Gemini Man: Dr. Casey and Mr. Hyde

Gemini Man: Dr. Casey and Mr. Hyde

Sam Casey missed the ocean. He missed surfing, he missed diving and exploring the depths, he missed the peace that he found only when he was swimming far from shore. In all fairness, no one had told him that he positively couldn’t do any of things anymore, but they were definitely on the list of unadvisable activities. And though he was loathe to admit it there was something infinitely scary about putting himself back in the place where it all began.

The satellite on the ocean floor. The bomb. The radiation.  He glanced down at the phony wristwatch that allowed him to live a normal life. Normal? Well, as close as he was going to get, now that he’d become the world’s first, authentic, invisible man.  Even Ripley wouldn’t believe it

A sudden cold shower brought Sam back to the present.  He was sitting on the edge of a massive pool, legs dangling in the water and something was bumping them incessantly.


Sam leaned down to give the dolphin a brisk rub on the nose. “Hey, sweetie. Am I not paying enough attention to you?”

“We girls don’t like to be ignored.”

Sam lifted his gaze to take in the rest of the pool. Parker was sitting on a training platform halfway down the length.  Her athletic body was poured into a purple one-piece swimsuit, blond hair slicked back and pulled into a tight ponytail, long legs dangling in the water.

He adored those legs.. . . and those trim hips, and those decidedly muscular arms and what she could do with those pouty, bowed lips. . .

Henrietta slapped her flipper in the water dousing him with another spray of pool water.

“Not interested in sharing me, huh?” He splashed her back then gave her the hand signal to do a spin. She happily obliged and was rewarded with a tummy rub. “Tough choice. You’re both very smart, very pretty ladies but when it comes right down to it, I gotta stick with my species.”

The dolphin chattered back and Sam wondered if she understood what he was saying. Seemed like it sometimes. “Go give Parker a big kiss for me.” He gave her the hand signal then sent her off down the length of the pool.  The dolphin cut through the water like a speed boat, did a flip by the training platform then, popped into a tail-stand right in front of her trainer.

Parker leaned forward and received a kiss on the lips. “Give me a whole lot of love, baby girl.”

The dolphin chattered her response then turned and swam off to the far end of the pool.  It was dinner time and fresh fish always won out over playtime. Parker got up and started collecting the toys and training tools.  Sam knew he should offer to help but he couldn’t bring himself to pull his legs up out of the water. He had come to enjoy these training sessions as much as the dolphins did, on the other hand, cleanup time meant alone time was swiftly approaching.

Alone time was something they hadn’t had a lot of over the past three months.  Shortly after meeting Parker, Sam had boarded a plane for a two week assignment in Italy.  When he got back, she was out at sea teaching dolphins to locate underwater mines. Sam could still remember the chill he’d felt when he found out.  Rationally, he knew she wasn’t in danger but when he heard mines and ocean he got hit with the world’s worst flashback and it chilled him to the bone.

This time it was long fingers combing through his wet curls that brought him back to reality.

“Where have you been all day?”

Sam looked up, took her hand and placed a kiss in her palm. “Sorry, Stuff on my mind.”

Parker sat down beside him on the edge of the pool. “Something you want to talk about?”

“No, it’s nothing.” He turned his head and kissed her softly on the lips and that was all it took to make everything else go away.  “Can we get out of here?”


Parker popped up to her feet then pulled Sam up after her. They walked arm in arm back to the locker room then split up to shower and change.  Sam hurried, as much to shorten the time before he had Parker in his arms but as much to keep the old demons from coming back.  They were coming back a lot lately and he didn’t know why. Tired, probably, or tired of being under the microscope.

Once out of the shower, Sam ran a towel quickly over his body; towel dried his curly hair then stepped into jeans. Boots went on his feet and he finished with an egg-yolk yellow, button-up shirt.  He left the locker room and went down the hall to Parker’s office. He beat her there by a couple of minutes and while he waited his anxiety level continued to rise. He tried to sit, found that impossible, so he took up pacing the length of the small room. He could smell her in here, a combination of earthy perfume and chlorine, not a scent many people would appreciate but it spoke all his favorite things in life. His mind wandered back to the last time they’d made love, it was weeks ago and right after that he’d been sent on another mission, a tough mission, one that left him thinking long and hard about what he’d left behind.

