Short Story- The Curious Case of Dr. Levi Thon

I usually don’t post my fiction work on my blog but hey, I figured why not.

When you are homebound due to illness, you have to find ways to entertain yourself. When I wish to exit my four walls, I have to do so in my mind.

So that’s where the world of fiction writing comes in.

You can go ANYWHERE in the world of literature ❤

I am in the process of publishing my fiction series- The EverVigilant trilogy.

I hope you enjoy this quirky little story.

All comments/opinions appreciated.

All content and images used on this site are owned or licensed by Winslow E. Dixon. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited. (Feel free to share stories and save images if credit is given to Winslow E. Dixon.  All images, written posts and blogs are owned by Winslow E. Dixon and protected under copyright law)

The Case of Dr. Levi Thon

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.  The pager on my side alerted me to the fact I was needed in a patient’s room. My name echoed through the hallway speakers.  “Dr. Thon, paging Dr. Thon to Triage.”  I walked through the narrow halls in the archaic looking hospital and into the triage bay.  A nurse handed me a chart as I stepped into an exam room. A teenage boy sat on the gurney.  Every inch of him was covered in mud and he was cradling his right arm.

“My arm really hurts. Is it broken?”  He asked through a grimaced face.

I pulled on a pair of gloves and began to examine his afflicted arm. He winced at my every touch and I assumed the bone was broken.

“I am ordering an X-ray to determine whether it is broken or not.” I told the young boy as I exited the exam room. I headed to the nurse’s station to alert my attending physician that I was sending the boy to radiology. My attending was an old, Italian man with a hot temper. Dr. Muchini was known for his strict personality and high intellect.

“Most likely a hairline fracture in the lower humorous and possible fracture of the glenohumeral joint. I ordered an X-ray of the right arm to confirm. ” I explained to Dr. Muchini.  He looked at me with disgust in his eyes.

“Cancel that order and run a CAT scan. We need to rule out a concussion or brain hemorrhage.”  He firmly stated.

“Sir, the patient did not complain of any head or neck pain.”  I responded.

“You are a resident physician here at this hospital and will do as I ask! Do you understand, Dr. Thon?”   He yelled as he slammed his clipboard down on the nurse’s station counter.

I nodded in agreement and changed the radiology order for the young boy.

I hated Dr. Muchini. He was constantly overbearing.  I never seemed to do anything right in my medical practice. He would undermine me in front of patients and change medications without alerting me. I was tempted to go to the medical director about him, but supposed that an unknown resident rookie’s opinions would not matter. He was right, I was a resident. I was in my first year of residency at Blackstone Hospital. It was a tiny, dated hospital in the outskirts of Tennessee. The small staff only totaled eighty five medical professionals. Dr. Muchini had been on staff since the hospital opened its doors. His reputation was known through the entire town. My feelings towards him would have to be suppressed if I was going to make it through four years of residency.

A nurse handed me a clip board with the results of the boy’s CAT scan. They were negative for brain bleed, concussion and any hemorrhaging.  However, his arm was broken. I set his arm, put it in a cast and discharged him.  I was tempted to inform my attending with the results but decided against it. Instead, I snuck off to the roof top of the hospital. I frequented this spot because none of the other residents were aware of it and I could be alone. I needed to find a moment of solace due to the stress of the attending’s attitude that day. I looked up to the sky and took a deep breath. I closed my eyes for an instant but was quickly startled by the hospital helicopter coming in. I jumped to the side wall as the chopper’s blades spun the air around me. When it landed, the life air crew rushed into the hospital doors with a petite figure on a stretcher. The head crew member motioned for me to follow him. “Eighteen year old female involved in car crash. I’ll let you take it from here, Doctor.” He breathlessly reported as we raced into the trauma bay.

I immediately turned my direction to the girl. Her face was already showing signs of bruising and her pulse was growing weaker. “Stay with me, sweetheart. What’s your name?” I asked her.

“Deana.” She replied softly.

“Deana, we are going to take care of you.” I reassured her.

The fear in her eyes was unmistakable. I was sure she would be okay, but I knew this must be terrifying for her.

