The 5 Stages of Grief

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Chapter 4, Dr. Reichmann

The nature of the meeting had been a shock, to him at least. He was surprised, had no idea a page from his notes had gone missing. That indeed, what his patients had told him in confidence was quite possibly true and now known to the authorities, in part at least. He stared at the petite woman seated across from him. She was enormously attractive with an air of mischief about her. She reminded him of a fairy or an elf, and just as dangerous if crossed, he thought, grinning.

“Is something funny, Dr. Reichmann? I wouldn’t think this to be a laughing matter – rather the opposite, as a matter of fact.”

“Not at all, Miss Tattershall, quite the contrary. This is a most serious matter.” He recovered quickly. “It was just my mind wandering, remembering better times, is all.” He lowered his gaze. She let the matter drop.

After what he measured to be the appropriate amount of time, he looked back up. “Do you think a tired old soul might get a cup of tea? I find this has been a most trying week.” He smiled at both them. “Then we might as well get on with the task at hand. I take it you are anxious to begin?” It wasn’t a question, not actually as he could read the impatience on their faces, see it in their eyes as if wolves closing for the kill. They were hungry for whatever tidbits he might have and he could see no benefit in delaying them – tired as he might be.

He hadn’t even seen them ask, yet a moment later a steaming cup of hot tea appeared in front of him as if by magic. No matter, he was happy for it all the same.

“Shall we begin then?”

“And this is all of them? All of your private patients – as you call them?”

It was the Doctor, Dr. Alexander, who questioned him now. He was exhausted. They must have been at it for more than three hours – most likely four. “Yes Doctor, that is all of them – Jeremy, Holly, Bethany, Carl, Grant, and Rachel.” He rhymed them off on his fingers. “No, I do not know where they are right now. Yes, Jeremy, Holly and Bethany all admitted to killing at least one person – under doctor-patient privilege I might add – but that was just today, so could not possibly be held against me. Even if, as you say, the doctor-patient privilege is not applicable under these circumstances…” His voice trailed off in exhaustion, exasperation. They had been at him like badgers, not at all what he expected.

“Are we done now?” he asked, though with little hope as he’d asked many times before.

“Only a minute or two more, Dr. Reichmann, I promise.” Dr. Alexander said with a quick flash of perfect teeth before returning to his writing. Unlike Miss Tattershall, who kept constant eye contact, Dr. Alexander hardly ever looked at him. Instead, he would scribble away at his notes, often as I do myself, Fred thought. Although I much prefer her method from this end, he admitted to himself.

“Ahem!” Dr. Alexander cleared his voice. Probably to catch my wandering attention. He nodded towards the polite man to continue. “You said earlier that Jeremy had told you about the death of his mother?”

“That is correct.”

“That he pushed her down the stairs.” He shuffled through his notes, arriving at the appropriate page a moment later. “And disposed of the body in an unused well in the back yard?” The Doctor raised his head making eye contact. He held it.

“That too is correct. Where are you going with this Dr. Alexander? I am not sure I like the overall tone of this—”

“Only a moment longer, Doctor – I assure you.”

Fred nodded his reluctant agreement, though he was down to his final patience.

“You stated earlier that Jeremy Campbell was a relatively recent patient. The last six months or so – give or take a few.”

“That is also true. Thank you for reminding me, Doctor.” He did not conceal the dripping sarcasm. He was tired of this charade. “Well, Miss Tattershall, Dr. Alexander, if that is all, I will be returning to my—”

“Just about Dr. Reichmann, only this one last thing. You may find this somewhat interesting – most astonishing I might think.” It was the look in Dr. Alexander’s eyes that got his attention. There was something Cheshire about it.

He sat back down.

“We’ve found your Jeremy Campbell – so to speak.” The Doctor no longer referred to his notes. Instead, he leaned back, relaxed, his hands folded, resting on the table, his head up peering deep into Fred’s eyes. “According to police records, there was indeed a homicide. The victim – a Miss Cynthia Campbell – was his mother. Jeremy Campbell is, and has ever been, the only suspect in this yet unsolved case and has never been seen or heard from since the crime was committed.”

Fred closed his eyes, slowly shaking his head. “I am so sorry. I knew he was disturbed, but I never suspected th—”

“Oh, it gets better Dr. Reichmann, believe me. We haven’t even gotten to the good part yet.”

He could sense the smile in the younger man’s voice now. He opened his eyes to see if it was there. It was. “And that is?”

“I’m glad you’re sitting down Doctor because this is truly remarkable. Mind shattering some might say. It certainly blew mine.”

“Enough with the games, Doctor – spit it out. What did they find?”

The young doctor leaned in, his elbows on the table between them, his eyes even more piercing than before. It was as if he were studying him, looking into his soul for something. For what? Fred had no idea.

“Jeremy Campbell has been missing since 1970…”

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