Hollow Moon Part 19
- Hollow Moon Part 1
- Hollow Moon Part 2
- Hollow Moon Part 3
- Hollow Moon Part 4
- Hollow Moon Part 5
- Hollow Moon Part 6
- Hollow Moon Part 7
- Hollow Moon Part 8
- Hollow Moon Part 9
- Hollow Moon Part 10
- Hollow Moon Part 11
- Hollow Moon Part 12
- Hollow Moon Part 13
- Hollow Moon Part 14
- Hollow Moon Part 15
- Hollow Moon Part 16
- Hollow Moon Part 17
- Hollow Moon Part 18
- Hollow Moon Part 19
- Hollow Moon Part 20
- Hollow Moon Part 21
- Hollow Moon Part 22
- Hollow Moon Part 23
- Hollow Moon Part 24
- Hollow Moon Part 25
- Hollow Moon Part 26
- Hollow Moon Part 27
- Hollow Moon Part 28
- Hollow Moon Part 29
- Hollow Moon Part 30
- Hollow Moon Part 31
- Hollow Moon Part 32
- Hollow Moon Part 33
- Hollow Moon Part 34
- Hollow Moon Part 35
“Law-rence… Law-rence, Honey, where aaare you?” Mrs. Bandersnatch called from Deacon Pritchard’s bed.
“I’ll be there in a minute, Jean,” a gravelly voice from the bathroom replied.
“I’ll be waitin’, Hon.”
“I’m sure ya’ will. I’m… sure…”
BANG! Glass shattering and a thud on the bathroom floor certainly got the Chief Gossip’s attention. She ran into the cubicle-like room to find her lover with his head covered, lying the ivory tiles, the grout lines filled with broken glass.
“Oh. Oh! 9-1-1! 9-1-1! Call 9-1-1, Jean,” the rattled woman shrieked to herself.
The Reverend’s wife hustled to the Deacon Pritchard’s ancient rotary phone and dialed the numbers in succession as quickly as the dusty machine would allow. She had forgotten about the cell phone in her pants pocket laying on the floor.
“9-1-1, what’s your emergency?” a woman’s voice answered.
“Law’rence! Law’rence’s been shot at! There’s glass everywhere an’, an’…”
“Ma’am, I need you to stay as calm as you can. Who’s been shot at?”
“Law’rence! Law’rence Prit’chard!”
“What’s the address, Ma’am?”
“I, I can’t think a’ the ad-dress right now. Oh, hurry! Law’rence!”
“Please try to think, Ma’am. Is there anyone else in the house? Ma’am, are you safe?”
“Are you safe, Sir?” asked the emergency room doctor.
“Who… who are you?” the drowsy man in the bed replied.
“Are you safe?” came the question a second time.
“No, I am not safe. Lod poisoned me,” Esk stated.
The doctor shifted his weight onto both feet in a wide stance with his arms loosely crossed as he looked Esk in the eye from across the room. The nurse’s station was visible through the window, and Esk recognized a camera in the corner hanging from the ceiling above the doctor’s head. The dark blue uniform that the doctor had on was unique. It was in two pieces with a V-neck cut for the head to go through and a drawstring on the pants. It looked perfectly sterile and said “Hospital Linen Services” in faded white on the upper left chest region above the pocket where this individual stored his writing utensils and a small flashlight. His shirt was tucked into his pants. His muscular physique told Esk that this man was health conscious and strong. An odd-looking instrument with a two-pronged fork at one end and a circular disk at the other was draped around his neck by a long green rubber hose that connected the two.
“Well, I guess we should start with introductions. I’m Dr. Callum. I work here in the emergency department. You’re at St. Sebastian Medical Center. I understand you’re from Fletcher?”
“Fletcher. Yes. I am.”
“What’s your name?”
“Esk. That is my name.”
“Do you remember your last name, Sir?”
“I do not know what you are referring to.”
“Well, here’s what’s going on, Esk. I looked at your blood sample results and found two different antipsychotics and a whole bunch of benzodiazepines in your system. From what your friend who brought you here said, you don’t take any medications. The concentration of these substances in your blood was high enough to kill a horse or two, so I’m worried about your safety. Do you get where I’m coming from, Esk? I have to ask—did you try to kill yourself?”
