Hollow Moon Part 21
- 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
Jean Bandersnatch was not going to take no for an answer. She wanted to see her husband, and she wanted to see him now. That, of course, was against protocol since he was not only under arrest but being held under suicide watch by armed guards in the secure unit of the psych ward at St. Sebastian’s.
“Now, look here. I’m his wife. I have ev’ry right ta’ see him, ‘specially after what he done to poor Deacon Pritchard. Now, I demand ta’ see ‘im at once!”
“I’m sorry, Ma’am. I’m afraid that’s just not possible. The circumstances are beyond my control,” said the young receptionist.
“I wanna talk ta’ yer superior right now, ya’ little twirp. Right now!”
“I’ll call him right away, Ma’am. Just one… one moment. Please.”
The quavering voice told Mrs. Bandersnatch that she at least had a valid complaint, or so she thought, that she could leverage against whomever she needed to in the near future. The hospital director himself showed up within minutes of the phone call made by the mousy girl enclosed by bulletproof glass at the psychiatric ward’s reception desk.
“May I help you, Ma’am?” asked the director with his deep voice, Adam’s apple bobbing.
“Yes, Sir, I b’lieve you can. See, I’m Reverend Bandersnatch’s wife an’ I need ta’ speak with ‘im, if that’d be permissible.”
The Reverend’s wife played with a lock of her plain brown hair as she schmoozed the director. The director was prepared for her wiles, though. He had already heard the entire story and read the police report.
“You may speak with your husband any time you like, Mrs. Bandersnatch. By phone. If he consents to speak to you. Would you like the phone number to call?”
“By… what? By phone? You mean I have ta’ call up ta’ the desk and ask if he wants ta’ talk ta’ me? What if he don’t?”
“Well, then, I’m afraid that you won’t be speaking to him, Ma’am. I think we’re done here. Would you like that phone number before I go?”
“Gimme the number,” Bandersnatch snapped, searching for a pen.
“Young lady, please give Mrs. Bandersnatch a pen and paper,” the director said to the woman behind the glass.
“What’s the number?”
The Chief Gossip scratched the numbers down so hard with the pen’s tip that she etched the phone number into the countertop underneath. She threw the pen at the director after he gave her the last digit.
“Keep the pen,” the director said, smiling, “happy to have helped.”
Esk’s eyes narrowed, and he gave the Reverend a wide berth as he passed by him to get to his own room. There could never be enough space between himself and that cannibalistic psychopath. Esk and the Reverend both discovered, though, that their rooms were directly across from each other. Not having doors, they could not shut each other out. They both sat on their beds, staring at each other long and hard. Who would make the first move and what would it be? Each pondered what they wanted with the other—what they would say, what they would do—as the icy glares continued to bounce between them. It was an intense game of who would blink first, and Esk won it by hopping off his bed and heading to the dayroom, never breaking eye contact with the Reverend. All four guards, two on each side of the hallway, were oblivious.
Esk noticed a phone in the dayroom. The cord was so short that one had to stand with their face to practically touching the dialing box to use the receiver, but it was indeed a phone. That is what Sam had called it and Esk had heard him talk to other people on the one at home. I can talk to Sam! Sam can straighten this out and tell them what happened. I won’t have to stay here another minute with the Reverend in this form. Now… how do I talk to Sam on this thing?
“Excuse me,” Esk hailed one of the nurses, “how do I talk to my friend Sam on this device?”
“Oh, you just dial the 9 and then the rest of the number, Honey. If it’s long distance, there’s a code I’ll have to put in for you after you dial,” the nurse said.
“I… I don’t know the number,” Esk said.
“I do,” said the Reverend, approaching Esk and the phone.
The Reverend took the receiver from Esk and dialed Sam’s number. The Reverend was good about knowing how to get ahold of the lost sheep in his congregation. The phone rang at the other end and the Reverend handed the phone back to Esk.
“Wait until he answers,” said the Reverend, hurrying away toward his room.
“Hello?” Sam’s voice said.
“Sam! Sam, this is Esk!”
“Esk! Buddy! Are you okay? Where’re ya’ at?”
“Where am I?” Esk asked the nurse.
“You’re in the secure unit of the inpatient psychiatric ward,” the nurse said without looking up from the book she was reading.
“Did you hear that, Sam? I am in—”
“Yeah, I heard, Esk. Look, you just hang in there. I’m workin’ on gettin’ ya’ outta there. I talked to Severius this mornin’. I know he drugged ya’. I know you’d never try ta’ hurt yerself.”
“No, Sam, I would not. You talked to Dr. Severius? Did he harm you, too?”
“Naw. I did the harmin’, buddy. He’ll be callin’ real shortly ta’ get’cha released. I’m down in the waitin’ room. I’ll be here until ya’ get out, okay? Just hang in there. You just call if ya’ wanna talk.”
“Sam, what is ‘the number’?”
“Oh, here, I’ll give it to ya’. Have the nurse write it down fer ya’. Give the phone ta’ the nurse, Esk.”
The nurse took down the phone numbers that Sam gave her so that Esk would be able to contact him. Esk wondered why the Reverend helped him contact Sam. How strange. Psychopaths do not have the neural pathways to display true kindness. Or do they? Perhaps I have misjudged the Reverend. My theory about him being a victim of the Chief Gossip may be the more correct hypothesis of the two.
The phone at the nurse’s station outside the secure unit rang. When the nurse picked it up, she grimaced. Waving to the nurse inside the secure unit, she pointed to the phone with distaste. The nurse stuck her head outside the door briefly to find out who was on the other end of the line. Nodding, she closed the secure unit’s door and made her way to the Reverend’s room. Esk was not one to eavesdrop, but he was curious about the Reverend now in a way that he had not been previously.
“No, I don’t want ta’ talk ta’ her. Pritchard’s hand an’ arm’ll be fine—they’s jist sprained—an’ he can have ‘er now if he still wants ‘er. I’m done with ‘er,” the Reverend said.
The nurse stepped out of the Reverend’s room and made a cutting gesture across her neck several times while shaking her head. The nurse outside acknowledged this and spoke to the person on the phone. The conversation was not going well from what Esk could see. The nurse finally hung up the receiver and shook her own head, taking a deep breath as she did it.
“Yes, that’s right. All a big mistake. Please take Esk off 72-hour hold and release him immediately. Thank you,” Dr. Severius said.
Dr. Severius had done this once before and used it to his advantage. The story was a good one—a scuffle and an injection in the wrong arm—and it was all a valid misunderstanding as far as the medical community at St. Sebastian’s overcrowded psychiatric unit was concerned. Their rooms were always full, their rosters understaffed, and their workers overworked and underpaid. They were always happy to release anyone they could from the inpatient ward, and that was exactly what they were going to do… as soon as the hospital doctor signed the papers.
The hospital’s psychiatrist was not so eager to let Esk go. He wanted to evaluate the young man (or what he thought was a young man) after looking at Esk’s blood sample results. There were some highly unusual values on that report. Dr. Callum had only looked at the numbers pertaining to toxins in Esk’s blood. The other numbers escaped notice until now and were astounding to the attending physician on the unit. He had the “problem” figured out, though.
The nurse poked her head around the doorway of Esk’s room. Esk greeted her with a timid smile and a wave.
“Esk, the doctor would like to talk to you, now.”