The storyteller of pain, p.7
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       The Storyteller of Pain, p.7

           Loren Molloy
 
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  The most common symptoms are usually: social withdrawal, hostility or suspicions, deterioration of personal hygiene; flat, expressionless gaze, inability to cry or express joy, inappropriate laughter or crying, depression, oversleeping or insomnia, odd or irrational statements, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, extreme reaction to criticism, and some form of strange use of words or way of speaking.”

  Lilian ticked each one off on her delicate little fingers.

  “I was taught in college that it’s a progressively deteriorating disease from which no one recovers and it’s basically, in a nutshell, an incurable, inexplicable madness. She didn’t sleep at all for the first several nights until I found a dosage that would finally be able to knock her out. None of the normal dosages and medications worked for her. She certainly has the flat, expressionless gaze. The negative symptoms are there also...Inexpressive face, including a flat voice, lack of eye contact, and blank or restricted facial expressions, inability to carry on a conversation; short and sometimes disconnected replies to questions; speaking in monotone and the disorganized speech. She definitely uses repetition of words and statements; saying the same thing over and over.”

  “So?” John asked flabbergasted.

  “So... I have to figure out what’s really going on with her and I have to write up an amazing diagnostic report of Dementia praecox that even that bastard Charles can’t refute and I have to pray I don’t piss him off anymore. He’s looking to destroy me John! I can feel it! I hurt his ego right off by being called the hospitals ‘crowned jewel’ all those years ago. Now I really angered the badger as you put it.

  So now he will be even more happy and zealous to pick my report apart. You are absolutely right John no one besides you and I need to really know what happened in that therapy session. Without that one incident, it presents as Dementia praecox. But John, I can feel it in my gut that won’t be the only incident she will have like that and very possibly she’ll have another before I have to go to the board. If...no, when that happens, I’m up shits creek without a paddle because that behavior doesn’t fit the diagnosis. So I still have to find out all I can, find as much evidence and information as I can to explain her case so that no matter how she presents, I have an air tight diagnosis for the board.”

  “Ok. I’m with you, Kitten. What’s your plan?”

  “I need to talk to the friend Delia was with the day it supposedly began and get her to tell me truthfully what really happened there. I don’t believe for a second, all they were doing was drinking tea and working on needlepoint. I can believe needlepoint making you lose your mind. I know it would drive me insane to have to stare at tiny stitches for hours. But I digress... I never actually got to speak with the woman herself. All the information that supposedly the friend told him when he questioned her was relayed to me.”

  “That is hearsay. That shit wouldn’t work in any court of law. I don’t blame you for wanting to speak directly with her,” John admitted.

  “I would like you to come with me if you wouldn’t mind. You have more experience with questioning witnesses then I do.”

  “Sure Kitten, I’d love to! How about Sunday afternoon? I work Sunday for a construction crew but only until Noon. So...Say 1pm? We go see this lady and make her talk,” John said with a mischievous smirk and a wink.

  Lily laughed and said, “Ok. Sunday at 1 it is and we’ll make that canary sing.”

  She winked back at him and giggled.

  John laughed with her at her clever joke. He liked playful Lily. She was a delight to talk with.

  “Ok, Sugarplum, I got to move on to the rest of my routine. You get home safe now and I’ll pick you up at your place at 1.”

  “Ok John. I’ll see you then,” She said quietly.

  It was a lot to process. She could lose her job, maybe even her life, but she had a date with a hunk. Her Nana always said to her, ‘No matter the situation or the stress that surrounds you, there will always be some sort of silver lining in those dark clouds. Look for it in every bad situation and you will find it. When you find it cling to that silver lining, that ray of hope. It can be the saving grace that gets you out of the dark clouds completely and back into the sunlight.’ Well, that’s damn well what she was going to do. She’s not dead yet. She’s still got her job and she has a date. All positives!

  John chuckled, bringing her back to the present moment. John had gotten much closer to her without her realizing.

  When she made eye contact with him he said, “I was saying...I need your address if I’m to pick you up, Lily.”

