"Someone made a mistake. That's not Dewey."
That's what Louisa wanted to say. She wanted to run to the nurses' station and cry, "That's not my Uncle, where is he?" This man's face was a fleshy puddle; gravity had stolen the smile, loosed the jowls, flattened the nose. She'd never seen him asleep before, that was all, had never even caught him in a catnap. That was why he looked so (dead? no not dead) . . . unfamiliar.
"Uncle Dewey, it's me. Can you hear me?" No response.
She put a hand lightly on his arm, saw his eyes rove behind wrinkled, bluish skin, and then his lids cracked, and he was staring at her. The gray of his irises looked muddy, his pupils glazed, as if he'd suddenly developed cataracts. "Uncle Dewey? Are you all right?"
He closed his eyes, turned away. Her hand found the call button, but when he opened his eyes again they were a clear, sharp gray.
"Little One, you're here."
"Of course. Can you tell me what happened?"
He paused, then said, "Last night, I left my body."
She said the only thing that came to mind. "Uh huh, okay."
"But that wasn't the bad part. The bad part came later."
He leaned forward. "I had to find another one . . . and it's going to be YOU!"
The girls screamed, right on cue.
Dewey smiled. He loved telling ghost stories at Louisa's slumber parties.
Opening: A.M. Ronning.....Continuation: Khazar-khum