Books written by Ray Sullivan

Monday, 17 December 2012

Parallel Lives chapter 33

Looking out of his office window, Sam pondered the twists and turns of the day. The approach by that grey shit Martin was totally unexpected. Sam wasn’t a fool, although he knew he had acted like one recently. While he was glad to be back on the Project, on ‘probation’ Martin had called it, he felt that it wasn’t his expertise that was being summoned. It was this unknown factor that had left him with an uneasy feeling in his stomach. He had known as soon as Martin phoned, suggesting he pop over for a chat, that he was going to be offered a second chance; or third he thought, considering the original Project. He had wanted to challenge the logic of the decision, to pull the real reason out of the man, but he knew he’d never succeed. So he had let it pass, graciously accepting the offer. All he had to do now was await the formal invite to Fylingdales or wherever Staples was when the call came.
Then there was that woman, demanding information on Staples. That had thrown him initially, he knew nothing about her and her arrival was totally unannounced, much as the grey shit’s had been. He would have to talk to the hospital security about that, anybody could walk into this unit it seemed. And many of Sam’s patients weren’t the most predictable or safe; far from it. And many had good reason to dislike him considering the diagnoses he made on them.
Sam thought back to his meetings with John Staples. He hadn’t alluded to any close friends or relatives, in fact he fitted the profile perfectly as far as the preliminary interview could deduce. Level three candidates, by their early twenties, would tend to alienate themselves from conventional associations except for basic survival. It was considered that many of the homeless and the recluses of this world, depending on their individual luck, would be Level three-ers. Their experiences would prevent them from forming reliable, consistent relationships, their multiple memories providing conflicting feelings about individuals they had met before. This was part of Sam’s theoretical work, his domain.
And she was some work, considering she was late thirties, thought Sam. But fiery, and he had little doubt that she meant what she said. He also didn’t doubt that she and her husband would continue digging; he had a legitimate reason to enquire about members of his workforce and might not be thrown off so easily. But Sam felt he had avoided the traps well; sure she left pissed with him, but he had avoided guiding her to another region they could investigate, and nobody could consider canvassing all of the hospitals, nursing homes and clinics in the country.
Not that many would reveal that information one way or another, he thought. And that was worrying, because she had said they had covered every hospital in a ten mile radius of Warrington. Probably not a large number, thought Sam, and there’s no knowing how they defined hospital. But the fact is that most decent hospitals wouldn’t confirm or deny without some reasonable proof of relevant relationship. Even if they lied through their collective arses they should have had a couple of non-committal statements and probably more. So how could she be so convinced Staples wasn’t in any of these hospitals, the ones surrounding Warrington? Unless she hadn’t approached any is how, he thought. If she had, she wouldn’t have been so certain of her facts, which implied she knew he wasn’t at any of them without having to ask them. Which probably meant she knew where Staples was all along.
Sam sat up, bolt upright, in his chair as he came to this conclusion. He realised he could be way off beam, and for the moment he couldn’t understand how she could know where Staples was, but he couldn’t take that risk. The call had to be made.


Copyright Ray Sullivan 2011

The characters, places and events described in this novel are fictitious and any resemblance to persons, places or events, past or present, is coincidence.  All rights reserved

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