose awaits my jailed great grandparents Doc and Shelva Fiction if tall taler Efraim’s capricious kidney kills him – bad patent elixir they’ve been accused of pedaling, dontcha’ know.
But there are strange forces mixing and mingling in the night air – that of Luny Mum, and a mystic blind woman and all the powers of the five human senses. The power of these combined forces is infinite. If Doc can only recognize, then interpret them he can save he and his wife’s sleek necks.
* * *
Millie bends backwards, staring blindly at the jailhouse ceiling. She thinks a short prayer for her eyes and for Doctor Fiction’s healing hands. Shelva reaches through the jail cell bars and props her head. Using a medicine dropper, Doc carefully applies his mix of ancient Lindian cures around the corneal areas. Following the ‘plip, plip, plips,’ she hears a slight bacon frying-like ‘sizzle’ accompanied by a smoldering sulfur smell. She tenses, and squirms and moves to rise.
“It’s to be expected, Mrs. Jackson,” Doctor Fiction says. He repeats the process with the other eye as he presses on her temples to restrain her. “Keep your head back. Do not blink. You will feel tingling. That means it is working. The years of built up, what I call ‘scrup’, are burning off.”
Seeing Millie’s facial expression tightening, Shelva strokes her hair. “Relax, sister. Trust Doc. His treatments do no harm. They can only help.” She takes a sachet of lavender petals from her purse and ruffles it so Millie can breathe its calming scent.
With the first ‘plip’ Millie was ready to run, screaming from the jailhouse. With the second she wanted to curse the pain, and damn the Fictions “all to hell” – both things the mild of manner, ‘churched-up’ woman normally never would do. Ah, but the third ‘plip’s’ the charm. With it Millie sees for the first time – a slight light ray. How appropriate that it emanate from her old friend Luny Mum.
A miracle! A prayer answered. Ecstasy! Millie smiles broadly. All tension flees her neck and face.
Luny Mum shines continually through the jail window. The warmth of her glow tells Millie. ‘Soon you shall see me in my full glory, Little Sister.’ Mum’s embrace is so comforting, Millie breathes deeply and calmly. Mum’s suddenly mysterious whispering warmth tells Millie a secret. ‘As, shall you soon fully see. So now, I will enable the Doctor a special insight – through my magic.’ Mum glints brightly into Millie’s soft eyes that Doc Fiction is constantly examining, and ‘scrup’-wiping.’ ‘Look deeply into her eyes, Doctor Fiction. That is where your Luny Mum shall show you what you must know to save Brother Efraim.’
~ ~ editor note: For any of us, a revelation can come instantly. It usually doesn’t, ‘just happen’. It is because we immerse ourselves in the problem, situation, or encumbrance. Doc had pondered over he, and Shelva’s dilemma for hours in the cell. A sudden revelation for Doc – triggered by Luny Mum’s light that rainbows through the cocktail of medicines he used in Millie’s eyes – makes him realize… ~ ~
Doc begins setting out an array of multi-colored vials on a small stand and then combining select ones with the medicine dropper. He considers silently,
‘Thousands of years worth of studied, tested, and proven base solutions – all in just a dozen vials I carry in my medical bag. Mixed precisely, they can form thousands of curatives. Yet, I do not believe any of that is required to help, maybe even heal Efraim. A simple stratagem to fool him, and in turn his immune system, is all that is necessary.’
~ ~ editor note: The term ‘placebo’ was not yet widely used in the medical arena of the 1890’s. ~ ~
‘But, one drop of…,’ Doc says to himself. ‘Just enough to paralyze the troubled kidneys to give his metabolism a chance to slow – to rest – until I or another physician can examine him in person.
‘NOW to get the dose to him, and administered.’ “Mrs. Jackson,” he says as Shelva helps her upright, “I have a favor, a huge favor to ask of you.”
Shelva wipes tears, perspiration, and ‘scrup’ from around her eyes with a handkerchief. She is beginning to see the blurred silhouettes of her newfound friends. “You both have done so much for me. So, yes. Anything. Short of unlocking and opening my husband’s jail doors for you.”
NEXT WEEK: WILL THE DOC’S MEDICAL RUSE LOSE?
(Join me every Sunday night at the Fiction House, your place for short story, lark, whimsy, and merriment. Meet the many residents as I archive their lives and centuries of adventures. You can read their origins in my novel TALES OF THE FICTION HOUSE, but that’s a different story. It’s available at Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.)
©Raji Singh, 2013