My attending walked into the room and began to shout orders to the staff. “We need to hang an IV drip of fluids, get her blood pressure and heart rate stabilized stat!”

Assuming he had the situation handled, I headed for the door to continue seeing other patients.

“Dr. Thon, you were not excused from this patient’s case.” Dr. Muchini scolded.

Irritated by this, I turned around sharply and began to assist the nurse with the IV placement.  The girl began to shake as the fluid entered her veins.

“She’s crashing.” The nurse exclaimed in an alarmed but calm tone.

Her heart rate began to fluctuate on the monitor as her oxygen levels plummeted.

“Alright Dr. Thon, you know so much why don’t you handle this?” Dr. Muchini scoffed as he left the room.

I was too focused on the girl to let his words agitate me. I had a life to save, regardless of whether the attending was supportive or not.

“Grab the crash cart.” I instructed the nurse.

The nurse assisted me in alternating treatment and breathing for the teenage girl. As I was filling a syringe with medication, a strange sensation washed over me. I began to feel extremely hot, like I was melting.

“Do you smell smoke?” The nurse frantically asked me.

The air became cloudy and thick with a smoky haze. I surveyed the room for the source of the smoke. The nurse started to panic and pulled the fire alarm.

I turned my gaze to the teenage girl. Her condition was stabilizing.

“Deana, are you with me?” I called out to her.

She opened her eyes for a brief second and met my gaze. Her vitals returned to normal range on the monitor.

My patient was stable, but the fire alarms were now going off through the entire hospital.  I still felt like I was melting. My skin felt like it had touched the surface of the sun. I rolled up my sleeves to find a disturbing red mark tracing both of my arms. Whatever the fire source was must have burned me while I was focused on the patient.

The attending rushed back into the room. “What is going on here?”

“Smoke.” The nurse explained.

By this time, the haze in the room had dissipated. The fire department arrived and checked the trauma bay for the source of the smoke. They did not find anything and chalked it up to an electrical current in one of the machines overheating.  This puzzled me, because of the marks that showed up on my arms. Surely something had caught on fire.

Deana was stabilized and sent home that night with a full recovery. I was on call that night. When I entered the resident lounge, I was totally exhausted. My arms stung from the mysterious marks that had appeared. I threw my lab coat into my locker and looked into the small mirror I had hanging in the door. My Asian characteristics were staring back at me. I glanced at my dark hair, almond eyes and slender, masculine frame. I looked tired and decided to crawl into one of the bunk beds located in the lounge.  I tucked my pager under my pillow to be sure to hear it if I was needed. I drifted off to sleep.  I dreamed about fire the entire night. I assumed this was because of the incident that happened earlier that day in the trauma bay.  My pager woke me at 4:00am. Two more car accident victims, one case of stomach flu and a random turtle bite made up patient case load that morning. My attending continued to be a thorn in my side and my arms still ached from the marks. By the time I was no longer on call, I was drained.  I left for home in an almost zombie-like state.

I had the next day off from the hospital. After a much needed nap, I decided to do one of my favorite hobbies- hiking. I had just relocated to Tennessee for my residency and loved exploring the local scenery. I packed a backpack, showered myself with bug spray and drove to a rural hiking trail.

Tennessee had the most alluring landscape. With the rolling hills, babbling creeks and green foliage, I was enjoying every moment of my hike. The exhilaration of pushing my body up the steep hills was a welcomed challenge. I felt strong and connected to nature. This was exactly what I needed after a tough day at the hospital. I still could not figure out where the smoke originated from the day before.  I pondered every possible explanation during my hike. I never saw an open flame anywhere in the trauma room.  I was not even sure that there was ever a fire. It was certainly a freak event.  Smoke from an unknown source just did not make sense. I looked at the marks on my arms; they seemed to form a unanimous pattern on both sides. The pattern swirled from my wrists all the way up to my shoulder blades.  Something must have burned me to cause these marks. I thought to myself.

