May Bell Lee walks down the country road, wearing her favorite floral dress and heels. The boys are back from the front and her friend Nancy is having a little get together in her family’s barn. She knows that the party will be swell, considering Frank Rollins will be there. The handsome airman that could make any girl swoon, with a flash of those dazzling turquoise eyes. Her heart does a skip, thinking about Frank, wondering if he will be as keen on her, as she is on him. He was released from a hospital in Europe last month and medically discharged from the Air Force due to an injury that he had sustained in the war. May Bell stops in the middle of the road, feeling the need to smoke, to release some nervous energy, she is feeling about the airman.
Derrick Harrison drives through the night in his old pick-up truck. He’s supposed to pick up his brother from the old county jail in this Podunk town up ahead. He called his cell the day before, slurring like he was the drunkest man in America. He said that he had just reached over the counter, and beat the hell out of the bartender, when the guy cut him off. Typical Tommy: hot head till the end. Derrick puts his foot on the gas, revving the engine, knowing no one would be out here this time of night.
She reaches into her pocketbook to retrieve her cigarette carton and lighter. As she takes one out and sets it ablaze, she hears a loud noise from behind her. She recognizes the sound to be a roaring engine of a vehicle, seemingly traveling at a high speed. Before she can react to the monstrous vehicle heading towards her, she feels its cold metal collide into her.
May Bell’s eyes open to the crisp blue sky and the bright sun above. It takes her a moment to get herself together enough to slowly sit up. As she does so, an unfamiliar sound fills the air, almost like a tiny little music box. Her head whips to the sound and her eyes fall on a man, only a short distance away. She notes that he is dressed very strangely, in a pair of blue jeans with holes in them at the knees, and a non-collared black shirt, with a picture of what appears to be a shark on the front. She stares at the man in confusion, sitting on a nearby bench, holding what appears to be a box in his hands. She doesn’t have the faintest idea what the purpose of the box is but she quickly dismisses the peculiarity.
She then turns away from the man and takes in the scene around her. There’s a woman pushing, what appears to be a baby carriage, dressed in a shirt that is much too tight and inappropriately designed. She also has what appears to be a strange covering over her legs, reminiscent of the pantyhose her mother wears, but going all the way up to her waist. May Bell’s stomach drops when she looks down at her own clothing. She notices that she is no longer wearing her favorite dress and heels, but has on blue pants, a strange pair of white shoes, and a red blouse that shows some of her cleavage. May Bell suddenly feels like all the air is extracted from her lungs and she faints as a result.
Derrick’s eyes open to the sound of gunfire. He blinks, thinking he’s hit his head on the steering wheel in the accident or something, and closes his eyes, trying to get himself to wake up. Just as he’s getting a grip on things, someone shakes him. “What are you doing, Harrison? Get up before the Sarge catches you down there.” Derrick blinks again, trying to figure out what’s happening. Just as he starts putting his thoughts together, there’s a loud boom above and he’s thrown a few feet away. Everything goes black on impact.
May Bell is just coming to, when her eyes focus on a man, she does not recognize standing above her, but notices that he is an officer of the law, dressed in the appropriate uniform. “Are you okay, ma’am?” May Bell stares at the man, not able to open her mouth. She feels like a silly little fool, but she simply cannot find the proper words. After a few moments tick by, the man gives her a charming smile. She takes a steadying breath, trying to connect the jumbled thoughts in her mind. Is this the man who struck her? No, but that’s impossible, how could an officer of the law commit such a crime?
She vaguely registers the officer hold out his hand for her to grasp. After a beat of taking the man in, May Bell hesitantly takes his hand in hers. “Let’s get you up.” he says gently, helping her rise from the ground. Once she gets her bearings, the officer speaks again. “Ma’am, I’m going to ask you a couple of questions.” May Bell can only nod in response. “What’s your legal name?” She is relieved that she can at least be a darling and answer this question. “My name is May Bell Lee.” He gives her a nod and jots down notes on his piece of paper. “And what’s your date of birth?” May Bell feels as if her stomach is in knots, and she begins to shake once more. It takes her several moments to gather herself before she musters up the courage to look the officer in the eye. “My date of birth is January 9, 1925.” The moment the words leave her mouth, the officer stares at her in complete skepticism, and she does not know the foggiest as to why.
Derrick’s ears are ringing when he wakes up and feels a pain in his head that is worse than anything he’s ever felt in his life. He tries to sit up, but his body won’t budge. He takes a sharp breath in, and pain radiates in his chest. “We’ve got another one over here.” Derrick tries to keep his eyes open, wondering how it’s even possible for him to be still dreaming like this. Is he in a coma? Is he in hell? He doesn’t have time to think about it more because he goes unconscious.
He’s not sure how many hours pass before he wakes up again. His eyes are blurry, but he can make out lights shining overhead. Maybe he’s alive after all and the whole war zone thing was his mind playing tricks on him. Derrick starts to sit up in bed and feels a burning pain on his whole left side. He figures it’s from the car accident he got into, and winces as he gets into a sitting position. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Skip.” Derrick freezes and turns to glare at the guy sitting next to him.
