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The Storyteller of Pain, Page 2

Loren Molloy

He wanted her to get one last real good look at that ‘delicious tan and amazing physique’ she spoke of, before she went Arctic on him. By the time he was done with his little show, Lilian was completely flushed with desire. John thought, good! Mr. Barkley out! Smiling at his private little joke he strolled out of the room without another look back.

  Lilian just sat frozen in her office chair for several long minutes trying to gather her wits and figure out what the hell just happened to her. She’s always so professional. She lived by the rule You don’t shit where you eat. Now she made a fool out of herself to a very hot man who will be here every night. Ugh, those never end well! Nope! It becomes one fucked up awkward nightmare, spending the rest of my pathetic life trying to leave the hospital before he gets in for his shift. That never works forever. UGH. Lilian felt nauseous at the thought of dealing with that nonsense forever. Yuck! She stood, gathered the papers and files she wanted to study whenever she finally got home from this hellish, dragged out day.

  It took her over an hour to get home. As the key turned in the door’s tumbler, she was already taking her shoes off. Crossing the threshold, she flung her shoes into the house not caring what their destination was. She turned the lights on and tossed her keys into the antique tray by the front door. At the moment all she wanted was a tall, cold glass of Jack Daniels & Dr. Pepper. She deserved it after this day from hell. Maybe the drink will knock whatever the hell was loose in her brain back into place. By the time she got down the steps into her living room and poured herself a drink, she had all her work clothes off and strewn all over the floor.

  She plopped down onto to her plush couch and pulled out her files, and laid them out in front of her on the marble coffee table. She took a long swig from her drink and took out her notepad from the secret draw in the coffee table. It’s the only reason she bought the damn thing. Italian marble top with pure cast iron scrolled frame work. It was a thing of pure natural beauty and hand craftsmanship. That is what she told everyone as the reason for why she paid a small fortune for it. The truth was the massive cost came when she asked them to crave into the marble and make a hidden drawer in it for her. If you didn’t know it was there, then you didn’t know it was there...period.

  Lilian looked at the notepad with Delia’s case notes from the initial meeting with the family, hoping for some clue she missed. She could trace the issues back to the root like a necklace all tangled in a knot or one of those maze puzzles you did as a child. She could see each ending and trace its tangled path to its source. This ability of hers is why she was the youngest ever to hold such a powerful and prestigious position in the field. Only twenty-eight and she was already known to have solved severe cases of lunacy where others in the field were at a complete loss. She had even been published several times for her marvelous work in the prominent field of psychoanalysis. Lily opened Mrs. DelaCour’s case file and spread it out on the table.

  Taking the last swig from her glass, Lilian looked back at the bottle of Jack Daniels with longing. ‘Fuck it,’ she thought and went back for the bottle and soda. Looking back at the table she thought, I am not sitting my ass down one more time unless I have everything I definitely need. Hmmm... ah yes. Music! I need music to concentrate by. She went over to her radio and switched it on. Pachelbel was softly playing in the background. ’Ahh, so much better,’ she thought as she sat down. Ok now...Lily breathed a sigh of relief and took a swig of her drink.

  Looking down at Delia’s intake photo Lily said,

  “Why Delia? Why? Why are you a map of scars?”

  She searched for the answer long into the night to no avail. She looked at her clock, ‘Ugh 3:45 in the morning.’ She had to sleep. She had work in less than 5 hours. She put everything away. All the files went back into her bag and she went to bed.

  Lilian dreamt of John Barkley. At first it was a naughty slice of deliciousness. Walking into her office taking off his sweat soaked shirt. He began slowly walking toward her. His abs were rippling with each step. Sweat was glistening on his sun kissed skin. The next moment he was tearing chunks of flesh from his body and trying to give them to her as tokens of his affection. She began to scream and back away.

  With each step backwards that she took, he would take another one towards her, holding in his outstretched hand another new, glistening blood soaked chunk of his own flesh. This continued until she was backed against the wall of her office. She was still screaming as he approached her. There was nowhere to turn. She was trapped between the wall behind her back and the new monstrosity blocking her way out.

