“Wakey wakey sleepy head,” I whisper into Alexandria’s ear as she rolls over and slowly wakes up. She rubs her eyes and tries to sit up despite the fact that she is in incredible discomfort.
“Huh? What? Dr. Blay is that you?”
“Yes, it’s me,” I say. “How are you feeling?”
“Better I guess. My chest still hurts though and my eyes are really blurry,” she says as she keeps rubbing her eyes.
“It is the effect of the drugs they gave you,” Dr. Whitford says from behind me and I signal to him to keep quiet.
“Who’s that?” Who’s there?” she says as she looks in Dr. Whitford’s direction but it’s obvious she doesn’t see him because she keeps looking just past him and rubbing her eyes.
“Shhh, don’t worry; I have someone...a friend, here to see you. Relax and lie back down.” I signal for Dr. Whitford to enter the ward and he does so, be it a bit apprehensively.
“Hello Alexandria,” he says softly as he stands beside her bed.
“Huh? Who’s that?” she says while trying to sit up again.
She’s looking in his direction but still appears not to be able to make him out because she is frantically rubbing her eyes and reaching out to touch my face. He looks at me like he doesn’t know what to do and I only shrug my shoulders because I have no idea what to do either.
“What are YOU doing here?” she suddenly says very coldly and out of the blue. Her vision must have cleared up because she is staring at him with a big scowl on her face. He looks at me again and this time his confusion is justified. The venom in her voice was very easy to detect.
“Alex, this is Dr. James Whitford, but I’m sure you two have met already,” I say. “He told me of the unfortunate thing that happened between the two of you and I just thought you two should talk it out since it seems like it was just a huge misunderstanding to me.”
She doesn’t say anything but just stares into empty space. That’s good because it’s an indicator that my words ran home and she’s thinking about it.
All of a sudden, she lies back down and rolls over to her side facing away from us, covers her head with the sheet and says, “I have nothing more to say to him. He keeps making up weird stories that I have no part of so please leave me alone!”
Dr. Whitford looks at me perplexed, and for good reason. I glance at the figure before us that breathes heavily attempting to insinuate slumber and then back to Dr. Whitford. I signal to him to meet me out in the hall.
“What is wrong with her today? She’s being really uncooperative,” I say as I rub my hand through my spiky hair and get pricked but try to hide my pain from him.
“Tell me about it. She has been this way toward me since the break up, which if I might add was entirely her doing and not mine. I honestly don’t know what to do next.” I put my arm around his drooping shoulders.
“Oh come on, cheer up man,” I say. “This isn’t the end. I will talk to her and try to soften her up.”
He looks up at me in surprise. “Really?”
“Yes, of course. What are friends for?”
“Thanks a lot Dr. Blay; I owe you big time.”
“No problem man,” I say and look back into the room at her. “So when is she going to be discharged from here?”
“Oh, she can go home anytime. The damages were fortunately minor so you can take her home if you think she’s ready to go.”
“She’ll be glad to hear that. Thanks for all your help. Let me get, her.”
“Okay then, see you around,” he says as he waves and walks away down the hall and enters one of the offices.
I wake a groggy-looking Alexandria up and she plops onto me as I lift her up off the bed. She clutches her head while complaining of a headache but I dismiss her talking as mere nonsensical rambling. Her added weight almost makes my knees buckle under our combined weights but I manage to pile her into a nearby wheelchair before that happens.
I wheel Alexandria down the hallway out of the cryogenics department and into the hallway that caused the almost fatal lacerations of her lung. Thank heavens that an ID card isn’t required to exit since I still don’t have one and am afraid to search Alexandria since I’m almost certain she isn’t wearing anything under the light-green, flimsy hospital gown.
I wheel her into the elevator and press the button to the surface. I’m sure the best option right now is to take her home and tell Dr. Alfred about this tomorrow. I’m not in the mood to deal with any scolding this evening.
About halfway through the elevator’s ascending, Alexandria abruptly wakes up and begins to mutter some tired words, slurring most of them but I faintly pick up most of it.
“Alfie, he’s back! Take me to Arlfie! He...yelled at me! The ring, the ring!” then the sedatives she undoubtedly took again to fall asleep knock her out again.
I don’t know what it was about what she just said but but it immediately catches my attention. I better squeeze all the information I can get out of her while she’s all hocked-up on valium.
Once we are at the top, I find a suitable ledge and sit down with Alexandria facing me. “Alex, Alexandria, I want you to tell me what you wanted to say in the elevator,” I say as she limply rolls her head around.
