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Friday, October 31, 2014

Never step into THE PET SEMATARY!

In the spirit of Halloween; I choose to go over one of Stephen King's earlier works; Pet Sematary- a book, according to trivia I gleaned, he almost didn't hand over to be published because the story scared a lot of people... including himself.
And no wonder. The first edition cover is enough to terrify anyone but the story itself... how many would want to read it again? It's not just the story itself, but more about the question derived from reading it and that is... is death really better?

The plot: The Creed family moves to Ludlow, Maine (Maine the setting of most of King's works). The family consists of the father Louis, his wife Rachel (who has a morbid fear of death due to witnessing her sister's agonising death from spinal meningitis), their little daughter Ellie and their baby boy, Gage. They immediately befriended their neighbor across the road, Judd Crandall who takes them on a tour to the nearby Pet Cemetery; to Rachel's dismay, which affects her for a time and is constantly afraid her daughter would keep asking questions about death as she had a cherished pet cat, called Church. And Ellie did ask... "Daddy, why don't pets live as long as people?"

There is an aura of doom via two warnings; Judd told Louis to mind the road that runs across their house as it is constantly used by huge trucks and a warning from the ghost of a recently deceased patient he was unable to save; Victor Pascow. Pascow takes him to on a late night visit to the Pet Sematary and ominously says... 

"The door must not be opened. Don't go beyond, no matter how you you feel you need to, Doctor. The barrier was not made to be broken. Remember this: there is more power here that you know. It is old and always restless. Remember."

What barrier? What power? the reader wonders.  Louis of course was inclined to think the nightly visit was a dream, until he woke up in the morning and found his feet and the bed sheets dirty. If I were in his shoes, I would've thought it was a bad case of sleepwalking and dreaming at the same time! But he ignored it, thinking it was all a bad dream.

Then came Ellie's worst fear, while she and Gage and their mother are away, Church is run over by a truck on the road. Judd then does something that one would say was a mistake but actually, as he explained to Louis later; an action to be learned from. He took Church to the Pet Sematary but instead of the usual burying place where long dead pets were buried, took him to a further portion of the place- which is an ancient burying ground used by the Mimac Indians a long time ago. This portion has the power to bring the dead back to life. 

And sure enough, Church returned to the house as though nothing happened to him. But Louis immediately noticed something was not quite right with the cat. He's not animated at all, instead zombie-like and he smelt of sour earth, of death; plus he wouldn't eat the mice and birds he kept killing. Ellie no longer cherishes her pet on her return and urged her father to keep it away from her. While Judd did this favor to keep Ellie from grieving, he also tried to show her through her father's eyes that... sometimes death was better. 

And a huge tragedy hit the Creed family some time later, 2 year old Gage is hit by a truck on the road Judd warned them about, but of course the poor child was too young to know or care about the dangers of playing on the road. Judd sensed his bereaved friend was going to put the gruesome action to the test and warned him not to; just like Church and just like the last human who was buried there several years ago (and turned out to be an abomination), Gage WILL NOT be the same. It  was best to let the dead rest in peace, he was trying to tell him.

But intense grief could make anyone do anything. Even with what he was told by Judd and by Pascow long before Gage's death, Louis took  his dead child to the cursed ancient burial ground in the Pet Sematary.... with terrible consequences; just like he was warned about. He refused to accept that sometimes, no matter how sad and agonising,  the dead were better off dead... and by his action, his family and his life was no longer the same. For first time readers, I will not add spoilers except that Louis ended up burying two corpses that terrible night.

Like most of Stephen King's works; this was adapted to a movie in 1989 and got good reviews mostly because the screenplay was written by King himself and  King did a cameo as a priest officiating a funeral.

According to Publisher's Weekly, Pet Sematary is "The most frightening book Stephen King as ever written!'" Since the main theme of this novel is death and resurrection; and combined with the supernatural elements, no wonder he almost threw it away. But he lived up to his reputation as the master of horror with PET SEMATARY  and both the book and movie is an ideal thing to view on Halloween... that is if you're into scary stories!


Quote from book: 

He suddenly thought of Ellie telling him, He called "Lazarus, come forth"... because if He hadn't called for Lazarus by name, everybody in that graveyard would have risen.


                                                              MAGIC (1978) 


                                                CURSE OF CHUCKY (2013) 



                                                         HELLRAISER (1987) 



                                                      THE THING (1982) 

                                      CARRIE (2013) 

        HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!  