  He kept ripping chunks from his body until all she could see was bits and pieces of the former man. Half of one cheek was missing. His top lip was gone showing all gum and top teeth. He kept trying to speak but what was left of his face wasn’t working right. Suddenly the bloody mass that was left was against her. There was a crater where John’s aristocratic nose should have been. His eyes were wild with lust. He leaned forward bringing that deformed, bleeding face toward her trying to pucker up for a kiss.

  “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” She screamed and opened her eyes.

  Lilian was sitting upright in her bed, sheets hopelessly tangled around her sweat soaked body. Gasping for breath and sanity, she looked around her room making sure the nightmare didn’t follow her into this world. It was just a dream. I’m ok! Lilian repeated it several times before she saw her clock. Shit! I’m late for work! She dived out of bed and got ready as fast as possible. This never happens to her. Why didn’t that damn alarm clock go off?

  Showering was going to have to wait until she got home tonight. Her hair was going into a bun which she could do while driving. Clothes....why is it, when you’re late, it takes even longer to find the clothes you need. Ugh. Thank goodness she had an outfit still on the hanger from the cleaners. Not her favorite but when you’re late favoritism has no place. Driving to work, Lilian quickly wrapped her long silky hair up into a bun and started to bobby pin it in place.

  It wasn’t until she got into the sanitarium parking lot that she realized she was wearing one black high heel and one navy blue. She had bought two pairs of the same shoe a few months ago and now she was truly regretting it. Her momma always said if you find something you like, and it’s at a good price, get one in every color.

  Well now it’s biting her in the ass. The worst part was the outfit was black so the one navy shoe will be standing out like a very sore thumb. As she locked her car door, she looked down and saw just how obvious it was and groaned. Not only was she a half hour late for work but she looked absolutely ridiculous. She walked directly into her office trying to make as little eye contact as possible and plopped into her chair with a very unladylike grunt.

  “Sleep badly?”

  Lilian jumped from her chair to see her boss standing in the far corner of her office, medical book open in one hand.

  “Dr. Rushfeld! No I’m fine. I’m sorry I’m late. Did we have an appointment I forgot about?”

  Lilian knew sleeping badly is one of the first warning signs. She also knew if she said ‘yes’ she would have to explain the nightmare she had. That’s not something she wanted to discuss with her boss, ever.

  “No... no appointment. I came by to see how you were doing with the DelaCour case. Heard it’s a doozy of a case.”

  “I am quite puzzled by it I must confess, Sir.”

  “Tell me about the case.”

  “The family claims one day she was fine, the next she was not. They have power and money, so honestly, sir I don’t know if they would tell me or anyone the truth if there were any underhanded dealings. As for Mrs. DelaCour, she repeats the same thing over and over again to any question I have asked.”

  “Where do you live? ‘I am a map of scars.’ Do you know what year it is? ‘I am a map of scars.’” Lilian said with frustration and looked at her boss.

  “That’s all she says?” asked Dr. Rushfeld who was obviously very intrigued.

  He was in his late 60s and always reminded Lili
an of a Franciscan monk, complete with hairstyle.

  “No, she says more but it’s the same every time. Hold on let me find the whole thing. It’s in my notes,” Lilian said as she opened her bag and dug out the case file with attached notepad.

  “Ahh, here it is.” She says, ‘Don’t you see I am a map of scars? Under this skin, under this flesh, a book of scars tells the story of my life. I’m a patchwork quilt but nothing so pretty or so neat. Each scar is a story; each story leads to another scar and then another story. The story is never complete. I am the storyteller of pain.”

  “She says all of that every time?” her boss asked in astonishment.

  “Only if you let her. Every time I’d speak, she’d stop, only to start over again. The nurses inform me she sits in her room rocking and repeating the whole thing over and over again. It makes some of the other patients crazier than usual if she sits with them, so the orderlies have to keep her away from the others.

