Hidden Heritage

This week I managed to get this prompt in on time. Yay! Still fighting through a bit of either block, or frustration, or aimlessness, or something. But the prompts keep me going in a writing direction at least. So, this is Week 30 of MOTE and my prompt came from ‘nother Mike: No one understood how it got there, but the MRI showed that the pain in your back was really a ….

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“Damn.” I stood up and stretched.

“Are you okay, sweetheart?” my father asked, sounding worried.

“Yeah, just my back aches like crazy…right below my shoulder blades,” I answered.

Dad squinted at my back. “Um, honey? I think we should get you to the doctor’s office.”

“What? Why? I just need to stretch more. It’s just stiff muscles.” I turned to look at him.

“No…um…there’s an odd-shaped bump or lump right there,” Dad said leaning sideways and continuing to stare at my back.

I tried to twist my head around to see what my own back. That wasn’t really working. When I reached over my shoulder, I could barely feel a slight rise under my fingertips. What was Dad talking about?

“Selene! Dear, can you come in here for a minute?” Dad called to my mother.

Mom came in from her crafts room where she’d been working on designs for her Greek-inspired pottery. Her pottery wheel and clay were in a small workroom out back, but she did her designing and layouts in her crafting room. The stuff sold surprisingly well on-line.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” she asked.

“Come look at Helena’s back,” Dad said.

Mom raised an eyebrow at me and walked over to join Dad in staring at my back.

“Oh, my! Oh. Um, yeah. That should probably be looked at,” her voice held surprise tinged with resignation.

I turned around to face my parents. “What the hell is going on? I’m eighteen now, you can tell me things, you know.” I was annoyed. I could tell that, like with a lot of things, they were dancing around something that they thought I either shouldn’t or didn’t need to know. But whatever this was, it was on my back. I figured that this time I needed to know.

Reading my thoughts, or probably my face since I wasn’t very good at hiding my feelings, my mother smiled at me.

“It’s not life-threatening, but it does require professional help. And, it’s from my side of the family.”

Dad had pulled his phone out and was calling somebody.

“Hey, Apollon, it’s Yiannis. Hi…good, we’re all good. Um, hey, would it be possible to get Helena in to see you tonight or tomorrow morning?…Yeah, looks like Selene’s family thing is showing up…okay, great. See you in an hour.” He disconnected from the call.

“So, Apollon says we can come over now.” He stood up and gave me a hug. “I promise, it’s not a big deal and yes, we have a lot to explain. But, let’s get going.”

Mom gave me a hug too. “Yes. And I promise to explain too.”

I stared at my parents. Just what the hell was going on here? Mom gave me a small push.

“Go grab your coat, sweetie.”

About forty-five minutes later, Dad led the way into a small office in a strip mall outside of town. The frosted glass door just said “Clinic”. No doctor’s names, no hours, no nothing else. Weird. It wasn’t a bad area, but not one you’d really seek out either.

A tall, good-looking man with dark hair and startlingly blue eyes, walked down the hallway to greet us.

“Yiannis! Selene! Good to see you! It’s been ages! How are you two?” He shook hands with Dad and enveloped Mom in a giant bear hug.

I hung back staring at the guy. I’d never seen him before and I thought I knew all of mom and dad’s friends. He’d certainly never been over to our house before.

“And you must be Helena. Good to finally meet you! I’ve heard a lot about you from your dad,” Apollon held out his hand to me.

“Um, hi. Uh, good to meet you too…I guess.” I shook his hand.

Apollon smiled. “Okay, then. Let’s go on back.” He turned and strode back down the small hallway.

I looked at Mom and Dad, but Dad just gestured for me to follow Apollon. I shrugged and started down the hallway.

Apollon disappeared into a room on the left and when I followed, I walked into a fully-equipped MRI exam room.

“Um, okay. What are we doing?” I looked back at Dad.

“Well, Apollon can get us immediate MRI results and we don’t have to wait for a lab to verify or anything. Plus, he’ll charge us a lot less than insurance would,” Mom said.

“Just lie down on your stomach and let me do the rest.” Apollon smiled at me.

I shrugged and climbed onto the MRI bed.

“Hold as still as you can,” Apollon said.

The machine hummed and clanked making me feel like I was inside a construction zone. After a couple of minutes, Apollon touched my ankle.

“Okay, you can get up now.” He moved over to a computer connected to the machine. “Just give me a few minutes…”

Mom patted my knee and Dad smiled. I just stared at them. I had no idea what they were expecting, but I was starting to freak out.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, Apollon turned to Dad. “Yep, you were right to come to me, Yiannis.”

He gestured to the computer screen. All three of us leaned over to look. My palms were sweating. At first, I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. I could tell what was my spine, but there was a weird swirl of lines in the middle of the image. Then Mom reached out a hand and followed a line in that swirl.

“Oh, yes. I see it. Right there. Helena, see? Here…” Her finger traced out…a goat’s head?

“You’re a chimera, dear. It runs in your mother’s family,” Dad said.

I gaped at him. “What? How?”

“I’m not sure dear. I mean my grandmother, your great-grandmother was the last one in the family,” Mom said.

*******

And now things are running around in my head demanding their own stories…

Image by Christo Anestev from Pixabay

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