Suchen und Finden
The man slid through the front door of the hospital, unnoticed, unassuming. He slid past the information desk, one hand trailing along the counter as the woman behind it began to speak. No words escaped her mouth as she crumpled in her chair, fast asleep. As he heard the satisfying thump of the woman’s face meeting the desk, the man smiled and continued down the long hallway towards the row of guards and metal detectors. Head bowed, he reached into his pocket as if to grab some change that might be located there.
One of the guards approached. “Sir, I’m going to need you to present some identification, remove your coat, and place anything in your pockets on the table.”
The man did nothing, simply stood there, glaring at the guard, one hand in his pocket.
“Sir,” the guard asked slowly, concern tinged with the slightest hint of fear creeping into his voice. He took one step toward the man before his eyes rolled up into his head and he collapsed to the floor. The other guards watched him collapse and slowly started edging away from the man and the fallen guard.
The man arched an eyebrow at the rapidly retreating guards and moved to remove his hand from his pocket. The guards watched his movement with trepidation before they also collapsed in a heap, their skulls making a dull thump against the tile floor.
The man smiled and slid through the metal detector. He ignored the shrill beeping and continued on his way down the long hall on the other side. He progressed slowly, ignoring each door he passed on either side of the ward. As he made his way through the ward the man was confronted by several nurses and orderlies, all who dropped to the floor, fast asleep when they glanced in his direction.
It was until he reached the end of the ward and was confronted by one last nurse that the man spoke. The short woman in her mid-fifties turned toward him, grasping a clipboard in one hand. As she watched him approach, her eyes narrowed and she spoke. “Sir, this is a locked ward. I’m not sure how you got in here but you need to leave right now or I will call security,” she said forcefully.
The man laughed softly, almost to himself. “Trust me,” he paused briefly and glanced down at her name badge, “Emma, I am very aware that I am not supposed to be here.” He looked beyond her, at the only door past the nurses’ station. “Is that Jayashree Atkinson’s room?”
Shock was apparent on Emma’s face. “Yes, but…”she started, not even bothering to lie.
“That’s all,” the man interrupted. He glided toward her, placing one hand on the side of her head and unclipping her name badge from her scrubs with the other. As his palm made contact with her head, she slid to the floor behind the nurses’ station, fast asleep.
“Pleasant dreams,” the man muttered and shot a sly smile at Emma before waving the badge in front of the cell’s locking mechanism and strolling unhindered into Jayashree’s cell.
Harvey Mardrom waved Emma’s badge in front of the locking mechanism, waited until the light turned green, and then hurried through the door. It shut behind him with a soft click. He barely heard it as his gaze focused on the gray lump huddled in the middle of the floor, at the person he had come here for.
Equal amounts of pity and anger filled Harvey as he looked at Jayashree’s limp form. She lay in the middle of the floor, rocking slowly back and forth, her arms and legs wrapped in restraints. As he watched her, her body spasmed, sending a cascade of long raven hair onto the dirty white tile of the floor. A small groan emanated from her as her body continued to shake.
Harvey took a step toward her. “Jayashree,” he said softly, waiting a moment for a response. None came. He moved closer to her, nudging her restrained body with his right foot. For a moment, he thought his efforts had been useless, that she was completely catatonic, but then she rolled toward him. An angular face mired with exhaustion peered up at him from beneath the curtain of black hair. Large, heavily lashed eyes, one gray, one green bored into his. Her lips were so dry they were almost white, except for the dried blood which had gathered in each corner of her mouth.
Leaning forward, Harvey went to brush Jayashree’s hair out of her face, but was sent reeling back when she tried to bite his hand. He stood clear of her as she slowly sat up, her face now fully visible. They both froze for a moment, studying each other. Harvey spoke first, his voice kind yet gruff with disuse. “It’s okay, Ms. Atkinson. My name is Harvey and I’m not here to hurt you. I was a friend of your father.” He paused for a moment, hoping some semblance of meaning would break through. Harvey had known of Jayashree’s mental situation before mounting this escape plan, but now looking at the pathetic creature in front of him he was starting to feel more and more unsure about having come here at all.