  John chuckled again at the look on her face. She was just too cute when she’s thrown off balance. He actually expected her to change her mind. To say something like, ‘I changed my mind I’d rather meet you there’...but she surprised him with a blush and a quiet, “Oh yes of course. How silly of me.”

  Standing next to her, he handed her his envelope with “Lily” still written on the front, flipped it over, and handed her a pen from her desk. After she had written down her address, John leaned in and kissed her cheek. He lingered there for a moment and whispered, “Thanks, Kitten. See ya then.”

  After several seconds of her holding her breath while he just stared into her eyes, he folded the envelope with her information and put it in his wallet. He walked out the door without looking back and closed the door behind him silently. Lily was so sure he was going to kiss her for real this time. She realized she was pouting. Not ok, she thought and stood up. It took several moments for Lilian to come back to her senses after that. She gathered her belongings, locked up her office, and made it home as quickly and safely as possible.

  As Lilan got herself ready for bed that night, she thought of her day with him. What would it be like she wondered and what does one wear to interview a witness with a hot hunk by your side?

  Lilian fell asleep counting outfits she wouldn’t be wearing. One bad outfit...Two bad outfits...

  ...Three...moments later she was sound asleep and dreaming of Deadly Dr. Page. She seemed to be floating above him without his notice. He was in his operating theater and he was not alone. Deadly Dr. Page. The phrase echoed repeatedly throughout her mind while she watched.

  A man was strapped securely to his operation table. She knew without a doubt about his gender because of the complete lack of clothing the man was wearing. His face was blocked by Deadly Dr. Page. The man’s body was covered in wounds that looked like they were healing.

  Dr. Page moved just enough for Lilian to see the man’s cranium was locked in a head-frame so his skull was completely immobilized. His head was shaved bald. Finally Dr. Page moved around to the backside of the operation table. He was standing in front of the man’s head. Dr. Page was holding a scalpel. It wasn’t until this very moment that the patients face was finally in view for Lilian to see.

  It was Mr. Rowlington. The wounds... she should have realized. That was her patient Deadly Dr. Page was about to cut into. She never okayed this procedure for her patient. Ben Rowlington was fully awake and without any type of anesthesia or pain relief. Tears were flowing down his poor trapped face. The headframe also immobilized his jaw from being able to allow him to speak. Not that Deadly Dr. Page would listen to cries for sympathy.

  Lilian screamed at Dr. Page with all her fury balled into one statement of rage.

  “Stop it you fucking barbarian!”

  Both Dr. Page and Ben froze for a moment. Dr. Page’s eyes searched the room, fear plain on his face. Ben had locked eyes with her. She could feel him pleading and begging her silently with his eyes, ’Save me!’

  “You sick fucking piece of shit. You leave my patient alone. Now! You leave him alone! You hear me Charles!”

  Deadly Dr. Page looked at his victim for several moments and squinted at him. Then he followed the man’s eyes to where his focal point was. Dr. Page seemed to stare right through her. He didn’t see what his victim saw at all. He twisted his mouth up in frustration and then walked over to the record p
layer that sat upon one of his metal filing cabinets and clicked it on. Mendelssohn began playing and Dr. Page walked back over to his victim. He hadn’t seen her! She could tell! He did feel her yell at him the first time. She knew that to be true without a doubt. Ben started to whimper again drawing her attention back to the scene before her.

  Deadly Dr. Page had picked up a very sharp looking scalpel and was walking over to his victim while Mendelssohn’s hauntingly, beautiful piano melody floated through the air. Dr. Page stood there entranced by the music, softly caressing the bare flesh on Ben’s now bald crown like one would do to a lover. The glistening scalpel waved in the air like a conductor’s baton, keeping time with the melody.

  It was all too macabre. Too lurid for Lilian’s poor sheltered sensibilities. She knew she was watching something extremely intimate and private. His personal ritual. It was obvious to her from the look of Dr. Page’s trousers that he got sexually excited by all of this. ‘No wonder he works alone,’ Lilian thought before Ben’s muffled screams of fear and pain brought her back to the vulgar, sick scene before her.

