Chapter 57: Dr. Ahren
Trap sat on Dr. Wrede’s desk. The tap of his broken tail stub provided a soothing metronome while he waited. His torn ears swiveled to the sound of harsh whispers in the hall.
“How could you make a decision like that? How could you put me on the spot like that?” Renee hissed.
“You didn’t have to come.” David said.
“Yes I fucking did. You know I did. As soon as you – Hey fucking look at me – as soon as you said you were going I had to.”
“I don’t know why you think you have to follow me around.”
“Because your my fucking brother!”
Renee’s volume increased significantly and they both went silent outside of Dr. Wrede’s darkened office.
Dr. Wrede was in surgery right now. No doubt Lenora and Useless (Francis, rather,) were sitting patiently just outside the door where the procedure was taking place. The office, as it was affectionately called, was actually a clinic for the underprivileged.
Dr. Wrede used to be a part time employee here. As Trap looked around the office, and the mess therein, it would seem that he had become more full time.
“Look, David.” Trap heard Renee again. “I just... this is crazy! You know that this is crazy.”
“Then... why did you say it?”
Trap, and any other idiot could tell that David was in love with her. Lenora, that is. But heavens forbid if the kid admitted it out loud.
“Because she’s our friend, Ren. She needs us here.” David finished.
Trap hopped off the desk and stumbled to the side, afraid to damage his paw again. He did hear Renee sigh though.
A door opened and closed just down the hall, and with that, Trap left the office and sat in the hall between the quarrelsome siblings and Lenora. She stood barefoot in the hall, just outside the door. A door which was closed, and a rather exhausted Dr. Wrede stood between her and it.
Trap swiveled when he heard Francis’ heavy footsteps from down the hall. He had a leather pouch in his hands, and when he saw them all frozen in the tableau, he too froze.
Dr. Wrede let out a short breath. “He’ll be fine. Physically. Mostly.” He ran a hand over his balding head and said, “Of course it was difficult without the equipment working, but the wound was clean and you kids did a good job keeping him steady.”
Dr. Wrede gave Lenora’s shoulder a squeeze. He addressed the rest of them in his next statement. “Get some rest. This level is closed during the day, and I’ll have some words with the staff.”
“Hey, we have to talk!” Renee said.
Dr. Wrede sighed heavily. “Look. I know you all have questions, but... its well past four in the morning, and you all look as much like hell as I feel. So I promise – get some rest, and we’ll talk later. Please.”
David nudged Renee, who grudgingly stood down. Trap padded back into the office with a ‘mrow’ and a swish of his broken tail.
As he struggled to get back onto the desk, he overheard several things.
“I have some money.” Francis’ baritone.
“Save it. Really, you all might need it.” Dr. Wrede.
“Which rooms...?” David asked.
“End of the hall, there should be three exam rooms and an office with a couch in it. They’re open.” Dr. Wrede made it to his office door.
Renee and David passed silently by and Lenora said something soft enough that he almost missed it.
“Can I sit with him?”
“...Of course. And miss, there are slippers in that exam room, under the sink.”
A door opened and closed. Dr. Wrede stood just outside the door and watched as the others receded into their respective rooms. He waited in the hall for the noise to fade, and then he entered, closing the office door with a click.
Dr. Wrede turned the light on and addressed Trap.
“Good God, Henry.” Dr. Wrede – or as Trap knew him, George – slowly approached.
“Mrow.” He knew. It was hard to believe. Trap’s tail scraped across the desk.
George made his way to the desk drawer, withdrew a flask and took a hasty swallow before he sat. All the while he never stopped watching Trap, and Trap never stopped watching him with his mechanical little eyes.
“So it worked then.”
“Mrow.” Trap bobbed his head. Obviously it worked. He was here. It was somewhat hard to get that across with his current vocabulary.
“You couldn’t find a better CAT?”
Trap hissed. It sounded more like a pressure release valve on a very small machine. To his surprise, George laughed.
“After you went missing, everything fell apart here, you know. The others scattered, went around to the outer districts. I know Julian is by District Twelve.”
Trap bobbed his head.
“Did you get to meet with Mr. Jones?”
Trap shook his head out. “Mrrrrow.” He swatted at the air in irritation, but could otherwise not express his dismay.
Arrowhead had beat him to the meeting. Somehow they had caught wind of his snooping around.
“They found your body the other day.” George took another swallow. “That’s how I knew where Julian was. They’d found it in the water.” He chuckled, humorlessly.
Henrey remembered when they use to laugh at things that were funny. Seemed like ages ago.
George shook his head and capped the flask, putting it away in his drawer. “We’ll have to tell them something.”
“Mrow.” trap swatted at George.
“Or we can find a way to get you to talk properly.”
“Mrow.” Trap bobbed his head. Oh that would be just fine.
“Either way.” George offered his old friend a wry smile. “Welcome home, Dr. Ahren. We Scabs are glad to have you back.”
He leaned back in his office chair and shook his head.
“In whatever shape you happen to be in.”