My thoughts were suddenly interrupted as a growl resounded from the brush.  I looked over to find a mountain lion prowling beside the hiking trail. I stopped instantly and hoped the animal would leave me alone. Hours seemed to go by as the animal and I stood motionless, awaiting one another’s next move. I slowly reached into my backpack and grabbed my cell phone. I sent a text to my friend who lived close to the park. “Hey, hiking at Blackstone National Forest Park. Mountain Lion right next to me. Just letting you know just in case.”   As I slid the phone back into the pocket, I inched along the trail as carefully as possible. I hoped the wild animal would become uninterested and leave me alone.  My phone beeped. I stopped walking and read the message from my friend, “Everything ok?”

I suddenly was knocked to the ground. The mountain lion pounced on my back and started clawing me aggressively. “Help! Help! Help!” I frantically called out into the empty woods. My cell phone was knocked out of my hand from the impact. I knew getting to it would be my only chance of survival. I attempted to escape from the beast by hitting it repeatedly. This seemed to only anger it as he clinched his claws tighter into my flesh. I surveyed the ground for where my phone landed. Two feet in front of me was the only lifeline I had. Using all my strength, I dragged my body along the dirt and reached for my phone.  I could not reach it with the weight of the large animal on my back. I tried to flip my body over in order to wrestle free from his claws. I was able to turn slightly sideways and grab the large cat by its neck.  With all of my might, I pushed the hungry creature off of my body. I stammered to my feet and kicked the mountain lion as hard as possible. The smell of smoke suddenly overwhelmed me. My arms stung with a burning sensation. I looked down to see the dark red marks spreading throughout my limbs. The beast pounced once more and sunk his teeth into my shoulder blade. He winced immediately, retracted his bite and ran back into the woods.

“Levi! Levi! Are you okay?” A voice called out.

“Over here!” I breathlessly responded.

My friend who I had text earlier appeared on the path in front of me.

“Levi! What happened? Do I need to take you to the hospital?”

I laughed. “I am a doctor, remember?”

“I know, but are you okay?” She asked.

I looked at her concerned face. I watched her bright, hazel eyes glance over the bloody tears in my clothing.

“I’ll be okay. Nothing a little antiseptic won’t fix.”

It took some convincing but she relented to let my treat my own wounds. Kari was a nurse at Blackstone Regional, so she knew my injuries were not life threatening. We met at a charity event the hospital hosted a few months back. I was completely dumbstruck by this woman. She worked in the cardiac unit and was one of the best nurses I’d ever seen. She was gorgeous with strawberry blonde hair and tan skin. Kari was my dream girl. I had no chance with her. She was engaged to a firefighter and seemed content with him.  I still enjoyed her company. She had an infectious laugh and kind spirit I was addicted to.

Once she made sure I was alright, Kari left for her shift at the hospital and I returned home.

I immediately took off the bloody clothes and examined by body. The indentions of large teeth lined my shoulder blade, only to be offset by large red marks that cascaded down my arms. My legs now had the suspicious red marks as well. What is this? I wondered. The marks had not lost the stinging sensation and felt warm whenever I touched them.

In my years of medical school, I had never seen wounds like these. I grabbed my dermatology book off of my shelf and skimmed through the photos of various rashes and skin conditions. None of the pictures resembled the mystery streaks that defaced my body.  Frustrated, I threw the book onto my desk and turned my attention to the bite wound. I could not help but wonder what caused the mountain lion to run away whenever his teeth entered my flesh. It was as if it caused him just as much pain as it caused me. Whatever the reason, I was grateful to have escaped my encounter with the wild animal.

My pager beeped at 3:30am that morning. A train had derailed and every single physician was called into the hospital to treat the victims. The trauma bay was swarming with injured survivors, frantic family members and what appeared to be Blackstone’s entire medical staff. I immediately joined my colleagues and started seeing patients. I tried to treat the acute injuries and leave the critical cases to the non-resident doctors. I bandaged wounds, set bones back into place and sewed stitches the majority of that morning. It seemed like I had entered a never ending assembly line of injuries. Even though we were technically over-staffed, our faculty was almost overwhelmed by the hundreds of wounded train riders.

