Monday August 8th, 2016

The exercise:

As promised yesterday, we're having our monthly visit to the House of Mercy this evening.

Had a pretty quiet night shift at the community center. I've got another one scheduled for tomorrow, so I'm going to need to bring the produce down to our place for local orders before I go and then Kat and Miles will deal with our customers (Max will be with Kat's parents until dinner time).

Then two mornings at the bakery, back to farm work on Friday as I pick for the market, the market itself on Saturday, and then on Sunday... I guess I get a day off? That'll be nice.


Sitting on her bed in the early dawn light, flipping through her chart, Julie's head was crowded with questions.

Was it real? Was it just another test, like the keys? Had the keys been a test at all? If it was real, were the notes she was reading a confirmation of her insanity... or theirs?

The sound of the chart sliding across the floor had woken her with a jolt. It had taken a few seconds to discover the source of the noise and much longer to consider whether or not she should get out of bed to pick it up.

The three quick knocks on her door and then the sound of rapidly retreating footsteps had shoved her into action.

And that, perhaps, was the biggest question of all: who had slipped it under her door to begin with?

Julie rubbed the ache in her head with her fingers, closing her eyes for a few breaths. Breakfast would be arriving in half an hour and she knew she couldn't be found reading her chart.

And it was her chart, wasn't it? Or at least it was a copy. The entries were grouped together in different colored pens, which was odd. Babs always used the same pen when she was with Julie. It was like someone had taken several attempts to get it all down, using whatever writing instrument was at hand each time. The handwriting certainly looked rushed.

It also looked vaguely familiar. Like Julie had seen it somewhere before. She couldn't seem to place it though. It was like trying to grab a wriggling fish with her bare hands.

At least, it was until she reached the final page... and the final note, hastily scrawled at the bottom. It was not an entry from Babs. Julie knew that even before her eyes reached the name.

Julie, I hope you've found these notes informative. And I hope your old pills have been "disagreeing" with you. But they're starting you on a new routine tomorrow and I don't know if I can keep 'adjusting' your medications - there are some liquids, and maybe even a few needles. We need to get out of here before they get more of their poison into you.

We need to leave tonight. Be ready.



morganna said...

Julie sat up at the tap on the door. She hadn't taken her evening medication at all, just flushed it down the toilet when Babs was suddenly called away.

Anne limped into the room. Tears filled Julie's eyes as she remembered Anne, and that she hadn't limped before. Her eyes went to Anne's ankle.

Anne saw the look. "It's okay, I can run and walk. It doesn't really hurt anymore."

Julie knew she was lying but decided to ignore it. "Now what do we do?"

Anne held out a pile of clothes. "Change into this, and hurry. We have to leave before shift change."

Julie quickly changed into a nurse's uniform. It was slightly damp and smelled warm. She hoped that meant it had come from a clothes dryer.

Greg said...

@Morganna: I really like the bit about the uniform, it's very nicely understated. And you've remembered a lot of the details too -- it's like you were never away!

@Marc: ah, the escape attempt starts! I like the touch with the different pens and the fact that the chart's been put together piecemeal, it feels very fitting for the difficult situation the women have ended up in. I also like the wriggling fish metaphor :)

"You look good," said Anne, looking over Julie. "Thinner, too. Whoe- what?"
"I don't know." Julie rubber her head. "What you just said, there was a memory, but it was like a spark. It jumped and went and was... slightly painful?"
"We have to go," said Anne. She chewed her bottom lip. "Are you going to be ok?"
"Sure." Julie led the way to the door, determined to show that she was fine. Slightly to her surprise there was a medication cart outside.
"Almost done with the round," said Anne. "Doris isn't getting any tonight now." She starting pushing the cart, and Julie fell into step alongside her. "I've no idea who Doris is, but her chart says that she's in here because she wasn't attentive enough to her husband's needs."
"That doesn't sound like a disease," said Julie. The corridor was carpeted in lilac and the walls were magnolia and the effect was very soothing. "That sounds like." She stopped, unable to form the words she wanted.
"A husband with unrealistic expectations," said Anne. Julie nodded, and mouthed the words under her breath. She suddenly couldn't understand why she'd had difficulties with them.
"Too-who!" she said abruptly. Anne's head turned sharply, with a look of fear in her eyes. "Too-whit-to-who! You were the owl!"
"You said you flushed the pills," said Anne.
"I did! No, when I first got here and everyone was an animal, there was an owl at the window. That was you!"
Anne glanced down at her ankle remembering clinging to the bars outside the window, and Julie followed her gaze.
"Oh no," she said, stopping. Anne grabbed her waist and made her keep walking. "Oh no. You fell off and hurt your ankle because of me."
"I got shot," said Anne, ignoring Julie's gasp. They were neaerly at the elevator now. "And it was months ago. And if I hadn't, we wouldn't be here right now, so shut up, ok?"
Anne pressed the button for the elevator. The doors were set flush with the wall and when they opened the control panel inside wasn't lit up. Anne produced a pass-card from her pocket and touched it to the control panel, then pressed the button labelled 1. "We can't just walk out through reception," she said. "There are cameras in there. Security have a room on the first floor though and right now there's only one guy in there. She lifted the lid of the cart and produced a half-bottle of whiskey. "I've no idea what Doris's medication will do with alcohol, but I bet it'll let us turn off the cameras and escape!"

Marc said...

Morganna - nicely handled! I think we've got things moving in the right direction now.

Greg - ooh, I definitely like where we're headed now! I think I shall enjoy writing the scene with the security guard and two patients disguised as nurses plying him with (drugged) booze in order to escape.

I might even do that tonight, actually, now that I've caught up on comments this far...