In the last few weeks, Andy had heard almost all of the veterans of his department talk about the crazy shit they had gone through. It had become a tradition really, to regale the rookie with the golden classics. And though they spread into a number of categories - shootouts, drug busts, betting rings and even the one time Officer Davenport had managed to get his ass kicked by a thirteen year old pick pocket - they all had one thing in common. That is to say that they were still solidly within the realm of sanity.
Right now Andy would have done anything to be in the middle of a crisis. To cringe as the phones rang non-stop and to pay attention and follow the orders barked out as they frantically suited up. He was willing to sell anything, perhaps even his soul, anything to keep from having to watch the walls bleed a vivid green.
Opening his eyes after counting to ten hadn't helped. Neither had taking a nap which had been his original solution. At first he had thought it to be paint. But after a while the smell had reached him as he lay there huddled beneath the sheets. He had been a cop long enough that the smell had been engraved in his senses. That metallic tang that always left behind a weird after taste.
And he was trapped. His left hand was handcuffed to one of the sidebars of his rickety cot. He had tried to sit up but the intense spike of pain that had arisen from his right side had let him now that on top of everything else, he was injured at such a point that meant that he could plan as much as he wanted to but he was going nowhere.
So there he lay like a caged animal, trapped by the bars of limitation. He continued staring at the walls. Watching, as layers and layers of green blood covered the white making him feel as if someone were slowly drawing the curtains at the height of noon. His vision began to deteriorate and as it did, he tried to figure out how he had ended up here.
Hours must've passed by since he had woken up and yet there had been no human contact. He knew that most of the mobs out there liked to get their captives treated before fixing them up good and proper. He knew that the only reason for them doing so was to give off the illusion of civility and honour. Beat up a man when he's down? Not us. He smothered down a few more coughs. Looks like the mobs were out of the question. The only other people he could think of who would gain anything from capturing a cop would be the dealers. However, if that were true then he would've already been dead by now. So that was out of the question as well.
He couldn't remember anything. It was like someone had enveloped his mind with a thick woollen blanket. He could remember random bits and pieces - his name for instance and that he was a cop. But apart from that, absolutely nothing. He bit his tongue, welcoming the piercing pain as he did. He needed this pain, to feel it. This was what was real. He stopped, hands clutching his knees in an excruciating grip. Real. Sane. Solid. He needed these things.
Frustration and impatience were taking over. And that smell of blood was now starting to get into his head. Colours seemed to bloom from the most ordinary of things. He could see the handcuff morph from a cold steely shine to a dull rust coloured red. The sheets began to take on a pale yellow. Beeeep. He jumped and then looked around. Beeep. Beeeep. It came insistently. He started to get up and go through the slivers of sheet covering him. Blood began to seep through his bandages and drip down but he didn't notice. Beeeeeep. Beeeeeeeep. Yes, it was coming from underneath him.
Without thinking he began to rock the cot, praying that it would give way. A few more heaves and the cot finally began to sway alarmingly. Beee------. It got cut off. Andy froze, head cocked to one side as he tried to chase the fading sound. He didn't need to bother though for that was when he heard the sound of bolts being opened. He pushed himself towards the corner, eyes darting all over in search of something sharp and pointy. Nothing. Off course.
The doorknob turned and in walked in a monster. Sharp and precise were its movements as it walked towards him. The door shut automatically behind him and he could hear the bolts being put in place. It came and stood a few feet away from him.
It was covered from head to toe in black cloth. It's mouth was covered by a similar cloth and it's eyes peered through thick frames of glass. Yet there was no doubt that this was a doctor. It's eyes were scanning every inch of his body with a detached scientific coldness. Worst of all was that he was sporting the ultimate symbol that practically declared his designation. The snake wrapped up around the staff stared back at him in a bored tired way, almost as if it was weary of all this drama and simply wished to go back to sleep.
But what caught Andy's attention was that its hands were completely free - something he was not used to. His weekly visits to St. Stephen's had taught him a couple of things and one of them was that doctors were always busy. Even when off duty they would walk around with a clipboard and pen, along the corridors and in the canteen muttering about the various options at their disposal and how they can use them to help so-and-so.
Now there was one thing that Andy was proud of and that was that his hunches were almost always right. Everyone assumed that it was just guesswork. It was a running joke that one day Andy would win the lottery and go live out the rest of his life along sandy beaches while they continued to bust their asses off. He would always smile and let them go on. They never knew that he put forth his estimate only after examining every possible variable.
Right now the only thing that this thing could want was information. Once again he desperately tried to remember. Things were coming back to him but the last few days still drew a definite blank. Another quick glance at it led Andy to the conclusion that this was not going to be a painful interrogation. It was still staring at him but now it's gaze seemed focussed to one point. It was starring unwaveringly at his lower chest.
Andy looked down. The sheets that were previously wrapped around him like a small cocoon were now pooled at his feet. Hanging from his neck was a police badge. He could see the letters faintly in the near darkness. But it was not his badge. He had put in his request for a new one after a shitfaced druggie had declared it to be too 'presumptuous' for his taste. He had then proceeded to bash the shit out of it with a potted plant. His partner had been of no help, too busy stifling his laughter as he recorded this little tantrum on his cellphone. It had been a slow night so the Chief had said nothing to this obvious breach of protocol. Hell, he had even joined in the cackling as it was being viewed after having been uploaded on the departmental interface.
And then it hit him. His partner - this was his, it had to be. His hand trembled as he tried to feel the numbers that marked his identification code. 3412. Memories flashed in front of him - a vivid cacophony of lights, gunshots and curses. Tears ran down his face as he remembered. He turned to the doctor who was still patiently waiting. His white coat was a bit too large for him and his surgical mask was hanging around his neck. He looked tired, sleepy and human. "Ready to talk about it now?", he asked in a kind voice.
Andy opened his mouth and screamed.