I hope you’re enjoying the rolling blog! Here’s two more chapters…
Frei looked up from her desk as Lilia motioned to her and sighed. She was waiting on lab results. They were taking too long. She wasn’t in the mood for a debrief.
“Ursula, you can ignore me as much as you like,” Lilia said in her maternal tone. It was strange how she captured such authority with it. “We can have this conversation in private or out here?”
Frei fixed Fitzpatrick with a hard stare. “I don’t need an audience.”
Fitzpatrick ducked his head. “I can go get coffee.” He looked up at the empty office. “Yeah, I’ll… I’ll go do that.”
“You don’t have to go anywhere, Ewan,” Lilia said, again in that maternal tone. “Ursula is going to come into my office.”
Frei sighed and pushed off her desk. She strode past Lilia and over to the window in the Poky office. “I’m in charge, Lilia, you can’t just order me around.”
Lilia tutted, then shut the door. “Breaking the rules makes you jittery, hmm?”
Frei tensed. “Rules?”
“Yes, you’re not meant to go anywhere near the POI.” Lilia strolled to her chair and eased down into it. “You’re certainly not meant to take her to a motel?”
“Then fire me.” She shoved her hands on her hips and drew back her jacket. “Oh right, you can’t, I’m in charge.”
“You’re worried about her. I’m not pulling her out. She has to unravel who is targeting her.” Lilia fixed her with a look only a mother could pull off with such ease. “Ring Renee.”
Frei flicked out her phone.
“She’s crazy but I think she thinks she is onto something,” Renee muttered into the mouthpiece. “I’m trying to follow her pattern of thinking but, Urs, I don’t get it. Why would anyone try and give someone dementia?”
“To shut them up.” Frei met Lilia’s eyes. As always, Lilia said nothing, just watched, just studied. She put the phone on speaker. “The medication has two ingredients: a neuro-suppressor of some sort and the lab called the other a Cobalaminide.”
Renee clicked her tongue. “She muttered something about that… wait… no she wrote it here.” Papers fluttered and rustled. “Yes, but she has three. There’s a Cyanocortical too.”
“That’s not on this report.” Frei gripped the paper in her hand. “The bloods she sent me show a low B12 reading of eighty and an eGFR of forty.”
“That’s the kidney function. It’s rising,” Renee said, then whimpered. “Whatever she is doing is working, just not enough.”
“Yes.” She held Lilia’s watchful gaze. “Susan and Aeron are both POIs, so what is it that they have in common? Why are we focused on those two in particular?”
“I don’t know, I’m the protection officer,” Renee muttered, then whimpered again. “Ask someone whose brain isn’t frazzled.”
Frei cut the line. She texted the results to Susan then met Lilia’s gaze once more. “What do they have in common?”
Lilia shrugged. “I really don’t know. That’s your job.”
“And Aeron is important to you so why aren’t you helping.” Frei slammed her hand to the table. “How can you sit back and watch her?”
“I trust that she has the right people taking care of her.” Lilia gave that maternal smile and nodded. “So go break rules and get Susan to safety.”
Frei pushed off the desk. “Why do I get the feeling you know exactly what I’m going to do?”
Lilia smiled once more and leaned back in her chair. “Maybe you have more sense than you realized.”
Susan read through the results from Frei. Something was shifting but it wasn’t enough. Floss’s heart was in distress, the electrical circuits sparking under the strain.
“Doctor Gossett,” the detective said in his graveled tone. “I need to ask you some more questions.”
“I’m busy.” And where was Tracy? She’d gone to get coffee twenty minutes ago.
“Maybe you’ll be less busy when I tell you that I’ve got you.” He smiled at her like he was clever. His words were slurred on the edges. Was he ever sober? “We picked up DNA at the scene. I know it’s going to be a match for yours.”
And he’d be right. She swallowed that back and raised an eyebrow. Tracy, on cue, appeared in the doorway.
“According to this rookie, I am guilty of shooting people.” She turned back to Floss and her lab report.
Tracy shook her head and placed the cups down.
“I’m no rookie,” the detective snapped.