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Thursday, October 30, 2014


Can anyone resist the angst filled love stories surrounding a beautiful heroine and a handsome, dashing hero? No!
Telenovelas differ from soap operas; the main difference being the main coupe in the story, after overcoming misunderstandings and obstacles by the antagonists; have a guaranteed happy ending, which is how the story ends; unlike soap operas (also a guilty pleasure), you have the love, passion and angst as well but alas, the couple are split up, get back together and then split again and several storylines are brought in, some of them really exasperating.
Not that telenovelas don’t give out their own share of exasperation, most viewers get worked up when the story isn’t going the way they want- the best example being when the hero and heroine aren’t together no thanks to the scheming of their enemies or for some other reason. We forget it’s all fiction and feel connected to some of the characters- the main couple especially- try to guess the outcome and at the same time hoping the antagonists will end up in a deep dark hole!
Since the first one aired here in Nigeria back in 1993- The Rich Also Cry; I’ve counted telenovelas as one of my numerous guilty pleasures. The angst is one thing but the love and passion between the hero and heroine, plus the circumstances they find themselves in, makes you just want to re-watch them when after the story ends. The telenovelas I can honestly watch over and over again are: 

Tu O Nadie (No One But You): A greedy and disgruntled man decided to use his unsuspecting fiancée as a means of getting his hands on his stepbrother’s vast wealth. But Raquel and  his step brother Antonio fall in love instead and suddenly the battle between the two men becomes more intense. This telenovela actually has three remakes! 

Escrava Isaura( Enslaved Isaura or Isaura The Slave Girl): Set in slave era Brazil; an educated biracial slave girl began questioning her slave status after she and a plantation owner fall in love and their main obstacle is her master's brutish son who wants Isaura to be his concubine. Her lover is murdered and she flees to another town; after a period of healing falls in love again, this time with an abolitionist.

Cuando Seas Mia (When You Are Mine): The son of a wealthy family falls in love with one of the hacienda's workers. But Diego and Paloma's love is constantly threatened by some disapproving members of Diego's family and other people who would rather see Diego and Paloma apart than together where they belong. 

La hija del Jardinero (The Gardener's Daughter): A young doctor and the daughter of a gardener fall in love but a secret and a scheming rival keep them apart; the secret being Louisa Fernanda is actually the daughter of  the step father Carlos Eduardo despises. 

Mulheres De Areia (Sand Women or Secrets of The Sand): This Brazilian telenovela is about totally different twin sisters; Ruth and Raquel, the daughters of a fisherman. The scheming seductive Raquel manages to steal the rich and handsome Marcus away from her gentle sister but how long will Marcus continue to allow himself to be fooled by Raquel and realise his true love is Ruth? 

LA USURPADORA (The Usurper): In order to cover up an extra martial affair, Paola blackmails her recently discovered twin, Paulina, to pose as her. Drama and confusion unfolds after a baffled Carlos Daniel- Paola's husband- falls in love with his sister-in-law. 

ROSA SALVAJE (Wild Rose): The Rich Also Cry (Los Ricos Tambien Lloran) alumni- Veronica Castro and Guillermo Capetillo- play a girl from the wrong side of the tracks and a rich young man who at first married her for the sole reason of annoying his irritating and snobbish sisters but realises too late he was actually in love with his 'savage' wife after she finds out the truth. Now Ricardo has to prove his love to Rose at the same time shake off the possessive Leonora. 

SORTILEGIO (Love Spell): The third remake of Tu O Nadie(No One But You); the same story line as the original, only this time Alejandro and Bruno are half brothers and Bruno- the main villain- would go even against his own mother to get what he wanted- Alejandro's inheritance/position and Alejandro's wife, Maria Jose. 

LA MUJER DE LORENZO (Lorenzo's Wife or Lorenzo's Woman): Lorenzo is heartbroken when his wife Laura cheats on him with her personal trainer, Alex. His old flame hopes to get him back but to her dismay, Lorenzo finds himself falling in love with Alex's ex; Silvia. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Jane Austen's PERSUASION

When one speaks of Jane Austen's (1775-1817) works, the discussion would immediately lead to  Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma; perhaps Mansfield Park.  But if anyone wanted to start a Jane Austen discussion with me, I would want to talk about her final book; Persuasion. 

Set during the Napoleon War era, Persuasion is about a totally different of all Austen's heroines- Anne Elliot. She's the middle child of the family; the first daughter  being Elizabeth and the youngest  one is Mary. Elizabeth is as vain and self-absorbed as their father; Sir Walter while Mary Elliot Musgrove, the only married one among the three girls- is whiny and  likes being the center of attention.

