The storyteller of pain, p.6
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       The Storyteller of Pain, p.6
 

           Loren Molloy
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  “Knock, Knock.”

  Lilian didn’t have to look up to know there was only one person who actually says ‘Knock Knock’ instead of actually knocking...might mess up his precious hands, she thought.

  “Dr. Charles Page. To what do I owe this honored pleasure?”

  Lilian said while placing her briefcase directly on top of John’s letter. ’This sick son of a bitch is not getting one glimpse of this letter’, she thought. It was never a good sign when Charles Page paid her a visit. He, paying any attention to her, wasn’t a good thing ever, in her option.

  “As chairman of the Board and Head of this hospital I came to see how you are doing with the DelaCour case. We’re still waiting for your official diagnosis. I heard the great Dr. SinClair is finally stumped on a case.”

  It was extremely clear to Lily that Charles was overjoyed by this news. He was almost disgustingly giddy about it.

  “Well Dr. Page, she has been in my care for only 6 days now. It’s a little too soon to decree that I’m stumped. I will admit this is a strange and intriguing case but stumped is not an accurate word, Charles. I’m still gathering data on this. Besides, I was assured that Mrs. DelaCour was here for a long term basis with no worry to the financing of her stay here.”

  Charles Page narrowed his eyes and flared his nostrils at her in rage. Coldly he began to sneer at her.

  “Have you forgotten you are supposed to be curing your patients not just housing them? Abagail Winters is still in your care. Do you ever cure your patients or are you still gathering data on her as well?”

  “Abagail Winters has been diagnosed and continues to undergo treatment here for her condition and psychosis. She has also been mandated into this Asylum’s care for life by the great state of Massachusetts. You’re comparing apples to oranges doctor and you know it!” Lilian exclaimed.

  She was now very hostile. He had never been so openly rude and condescending to her before. She was not going to allow that kind of behavior at all. Dr. Page silently took a step into her office and then another until he was standing in the middle of her office. That alone was enough to make Lilian uneasy. His anger and caged rage could be felt all the way across the room to her, behind her desk.

  She swallowed hard and tried to remain calm. She had lost her temper and forgotten who she was speaking to in such a way. She had momentarily forgotten how powerful and cruel a man he was. He was the man who could easily end her career.

  He then did something she completely didn’t expect. His energy changed so quickly. The rage was suddenly gone from the room and from his appearance. He was just standing there smiling joyously at her. It looked so sincere which only made it creepier. Boy, what an amazing real-life actor he was. He went from pure rage to smiling within seconds. That kind of thing is a major red flag of a psychopath. It’s definitely a bad reaction to have in a boss. Why did she have to lose her temper!

  “You’re right, Dr. SinClair! Those are apples and oranges I’m trying to compare and that’s not fair at all to you. I should let you know the board wants your official professional diagnosis for Delia DelaCour. The family is rich, powerful, and gives this hospital a great deal of money for the upkeep of Delia as you reminded me. They have been asking questions.”

  Dr. Page just stared at her and smiled from ear to ear without speaking for several moments. Dr. Rushfeld warned her about what Dr. Page could do to her if he got mad. And dear God is he mad now. She pissed him off so badly.

  “I’m sure for a crown jewel of psychiatry like you Dr. SinClair, you can come up with the right answer. You enjoy all your apples and oranges Doctor to your hearts content. Just don’t forget to actually diagnosis the patients. Have a good day Doctor. I look forward to seeing your report.” With that horrible statement of doom hanging in the air, he strolled nonchalantly out of her office like nothing of importance just happened whatsoever.

  Well, it was a lovely morning until Dr. Page had to ruin it for her. So... obviously, her curse had not been broken by John’s kiss. She had to come up with a diagnosis but not,“The woman’s pure evil.” Evil is not a diagnosis in the medical world anymore. They weren’t in the medieval times any longer. It would be like telling the board the moon made the patient like this. At one time, that was a diagnosis.