“I’m no rookie.” The guy had caught her on the street, shoved her into a car. Now she was in some freezing warehouse with a body. “But I can’t help them.”
He laughed. “Oh I don’t want you to. You tell me where Bucher is.” He kicked the body. “You connect the dots.”
“Who?” She shivered.
“You heard.” He laughed. “Oh the Pacemaker is going to love getting one over on him.” He pulled out a gun.
He yelped and gripped his bleeding hand. He glanced at the shadows.
He yelped again and gripped the outside of his shoulder. He turned and fled.
She cowered. Whoever it was could shoot better than she could hide.
“It’s okay,” her mother whispered into her ear and a warm hand helped her out. “He’ll leave you alone now.”
Susan shook the thought free. “I am busy, detective. If you feel I am guilty then it’s best you go through my lawyer from now on.” She waved him off. “No leave or I’ll have you removed.”
He glared at her.
He turned and stomped out. Tracy handed her a cup of coffee. “Sorry, didn’t think you wanted me to pipe up.”
Susan smiled at her. “Don’t worry about it. I can look after myself.”
L.A – She’d been back to see the hematologist over and over and the levels weren’t getting any better. Each time the doctor was clueless.
“Then give me a reason why it’s dropping,” she snapped at the doctor. “Tell me why we can’t raise the level.”
“I don’t know. Maybe it’s this medication you keep talking about.” The doctor leaned over to examine her. “I have never heard of it.”
“What medication?” She snapped.
“You can’t remember?” The doctor looked at her in the strangest way, like she’d discovered gold.
“Doctor?” Tracy urged the cup at her. “You’re doing that vague dazed thing again. Did you take your meds.”
“Yes.” She was lying. She hadn’t taken them in months. The hematologist… maybe Stevens had learned of the medication from her? Maybe he decided to build on it?
“Susan, this is what you have to prescribe. You do it for yourself.” Gossett smiled but it was weary. They travelled so much and he wasn’t the plump man he’d always been but gaunt. “You can’t tell anyone about it but it’ll come from this laboratory in California.”
Susan dropped the cup. Smash. It split on the floor. She’d taken the job in California on a whim or was it? Then this hematologist appeared? They must have tracked down the lab.
“You need to have a sit down,” Tracy muttered and ushered her back from the bed. “Go and rest in your office. I don’t need you wandering off again.” She waved her off. “Get moving.”
Susan nodded and stumbled to her office. Had she led the hematologist to Serenity?
Frei tapped into her laptop and shook her head at the report on the DNA. Yes, it was Susan’s DNA and it was everywhere. She doctored it and then frowned. How could it be everywhere? Susan had only said she’d visited, talked to Marshall and then tried to help before she’d had to flee. Why would it be everywhere?
“Okay, I’m officially thrilled with Susan’s medical expertise,” Renee said in too jolly a tone and slumped down beside her in the office. “You hollered?”
“You’re high on pain meds?” Frei pulled her mouth to the side. Susan must have thought Renee needed it.
“Yes.” Renee smiled and shoved a polystyrene cup in front of her. “Strong coffee that is inferior to yours.”
Frei took it and went back to her screen. “Both Susan and Aeron were connected. They were both experimented on, so what makes them different?”
“Aeron has a freaky side and Susan is more freaky than I want to go into?” Renee winked at her and downed her coffee.
“And, if someone gave Aeron the dose, they were trying to make her forget something.” Frei drummed her fingers to the desk. “Susan, I understand because she wasn’t Gossett’s child, she was Corporal’s… and whoever this doctor was.”
Renee nodded with a dopey grin. “Ooh… I can do this one. Aeron didn’t really know a lot about what put her in the institution.” She screwed up her face. “She thought she was responsible… she wasn’t. When she told me… it sounded like she’d never realized it before.”
“Like Susan when she has a problem?” Frei handed Renee her coffee. “As much as I’d like inferior coffee, you need something to sober you up.”
Renee nodded and downed Frei’s coffee. “Yeah, like Susan when she realizes she’s forgotten something… she got dazed.”
“And… Susan tried to help someone else with a memory issue… who was it?” Frei rubbed at her forehead. Thinking hurt.