Eight years before the main events of the book, Anne was dating a naval officer she was very much in love with, Frederick Wentworth, who however was poor and in those days; a girl from good family is not expected to marry a poor man as such an alliance was deemed 'unsuitable.' Anne was persuaded by a family friend, actually a friend of her late mother who was Anne's godmother/advisor to the family; Lady Russell, to reject his proposal of marriage because of his poor status and Anne (and I have to say foolishly) did what she was told, leaving Captain Wentworth heartbroken and bitter; he then left the country.

For years, Anne was haunted by her decision as she was still in love with Frederick, which made her turn down Charles Musgrove's offer of marriage, thus turning his attention to her silly sister, Mary. Anne blamed herself for giving in to the persuasion in the first place rather than Lady Russell and her inner unhappiness was made worse by her family's complete disregard of her; and she kept asking the same question over and over... did she do the right thing by yielding to Lady Russell's advice? And, how would things have turned out if she'd defied the advice and married him anyway?

Modern readers would say she was very foolish to have broken up with Captain Wenworth because of his poverty but all the same, Anne cannot seen as a mercenary girl who cares only about money; she's nothing of the sort. Remember things were different in those days; women, mostly women of the upper class did not work hence had to marry men who would be more than capable of looking after them. Of course there were the rare modern women at the time who would use their hearts (love) rather than their heads(practicality). Anne's flaw was that she was easily led and should have shown more firmness when Lady Russell gave her so called well meaning advice. But being young and fond of her godmother, she felt Lady Russell  was wise and always right, hence the breakup.

Now Anne is 27 and resigned to remain a spinster. Meanwhile, Sir Walter has squandered most of the family fortune and is advised by Lady Russell to rent out the family home, while they move to Bath for sometime. The tenants are Admiral and Mrs. Croft and to Anne's horror, Captain Wentworth, back from the war,  turned out to be Mrs. Croft's brother! The war had benefited Captain Wentworth hence was now a rich man but still very angry and bitter with Anne for what she did to him, more so at Lady Russell for persuading her to do it. Anne had to watch in pain as he assumed a cold attitude towards her and he begins to court one of her brother-in-law's sisters, Louisa; refusing to so much as be friends with Anne. But after Louisa suffers a mishap (which was entirely her fault), Captain Wentworth saw how Anne took charge of the situation and realised she was still the sweet, level headed girl he fell in love with and how he had allowed his anger and wounded pride come between them.

Finally, he manned up and sent her a love letter, not doing her a favor of giving her another chance but asking her to give him another chance!

Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! 

Isn't that enough to make any girl feel so loved and lucky?

The book isn't just an old era romance; it's pretty much a satire. It reminded me of the historical romances I've read over the years, some by Barbara Cartland. How class and family were put above a person's integrity and accomplishments and how the self made men who made their money in trade- even those who pursued legit trade- were looked down upon and contemptuously called the  nouveau riche,  new money.

Lady Russell saw Captain Wentworth as a man with no money, no social class and no future prospects; writing him off as an unsuitable husband for Anne; I see her as a snob and an interfering busybody. What was the guarantee that a richer upper class man would have made Anne happy? Mr. Elliot, Anne's cousin only wanted to marry her to secure his position as Sir Walter's heir presumptive, not because he was in love with her, hence- he was marrying for money, not love; making him the mercenary one. Anne found love with a self-made man and was more than lucky enough to reconnect with him.

Like most classics, this novel has movie adaptations; my favorite being the 1995 adaptation starring Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds. My favorite scene was their meeting on the street, where he took off his hat, took her hand and said to her: 'I tried to forget you. I thought I had'. After which, the kiss and later on Captain Wentworth showing up at Sir Walter's party to inform him, smiling at Anne the whole time, that his proposal of marriage to Anne was accepted and he wanted his permission to fix the wedding date. Oh... the scowls on Mr. Elliot and Elizabeth's faces!

Of Jane Austen's books, I like this one best.

Quote from book: 

"If I was wrong in yielding to persuasion once, remember that it was to persuasion exerted on the side of safety, not of risk. When I yielded, I thought it was to duty; but no duty could be called in aid here. In marrying a man indifferent to me, all risk would have been incurred and all duty violated."

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


I've tried out quizzes like these; some of them actually tell me what I already know about myself; others really startled. Do personality quizzes really tell the truth about the self? Try them out and see!

