I had company over this evening and almost forgot to write! Shows what a good conversation will do. Maybe I’ll add an image later, but I tend to view the write-a-story-a-day as finish-writing-before-midnight. So. I want to get this done and out there on time.
Hope you’re having a good May. Here’s today’s hastily written installment.
Meredith walked calmly down the hall. She looked straight ahead. Looking at a monitoring device was a mistake. Looking only brought unwanted attention.
The boy couldn’t be far. No one ever escaped the Asylum. Ever. A small boy would find escape impossible.
She got closer to the front door where someone continued to knock, and for the first time she considered that the boy might have been taken. Maybe someone had stolen him. Such things had been tried before but never succeeded. Most of the staff knew it was slightly possible to break in, but no one cared. No one who broke in got out again.
Meredith reached the front door where the doorman waited rocking back and forth on his heels. She shook her head. There was no one alive in the outside world who wanted the boy. Why would anyone take him?
She turned to the doorman. “George,”she said. All the doorman were called George. The name of the doorman didn’t matter and it saved money on nametags. “Do explain.”
George nodded his head at the door and the continuous knocking. “Two young men, ma’am. Too thin and all in black. One is playing sick and the other is playing helper.”
“Playing?” She knew what he meant, but she wanted to make the boys wait a bit longer.
“They’re right liars. I can tell. They got no call to be knocking here ‘cept idle curiosity and troublemaking. I can spot them a mile away, I can. Teenagers should not be let to be bored, ma’am. They…”
“Yes, George, I understand. If they’re lying, why’ve you not gotten rid of them? I’ve rounds to do and can’t be bothered with foolishness.” Meredith liked being able to scold George. It kept her calm. “Isn’t taking care of the locals your job?”
George nodded again at the door. “Right you are, ma’am, but you seem to have forgotten what happened to the last pair that turned up on our door as drunk as soup is wet. I sent them straight away, did I not, ma’am? And that did not end kindly.” He took a deep breath. “I been instructed to get approval before shooing the pests away, and the head nurse isn’t to be disturbed, ma’am, as you well know. Not for love nor money. Only for fire and maybe a suicide. So.” He nodded at the door one more time. “That leaves you.”
Meredith groan inwardly. Damn drunks. “Are these two drunk?”
“Don’t appear to be. But they is mighty intent on being let in.”
“Open the door then. You’ve got things ready though, just in case?”
He grunted and dragged open the heavy doors. The boy doing all the knocking nearly fell inside. Nurse Meredith took quick note of his battered knuckles. “We don’t have time for curiosity seekers and dare devils,” she said. “You’ll disturb the patients with all your racket.”
The boy thrust his hand out. “Hello. I’m…Flynt. Sorry to bother you. Really. I…I…know you must have a lot to do what with all the folks you’ve got to help and all.” His smile twitched. “But this here is my brother, Nate, and I think he needs help.”
Nate didn’t move. He leaned against the side of the door, the hood of his jacket hiding much of his face. He gave a low moan.
“If he’s sick, take him to a hospital. We don’t deal with stomach flu or,” Meredith paused. “Too much beer.” She gestured for George to shut the door.
Flynt didn’t move. “That’s not the kind of sick he is. He’s…” the boy lowered his voice. “I think he’s going to hurt himself.”
Meredith roled her eyes. “You do not meet our criteria. Please take your brother to the hospital in town. I’m sure you know the way.”
“You’re lying to me, and I want you to go. Go, or you will regret it. We are quite used to dealing with your kind.”
“Our kind?” The quiet one, Nate, spoke. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“It means I’m going to call security.” Anger burned through her. The nerve of these brats. She had important things to do and all they were was nosy. As if they ever harbored any real desire to make a difference. They just wanted to peek in and stare and have a story to brag about later. Part of them wanted to let them in. Let them in and lock the door behind them.
“Please don’t do that!” Flynt said. “We’ll go.”
Nate stepped towards. “I don’t want to go. My brother here says I’m sick and you’ve got to take care of me.”
“I’ve got to get you out of my way,” Meredith replied. “George, call security.”
Nate laughed. “You think you’re so smart. You think this place is so secure. Well, I know it isn’t. I know…”
“Shut up, Nate,” Flynt said. “Don’t…”
Nate pushed Flynt away. “I know that if I really wanted in here, all I’d need was a hook and a rope.”
“Nate!” Flynt grabbed Nate’s arm and jerked him backwards. “I’m sorry. I thought this was the place, but I’ll take him to the ER instead. Sorry to bother you. He’s just crazy, my brother. As you can see. he says crazy stuff. Makes stuff up. Gets into fights.” Flynt laughed nervously. “But we’re going to go. Thanks. And really. Sorry. Very sorry.”
Nate quieted, and the two boys stepped back onto the portico. Meredith kept her eyes on them until George had the door shut. “On second thought, George,” she said. “I’m not sure those boys should leave the grounds yet. Call security like I said.”
Meredith thought about what the one teen said. She thought about the missing boy from the upstairs room. “George, I’m going to walk the grounds.”
“But security will do that bit, ma’am.”
“It can’t hurt for me to take a look around myself.”