“You?” Renee kissed her on the cheek.
Frei shook her head. “A patient. She was trying to get her released before we sent you in. She was convinced the woman was innocent. Her family were foreign to her or something…” She growled. Being with Susan had mushed up her brain. Inconvenient. “She was set on it… like she was trying to release Aeron.”
“Uma?” Renee nodded too emphatically and wobbled. “She had Capgras Syndrome. Couldn’t recognize her own family.”
“That’s it.” Frei brought up the files that Susan had stolen. “Then Uma went crazy.”
“Yup.” Renee tried to lean on her fist but only succeeded in flopping forward into Frei’s chest. “I think I need a lie down.”
Frei pulled her closer and sat back. She needed to send Renee in, to get Uma talking, somehow, but it would have to wait. She rubbed at her forehead again. Hopefully Susan wouldn’t piece it together first.
Susan drew out her theory. If Cyanocobalamin was flushing the toxin then if she moved the metabolism chain along and used Methylcobalamin, then Floss would use more of it and it would work faster. She glanced around. Tracy had gone home for the night. The nursing staff were busy setting up their station for the night and Susan injected to the dose. It was the second dose.
Floss gasped and her eyes fluttered open. Yes. Got her.
“I’ll be in for my shift in the morning.” She nodded to the draw beside her and handed Floss the key. “Can you inject yourself with this, every four hours, until I get back.”
Floss nodded. “I’m… nurse.”
Susan frowned at her. “You are?”
Floss nodded again. “Was in work… woke up in prison.” She let out a long slow breath. “Corporal said to find you.”
“How do you know who she is?” She leaned closer but Floss flicked her gaze to the nurses’ station. No, she couldn’t say when there was a risk of being overheard. “I’ll come and check on you then.”
Floss smiled and closed her eyes.
Susan hurried from the wing to her car and sped home. She needed to tell Frei, to see her. Yes, she really needed to see her. She slowed the car and pulled it into a field. Police cars were outside the house. She shut off the engine and got out. No, she needed to get her notes, get to Frei. She had to help Floss.
She snuck up the steps at the back and hurried in from the kitchen. Tracy was outside the front door but it was ajar.
“I told you, she is in work,” Tracy snapped like she was ready to punch them. “What do you want a picture?”
“She’s left work,” the detective grunted back. “I have her DNA. She’s guilty. We’re taking her in.”
“Well, she isn’t here, her car isn’t here… and I think you’re an idiot but there you go.” Tracy didn’t seem at all phased. She sounded like she was talking to patients with the tone too.
Susan snuck into her father’s office, pulled the files and the notes from the bottom drawer and scurried back to the kitchen. She bumped into the counter, Tracy’s full glass of wine toppled. She dived for it. Wine covered her arm but she had the glass.
“We want to check inside.” The detective was fixed on getting his own way.
“Do you have a warrant?” Tracy wasn’t one to give in.
Susan hurried from the kitchen with the glass in one hand her files in the other and sprinted to the hedgerow, threw herself over it and sprinted to her car. She slammed it into gear and sped down the road. She dialed Frei’s number and placed the glass on the passenger seat.
“Susan?” Frei sounded panicked.
“Yes. The police have my DNA. They know I was at the scene.” She took a shuddering breath. “I have the files.”
“Forget the files. You’re being framed.” Frei growled under her breath. “I’m getting you out.”
“No.” Susan looked down at the files on her passenger seat. “I need to help out Floss… and I need to talk to Uma.”
“How did you figure that out?” Frei muttered. Then tapped away. “There is no DNA linking you. He was lying.”
“Should I turn around and get Tracy?” She slowed. She’d left her there. What if the detective was going to hurt her.
“No, she can handle him. He’s just trying to get her to break.” Frei tapped away again. “You need to get out, Susan.”
“No, I need to blow the whistle on this first.” Susan gripped onto the wheel. “I need draw out Stevens. I need to put it right.”
Frei let out a weary sigh. “I knew you were going to say that.”
Susan smiled. “Good. Then I know you’re going to say you’ll help me.”