Before Anne After Purchase Now
Publisher's Note: Earlier chapters dealt with Anne unknowingly stepping into a time-travel chamber in 1987, landing in 1943 and then going into labor.
Sunday ~ July 18, 1943
Anne awoke and for a time considered her strange dreams about men in uniforms and a rabbit and her husband’s old truck and old cars and a hospital that understood nothing she said and giving birth. She lay in warm, comfortable silence for a time until awareness of her surroundings, along with the realization that the dreams were not dreams at all, started becoming clear.
Elizabeth Anne! She maneuvered to the edge of the bed and cautiously sat up. What was there about a rabbit? I saw a rabbit and then what?
Anne pulled the door closed behind her and listened for the cry of a baby to guide her. She heard nothing. She chose a direction and walked until she came upon a young nurse was busy writing at a desk.
“Where can I find my baby?”
The startled nurse stood quickly and rushed from behind her desk. “You shouldn’t be out of bed, Ma’am. It’s the middle of the night and we can’t disturb the babies.”
“I really need to see her,” Anne whined. “I need to know she’s okay. I need to hold her and feed her.”
“It’s five A.M., Ma’am. In two hours we’ll bring her to you. Don’t worry. You need to get your sleep and trust that we’ll take good care of her for you. Please go back to bed.” The nurse took her arm and waist and gently turned her toward the direction of her room. After several steps, Anne stopped.
“I will not go back to my room until I see Elizabeth Anne,” she stated. She planted her feet firmly in the middle of the passageway and brushed away the nurse’s hand.
“All right, Ma’am. Why don’t you have a seat over here and I’ll get the night supervisor?”
Anne allowed the nurse to guide her to a chair. “Thank you,” was all she said to proclaim her willingness to wait for the supervisor. The young nurse disappeared, leaving Anne alone. From where she sat Anne could see one window, but as in her room it was covered with a black cloth. Not a black curtain; just a plain black cloth. On the wall adjacent to where she sat was a poster depicting a collage of activities. On the left side were people driving early model cars, plowing fields and working in factories; others sitting around a dining room table. The dress was colorless and worn, children in tattered clothes, women in faded long dresses, men in old work clothes or ill-fitting suits. On the right side of the poster were pictures of soldiers marching, planes flying in formation and sailors in shipboard activities. Emblazoned across the poster were the words “USE IT UP, WEAR IT OUT, MAKE IT DO OR DO WITHOUT.” On a table next to her were several magazines, the top one being The Saturday Evening Post. She picked it up, opening to the middle and an article entitled, “Salute the Flag or Be Expelled, Invalid, Says the Supreme Court.” Anne quickly, half-heartedly scanned the article, nervously trying to pass the time. Expelling school children for not saluting the flag sounded ridiculous, she thought and dropped the magazine back down on the table. She stood and began pacing, staying in the vicinity of the nurses’ station.
As she paced, pieces of the puzzle began popping up in her mind, the puzzle being, what in the hell has been going on in the last twelve hours? She started trying to find places to put the pieces. She went back to the beginning, before where she thought the beginning was and tried to trace her steps. She recalled the baby powder she rubbed on her body and feeling so good as she slipped into fresh clothes, her best maternity outfit, nylons, and red low heel pumps. She did her hair and makeup right. She remembered looking in the mirror and admiring herself as best she could over the huge balloon-ready-to-burst bulge. She recalled the time as suddenly being very late and having to race out the door to pick up Steven. It was so hot in that truck. That may be where it all started, she thought. The heat can do a lot of things to one’s mind. She remembered arriving late and still having to wait but not being patient, and the number 524 on the side of the building as she had seen it many times before. She recalled looking at old Navy photos in the waiting area after getting tired and hot in the truck. That’s rather strange, she thought. Everything I’ve observed since that point has been old or outdated. She thought back a bit to the Marine Guard. No, he was normal. I lost it somewhere between there and the lab. Things were normal when I parked the truck but that was when the heat started getting to me.
“She’ll be with you in just a moment, Ma’am.” Anne turned to see the nurse approaching. “You should sit back down, Ma’am. It’s not good for you to be walking around a whole lot yet.”
“I’m too anxious to sit down. I feel just fine. Besides, I’m supposed to be getting exercise.”
So, it was hot. Did I begin hallucinating and am I still hallucinating? Can someone hallucinate for this long? Did I pass out in the truck? Is what seems like many hours something I have created in my mind in ten minutes? How could I possibly hallucinate my trying to rationalize a possible hallucination?
In the pacing, Anne found herself stopped at the nurses’ station, staring at a large wall calendar showing all 12 months of the year. Her mouth fell open. At the top in big bold numerals were the numbers 1, 9, 4, 3.
NO! She screamed in her head. No! This is just part of the hallucination.
She slowly backed away and returned to perch on the edge of the chair, her hands in her lap. For several moments she floated in a state of nothingness, her mind vacant of all thought, having reached a point of denial, the denial of her very existence. Then she began exploring her life, searching for anything tangible that she could grasp onto, anything she could identify as real.
“Nothing is as it seems,” she remembered her father saying to her as he pulled a quarter from behind her ear. “Trust only in your mind for your eyes will surely deceive you.” She reached down and picked up the Saturday Evening Post magazine she had been looking at earlier and recalled the remainder of her father’s wisdom. “Trust only in your eyes for your mind will surely deceive you.” JULY 1943 flashed at her from the magazine cover like a neon sign in the dark. She threw it down as if it burned her hand. Spinning around she spotted a newspaper she had noticed a few minutes earlier. DESPERATE BATTLE RAGES WITHIN 13 MILES OF CATANIA, glared at her in bold black letters. ROOSEVELT AND CHURCHILL WARN ITALY TO QUIT. She picked up the newspaper. NAPLES LEFT BLAZING INFERNO BY ALLIED BOMBER FORCE? Date! Where’s the date? Her eyes couldn’t focus past the headings on the shaking page.
A panic attack! She’d never had a panic attack before but she had a good idea what it was and she felt it coming. She rushed back to the nurses’ station.
“What’s today?” she blurted out to the nurse.
The young nurse looked up at her. “Why, it’s Sunday, Ma’am, Sunday morning.”
“What’s the date?” Anne demanded, a tightness growing in her stomach.
“The eighteenth, July eighteenth. It’s right on the calendar there.”
“I’m very confused right now,” she pleaded as her breathing became fast and shallow, “so please be patient with me. What year is this?”
The young nurse looked at the calendar then back at Anne. “Nineteen-forty-three.”
Anne’s heart raced and everything around her started spinning and going dim. The nurse said something else to her and then off in a fog she heard her yell for another nurse and then the fog closed in around her and she heard nothing.