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Alexandra Leigh Madden

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A country beauty's impetuous nature plunges her into a London Season of love and danger...  
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When I wrote ths book in 2000, I was concerned about children having access to the Internet and to chat rooms where "you can be anyone you want." Here we are many years l..  
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by Alexandra Leigh Madden   

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It's a five page sample of my writing style-or lack there of! (Your opinion matters!) I just started to write and this is what happened...



“Hannah! You’re going to be late! Come on! Get up!”

            “I’m up! I’m up!”

            She stumbled out of bed to pull her clothes on from off the chair. She ran to the bathroom to brush her hair and was out the door before her husband could yell again. 

            “Hannah! You forgot your briefcase! Come on, now. What’s wrong with you?”

            She snatches her briefcase and runs to her car.

            “Hey. I’m sorry I’m late…Yes. I overslept. I’m on my way.”

            Hannah, a world renowned writer and activist, attempts to do in one day what one would do in two. She fell asleep writing a report on the war that was going on overseas.

            “Hannah. Great. You’re here. We need you to finish writing up your report. It’s very important that you are finished by tomorrow. Can you do that?”

            “Yes. I’ll get right on it, Glen.”

            “Don’t disappoint me, Hannah. You’ve been doing so well.”

            Hannah chuckles and gives him a wink.

            “Now Glen, you really think you have to worry about that?”

            She unlocked her office door and closed it behind her. She reached in her desk drawer to get some medication. She had a headache. She was interrupted to a knock on the door.

            “Hannah? Can I see you for a minute?” It was her partner, Avery.

            “Yeah, just a minute, please.”

            She shoveled the pills into her mouth and opened the door.

            “Hey. What’s up?”

            “Ugh, Hannah. Do you think you could take my shift? Linda is in the hospital right now and the doctor said the baby is due tonight anytime. I’m really sorry.”

            “No, Avery. Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it. You just relax. I’ll do the interview. Just take care of your wife for goodness sakes! Good luck.”

            “Thank you so much, Hannah. You don’t know what this means to me.”

            “No problem. See you later.”

            Just about to close the door, a horrible pain came over her. She fell to the floor with the door cracked open.


“Oh my god! Hannah! Are you okay? What happened?”

            It was hours later. No one saw her hit the floor until Avery knocked to let her know that his wife had the baby.

            “Hannah! Hannah!? Glen! Call 911 now!”

            Sirens blared in her head as she was transported through the city to the nearest hospital.

            “What’s going on? Where am I?” She was on a gurney in an ambulance. The EMT’s quickly removed her from the back of the ambulance and raced her to the emergency room.

            “Hannah. You need to stay with me. Hannah? Don’t fall asleep.”

            She heard someone talking to her in the distance, but couldn’t stay awake.

            “Hannah. Hannah? She’s slipping into a coma. Hannah…”



            “Hannah? Hannah. Take deep breaths. You’re alright. You’re in a hospital. Do you remember what happened?”

            “I need to get back to the office. I have a report due tomorrow.”

            “You’re not going anywhere, honey. You just rest. Everything’s going to be alright.”

            “No, it’s not. I need to finish my report. I have an interview with the governor.”

            “Whew! The governor? Mr. Big shot.”

            The nurse laughed as she took her blood pressure.

            “Ma’am. You don’t understand. I don’t know what happened but I really have to go. I have things to do.”

            “And what might those things be, baby girl?”

            “I told you! I need to finish writing that report. I’m going to get fired.”

            She started to cry. There was nothing she could do. She felt tired and wanted to sleep.

            “I’ll tell you what. You get some rest and I’ll allow you to take a walk outside. How’s that sound?”

            “What? Okay.” She fell into a deep sleep for the rest of the night until the doctor knocked on her door.

            “Hannah. I’m Dr. Larson. I’m your new psychiatrist. What seems to be the matter? They’re telling me that you were talking about some sort of report?”

