Monday, March 11, 2013

Otherworldly Fan Fiction!

Yes, it has been a ridiculously long time since I've posted anything here on my blog, but for those of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter, you'll know that all of my free time of late has been dedicated to getting ready for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which will be taking place  April 20-21 on the USC campus (I'll be posting more later when I have a better picture of what to expect).

So, I just wanted to warn you that until that date, I'll be very much occupied with everything I need to do to get ready for the festival.  Despite all that, however, I have a nice treat for the fans of the Otherworld Series (at least, I hope you'll find it to be a treat; I sure did ;)).  James Connor (author of Kepler's Witch) contacted me to let me know he enjoyed my Otherworld books and that he had an idea for some fan fiction.  I was thrilled, and flattered, to learn that my characters and books had inspired another writer.

In The Great Experiment, James spends some time with Meghan's brothers (Aiden and Logan) as the two of them take part in some mischief that may or may not get them into some deep trouble from both this world and the Otherworld.  With that being said, I now present to you The Great Experiment, a fan fiction short, written by James Connor.  Enjoy!!

-J.E. Johnson

The Great Experiment
James A. Connor

Dr. Simmons office was cold, so Logan didn’t want to take his shirt off until he had to.  Voices murmured in the hallway; a door opened down the hall—Dr. Simmons said something Logan couldn’t make out, and the door closed.  Aidan’s voice whispered to him from the thin air next to him, and Logan nearly jumped out of his skin.

“Don’t do that!” Logan whispered back.  “If you’re going to be invisible, carry a sign or something.”

Aidan snickered.  “Hey!  Doesn’t the doctor look like Data?”


“Data!  From Star Trek.  You know—Data!”

“Yeah.  Sounds like him, too.”


“This coming from an invisible guy.”

“Hey!  This was your idea.”

“OK, then stop yacking and get to it.”

“All right!  All right!”  One by one, the drawers on the cupboard opened, then closed, until the bottom drawer stayed open and a sterile package with a single hypodermic needle inside floated up from the drawer and disappeared.  “Now what?”

“Now get out of here.  Wait for me by the car.”

“Mom’s going to kill us both if she finds out.”

“Weenie universalis!”

“You are so weird, Logan.”

“This coming from the boy from another planet.”

“Eile’s not another planet, so shut up.”

“Shh!  The Doctor’s coming.”

The door opened, and Doctor Data stepped through, looking around the room.  “Who are you talking to?”

“Um…no one.  Just myself.”

The doctor looked at him askance, and then crossed the room, clicked on a flashlight looking thing, then checked Logan’s eyes, then his ears, then took a big popsicle stick and told him to say “ahhh!” which he did, and then the doctor took his stethoscope out of the freezer and listened to Logan’s heart, then said “Big breath!”, which he did, and then “Big breath!” again, which he did again.  Then the doctor walked back to the cupboard, and gave Logan a sour look.  The door behind the doctor opened on its own, then closed.  Logan breathed easily.

“Nothing,” the doctor said.  “There’s nothing wrong with you.”

“Oh, really?”

“Logan.  Could you possibly have a Math test tomorrow, or today?”


“Uh huh.  You did this just to get out of a geography test?”


“Whatever.”  The doctor glanced at Logan over the top of his glasses.  If he had a neon sign on his forehead, it would have flashed “Faker!  Faker!” over and over.

“Are you going to tell my Mom?”

The doctor growled, then sighed.  “No.  Take two aspirin and call me in the morning if there are any changes  Don’t do this again or I will tell her.  I promise you.”  Then he pulled open the door, glanced a quick stinkeye over his shoulder at Logan.  “Get dressed.”


At home that afternoon, Logan and Aidan whispered at each other in the hallway, then disappeared into the bathroom and locked the door.  Anyone standing outside could barely hear them talking, but they could hear the tearing open of a package, and then a minute later, Aidan’s voice.  “Ow! You didn’t say it was going to hurt.”

“I had to draw blood.  It was a needle, for God’s sake.  Of course it hurt.”

“What now?”

“Now I inject your blood into my arm and see what happens.”