The office door opened and Parker waltzed in. She was dressed in a short polka dot shift and her straight hair was now hanging down framing her sun-kissed face.  She was barely through the door when he swept her into his arms and covered her mouth with his. There was nothing gentle about the move but he once he started he couldn’t stop himself. His hands went into her hair as her hands roamed across his back and over his hips.  He took that as an invitation to press himself against her but it wasn’t so satisfying with nothing at her back.  He lifted her into the air and set her down again when her back was to the door.


With something solid behind her, he could push himself against her and really feel it.

“Sam, wait.”

He cut her off with another kiss, if you could call it that, it was more like resuscitation, she was breathing new life into him and he wanted more, wanted it now. His fingers knotted in her hair and he used that hold to control her as he plundered her mouth.

Her hands didn’t go where he wanted them to. Instead of caressing his back and ass, the wormed their way into the tiny space between their bodies.  Her palms went flat against his chest and she pushed with the muscles that made her a powerful swimmer.

“Sam, stop!”

“Why?” he slammed his palms against the door, perilously close to the sides of her head and it scared them both.  For a second, Parker looked like she was going to cry, then tough girl came through and she lifted her chin in defiance.

“Step back.”

He didn’t and then he did. The look on her face, the ache in his own chest, and then he saw his hand — or more accurately, didn’t see it. It was missing below the wrist. What the hell?

“I’m sorry.” he jammed his invisible hand into his pocket while she was still looking into his eyes.  She was looking for an explanation, wondering why the sweet and gentle lover she’d shared a bed with a week ago was now acting like a sex-starved madman.  He stumbled backwards muttering words that didn’t even make sense in his own ears.  Then he ran, out of the office, out of the complex, stopping only when he reached his motorcycle, then he put even more ground between himself and the man he didn’t recognize.


Sam drove straight to Intersect. It was the only place he could go. There were only two people in the world he could talk to about what happened and only one person who might have the solution. That was a problem. Sam knew Abby had feelings for him but his feelings for her were more sister than lover.  That was why he had refrained from saying too much about Parker but now. . . if they were going to solve this, he’d have to tell her the whole story.

By the time he pulled into a parking spot, his hand was visible again. He checked the readout on the DNA Stabilizer and was both relieved and worried when he saw that no time had elapsed.  Apparently partial invisibility didn’t count toward his total for the day.  Then again, the 15 minute limit was a number that Abby had pulled out of the air.  Who knew if there was any validity to the theory?  Not that he was willing to test it.  Right now he’d be happy if he never had to go invisible again.

At the start it was kind of fun, once he got over the shock, of course. Then he’d spent several weeks testing his limits, driving Leonard Driscoll crazy with pranks, and generally making a nuisance of himself. Now, almost a year later, invisibility wasn’t such a kick anymore.

Sam entered the building and ignored the friendly greeting from the security guard at the desk. He scanned his security badge, listened for the sound of the lock release then entered the inner sanctum.  As he passed Driscoll’s secretary he told her to find Abby then he continued into the lab.

Again he paced and again he felt his anxiety level rising.  Why? It didn’t make sense. He was a good agent because he was cool under fire.  He’d faced off against terrorists and assassins, even one wearing his own face and still he’d remained calm and in control. So what the hell?

“Sam?” Abby said before the security doors had whooshed shut behind her. “What are you doing here? Is something wrong?”

“Everything is wrong,” he snapped. “I’m a freak and now I’m getting freakier.” He showed her his hand, which of course, meant nothing at all to her. “A half an hour ago, it was gone.”


“Invisible. Couldn’t see it.”

“Your hand.” Abby took hold of it as if that would help her understand. “Just your hand.”

“Just my hand and. . . ” This was the hard part. “There’s something else. There’s something wrong with me.”

“Wrong with you?”

“Will you stop repeating everything I say!” He snatched his hand back.

“Sam, what exactly happened?”

“I keep thinking!” He saw her mouth form the matching words but she didn’t dare say them out loud. “I keep thinking about the accident and how I’m going to be like this forever. Right? I’m not going to get better. I might actually get worse? Right?”

“Possibly,” she said carefully, “but I still don’t—”

“I have to tell Parker the truth.”

“That’s not a good idea. Why don’t you sit down so I can check your vitals?”

Sam wanted to refuse but what would be the point. This was the reason he’d come to her, so she could find out what was going wrong. Fine. He climbed up on to the exam table and tried to hold still while she checked his pulse and blood pressure.


“I’m going to have to tell her sometime, Abby.  She’s going to start wondering why I wear this watch all the time. When I sleep, when I shower and while I’m making love to her.”

