The Long Game

Attending Work


"Oh, Mina! Oh, I am so glad to see you! Are you hurt?"

Heedless of the constant rush of movement around him, Dr. Murray took a thankful moment to embrace his daughter. More than twelve hours since he had seen her last. Traipsing off to what would prove to be the doomed Geo-Magnetic Energy demonstration.

Releasing her, he smiled, so very grateful to see her here now. How he had looked with dread upon each body, each damaged visage. Fearing the time when it would be her countenance he saw. And now he felt a great swell of relief that his dear daughter was alive and well.

"No. I'm fine."

"Oh, my dear girl. Where have you been?"

"Well, I . . ."

"Doctor! We need you! Quickly!" a voice called out.

"Yes, yes. Of course. Mina, I . . ."

"I know. That's why I'm here. I want to help."

His face glowed with gratification at this magnificent girl child of his. Now an independent, intelligent, young woman. Oh, her dear departed mother would be so proud.

"Of course, you do. Thank you. There are so many, so many injured. They've called for doctors from all around London. And there still aren't enough hands."

"Go. I'll find my way. We'll talk later."

He nodded, squeezed her hand, and rushed off. Mina spoke to doctors who knew her and persuaded them to let her help. The attending work proved useful to distract her from her own growing questions.

How had Alexander survived the blast?

What had become of Jonathan?

How was she going to tell her father? He had told her to follow her heart but how would he react to where she had followed it?

How had this all come to pass?

Could Jonathan really be the cause of so much massive destruction?

Or was there more she did not yet know?

"Sir . . ."

The voice was weak, very weak, but most definitely alive.

He moved to Renfield's bedside. So large and imposing a man to be done in by something as small as a blade. He felt a sense of relief as Renfield blearily eyed him. Theirs was the most honest association of the last fifteen years. They each knew their own place and purpose within it without any secrets or deceptions.

"I fear . . . this is becoming a most . . . unpleasant habit, sir."

He smiled down at the man in the bed.

"Yes, you do seem to be forming some unhealthy habits as of late, Renfield."

"Yes, sir. We should . . . discuss that . . . at the next annual meeting."

He pressed a cloth to Renfield's already damp forehead.

"Renfield, what happened?"

Renfield closed his eyes again, attempting to gather his thoughts. Then he opened them and looked at his employer.

"van Helsing. I discovered him in his private laboratory. He was destroying all the equipment, burning research papers. He'd gone mad, I think. Stabbed me. Left me for dead."

The solar vaccine. The dispersion machine. Destroyed? He felt his repugnantly thick blood leaden further within his veins.

"How did you end up back here?" he asked, not unkindly.

Renfield was quiet, still. He thought the man had succumb again to sleep. Then he spoke.

"I don't remember, sir."

Someone surely had deposited him upon the doorstep. Such grievous wounds. He could not have managed alone. Someone who . . . knew?

"Sir. The . . . Resonator?"

He gently continued his attending work to soothe Renfield's injuries even as he shook his head in contempt.

"Sabotaged. By the Order. And Harker."

Renfield grimaced as he tried to draw deep breath.

"And Miss Murray?"

"Safe. Harker took her away from the blast. The one useful thing the man did."

Renfield nodded slightly, closing his eyes.

"And then she came back."

Renfield opened his eyes again, looking closely at him. After a moment, he spoke.

"I thought I saw her . . . she . . . helped . . ."

Renfield's limited energy was already draining fast.

He held Renfield's head up so that he could sip cool water.

"Yes. She helped save your life."

He laid Renfield's head gently back down onto the soft pillow. Renfield groaned in pain.

"Sir? What does . . . she know?"

He remained quiet for a moment, smoothing the coverings over the dark man's large frame.

"Enough to put her in danger."

The conversation had taken its toll on the injured man Renfield. Against his will, he began losing consciousness. His final words were barely more than a whisper.

"Sir . . . what is . . . the next . . . move?"

And then he was gone. His damaged body relaxed. Breathing slowing again, as his injured body sought healing sleep and respite from pain.

"I don't know, Renfield."

He sat watch over his man Renfield. Sat watch. And thought.

Mina worked methodically for hours. She had arrived by Alexander's carriage mid-morning straight from Carfax, forgoing her initial notion of freshening up. Her mind had been too overwhelmed with the implications of the past day's events to heed daily pleasantries. And now she worked, pausing occasionally for necessary drink and sustenance. She worked to help save as many lives as she could and ease the transition of those unable to continue on in this world.

It was late in the evening when she finally relinquished her duties to another. So many injured. So many dead. She felt numb with shock, grief, and helplessness. She felt exhaustion seeping into her bones. And so she disrobed her attendant's apron and cleaned her exposed, soiled skin. She left word for her father that she was leaving to rest and departed the building.

Outside she found, as if by magic, the black carriage awaiting her still. Mystified, she approached and spoke to the coachman in the driver's seat.

"Have you been waiting here all day?"

He shook his head, taken aback that the lady spoke openly to him.

"No ma'am. Just arrived back here an hour ago."

"Thank you," Mina said, smiling tiredly in gratitude.

The coachman barely managed to contain his disbelief at her unpretentious manner.

"Yes, ma'am."

She allowed the waiting footman to assist her into the carriage.

"Where shall we take you, ma'am?"

"Home, thank you. Then to Carfax," she answered without hesitation.

"Yes, ma'am. Very good, ma'am," he responded. Then bowed and closed the door carefully.

The tired Mina Murray sat back against the comfortable cushions and tried to relax as the carriage began its journey. A cleansing bath, a change of clothing, a bit of food. Yes, these things would do quite nicely to refresh her. Perhaps then she could think clearly and sort out her roiling thoughts and emotions.

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