  One orderly said it’s like she spooks them all. She gives everyone the same reaction. She spooks the shit out of me. You get this chill down your spine. Goosebumps cover your flesh when she speaks. Her family said she visited a friend the night before it started but when the friend was questioned, she said that she and Delia drank tea and worked on their needlepoint as they always did. Everyone seemed in agreement; one day she was the shining light in their lives and then this.”

  There was a long silence. Her boss was pondering all this deeply, while stroking his Van Dyke.

  Finally he asked rather coolly, “Is the family willing to pay for her permanent keep here?”

  “Yes... they said so from the very beginning,” Lilian replied slightly confused.

  “Then it doesn’t really matter, does it? If you cured her tomorrow, it doesn’t mean she’d be allowed back home. A member of such a powerful family in a sanitarium is one thing, easily forgotten about. Someone who returns home from one is an embarrassment to the family forever. Best thing you can do is forget her and work on patients who cannot afford to be here permanently, and cure them.”

  Dr. Rushfeld just stared intently and quite intensely at her for a long moment making sure his point came across clearly.

  Lilian couldn’t believe her ears. Her mentor and boss just told her ’money over health.’ She felt a warning in there, also. Dr. Rushfeld tapped her desk as in ‘case closed’, discussion closed.

  He said, “Well, I’m glad that’s all cleared up and we’ll just forget you were over a half-hour late today, shall we?”

  He peered over his half-moon spectacles and said,

  “Ok. Excellent. Have a pleasant day, Dr. SinClair.”

  Moments later she was left in her office alone, in stunned silence. Stop digging or I’d have no job. That’s what he was implying. She knew that for certain but why? He had never said that to her before. There had been previous cases where the patient would be fully paid for and he didn’t tell her to stop digging. Actually this was only the third time in her whole career at Danvers Lunatic Asylum that her boss even came to her office. Usually she had to go to him. Lilian looked at her watch and thought I’m late for rounds now. This day just can’t get any worse!

  First stop, the confined patients. Some patients had to be locked in separate confines because they were an extreme danger to others. Some like Mrs. DelaCour had someone who’ll pay a small fortune to have her stay there, confined to quarters. Today she did most of those through the small window in the door of each patient’s room.

  “How are you today Mr. Rowlington? What? No!

  There are no bugs on you. Just like there weren’t any on you yesterday or the day before that. Say again? No.... Mr. Rowlington, you know full well if I allow you out of your restraint jacket you’ll try to dig into your skin for bugs. It’s that exact reason that got you into that jacket in the first place. The nurse says your most recent wounds are healing nicely, which I am very glad to hear. I’ll check on you tomorrow. Good Day!”

  As Lilian made her rounds, she started worrying about seeing Mrs. DelaCour again. She decided to save her for last. Then she could just leave and mull it over at home. Don’t dig! The thought stopped her in her tracks. How can anyone tell a shrink to stop digging and expect it to not drive her mad? Maybe it was for the best. She can just speak to her through her window. She would much rather not be in the same room with Delia again so this did work in her favor. Lily looked at her wristwatch. Almost 1pm. She had a group therapy session in the southeast wing.

  Danvers was a one of a kind state lunatic asylum. It was also overpopulated and very understaffed. There were over two thousand patients in her hospital and they didn’t have nearly enough staff to control or corral all of them. The sanitarium was also huge, 70,000 square feet from one end to the other. Lilian realized if she didn’t want to be late once again today, she better hustle. She was all the way in the Northwest wing checking on her male patients. Her counseling session was with the female patients all the way on the other side of this massive building.

  Usually this never bothered her but she just couldn’t catch up today! Usually at this point, she already would be setting up the room. Here she was still in the Men’s wing of the hospital, rooted in place.

  Lilian looked down at her paperwork and saw Mrs. DelaCour’s name had been added to the list of patients for the group therapy today. That thought made her not want to go to the female wing. Not with the realization of Mrs. DelaCour being a part of her group session. She didn’t do that. Someone had added Mrs. DelaCour’s name to her group therapy without even asking her or telling her. If it was her boss, why didn’t he say something? Why tell her not to dig and then do that? How can she be expected to not dig in group session? She also didn’t want to spend 45 minutes in a room with her.