  It’s where the word lunatic came from originally. People believed at one point that the moon could cause madness and an assortment of other illnesses. So, “Lunacy” came from the late Latin lunaticus meaning moon-struck or moon-sick. People would throw loved ones into asylums saying the moon caused their illness and then forget them. She was proud she still remembered that history lesson.

  It still baffles her the things people have done in the name of helping others. I guess that statement should be, things people still do in the name of helping others. Lilian thought of Dr. Page and his assorted medical wonders. Torture in the form of thinly veiled science she thought. Oh why did she have to piss that evil son of a bitch off! Why did she let him get to her? She was having such a wonderful day, too.

  Lilian spent the rest of her day seeing her Friday patients, running her Friday groups, and thinking about her predicament. Each day of the week she saw a different group of patients. It was the only way to try to help the greatest number of people. Of course Delia wasn’t part of her Friday rounds. Lilian was thinking that was like an extra Friday bonus for herself. That’s three days wasted without being able to see her unless she did so after hours. It’s highly unethical to do so though. She won’t be able to work until Monday. Damn that Charles! Of course he purposely chose today to tell me this shit!

  By the time she got back to her office it was well after 5 o’clock. Her briefcase was still in the same position as it was left in that morning. Lilian sighed and lifted the briefcase off her desk. She would need the workspace to review Delia’s case again. Underneath her briefcase was the letter from John. She had completely forgotten all about it after Dr. Page’s appearance this morning. She quickly opened the letter and began reading.

  Dear Lily,

  I wanted to leave you a note to thank you one more time. I know how difficult that must have been for you to allow someone to help you and to admit to it. I am truly happy to all you my friend, Kitten and to know together we can solve this case.

  Sincerely Yours,

  John Barkley

  Volunteer Shrink & Newly appointed Friend

  P.S. I will arrive at your office around 6:15 tonight. It’s part of my rounds so it won’t look suspicious and if you wish to talk or brainstorm. I’ll see you then otherwise stay safe and hope you have a wonderful night Beautiful!

  By the time she had finished reading John’s letter she was beaming from head to toe. All the day’s worries and stresses seemed to melt away in that moment. It was her first letter from a man and it was wonderful. Her cheeks began to hurt from smiling so widely in glee. He called her beautiful again and this time she even had it in writing. She giggled at that thought. She had worried that he might have changed his mind. Thought about it and decided, ‘Hell no. Forget that chick.” But he still wanted to be friends and he’ll be here at 6:15. 6:15!!!!! Shit! What time is it now? She thought in a panic.

  There was a knock on her door. She knew what time it was in that moment. Time for John Barkley to make her swoon again. Her brain didn’t seem to function very well when he was looking at her. She didn’t even have time to check her appearance. He just walked directly in after knocking. Suddenly there he was just silhouetted in her doorway by the dingy yellow light from the hallway.

  “Hey, Dr. SinClair see you’re burning that midnight oil again.” and with that stepped into her office and closed the door behind him.

  He was grinning ear to ear at her. Lilian realized she was still holding his letter in her hand. She was also smiling very happily at him. It made John’s heart happy to see her looking so much better and so obviously happy to see him. She was holding his letter in her tiny hand. The whole thing brought such joy to his heart. Here
s a woman who would appreciate the little things.

  Here she was at 6:15 holding his letter in her hand obviously very happy to see him. He couldn’t remember a time when he felt like this.

  “Hello John. Thank you for your kind letter.” Lilian smiled timidly and put the letter down.

  “Glad to see it was appreciated and good to see you again, friend.”

  He smiled and winked at her. She giggled. It was a really nice sound. He decided he had to hear that sound more often. Like a hundred tiny musical bells all chiming in a secret melodic symphony just for him. Corny, John, really corny!

  “Volunteer shrink reporting for duty Ma’Lady!”