He saw Abby flinch at that last part. Wasn’t very fun listening to the man she loved talk about sleeping with other women. He didn’t care.

“You explain it the same way a diabetic explains his insulin shots or a heart patient explains his pacemaker. You tell her you have a medical condition that requires constant monitoring.”

“Living with a husband who has diabetes isn’t the same as having a husband who’s invisible.”

“Husband?” Abby turned quickly toward the computer screen to her left.  “I didn’t realize you and Parker were that serious.”

“We’re not, yet, but being with her makes me think about the future, about my lack of future.”

“Well, now you’re just being melodramatic.”

“And don’t talk to me like I’m 12!” he snapped. “You have who idea what I’m going through and if you had your way you’d keep me chained to this gurney so you could poke and prod and run tests on me 24 / 7.  Sam Casey, the human science experiment!” He kicked the rolling cart beside the bed and sent it careening toward her. She easily stopped it before it hit but the abrupt change sent instruments flying in all directions.

The clatter of metal on the hard floor worked like an alarm clock jolting Sam out of his rage. A wave of nausea knocked him to his back and he moaned not so much from the ache but from frustration. “What’s happening to me, Abby?” he lifted his arm with the intention of using it to shield his eyes from the bright, overhead lights but when his hand neared his face he saw that his fingers were missing.  The rest of his hand was nearly transparent like a fogged window with just a little light seeping through.

“Oh, Sam,” Abby took hold of his missing appendage and squeezed tight to prove to both of them that he was still there, still whole, in spite of what their eyes couldn’t see,

They both startled when the lab door swished open and Driscoll came in. “Teddy just told me you were here. What’s wrong?” He stepped up to the bedside and that was when he saw Abby’s hand clutching a solid nothing.  “Oh, that’s never happened before, has it?”

“No, the invisibility has always been all or nothing,” said Abby

“And that’s not all I can’t control.”

“What does that mean?”

“He appears to be having trouble controlling his anger,” said Abby.

“All of my emotions” Sam corrected. “It’s like male PMS and it just blows up inside of me and I can’t stop myself.”


“From doing what?” Leonard snapped back, concern coming out as anger.

Sam rubbed his good hand across his eyes. “Parker and I. . . .we were kissing and it’s like it wasn’t enough, I wanted more and more and I got aggressive and . . .

“Sam, you didn’t–”

“No, Leonard.  She’s got some muscle, that girl, and she pushed me off her and then I saw my hand . . .or didn’t see my hand, I guess–”

“Did Parker see you were invisible?”

“No, Leonard,” Sam shot back. “Your secret is safe; it’s still just the three of us in the club.” Sam sat up and jerked his now, nearly solid hand away from Abby. “I’m sick of it. I’m sick of being Intersect’s secret weapon.  I’m like one of Parker’s dolphins taught to fetch and twirl and bark on command. I’m still a human being, I’m still Sam Casey!” He jumped down from the gurney, shoving Leonard aside in the process. “But I’m not really Sam Casey anymore, am I? I can’t surf when I want to or go diving again. I have to be constantly monitored to make sure I don’t slip up and run the time out and it could happen, you know. These buttons.” He trigger his stabilizer, flicked himself off then on again.  “See how easy it is? What if I roll over in my sleep and land on the button? What if I have an accident on my motorcycle and trigger it when I fall to the ground unconscious? And what if Parker grabs my wrist and catches the button by mistake? This is not the life I’m supposed to be living!”

“Sam, please,” Abby pleaded. “We’ll figure it all out, I promise but I need to run some tests.  I need your stabilizer.”

“No! No more tests!” Sam stalked right up to her and she stumbled back a few steps to keep him beyond arm’s length. “You did this to me!”

“Abby saved your life, Sam.  Without that stabilizer–”

“What?” Sam screamed and even in his own head he sounded like a mad man.  “Without this stabilizer then what, Leonard?” Sam started to undo the strap on the faux watch, but stopped mid-action, hands trembling.  “I want it off but I can’t take it off, can I? It’s a permanent part of my life now, isn’t it? A constant reminder that I’m not who I used to be.” And now there were tears, genuine tears welling up in his eyes and rolling down his face like a toddler who couldn’t find mommy.

Sam dropped down to a stoop then scrubbed his hands over his face again and again. “Oh, God, I’m losing my mind.”