            “Yes. I need to finish writing my report on the war over in Iraq. You know what. I don’t have to explain myself. Just let me out of here. Wait…Did you say psychiatrist? ”

            She started to become very frustrated and irritable. She pulled the covers off of herself and started to get dressed.

            “Hannah. Just relax. Everything’s going to be fine. You need to take your medication. Come with me.”

            “Yes. I have a headache. Is this Tylenol? That’s the only thing I can take.”

            “Here’s some water. As soon as you take your medication and get dressed, Linda will escort you to my office. See you soon.”

            “What the hell is going on? What is this, a Looney bin? I am not going to take this crap.” She got quickly dressed and started walking towards the door.

            “And where do you think you’re going?”

            It was Linda. Walking towards her, the other nurses were ready to interfere with her attempt to escape the hospital. It seemed they were used to the routine.

            “I’m getting the hell out of here. I know where I am and I don’t belong here. My office is right down the street. If I don’t get out of here, I’m going to go crazy.”

            The nurses started to laugh. They’re laughing continued as they pressed the control to lock the doors.

            “Hannah. You need to come with me. You’re starting to get out of hand. If you don’t cooperate, I will have to order the nurses to place you in restraints.” Dr. Larson said in a firm voice.

            She turned to look at him, glaring.

            “Now you listen to me. I don’t know what the hell is going on here, but you need to tell me right now!”

            “Come with me to my office, Hannah.  

            They walked briskly to his office. He shut the door behind them and offered her a seat as he sat down at his desk.

            “Now, what is it that you don’t understand? What is the last thing you remember?”

            “I…I was taking a Tylenol in my office right after Avery asked me to take his shift. I was going to do the interview for him. Why am I here? What is this place? Why are you asking me this? What the hell is going on?”

            “Hannah. You are an inpatient at New Point Hospital. You’ve been staying here since last night.”

            “Now don’t you fuck with me. This is bull shit. You don’t know who you’re messing with. My husband is a lawyer and he’ll throw you in jail without a prayer, you bastard! You hear me? Do you hear me!?”

            “Hannah. Calm down. You need to calm down. Can I show you something?”

            He placed a compact disk in his computer. Hannah watched herself on tape. She was running down a street with a gun in hand, shooting at anyone in her way. It showed her as a cold-blooded killer. She didn’t know what to say. She was confused and frightened at the sight of it.

            “What-Where did you get that? What is that? That’s not me. It can’t be. Am I dreaming? Why can’t I wake up? Why?”

            She started to scream loud enough so everyone in the hospital could hear. She jumped up and started to throw a tantrum, knocking everything off of his desk.  Dr. Larson got up from his chair and called the front desk. The nurses rushed in and restrained her. She continued to fight until she was breathing so heavily, she could no longer move.

            “Hannah? It’s time for your checkup. Linda, bring her to my office.”

            She was now in a wheel chair with restraints. She was taken to Dr. Larson’s office.

            “Hannah, do you understand what you are charged with? Your court order allowed you to stay here at the hospital as an inpatient for thirty years. Do you remember that?”

            “No. I don’t remember anything. I don’t know what to think anymore. I want to die. I don’t want to live anymore. I’m useless. I’m a parasite. I’ve cracked. There’s no turning back now.”

            “Now, Hannah. The judge said that if you did well here, you could continue your stay, but only as long as you behave. You obviously don’t remember what happened or what you did. What you did was uncalled for, but I can only begin to understand when you start to remember what happened. I am going to allow you to watch the news footage only as long as you promise to stay under control. Do you understand? Linda is going to keep you company. If anything goes wrong, you will go back to the restraint ward for the night and we will start again tomorrow.”

            He walked out as the nurse walked in. The tape was playing. Hannah stared at the footage in amazement. From what she could remember, what she was watching herself do was what she activated against. She started to cry. She didn’t understand what was going on. She was really scared and felt defeated.

            Dr. Larson walked in to stop the tape. Now, Miss Granger, what do you remember happening from that tape?”

