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Making Other Plans, A Short, Short Suspense Story

Chris has written more than 300 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.



The man's essence slipped out of the aging body and into that of a youthful male nurse attending him at his death. The man who had died was Dr. Frederick Dooley. The young recipient of the doctor's soul was Timothy Granger, RN.

Dr. Dooley's field of study was the transfer of the soul at death to its next place of residence, an obscure branch of thanatology. His death was his last and greatest experiment. Dooley had successfully guided his soul into the body of Timothy Granger. His next challenge was to destroy the young nurse's personality while retaining the use of his body. If Dooley solved this problem and was able to find a new host at the time of his next death, he was virtually guaranteed immortality.

Is All Well With My Soul?


The two men inhabited one body. Each was aware of the other's presence, and they could read each other's thoughts.

"Dr. Dooley, what have you done?" asked Timothy.

"I have proven every one of my theories to be true."

"But you are living in me. How can we both coexist in one body?"

"We can't." The doctor attacked the consciousness control center of the brain with powerful electrical impulses that he collected from the body's chemistry. Within seconds, Timothy had gone to wherever it was that souls went after death. Dr. Dooley was the lone inhabitant of the young man's body.

Dr. Dooley gathered all of Timothy's financial assets. He found account numbers and PINs on Timothy's laptop that were not password protected. The young man had not been wealthy, but there was money for Dr. Dooley to live on while making other plans. But he was about to learn that someone else had already made those plans for him.

Don't Spill the Beans


Dooley had done little research about Timothy. The young man was a nurse who kept to himself. That seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. The first time he had his eyes opened to the reality of the situation came with a knock on his apartment door. A man greeted him with a big grin on his face. He wore a tweed suit and carried a briefcase.

"Good morning, Mr. Granger," said the man in tweed as he elbowed past Dooley into the room. "I have some great insurance plans to share with you after our talk last week."

"Insurance?" was all Dooley could mumble.

"Why don't we go out here on your balcony where we can get some fresh air while we talk."

On the balcony, they both sat down on wicker chairs.

"Out here is our best bet for not having our conversation picked up by the cops' bugs."

"Bugs?" Dooley could still do little more than mutter.

"Ok. Here's the bottom line. You are a dead man if you spill the beans to the cops."

"What beans?"

"Haha, nice one, Timmy. Just remember what I said. Keep your mouth shut." The man paused. "One more thing. The purchasers want deliveries to continue in spite of the investigation."

The visitor talked more about drop-off times and locations. When he finished, the tweed suit let himself out. Dooley sat on the balcony for a while trying to comprehend what he had just heard. Timothy Granger had gotten himself mixed up in the theft and distribution of stolen goods. There was no danger of spilling the beans to the cops because he had no idea what Granger had done.

Too Late


Later that same day, a second visitor knocked at Dooley's door. This man wore a black suit and carried a briefcase. The man in the black suit led the way to the balcony indicating they had met like this before.

"You never know when the bad guys are listening." He paused. "Well, I have to say, you really spilled the beans to those detectives last week. You might want to watch your back even closer from now on."

"I spilled the beans?"


"All of them?"

"And then some." The visitor laughed and shuffled his papers. "They know the names of all the suppliers and customers in your network. That information will go a long way in reducing your sentence."

Dooley saw the visitor, apparently his attorney, to the door and returned to the balcony where he mulled over what he had just heard. Timothy Granger had led a ring of rogue RNs that stole narcotics from the hospitals where they worked. The cops had collected enough evidence to arrest him. Granger had told the cops everything he knew about the ring in which he worked. He had even revealed the identities of the people to whom he sold the drugs.

Dooley was going to be tried for Granger's crimes.

Soul Cell



Dooley sat in the prison cell he would be occupying for the next fifteen years. The trial and sentencing had not gone nearly as well as his attorney had thought they would. His only opportunity for gaining a new body would be when he was dying. Then he could possess any person present at the moment of his death. But Timothy Granger's body was healthy. It was likely it would live for many years. Dooley lay down and slept into the night.

Early in the morning, while snoring assaulted him from every direction, Dooley sat straight up. The question had hit him from out of nowhere. What is the penalty in this state for killing a law enforcement officer? He already knew the answer. It was the death penalty, and it was his way out of this situation. Dooley had only one concern. What kind of people attend the execution of a cop killer?

© 2020 Chris Mills


Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on August 17, 2020:


This was intriguing, so much to work with here!

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on July 29, 2020:

bhattuc, thank you for your kind comment.

bhattuc on July 29, 2020:

Very intetesting. Well knit story.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on July 19, 2020:

Ann, No, he had not thought it through, and that failure will plague him for several lifetimes, I think.

Ann Carr from SW England on July 19, 2020:

Nice one, Chris. I like the way it turns around. He just hadn't thought it through, had he?!


Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on July 18, 2020:

Lora, This is the ultimate for a person or a society who wants everything to be disposable. First, the person's soul is tossed aside. Then, after a few years, the body is also disposed of, and the process begins again. It is good that this is just imagination. I'm afraid there are people who woud use it.

Lora Hollings on July 17, 2020:

What irony, Chris! A very imaginative story, indeed. I think Dooley got what he really deserved. I really liked your ending with such a twist! That's what you get for trying to steal a man's body and soul.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on July 17, 2020:

Shauna, Dr. Dooley's immortality is not beginning well. You may be right. HIs next choice of hosts may not be a choice at all.. Thanks for reading.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on July 17, 2020:

Shauna, Dr. Dooley's immortality is not beginning well. You may be right. HIs next choice of hosts may not be a choice at all.. Thanks for reading.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on July 17, 2020:

Denise, I think you have summed up Dooley's future very well. It is not a good immortality. And dying alone is always a possibility.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 17, 2020:

Wow, Chris. How do you come up with this stuff? You had me glued from word one. I guess Dr. Dooley should have done his homework before he got too hasty with his experiment.

Even if he is executed for killing a cop, I think his only choice of body/soul transposition will be with the one who injects him. I'm pretty sure anyone attending these events are seated behind glass walls, away from the doomed.

Nevertheless, I didn't expect the ending. Good story, Chris!

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on July 17, 2020:

This will not be a good immortality after all, now will it. Going from one killing to the next until he dies alone.



Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on July 15, 2020:

John, it is a story that could more parts leading up to Dooley's capture. He is clearly not a good man.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on July 15, 2020:

I enjoyed this story Chris. In fact I was disappointed when it ended. Dooley certainly got what he deserved..well at least for now. Good job.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on July 15, 2020:

Ruby, this guy really needs to be stopped. But how could anyone know what he is up to? Yes, shifty is what he is.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on July 15, 2020:

Eric, I'm glad you found the story fun as well as intriguing. Thanks for reading and for the comment.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on July 15, 2020:

Thank you, Pamela. Is it that I'm creative or that this character, Dooley is devious? I certainly hope I'm not the devious one.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on July 15, 2020:

Wow, this was a different kind of story. Dooley was a shifty dude. I wonder whose next? Your imagination soared in this paranormal mystery. I loved it!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 15, 2020:

Excellently done. Fun and intriguing and yet delving into the notions of soul. Cool.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 15, 2020:

This is an interesting story, Chris. It is odd to think of your spirit entering another's body. Then, Dooley is planning a murder to keep his soul live forever. You have a great imagination, Chris, to come up with a story like this. Well done!

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