Driscoll stooped down to match him.  “It’s going to be alright, Sam.  We’ll figure it out.” He wrapped his hand around the back of Sam’s neck and squeezed.  It was as close as a no-nonsense, old school male could get to giving another man a hug and somewhere in a tiny corner of Sam’s mind he appreciated the gesture.

“First things first,” Leonard said, sliding into no-nonsense mode. “Let’s get you up on the exam table and let Abby check you out.” He took hold of Sam by the upper arm and nudged him to rise. Then it was back to the gurney which felt more like his personal bed than his actual bed at home.

“I need to take your stabilizer,” said Abby.

She forced herself to come close but he could see her hesitation. Sam wondered if it was the anger or the confessions that had made her reticent. Either way, it was his fault and now he felt bad for what he put her through.

“Sorry, I flipped out at you,” Sam said, hoping to gain a little favor. “Not really feeling myself here.”

Abby nodded but kept her full attention on her work. She retrieved a group of wires from a cabinet, then plugged them into the machine by the bed. “I’m going to hook you up to the main computer. It’ll replicate the effect of the DNA stabilizer so you’ll remain visible, but you have to stay put. No wandering around until you get the portable unit back.”

“I understand.”

Abby undid the buttons up the front of his shirt, guided him to take it off, then attached the other end of the wires to his chest using round patches of adhesive. Any other time, he would have made a joke about her putting her hands all over him but right now he didn’t think she’d appreciate it.

“Abby,” Leonard said as he looked on with nothing to do. “Do you have any idea why this is happening?”

“I couldn’t even hazard a guess, not until I’ve had a chance to run a few tests.”

Sam had a feeling that she was underselling it with the word ‘few.’ He remembered what it was like, those first weeks after the accident. The endless stream of turn this way, look that way, move a muscle, lie still, talk, don’t talk, he’d been hers to command. Fear of what she might find had made him cooperate back then and that same fear was starting to kick in again.

His hands were shaking and suddenly his mouth went dry. “Abby?” He lifted his hand to nudge her but his hand didn’t rise more than an inch off the bed. “I don’t feel so good.”

This time she gave him her full attention and her warm hands on his arm and shoulder. “That’s just your body adjusting to the stabilizer switch. The computer’s rhythm is slightly different and it’s more powerful so you’ll probably feel strange, maybe weak for a few hours.”

Again with the ‘few.’

“I don’t like it.” Sam wasn’t sure he’d said the words allowed but he figured he had when Leonard gave him a strong squeeze on the shoulder.

“You never were very good at sitting still. Give Abby a chance. She’ll have you back on your feet in no time.” Then he forced a wide smile. “I’ll be back to check on you later.” Then to Abby he said, “keep me the loop.”

“I will.”

Then they both stepped away from the bed and the fear ratcheted up another notch. It was crazy, irrational even but his brain couldn’t convince his heart which was beginning to palpate. Working for Intersect, he’d faced much bigger dangers than this. He’d survived an underwater bombing for heaven’s sake so this little malfunction. . . well, it was just that. . . had to be that.

Couldn’t be anything more? Could it? Like maybe Abby messing with the stabilizer to keep him from seeing Parker. She was jealous, no question, but would she go so far as to hurt him in order to keep him all to herself?

The monitor by the bed began to beep out an odd rhythm.

“Sam,” Abby warned. “You need to calm down.” She slipped a rubber tube under his arm then secured it tightly around his bicep.

“What are you doing? What’s that for?”

“I need to take some blood.” Don’t be a baby.

She didn’t say that last sentence out loud but he heard them loud and clear.

Blood, huh? And maybe she was going to put something in his veins before she took something out.

Her fingers snapped against the inside of his elbow then he felt the pinch of a needle sinking under the skin.

“No!” Sam rolled and grabbed her with his left hand. “Don’t!”

“Sam! Stop it. You’re going to break the needle in your arm.” Abby struggled to protect him from himself but even in his weakened state he had muscle and weight on his side.

Suddenly, the lab doors whooshed open drawing his attention and that was all she needed to safely remove the needle from his arm.

Max, the lab technician, stopped in his tracks, momentarily perplexed by what he was witnessing.

“Help me,” Abby snapped and that brought him in a hurry. “He’s confused. He doesn’t understand I’m trying to help.”