  Deadly Dr. Page had plunged the glistening knife into Ben’s bare cranium. Mr. Rowlington had no pain reliever of any kind. That’s just pure torture she thought. This isn’t science. It’s one madman’s sickening playtime! Dr. Page had already sliced out a large square-shape section of the top layers of flesh on Ben’s skull and discarded it onto the tray next to him. Lilian could see blood flowing from the wound and as Charles blotted the wound with cotton pads she could see the off-white colored frontal bone showing through. Ben was awake for all of this. She knew from school, at this point, there weren’t any nerves to feel pain but still this was barbaric and inhuman treatment to say the least. The sick, erotic joy Charles was getting from this was also nauseating.

  Charles cracked through that bone with ease and upon seeing Ben’s brain matter naked for the world to see, his eyes grew wide. His lips were parted in an O shape. He seemed in the grasp of some kind of lusty euphoria. With one ungloved hand, he began to poke and prod the brain matter, while the other was blocked from her view. She didn’t need to see, to know where his other hand went.

  By the time Mendelssohn’s melody was finished so was Dr. Page. Charles’ crescendo was loud and revolting. Lilian knew she would never listen to Mendelssohn again, not after that unique performance. She wished she could throw up and scrub herself clean with bleach, even her eyeballs after that disgusting display.

  After Deadly Dr. Page had recovered and cleaned himself up from his private moment, he went back to Ben’s brain. It was in that moment both Deadly Dr. Page and Lily realized Ben was dead. The bastard had poked and prodded the man’s brain with so much excitement, joy, and lust that he never noticed he killed his patient. Lilian was so disgusted by what the bastard was doing, she didn’t noticed until that moment either. She expected him to be upset. What she didn’t expect was high pitched giggling.

  Lilian was disgusted, sickened, and now enraged. He killed a patient and here he was giggling! He got off on poking a man’s brain with his own bare hand. He had tortured and killed one of her patients. And now he was giggling like a sailor on Opium! She couldn’t handle it anymore. It was too sick. Too depraved.

  “Fuck you! You fucking disgusting piece of shit! Damn you straight to Hell, Charles Page!” Lilian screamed at the top of her lungs.

  Charles stopped giggling and turned to look at her. He looked her straight in the eyes this time. They now looked like Delia’s when they were in the group session. Two black liquid pools surrounded by a white ocean. Cold, powerful, and deadly. He just smiled at her. The same face she saw on Delia’s face in group. A twisted, cold, Cheshire cat grin. A face of evil. It whispered to her, “Too late.”

  Charles Page cackling was the last thing she heard. That cackle had jolted her awake. It had also jolted her sensitive stomach into retching. She grabbed her nightstand garbage pail and tossed her cookies violently for several minutes. As she sat up in bed she gasped for breath. It was just a dream? It was too vivid to be a dream. Could it have been just that? Just a dream? She was sitting in her own bed. She doesn’t usually get violently sick from nightmares. Then again, she never had a dream like that before. For Ben Rowlington’s sake, she prayed that’s all it was, a dream.

  Lilian got up, cleaned up her mess, and went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. Looking at the clock on her stove, she saw that it was only 3:15 in the morning. She only slept for a few hours. That nightmare felt like it lasted years. God, she needed a drink badly. She made herself a hot toddy. It always sounded so sophisticated to her when all it is, is tea and whiskey. With her hot toddy in hand she went to her living room. She needed to read a beloved classic novel under a soft blanket and calm her nerves. Sleeping was the last thing on the agenda right now. There was no way she was going back to sleep. Not when there was the possibility of more nightmares like tonight’s. Maybe Wuthering Heights or Mansfield Park would do the trick for tonight.

  She looked up at her wall of collected classics. She loved books. When life got her down or she felt alone, a book never failed to bring her enjoyment and transcend her to a world where her problems no longer mattered. In a book, she wasn’t alone. She had her imagination and a world to live in unlike her own. She got to know all sorts of fascinating characters and see worlds she could never know in real life. Books were her friends and this wall of friends was her most prized treasures.

