What follows is the first chapter of my upcoming book Attack of The Hackman!, the third book of my The Karaoke Duo Series. The first installment is already available for 99 cents as an Amazon’s Kindle download at this link. Stay tuned for updates about the days when it will be available as a free download. Read On!
Attack of The Hackman! (Duh!)
Sheila Freemont-Strongbox was profoundly asleep when the discomfort in her taut belly woke her up, very late at night. Oddly, she was lying on her back; which was pretty unusual for a pregnant woman that is expecting triplets. This was the most probable reason that had caused her to wake up. Edward Strongbox, her husband, was lying next to her in the double bed they shared. He was snoring softly. Both Sheila and Edward were the civilian identities of Fermata Girl and The Man With The Mike, also known as the Karaoke Duo, a.k.a. those $#%@&!!! superheroes, according to Nosfort’s Chief of Police, Aloysius McGillicuddy.
Sheila and Edward were recently married; she could barely believe that their wedding had happened just four months ago! Edward snored a little more loudly, which caused her to come back to earth with a crash. Sheila was twenty-six years old, going on to twenty-seven in another eleven weeks. Her age had been the cause of a lot of gossip in their wedding reception, especially considering her small circle of friends. How could such a nice, talented, young woman like her marry a fumbling slob like Edward Strongbox, who was twenty-one years her senior? For Edward forty-seventh birthday was going to happen next week, which was a Capital Sin among Sheila’s twentysomething friends.
What the hell did she see in him?
Well, Sheila loved Edward because he was nice, thoughtful and a very good man in spite of all his obvious defects and his inherent clumsiness. If her friends weren’t able to see those qualities, it was their loss. As husbands generally go, she got herself a great catch.
Sheila tried to turn around to lie on her side, but the tautness in her belly prevented it. Then she remembered; she was approximately six-months pregnant. Of three baby girls, nonetheless—which caused her midriff look as if the Badyear blimp had decided to take residence in her belly. This was one of the few facets of expecting a baby—no, three babies!—that she really didn’t enjoy much. Sheila preferred to sleep face down, lying on her stomach. She hadn’t been able to assume her favorite sleeping position since the beginning of the second quarter of her pregnancy, choosing to sleep on her right side instead. At least that’s what she hoped for; her dates were a bit off in that aspect.
She couldn’t really calculate the exact moment when her daughters had been conceived; Edward and her had been quite active in the sex department when it happened, and, well, to be frank, Sheila wasn’t occupying her body at that precise moment.
There was another small nagging thing that was troubling her: none of her baby girls had shown any sign of the prenatal activity mentioned in all the books she had read on the subject. No tiny kicks. No sensation that they were shifting places. Sheila’s obstetrician told her not to worry, doing a half-assed job at assuaging her fears—her little girls were fine and were healthy, although they were unusually quiet ones.
Edward snored some more.
Well, there was nothing she could do to fix the problem about the incredible mass of her abdomen. That matter would resolve itself in due course; she estimated the delivery of her three babies would occur sometime around the date of her own birthday, maybe a week before or after she became twenty-seven. But she could fix the issue of Edward’s snoring. She kicked him.
Her husband mumbled something under his breath and turned around to sleep on his right side, facing away from her.
Only the soft purring sound of the alarm clock sitting on the nightstand next to her broke the silence of the night. Sheila sighed and closed her eyes, ready to go back to sleep.
She tried to turn over and lie on her right side, a sleeping position that still felt unnatural even after three months of using it. This time, however, she found that she couldn’t assume it. There was something odd in the tension present in her midsection, preventing her body from achieving this small goal. She could feel her spine arching slightly, as if this force were pulling her whole body upwards…
Alarmed, Sheila reached for her night lamp. In her hurry to turn it on, her hand struck the alarm clock, causing the appliance to fall from the nightstand. It didn’t hit the floor; it dangled from its electric cord, gently swaying back and forth as it made a soft, scraping sound against the paneled wood of the piece of furniture.
Sheila blinked in the sudden light that flooded the bedroom. What she saw was far from soothing: a small bulge the size of very large grapefruit was showing on the right side of her abdomen. A horrible succession of images—from all those horror movies that Edward seemed so fond of—assaulted her. The alien creature that burst from someone else’s stomach; the tied up girl in that Yecchorxist movie; any movie with that Mandona singer in it (who the hell told her she could act?!?)
Sheila’s arched back was indeed hovering about six inches above the mattress, while her shoulders and lower hips were comfortably resting on it. It was as if…
“Edward!” she cried. But her exclamation was filled with joy instead of fear. One of her unborn daughters was levitating while still inside the womb! “Edward! Honey! You must watch this!”
Edward woke up from his slumber. He turned his head, blinking owlishly while he mumbled something. His eyes opened wide when he saw what was happening at his back.
“Whoa!” he yelled as he whirled violently on his side of the bed. A loud thump! followed; in his surprise, he had fallen off the bed’s edge. Edward was soon on his feet, staring dumbfounded at his wife’s floating belly.
“Come, honey! It won’t bite you!” she said, urging him to draw closer. She placed both hands around the protruding bulge. She presumed it was the head of one of her little girls. Sheila felt the vibration of a faint humming reverberate directly under the palms of her hands. The baby girl was singing! Oh, this was even better than a small baby kick! “Come and feel it!”
Edward climbed back onto the bed, crawling cautiously toward her wife. His eyes were full of awe. He caressed his chin; his unshaven, overnight bristles made a scratchy sound that seemed to fill the entire bedroom. Sheila was smiling with joy.
He placed his right hand next to Sheila’s fingers. He grinned when he felt the small thrumming sound that seemed to originate directly beneath the skin of her belly.
“Hush, little girl,” Sheila whispered softly. “You certainly have impressed us tonight. But you better let your Momma sleep.” She sang a small ditty, using her own superpowers. The song was one she reserved to make people drowsy in her presence. “I wonder what kind of surprises your two sisters have in store for us in the future.”
The tiny song subsided. Sheila could feel the small one inside her abdomen release a yawn, right before the restless baby made a rollover. Then the bulge began to decrease; Sheila’s belly began to lower, the same as her spine. Everything was returning to normalcy.
Well, what stands for normal in the Karaoke Duo’s household.
Husband and wife remained with their hands on Sheila’s distended belly for another five minutes. Their eyes shone brightly. They had shared a great moment.
Then Edward went to the kitchen for a glass of warm milk. He returned a minute later, with the milk thoughtfully nuked in their microwave oven for just thirty-seconds, exactly as his little missus liked it.
Sheila drank the milk. When she was ready to show her appreciation for her husband’s gesture, she discovered that he already had crawled back into bed and covered himself with the blankets. Only the top of his head showed from beneath the bedspread.
Ah, well. Sheila sighed as she placed the empty glass on her nightstand. She reached out to fish the dangling alarm clock by its electric cord and put it back to its original spot.
Click. The night lamp went off and the bedroom darkened.
Sheila went back to sleep, wondering what the future would bring them.
END OF CHAPTER ONE