“CODE BLUE! CODE BLUE.” The loudspeaker reverberated through the trauma bay.

I ignored the call; surely the experienced physicians would handle the code.

“Dr. Thon, Get in here!” My attending physician mandated from the exam room next door.

I rolled my eyes, quickly bid my current patient goodbye and ran into the other room.

On the stretcher was an elderly man in full cardiac arrest. He was train conductor and had clearly experienced the full impact of the derailment. Based on his injuries, I was not sure I would be able to save his life. Nevertheless, I began to start chest compressions and instructed the nurse to breathe for him. My attending stood at the door way, watching my every move. I ignored his stares and continued my attempt to revive my patient.  The man was not responding to my efforts. Adrenaline coursed through me as I pressed my hands harder and harder into the conductor’s chest.  I could feel the marks on my arms and legs burning with intensity. The smell of smoke entered my nostrils. I was too distracted with my patient to recognize the haze that had entered the trauma bay once again. A flat line symbol appeared on the monitor with the eerie accompanying long beep that meant my efforts had failed.

“Dr. Thon, call the death. Time of death 9:00am.” The attending stated.

“No! He is not gone yet!”  I responded stubbornly as I continued the compressions.

“Call it! There is another fire in here and a lawsuit over a burned body is the last thing this hospital needs!”  He said as he pulled the fire alarm.

I ignored his command and continued to do compressions on the conductor. My body stung with an intensity I had never felt before as the smoke engulfed the room. I could not stop; I knew this man had life left in him.

“Dr. Thon! I will dismiss you from the hospital if you do not stop immediately!

I did not stop.

The room turned into a scene of chaos with the sounds of the fire alarm, the aroma of fire and the physician yelling. It was only quieted when the monitor hooked up the man started to beep faintly.

I shot a condescending glare at the attending that said “I told you so.”

He avoided my gaze and instructed the nurse to admit the conductor for overnight observation.

The fire department entered the trauma bay for the second time that week. They came to the same conclusion again and the day went on as normal. This mysterious smoke was becoming quite the legend in the small hospital of Blackstone. Some staff started a rumor that the smoke was actually a ghost of a mistreated patient. Others believed it was a clever ploy set by some of the residents in order to distract the attending physician from noticing their mistakes. My theory was the crash cart machines got overheated and started to smoke. Regardless of the source, the entire hospital was buzzing with speculation.

With the exception of a few patients, small emergency department was now almost empty.  The train victims had all been treated and the excess staff was sent home. Due to my earlier disobedience, I was placed on a double suspension shift.  I avoided my attending physician by staying in the resident lounge between patient visits. I knew it was wrong to disobey the orders of a superior doctor, but I did save a man’s life. I did not feel like explaining myself to the doctor who clearly already disliked me. My best option was to stay out of his way until the incident was forgotten.

While I was evading the attending, Kari came into the lounge for her lunch break. I examined her angelic appearance in her white scrubs as she heated her lunch in the microwave.

“Hey! Did you get that bite taken care of?”

“Yeah, it wasn’t too bad.” I responded, trying to sound tough.

“Good, can I see it?”

I rolled up the sleeve of my lab coat and shirt. To my horror, my arms were completely red.

Kari stared at me in concern as she began to examine the marks. The scaly wounds stung with her every touch. I tried not to wince and retain some form of masculinity.

“Levi, this doesn’t look good. “

We spent her lunch hour trying to figure out the source of my ailments, to no avail. When she headed back to the cardiac unit, I was no closer to a conclusion. I was glad to have captured her attention; I just wished it had been because of a better reason.

My double suspension shift seemed to drag on forever. I was convinced Dr. Muchini purposely gave me every irritating patient that walked through the doors those next twenty four hours.  By the time my shift was over; I had been spit on, cussed out and threatened. I was very annoyed and ready to go home. I went into the resident lounge to grab my backpack and to my surprise; my attending was standing by my locker.

He grinned mischievously.

“Dr. Thon, it’s time we had a conversation, young man.”

I was tempted to run back out the door. I relented to his motion to sit at the table in the middle of the room.

