Monday, February 9, 2015

2-9-15 Writing Warm-up
6:46 AM

2-9-15 Writing Warm-up

Artwork © James Zapata, All Rights Reserved -
Story and Characters © Raulston Hunsinger, All Rights Reserved 
Brought to you by Four Fools Press: “Crazy Good Stories”

Dr. Nordstrom pulled a cord that ran alongside the door. Cole heard no signal, but the panel on the grated window shot back and a pair of wide­set dark eyes regarded them. The head nodded and there came the sound of heavy bolts being moved. The door opened to reveal a small room, a sally port. There was another heavy door set the left, this copper sheathed, oak beneath if Cole had to make a guess. He noted the rope pull and small bell attached. There was a table and two leather cushioned chairs. The remains of a breakfast plate and coffee sat atop it.

He was greeted by a matronly woman in a full nurse’s garb, of gray and white skirts and apron, with a steepled wimple­-like nurse’s cap upon her own graying crown. The man that had let them in was tall, with heavy shoulders, as tall as Cole, but thirty pounds heavier than his one-ninety, some of that useless around the middle. His flat, slightly misshapen nose and scarred knuckles revealed his previous occupation. The short wooden truncheon at his belt made his current all too clear. From beside the weapon he took a ring of keys and unlocked the interior door, throwing back bolts. He opened it, releasing the sounds from within.

A scream erupted from somewhere down the corridor, followed by a couple of other cries, and a few jeers. Cole stiffened for the sight that would greet him as he followed the doctor and nurse. The orderly trailing, securing the door behind them.

The corridor was well­ lit by stanchions that emitted the soft glow of gas lamps set between each door on the left side of the long hall, the floor walls were tiled in white, reflecting the lamp light. No reek of waste and death, but a faint sting of an astringent, maybe lye.

Doctor Nordstrom noted Cole’s reaction with some pleasure. “We are progressive here, sir. We do not treat our patients as some rabid beasts. They are unfortunate women that need our help with such maladies as hysteria, or other imbalance in their personality. The other wings hold men and we even have a tuberculosis ward. We are far from barbaric here.”

“And Mrs. M?”

“As I said, an unusual case. She seems quite lucid and sane, then as if some dark window is opened in her mind and this...... Well, she becomes quite manic.” He stopped in front of the third door.

With courtesy the nurse rapped on the door before sliding back the grate. “A visitor for you, ma’am. Mr. Cole.”

Cole did not hear the muffled reply, but the boxer-turned-orderly twisted a key at the nurse’s direction, the other hand on his club. Cole stepped in front of the man and passed the doctor.

The woman was striking and very attractive. Her oval face was strong featured, with a firm jaw, pert nose, and wide, generous mouth. Her black hair was piled atop her head in a functional coiffure that seemed to fit her. Her attire was simple, yet strangely fashionable, a bustled affair of black satin and lace. What arrested Cole’s speech were her eyes. They were a lambent blue, huge and wild. The piecing orbs struck him physically, almost staggering him.

“Mr. Cole!” she intoned as one of the furies pronouncing sentence on the damned. “Know that I have her trapped in here with me...... and she wants out!”


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