Alameda General Hospital
“It’s all right, now,” the man said holding his hands out in a placating gesture.
The lost girl looked back at him, her chest heaving and her eyes as wide as saucers. He had told her his name when he first entered, but she had not cared enough to commit it to memory. Her only thought was to escape, but no matter how much she strained against the bindings she could not break free.
“You will pay for this.” She leveled her gaze at him, eyes narrowed and teeth gritted. “When my people have discovered what you’ve done to me, they will come for you and you will meet your end at the tip of the sword.”
“Right, well,” the man said pushing his spectacles up his nose with his index finger. “Now that we have that out of the way, why don’t you tell me a little about yourself? Why don’t we start with your name?”
She peered at him, atop her bed between gritted teeth. She didn’t feel very chatty, but she reasoned that if they knew her name, they might think twice at keeping her captive. Her reputation, after all, was a fearsome one. She pulled Waldere the legendary sword of magic free from it’s resting place in the Stone of Vulsung, used it to unite all the tribes of her people, the Assar, scattered across the plains of Eirdon, banished the Sorcerer Odalrik to the nether realm, and became King of all Eirdon. Not even the Angols in the island to the east had dared cross her and theirs was a mighty army indeed.
“I am Kruhl, son of Wurdan, King of Eirdon,” the girl replied glaring at her captor, “and were I free and not trapped within this diminutive vessel, I would slit your throat from end to end.”
“Right, Kruhl, son of Wurdan, King of Eirdon,” the man repeated the strange white cylinder in his hand quivering across the surface of his yellow pad. “Okay, at last a little progress. Are you more comfortable with Kruhl, or should I call you King Kruhl, or perhaps Your Majesty?”
“It makes no difference to me,” Kruhl replied. She had never been much for formalities least of all with someone whom she intended to kill.
She might have supposed that the man mocked her, but he seemed genuinely curious. Still there was something about his tone of voice, that suggested he did not believe what she said. Why would that be?
“Okay, Kruhl it is,” he smiled. “I’ve been looking at your charts, and it looks like you suffered a gash in your side and a concussion. Do you have any idea who might have wished you harm or how you came by these injuries?”
Kruhl stared back at him surprised. Why would he ask such a question? Was it not his people who had done this to her? She clenched her jaw shut, mind racing. She saw no reason he would mislead her, but if his people had not done this to her, who had?
The man studied her, his lips pressed together. He opened his mouth about to speak, but she spoke first.
“I am King, I have made many enemies. It may have been any number of them. I remember nothing after I retired to my sleeping chambers,” she said still trying to get his measure. Reesha seemed the most likely candidate, but she was unsure whether she trusted this man with her suspicions.
The man drew in his breath and leaned back in his seat. “That’s not uncommon with head injuries. Your memories may return to you after you’ve recovered or they may not. It’s hard to say at this point, but it could take time. If you recover your memory, it could be months or even years down the line, even then there could be gaps.”
Kruhl remained silent and clenched her jaw shut. The man was a dupe, she concluded. Her captors brought him in to question her hoping she would give away whatever information they sought. She would not cooperate. Regardless, she intended to kill him if she ever had the chance.
“Why don’t you tell me a little about yourself. Is Eirdon very far away? I’d like to know more about it,” he asked leaning forward once again, white tube poised upon the pad.
She peered at him out of the corner of her eyes, but did not speak. He emitted another sigh and continued. “I’m trying to make this as easy as possible. Believe me, I would like to help you.”
She chortled and then turned to him a sneer spread across her face. “I would sooner impale myself on my own sword than to accept help from the likes of you, knave. Now, begone from here!”
The man studied her for another moment, before slipping the strange little white cylinder inside his tunic and rising to his feet. He opened his mouth, as if to speak, but clamped it shut and disappeared from the room. Kruhl watched him leave with undisguised contempt upon her face, contemplating all the ways she might end his life.
Dr. Allen Wirthright, paused just outside the hospital room door and shook his head. He’d never let himself be intimidated by a hostile patient, but this one was different. Patients had threatened and even attacked him a time or two, but not once had he ever feared for his life.
This girl, whoever she was, spoke with such hatred, such malice it chilled him to the bone. Whether she had the power to harm him was immaterial, she meant to end his life and he saw no reasoning with her.
It troubled him, this talk of sorceresses and kings. He’d played along with her delusions in hopes he might glean something from them that would tell him who she was and what had happened to her, but he may as well have been talking to the wall. The girl was in a bad state of mind, she seemed convinced that she was the King of Eirdon. While delusions of grandeur were not uncommon among the mentally ill, it did seem strange that she saw herself as a king and not a queen. He considered the possibility that there might be some gender dysphoria at work, but that explanation seemed too convenient. Though he’d never heard it until today the name she’d given him sounded like something straight out of the sword and sorcery novels he’d read as a boy. It was likely the inspiration for delusions.
And those eyes… he paused picturing those luminous golden cat eyes peering back at him filled with the girl’s rage and hated. He knew of a rare genetic condition called cat eye syndrome in humans, but it didn’t affect eye pigment, and it came with a lot of other symptoms. Aside from her injuries the girl was in good health. He pondered what would cause such a condition, but shook his head and sighed. It wasn’t his field of expertise, let someone more qualified puzzle it out. As a psychiatrist his primary concern was for his patient’s mental health. Regardless, he made a mental note to discuss it with her doctor.
He stroked his chin considering the implications of the girls declaration. He knew of incidences of a patient developing mental illness because of a head injury, but given the extent of her delusions, he doubted it was the case here. No, he thought it far more likely it was a preexisting condition. The police had already filed a missing persons report, seeking all information on the girl. If she was an escaped mental patient something would turn up. Then there was this talk of a sword. He’d heard reports of how she’d turned up naked, dragging a sword through the street. Why she’d been in possession of such a weapon was beyond him, but it may have provided fuel for her delusions.
She had already attacked Dr. Cadby and she’d threatened to slit Wirthright’s throat. He didn’t think she posed a suicide risk, but she damn well was a danger to others. He glanced back over his shoulder, slipping a hand over the knob to ensure the door was latched and locked, then disappeared down the corridor, unable to shake the feeling that he was missing something very obvious about the girl.
There is One comment
Well, it looks like nobody is getting anywhere yet. The worlds are too far apart for any frame of reference. Only entirely wrong suppositions, which one hopes are not going to cause further harm.