“You are absolutely the most disrespectful resident I have ever had the trouble of dealing with in my history of working at Blackstone Hospital. Your actions will not be tolerated. I have submitted the request to have you transferred to another hospital.” He said through gritted teeth.

“Does this mean I am being kicked out of the residency program here?” I asked.

“Fortunately for you, you saved a life today. So the board wants to give you one last chance to prove you are a decent doctor. I already know you will fail again, so it’s only a matter of time until your true character comes out.” He smirked.

His words angered me to the point where I clinched my fists under the table. I could feel my temperature rising. My arms glowed with a red hue, causing my shirt to instantly denigrate. I shot up from the table, just hoping Dr. Muchini had not noticed the strange occurrence.

I was not so fortunate.

“I knew you were some sort of evil!” He shouted as he backed into the corner of the room.

I could feel my inner rage for him take over. The red marks continued to spread over my body as I walked towards him. I could see the fear in his eyes grow with every step I took in his direction. Flames and smoke began to course through my fingertips as I stared into the face of the man who had humiliated me so many times. I contemplated pressing my flaming fingertips against his skin, but decided scaring him was enough torture. I stood in front of him, motionless.

“Levi!”  A voice called out from behind me.

I turned around to see Kari standing in the doorway. At the calming sight of her, the flames receded.

Dr. Muchini instantly ran past me and out of the room.

I was unsure of how much Kari had witnessed of my freak intimidating scene.

She shot me a dark look. “What were you doing staring at Dr. Muchini like that? I thought you were going to hit him!”

“No, I didn’t hit him. He would deserve it if I did though.” I scoffed playfully, trying to gage whether she was mortified or not.

She smiled softly. “No. Doctors help people, not hit people.”

Just then, Dr. Muchini and a member of the Blackstone Medical Board burst into the lounge.

“There he is! Dr. Thon cornered me and burst into flames!” Dr. Muchini shouted as he pointed at me.

The board member looked at him in confusion.

“See, I even had a witness. Nurse, did you not see him on fire in front of me?” He asked Kari.

Kari erupted into laughter. “Flames? He was standing in front of you, yes. Flames though? I never saw any flames? Maybe it’s that angry ghost everyone keeps talking about.”

Dr. Muchini spent the next hour trying to convince the board member that what occurred was true. I was noticeably silent and was thankful that I decided not to lay a hand on him. There was absolutely no evidence of what had occurred and Kari had not witnessed a thing. I got my revenge.

On the ride home, the reality of the situation dawned on me. I had actually burst into flames and almost burned my boss. A shutter of fear ran down my spine. Was Dr. Muchini right? Was I some evil creature? What was I becoming? I frantically pondered to myself. I spent most of the night researching the internet for possible explanations. By the time my pager rang, I had more questions than answers. My research had let me to the conclusion that I was a freak and had no idea why.

Most of my shift was spent avoiding the rumors that had started regarding my encounter with Dr. Muchini the day before. I escaped to the roof top every chance I got. The marks on my body were stinging constantly now. I felt as if my body temperature was a thousand degrees. The stress of the rumors and the extra scrutiny of the board members was overwhelming me. I peered into the skyline as I endured the burning that surged through my body.

“Well look who is hiding from reality like a coward. Why am I not surprised?”

I turned around to see Dr. Muchini standing on the rooftop. I instantly froze, afraid my anger would erupt like it had the day before.

He stepped towards me in a menacing manner. “There is something dark and evil about you, Dr. Thon. I may not know what it is, but I am determined that you will be dismissed from this hospital. It’s only a matter of time before you mess up. When you do, I will ensure you will never dawn the doors of Blackstone Hospital again.”

I took a deep breath and tried not to react. I simply shot him the kindest smile I could muster.

“No response, huh? You are more of a coward than I thought.”

His words infuriated me. I felt my temperature rise even higher.

“Enough!” I screamed.

He shot a dark smile back at me. “Getting angry are we?”

My rage overcame me as my skin turned completely red. The smell of smoke filled the rooftop air and my temperature rose. I suddenly heard a ripping noise and was alarmed to see my lab coat and shirt were now torn and on the ground beside me.