“This is so stupid.”

“Don’t be a weenie, Aidan.”

“What if something happens?”

“It’s an experiment.  You know, like Science?”

“I don’t need Science.  I got magic.”

“Yeah, yeah.  Ow!”

“Told ya.”

“Doofus infinitis!”


Half an hour later, Logan and Aidan climbed up the culvert to the cave hidden by fallen trees, wormed their way into the open hole, and then down the tunnel into the black.  Ten minutes and a good deal of shuffling later, they came to a dead end.  Aidan kept walking, but Logan pulled him back.  “It’s a dead end, man!”

“No it’s not.  I can see the light at the other end.”

“I can’t.”

“So it didn’t work,” said Aidan.

“I guess not.”



That evening, the family was gathered in the living room, watching Grimm on TV.  Dad was out at a meeting, so his chair was empty. The twins were pushing at each other over couch territory, claiming that the other one was moving in on his space.  Mom finished the dishes and then made a command decision by plopping onto the couch between the twins and glancing at each one of them, daring them to complain.  Logan squirmed in his chair by the door, while Bradley was on the phone, talking to a girl from his class, and intermittently giving the Evil Eye to Logan, who was snickering at him from the puffy chair in the corner.   Suddenly, Logan scratched his belly, then his back, and then his rear end.  He squirmed in the chair again, but couldn’t stop scratching.

“What’s going on with you?” said Mom.


“It’s not nothing if you’re scratching like that.”  She stood and lifted his shirt to reveal a burning rash across his chest and belly.  “Oh my God.  Did you roll in poison ivy?”

Aidan jumped up from his place on the couch and hurried over to see.  Glancing at Logan, he took a deep breath, let it out, and whispered “Crapola!”

Mom pulled Logan to his feet and hurried him into the bathroom, leaving the door open behind her.  “Take your pants down.”


“I’m your mother.  I’ve seen your butt.  Oh my God!  How did this happen?”

“It’s an experiment.”

“What do you mean?”

They could all hear whispering from the bathroom.  Aidan put his face in his hands and groaned.  More whispering.

“You did WHAT?!!” said Mom.  “How could you be so STUPID?  AIDAN!”  Mom appeared in the living room.  “Your father is going to have a fit!  Aidan, I thought you were smarter than this!  I expect more of you!  How could you do this?”

“It was Logan’s idea,” said Aidan. 

“But why did you go along with it?”

Aidan hung his head.  “I want you guys to come with me.  When I’m here, I miss Meggy and Cade and Mother, but when I’m over there, I miss you guys.  I want us all to be together.”
Mom knelt down in front of Aidan, then hugged him close.  “We’d all like to go there, too, sweetie, but it’s not possible.  You know this as well as we do.  Please don’t do this again, because you don’t know what can happen. It could kill Logan if you’re not careful.”

As if on cue, Logan appeared in the hallway behind Mom, holding his pants up with one hand. 

“He’s right, Mom.  It’s not Aidan’s fault--It was my idea.”

Mom looked at Logan with hawk eyes, as if trying to figure out if this sudden maturity of Logan’s was real or a play for sympathy.  “I’m going to call Dr. Simmons.”

Half an hour later, the phone rang—it was the doctor calling back.  Mom picked up the phone, apologized for calling so late, then put the phone on speaker.  “I want them all to hear this,” she said.

“Ok, what seems to be the problem?”

“You know that Logan likes Biology, and he wants to be a doctor.”

“I know.  He likes to cut up dead frogs.”

“That, too!” said Logan.

“Well,” said Mom, giving Logan the Evil Eye, “he drew some blood from his brother Aidan and injected it into himself.  Now, he has a rash, a big rash.”

“Why did he do that?” said the doctor.  “Wait a minute!  Is that what his appointment this morning was all about?  Are you the one who stole a syringe from my office?”

Mom’s eyes threw daggers at Logan.  “You did WHAT?”  Logan hung his head and nodded.

“I did it Mom,” Aidan whispered to Mom, and then added “I was invisible.”

“Oh my God,” Mom said.  “Give me strength.”