“Lod poisoned me! That’s proof! Lod was trying to kill me! You have seen the results yourself!”
“Esk, who is Lod?”
“Lod! Everyone knows Lod! They talk about him all the time!”
Esk moved to the edge of the bed. Dr. Callum stopped him, placing a hand on his chest.
“Whoa. Easy, Esk. I’m not convinced that you didn’t just try to commit suicide and that this ‘Lod’ character is real. I don’t know Lod. You’re not making much sense and that worries me. I’m going to have you admitted to the inpatient psychiatric unit to be evaluated by a psychiatrist. I want you to go in voluntarily, if possible, but if not, I’ll put you on a 72-hour hold.”
The physician held out a clipboard with some papers and a pen on it. He urged Esk to sign the papers.
“Why are you doing this to me? Why don’t you go get Lod? He tried to kill me!”
“Esk, Sir, I don’t want to have to admit you involuntarily, but I will if you persist. I need you to sign these papers for me.”
“I am a visitor. I believe that Lod is an extraterrestrial—an unfriendly one and quite possibly a threat to your species as well as my own.”
“Okay, Esk. I’m putting you on an involuntary 72-hour hold in the inpatient psych unit. I have no choice. I wish you well, and I hope you get better, Sir.”
Dr. Callum met two large men outside the door to his room and looked to be explaining something to them. The hushed tones were a dead giveaway that Esk was in trouble. He could not assume his native form to escape, lest he compromise his entire mission. The two men that the caregiver spoke to had tan shirts with emblems on the sleeves and shiny badges on their chests. They wore thick belts with many unfamiliar tools on them, but all of the tools were black, as were the men’s pants and polished boots. Their demeanor was somber, their stances aggressive. Dr. Callum threw up his hands and went behind the counter of the nurse’s station. When he returned, he had a loaded syringe and was coming straight toward Esk’s doorway with it.
Lod is a shapeshifter! He’s posing as Dr. Callum, now, instead of Dr. Severius! Lod’s going to try to finish me off with more poison!
Esk vaulted off the examination room bed and ran smack into one of the large men that Callum had been talking to. The man seized Esk as the other man in the tan shirt with the toolbelt assisted the first.
“I’m sorry, Esk,” Dr. Callum said as he jabbed the needle into Esk’s already-sore shoulder, forcing the medication with the plunger, “this is just to calm you down.”
“Ma’am, I need you to calm down. Is there anyone else in the house with you? I’m notifying the sheriff of your situation, but you have to stay on the line with me and try to remain calm. What is happening right now?”
“Someone shot at Law’rence!”
A shotgun blast obliterated the front door. Jean Bandersnatch dove into the bathroom with the Deacon Pritchard, who was whimpering.
“Ma’am?! Ma’am? What is happening?” the 911 operator asked.
“Jean can’t talk anymore,” a familiar voice growled.
The sound of the phone receiver slamming down was all the two trapped in the bathroom could hear. Footsteps padded heavily across the carpeted hardwood toward them.
“Oh, look. The Bandersnatches are together again,” said the voice that the Chief Gossip now recognized all too well.
The Reverend stood in the doorway, shotgun broken open, reloading both barrels. Pritchard held his right hand over his chest, agonizing over his perceived fate. Jean tried to scream, but no sound came out…
“Sheriff! Drop the gun, Reverend!” shouted a voice.
The Reverend Bandersnatch complied and was taken into custody while the volunteer emergency services personnel tended to the victims. Mrs. Bandersnatch was already thinking up ways to make the most sensational story out of the whole affair. Looking out the window, she could see her handcuffed husband being taken away in the county sheriff’s cruiser.
The Reverend was brought before the judge from the detention center the next morning. He had nothing to say. Out of compassion, the judge ordered that the Reverend Bandersnatch be held in St. Sebastian Medical Center’s inpatient psychiatric unit under suicide watch with armed guards until more could be learned about the situation and circumstances preceding it. It was the kindest thing to do…