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Stream of consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part twenty seven…

I wonder in which direction Linda G Hill is going to take us with her prompt for today’s SoCS post, so that we can discover what happens next in this continuing story. Let’s find out together, shall we?

” “man.” Use it as a word by itself or find a word with “man” in it. “

Hmm, easy enough…

The Accumulator, part twenty nine.

Scene: The darkened interior of a parked car at night. It is two weeks later.
There is a man behind the wheel of the car, dressed in dark clothes and a black woollen cap, he is studying the house across the street through a pair of compact binoculars. 

As he lowers the glasses and studies a folder on his lap, we barely have time to wonder who he is before the picture is replaced for a few seconds by;

and we have our answer.

The director now provides us with a mini backstory sequence, introducing us to this unexpected new character, who…

…checked the time and shifted in his seat, trying to ease the ache in his back as he reviewed what he knew about this latest, desperately urgent job they needed him for, and right when he’d managed to schedule a couple of weeks off to unwind and play a bit of golf, too, so it’d better be really bloody important, or somebody was going to be getting an unsanctioned visit when they weren’t expecting it.

It wasn’t like he needed the money or anything, he was doing quite nicely thank you very much, but saying no to The Department, no matter how exemplary your service record, was never a good idea and “retired” usually meant something far more terminal when it came to severing your contractual obligations with them.
So Carlisle maintained a cordial relationship with his unofficially former employer and carried on a perfectly legitimate career in private security, on the understanding that, should the need ever arise for his services, he would return to work as a sub-contractor for the duration of the job, subject to the usual terms and conditions, of course.

He didn’t usually bother about the “big picture” when he was called in to do these last minute rush jobs; he’d just turn up, eliminate the sanctioned target, clean up if that was part of the job, make a nasty mess if that was required instead and dispose of anything that needed disposing of.
Then he would go back to his comfortable life in suburbia, fleecing stock brokers for extortionate security consultations, raking in easy money fitting burglar alarms for paranoid golf widows, sheltering in their gilded cages while their fat cat husbands screwed around with their secretaries.

He’d heard some crazy shit about this job on the grapevine and you would have needed to be deaf and blind to miss the news of Felix Braithwaite’s horrific death at the hospital, so Carlisle didn’t think a few sensible precautions were a bad idea, before he went strolling in there and found something he wasn’t equipped to deal with.

Frankly though, he thought all these rumours about strange powers and secret projects was just so much bullshit, to distract the authorities from whatever The Department were really up to. A good story for the papers to get their teeth into, some sensationalist opium for the sheeple, a sleight of hand trick, nothing more.

Still, people who he wouldn’t generally credit with much in the way of imagination had told him things you would need a lot of imagining to come up with, stuff you’d think was stupid if you saw it in a horror movie, so he’d have to play it by ear.

*****

Patrick allowed the edge of the kitchen blind to fall back into place and turned to look at Cathy, who was watching him with an anxious expression.

“You’re right, yes, there’s somebody parked a little way down on the opposite side of the road. Can’t make out who it is, but it doesn’t look like the police to me.”

Cathy looked even less happy at this news than she had been when she’d noticed the car earlier.

“Well we know what that means, don’t we?”

“Yes, they’ve finally managed to track us down, we need to get ready to move.”

“That sounds like a very good idea, mind if I tag along?”

Patrick and Cathy both spin round in shock at the sound of the voice, coming from the door to the living room.

“Don’t look like that, I’m not going to bite, aren’t you going to offer me a drink before we go?”

Howard Grainger, aka Subject:Beta, grins cheerfully at them from the doorway, as the screen fades to black.

***********

To be continued (using next week’s prompt)…

#SoCS

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Stream of consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part twenty six…

The first of two posts today, so SoCS might be somewhat shorter than usual, we’ll just have to see what prompt Linda G Hill has provided me with, to continue this story;

” “short.” Use it any way you’d like. “

Pretty straightforward, for a change…

The Accumulator, part twenty six.

Scene: An underground hospital car park at night. It is 36 hours ago.

As we see the lights of a vehicle approaching down the entrance ramp, the camera moves so that our view is partially obscured by a concrete pillar, making it clear that our POV is that of someone who doesn’t want to be seen.