“Listen, Mrs. Elam,” the doctor said.  “If the blood was from his brother, then he probably just picked up a virus.  And Aidan is too young to be carrying anything really dangerous.  At least I assume.”

Bradley snickered.  “He means if you were ‘doing it,’ Aidan.”

Aidan looked around.  “What do you mean?”

“You know,” said Bradley.  “Like, you know, boy meets girl, boy and girl like each other a lot, you know, like the birds and the bees.  Doing it!”

“With a girl?”

“No doofus, with a chicken.”

Aidan looked around, from face to face, his eyes wide.  “I wasn’t.  I’m not!”  He looked at Mom, caught her eyes.  “Meggy would kill me.”

“She’d have to get in line, Aidan.” Mom whispered away from the phone.  “First I’d kill you, and then the Queen would kill you, and what was left we’d leave for Meggy.”

“That’s a lot of killing, man,” said Bradley, and then snickered again.

“I’m not!”

“I believe you,” said Mom.  Then to the phone.  “What should we do, Doctor Simmons?”

“Well, I suspect that his liver is trying to clean out any elements in the blood that his body might reject.  If this gets any worse, call me or bring him into the emergency room.  I suspect that this will pass after a while.  It is his brother’s blood, after all.”

“Thank you, Doctor.”

“Of course,” whispered Bradley, “she didn’t tell him that the brother isn’t human.”

“And tell Logan that this was a damned stupid thing to do,”  said the Doctor.

“Did you hear that boys?  The doctor said it was a d…” She froze for half a second.  “Darned stupid thing to do.”

“And tell Logan that if he ever does something like this again, the next time you bring him to see me, tell him I’m going to give him a prostate exam.”

“What’s that?” said Logan.

“You don’t want to know,” said Mom.  “Thank you Doctor.  I’ll hold you to that promise.”  Then she hung up the phone.  “I have some calamine lotion here somewhere.  You stay here and don’t scratch.”

Mom disappeared into the bathroom, and Bradley sidled up to Logan and Aidan.  “You guys are in such doggy doo.  The doghouse, man.”

“Shut up, Bradley,” said Logan.

“Rahr, rahr, rahr!”  said Bradley, barking like a yappy dog.  “Rahr, rahr, rahr!”

“Bradley!” said Mom from the other room.  “That’s not helping.”

“Rahr, rahr, rahr!”

“Shut up, Bradley,” said Logan and Aidan, in two part harmony.


That night, Logan spiked a temperature, and then two hours later, the fever disappeared.  The rash disappeared with it, and the next morning, Logan bounced up from his bed and announced to the world that he felt terrific.  And then he passed out.  Mom rushed in to pick him up off the floor, and plopped him back on the bed, where he awoke, gave her a silly grin, and passed out again.  She sat on the bed beside him, stroked his brow, while tears dribbled down her face onto his pillow.  “My poor baby,” she said.  “Please get better, get better.  Come back to me so I can ground you for the rest of your life.”

At that moment, Aidan stepped into Logan’s room and stood by the bed.  His face screwed up and his eyes shut, while tears hung from his chin.  “Is he going to be all right, Mom?”

“I don’t know, sweetie.  Maybe, maybe you should run and get Meg.”

“If I go to the Otherworld, I can call her with shil-sciar.  She’ll come.”

Three hours later, Aidan led Meggy and Cade into the house, and then up to Logan’s room, where she rushed up to the bed and knelt beside Mom and held her.  “What are we going to do?  Is he going to die?”

“I don’t know.  I do know that taking him to the emergency room isn’t going to do any good.  The Doctors wouldn’t know what to do about this.”

“Maybe this will help,” said Cade, and pulled a stopper off a vial of Otherworld medicine.  He poured a deep purple liquid into Logan’s mouth.  Within two minutes, he was awake and sitting up, asking for soup.

“Something’s going on,” Cade said.  “That medicine should only work on Faelorehn.  It was a shot in the dark, and I am really surprised that it worked at all, but it did.”

“What does this mean?” Mom said.