“You’re not!” Sam shouted back. “I know what you’re doing. You want me all to yourself. You want me stuck in this bed, dependent on you! I won’t. . . . you. . . stop. . . ” Gasping breaths filled in between the words as he fought harder to escape Max’s grip. The lab tech wasn’t bigger or stronger but he had leverage and Sam was fading. Literally and physically.

Add one technician to the secret club.

“What the hell?” Max’s eyes went wide as the arm he was pinning to the bed disappeared beneath his hand.

“Don’t let go,” Abby ordered. “Even if you can’t see him, he’s still there.” She adjusted the dials on the stabilizing computer then quickly rummaged through the drawers on the rolling cart.

Sam stopped struggling, too curious to know what she was looking for. When he saw it he started struggling again. A roll of bandaging gauze. She measured out two long lengths then cut them free from the roll.

“I’m sorry, Sam but you’re going to hurt yourself.” Abby wrapped one length of gauze around Sam’s right wrist then tied the long end to the metal crossbar under the bed. She handed Max the other length and had him tied down Sam’s left wrist.

He continued to kick and twist, cursing Abby with a litany of words he wasn’t known for and slowly exhaustion won out over everything else.

“I’ve never seen him like this,” said Max. “What’s going on?”

“I don’t know,” Abby snapped back. “And whatever you do see here, it’s strictly confidential, do you understand. You can’t speak of it outside of this room.”

“I understand. Are you alright?”

That question gave Abby a start. Certainly whatever Sam had it wasn’t contagious. “I just need a minute. Will you stay with him, please?”

“Sure.” Max watched her go then turned back to his patient who thankfully was whole again. Sam’s eyes were barely open. He was breathing heavily and irregularly and he kept pulling at his bottom lip with his teeth.

Max filled a paper cup with water from the cooler then helped Sam sit up enough to take a couple of sips. When he lay back down his throat and shoulders disappeared.

“Man, this is messed up,” said the technician.

And with his eyes closed, Sam laughed.

#  #  #

Abby ran for the sanctuary of the ladies room. She hit the door running and smacked straight into Leonard’s secretary Grace as she was on the way out.

“Wow, you’re in a—” Grace didn’t finish that thought. “Are you crying?”

“No!” Abby wiped her hand across her cheek then dashed around the young woman.

“What’s wrong? Did something happen?” Grace persisted as she followed Abby to the row of sinks. “Oh my God, Sam?”

“He’s fine! I think. I don’t know.” Abby yanked a towel from the dispenser and used it to blow her nose. “Grace, something’s terribly wrong with him and I don’t know what and everyone is counting on me to figure it out and what if I can’t? What if it’s my fault? He says it’s my fault but I think that’s just the paranoia talking, he’s totally paranoid, angry. . . I’ve never seen him like this.”

“I’ve never seen you like this. Seriously, Abby, take a breath.”

She tried but her lungs didn’t fill all the way. “I think it might be the electrical impulses from the DNA Stabilizer. They might be interfering with the brain’s normal activity. . . I mean, we never even thought about the long term consequences, we were just so happy to get him stabilized and normal. . . well. . . as normal as could be under the circumstances.”

Grace grabbed Abby by the shoulders and gave her a little shake. “Hey. Slow down. You’ll get this just remember to think with your science brain and not your girl brain.”

“It shows, huh?”

“Everyone knows how you feel about Sam.”

“Everyone but Sam.” Abby wiggled loose then went to the sink to wash her face. “You know about Parker, right?”

Grace sighed. “Yeah, but I wasn’t sure you knew about Parker. He tries not to mention her in front of you, which is why I know, he knows how you feel about him.”

Abby stopped splashing water, “I’m not sure what to make of that sentence.”

“I’m just saying, he cares. Not in the way you do, but he’s trying really hard not to hurt you.”

“Was trying hard. Today, he’s doing his best to make it so. I can’t really blame him. I represent everything that’s gone wrong in his life. She’s everything he wants to be. She’s fun and free and she’s part of the ocean. He misses the ocean.”

Grace couldn’t deny it so she didn’t try. “And he needs you, not just as a scientist but as a friend. You’re not going to let him down.”

Abby leaned closer to the mirror and stared at her own bleak reflection. “No, I’m not going to let him down.”

#   #   #


Sam woke up without remembering having fallen asleep. It was disorienting and so was the fact that he was on the exam bed in the lab. . . again. . or still.  Could it be that he was still recovering from the accident, that the whole past year had been nothing but a horrible dream?

He tried to roll to his right but couldn’t get far since his wrists were bound to the bed frame. What the hell was that all about?