The guy is dressed in a hospital gown, smoking a cigarette. Derrick stares at him in confusion wondering how he’s allowed to light up in a hospital like this. “What’s it to you?” he asks, hating when people try to get into his business. He shakes his head with a smile. “Look, Skip, I just watched them sew your side back together. I figured I’d warn you about it, so you don’t rip out those stitches there.” Derrick watches the guy take another puff of his cig before he takes a look around the room.
There are crappy makeshift hospital beds all around him and guys in as bad of shape as him or worse. He also sees a couple nurses in old while uniforms from what looks like the 40s or something. It’s a damn scene right out of an WWII movie. It’s like a shot in the stomach when he realizes he’s still stuck in his nightmare. Derrick turns back to the man. “What year is it?” The man takes another puff of his cig. “I guess you hit your head pretty hard there, Skip. It’s 1944, March 5, 1944, to be exact.” he says, like it isn’t a big deal. Must be right about the dream theory because there’s no way in hell, he’s actually stuck in the 40s.
May Bell is driven to a hospital that she has never seen before. In fact, the hospital in question is where the Chandler’s Barn is supposed to be, the location of the party the night before. Her heart stops at the mere thought of everything not in its proper place. She feels as if she is slowly going mad. The officer opens the door, and she hesitantly steps out. He escorts her up the front steps of the hospital, as she walks along numbly, and enters the hospital entrance.
She barely registers the hustle and bustle of the hospital around her, wanting nothing more than to return to her real life. “Miss Lee.” She turns her head to the officer, who is looking at her with sincere concern now. “The nurse here will take you back to see the doctor. He’s going to examine your head, make sure everything is okay up there.” May Bell gives him a nod. “Thank you, officer.” she says, trying to sound calm, even though she feels quite unsettled by this whole ordeal.
He gives her a small smile and she returns one of her own, just how her mother has always taught her. “Prim and Polite, the two p’s to success”. As she starts down the hall with the nurse, she feels a sense of dread wash over her. She is not certain what lies ahead but hopes that things will be sorted out soon.
Derrick takes a long puff from his cig, still trying to wrap his head around this crap situation he finds himself in. He figures that he’s got two options: he can get with the program, be soldier Skip, or he can fight like hell to find a way home. Either way, he’s screwed. Derrick takes another puff, not believing his luck. Leave it to his knucklehead brother to get him in over his head again. If Tommy never landed in that old county jail, he’d be home right now, knocking back a few.
As he takes another puff, he hears the night nurse walk in. He turns his head in the dim darkness and sees her checking all the guys for the night. She’s an older lady, mid-fifties, kinda reminds him of his grandma. Nice lady, but also someone you don’t want to mess with. When she gets to his bed, she gives him a stern look. “What are you still doing up, soldier?” He suddenly feels like he’s a kid again, getting caught putting his hand in the cookie jar. He shrugs. “Couldn’t sleep.” The nurse takes a look at the chart in her hands before looking over at him. “Your due for more morphine soon, I’ll be back with it.” Derrick gives her a nod and then she continues to check on the rest of the boys. He shifts to get comfortable on the bed, the pain starting to get bad again. He knows whatever he chooses to do next, he needs to heal up some real soon, or he won’t make it.
May Bell is guided to a big contraption after the doctor insists, she needs a further examination. Despite her reluctance, she complies, and lies down on what reminds her of a gurney. The nurse stands next to her with a small smile. “Have you ever had an MRI before?” She shakes her head. “Okay, I need you to be completely still, while in the machine. There will be a loud sound, but don’t be alarmed.” May Bell gives her an uncertain nod, feeling her heart race, in nervous anticipation.
She has never been very fond of tight spaces, her mother told her as much, when her older brother had locked her in the pantry as a young girl. She had been utterly terrified, trapped in such a small space with no hope of getting out in the dark. As the nurse pulls the lever on the machine and she starts to move into the contraption, her heart clenches in fear.
A few moments soldier on before she stops moving and wonders how long this process will take. She chastises herself for not raising the question to the nurse earlier. When the machine starts banging loudly, she forces her eyes to close. May Bell had not anticipated the machine process being this loud or violent. The space is also much smaller than she would like, but she does her best to muddle through. She prays the process is over soon.
Derrick wakes up the next day, feeling better than he has in a while, even forgetting for a second that he’s still stuck in this hell hole of a nightmare. He somehow manages to get up slowly, still not 100%, but close enough to get moving. Maybe he can try his luck and sneak out of this place, so he can escape from this damn French Dreamland he’s stuck in. He knows he needs to move fast, but he wouldn’t want to be punished as a deserter, even in this weird dreamland. Real or not, he’s seen the movies, and he doesn’t want that shit.Recommended2 Simily SnapsPublished in