Harvey was beginning to think that maybe she wouldn’t respond at all when she spoke. “My father never mentioned you,” she said simply. When he had first entered, her gaze had been unfocused, hazy, like someone who had taken too many pills; now it was clear and sharp, even analytical. It was a look he had seen in her father’s eyes many times.
“I was one of his students, hardly worth mentioning I imagine.”
Jayashree showed no interest in this. Harvey knew that he was her first visitor in the five years she had been locked up here and yet even his company did not interest her. That was not good. If he was going to get her out of here before people started waking up he would have to either spark her interest or remove her by force. Either way, he would have to do it quickly. This was his one shot. If he gave the hospital any more time there would be no hope of regaining access to Jayashree.
He turned back to Jayashree. Her gaze was focused on the far corner of the room as if she was in complete ignorance of his presence. She carefully shrugged out of the restraints she was wearing, still not looking at him. It was a practiced movement, he noticed. Harvey sighed and sat on the floor next to her, hoping to regain her attention. Jay glanced back at him, with a look of annoyance on her face. “So what do you want?” she asked curtly.
Stalling was doing neither of them any good; Harvey should have known she would appreciate directness as her father would have. “Before your father died, he asked me to look after you if anything happened to him. I’m here to break you out of this place.”
Harsh laughter erupted from Jayashree, an abrupt sound in the silence of the room. “Are you now?” she asked softly, looking away. “You don’t seem to understand that this is where I belong.”
She given up hope and that was very, very bad. Not caring if she tried to bite him again, he reached out and grabbed her face, turning her chin towards him. He leaned forward until they were nose to nose. “Jayashree, listen to me. Do you want to stay here tied up like some animal for the rest of your life? Trying one useless treatment after another? Do you want to die like your father did, with people thinking you’re insane? I can help you, Jayashree, if you’ll let me.”
She had closed her eyes during his verbal attack and now they popped back open. “How can you help me when a whole hospital full of people haven’t been able to?” she asked, her voice tinged with anger. “What could you possibly know that they don’t?”
“I knew your father…”
“I knew my father too. I’m not sure how that is going to help either of us,” she spat. She tried to turn away, but Harvey increased his grip on her chin, holding her firm.
“I know what you are, Jayashree. That’s how I can help.” Harvey was growing desperate. He had hoped he would be able to get them out of here without telling her the truth. It would be too much to tell before the guards and the nurses started to wake up.
“I’m a girl with severe mental problems, nothing more,” she scoffed, pulling away. She leaned her head forward, hair falling into her face. “I’m a danger to myself and others. This is where I belong.”
“No, it’s not,” Harvey replied quickly. “You’re not crazy, you’re just…different.”
“Different? Is that what they’re calling it now?” she asked. One corner of her mouth turned up slightly, almost passing for a smile.
Harvey shook his head. “Jayashree, you’re not crazy. You’re a mara.”
Her green eye peered up at him through tangled raven hair. “A what?”
He had finally caught her interest; he could hear it in her voice. He kneeled beside her once more, his gaze never leaving that emerald eye. “You are a creature of nightmares. The visions, the fits, the madness that these people have tried to treat: it is what you are. What other people call insanity is as natural to you and I as breathing.” He stopped then, forcing himself not to ramble. There was so much he needed to tell her and not enough time to do so.
Jayashree sat up, crossing her legs in front of her. Her hair fell back and Harvey was rewarded with another clear look of her face. She looked so much like her father, and her mother. “A mara?” she asked quietly, more to herself than to him.
“Yes, and I would explain more but we need to get out of here before its too late,” Harvey replied, trying to not sound exasperated.
He had expected a fight, he had expected complete disbelief. Jay did not provide what he had expected. She simply nodded once, as if she had decided something. “Sadly, that is the first logical thing I’ve heard...