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He was only going to lay down for an hour. He'd been running like crazy all this past week. He'd managed to see the kids every night for the past week and then the planning of this party. Benny Ray laid down on the couch, pulling the cushion under his head, one foot up, the other planted on the floor, arms crossed. It wasn't five minutes before anyone observing him would have noticed his facial muscles relax and the slow rhythmic breathing of sleep.

Margo was gently shaking him, "Benny Ray, wake up, I've got the costumes." She holds out the lab coat and stethoscope.

He grins as he slips on the coat, "Name tag and all."

"Come along Doctor Riddle, you're patients await." Margo intones with a wicked laugh as they walk upstairs.

As they enter the room, Benny Ray stops to look around at the large group of people, all dressed in costume. The music seemed to thump in rhythm to the movement of the people instead of the other way around. He raised the glass to his lips, Champaign really wasn't his thing, but it tasted cool and refreshing. He spotted Matt coming toward him across the room. Something was wrong, Matt was dressed for a mission, including weapons but no one in the room seemed concerned. Benny Ray looked around, suddenly feeling uneasy. Matt's stride and face said this was all business.

"Benny Ray, I'm glad to see your dressed for the infiltration. Margo's filled you in. We'll come in as soon as you say go." Matt took the glass from his hand and steered him toward the door.

"I'm good to go sir." Benny Ray responded, looking around for familiar faces, not finding them. Feeling the need to move, yet not sure where or why, just moving as if by instinct.

He pushed open the doors in front of him, stepping into a hallway, bathed in florescent light. People were rushing around him, all dressed in hospital attire. Where was he supposed to go? Margo hadn't said anything now that he thought about it. What was he supposed to be doing, what was the mission? He looked around feeling lost, the tug on his sleeve breaking into his thoughts. "Dr. Riddle, room three. They need you now." Wondering who the nurse was referring to, reaching for her as she turns, but his grasp is slow. He can't seem to get his voice to work as he follows her into the room. His attention is riveted to the center of the room as he walks toward the table as if drawn by an invisible cord. With a feeling of horror, he watches as his hands reach out to the person lying on the table, the words come spilling out of his mouth, although he has no clue what he is talking about. His hands are inside this person! He watches as if he is inside someone else's body. His hands seem to know what to do. Within moments, he is peeling the laytex gloves off as they push the gurney out of the room.

He looks around the now empty room, what was he supposed to do? He spots movement from the other room and feels himself pressing open the door. He sizes up the woman standing in the middle of the room, she looks familiar but he can't seem to place her. She turns as he asks, "What are you doing here?"

"I've been waiting for you." As her arms wrap around him, kissing him. He presses against her returning the kiss. He presses her against the table. Closing his eyes, he is pulled into the moment, her hand caresses his arm, grasping his hand. He feels the pressure on his hand as Mary Ellen's' scream breaks through the fog. The baby! He looks in wonder as the bundle is placed into his arms. He is so afraid that he will drop the baby, but he can't hold it too tight. So fragile and small. He watches in wonder, the head turns, the mouth moves, small fingers wiggle and grasp onto his fingertip. This small person would depend on him. He has to show the others. He pushes open the double doors.

"Benny Ray where have you been? take position! We're under fire!" Matt's voice rattles in his ear as he instinctively ducks, looking for the infant but finding a semi auto rifle instead. "I'm on my way Matt!" Benny Ray looks around at the dark foliage, taking in the smell of the hot humid jungle surrounding him. He runs a route that would bring him up to a position where he could take down the tangos. The fox hole was in front of him. He jumped, expecting to hit ground. Instead he feels himself falling, falling, falling. He doesn't remember hitting bottom.

The low murmur of voices around him slowly bring him out of the fog. People are crying. He tries to open his eyes, yet can't, he can feel hands touch his arm. What's going on? They were all talking about him but not too him. He can hear Matt's voice, "Margo we have to close it now."

"Close what? No! Don't go! Close what?" He can feel the panic rising! He can't move, speak. He has to get their attention! They're going to close him in!

He can hear Margo's voice, "Benny Ray. Benny Ray!"

"Don't close it!" he screams, sitting up almost head butting Margo!

"Whoa! You alright! What do you mean don't close it?"

Benny Ray looks around, making sure he is awake this time, his heart pounding out a staccato beat. He has to stare at Margo for a few moments, till he realizes who she is in her Bride of Frankenstine costume, "I'm good, just a bad dream."

"You sure?" Margo didn't seem convinced.

Benny Ray stood up, changing the subject before he had to explain more, "You got my costume?"

"One mad scientist coming up." she hands him coat, goggles, rubber gloves and a beaker containing what looked to be a hazardous liquid.

Eyeing the liquid, they both turn as C. J. and Chance come down the stairs, "You look half dead mate!" The two couldn't look any different. Chance was dressed to kill in suit and tie, while C. J. was dressed in ragged jeans, blood stained t-shirt and a Hells Angles leather biker jacket, with white makeup slathered all over him. "Funny coming from a dead biker." Chance groans, slapping C. J. on the shoulder.

C. J. tries to sound hurt, "Watch the leather mate. I've got to get it back before the bloke wakes up."

Margo asks as they laugh, "You look good. Aren't you coming to the party?"

Chance grins, "No, I have a grown up date."

"On Halloween night, no costume?" Benny Ray teases.

"That is his costume. Ladies man!" Margo laughs.

Happy Halloween 2001 everyone!

 

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