Then it all came back to him, the emotional outbursts, Parker, Abby taking his blood. The heart monitor bleeps doubled in speed. Abby came out of nowhere to check the reading then she turned and saw he was awake.

“What time is it?” he asked before she could speak.


Really? “So I’ve only been out a couple of hours?”

“Twelve hours. It’s 7:30 in the morning.” She removed the tie from his right wrist then lifted his arm to check his pulse. “How do you feel?”

“Crappy. What did you give me?”

“Give you?”

“To make me sleep? What kind of drugs.”

She hesitated and he took it as a sign of impending deception. “I didn’t give you anything, Sam. It’s just another side effect, I guess.”

“You guess?” No, no. Keep calm. Don’t let her know you suspect. “Sorry, this whole thing has me kind of sideways.” He tried to sit, over-exagerating the tug on his still secured left wrist. “Could you cut me loose? I really need to use the facilities.”

“Oh, okay. Hang on.” She dipped into her pocket and pulled out his wrist unit, then she freed his hand and buckled it in place.

He felt an instant surge of power which subsided when she switched off the large stabilizer. It took her another few seconds to unclip the wires from his chest then she helped him back into his shirt.

“Let me call Max to help you.” She turned her back on him and that was all the opening he needed to make his break. Sam shoved Abby hard against the bank of computers and was pleased to see her go down in a heap. She wasn’t out cold but she had the wind knocked out of her and that was enough. He ran out of the lab and through the empty halls, expertly weaving his way to the front door.

Before he got to the reception area, he hit his stabilizer button and went invisible. Then he tore a framed photo off the wall and threw it to the ground forcing the guard to come and investigate. Sam dashed past and was out the door before the guard could see it swing open and closed. Running full on now, he made it to his motorcycle, brought himself back to visibility then roared out of the parking lot.


By the time Abby reached the guard, Sam was long gone. The guard offered to search the building since he swore Sam hadn’t gotten by him. Abby let him do it but she knew better. All she had to do was walk outside. The motorcycle was gone, so Sam was gone but it didn’t take a genius to know where he went.

Parker was in danger and as much as Abby resented her relationship with Sam, she couldn’t stand by and let her get hurt. She went back inside and called Leonard. She was going after Sam, but she didn’t want to do it alone.

#  #  #

Parker put Henrietta through her routines but her heart wasn’t in it and the dolphin responded with the same lack of enthusiasm.

“You and me both,” she said, as she gave the creature a tickle under her nose.

Henrietta responded with a round of chatter then she dived back into the water and swam away from her trainer. Parker followed with her eyes and there was Sam standing at the far end of the pool. He stooped down to greet the dolphin but Henrietta wasn’t having it. She began to thrash around in the water, splashing him with her flippers while berating him with a series of angry sounding calls.

Perplexed, Parker called the dolphin to return to her end of the pool and Sam followed, walking around the edge until they all met by the training platform.

“So strange, she’s usually so happy to see you. I know I am.” She stepped up to kiss him but he ducked away.

“She knows the truth. That I’m a freak.”


Sam stooped down at the pool’s edge and signaled Henrietta to come over but she dashed away to the safety of the deep end. “Animals are very perceptive. She knows I’m dangerous.”

“Dangerous?” Parker took a step back without thinking about it. “What’s going on? I was so worried about you after you ran out of her yesterday; I left you a dozen messages, at home, at work.”

“I didn’t go home.” He stood back up and this time, when he looked at her, she could see the dull gloss over his eyes.

“Are you on something?”

“Ask Abby. She’s always sticking needles in me, hooking me up to machines. Mrs. Frankenstein and I’m her greatest creation.”

“Sam, maybe we should call Abby. I don’t know everything they do at Intersect but. . . ”

He grabbed her by the upper arms and pulled her to him. “When are you taking Henrietta out again? To the ocean, I mean. I want to go. Just you and me.” He kissed her quick. “And baby makes three, right?” He kissed her again only this time it was more aggressive, shades of what he’d given her the day before. “Not even sure I can make a baby, anymore. Probably not. All that radiation. If I did have the right stuff, the baby would probably be born with two heads. Like one of those monster babies from the movies.”

“Okay, now you’re really scaring me. How about we go to my office—”

Sam yanked her closer and she forcibly shoved back. “Something is definitely wrong with you.”