A car comes into view, turns into a parking space close to a door marked Stairs and after a few seconds, the driver’s door opens and a middle aged man in the uniform of a hospital orderly gets out. He walks to the rear of the car, opens the boot and removes a sports bag, where he seems to be searching for something. As he leans over, looking into the bag, our POV moves from our hiding place and rapidly advances on the unwary man, who senses someone behind him at the last minute and begins to turn round.

He’s too late; we see a hand reach out, grip his shoulder at the base of his neck and the man collapses heavily against his car, jerking once or twice before laying still. 

The hand’s owner looks around, checking he is still unobserved and in the process, catches his reflection in a car windscreen. Now the director pulls one of his favourite tricks and zooms in on the reflection, so that we can see it is the man formerly called Howard Grainger, now simply known as Subject:Beta; but when the shot widens out again we are no longer seeing the world from Howard’s perspective, we are once again passive observers in his story.

Howard bends down and quickly removes the unconscious man’s clothes, then heaves him unceremoniously into the boot and closes the lid. He changes into the uniform, stuffing his own clothes into the sports bag, which he throws onto the back seat and locks the car with keys he found in the man’s jacket pocket, before checking his reflection once more and heading for the stairs.

Scene: A busy ICU nurses station.

We see a number of uniformed police being briefed by a senior officer, while doctors, nurses and porters talk in hushed tones, occasionally glancing over at the dramatic activity taking place in their hospital. The news of Subject:Beta’s dramatic escape is beginning to filter through to the hospital staff and rumors are already starting to spread, so everyone is far too busy gossiping to notice one more orderly, coming through the door from the stairwell and slipping into Patrick’s room.

We see Howard/Subject:Beta enter the room from overhead and close the door quietly behind him. He stands there, silently watching the sleeping figure for signs of movement, then he moves to the side of the bed and fingers the handcuff chain, smiling to himself.

“You have the answers, don’t you, Mr mystery man?”

When Patrick doesn’t stir, Howard leans over and places a hand on his cheek. Patrick’s body stiffens slightly beneath the smooth white sheets, but otherwise he appears to remain peacefully asleep. Howard closes his eyes and his face takes on a look of concentration; a frown creases his forehead and he tilts his head to one side as though listening to something only he can hear, then he smiles again and opens his eyes, lifting his hand from Patrick’s cheek.

“I have to go now, I think they’re tightening up security since I absconded,” he rattles the cuffs again, “and it looks like they’ve got you secured for a while. But I think it’ll only be a short time until you’re better now and you seem the resourceful type, I’m sure we’ll meet again soon.”

The man who The Department had created and christened Subject:Beta opens the door and looks out into the corridor then, with a last glace back at the bed, he slips out and the door closes behind him.

Now the shot tightens, slowly pulling us down towards Patrick, until his sleeping face fills the screen. 

Nothing happens for maybe fifteen seconds, then, imperceptibly at first, the deeply drawn lines on Patrick’s face seem to soften and the hollowness of his cheeks appears less pronounced, his hair is already a shade darker and he continues to look more like his former self, as the scene fades to black.

**********

To be continued (using next week’s prompt {which can now be found HERE})…

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Stream of consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part twenty five…

Time to continue this strange tale, as part of SoCS, this week using the inspiration provided by Linda G Hill and this prompt;

” “project.” Use it as a verb, a noun, or both. “

Right, let’s get this show on the road…

The Accumulator, part twenty five.

Scene: The nurses station of a hospital ICU. It is two days later.

The camera executes a slow, dramatic 360° pan around the bustling lobby as we see; a circular reception desk staffed by civilian administrators and nurses, a team of paramedics rushing past with a stretcher, a group of doctors consulting medical charts, a seating area where anxious relatives wait for news of loved ones and, incongruous amongst all the white coats, two uniformed and armed police officers, standing guard outside a private room a little way down one of the four corridors that converge here.

After completing a full circuit of the lobby, the camera glides down the main corridor until it reaches a door marked Stairs and as we draw level the door opens and we see Cathy, dressed in her nurse’s uniform, cautiously look both ways down the passageway then duck back inside. A second later the door opens again and Cathy re-emerges, this time with a little more difficulty as she is pushing a wheelchair. 