Dr. Muchini looked horrified and started to run away from me.

What was happening? I anxiously wondered. I knew I had to get out of sight as soon as possible.

I attempted to run back into the door and down the stairwell to no avail. When I tried to walk through the doorway, I was unable to fit. I glanced behind me to see two large scaly wings protruding from my back. I screamed in horror. Dr. Muchini was right, there had to be something dark and evil in me. I edged back onto the roof and tried to figure out my next move. My heart was racing as my body took on another form. I looked down to see that my small Asian frame transformed into a beastly red creature with scales and wings. I heard the sounds of people running in the stairwell. I had mere moments to hide my new form. I took a deep breath and jumped off the rooftop.

I began to rapidly freefall as I scrambled to understand how to get my new wings to work. Flap! Fly! Do something! I mentally demanded.   I was going to hit the ground. I closed my eyes and accepted my fate. What a way to go, off a roof in the form of a dragon. I grit my teeth as I braced for the impact. I felt my muscles jolt as my new massive wings suddenly soared into the air. The red burning marks on my arms began to glow with a fiery hue. Realizing I hadn’t hit the ground, I soared into the dense Tennessee forest to stay out of sight. I had hoped no one had witnessed my daredevil jump or my transformation.

I stood in the forest, examining my new form. My entire body was covered in red scales and I now had a ten foot wingspan on my shoulder blades. My breath smelled of smoke. My hands and feet had been replaced with claws and talons. I was horrified at the sight of what I had become.

The sun began to set as I stayed hidden in the foliage. I attempted to lay my enormous beastly body on the forest ground. My thoughts became melancholy as I wondered if my human form would ever return. I stared at the red hue glowing from my scales as the darkness of night overtook the scenery. My eyes became heavy and I drifted off to sleep.

I felt an unexpected poke in my side.

“Aye, You alright?”

I looked up to see a man standing over me, repeatedly poking me with a stick.

“Why are you half naked? Don’t you know it gets cold around these parts?” He asked me.

I looked down at my body and saw a naked human frame.

“Uh, I’ve been drinking…” I lied.

“Hey! Me too!” He laughed and pointed to the beer in his hand.

I could not help but laugh. “Can you give me a ride home?”

“Well no, I’ve been drinking. I can call my wife though, but you’ll have to put some clothes on.” He said as he took off his flannel over shirt and tossed it to me.

A few minutes later, the man’s wife pulled up in an old jeep and they drove me home. I left my keys in my locker and had to break into the window. Crawling through a window with nothing but a flannel shirt was quite a sight for my neighbors to see. Unfortunately that’s not the wildest scene I had caused that day.

I could not help but wonder what Dr. Muchini had told the hospital staff or the board. I was glad that there were no witnesses and it was still my word against his. No one would believe the events that occurred on that rooftop. I barely believed it myself. As insane as that sounded, it was true. My mind raced with the horror of my monster transformation. I decided to distract my mind. The T.V flickered in the background as I surfed the web once again for an explanation to my strange incident.

“Unusual sighting reported today outside of Blackstone Hospital.” The news anchor voice reported.

Oh, no! I thought as my attention turned to the news report.

“Local residents near Blackstone Hospital reportedly witnessed a flying, red animal of some sort this afternoon. Observers say the creature jumped off the roof and flew into the trees of Blackstone National Forest. Could this be a publicity stunt planned for the opening of the superhero themed children’s center scheduled to open at the hospital next week or is Blackstone in danger? Stay tuned to BRI news for updates.”

I turned the T.V off and decided my best bet was to leave this town. My transformation was witnessed and I knew it was only a matter of time until Dr. Muchini got his revenge. Since my car was still at the hospital, I called my parents and asked them to come pick me up.  They lived in Georgia about two hours away from Blackstone. I would be safely far away from here.

When my dad arrived, I debated on whether I should tell him about my freak incident or not. I looked at his aged features. His almond eyes wrinkled with joy as he talked about his recent trip to China. He went on and on about learning our family history and lineage. I just listened and tried to muster the courage to tell him his son was a monster.