“Where’s Alfie? I have to tell him that the evil one has returned,” she says with almost no urgency in her voice then she starts to doze off again.
“The evil one? What is that about? Tell me about the ring Alex, the ring,” I say a bit frantically at the mere mention of a ring.
“I must warn Alfie. He threw the ring out! I must warn Alfie,” she says as she leans a bit out of her chair but collapses back into it weakly. I’m beginning to get a bit confused but I still try to pry for more information since I’m not satisfied with all this obscure information.
“Alexandria, Alexandria, wake up! What ring? What ring?” I‘m almost shaking her at this point but pause and smile as a man in a lab coat walks by and stares at me weirdly.
Once he’s safely in the elevator, I continue prying for more information. “I must tell Alfie,” she says and collapses back into the chair.
“Tell her what Alex?”
“I must tell Alfie. He told me to never tell Dr. Blay about this; never!” she says and collapses back into her chair
“You can tell me Alex, I’ll forward it to Dr. Alfred I promise.” That was a blatant lie but I must do what I must to get this information out of her.
“Aren’t you Dr. Blay?”
“No, who, what is a Dr. Blay? I’ve never heard of him or her before?” She raises one eyebrow, collapses back in her chair, mutters something inaudible to herself and leans forward sleepily.
She weakly places her hands on my shoulders. “Tell Alfie that the evil one has returned. He threw the ring out when I rejected him. He will surely try to hurt me since I know his secret,” she says and leans back again. Even though this is all jumbled and incoherent information, I’m almost certain that there’s something deeper in there.
I must find out more from Dr. Alfred.
I wheel Alexandria up to the docking station, remove her from the wheelchair and drape her over my shoulder. I ask her the co-ordinates for her place and the thing starts moving swiftly through the air.
When we arrive at her place, I lug her off the hoverboard and realise that her door needs a key. I drop her onto the floor when I see this as I need time to think and she’s quite heavy. I didn’t drop her like drop her drop her, come on, what kind of man do you think I am? I’m a gentleman. I merely placed her gently on the floor.
Well back to the matter at hand and I am completely out of ideas and I’m even consider taking her back to my place, which is totally out of the question but I can’t just leave her out here on the mat like this. Well, she does look quite comfortable on it, all curled up like a cat and this isn’t that cold a night. Maybe I should leave her here, go home, grab some blankets and spend the night with her on the porch.
No, wait, I just remembered something.
I look through the pocket of her lab coat which I took with me from the hospital ward and my hand brushes something plastic and I take it out. I hold up the ID card to the light hoping that it is indeed my saviour since I’m not really in the mood for an impromptu sleepover on the porch of a girl who is all high from sleep medication. That sounds more like a drunken orgy.
I scan the card over her key card scanner and pray in my head because this is basically my last hope. When the scanner beeps to accept the card, I almost jump in celebration as I lift her onto my shoulders and walk down her living room and into her room. The lights are pretty dark in her room and I don’t want to wake her up so I lay her on her bed carefully and pull the covers over her.
As I prepare to leave, I hear her mumbling something again. I pause but once I am completely sure it’s gibberish, or too indiscernible to be complete thoughts, I take my leave.
I lie on my bed that night unable to sleep and stare at the ceiling since all I can hear are the words she spoke.
He threw the ring out. He threw the ring out when I rejected him.
I must know who this evil one is, or what ring Alexandria kept babbling on about him or her.
After about an hour of tossing and turning and hearing those sentences reverberate in my skull, I decide I cannot take it anymore. I sit up and look at the time, only 9:38pm. I quickly put on my clothes and head out of the front door and wait impatiently as the hoverboard I called docks. I input the directions to the hospital and the thing begins to move. If anyone will have answers on all this it’ll be Dr. Alfred.
I open the door to the room we usually convene in but sadly it’s empty. I look around for at least a person to tell me where Dr. Alfred is. I honestly shouldn’t expect anyone here since the place was locked up tight when I arrived and had to use my ID card to gain entrance, but I just cannot let this go. I walk about in the hall for a while, hoping to see someone but no luck. I am about to give up and go home but a voice behind me stops me before I reach the elevator.
“May I help you?” a female voice asks.
“Yes, I’m actually looking for Dr. Alfred Knoster,” I say as I turn to see the source of the voice. It came from a plump, dark-haired, middle-aged woman in a white straight-dress. I swear I know her from somewhere; I just can’t quite place my finger on it.
She stares at me for a while and begins to smile. All of a sudden, she begins to run towards me and leaps into my arms to give me a huge hug.
