Thursday 2 – Sunday 5 April 2015
Nurse Quipp hid away in her office. Dr. Hudson had just been called before the board of directors to explain Camille West’s committal to the facility, Emmett the orderly was the first to be called, and sooner or later, Florence Quipp was sure that she’d be called in to answer the charges laid against Hudson and the asylum. Her allegiance, for years, had been with Hudson. He’d seen her right when there were issues with her handling of patients, provided her with the back up she needed to prove to the board that the patients involved were of questionable behaviour, and in return, she’d made sure that Dr. Aloysius Hudson’s professional reputation was squeaky clean. But, if as the rumour mill suspected, there was photographic and audio evidence of indiscretions in his private life, there was little she could do.
Theodora Northcliffe pushed open the door to Quipp’s office and stood motionless in the doorway waiting to be noticed. Nurse Quipp was somewhere else entirely in her head and failed to see her until Theodora cleared her throat.
‘Can’t you find someone else to sort out your problems today, Dora? I’ve got more important things on my mind than dealing with your insignificant and puerile demands.’
‘Oooooh, someone’s got her knickers in a twist today.’ She casually sat in the chair in front of Quipp’s desk. ‘You know he’s going down for this, don’t you? The board of directors will look at those sick and twisted photographs, then they’ll look into how he treats people here, and then they’ll fire him. And you, well . . . ’
‘What do you mean and me?’
‘You helped him. You were complicit in everything he did here. His little lap dog, always at his beck and call because you’re in love with him.’
Quipp repeatedly slammed her hands on the desk and screamed, ‘NO! NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! SHUT UP. SHUT YOUR FILTHY MOUTH. JUST . . . SHUT UP!’
‘Like I said, knickers in a twist . . . but you will pay for what you’ve done to the people in here. Both of you.’ Dora’s smug expression angered Quipp even more than her words. The nurse leapt across her desk, her arms propelling her quickly from her sitting position to sliding over the desktop. She swung her legs around so that she was standing, wound up, and struck Dora’s face with an open hand, forcing Dora off-balance. She fell to the floor and landed on her right hip.
An audible cracking sound followed by Dora’s high-pitched screams took the place of Nurse Quipp’s previous banshee imitation. Without so much as a skerrick of concern for the patient and the excruciating pain that Dora must have been in, Nurse Quipp began to land kick after kick to Dora’s head and torso until the screaming stopped and the floor had become wet and red. When her anger had subsided and the kicking was over, Quipp adjusted her uniform so that she was presentable again, neatened her hair, and inhaled with her whole body.
‘And that, young lady, is what you deserve for being impertinent, arrogant, and so fucking cock-sure that a man as great as Aloysius Hudson would ever be brought into professional disrepute.’ She spat on Dora’s unmoving body as a last effort to impress upon the patient that she, head nurse and faithful professional companion to Dr. Hudson, was right.
Drawn to Nurse Quipp’s office by the sudden, terrifying and unusual screaming, the two orderlies that had attended the West house with Byron Emmett the previous night opened the office door to the disturbing sight of Nurse Quipp casually wiping Dora’s blood from her white shoes. They stood in silence gazing from the nurse to Dora and back to each other until Quipp turned her blood splattered head towards them.
‘Gentlemen, I’ll be requiring a cleaning gang in here immediately, and if someone could fetch me a clean gown from my locker I’ll be very grateful.’
‘Nurse Quipp, I think that maybe it might be better if we take you to the locker room to get changed . . . what with all the blood in here, you wouldn’t want your new, clean uniform to get covered as well.’ The tallest of the three orderlies stepped into the office as he spoke. He put his hands on her upper arms and gently turned her around to face the door, shocking all of them with how much blood had splattered over the front of her uniform.
‘Steven, would mind taking Nurse Quipp to the locker room to change? I’ll catch up with you in a minute or two.’ He handed Quipp over to Steven and waited until they had moved out of hearing range before speaking with his remaining colleague. ‘Check Dora, see if she’s still alive. If she is, get a medical team in here to work on her and then call the police.’
‘Brian, what if she’s not?’ Graham asked, horrified by the body and the idea that the head nurse had possibly just killed a patient.
‘Then just get the cops. Other than checking for a pulse, try not to touch anything, anything at all. I’m going to catch up with Steven and see if we can put her somewhere where she won’t frighten the patients and we can keep an eye on her.’ He slapped Graham on the shoulder and ran out of the office and off to the locker room.
When Brian arrived at the locker room, Quipp was happily changing gowns in full view of Steven, who looked repulsed and horrified.
‘She give you any trouble, Steve?’ Brian whispered.
‘Other than a bizarre kind of striptease that she just performed for me, no, not really. Bri, if she wasn’t a staff member I’d say we need to throw her in a cell and call in the doc.’
Brian’s reply was quick and calm. ‘That’s exactly what we’re going to do regardless of the fact that she’s staff, but we’re going to have to be cunning and quick about it. Got any ideas how we can do that?’
‘Yeah, actually I have,’ Steven whispered. ‘Let me handle it. Got a piece of paper?’
Brian felt around in his pockets, pulled out a ratty piece of paper and shoved it into Steven’s hand.
Steven scratched a few words on the paper, returned his pen to the pocket that he always kept it in, and stepped forward to the head nurse.
‘Oh, Nurse Quipp, before I forget . . .’ He slowly held the note out in front of himself. ‘Doc Hudson passed me this note before he went in to speak with the directors.’
The smile that spread across Quipp’s face made Steven’s skin crawl. As she took the note, her clammy fingers touched Steven’s and lingered long enough for him to feel wildly uncomfortable.
‘What does it say? Do you know?’ she asked.
‘Uh, no. I figured it was private. I didn’t read it. Thought it was for your eyes only.’
His answer pleased her.
Quipp unfolded the paper with a great deal of care and read what Steven had written moments before. Her smile widened and her eyes came alive. Her breathing quickened and, as she had done in her office, she straightened her uniform and smoothed out her hair.
‘If you gentlemen would be so kind as to escort me to cell fourteen . . . I heard a terrible screaming a few moments ago . . .’
‘Certainly, Nurse Quipp.’ Brian ushered her out of the locker room and headed off to cell fourteen. ‘Steven, would you please join Nurse Quipp and I. I believe we all might feel a little safer if we went as a group . . . a sort of show of strength to the patients.’
Steven nodded, surprised that his ruse was actually working.
On reaching cell fourteen, Steven unlocked the door, and then flicked on the light switch outside of the door to illuminate the room.
‘Thank you. That will be all for the moment.’ Quipp’s smile seemed as terrifying as her attack on Dora.
‘We’ll head back to the ward and leave you to it, Nurse Quipp,’ Brian applied a little pressure to her back to politely encourage her step into the room. She needed no encouragement at all, striding full of confidence into the cell to wait for Dr. Hudson who, in reality, was never going to come. Steven waited until she was about in the middle of the room before he slammed the door shut and locked it in one swift motion.
‘Make sure Graham’s called the cops, and if he hasn’t, get them here now!’ Brian didn’t take his eyes off of Nurse Quipp in the centre of the room, as Steven turned on his heels and bolted back to her office. ‘This sure is one fucked up place . . .’
. . . To be continued . . .