Cathy leaves the chair by the door to the stairs and walks to the nurses station where she makes small talk with a couple of orderlies while making herself a coffee in the small kitchen area. After a few minutes one of the orderlies looks down as a beeper goes off on his belt, checks the message and nudges his colleague. The pair drain their drinks and toss the cups in the trash before leaving as Cathy glances at her watch before turning her attention to the police sentries.

Having studied their routine for the last two days, she’s fairly confident that…Yes, here he goes…one of them will go on a lunch run to the canteen, Cathy’s one window of opportunity.

Not even waiting for him to reach the bank of elevators, which will take the policeman down the two floors he needs to get to the canteen, Cathy hurries back to where she left the wheelchair and quickly ducks through the door into the stairwell. This time however, the camera goes after her and we follow Cathy, crossing the landing and unhesitatingly punching the red EMERGENCY button next to the fire escape, immediately setting off the hospital’s alarm system.

She goes to collect the wheelchair and heads quickly but calmly back to the lobby, turning the corner to see the single police sentry looking concerned and alert, hand on the butt of his sidearm as he scans the corridor for danger. 

Cathy keeps walking and smiles nervously, slowing down as she passes him, nodding back the way she has come.

“Some drama going on down there, I expect that’s where you friend is, is it?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Oh it’s none of my business, of course, I just thought that since you were on your own, maybe your partner was dealing with the security breach.”

“Security breach?” 

He seems unsure, but the alarm still sounds and hospital staff are going through emergency procedures, so he comes to a decision and looks at Cathy.

“You’re the one who treats him aren’t you?” He jerks a thumb at the closed door he’s guarding and she nods, “Keep an eye on him, don’t let anyone in, I’ll be two minutes.”

Without waiting for a reply, he sprints off towards the lobby and vanishes round a corner, which Cathy takes as her cue to proceed. She opens the door to Patrick’s room, pushes the wheelchair inside and we watch the door slowly swing shut. 

The camera remains steadily focussed on the closed door for about fifteen seconds, during which time we see a couple of nurses walk past, then the door opens and Cathy appears, pushing a figure in the wheelchair. It is apparent to any casual observer that the patient has suffered terrible injuries, since his entire head is swathed in bandages, with only small slits for his eyes, nose and mouth and with the hands tightly bandaged it suggests they are a burns victim.

Cathy wheels her silent charge along the corridor to the elevators, where she stands waiting for what feels like forever, her heart pounding in her chest, until the doors slide open and she pushes Patrick inside. 

The shot stays fixed on the elevators and we see Cathy and Patrick facing us from inside the one on the left, as the doors on the right also slide open. We see the second policeman stepping out of the right-hand elevator, carrying a tray of food and drink and he steps out into the corridor as the doors of Cathy and Patrick’s elevator slide closed.

The scene cuts to the interior of the elevator, where we see Patrick standing up and tugging at the bandages on his hands, as Cathy unwraps the ones from around his head. Cathy then pulls a doctor’s white coat and stethoscope from the back of the wheelchair and Patrick shrugs into it just as the elevator stops and the doors open onto the ground floor reception area.

Leaving the wheelchair and the pile of bandages in the elevator, they stroll casually across the lobby towards the main entrance and step out into the sunshine, where Cathy lets out a sigh of relief. She takes Patrick’s hand and turns to him as they walk quickly away from the hospital.

“So, what now?”

“Now? Now we have to put a stop to Dr Felix Braithwaite’s final science project.”

**********

To be continued (using next week’s prompt {which can now be found HERE})…

#SoCS

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Stream of consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part twenty four…

Today we return to this story after a week off and I’m ready to dive back into the fast flowing waters of SoCS, assisted by Linda G Hill and this prompt;

” “how.” Start your post with the word “How.” Bonus points if you end with it too. “

How am I going to manage that? We’ll have to wait and see…

The Accumulator, part twenty four.

Howard

Only a few weeks previously, in a life that was forever lost to him, the young man now known simply as Subject:Beta had been a promising recruit in army intelligence and his name had been Howard Grainger. 

Howard would never know this of course; Felix Braithwaite and men like Endicott had rebooted his entire personality from scratch, providing him with an elaborate and deeply embedded backstory he believed so completely, that it would stand up to the most rigorous interrogation techniques. 