“I can’t believe it’s you Iggy! I thought I’d never see you again,” she says as she continues to crush me. I’m confused at the moment but I decide to play along since it’s obvious she know me from somewhere.
“Hello, ummm, sorry but am I supposed to know you?” I say a bit coldly. She steps back in surprise, slaps my arm and lets out a cackle that leaves me smirking awkwardly.
“Well, I wouldn’t expect you to remember me since it’s been so long since we last saw each other. It’s me Iggy, your aunt Rachel.”
Rachel, Rachel, that name doesn’t seem to ring a bell. Oh, wait, yes, I remember her! She’s my mom’s elder sister. She used to come over to our house and prepare the most incredible meals. I always looked forward to her visits...because she’s family, obviously not because of food.
“Aunt Rachel, is it really you?” I scoop her up for another big bear hug. “I can’t believe you are here. How are you here?”
“It’s a long story Iggy,” she says as I let her go from the hug.
“Well I was just working as a receptionist at some science research place so when I was approached by Dr. Alfred and offered a chance to ‘start a new life’, I was obviously a bit scared. I eventually jumped right in when he explained it all to me and after a few readjustments and cutting ties, here we are I guess.”
I look at her and imagine just how she hasn’t changed a bit since I last saw her and scoop her up for one more hug.
“I just can’t believe you’re here. Where’s uncle Marv?”
“Ummm, about that,” she picks a hankie from her pocket and begins to dab her eyes. She has always been quite the drama queen. “He and I split up just a few days before the launch. I’m quite sure he didn’t make it.” She begins to snivel a bit and I wipe the tear that has rolled down her cheek.
“It was the night I wanted to tell him that I had joined Dr. Alfred’s movement. I walked into our room with such excitement but it all died when I walked in and found him in bed with another woman, my best friend Stacey Dorshwick. Instead of dumping her and saving our marriage, he rather decided to divorce me and move with her to Guatemala. I was devastated.” The waterworks are flowing steadily now so I just lay her head on my chest and rub her head slowly.
“There there, it’s okay. I know this is hard but things worked out great in the end. You survived and he probably didn’t.” That wasn’t very comforting but before I can try again, the one I was originally after appears around a corner.
“Ah, Dr. Blay, just the man I wanted to see,” Dr. Alfred says. “I see you are already breaking more hearts, or should I say, frying them?” He raised his eye as he said those last few words so I instantly get a bit nervous. “Can I talk to you privately in the reception please?” Oh gosh, he knows what happened to Alexandria. I am so doomed.
No. I can play this cool. Yes, I’ll play it cool.
I say goodbye to my Aunt Rachel and promise to see her around.
“Have a seat,” he says to me when we enter the reception and I do so.
“So...what’s up doc?” I say while trying to play it cool despite the fact that I’m sweating buckets. I hope he doesn’t notice.
“Ha ha, very funny,” he says sarcastically and leans back in his chair. “The thing I had to discuss with you is actually a matter of huge importance.” My stomach tightens into a very discernible knot. “It has come to my attention that I might not have been very honest on the matter of your wedding ring and its whereabouts so for that, I sincerely apologise.”
“Wait, you apologise?” I so did not see that coming. I’ve got to milk this as much as possible. “So, what weren’t you completely honest about?”
“Well, I sent you to Dr. Whitford even when I know exactly what happened to your ring,” he leans forward and clasps his hands together on the desk.
“Wait, you know where my ring is?”
“Not per say, but I can tell you what happened to it if you think that will help.”
“I’m all ears,” I say as I also lean forward in my seat.
“Okay,” he gets up to fetch a cup of water. “Well,” he says as he returns, “After you were brought in from the outside, you did indeed have your ring on. Dr. Whitford was jealous of Alexandria’s crush on you so he removed your ring and used it to propose to Alexandria. After she rejected him, out of common human decency of course, he went into a fit of rage, exploded on Alex and threw your ring out of the airlock, out into the vast unknown.”
I let this new information sink in as I sit back in my chair. “Wait, wait, let me get this straight. What you are trying to tell me is that that bastard threw my ring out?” I quickly get to my feet as my heart rate elevates. “He told me he has never seen my ring before! I’m going to kill him!” I turn and storm out off the room but Dr. Alfred follows me.
“Where are you going?” he calls out to me.
“I’m going to confront that idiot and make him squeal!” I say as I press the button for the elevator and the doors slide open.
“Don’t do anything stupid,” he calls from behind me as the elevator doors slide close and I begin to ascend.
I wonder how long it’ll be before they realise that no matter what they say, I will always do something stupid.