“You just now figured that out.” He thumbed the top button on his watch and he was gone. Visibly gone, but she could still feel his hands on her. Still feel his breath on her face.

“How did you. . . ”

“Neat trick, huh?”

“Parker?” A female voice made her whirl around. There were two people coming toward her and it took a minute before she realized who they were. The folks from Intersect. Abby, whom she’d only met once, and Sam’s boss, Leonard Driscoll. She’d worked with him on a rescue mission with her dolphins. It was he who addressed her the second time.

“Have you seen Sam?”

“Funny question, Leonard,” Sam replied. “Nobody can see Sam.”

Instead of being confused as he should be, Driscoll simply exchanged knowing glances with Abby. She glanced down at the watch on her arm then back up at the space where Sam should be.

“Sam, please. We need to get you back to the lab.”

“You called them.” The voice was low and menacing and right in Parker’s ear. “I trusted you and you brought them here to cage me again.”

“I didn’t,” she whispered back and then there was a knife at her throat. It was the knife she used to cut fish for Henrietta. It was always sheathed in the side pocket of her training kit but now it was floating in mid-air perilously close to flesh.

“I thought you were different,” Sam whispered in her ear. “I thought you loved me.”

“I do. That’s why you have to stop this. You have to think.”

Henrietta popped out of the pool beside them. She squealed and chattered then hit the water so hard, the splash soaked both of them.

“Even she knows something’s wrong. She’s always so happy to play with you, Sam. She knows you. Responds to you when you call. She only does that for me and for Gina. She doesn’t usually respond to men at all, but she responds to you, Sam. And now she’s upset because she knows you’re not yourself.”

Parker saw Abby and Driscoll both checking their watches. As if time was important.

“Sam,” Driscoll called, chancing a step closer. “Turn on your stabilizer.”

“Why? So you can grab me?” The knife hit the tile and then there was a large splash as if someone had jumped in the pool. Henrietta reacted, too. She darted away from the splash then circled an area in the center of the pool.

Driscoll ran up to Parker but Abby wasn’t so quick to move. She kept scanning the pool as if she might see Sam there but all anyone could see were small splashes.

“Are you alright?” Driscoll asked.

“I’m. . . confused,” said Parker. “How is this possible?”

“I’ll explain later, but right now, we need to get him out and visible. He can only stay invisible for 15 minutes a day. If he reaches his limit, he stays this way forever.”

Suddenly the splashes stopped. Henrietta tightened her circle in the pool and her chatter went from agitated and sharp, too softer, longer tones. She pushed up to her tail then waved one flipper like she was tapping out Morse Code on a telegraph key.

“Oh my god. What she’s doing, it’s an approximation of the hand signal we use to tell her to hurry, that it’s an emergency. We use it for rescues.”

Abby ran to the edge of the pool. “I don’t think Sam’s moving.”

Parker dived in without a second thought. She swam directly to Henrietta’s position but couldn’t feel anything in the immediate vicinity.

“Where he is?” Abby shouted above the sound of the dolphin’s incessant chatter.

Parker swam around in front of Henrietta then gave her a few hand signal commands. “Find Sam. Where is he?”

The dolphin leapt into the air then dived beneath the surface. Parker tried to dive too but the water was churning with powerful swells that pushed her back before she reached the bottom. Henrietta breached the surface, then she tossed her head toward Parker. A second later, the force of a body bumping into her shoved off balance. She grasped frantically at the water in front of her and her hands found fabric. “I’ve got him.”

Not knowing which end was up, she held on as tight as she could then swam back to the edge of the pool. Henrietta swam along with her, lifting Sam’s weight from underneath now and then to make the trip faster and easier.

Driscoll and Abby both knelt down on the lip of the pool then reached in to grab a body they couldn’t see. They yanked and struggled and finally fell back as water spread out across the tile. Abby fumbled a little more in midair. There was a beep and suddenly Sam was whole again.

He was lying on his stomach on the tile, one arm hanging down in the pool, jeans and shirt soaked and stuck to his body. Unconscious.

Still in the pool, Parker helped roll him to his back then Abby put her ear to his chest. “Is he breathing?”

“No.” Abby slipped her hand under Sam’s neck, tilted his head, cleared his airway then blew a breath in through his mouth. Nothing. She did it again and one more time.

Silent, Henrietta nudged up next to Parker like she, too was waiting for a response. Then suddenly Sam’s body arched up with the force of a cough.

They rolled him to his side so he could expel the water from his lungs, then he laid back flat breathing hard and shaking.

