Something was off between Dr. D and Reed. I caught Reed glaring at him during the flight but he was extra special nice to me. When I asked Dr. Day about it, he said not to worry. We just needed to focus on doing what the guru said. Not gonna lie, I was kind of over the moon about it. I was picturing getting my body back and starting on a program of the new and improved me. Being Dr. Day taught me that working out and eating veggies was kind of fun. I wasn’t going vegan but I definitely liked broccoli and tofu. Who would have guessed?
Reed took us to a pretty uninhabited part of the island near the volcano. “This is the home of Shama Kazi known spiritist of my island. Let me talk to him first for you or he’ll put his dogs on you.”
The shack gave me the shivers. It was like out of a Halloween movie tropical style. This was where we were going to find our answers? I kind of had my doubts.
“Todd,” Dr. D said, “are you sure about this?”
But Todd only grunted.
When Reed got back, he said, “Shama Kazi welcomes you with open arms except he’ll need payment.”
“Money, of course,” Dr. Day said. “Don’t worry, Charlene, I’ll pay. Anything to get my body back.”
“No…he desires your feet.”
I totally freaked out at that but Reed assured me he only wanted pictures. I bristled. What kind of creep needed photos of random strangers’ feet? But if that was all, I didn’t care what awful things he did with them. I wanted my body back.
He wasn’t anything like I’d pictured either. The guy was actually kind of cute and young. Weren’t shamans supposed to be 99 years old and wise with all the experience of the ages? I gave him a look. “How old are you?”
“Charlene, who cares?” Dr. Day said. “Let’s just see what he has to say.”
Anger flickered in his eyes. “If you don’t like what you see, you can leave. I don’t have time for difficult people who come in here begging for my help then spit in my face.”
Geeze, what got in this guy’s rattan basket? I backpedaled. “Sorry, Mr. Kazi, I meant no disrespect.”
Dr. Day cut in, “Look, we’re hoping you can help us with our souls getting back to our bodies. Do you have something for us to do or say or a spell you can enchant us with?”
He answered with a smile. “Ah yes, I believe I have the antidote you’re looking for. It should work instantly, too.” He glanced at me. “I see you’re very uncomfortable in this body and you’re ravenous to get out. I will help.”
He gave Dr. Day a potion. I was a little worried about it but heck. What did we have to lose?
Dr. Day threw it back like a mug of beer he was guzzling.
I did the same. Warm tingles zipped through my body. It was working!
But then Dr. Day’s hair turned blue and slithered out of his head like a bunch of slimy snakes. “Ahhh!” I screamed. “Dr. Day! What’s happening to your hair?”
“Very interesting,” the shaman said. “It would seem I was wrong. Souls are like roots of trees. They intertwine with the body they inhabit. It looks as though both of you are clinging to the bodies you possess.”
“What do you mean?” Dr. Day yelled. “Will we look like this forever? Can we ever get back?”
“The hair is only a sign of what’s inside. It will last another fifteen minutes. Do not fear about this. But as for your souls…you must give up what you know of yourselves and move on. Only then will you receive what you wish.”
“Give up what we know? Like who we were in our old bodies?”
“That is what I believe. But I’m not sure. I will do some research for you and will contact you later if I find out anything. Now…I believe I am due payment? Take off your shoes, please.”
Dr. Day rubbed his head. “God, okay fine, we’ll take off our shoes. Just give me a minute to process this.”
My mouth dropped at this news. “Omg…Dr. Day, am I stuck in your body forever?”
The dude must have taken a thousand pictures of our feet. What a weirdo!
The news hit me hard. It was like a heavy weight blanketed me. I was destined to be Charlene Darby for the rest of my life. What were my parents going to say? Or think? Would they not believe me just like Reed, thinking I was trying to take away my inheritance with a ruse?
In order to cheer us up, Reed suggested we go to a local bar called the Forbidden Mermaid. I got the feeling he was celebrating his victory over me. To him, this proved I was lying after all, and now, “Liam” was his. Charlene was all too happy to fall right back in his arms.
But how could I blame her? At least she was able to move on with whatever life she could make in my body. I needed to do the same. Just thinking about having to go through three more years of college to get my pHD all over again gave me a sinking feeling. My life literally sucked. Cursed forever.
“I can hear the music from here, Charlie. This is going to be fun!” Reed said.
Charlene turned her head. “Come on, Dr. D! Drinks on me!”
I rolled my eyes. Drinks on her meant drinks on my bank account. That was another subject we were going to have to hash out. How to split my funds.
As we entered, the music base reverberated through me. I had to admit, the bar was breathtakingly beautiful with gorgeous paintings and stained glass of mermaids on the walls and lasers flashing everywhere.
The patrons were all surrounding a girl who was dancing in the middle of the glass floor.
And then when I got a good look at her, all of the blood rushed out of my head.