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“The patient seems to be developing more symptoms. Her dreams are showing no improvement. May need to look into her medication and alter it slightly—”
Dr. Altman hit stop on his recorder as a nurse walked into his office.
“Ah, Nurse Mary, how can I help you?” he asked the nervous nurse standing in his doorway. She bit her lip as she opened the door further.
“I’m just checking on Rory’s progress. I was sent by the director,” she informed him.
He swiveled his chair around, looking out onto the grounds below. He had been working for the Spindle Ridge Asylum for one year now, and he was constantly asked about certain patients by the director. It’s a part of his job he was used to, yet normal routine would be the director waiting until he was done with his reports. He would then hand deliver them to the director and wait for her to schedule a meeting. This director had more say, an annoying approach. After each session with a patient, either Nurse Mary or one of the other many nurses came to his office and interrupted his recording sessions.
“Doctor, did I come at a bad time again?” Mary asked. She knew how impatient he could be. She stood there waiting for his reply.
Finally he turned his chair and stood up. He walked to Mary and patted her on the shoulder. “No. I’ll go to the director myself, Mary. Save you a trip.” Accordingly, he walked out the door and up the flight of stairs leading to the director’s office, leaving a confused Mary in his wake.
He reached the door of the director of the asylum. Her office sat on the top floor overlooking the ocean view that sits just outside the asylum walls. She, by far, had the best view of the place; even better than his view of the gardens. He knew she was unprepared for his arrival, but he knocked anyway.
“Come in, Mary, you idiot—” She stopped short seeing Dr. Altman at the door. “Oh, I am terribly sorry, Dr. Altman. Do come in.”
Dr. Malisa Fenwick, or Dr. M for short, was a tall woman with raven black hair that she kept pulled so tight that he feared for the safety of her eyes. She smiled at him. It was always a disturbing smile, never quite reaching her eyes.
“I came about my session with Rory; you wanted to know about it. So instead of sending nurses to my office, I will come to you,” he said matter-of-factly. “I feel it’s better this way.”
Her smile faded fast, and she nodded her head motioning for him to take a seat. He did but kept his eyes steady with hers. Dr. Altman was not scared of Dr. M, not for a second. The staff may flitter around her like scared little children, but he was a man of science and would not be intimidated by her.
“Well?” she said impatiently.
“Rory’s progress is slow. I can tell you that much right now. I was in the middle of my recordings when I was interrupted by Mary. I was going to give you the full report after lunch,” he explained.
“Peter, let’s be frank, shall we?” she asked even though she really didn’t want an answer. “Just tell me what your suggestion is.”
She sat back into her plush, white leather chair. It matched all the other pure white furniture in her office.
“Okay then, I think you have an unhealthy obsession with my patient,” he blurted. “You can’t wait for my official report, ever. It’s not fair to me as a doctor and it’s unfair to the patient.”
Dr. M stood fast, her chair flying out from behind her. She was mad and that anger had no problem reaching her eyes. They flared with hatred for him as he sat in front of her.
“How dare you come in here and diagnose me! You know what that girl did! I am merely keeping track of her progress. Progress that she is apparently not making, according to you.” Dr. M stopped, took a deep breath and continued. “I’m afraid that if you can’t make some sort of progress with that girl within two weeks’ time, I will be asking you to step down as her doctor. Do you understand?”
She said this as calmly as she could.
Dr. Altman’s face turned red with fury.
“You’d take her away from me after all this time? Do you know what that would do to her? What that would do to me? She trusts me!” he shouted.
“Dr. Altman, I’m not worried about her missing you when you’re no longer her doctor. I am, however, worried about whether or not she starts remembering why she is here in Spindle Ridge. It’s detrimental that the girl gets better and understands what she did to land herself here.”
“This is not a jail, Malisa. This is a hospital for the criminally insane. She doesn’t need to remember the awful things she did. She just needs to understand that what she did was criminal and the difference between right and wrong.”
“And you have two weeks to get her to do so. Now, Peter, leave my office and never come here unannounced again,” she said as she fixed her skirt and recovered her chair.
“I’ll do my best, Malisa.”
Just before he slammed her door he heard her say, “You’ll do your best or you’ll be sorry.”