Saturday, October 25, 2014


When the void lifted, Melanie saw several girls milling around in school uniform, books under their arms. A fancy all girls school, she noted, seeing the imposing gray building with four towers. Two girls came down the stairs, bags over their shoulders. Melanie basked in the sight of a teenage Carly, her hair pulled back in a pony tail, accompanied by...‘Jennifer!’ she exclaimed, immediately recognising the blonde girl.
‘It’s their final term.’ Isabella explained. ‘And Carly wasn’t planning on going home. She was expected to marry Lawrence the following year and she wanted no part of her father and Leopold’s arrangement.’ As she spoke, Carly and Jennifer fist bumped and then exchanged a heartfelt hug.
‘But what about Frankie? Did she tell him she was leaving?’
‘He made her promise not to give in to their parents’ order before he left home. Through letters they stayed in contact but it was several years before she saw Frankie or Jennifer again.’
The scene was suddenly enveloped by a dense fog then cleared to show a different scene. Carly was in a sparkling blue dress, accepting an amaryllis from a tall and outrageously handsome man in a tux; smiling lovingly up at him.
Melanie stared very hard at the man. He had grey eyes, glossy black hair... something oddly familiar about him...
‘No...’ she whispered as her mind flashed back to her brother. Nicholas’  resemblance to his father  was almost uncanny. ‘Lawrence Alamain!
Isabella nodded.
‘I don’t understand! She  wanted nothing to do with him, she told Henri so! What’s she doing with him?’ Melanie demanded.
‘Lawrence was a man of many talents; one of them being putting up a facade. You see, Carly thinks she’s in love with a wonderful, dashing man called James. Lawrence was determined to marry Katerina Von Leuschner, no matter what it took. So he used his means to track her and presented himself to her as the dashing James. And Katerina was a school girl full of romantic ideals, who knew very few men; she fell deeply in love with him. Or rather the man she thought he was.’
‘Did he love her that much that he would stoop so low?’ Melanie glared at Lawrence, hating him already; wishing she could fly at him and scratch his face. This was the man who ruined her mother’s life and gave her so much heartache; this was the man who had taken her from her mother’s arms. He sounded polished and cultured like Nicholas who closely resembled him, but her brother wasn’t his father, thank God. And her poor mother, openly adoring him not realising she was knee deep in his trap!
‘In his own way,’ Isabella replied. ‘But he was actually more in love with what she was; the Von Leuschner heiress- Lady Katerina. She was a prize handpicked by his father for him; the perfect woman to join the royal house of Alamain. He wasn't about to let her objections get in the way. He actually tracked her down at school to present himself to her but she made Jennifer switch with her instead. So hence, this trick.’
‘And she found out?’
‘She found out one night,’ Isabella replied. ‘And she didn't take it very well.’ The dense fog returned then cleared and Melanie found herself outside, watching Carly getting into a cab with a small bag, her face tear stained. ‘Drive!’ she ordered and the driver drove off, leaving clouds of dust behind.
‘But he tracked her down a few days later,’ Isabella went on and their surroundings changed in a flash and Melanie found herself in a trendy looking bistro. Carly looked pale, her hair in a French braid and wearing a print sweater as she sat at a table, angrily arguing with Lawrence.
Isabella pointed, ‘Here comes Bo.’
Bo was coming down the stairs; long hair tied back and dressed in tight jeans a stripped jersey.
Oh!’ Melanie gasped, trying to adjust seeing Bo as a young man, unable to stop staring at him. Lawrence was very attractive yes... in a polished, aristocratic way but Bo... Bo had the ‘bad boy’ look and the aura of sheer masculinity; more rugged, more down to earth, more... everything. No woman would look at him and not want him... or not feel safe with him.  She caught Isabella looking at her with an amused look on her face and blushed.
‘He’s very easy on the eyes isn’t he?’
‘That’s your brother you’re talking about!’ Melanie scolded, feeling herself blushing even deeper to her annoyance.  Isabella chuckled.
‘What was he doing here, this is Alamania right?’
‘Yes. Bo was sailing round the world with Hope and Shawn Douglas, this was the night they docked here but Hope chose to stay on the boat with the baby. Now watch.’
Lawrence was now pushing Carly around, his hand raised as though he was about to hit her. ‘Leave her alone, you monster!’ Melanie cried as Carly struggled to wrestle free.
‘It’s no good Melanie, you can’t interfere.’
As she spoke Bo came up to them, concern and determination on his face. ‘Hey... hey... hitting ladies is not okay, now let her go.’
