TWO PEOPLE HARBORING SECRETS…
A stranger from the future comes to Paige’s cabin in rural Georgia with a treatment for her early onset Alzheimer’s disease. He bargains with the sceptical patient to give her The Cure if she’ll conduct a longitudinal study for him, proving his drug’s efficacy to a future world full of clients that need it. Faced with her dire diagnosis, he might be her only hope. She grapples with the side effects of his offer and learns to suppress her own dangerous truth: trust no one.
Seldom lucky in love, Paige finds herself competing with her best friend for his attention, knowing there can be no good end for their stolen moments of passion. Can she stay under the radar of the medical and legal communities to carry out his requests? And how will their complicated pasts bring them together physically, emotionally and professionally in a successful, if unethical, partnership?
Many lives will be changed, but at what cost… and to whom?
The following is extracted from the first chapter of The Cure. Paige has just learned that she has early-onset dementia, and she’s struggling to wrap her mind around its implications for her and her life.
Redding Falls, Georgia
It started out as a bad day all around and I was ready for my luck to change. It comes in threes they say, whoever they are. It’s been pouring rain since yesterday morning and the beavers have rebuilt their dam and flooded the mile-long main road leading into my cabin. My trusty old Honda doesn’t have four-wheel drive so I can’t even venture out over the muddy back road. And Dr. Willis informed me that yes, she’s sure I do have early onset Alzheimer’s because the tests came back showing the telltale deposits in my brain. I’m only forty-four. Too young for such a dire diagnosis.
One of my grandmas had dementia, maybe Alzheimer’s, maybe not. My folks died in their fifties in a boating accident near St. Thomas almost twenty years ago, so I’ll never know if one or both of them might have gotten it had they aged. I do know the dreaded signs are there for me. I forgot Selma’s birthday. I took my pets to the vet for their appointment on the wrong day. Words escape me when I try to describe or explain things. Every day I wake up wondering what new thing will go wrong.
I walked out on the covered deck at the back of my cabin and listened to the creek rushing over the rocks below. I love April in north Georgia, when it’s getting green and blossomy, with a chill still in the air. Springtime is my favorite, so much promise of good things to come. I tried not to let my thoughts sink into despair. My daughter would have been a young woman by now, and able to take care of me. Maybe it’s for the best she wasn’t anchored to a demented mother. Isn’t it, Rose? But no, I stopped myself from going down that road. I needed to focus on what was around me, right here and now: the damp earthy smell, the blur of soft pinks and greens surrounding me in the trees. Not think about her, about how long I’d be able to do for myself, or even know what I was doing.
I’d taken a few days off from my job as a pediatric physician’s assistant at Redding Falls Medical Center to lie back and figure out what I wanted to do, what I could do. I was planning to go back tomorrow if I could find the place…. Just kidding.
My three cats, tabby littermates April, May and Juney, hovered with me under the overhang of the deck, tails up, as though willing the hard rain to stop, eager to be chasing our endless population of moles and voles. Will my pets wind up in the wild one day when I forget to care for them? All of a sudden it felt like everything had a time stamp on it, but the dates looked fuzzy and I couldn’t read them, only guess at what they were trying to reveal.
Patricia Bowen writes novels, novellas and short stories, mostly about women with complicated lives. She’s been a copywriter, business owner, coach, marketing manager, and held corporate jobs in international business. She pens gardening articles for her local newspaper, and grants to support her local library. Her recent writing has appeared in the Table for Two anthology, The Sun magazine, and earned honourable mention in several contests. The Cure is her first full published work of fiction.
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