When we pulled up to my childhood home, my mother ran out to greet me. Her warm embrace soothed my conflicted heart.

“Come inside Levi, I made your favorite snack.” My mother beckoned.

On the table were freshly made brownies. I immediately sat down and shoved one in my mouth. My parents sat down next to me at the table and continued telling me about their trip to China.  The deep pitted feeling in my stomach grew stronger as I prepared to tell them what had happened that day. My parents looked so elderly and frail. I feared telling them would induce a heart attack or stroke. I took a deep breath and explained everything that had happened. I told them everything from triggering the fire alarms in the trauma bay to the total transformation on the roof.  I watched their reactions, which to my surprise were calm.

“It is time you knew.” My father firmly stated.

I glanced at him, completely puzzled.

He walked over to the shelf, grabbed a large book and set it on the table.

“There is a reason we went to China this year, Levi.” My father told me.

My mother quickly grabbed his arm. “Are you sure he is ready for this?”

“It has already happened. He needs to know what he is.”

I stared at both of them in complete confusion. ‘Someone tell me something! I am randomly turning into a monster and if either of you know why, I would like to know!” I demanded.

My mother sighed and placed her hand on my shoulder. “Alright, it is time you knew.”

She proceeded to open the book on the table. The writing was in Chinese so I could not comprehend it. The photos looked identical to the form my body had taken on. She turned page after page and showed me the mirror image of my transformation.

“Say your name.” My father instructed me.

Puzzled, I responded “Uhm, okay. Levi Thon.”

“Keep saying it.”

“Levi Thon. Levi Thon. Levi Thon. What am I missing here?”

As I spoke, my human figure transformed into the beast.

My mother’s eyes grew wide as she witnessed her son transform. My scaly figure engulfed most of the room and towered over my parents.

My father turned to the back page of the book and pointed to the Chinese letters.

“Leviathan. That’s what you are.”

I begged him to elaborate.

“You are in the lineage of the Leviathans. That’s why we named you Levi. We weren’t sure if you would be born one of the chosen boys, but we had high hopes.”

“Wait, you want me to be cursed with this?”

“Levi, this is gift. You have great power within you and a destiny to uphold.”

“Well, I don’t want it.”

My father frowned at my response. “Levi, our family legacy depends on you. You were chosen to complete a destiny.”

“What is this destiny?”

He scrolled through the pages of the ancient Chinese book and interpreted it to me.

“The Leviathan encompasses the spirit of the entire lineage that came before him. It is his job to protect the weak, the sick and the powerless. You have the ability to travel between this world and the dragon realm.”

I stared at him in disbelief. I was a Leviathan and there was real dragon realm. This was too much to process for one night. I curled up in my childhood bed that night and tried to comprehend the secret my parents had revealed.

The next day, I asked my dad to drive me home. I was going to resign from the hospital and finish my residency elsewhere. It was just too risky for me to stay in the town of Blackstone. When I pulled into my driveway, Kari was sitting on my front porch. I debated on telling my dad to just drive away, but decided to face her. I stepped out of the car and immediately locked my gaze onto Kari’s beautiful face. My father stepped into the house to give us some privacy.

“Levi, what is going on? Be honest with me?” Her soft voice begged.

I could sense her sincere concern and knew I could not resist telling her the full truth. I told her the entire story and about my lineage. Her response was what I expected; she was shocked and in disbelief. It was only after she witnessed my transformation did she believe me.

After revealing my secret, I received a phone call from Blackstone Hospital. Dr. Muchini had told the entire hospital about our encounters. He had gotten his revenge; my name was tarnished.   I was told I was no longer welcome as a resident physician. I hung the phone up and told Kari the news. She gave me her condolences and told me it was probably the best choice with all that was happening. I knew she was right but was angry that Dr. Muchini had destroyed my reputation. I began to rant about how mean the attending had been and how unfair this whole situation was. Kari listened to my angry speech and tried to console me. I noticed unmistakable sadness on her face.  I selfishly had focused on my problems and had neglected the woman I cared so much for.

“Are you okay, Kari?”