As far as he was knew, he was an orphan with no immediate family and he had recently survived a nasty accident (technically true, but only because The Department had engineered the car crash which had killed both his parents, leaving him alive and in the hands of Dr Braithwaite) before which he had lived the quite and unassuming life of a city office worker. Obviously the terrible injuries he’d sustained in the accident had damaged his memory, and although the doctors had been helping him to piece together his past, Felix had warned him against dwelling too much on the past and had suggested he look to the exciting future ahead of him and build a new life. 

A clean slate, that’s what he’d said, a fresh start.

Which was all very well if you had something to start with, but he had nothing and nobody, he was on the run from almost everyone and the only one who seemed to have any idea what was going on was the mysterious man who had come to see him, the one Howard was afraid he’d hurt very badly when he’d collapsed earlier this morning.

Now, nearly three hours later, Howard/Subject:Beta is crouched behind some boxes in the back of a laundry truck parked at the loading dock behind the hospital, listening to security guards shouting to each other in the parking lot and praying they have already searched the truck. Apparently they have and after five minutes or so he hears a door slam and all is quiet once more. He waits, listening for signs of further activity and then cautiously emerges from his hiding place with a mission clear in his mind. 

He will have to get back inside and talk to the mystery man, to find out what he knows, he just has to work out how…

*****

To be continued (using next week’s prompt {which can now be found HERE)…

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Stream of consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part twenty three…

A bit of a late start to SoCS today, so it might be a short post, we’ll have to wait and see what Linda G Hill left us in the way of inspiration, so that we can find out what happens next in this continuing story

Ah, it’s another one of her multiple choice prompts;

” “so/sow/sew.” Use one, use ’em all, use ’em any way you’d like. Bonus points if you start and end with any of them. “

Is that all? Well, we’d best get on with it, then…

The Accumulator, part twenty three.

Scene: A private hospital room. Dr Braithwaite and his patient are having a heated argument. It is less than an hour ago.

11.10 – “So what do you expect me to do about it?!”

The young man with the scarred head paces about the room in agitation, shooting angry glances at the doctor, who is watching his patient’s hands as they repeatedly flex and clench into fists. His bare hands.

“All you have to do is tell me exactly what happened when that man came in here, the one posing as Dr Maddox. What did he do, what did he say to you, what did you do to make him collapse like that?”

“I already told the guards, I didn’t do anything!

“He just walked in here and grabbed hold of you and then collapsed, just like that?”

Subject:Beta abruptly stops his restless pacing, coming to a halt in front of the doctor, who takes a stumbling step back and trips over his briefcase, landing heavily on the hard floor with a grunt of pain. 

“See, even you’re afraid of me! What have you done to me, you bastard? Did I do that to him, just because he touched me? Tell me!”

Felix Braithwaite stares up in horror as the monster he has created takes a step closer and reaches for him with one of those deadly, pale-skinned hands, his face a twisted mask of rage.

“No, please, I’ll tell you. What do you want to know? Remember, I saved your life, you’d have been dead long ago if it wasn’t for me.”

“I’ve changed my mind, I’ll find out for myself.”

With that, the young man known only as Subject:Beta leans forward and places his splayed hand on top of Felix’s head.

*****

Scene: Another hospital room, seen from above. The shot tightens on the drawn and lined face of the old man in the bed until we can see only his closed, rapidly twitching eyelids.

Then the eyes snap open.

After a moment the camera pulls back, the shot opening out to show us that Patrick is now smiling.

*****

The director cuts sharply back to the previous scene and we see what happens next in a super slo-mo sequence that he probably had to save most of the effects budget for.

We see a close-up of Subject:Beta’s hand as it makes contact with Dr Braithwaite’s head, then the shot cuts away to a side view of the two men and the SFX boys really go to town.

The doctor’s body is lifted from the floor like a rag doll in a hurricane and flung high into the far corner of the room. But it isn’t so much the impact which is shocking, as the way Felix appears to collapse in on himself before hitting the wall; as if an unseen force is crushing him into a ball as easily as you would crumple a sheet of paper. Only with a lot more mess.

