The Fifth Severance

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Chapter 9

“Where’s Dr. Whitford?” I yell to no one in particular as soon as I step out of the elevator and into the cryogenics department. I remembered to bring a pass this time as well, well, I still had Alex’s pass in my pocket.

There are only a bunch of night workers here; one man and two women and they have very confused looks on their faces as they stare into mine and me into theirs, no doubt trying to read my next move.

“Ummm, well, Dr. Whitford left for home a few hours ago,” the man says timidly to me.

“What?” I say in frustration and begin to stomp around in disdain. “Where does he stay?” I ask after a few seconds of violent pacing.

“Huh?” the lady asks.

“I asked you where he stays; are you deaf!” I scream right into her face.

“I, I, can’t tell you that,” she says as she recoils and hides her face from me in fear.

“Why not?”

“It’s, it’s sensitive information,” she says timidly then goes to hide behind the other lady who starts shaking like a leaf as she looks into my face.

“Look here kid,” I say as I reach for the young man, grab him by the collar and raise him higher than my head, “I don’t have time for silly games okay! Now let’s try this again. Tell me where Dr. Whitford lives, or else...” I intentionally stop talking to let my threat sink in.

“He lives in Sector 3, room 12. Please don’t hurt me,” he says as he grabs my hands in a vain bid to free himself.

“Won’t didn’t ask me or else what?”

“I would rather not,” he says.

“You’re a smart kid,” I say as I drop him and he scrambles behind the desk to join the two ladies who had already taken refuge there.

I look around for a while as if looking for something then leave abruptly since I’ve acquired all the knowledge I need.

I step into the elevator and input the destination for the surface as I repeat his address in my head; sector three, room twelve, got it. I walk toward the hovercraft station and board one once I’m on the surface and input the destination which I’ve said about fifty times in my head in the past few minutes. Dr. Whitford is going to have an unpleasant visitor tonight.

The hoverboard deposits me in front of the door which they said is Dr. Whitford’s and I bang on the door with such anger that I’m surprised it didn’t crack. No answer.

After about half an hour of incessant knocking and bell ringing, it becomes clear that Dr. Whitford isn’t going to open up anytime soon, if at all. It just dawned on me that those jokers at the hospital must have somehow managed to warn him that I was on my way to his place. Good move, but I’m still not leaving here until I have all my answers.

I sit on the mat on the floor outside his door and cross my legs to indicate that I’m here for the long-haul. Thank heavens it isn’t cold out tonight.

“Huh, what?” I say as I wake up abruptly. The sudden and loud whoosh of a hovercraft as it zoomed by awoke me.

I wonder what the time is, I mutter to myself as I rub my heavy eyes. Huh? 6:17am? I sat here all night? I ask myself in surprise.

Here in the Underworld, it’s virtually impossible to tell the time using the sun because, there isn’t one. It’s dark all the time, even in the afternoon, which is the peak of the sun’s height. The only means of light down here are some giant LED lights hanging precariously above each room that simulate sunlight but not accurately enough.

I groggily get to my feet and try knocking on the door again. I place my ear to the door to attempt to listen for any activity inside but alas, nothing but more silence. He must have snuck right past me as I slept. I pace around on his porch for a while, while waiting for my brain which has not awoken yet to do so and formulate a viable plan and for my butt cheeks to follow suit since their slumber was induced by sitting on cold pavement all night long. He couldn’t have gotten far and he’ll obviously be headed to the cryogenics department since shirking of work duties is largely frowned upon in this post-apocalyptic utopia. I’ll get him there.

I call for a hoverboard and in less than a minute one arrives. I input the directions to the hospital and the thing begins moving swiftly through through the air. As we glide through the air, I feel around in my unbrushed mouth and taste a bit of the sandwich I had for lunch with Alexandria yesterday as she healed up. Oh, Alexandria; I must pay her a visit too.

Sadly it seems that the object of my hatred seems to have escaped my grasp, for now at least. This game of cat and mouse shall resume after I have attended to more pressing matters.

“Hoverboard, change destination input from Sector D3 to Sector 2 Room 2,” I say to the hoverboard’s control unit.

“Are you sure you want to change your destination input from Sector D3 to Sector 2 Room 2?”

“Yes,” I say to it and it stops abruptly in mid-air.