Meggy shrugged.  “I don’t know.  Maybe we should ask Mother.  What do you think, love?”  Cade crossed his arms and then nodded.  Meggy turned back to Mom.  “Ok, so Cade and I will go to Erintara, and we’ll send Briant over with more medicine, just in case.  I’ll leave Meridian here with Aidan, so if something bad happens, she can let me know.  Is that all right, Mom?”

“That sounds good, Meggie.  Logan, can you get out of bed, or do you want to stay.  I can bring you some soup.”

“I’m Ok, really Mom.  I feel good, now.”

“All right, then.  Get dressed.  Do you think you can walk Ok?”

“Can Aidan and I go to the Dolmarehn with Meggy and Cade?”

“Are you up for it?”

“If I pass out, Aidan can always carry me back.”

“Sure I can,” said Aidan.  “Cade and I can drag you back and dump you in your bed, or next to your bed.  Oops!”


Fifteen minutes later, Meg, Cade, Aidan and Logan were traipsing across the swamp toward the culvert.  At the cave, Meghan turned and stared at Logan.  “We’re going to go through.  Aidan, you stay here and help Logan back.  No fooling around, you two idiots.”

“Cross my heart and hope to die,” said Logan.

“Don’t even think that,” said Meggy.  Cade stared at the two boys, winked and followed Meghan into the cave.  After a few minutes, Aidan turned back toward the house.

“I’m going to take home, and then I’m going through to Luathara.  I want to be there when Meggy gets back from seeing Mother.”

“Don’t be a corruptus intellectus,” said Logan.  “I can make it back.  In fact, I’m going to go as far as I can through the cave, just to see you off.”

Aidan shook his head, then sighed.  “Come on.”

The cave was just as dark and wet and slimy as usual, oddly enough, for Logan, it felt different somehow.  He expected to reach the dead end, but it didn’t happen—of course, he could just have his timing off.  But then, the tunnel started getting lighter, and not fifty feet away, there was an opening, filled with mist. 

“Wait,” said Aidan.  “Can you see that?”





“Yeah, I tell you, I can see it.”

Aidan gave a whoop and ran toward the light, with Logan running just behind him.  Nothing unusual happened when Aidan went through the Dolmarehn, but as Logan passed through the door into the Otherworld, a sudden jolt of electricity zapped him between his shoulder blades, knocking him forward face down into the mud.

“Ow!” he said.  “That hurt!”

“I’ve never seen that happen before.  Did you break it?” said Aidan.

“No.  I don’t think so.”

While Aidan was checking the Dolmarehn for obvious breakage, Logan wandered around the standing stones, and then up the trail toward the narrow hill beyond.  “Hey, wait up,” said Aidan, and ran up to his brother.

“So this is the Otherworld.  Cool!”

“This is it.”

“Can you feel magic here?”

“Sure.  Can you?”

“I don’t know what magic feels like.  What does it feel like?”

Aidan shrugged.  “I don’t know, like sunlight maybe.”  They reached the top of the hill, and the mist parted for just a moment, revealing a country of green hills with outcroppings of white stone.  Blue sky floated above the hilltops, and everything smelled as fresh and new as a spring rain.”

“Wow,” said Logan.  “I should probably go back, or Mom will crap a car, but this is so cool.  Do you think they’ll let me come back.”

Aidan shrugged.  “I don’t see why not.”

“I hope I don’t have to drink you blood or anything like that.  I don’t want to be a vampire.”
The two of them turned around toward the Dolmarehn, but as they approached the opening, a static charge began building.  The closer Logan got, the greater the charge.  Suddenly, a crooked stick of lightning jumped from the stones around the entrance and struck Logan in the chest, knocking him back twenty feet and onto his butt in the dirt.

Aidan ran to him.  “Are you all right?” he said.

Logan sat up and let his brother pull him to his feet.  “I guess so, but I don’t think that thing is going to let me go through.  I don’t think I can get back.”  The brothers stared at the entrance for what seemed like twenty minutes, until Aidan took a deep breath and let it out.

“Holy crap,” he said.

“Amen, brother.”


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