The body is held there for a second, a mangled, dripping horror, then slides down the wall, coming to rest in a bloody heap, one which wouldn’t be recognisably human unless you took the trouble to sew it back together. Only then does Subject:Beta lower his outstretched hand and slump to his knees, as the shot fades to black.

*****

Scene: The overhead view of Patrick’s room.

11.55 – Patrick, eyes now closed peacefully, a faint smile on his lips as he sleeps, is woken by Cathy as she hurries into the room, peers cautiously out into the corridor, where there seems to be a frenzy of activity, then closes the door and turns to Patrick

As she turns, the shot cuts to his POV, so we see the excitement on Cathy’s face as she moves next to the bed and takes his hand in both of hers, the handcuff chain rattling on the metal frame.

“Patrick, it worked! There’s security and police everywhere, they’re saying Dr Braithwaite’s patient killed him and the guards outside his room, then escaped.”

He looked up at her, the relaxed smile she hadn’t seen for so long already making him appear more like his younger self.

“Well what do you know, the good doctor finally learned his most important lesson, the one Endicott learned to his cost; You reap what you sow.”

**********

To be continued (using next week’s prompt {which can now be found HERE})…

#SoCS

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Stream of consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part twenty two…

Ready for another round of SoCS strangeness?

Ok then, let’s see what Linda G Hill has left for us, so that I can find what happens next in this odd tale;

” “hair.” Use it any way you’d like. “

Fair enough…

The Accumulator, part twenty two.

Scene: A taxi. Dr Felix Braithwaite is sitting in the back seat, checking his watch as the car creeps forward in the slow moving traffic. It is just over an hour ago.

10.53 – “Isn’t there a quicker way to get to the hospital than this, I should have been there by now?”

“Guv, if there was a better way to get there, don’t you reckon I’d’ve taken it by now, it’s like this all over, innit? They’re working on the bypass, it’s got the whole city jammed up.”

The doctor sat back in his seat with a sigh, resisted the temptation to look once more at his watch and turned instead to gaze blankly out of the window and wondered who this mysterious stranger was who had visited his patient and then apparently collapsed. There were reports of him having dramatically aged in appearance, of his hair going prematurely grey in the space of a few minutes; but these were not effects that Felix recognised from his limited study of the young man’s recent enhancements, so perhaps his abilities were evolving and gaining power, an unnerving thought, indeed.

Had Subject:Beta attacked him and revealed his powers in public? That would be disastrous, Felix shuddered at the very thought of trying to explain such things to ignorant and suspicious police officers and the hospital authorities. It was imperative that he discovered the imposter’s identity and, if necessary, terminate him at the earliest opportunity. Nothing must endanger the success of the Accumulator programme, not when they were so close to perfecting the process with Subject:Beta.

“Here we go, sir, looks like they cleared a blockage up ahead, we’re on our way.”

He looked round at the driver, who was grinning over his shoulder at the doctor, and saw the car in front draw away from them as the jam eased and traffic began to move more freely. 

“We’ll be there in no time now, you see.”

Felix Braithwaite started to relax, it was all going to be fine, he would soon have everything under control and they could forget any of this ever happened.

*****

Scene: A hospital lobby. Doctors stride purposefully back and forth, whilst a uniformed security guard answers calls at a busy switchboard behind the large check-in desk.

11.19 – A taxi pulls up outside and Dr Braithwaite can be seen through the glass wall of the reception area, paying the driver and hurrying to the revolving door at the entrance.

He approaches the desk and withdraws a pass, which hangs inside his jacket from a lanyard around his neck, tuts impatiently as he waits for the man to finish his phone call, then starts talking before the receiver is back in its cradle.

“I’m Dr Felix Braithwaite, they’re expecting me on the fourth floor.”

The security guard looks at him with a frown and pulls a printed form from a stack in front of him.

“You’ll have to fill out a visitor’s form, sir, I’ve been told not to let anyone up there without authorisation, sorry.”

“That doesn’t apply to me, you stupid man, I’m the one who gave the order to secure that floor in the first place!”

“There’s no need for abuse, sir, I’m only doing my job.” 

The man scowls ever harder and pickes up the phone. Then he takes Dr Braithwaite’s pass and drags it across the desk to study it more closely, causing the doctor to lean sharply forward and lose his balance, grabbing hold of the desk to steady himself as the guard sniggers and punches in a number. There is a pause, during which the two men maintained silent, glaring eye contact from a distance of about six inches, then the call is answered and the doctor is released from his undignified stoop as the other man speaks to his superiors.