For a second, I’m a bit scared that we will start falling but this is immediately replaced by a churning in my stomach as the board changes direction swiftly and starts flying toward Alexandria’s room.

Brrriiiing! Her bell peaks shrilly but no answer. I try knocking on the door but still no answer. I wonder where this girl has disappeared to.

As I turn about to leave, I hear a familiar whooshing sound behind me. I turn expecting to see Alexandria at the door looking sleepy and still partially sedated but instead it is Dr. Alfred’s unwelcoming face that greets me and he sure doesn’t look happy; I’m dead.

“Ah, good morning Dr. Blay; just the man I wanted to see,” he says as he waves me in then stops me.

“Ummm, good morni...”

“No, I’m not done,” he cuts me off and I immediately know I’m screwed. “I came over here this morning hoping to see my sister asleep in her bed after being tucked-in by the supposedly responsible Dr. Blay in whose care I left her and take her to work as is my custom but instead I come to find a partially drugged, badly injured young woman lying on the bed and muttering random things in her sleep about being hit by lasers and the like,” he says as he tells me off.

“But I...”

“No, I’m not done,” he cuts me off again. “The worst part of it all is that you came to me last night and sat with me, face to face, and you didn’t even have the courage to tell me what had happened to my own sister? Are you that much of a coward?”

I am speechless.

I knew that if Dr. Alfred found out about what happened he would be angry but I honestly didn’t expect the hair dryer. I am at a loss for words.

“Okay Dr. Blay, I want you to do something very simple for me,” he says after looking into my face for a few minutes as I avoided his gaze.

Thank God, he broke the awkward silence. The air was so heavy that you could have sliced through it with a knife, or a laser. Yes, I know, too soon.

“Anything,” I say a little bit too excitedly to get back in his good books.

“I want you to tell me exactly what happened to Alexandria, and don’t lie to me; Alexandria has told me the whole story,” he says as I am allowed to walk into the room.

Finally a chance to redeem myself! I’m going to play this very carefully and win his trust back. I formulate the most pathetic story as I can think of on the spot as we walk toward the dining table.

“Okay, I’m listening.”

“Well, you see,” I say as we sit down at the table, “When we were going down to the cryogenics department, I stupidly forgot to carry a security pass even though Alex tried to warn me so when Alexandria and I tried to fool the motion sensors, which was my stupid idea anyways, I made a dumb move with my hand that led to the lasers being activated and hurting her,” now to truly sell this story, I get on my knees and grab his trousers. “I’m absolutely admitting that it was my fault. Don’t blame Alex. Please forgive me,” I say as I add a few crocodile tears for good measure.

I wonder who came up with that expression, crocodile tears. If I were to imagine any animal crying, the crocodile would certainly be near the bottom of my list.

“Oh, get up Dr. Blay,” he says. “Grovelling like this won’t help anyone.” He tries to raise me but I resist and sob even more loudly (fake cry that is). “Please get up and dust yourself off. Do you care for some tea?” I nod sheepishly and he gets up to brew me a pot.

Gosh I’m good. I should try becoming an actor if this whole ‘I destroyed the earth’ deal gets a bit stale for my liking. Don’t get me wrong, I feel very bad about what happened to Alexandria but I’m definitely not going to act idiotic and let Dr. Alfred tell me off. I have enough to think about already.

“So Alex, I’m glad you are feeling a lot better now,” Dr. Alfred says after a period of silence from him. We’re seated around the table drinking tea.

“For sure!” She bounces off the chair and onto her feet. “I don’t even think I need these anymore,” she says as she starts unrolling the bandages around her chest area.

“No, stop! It isn’t completely healed yet!” I yell out to her in warning.

“Oh pish-posh, stop being such a priss; I’m fine, see?” She says fully unrolls the thick bandages that were tying tightly around her chest and no blood flows from her chest under her gown.

She tries to stretch her muscles since I assume that the bandages were quite tight but that was a fatal mistake because the wound, which obviously wasn’t fully healed immediately reopens and sends a squirt of her blood right into my cup of tea and onto my blue shirt. She collapses off her chair but I catch her as she bleeds profusely in my arms.

I would have been really disgusted right now if she weren’t currently bleeding to death in my arms as Dr. Alfred tries frantically to tie her bandages around her wound to stop the bleeding. We grab her in a bit of panic and rush out of the doors hoping to get medical attention for her as soon as possible.

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