  He clicked his heels together and bowed. She giggled that wonderful giggle of hers again. The sound brought him a peace he didn’t understand. He was automatically relaxed and happy in her presence. That was a new one for him. Relaxed wasn’t a thing he ever did. And here he was being silly and relaxed with this beautiful woman. Life is good, he thought. That was also a thought he hadn’t had in a very, very long time. It startled him greatly.

  “So Lily how’s the case going?” he asked as casually as possible trying to conceal his own nerves. He hated to have to ask and ruin their mirth and causal interaction. The way her eyes glittered with joy dissolved instantly with the memory of the case. From that one question, the light and happiness drained from her face. It was the main reason he was visiting and the main premise for them to meet but that didn’t change the fact he hated to have to ask and change the subject to such a negative, joyless topic. That his question caused this reaction made him feel horrible even if it was necessary. He much preferred his happy, joyful Lily with a giggle like a gentle wind chime. The sound of it soothed his wounded soul.

  Lilian sat down grimacing. “I’m frustrated John. Just so frustrated with this case. There was no real discernible pathology to this woman. When a psychiatrist is diagnosing a patient’s disorder one must remember the four D’s as my professor and mentor used to say. Deviance, Distress, Dysfunction, and Danger. Any behavior which causes one of the four D’s is classified as psychopathology and must be taken into account of what the patient is presenting. After the therapy session, the change I saw, even fleetingly, does not match any known mental illness. And honestly I’m furious!”

  She then summarized her impromptu meeting with Dr. Page with such fury he could see her knuckles were white from clenching them closed so fiercely.

  “Wow! So you need a clear provable diagnosis to take to the board. Saying plain and simply, ’She’s evil’ isn’t gonna work. Dr. Page has it out for you that we both know for a fact. I’ve heard he’s a prince if you agree with his every word and worship him like a God but if you don’t, he’s as evil as the Devil and twice as fiendish. All the surgeries he performs. Now that’s pure evil if you ask me! This building crematorium gets cleaned out more often than any other in the state, so I’m told by the maintenance crew.

  Why do you think that is? No question about that one either is there?! Most of his patient’s don’t have anyone who would notice or care if they died. I doubt any family members would come looking for them. This is not the place you bring loved ones. This is not a place you bring someone you love and ever expect to get back. If so, those people would be brought to a different hospital.

  Face it...Crazy people die and it seems like the thinking is good riddance to bad rubbish. So the poor and disadvantaged get tossed here at Danvers like waste at a dump. No one expects to see their old garbage back home after it’s thrown out. Just like the victims- I mean patients-Dr. Page chooses. No one will come looking for them or care when his patients die or disappear. They were just undesirables that no one cared about anyway.”

  John went quiet after that, deep in thought.

  Lilian’s brain kicked into shrink mode. She knew John had a personal reason attached to that statement he just made. She could feel it. Someone he knew or loved had been in a lunatic asylum or died in one. This didn’t seem the moment to ask him about it. It wasn’t any of her business anyway. Who was she to pry like that? She wasn’t his shrink and he was here to help her. She hoped one day to find out about that old wound of his but for now she left it alone.

  John zoned back into the present, looked Lilian dead in the eyes and said, with all seriousness, “I actually heard a rather disturbing story last night from one of the overnight guys. Did you ever wonder what happened to your predecessor? Your boss hired you 7 years ago after the previous man had died suddenly, two months before, right?”

  “Yes.” Lilian said quietly in fear of what was about to be said.

  “You’re predecessor died here in this very room...did you know that?”

  Lily just shook her head in shock.

  “I guess I never asked and to tell the truth I don’t think I ever stopped to care. I was just so excited that I was graduating and had a job right out of college. I guess I just assumed he had a heart attack from old age or something.” Her voice ended in barely a whisper.

  “I don’t blame you for that but I think you need to know this. He was in his early 50’s, so not old at all. I was told he ran 3 miles every morning before he even began his work day. At night, he swam miles in his indoor pool. I was told he had to be the healthiest person who ever worked at the hospital. He didn’t drink, do drugs, or even eat red meat. Yet, this extremely healthy man was found in this room dead from what looked like a stroke.