“Hello? Yeah, I’ve got some bloke here, says his name is Braithwaite, Felix. Claims he’s a doctor and that you’re expecting him on four, is that right?”

He listens, then nods and pulls a red laminated pass out of his desk drawer and beckons Felix to hand him his pass once more.

The doctor lifts the lanyard over his head and silently hands it to the grinning guard, watches him attach the red laminate to his regular pass and hand it back to him, then picks up his briefcase and marches off in the direction of the elevators without another word.

Riding up to the fourth floor, Felix Braithwaite takes the opportunity to focus his mind and rehearse what he will say to the hospital administrators, should they ask any awkward questions about his unusual patient. He takes half a dozen slow, deep breaths and when the doors opened on an empty corridor a few moments later, he is calm and ready to face anything.

He makes for the double doors to his left, pauses briefly to check his pass is showing, then steps through into the restricted area and sees two more uniformed guards stationed outside Subject:Beta’s room. One of the men stands up as he approaches, stepping in front of the door and folding his arms in a gesture of finality, just in case the visitor is in any doubt as to who was in charge.

Felix stops and brandishes the red laminate he had been given by the man downstairs.

“I don’t have time for any more of your little power games, I’m Dr Felix Braithwaite and I demand to be allowed into that room right now.”

The security guard looks slightly taken aback by his tone, but still takes a minute to examine the doctor’s pass before nodding tersely at him and turning to the door. He reaches for the handle, then pauses and looks back at Felix.

“We couldn’t have known he wasn’t legit, you know. The other guy I mean, he had all the right paperwork and everything, even had a letter of introduction.”

Felix looks disdainfully back at him and thinks about this a moment.

“What did he look like, this imposter?”

“Umm, average-looking I suppose, about forty maybe, dark hair, six foot, 160 pounds. He was with some nurse, she’s been looking after your man in there; Cathy, I think her name is. He was calling himself Maddox.”

“Hmm…do you have security footage of them arriving,” Felix nods to a camera on the wall, trained on the door, “if so I’d like to see it?”

“I’ll check, sir, you go in and I’ll call the control room now.”

He opens the door and moves aside to allow Felix to step past him into the room, which he does, closing the door behind him.

**********

To be continued (using next week’s prompt {which can now be found HERE)…

#SoCS

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Stream of consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part twenty one…

Greetings from the wet and windy West Country, from whence I bring you this week’s episode of SoCS, today based (probably very loosely) on Linda G Hill’s insistence that I continue this increasingly elongated story by using this prompt;

” “wood/would.” Use one, use both, use them any way you would like.”

Ok, then…

The Accumulator, part twenty one.

Scene: A hospital corridor, seen from the perspective of someone speeding down it on a gurney. It is two and a half hours ago.

09.30 – From our horizontal POV, the indistinct sound of voices fades in and out and the picture slips in and out of focus, suggesting we are seeing through the eyes of someone who is barely conscious. A hand comes into shot holding a hissing face mask, which is clamped to the unresisting face of our host and our view of the scene darkens around the edges, then fades to black.

*****

Scene: Subject:Beta’s hospital room.

09.45 – The nameless young man is sitting on the bed and one of the security guards is sitting on a chair in front of him, while the second man stands guard next to the door.

“Right, just so we’re clear, before all the bloody doctors turn up and start asking stupid questions; you’re saying that the man who came in with the nurse this morning wasn’t who he says he was and that he attacked you.”

“Yes, he grabbed me and was raving about getting me out of here, he seemed deranged, I told you.”

“And then he just collapsed, just like that?” The man looked at Subject:Beta’s gloved hands nervously, “You didn’t…do anything to him at all?” 

“No, I told you, he grabbed me and then he just fell down and didn’t get back up. I thought he was dead, a heart attack or something, he looked awful.”

“And the nurse, she didn’t do anything, to you I mean?”

For reasons the young man couldn’t explain, he didn’t want to get the nurse, who had told him she was called Cathy, into any trouble, so he shook his head and changed the subject.

“When will Dr Braithwaite be here, I have some questions to ask him?”