“You’re going to be alright,” Abby said as he brushed the soaked curls off of his forehead. “We need to get you back to the lab and figure this out. I’m going to fix this, Sam. I promise.”

Sam nodded but instead of looking at her his eyes went to Parker. She wished she could offer the same reassurances but at the moment she was still stuck trying to make sense of it all. Sam, the man she’d fallen in love with over the past few months, had the ability to turn invisible at will. Her brain simply couldn’t process it, so she settled for a gentle kiss and a whispered, “I’ll be waiting for you” in his ear.


#   #   #

Sam turned up poolside three weeks and two days later. In between, Driscoll had called Parker twice to say they were making progress and to remind her that what she witnessed was top secret. For her safety, for Sam’s safety, no one could ever know the truth.

When she saw him standing just inside the gate, her first instinct was to run to him. Then then she was hit with a flashback of the last time he’d appeared without warning.

“I’m fine,” he said, reading what was on her face.  “And I should be able to prove it.” Sam stooped down at the edge of the pool then called to Henrietta with both his voice and hand signals.  She rushed over to greet him, happily chattering and dancing on her tail in front of him.  “That’s my girl.” he rewarded her with a brisk rub on the nose.


“She missed you.”

“I missed her, too.” he pushed up to standing and waited for her to come to him.  “But I missed you more.” He crooked his finger under her chin then gently kissed her lips. “That’s how I meant to kiss you that day this all started.”

“I know.” Parker slipped her arms around Sam’s waist then kissed him back with a little more vigor and passion than he had exhibited. “But I wouldn’t mind it if you were a little more forceful.”

He tried again and she moaned her approval. They continued on longer than they should.  She had questions and he clearly had something more on his mind. It was taking all the joy out of the reunion so she decided to meet the issues head on.

“Can you tell me what happened?”

Sam was consumed for a moment. “What happened? Oh, yeah, it was this.” He pushed his sleeve up to reveal the watch on his wrist. “The unit uses electrical impulses to keep me stabilized. Only thing is, the brain also uses electively impulses to control the body and after a year of it, the signals started working against each other.  The stabilizer was setting off fireworks in the emotional centers of my brain resulting in paranoia, anger, lust.” He kissed her again. “But Abby figured out a way to reroute the impulses or something.  I don’t honestly know how it works but it does. I am now stable in every way. And I’m sorry I scared you, hurt you.”

“I understand,” Parker tucked herself in against his chest. “But I’ll still let you make it up to me.  Tonight. My place?”

He didn’t answer right away so she stepped back and met his gaze.  “What’s wrong?”

“I can’t. Parker. I came here to say goodbye.”

Just words, but it felt like he’d punched her in the gut. “Goodbye? Sam—”

He stopped her with another kiss, then he caressed her cheek with his cheek and inhaled the incredible scent that was distinctly Parker.

“I have to catch a plane in two hours. I’m sorry, it’s serious and I can’t say no.”

A plane? Goodbye, just for now? There was something more, she could tell, but with everything that had happened in the past month she decided not to push it. “If someone needs your help that badly, then I’m glad you’re on your way. I’ll be here when you get back. In the meantime, two hours. . . and I have a lock on my office door.”

He looked like he wanted to say no, but he didn’t. He slipped his arm around her and with his free hand signaled Henrietta that playtime was over.


As they walked the short way to Parker’s office, Sam waged a war with himself. On his way over here, he had made the decision to say goodbye. Not just for this week, but permanently.

The paranoia was gone but the truth remained, he was a freak. He was one accidental button push away from disappearing forever and he didn’t want to do that to her. Parker deserved a whole husband, one who could father her children and care for her when she was old and frail.

Abby said he was healthy and that he could live as long as anyone else who worked as a spy, rode a motorcycle and ate hamburgers three times a week. It was probably the truth as she knew it, but recent events had taught him that there were no guarantees. They simply had no way of predicting what the invisibility or the cure would do to his body in the long run. This time it was his brain. Next time it could be his muscles or his nerve endings, his vision, or his ability to speak.

Sam was a man who took chances but he always considered the odds first and the odds in the case said he was likely to have another major problem before all was said and done.

He’d give Parker the two hours and he’d enjoy every second of her in his arms. Then he’d go on the mission and after that. . .

“Cross that bridge when you come to it, Casey.”

As Sam stepped into Parker’s office, he wondered who had said that.
The End


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