‘Back off!’ Lawrence snarled at him, keeping a firm hold on Carly.
‘I said let her go!’  Bo was now angry, ‘If you want to come after somebody, come after me... leave her alone!’
 Lawrence furiously turned on Bo, taking a swing at him which Bo deflected and returned it.
Scrambling away from the two men, Carly stood aside, staring in dismay as Bo blocked Lawrence’s blows, punching him in return.
Lawrence suddenly turned round and made a dart at her, but Bo pulled him back and Carly made her escape.
 Bo punched Lawrence soundly on the jaw, which threw him on the ground. Lawrence got up and the two men were engaged in a thorough fist fight. Lawrence clearly had some martial art skills which however were no match for Bo’s street fighting abilities and soon Lawrence got the worst out of it.
‘Serves him right,’ Melanie snapped, turning to watch Bo dart up the stairs. ‘He’s going to look for her!’
‘Yes, but she was already gone.’ Isabella replied.
A thought struck Melanie as they were back in the dark void. ‘Mum didn't see Bo’s face, he didn't see hers either.’
‘No, but neither of them forgot that night. Carly wandered from place to place, staying with friends, even with a former trusted servant, to get away from Lawrence. But he always found her.’
Melanie shook her head. ‘He stalked her.’
‘Stalked her and taunted her with messages that their wedding will take place, whether she liked it or not.’ As she spoke, their surroundings cleared and they were standing on a porch of a house. Carly was reading a card, her face white, a look of fear on her face. Melanie read over her shoulder, ‘You’re cordially invited to attend the marriage of Lawrence Alamain and Katerina Von Leuschner...’ She read the note Carly had in her other hand, which was trembling. ‘It’s going to happen Katerina; nothing you do will stop it.
 Melanie felt sick, putting herself in her mother’s shoes; the feeling of finally being safe shattered by that cold, threatening message. ‘How many times did he do this?’
‘Several times, over the past few months. Carly would be settled and then a courier would arrive with that same message.’
‘My God...’ Melanie longed to hug Carly, to give her words of comfort.
‘After she got the last message while in the French country side, she ran again.’ The surroundings faded; from early afternoon to night. Carly was walking down a road with a small bag, a scarf covering her hair and wearing a long grey coat; nothing but the full moon guiding her way. There was a look of despair and worry on her face that wrung Melanie’s heart as she and Isabella followed her.
Then Carly stopped, looking at something ahead. Melanie followed her gaze to see what her mother was looking at; something was glowing in the distance. Carly hurried forward and Melanie went after her.
Finally, Carly stopped, breathing hard. Melanie now saw what it was, a lighted cross. She followed Carly through the gates, up to the oak door where she pulled an old fashioned bell pull. The door opened and a woman peered at her. A woman in a nun’s habit.
‘A convent!’ Melanie said as the woman immediately ushered Carly inside. ‘Of course, where else would she find sanctuary from Lawrence. He couldn’t possibly find her here.’
‘He didn’t.’ Isabella replied. ‘For the first time in ages, Carly felt safe from him. The sisters treated her kindly; she helped in the kitchen and in the garden. She loved their way of life.’
‘Did she...’ Melanie began.
‘Thought of joining the sisters officially? Yes.’ Isabella paused, watching Melanie keenly as though she wanted her to guess what happened instead.
‘But she didn’t...’ Melanie said slowly, ‘because she found out... she was pregnant with Nick.’
‘So where did she go next?’
‘To  a woman she trusted. The biggest mistake she made, on many counts.’ The scene changed to a  sun lit patio, where a woman was sitting on a lawn chair, her back to Melanie and Isabella, reading a magazine. A young woman in a black and white maid’s uniform came from the house, Carly at her heels.
‘Lady Katerina Von Leuschner to see you, Madame.’
The woman got up and Melanie got the shock of her life. ‘No... no, no!’
 It was Vivian Alamain, several years younger and elegant in her white suit, hurrying over to hug Carly. ‘Vivian? Are you kidding me?’
Isabella shook her head sorrowfully.
‘I’m so glad you’re home, I was afraid you might be away... I had nowhere else to go, no one else to turn to...’ Carly was sobbing as she clung to Vivian.
‘There, there dear... sit down and calm yourself.’ Vivian soothed, stroking her hair and sitting her down. ‘Now, where have you been all this while? Many people have been looking for you, including Lawrence.’
‘Don’t mention Lawrence to me!’ Carly shouted. ‘I hate Lawrence!’
‘Now, that’s not nice, or ladylike. What did he do that was so terrible?’