“I doubt it will take him long to get here, once he hears about this fucking ball-up.” He looked his client over appraisingly once more and added, “But at least you’re ok, that’s the main thing, am I right?”

The guard raised an enquiring eyebrow at his young charge and Subject:Beta realised he was worried he and his partner would get the blame for the security breach, so he smiled at the man and reassured him.

“The imposter seemed very convincing to me and I’m sure he had all the right documentation…”

“Oh he did; his i.d, a letter from the hospital confirming his appointment, a hospital pass, they all checked out.”

“Well there you go, you can hardly be blamed for being taken in by someone who was so well prepared, after all, he fooled that pretty nurse. I expect Dr Braithwaite and his colleagues will understand completely, once you explain all that to them.”

The security guard looked uncertain about that, but he nodded and rose from the chair, then walked over and spoke in a low voice to his partner for a moment before turning back to face the young man on the bed.

“We’ll be outside if you need anything, I’ll let you know when the doctor arrives, ok?”

“Ok, thank you, I’ll make sure I mention to Dr Braithwaite how helpful you’ve been.”

The guard looked like he might be about to say something, then he opened the door and the two of them left the room.

“Ha!, that was fun,” Subject:Beta threw himself back on the bed and laughed; this was turning into an interesting day, “somebody is going to be in deep shit, hahaha.” 

He held up his right hand and balled the leather clad fingers into a fist, then opened it out flat and, one finger at a time, he slowly began to pull off the glove.

*****

Scene: A hospital room, seen from above. An apparently elderly man lies in the only bed, one arm handcuffed to the rail, eyes closed, chest rising and falling regularly beneath the crisp while sheet.

10.19 – Cathy enters the room and approaches the bed. Now our POV drifts downwards and the shot tightens on the face of the old man, who we now know is Patrick. The camera remains focused on the lined and hollow face as we hear Cathy speak.

“Patrick. Patrick, can you hear me?”

His eyelids flicker and his tongue licks dry lips, then Patrick’s eyes slowly open and he turns his head. He smiles at Cathy and tries to raise his hand, then frowns and lifts his head from the pillow with a grimace, seeing the chain that restrains him.

“Ah, I see that I’m a prisoner.”

“Well, not a prisoner, exactly,” Cathy returns his smile, but her eyes look strained and tired, “they’re waiting for you to wake up, so they can question you about why you were impersonating a doctor.”

“But they don’t know you’re involved, how did you manage that?”

“I have no idea. If I was that poor man, I would have given us both away, but he only told the guards about you grabbing him when they came bursting in and they just yelled at me to get a doctor.”

“So where is he now, Braithwaite’s latest prodigy?”

“Still under guard in his room, last I heard. The good doctor hasn’t arrived yet, apparently he was having to fly in from Europe somewhere and his flight was delayed, he’s expected anytime now.”

Patrick closed his eyes and thought about this for a minute, then he looked at Cathy and shrugged.

“I’m not certain, but I think we may have made more of an impression on Felix’s guinea pig than it seemed. If he had no doubts about the doctor and his motives, he would have given you away, don’t you think?”

“Well, yes, I suppose…” she didn’t sound convinced, “but what exactly are you saying?”

“I’m not sure, it’s just a feeling, but I think we should wait and see what happens when the esteemed Dr Braithwaite arrives and anyway,” he rattled the chain of the handcuffs on the bed rail, “I’m not going anywhere for a while, unless you’ve got a pair of bolt cutters on you.”

“Ok, I’ll go back to work and try to keep an ear out for news and you get some sleep, you’re going to need all your strength when the time comes to get you out of here.”

She reached out and squeezed his hand, then leant over and kissed him on the forehead before turning to leave.

“Cathy.” 

Patrick called out softly as she opened the door and she turned back to see him staring at her intently.

“Don’t trust anyone, we can never know who’s been enlisted by The Department to cover Felix’s little experiment here, so just be careful.”

With that, he closed his eyes once more and lay back on his pillows with what Cathy thought sounded like a contented sigh. She looked at him for a few seconds, still shocked at the change which had come over him in such a short space of time, then stepped out into the corridor and closed the door gently behind her.

**********

To be continued (using next week’s prompt {which can now be found HERE})…

#SoCS

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