  I purposely said ‘looked like’ because no one ever did an autopsy. The story gets worse. It turns out Dr. Wellington had several very loud arguments with Dr. Page in the previous months before his death. Dr. Wellington was a very devout Christian who was extremely against, and I should say loudly verbal about, how against Dr. Page’s surgeries and treatments he was.

  He was quoted as saying Dr. Page’s methods are ’An abomination before God!’ The night of his death, Dr. Page and Dr. Wellington were standing in the main administration hallway and Dr. Wellington screamed at Dr. Page, ’As God is my witness, I will see you dead before I let you destroy this hospital, it’s patients, or its reputation!’ and then stormed into this office and slammed the door violently. It was the last time anyone saw him alive.

  As I was told, Charles just froze. It was like all emotion and life drained from his body. His eyes went cold, dead cold. He just smiled this joyless sneer. He then clapped his hands together eagerly and strode off, too happily. That’s what they said. He walked off just too happily. Here was a powerful doctor screaming he was going to ruin him and Dr. Page looked happy, too happy. Their words ’Too happy!’

  I was also told it was the first time they could remember that Dr. Page actually said goodnight to them. He left while there were many witnesses. I was told he even stopped and bragged to the night guard that he had a date with one of the hottest, most eligible women in town.

  Sure enough, the next morning there was a picture in the local paper with him and that same woman at the most ’sociable’ club in town. It happened to be the same day that your boss found your predecessor dead in this office. He never left the hospital the night before. It was obvious from the state of the body.

  It looked like he had a stroke but no one called the police. No autopsy was done. No funeral parlor even received his body for embalming. Nope! Half an hour after the body was discovered it was carted to the crematorium.

  Dr. Page wrote the death certificate himself that day. The day after that it seems Dr. Page got the grants and funding he had been asking for. I also found out you were the only one they interviewed for the job. Two months with no Head Shrink and no interviews besides you. They hired you right out of college at Dr. Page’s insistence.

  The guys who told me this are terrified of this man but said late one night they heard Dr. Page tell your boss before you were hired, ‘It’s Dr. SinClair I want for the job. Don’t make me repeat myself again. She is the one you will hire for this position or you can rethink your position.’ These guys suggested mentioning it to you
to just keep your head down and be happy to be alive or otherwise you might wind up like Dr. Wellington.”

  Lilian’s mouth just hung open. So he killed or got someone to do his dirty work for him while he went out on a date. That sounded like Charles. He would make sure he wasn’t stopped at any cost. Her predecessor found this out the hard way. The major problem was, how did Charles do it when there is photographic proof he was with some woman that night. That question needed answering for sure!

  “Poor Dr. Rushfeld. He was trying to warn me about him and it seems, tried to keep me safe from this job and from Charles. He couldn’t, without possibly losing his life or at the very least his livelihood,” Lilian said mystified.

  “He was trying to protect you as best as he could without getting himself killed. It does worry me something fierce that Dr. Page demanded you and only you being the sole choice for the position. If he was a kind man in any way I’d say ‘Well of course he did. Anyone with half a brain could see how brilliant, sharp, and inquisitive you are. To be your age and so accomplished. Hiring you would bring pride to any establishment but with him being... Him, it worries me something awful that he would choose you so purposefully.

  You also now have to have a diagnosis he won’t be able to rip apart. I’m no expert just a volunteer but there has to be a diagnosis that easily fits her as long as you don’t bring up what happened in the therapy session right? There must be some diagnosis that will satisfy the board and save your ass with him. Right Sugarplum?”

  “Well, yes, without the therapy session interaction...Dementia praecox. You see Dementia praecox is a psychosis that affects the way a person acts, thinks, and sees the world. People with Dementia praecox have an altered perception of reality, often a significant loss of contact with reality. They may see or hear things that don’t exist, speak in strange or confusing ways, believe that others are trying to harm them, or feel like they’re being constantly watched.

 
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