Greetings, Readers!!

I'm very honored to be able to bring to you one of the books I have written over the last several years. This one, titled "The Final Chapter", is one of the shortest I have written. As with all my stories, this one involves the presentation of spiritual ideas in the context of a story that will hopefully entertain you as it teaches. I would appreciate any constructive criticism of the story and you can email me with your comments and suggestions. If you would like to see more of my work, all of the novels I've completed are available in pdf format. You can find a synopsis of all my books on my home page. Thanks for taking the time to read my little story. I hope you enjoy it.

With Love and Light,

Shelly/Rainbowlady

The Final Chapter
©1998 Shelly Strauss Rollison/Rainbow's End Press

ONE

"Becky!...Becky!...Honey, wake up."

Squinting at the bright light, she asked, "What's wrong?"

"You were having another of your nightmares. You were crying and kept yelling 'No! Don't leave me.'...Are you seeing someone else?" he asked with a joking smile.

Reaching up to him, she put her hand behind his neck and pulled him down to her. After kissing him she asked, "What do you think?"

He reached across the bed and turned out the light before lying beside her and pulling her into his arms. She didn't get back to sleep for a while, but neither did she complain.

Over breakfast the next morning, Will said, "I'm getting kind of worried about these nightmares you keep having."

"Why?"

"For one thing, they're getting a lot more frequent. You used to have them once a month or so. Now it's more like once a night. And you can't remember anything about them. Most people who have nightmares at least remember them because they scare the shit out of them. Maybe you're repressing some painful memories."

"And you're afraid I'm going to crack up some day and go on a murderous rampage!" she laughed threateningly. "Don't worry about it, babe. It's not affecting me adversely. Except I'm not getting as much sleep as I used to because you wake me up and we usually end up making love....You know, I'm beginning to wonder if I'm really having nightmares or if you just keep waking me up telling me I was because you want a little loving." Leaning across the table, she kissed him lightly. "Either way, I fall back to sleep feeling wonderful."

"I still think you should see someone about them. Go to one of those dream analysts. Or a regressionist."

"Dream analysts are a dime a dozen since the government got rid of the licensing requirements. And there've been so many cases lately of regressionists planting memories, you can't tell what's real or not." When she saw the concern on his face, she said, "Look, if it starts to affect our lives, I'll go see someone."

"It is affecting our lives. You wake me up almost every night with your tossing and turning."

"Are you complaining? You certainly don't seem to mind at the time."

"You're not taking this seriously, Rebecca."

"I know. But I don't remember the dreams! So what do I have to take seriously? I know you're worried, Will, and I appreciate your concern. That I take seriously."

"But why not try to find out what's wrong before it becomes a problem and avoid all the added problems it might cause?"

"I tell you what. There's a girl that rides the blueline with me. I wouldn't say we're bosom buddies, but we're passing acquaintances. Her father is a dream analyst. Next time I have a nightmare, you write down what I'm saying and I'll see if maybe she can get her dad to analyze it for me. Okay?"

"I guess."

"Good!" Kissing him briefly, she grabbed her doorpass and workcard, putting them in the back pocket of her pants. "Don't forget we're meeting the minister after work tonight. Take the orangeline to Beaumont and the greenline to Easton. He's on the fifty-fourth floor. Five-forty-five. Please don't be late."

* * * * *

Alec Bearinger, D.V.M., rolled out of bed when the ringing alarm in his dream turned out to be the telephone. Glancing at the lighted clock beside the bed, he called out "Answer audio."

"Dr. Bearinger, this is Mac Michaels. I got a cow gone into labor and she's havin' a real hard time. Appears she's breathin' real hard."

"I'm on my way, Mac. I'll be there in ten minutes.... End."

As he reached for his pants, his wife asked, "How long are you going to be gone this time?"

"Don't start, Sharon, please. I don't have the time right now."

"Well, isn't that a surprise," she said bitterly.

Ignoring her attempts to start an argument, he grabbed the rest of his clothes and finished dressing in the bathroom. Seven minutes later he stepped into the small domed vehicle outside the basement door of his house.

"Michael's barn," he said aloud as the vehicle powered up and automatically moved to a position in front of a long, dark tube.