Carly sniffled as tears ran down her cheeks. ‘Oh Vivian... he’s really trapped me now. I’m pregnant.’
Melanie saw Vivian do a dramatic double take. ‘Oh dear.’ she took hold of Carly’s hand. ‘Does he know?’
‘No, and I don’t want him to. Please, Vivian... you cannot tell him about this or that I’m staying with you. I need to lay low until I decide what to do.’
‘Of course my dear, of course. He won’t know if you don’t want me to tell him. And you can stay as long as you like.’ she patted her arm.
The dense fog came again and then cleared to show Carly in a hospital bed. She looked very pale and  her eyes very red as though she’d been crying. Vivian and a doctor were with her, trying to console her. ‘What happened? Where’s Nick?’ Melanie turned to Isabella. ‘Why is she crying?’
‘Vivian and Carly became bitter enemies years later. Not just over Lawrence’s death either.’ Isabella wanted Melanie to work it out herself.
Melanie’s eyes widened. ‘She... no... No... She didn’t! Isabella, did Vivian tell Mum Nick was stillborn? Is that what she told Mum? And the doctor was on the take, wasn't he?’
‘Yes, to both questions. Vivian felt Carly didn't deserve to have Lawrence’s child to love after spurning him. Spurning Lawrence meant spurning the house of Alamain so Vivian decided to punish her.’
‘Christ... to trust Vivian Alamain of all people!’ Melanie shook her head, feeling ill in the pit of her stomach. It had happened twice! First Nick and then herself, both babies taken away from her! Melanie felt the shame returning, how she gave Carly such a hard time when she told her the truth... she told  Carly she hated her...
‘Now Melanie, I’m showing you all this for you to understand, not to feel guilty.’ Isabella said sternly.
Melanie gulped and managed to nod, staring down at the young girl on the bed. ‘What happened next?’ she whispered.
‘Carly moved to Tahiti, where she began her medical studies. She settled there and one day...’
The scene changed to a small doctor’s office. A young couple entered; the man limping, supported by his blonde companion who wore a beach wrap over her floral bikini. Melanie felt like laughing, it was a much younger Justin and Adrienne Kiriakis.
‘I can’t believe how stubborn you are.’ Adrienne scolded.
‘Why, just because I wouldn’t let that girl look at my foot?’ Justin retorted.
‘You didn't think she was a kid when you were gawking at her.’ Adrienne fired back, the amused look in her eyes belying her words.
‘I didn’t gawk at her.’
‘I still think you should’ve let her help.’
‘Sure, I would choose a topless beach bunny over a professional doctor.’
As he spoke, Carly entered the room. She looked healthier, more colour on her cheeks and in the height of her beauty; early twenties thereabouts and was wearing her white doctor’s jacket over a print bikini; a stethoscope hanging from her neck. Melanie didn't know whether to be amused or horrified.  
‘Will it make any difference if the beach bunny wore a white jacket?’ she asked dryly.
Justin eyed her warily. ‘You can get into big trouble borrowing that coat, missy.’
‘I’ll risk it.’ Turning to Adrienne she held out her hand, which the other young woman immediately took. ‘Hi, I’m Carly Manning. Dr. Carly Manning.’ No longer Katerina.
‘Hi.’ Adrienne smiled back.
Justin still looked sceptical. ‘A little young, aren’t you?’
‘I just finished my first year internship.’
‘You look like you just finished your first year in high school.’
Chauvinist pig; Melanie thought crossly. Carly did look young but it didn't excuse Justin’s rudeness.
 Carly merely smiled while Adrienne firmly made Justin lie on the table and Carly extracted something from his foot which made him yell in pain, before bathing it with antiseptic.
‘Now what do you say?’ Adrienne prompted.
‘Thanks, it’s the first time I’ve been treated by a doctor wearing a bikini under her white jacket.’ Justin said pertly, causing Adrienne to swat his arm.
‘You’re welcome,’ Carly laughed, putting the bottle away.
‘We could probably use someone like you back in Salem.’
Carly raised her eyebrows. ‘Salem? That’s where you’re both from?’
‘It’s a nice little town,’ Adrienne said proudly.
 ‘In the mid-west, quiet place,’ Justin added, now friendlier towards the young doctor.
‘Not too big, not too small either.’ Adrienne said. ‘And full of friendly people, you’ll love it there.’
‘Sounds like a lovely place,’ Carly said, her smile bright but her eyes thoughtful.
‘That’s how it started,’ Melanie turned to Isabella as the black void returned.  ‘She went to Salem and saw Bo again.’
‘Yes. But you have to remember, Mel; what happened at the cafe was quick and sudden, they didn't get the chance to exchange words.’
‘So... neither of them recognised each other when they met.’
Isabella shook her head. ‘But Carly found out Bo was her mysterious rescuer and vice versa.... much later.’ 
‘Where are we now ?’ Melanie asked as the fog lifted and she found herself on a kerb.
