Another weekend, another trip down Stream of consciousness Saturday Sunday without a paddle, this week using Linda G Hill’s prompt to continue this story by including;
” A word that starts with “P.” Find a word that begins with the letter “p,” and make it the theme of your post. Bonus points for starting and ending your post with a “p” word. ”
The Accumulator, part nineteen.
Scene: Patrick and Cathy’s car. They are sitting in rush hour traffic, travelling to the hospital. It is this morning.
08.07 – Patrick looks at his watch for the third time in ten minutes and groans in frustration, craning his neck to see past the line of cars, as Cathy pats his arm reassuringly.
“We’ve got plenty of time, don’t worry, I don’t start until nine.”
“Yes, but I want to make sure we’re in time for the changing of the guard.”
Patrick drums his fingers on the wheel, leans back in his seat and tries to relax. Then the car in front moves a few more miserable yards and stops, so he releases the handbrake with a sigh of resignation and they roll ever so slightly closer to their destiny, as we hear Patrick’s narration for the final time;
“We were so close to the end now, I could almost taste it, so the traffic really wasn’t helping my nerves, but Cathy didn’t seem the least bit concerned. It was her plan, after all, maybe that was why she was so chilled out about it all.
It was a simple enough idea; obtain a hospital security pass; (the sort of thing we’d been doing for nearly ten years in order to stay one step ahead of The Department, anyway) get me into the building under the guise of a visiting psychologist; (Cathy had earlier intercepted a letter intended for the real “Dr Maddox” and I was keeping his appointment for him) then walk into Subject:Beta’s room in plain sight, so to speak.
What I was going to do when I got in there was still rather vague and dependent on several unknown factors, but of one thing I was certain; for either myself or Dr Felix Braithwaite, this was very much the end of the line.”
Patrick’s voiceover ends as the traffic starts moving again, but our perspective remains fixed, watching the retreating tailgate of the car in front, until Patrick pulls forward and the rear windscreen appears to pass straight through us, then the camera rises slowly and cars pass beneath us, heading into the city to begin another day and the shot fades to…
Scene: A hospital corridor. The camera shows us a straight on view of two uniformed guards, stationed on chairs either side of the door to a private room, one fiddling with his phone and the other dozing, a newspaper on his lap.
08.55 – Double doors at one end of the corridor open and two more of the private security operatives head towards us.
The guard with the phone kicks his sleeping partner’s foot, waking the man with a start, who looks round blearily and quickly tries to shake himself into alertness as he sees their replacements coming towards him.
Patrick and Cathy, both dressed in white hospital coats; Patrick, with the obligatory stethoscope hanging from his pocket, a clipboard in one hand, a bulky file under his arm and an official hospital laminate round his neck, looks every inch the consultant specialist he is impersonating. They are watching “the changing of the guard” as Patrick had called it, from the doors at the opposite end of the corridor.
We watch through a round window in the door as the four men chat for a few seconds; one looks briefly into his client’s room, then the new arrivals bid farewell to their colleagues, who disappear the way the others came, before they take up position outside the door.
“Right, I think that’s our cue, are you ready?”
A whole swarm of butterflies do frantic somersaults in Cathy’s stomach, but she just smiles tightly and nods.
“Yes, let’s go get ’em..”
Patrick grins back, gives her hand a quick squeeze and pushes open the door.
We see Patrick and Cathy come down the corridor and stop as the reach the guards, both of whom stand up as they approach.
“Yes, can I help you?”
“Yes, I’m Dr Maddox, I’ve come to examine the patient. I have all the paperwork here somewhere.”
Patrick produces the letter of introduction they intercepted, which the guard examines, along with his pass, while Cathy smiles sweetly at his partner until he seems satisfied they are legitimate.
The one who checked them over goes into the room, closing the door behind him. Patrick nods at the other guard amicably and receives a blank stare in return, so he turns to Cathy.
“Nurse, has the patient had any further sensory distortion, since Dr Braithwaite removed his dressing yesterday?”
“No, doctor, he seems a lot more comfortable and his headache appears to have receded completely.”
“That’s good, we’ll have to see…”
Patrick stops as the door opens and the guard returns.
“You can go in now.”
“Thank you, most grateful. We will need to take him to the CT imaging department later, could you arrange for a porter, do you think?”
“We aren’t on the hospital staff, sir, you’ll have to make your own arrangements, I’m afraid,” he looks at Patrick disdainfully, “and you won’t be going anywhere without us, that’s for sure.”
“Ok, thank you anyway, we’ll make our own arrangements, as you say.”
With that, Patrick nods his thanks to the stony-faced sentries, Cathy opens the door and they step into the room to discover the final part of the puzzle.
To be continued (using next week’s prompt)…