  “Dr. SinClair? Aren’t you expected for the 1pm group in the East wing?” It was Nurse Pergru. He was a massive Swede. The kind of guy you knew played offensive tackle in school. Mean son of a bitch, too. He was the one they called when one of the criminally insane and extremely violent male patients went batshit crazy. He just got so much joy out of beating them into submission.

  Lilian knew if she was in danger from one of the patients, it was Nurse Pergru who would save her. However, he got just too much enjoyment from punishing them for her to feel comfortable around him. There was an eager glint in his eye at all times, as if he was just waiting for the next moment he could crack some skulls and beat them unconscious.

  “Yes, Nurse Pergru, I am. I’m a bit behind schedule at the moment.”

  “Did one of my guys give you a problem I should know about?” Nurse Pergru said with a sickening smile on his face. He was squeezing his fists, one inside another, like many muscular men do, trying to contain their excitement for the impending possible violence.

  “No, nothing you need to worry about. No offence but you are now detaining me, so I’ll say good day to you now. I’m truly hoping I get to my session before it’s over.”

  She coyly giggled and winked at him. Mortified by her own behavior, she quickly turned and walked off toward the East wing. Why the hell did she wink at him? What the hell is wrong with you Lilian? That is not the kind of man you want interested in you. Ugh. I wouldn’t want him to think I like him nor do I want him interested in me.

  The thought of Nurse Pergru touching her or trying to kiss her made her stomach flip. He was just too giddy about hurting people. His love of causing pain and of violence was not something she wanted in her life.

  A flash of his fists on her body caused a chill to run down her spine. The thought of any sexual activities with such a man was almost too much to even bare thinking about. She got a very distinct feeling from him that he would never be a gentle lover. Ew! Nurse Pergru and the word lover in the same sentence almost made her physically ill, but it did speed her up towards her destination.

  Lilian arrived to her own session ten minutes late. Nurse Chimera looked at her with a glare that could melt steel.

  “I hav
e things I’m supposed to be doing besides babysitting your group for an extra ten minutes, Dr. SinClair.” She stomped over to Lilian, who was so shocked by this bizarre behavior, she was frozen in place like a deer in headlights.

  “I’m now ten minutes late for my break, Dr. SinClair. Maybe fancy doctors like you can stroll in any time you want but lowly nurses like me have set breaks. I’ve worked my fucking ass off, too long and too hard, to have someone like you try to take away any of my break, I so desperately deserve.

  It’s not my fault the board won’t hire anymore orderlies or nurses. Nor is it my fault you decided to take your sweet ass time and show up ten minutes late. You better believe I’m taking my full break. You can remain here for an extra ten minutes and babysit these God damn psychotic bitches!”

  Nurse Chimera then proceeded to storm out without another word and slam the door behind her.

  What the hell got into her? She has never spoken to me in such a manner. Come to think of it, she was a devout Christian, who to Lilian’s mind, couldn’t remember a time before this that the woman cursed at all, let alone took the Lords name in vain. She was usually the Nurse who would remind others not to do so.

  Lilian was also her superior and boss. How dare she speak to me in such a manner! Honestly, if Lilian wasn’t late she would have reported Nurse Chimera’s behavior. To do so would get her in trouble also for being late in the first place.

  Lilian looked back at her group. They all looked scared, unnerved in some way. Sophia was pulling on her long, strawberry-blonde hair and whining through clenched teeth.

  Abagail was rocking violently back and forth in her chair as she stroked her dolly’s hair. “It’s OK.... It’s OK.... It’s OK.” she said in a shaky trembling voice with each stroke.

  Vera was crying and sucking her thumb. At the center of this was Delia DelaCour, sitting calmly, smiling a wide Cheshire cat grin. Her eyes were huge black orbs. Her pupils enlarged so much they seemed to swallow her irises completely. To say she looked happy would be misapplied. She looked at Delia and thought only one word –Evil! Delia’s face was a contortion between melancholy and rage. Sadness and fury.