‘Salem; 1990.’ Isabella replied. ‘Come on.’
Melanie followed her, staring round in wonder. Salem looked the same yet a lot different. For one thing, the sign over a rather familiar building read Brady’s Fish Market. Fish Market?
No sign of The Java or the Internet Cafes as they walked along. People milled about, no one familiar; young people either listening to walkmans or carrying boom boxes blaring music. They turned a corner and got to the docks, walking to a crowd of people.
Carly was talking to a handsome African- American man; her hair bouncing about her neck, golden hoop earrings in her ears. Melanie saw a distinguished looking man she recognised from photos in Maggie’s house, Dr. Tom Horton, who was talking through a bullhorn in front of a crowd of people. ‘It looks like some sort of protest’s going on.’
‘Lawrence’s oil company was responsible for causing a spill, which affected several small businesses, including the family’s fish market. Carly joined in the protest. Wait and watch... you’re about to see something.’
Carly was still a beautiful woman in the present day, here she looked more like a fashion model than a doctor. Carly looked animated as she talked to the man with her. Present day Carly was more restrained and since Bo’s abandonment, more withdrawn and quiet. ‘Who’s  the guy she’s talking to?’ Melanie asked. ‘He’s cute.’
Isabella chuckled. ‘That’s Dr. Marcus Hunter. He and Steve- Kayla’s husband- grew up in the same orphanage. He took Carly under his wing after getting to know her.’ Isabella smiled, a nostalgic look on her pretty face. ‘They delivered Brady.’
Oh...’ Melanie turned to look at Carly and Marcus again. He looked dependable and he clearly liked Carly, obviously in tune with her. It was rather like seeing herself and Brady.
Carly was clapping her hands, shouting encouragement then a man walked up to her, grabbing her arm.
 ‘That’s Bo?’ Melanie said, amazed. This Bo looked like he belonged in a biker bar.  Personally she wouldn’t want to run into him in a dark alley! His long hair flowed down his back and he wore a full beard and a scowl on his face as he snapped at Carly, demanding to know what’s going on.
‘Who the hell are you anyway?’
‘I’m Dr. Carly Manning; a new intern in Salem University Hospital.’ Carly replied, tossing her head rather disdainfully. ‘Who are you?
Folding her arms, Melanie watched the heated exchange; unable to stop staring at Bo’s tight ripped jeans. Cute butt, she couldn’t help thinking.  She blushed red again at the amused look on Isabella’s face.
‘Well, it is!’ she said defensively.
‘What is going on here?’ Hurrying towards them was Caroline Brady, several years younger, with a man she’d seen countless of times in a photo hanging at the Brady Pub, Shawn Brady.
 ‘Yeesh...’ Melanie stared as Bo stormed away after more angry words, mostly about the noise. What her mother said about Bo’s temper in her diary was no exaggeration, in his younger days he wasn’t so good at keeping it!
‘Who is that guy, anyway?’ Carly demanded crossly.
‘That guy is my son, excuse me.’ Caroline went after him.
The stunned, guilty look on her mother’s face told Melanie she was already told about Bo’s recent tragedy, she had no idea he was the one they’d told her about. ‘That was Bo...’ she said, before passing a hand across her face in mortification.
As Carly was apologizing to Shawn who brushed it aside, Isabella turned Melanie. ‘Not exactly love at first sight.’
No,’ Melanie agreed. ‘But it looked like he was madder at her than at the protesters, mad that she was there at all. He couldn’t get away from her fast enough.’
Isabella nodded, pleased with Melanie’s observation. ‘He got angry by the mere sight of a beautiful young woman, what does that tell you?’
‘Something about her fascinated him right there and then, and he didn't like it... because he was mourning Hope.’
‘Very good. This meeting is less dramatic than their first one, but still dramatic.’
‘Well, I kind of prefer the first one, he saved her from Lawrence. And I wish he was able to catch up with her that night.’
‘And what would’ve happened, Mel? His wife was waiting for him at the boat.’
‘At least he wouldn’t have  been so hostile to her when they met again, just look at the way he yelled at her; he was really mean.’
‘He was in pain.’ Isabella defended her brother.
‘Okay, okay...’ Melanie was anxious to see more. ‘Go on...’
Isabella walked  along the docks, Melanie beside her. As she spoke, their surroundings changed yet again.
‘Everyone took to Carly immediately. The Bradys, the Hortons... a lot of people, including me. And she was reunited with Jennifer after several years.’
As though she was watching a montage, Melanie saw Carly talking and smiling with Caroline, Shawn, a much younger Kayla who was holding baby Stephanie; Dr. Horton walking down the hospital lobby with her, Jennifer hugging her excitedly. Melanie also noticed a little boy holding Carly’s hand and chatting with her.