  It wasn’t until the sun rose that Lilian’s eyes began to truly dare to close. Nestled under her soft blanket with Mansfield Park grasped in one hand she fell asleep. All Saturday, she was plagued by flashbacks of that horrible vision causing her to scream awake anytime she dozed off while trying to read. Mr. Rowlington’s eyes, his screaming and pleading with her. That music haunted her dreams again and again. Mendelssohn will never be the same for her, that’s for sure. Each dream was like snippets of that vision on repeat. It was Dr. Page’s sick giggling that was the worst. She woke up screaming and feeling like she was about to be violently ill all over again. It was after midnight. Lily realized she hadn’t eaten much and quickly made herself some eggs and toast. Then went back to her sofa with it.

  Once full, Lilian fell back to sleep nestled under the soft throw blanket. This time the dream was very different. It wasn’t Mr. Rowlington and Dr. Page but a group of men by the height of them, and by the tone of the collective voices she could hear. They were shrouded in long, black hooded robes. Each person was holding a lit blood-red candle, and they were chanting in a circle save one man. He was in the center of this collective, chanting circle with an old worn leather-looking book. It was propped up on a black wrought iron podium which was so ornate in its scroll work, it actually looked like a huge black claw with talons was holding the book. This man’s hooded robe was burgundy silk with a black hood. He had a sharp-looking strange knife in one hand and a golden goblet in the other.

  He was obviously reading from the book. The energy felt like she were suddenly standing in an inferno. She could feel herself sweating. Her skin felt as if it were on fire. The collective voices were chanting in a language she couldn’t recognize. The man in the middle began to shout powerful words in that same language. The group began to chant the same phrase over and over again. The energy got more and more intense. Then the group of men all shouted something in unison.

  Suddenly, something like black ash blasted out from the middle of the open book. The ash flew directly at her. It was like trillions of black gnats swarming full force toward her. They hit her all at once, covering her like a living, squirming blanket of black. She tried to scream and millions of them flew down her throat. She was choking! Whatever they were, they were filling and blocking her air way. The sound that filled her ears wasn’t buzzing of bugs as she expected. It was one lyric from a song by Grant Clark & Irving Berlin:

  “When it comes to women...He’s a devil, he’s a devil.

  He’s a devil in his own hometown.”

 
She woke up screaming and flailing on the floor, tangled in her throw blanket. When she had finally convinced herself she didn’t have any of that creepy black ash on herself, she got up and made herself a very large drink. That song’s lyric was now mixing with the Mendelssohn music, making her completely terrified and unnerved.

  She brought the bottle of Jack back to the sofa and made sure every possible light was turned on. Lily had almost killed the bottle by the time she was capable of falling back to sleep.

  It was after 11 on Sunday when Lily awoke again. No nightmares this time at least. She now only had an hour and a half to eat breakfast, shower, and get dressed before John would be there. The thought of John gave her massive butterflies and kicked her into overdrive. John Barkley was showing up soon to pick her up. She would be in a car alone with him. The teenager in her squealed in glee at this thought. She got ready in record breaking time.

  Around 12:30, Lily realized she didn’t have his number. No way to contact him if she needed him. That thought made her nervous. At one pm she started hearing a little voice that said, ‘He’s not showing up. He’s messing with you. He was never coming to get you. You are on your own.’

  Lily felt ice in the pit of her stomach. That can’t be true she thought. He’ll be here. At 1:15 she couldn’t get the voice in her head to shut up.

  I told you so! He was never coming to get you. He was never really interested in you. What would a hunk like that want with a pathetic novice like you?! He was messing with you. He thought it was so funny to hit on you just to see you swoon for him like a little pathetic schoolgirl. He is probably with his friends, drinking beer, laughing at you.

  By 2pm she couldn’t deny the voice any longer and took off her shoes and earrings. ‘I wonder if I’ll be the laughingstock of the building on Monday,’ she thought. A tear fell down her cheek as she began walking toward her bedroom to change. No sense in wearing this if I’m not going anywhere she thought when she heard a pounding on the door, startling her and making her drop her heels.

 
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