Tuesday 24 – Sunday 29 March 2015
A quiet place to hide away from the horrors of the asylum was impossible to find even in his office. Dr. Hudson gulped back a glass of amber liquid and closed his eyes to the heat that the alcohol left behind as it slid down his throat. A second and then a third glass of the whiskey that was deftly hidden behind three rarely used psychiatric textbooks on the top shelf of his bookcase quelled his conscience and warmed his belly. Camille West and her feeble blackmail attempt were vanquished from Hudson’s mind for the night, along with the two unnecessary electroshock treatments he’d administered on the woman on the orders of her whining husband, and their shared mistress.
‘The things I do for women,’ Hudson sneered, ‘and fraternity brothers. Stupid bloody fool messing around with a wife like his.’
The thumping on his office door caused Hudson to knock the glass against the edge of his desk. The bottom broke away, shards of glass flew across the desk and on the floor, and the fourth shot of whiskey drained down his pant leg.
‘What do you want?’ He spat the words out with such force that beads of spit join the glass shards on the desk.
In a fluid motion of opening the door and stepping into Hudson’s office, Byron Emmett appeared. Two more steps and the orderly was practically part of the doctor’s desk.
‘I asked you what you want?’ Hudson sniped again, more interested in wiping the remnants of whiskey and glass from his hand and desk than the orderly standing in front of him.
‘A little early for hard liquor don’t you think, doc?’
‘Why are you here, Emmett?’
Unflinching, Emmett stared at Hudson, and it was the doctor who broke eye contact first. It was that kind of opportunity to exert some power that Emmett thrived on.
‘Camille West is showing signs that indicate she’s having an adverse reaction to the electroshock treatment.’
‘I’m not sure why you’re telling me this,’ Hudson tried for nonchalance but came across more as scared.
‘You’re her doctor, doctor. It’s not an orderly’s job to monitor the health and well-being of a patient. That, as you’ve told me a number of times, if the job of the doctor, and as you’re not actually doing what you’re supposed to, I felt it necessary to bring the patient’s well-being to your attention.’
‘Yes, yes, my business, which leads me to ask again why are you telling me? Given that it is my business why are you poking your nose in where it doesn’t belong?’
‘Because you’ve shut yourself away in here and, as per usual, you’re drinking yourself into oblivion while your patients are out there possibly dying.’
‘Well, let’s face it, Emmett, if Camille West croaks it, things will be far easier for both me and her husband.’ Hudson chuckled at what he clearly deemed a witty response.
Byron Emmett had opened the door and taken a step outside before he turned back to speak to Dr. Hudson.
‘Easier it may end up being, but think of the inquest that will be made into her death, the negative publicity that this place will get, and the attention that will be focussed on both your professional and personal lives. I wonder what Mrs. Paulson will think of you then . . . ’
Hudson’s jaw slackened, his expression dropped, and he somewhat resembled a melting clump of wax.
‘What did you say?’ he demanded of Emmett.
‘I said Mrs. West is in her room. If you’re not there in five minutes, I’m calling in McGlashen. ’
* * * * *
Away from the city where there were no man-made lights to spoil the view, Cassandra Paulson laid looking up at the stars. The dewy grass would eventually seep through the picnic blanket and into her clothes, but for now Cassandra Paulson was content to lay back and look up. The world was still when she could see the stars, and with the events of recent days, she desperately needed stillness. What had started out with Oliver West as fun had become serious when he decided to have his wife committed because she’d found out about them. Oliver was no longer fun to be with, and his buddy from the asylum was just as bad, always wanting her time.
It hadn’t taken long for Dennis to become suspicious about her and West after Camille went away. Oliver had no reason to be careful anymore and he didn’t care if Dennis discovered Cassandra’s infidelity. But the stars, the stars never wanted anything from her. They didn’t want her time, they didn’t need her to always be around, they didn’t demand of her time or body. The stars were just there. Cold, unfeeling, but always shining, always there. Being under the stars provided Cassandra her one true moment of happiness. The solitude was comforting after a stressful week of cat and mouse games with Dennis.
‘Thank God he doesn’t know I come here.’ She spoke to the stars knowing that no one else was around for miles.
But Dennis did know she frequented the vacant land out of the city. Suspecting that she had been disappearing for a rendezvous with Oliver, he had followed her one night some months back. He’d worked himself up to a stand off with Oliver but had been bitterly disappointed at not being able to catch them in the act. Instead, Dennis had been surprised to learn that she spent the time alone and looking up at the night sky, albeit on her back, a skill which he felt that she was becoming highly adept. He had stayed the whole time she was sky watching, just in case Oliver West showed his face.
Tonight, as Dennis hid in the darkness watching the woman he’d vowed in front of a hundred or so of their nearest and dearest to stand by, he firmly decided that death would come for Cassandra sooner rather than later. With Camille West’s help, Cassandra and Dennis would suffer the pain and anguish that they had inflicted on their spouses. But first, he’d have to get Camille out of the asylum, and that was going to take some doing. However, tonight he was going to relish the thoughts of revenge that he harboured as he watched Cassandra taking in the night sky.
. . . To be continued . . .