The 5 Stages of Grief

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Book 3, Bargaining / Chapter 1, Marcus

“But why? Why were you in Dr. Reichmann’s office?” It was the big one again. He didn’t like the big one, he asked too many questions, seemed angry and impatient, always fidgeting, smelled of smoke. That’s what made Marcus nervous. You never knew what those ones might do.

The Doctor didn’t say much – not his doctor, the other one, Alexander or something like that – just stood off to the side watching. Probably wondering if I’m insane, he laughed though stifled it, kept it inside.

“Is something funny? I didn’t know this was a laughing matter?” He turned towards the Doctor. “Can you believe this guy Walt? Two murders – that we know of – and the guys sitting here laughing at us!”

Marcus was sure if the other two were not in the room the big one would hit him. He looked as if he might do it anyway, though gathered himself instead and walked away, breathing deep and muttering beneath his breath. It sounded like counting.

Like me! Just like Dr. Reichmann taught me, he smiled, though dipped his head somewhat to cover it. There was no need to antagonize the situation further, he figured, doubling his effort to keep his emotion hidden, suppressed.

“Well, it’s Marcus you say?” It was the little redhead.

He nodded.

“Are there any more? Or is it just the two?”

He smiled at her. Not because he liked her, though he did, she seemed nice – not like those bitches Dr. Reichmann had in his life! Correction: Use to have in his life – and she was cute too. In a different time, a different life, or maybe if I were different, he grinned, he could have been with a woman like her. He mused about this for a while, allowed his subconscious mind to come up with something to buy some time. She looked as if she knew it too. Smart and cute. He concentrated to keep the admiration from his face.

“Well Marcus, I think the question’s quite simple and as straight forward as I can make it. Are there any more?”

“Anymore what?” he asked though he felt bad for stringing her on. She looked disappointed, hurt. He could hear a crispness, a tightening in her voice cutting each word sharp, independent of the others. She rose from the table edge in front of him where she’d been perched. She didn’t do it to intimidate he didn’t think, but to comfort. At least that was his read on it.

“Oh, come on! Don’t play with me – us…” She waved her hand abstractly in the direction of the other two, never taking her eyes from him. “Do we need to search for more bodies? It’s a large city you know – too many people have been traumatized by your actions as it is. Did you know we’ve had a cop render his resignation over this? Says he can’t even consider being a cop anymore – can’t consider, his words – that he can’t get the visions of what you did to the victim’s out of his mind. This game of yours is going to cost the city large and we don’t know if we’re close to finished yet.” She’d resumed her practiced relaxed-lean against the table in front of him and forced herself to take a breath, slow the pace.

“But I don’t think that was your intention Marcus, not truly. I don’t think you’re mad, angry with the City, angry with me. Are you Marcus? Are you trying to make us pay? Me pay? Why? Are you hiding something? Are there more? – more bodies Marcus? Is this some kind of game? What kind of sick—”

“I think that’s enough information Assistant District Attorney Tattershall.” It was the big one again, always butting in where he wasn’t wanted.

Marcus answered her question anyway. “No, it’s not you. It’s them. I was doing a favor that’s all.” He hated the big one. Why didn’t he just leave them alone? Keep his big, fat, mouth shut and leave her alone. He wanted to talk to her, felt the need to please her, but didn’t want to say too much. He needed to keep his cards close, only play the ones necessary if he was going to make the most of his hand. He was nobody’s idiot. He knew how to play the odds.

“Someone asked you to do this?” Her look was incredulous, mid-shift to surprise.

He laughed, “No. The Doctor would never ask such a thing. He’s too good, too kind. More of a token of my appreciation, a gift you might say, for all the support he’s given me over the years. He brought me out of my shell, helped me find my identity. Those bitches treated him horribly! Always nagging and yelling at him, bossing him around as if they were superior – to him!”

“He told you this?” she asked.

“No – but I could tell. It’s easy to see what’s plain in front of your face, when someone’s hurting. I’m not blind you know.”

“Are there any others?”

“There…” he paused, catching himself. He winked at her, “Ah-ah-ah, that was tricky, Miss Tattershall is it? Not nice at all. But don’t worry, I won’t take offence. I understand you have a job to do and that you’re just trying to get it done by whatever means possible – am I right?” He looked at her. She didn’t respond, not even a muscle twitch. “No matter dear. I have a job to do also, now that I have given my gift. Though I did miss seeing the look of joy and relief on his face – I meant to tell him myself, you know.” He looked around, trying to gauge the expressions of the people in the room based on this last statement. They were shocked, he could tell, though they tried to hide it, the big cop most of all.

“What job is that, Marcus? Did you not finish? Was there more you were trying to accomplish? More people to kill?” Though he still thought her attractive, he could sense she was disgusted, that she didn’t understand him. She was taking it personally, not putting herself in Dr. Reichmann’s shoes. If she had an abusive husband and say boss, wouldn’t she want someone to help her – even if she were unable or too afraid to help herself – especially then? Wouldn’t she be grateful if someone did?

The Doctor had given him so much, helped him manage the pains from the past, breathed life into him. It was the least he could do to express his gratitude. After all, is that not what true friends did for each other – behaved selflessly? “Have you told him yet?”

This seemed to take everyone by surprise, even the doctor standing off toward the corner, observing. “Told who, Marcus?” he asked.

“Told Dr. Reichmann – told him of my gift. I hope not. I was hoping to see his face when you did. Maybe you could record it for me? I’m sure you guy’s tape everything in here, don’t you?” He looked directly at the camera in the corner, he smiled, winked.

It seemed like forever. No one wanted to answer his question. It was Dr. Alexander who eventually broke the silence. “No Marcus, we haven’t told him yet.”

“I want to see his face!” This was terrific news indeed! “I want to see him. Will you tape him? Could you bring me into the room?”

The three of them looked to one another. He couldn’t read the eyeball-talk they were having, but there was clearly some of it going on. It was the Doctor who spoke again – maybe he was actually the one in charge and not little-red? He’d have to think on that later.

“Possibly. Not, see him, of course. That would be impossible. However, we might be able to arrange a tape if you co-operate that is?”

“I see what you’re on about Doctor. You guys, no offence Miss Tattershall,” she nodded at him indicating none had been taken, “are like a bunch of magicians. What else do you have hiding up your sleeves, eh?” He grinned, lifting his eyebrows to emphasize the question. He found you could speak so much more clearly if you just learned to utilize your facial expressions properly. He had practiced and practiced, hour after hour in front of the mirror or watching movies of the greats like Jack Nicholson, especially in The Shining and As Good as it Gets. Those two were all you really needed.

“You caught us Marcus. Yes, we are trying to find out if there are more bodies – time is precious. Will you tell us?”

Tilting his head to the side, he pursed his lips, pondered a moment. “I’ll think about it Doc, but not right yet. And from now on I only want you two in the room,” indicating Dr. Alexander and Miss Tattershall with a tilt of his chin, before nodding toward the big cop. “He makes me nervous.” Lieutenant King glared at him.

“We’ll see what we can do,” the Doctor said and the three of them left him to his thoughts.

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