            “Nothing, I don’t remember anything.”

            “Tell me about your life.”

            Dr. Larson listened very carefully to every word. She told him how her childhood was filled with wonderful memories, how she wanted to go to be a writer and a war activist since she was in junior high school. There was nothing confusing about her life to Hannah until the day she woke up in the hospital.


            “Hannah. Hannah!” Her husband wrapped his arms around her as a tear fell on her cheek. He was crying hysterically.

            Tyler, oh my god, Tyler, you’re here!” Hannah embraced his hug, but was too weak to move.

            “Hannah, you’ve been in a coma. It only lasted a few days, but I was so worried about you. I love you so much.”

            “What? She sat up abruptly. She regained her strength instantly.

            “Mr. Granger. I’ll take it from here. If you could wait outside the room, I will let you know when you can come back in. Thank you.”

            “Wait, don’t leave me!”

            “I’ll be right here. You can see me outside your window. I’m right here.”

            He kissed her on the forehead and left to wait outside the room.

            “Mrs. Granger. How are you feeling?”

            The nurse was taking her blood pressure.

            “Where’s Linda?”

            “Who’s Linda? My name is Cindy. I will be taking care of you for the remainder of your stay here at Johns Hopkins.”

            “What? What happened?”

            “Dr. Gabriel will be in to check on you in a bit. You can let him know about any pain you’re having.”

            Cindy motioned Tyler back into the room. He hurried over to her and kissed her on the lips.

            “I missed you so much. Are you feeling okay?”

            “Yes. What happened exactly?”

            “Avery said you fainted on the floor of your office. He opened the door and found you lying there.”

            “What? What is going on? Where am I? What happened?”

            “I just told you, honey. Are you sure you’re okay?”

            “Yeah, I’m just a little confused. I thought I was staying at New Point Inpatient Unit.”

            “What, New Point? That’s a mental institution. Maybe I should get the doctor in here so he can tell you what happened.”

            “Yes, get Dr. Larson.”

            “Hannah. Your doctor’s name in Dr. Gabriel.”

            There was a knock on the door. It was Dr. Gabriel.

            “Hello Hannah. Mr. Granger. How are you two lovebirds?”

            “Fine, but Hannah seems a bit confused about what happened. I’ll wait outside.”

            Tyler waited outside as Dr. Gabriel told Hannah what happened.

            “So here you are. We are going to run some tests to see what caused your coma. You’ll be out of here in no time as long as we see nothing wrong.”

            Hannah thought constantly about what she went through over the past few days. She began to think that only one hospital was her reality. After the tests, she was free to go. She started to work again. She still didn’t know what to think about New Point.



            “Hannah! How are you feeling? Since you were in the hospital, I’ll cut you a break.”

            “Thanks, Glen.”

            She unlocked her office and went inside. It was exactly how she left it. She let out a sigh of relief.

            “Home sweet home at last.”

            She thought about New Point all day, trying to make sense of what really happened. She was the only one who recalled her stay there. It just didn’t line up.

            “Hannah. I did the interview. It was great. I’ll fill you in later.”

            “Oh, great. The paper is almost finished. I just need to add a few finishing touches.”

            “Great. I’ll let Glen know.”

            It seemed that it was all a dream. There was nothing to prove that she stayed at New Point except for her word. She was relieved and just started to forget that it ever happened, if it happened at all.







Just about to close the door, a horrible pain came over her. She fell to the floor with the door cracked open...

She heard someone talking to her in the distance, but couldn’t stay awake.

“Hannah. Hannah? She’s slipping into a coma. Hannah…”

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Reader Reviews for "illusion"

Reviewed by Ronald Dondiego 12/22/2008
I guess when you're first starting out it's all about passion and talent, and you have both! I enjoyed this and kept thinking that Hannah might have two realities, one where she's mad and the other where she has a harried existence and a wonderful marriage. But you'll find your way, I'm sure.

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