‘Is that Shawn D?’ she asked, a tinge of jealousy darting through her at the unconditional love on Carly’s face as Shawn D grinned up at her.
‘Shawn Douglas and Carly hit it off right away. Carly’s been lonely for so long and Shawn D was missing Hope. They filled the void in each other’s lives, especially after he fell into that oil shaft on Jencon’s property.’
The scene evolved to a hospital room, Bo attempting to console a bandaged Shawn D who was sobbing for his mother. But when Carly put her arms round him, the child immediately clung to her,  becoming quiet as she soothed him with soft words. With self loathing and bitterness, Melanie thought back  how Carly tried to console her after her shooting and got rebuffed. 'But it wasn't the same as having a lover,’ she said, pushing the sad memory away.
‘Exactly. And it didn't help that people began playing matchmaker.’ Isabella smiled then sobered. ‘But Carly was battling with a problem.’
‘Keeping away from Lawrence, right?’
‘Yes. She would only be free of him after her 25th birthday, which was when their betrothal was no longer binding. And Lawrence knew that, that’s why he had her hunted down.’
‘You said his oil company was the one destroying business here at the time.’ Melanie said. ‘Didn't Mum know he was behind all that?’
‘Not at first, she didn't know Jencon Oil belonged to him; not until after Shawn D’s accident and Steve’s supposed death.’
Melanie jumped on that piece of information. ‘Stephanie’s dad... Kayla’s ex?’
‘He walked into a trap meant for Bo,’ as Isabella spoke, the scene changed to the smoking debris of a boat which looked like it just exploded. Hands pressed to her mouth, Melanie saw a blond man lying on the deck; bleeding and obviously seriously injured. ‘Lawrence had his I.V tampered with at the hospital,’ Isabella went on soberly, ‘and for several years the family thought they’d lost Steve forever.’
Melanie nodded, heartsick  but was more interested in her mother and Bo’s history.
‘All because of that fight, he wanted to kill Bo?’ she whispered as the scene melted.
‘Not just that, Mel,’ Isabella replied. ‘Bo was embarking on his personal vendetta on Lawrence for Shawn D’s accident; vandalising anything that had to do with Jencon. And he put pressure on Carly by kidnapping Frankie and saying he would only give him back if she handed him Bo and the Von Leuschner estate.’
No...’ Melanie gasped.  
Isabella nodded, snapping her fingers. Melanie found herself in a room in time to see the door open and three uniformed men bodily shoving a struggling and very angry Frankie- now in his twenties- into it and slammed the door, locking it.
‘Is there anything that man didn't do to hurt Mum?’ she demanded, watching her uncle pound on the door. ‘obviously Mum couldn’t hand Bo over to him even if she could hand over the inheritance!’
‘He wasn't above anything,’ Isabella said coldly. ‘Carly did give him her inheritance; Frankie  handed his too - to free Jennifer. Jennifer went in over her head by posing as Katerina as a means of helping the real Katerina, making the marriage invalid. Lawrence married her in Alamania and forced her to consummate the marriage.’
‘Oh my God... the bastard raped Jennifer!’ Melanie exclaimed, shocked; hoping Isabella wasn't going to show her that horrible moment. She felt a huge stab of pity and compassion for her mother’s friend.
‘I’m afraid so. When she and everyone else involved was safely back in Salem, she pressed charges against him of course. He was arrested.’
‘But he must have known she wasn't Katerina!’
‘He knew all right, but he also knew Frankie and Carly would pay him anything to get him to divorce Jennifer.’
‘Of course they would do that,’ Melanie thought, feeling proud of their selflessness. ‘But, surely no one held it against Mum for keeping quiet?’
‘No, especially after they found out she was Frankie’s sister and it was all for him she had to keep quiet about her past with Lawrence and why she and Frankie assumed new identities.’
‘And Bo?’
Isabella’s smile was wry. ‘It was a while before he could get past it, but deep down he understood.’
Melanie watched the new scene revealed to her;  a party was going on and she saw Bo dancing with Caroline to a rendition of When I Fall In Love; other couples dancing. Carly stood alone, watching Bo and he was watching her, an impassive look on his face. Then he murmured a few words to his mother who nodded,  before walking up to Carly and took her arm. Melanie smiled as the couple began to dance, Frankie dancing with Jennifer a few yards away, John (or what he Roman back then?) going after Isabella. Melanie looked at the ghost, who was looking at the young version of her husband, her face wistful. Then briskly, Isabella turned to Melanie. ‘On to the next chapter now.’