She immediately looked down. “No, not really. I caught my fiancé with another woman last night.”

My anger instantly erupted and smoke engulfed the front porch. Thoughts of using my Leviathan form to punish her fiancé filled my mind.  Kari instantly noticed my rage and made me promise not to act on the news she just revealed. I couldn’t resist her sweet charm. I swore to her I would not ever use my transformation for evil. I hoped I could keep that promise to her. It would be so easy to use this power for evil. I could punish those who deserved it. But when I looked at Kari, she made me want to make the world a better place for her.

The days went on and I mastered the ability to change in and out of Leviathan form. My father worked with me and translated the ancient book. I began to learn new abilities that came with my transformation.

Kari and I were spending more time together. She seemed fascinated by my newly acquired form. I decided to take her into the dragon realm. My father translated the passage from the lineage book that explained how to transfer into the mysterious land. I transformed into the creature form and quoted the Chinese phrase “Zǒu Zhì Guàiwù Tǔdì.” Which meant, “Go to the place of the monsters.” I joined hands with Kari and repeated the phrase until we were both soaring through a portal. A feeling of heaviness swept over my beastly frame as I held Kari’s hand tighter. The pressure of the portal on my body was hard to endure. I worried it would be too much for her small frame to handle. We suddenly plummeted to the ground and landed on what appeared to be a dirt road.  I looked over to see Kari lying on the road beside me. She was not moving. I nudged her shoulder and called her name repeatedly to no avail. It was clear her human frame did not tolerate the trip through the portal well. I listened for her heartbeat, it was faint. As a doctor, I knew she needed help immediately. I picked her wounded body up off the road and frantically called out for help. A creature that looked identical to me flew overhead a few minutes later. I began to wave my arms erratically in an effort to get its attention. I suddenly felt a rush of air breeze over me as the creature landed in front of me. Its dark blue scales reflected the sunlight and he towered over me with his large wingspan. It spoke to me in a language I did not understand. I pointed to Kari and tried to non-verbally explain she needed help. The creature reached over and pointed to the scales on my body and nodded. I looked at it completely puzzled. It repeated this gesture multiple times. I did not understand and was becoming frustrated. Kari was still unconscious and her pulse was growing weaker. I threw my hands up, hoping the creature would comprehend I had no clue what it was trying to tell me. The beast reached onto its arm and pulled off a scale from its body. It placed the scale on Kari’s heart and it began to glow. Within moments, the color in her face returned and she opened her eyes. The creature nodded and immediately took off into the air. I was not sure how, but the scale from the beast had revived her.

“Kari! Are you okay!? I asked as I pulled her close to me.

She nodded. “What happened? Did we make it?”
“Look around your Kari! Yes! We made it.”

We both turned our attention to the strange realm we had entered. Sights we had never seen before were right before our eyes. Thousands of creatures flew across an endless purple sky overhead.

I was here for one reason, to figure out my destiny. I needed to find someone named Yùcè. I learned about Yùcè in the ancient book my father had been translating to me.  He was the oldest soul in the dragon realm. The legend says that he lives at the base of a volcano and is the predictor of destinies.

After walking for hours, Kari and I made it to the volcano. There was a cave etched in the side; I assumed this was the home of the legendary Yùcè. We cautiously stepped into the mouth of the cave.   A gnome-like man stood in front of us.  “I’ve been expecting you.”

“Can you tell me my destiny?”  I inquired.

“I will do as you ask, but I require penance.”

I nodded in agreement.

He walked over to me and ripped a scale out of my arm.

“This is both your penance and your destiny, Leviathan.”   With that statement, he disappeared into the darkness of the cave.

I looked at the scales on my body and remembered what the creature’s scales had done for Kari earlier that day.

I am a doctor. My scales could heal. This was my destiny.

I chanted the phrase once again and we transferred back to the human world.

In my medical practice, I secretly used my scales to heal my patients. Dr. Muchini received word of my all patients’ miraculous healings and begged me to return to Blackstone Hospital; to which I declined. Kari became my nurse and my wife. I became Dr. Levi Thon, the healing Leviathan.

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