"Speed?" a mechanical voice asked.

The tubes were usually empty this time of night he knew. "One-two-zero."

"That exceeds maximum per..."

"Override. Authorize Bearinger, Alec V. Code three seven alpha delta nine one seven."

With no further protest from the computer, the vehicle accelerated until they were traveling the requested speed. In less than two minutes, they'd covered the almost four miles of magnetic track. Exiting the vehicle, he was whisked up the small elevator to the ground level. Taking a deep breath of the night country air, he smiled. Sharon never understood his need to be outside. She was actually proud of the fact she hadn't been out of climate-controlled surroundings for most of the five years they'd been married.

But he didn't have time to revel in the smells of natureó Mac Michaels grabbed his arm and pulled him along the rows of birthing stalls. One thing technology hadn't yet been able to improve on was the birthing process. Although able to relieve most of the pain through various techniques from medications to hypnosis, the medical community had discovered the natural process of giving birth still to be the best for both mother and child. Or cow and calf, he reminded himself.

Making the choice to attend veterinary school had been a difficult one. He knew his father had been terribly disappointed. He came from a long line of surgeons, reaching back at least five generations. But a surgeon rarely got to feel the rain om his face or the wind blowing through his hair. Alec couldn't imagine spending the rest of his life in a sterile environment.

Sharon too had been upset. When they'd married, she expected to have the esteem and social prestige of a surgeon's wife. Instead, she lived in the middle of nowhere, relatively speaking, and although admired and loved by the people her husband served, she was snubbed by the wives of doctors whose patients could tell them what was wrong or where it hurt. Her resentment had slowly built to the point where they fought every day. He'd actually begun to welcome the days when she refused to speak to him at all. Anything was better than all the screaming and yelling.

His mind was soon brought back to the matter at hand when Mac opened the door. Immediately assessing the situation, he set to work correcting it. Three hours later, he stood and watched the gangly calf struggle to its feet. As the cow licked it dry, the calf rooted at the udder until if found a teat and began to nurse. He was still awed by the whole idea of new life starting so abruptly, sometimes almost violently. He and Sharon had discussed children at one point, but now he was also using birth control just to make sure there were no surprises. Not that there were too many possible chances lately.

With nothing else really keeping him there, he reluctantly took the elevator back to the tube level. This time, he kept it well within the permissible speed.

She was waiting for him when he got home.

"We have to talk."

"Not now, please. I'm filthy, I'm tired and..."

"Now, Alec."

He knew if he ignored her, she'd follow him into the bathroom. Sighing deeply, he took a seat at the table and stared at the floor between his feet.

"You always said you wanted me to be honest with you."

"Honest, yes. Brutal, no."

Ignoring his snide comment, she continued. "I've been offered the chance to become a free-lance fashion vid coordinator."

"What exactly does a free-lance fashion vid coordinator do?" he asked, feigning interest.

Although she knew he really didn't care, she answered him anyway. "I'd make vids of new styles coming out of Paris and Rome and New York and I'd play around with the fabrics and colors and then try to sell the stuff to the networks."

"Are you going to take it?"

"It would mean moving back to civilization. Probably L.A. or New York. Although Chicago would be niceó it's more or less right in the middle."

"Sharon, we've been over this a thousand times. I'm not leaving. Even if I could, I'm..."

"God, do you always have to think only of you?...No, I'm not going to let you drag me into another fight. I never asked you to move back with me."

"No, I guess you didn't," he said somewhat taken by surprise. After a long pause, he said, "Does this mean you want a divorce?"

"Hell, no. The things are too damn expensive. And I'd stand to lose a lot more than you would....I'm not saying I won't date though."

"Well, I obviously don't make you happy anymore, so why not?"

It was her turn to be surprised. "You mean you aren't going to throw some cow about me not trying to learn to like the outdoors and the country living?"

"I'm tired of fighting, Sharon. Maybe this will make us appreciate each other a little more. Maybe we'll remember why we got married in the first place." Without waiting to see if she had more to discuss, he left the room and headed down the hall to the bathroom.

Chapter 2

The Rainbow's End Library