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The Beast in Me (completed)
“Undo what!? What did you do to my girl?!” Suddenly, this guy was all over me and shaking my shoulders. I was so startled, I didn't even try to fight back. “Sheena! Where is she?! Can't anybody tell me where my girl is!” He let go of me equally abruptly as he had grabbed me. Even Dan was too slow to react before the man rushed to the receptionist's counter and cried,
“Where is Sheena? Please tell me she's alive! Please, please!” This was Sheena's father, it came to me. He was completely devastated. How could anyone blame him for that? His wife had died a few weeks ago and now his daughter was in critical condition. My heart ached.
“Please calm down, Mr. de Veela, your daughter is in surgery. She lost a lot of blood... but thanks to the boy...” she gestured at me, “we could immediately give her blood transfusions. The doctor will be able to tell you more...”
As if on command, a man in white shrubs came out of a door down the hall and headed towards us. I noticed that his hair at his temples had started greying and the stethoscope hanging around his neck. The expression in his eyes was serious. He came with big strides and looked around at the four of us. His eyes lingered when they made contact with mine and narrowed suspiciously. Then he turned away and faced Mr. de Veela who was about to faint.
“Sheena...” he whispered. A slight smile cracked on the doctor's face.
“Mr. ...” he began.
“de Veela.” The nurse filled in.
“Mr. de Veela, please have a seat.” Sheena's father violently shook his head, ready to hear the worst. The doctor took a grip of Mr. de Veela's upper arm and pulled him to the chairs in the waiting area.”Your daughter is out of immediate danger...” Sheena's father collapsed onto the chair and started weeping. I looked away. I felt still awful for what I had done but I was relieved that Sheena had survived -- so far.
I went over to the window and stared out. I looked towards the forest and in the direction the dam lay. The backdrop of hills and mountains created a sight of peace and tranquility. My mind was numb, my thoughts circling mostly around my altered state and the hopeless situation I was in. I was a threat to humans. I needed to be removed from society. Jailed... or better... I didn't dare to think of it. I had a vision of the rifle that Mr. Henderson had given to me as a present. Was it the only solution? Before someone got hurt... and killed by me?
The doctor was explaining Sheena's condition to her father. It wouldn't have been hard to follow the softly spoken words that were intended to be kept private but I realized that I could blank it out.
After a while, Dan came over and laid a hand on my shoulder again.
“Don't blame yourself too harshly, son. Looks like things are going to end well, here. All things considered, you did more good than harm.” Suddenly the doctor was upon us.
“We need to talk!” His voice was serious and had a surprising edge to it. Dan and I looked at him. He beckoned me to follow him into his office. Dan tagged along.
“Just the boy.” The doctor told Dan. The ranger stopped in his tracks, looking slightly offended. “It's OK Dan.”
“Fine... I'll better get going and pick up Bob and Peter and the dogs.” Dan said and turned on his heels.
We went a bit down the hall whose walls had been kept in an antiseptical white. The doctor pushed his office door open and I noticed the sign with his name next to the door: Dr. Brian Winsley. He gestured me to take a seat in front of the desk, which he rounded. He slowly lowered himself into his armchair not taking his gaze off of me.
“I need to know what happened...” He started. “The truth.”
I looked at him blankly and broke into a sweat. Dr. Winsley sighed,
“This is completely off the record, Byron. Just between you and me. We could call it a patient-doctor conversation... so I'm bound to secrecy beyond these walls.”
“Doctor Winsley... I...” I was still feeling defensive.
“Call me Brian, Byron.”
“OK, Ron. Now...”
“Is there something wrong with Sheena? Why...?” I was confused what this was all about. If she was OK, what did he need to know? If I intentionally pushed her off a cliff? Did he want to know who else might have been there? He wasn't the police.
Brian sighed again and guessing my thoughts he said,
“Look, Ron: nobody's accusing you for any wrongdoing. I don't even need to know whose fault this was if you don't want to tell me... but there are some mysteries that I can't explain, so I need to know some details.”
“Mysteries...?” My ears were heating up. I'm a monster, one of the blood thirsty types. But how could he tell? Was I transforming? I tried to get my reflection off of a shiny surface.
“Sheena!” I threw in.
“Thanks. Sheena. Well... she lost enormous amounts of blood...” I nodded, that was nothing new, and I felt wretched to the degree that my guts hurt. “By all medical measures she ought have been dead when you brought her in.”
I looked blankly at him. It had been a close call, I hadn't been fooling myself.
“So it was that close...” I burped.
“No Ron. More than that. It's an impossibility that I cannot explain.” Rats, was he expecting me to come up with an explanation?
“We had to give her 8 pints, depleting all our supplies.” I trembled. How much of that had I been responsible for? I didn't want to know. “She sucked it up like a sponge at a rate I've never witnessed before. Above all, I can't see how she possibly could have lost all that blood...”
I jerked my head up,
“Didn't you see that wound in her thigh?!”
“You mentioned that the wound before. All I could find was a faint scar, healed long ago. There were no other wounds that would explain her blood loss, no internal injuries... just some bruises. This is unheard of. Do you understand now why I want to know EXACTLY what happened, Ron?”
I sat back, utterly confused.
“Is she going to make it?” I managed to ask weakly.
“Her vital signs have recovered magnificently. - Another mystery. - For the time being we're applying anesthesia to keep her unconscious, in case she has any pain. Ron what happened?!” Brian urged again.
“It's all my fault...” I mumbled. Then I told him my story. I omitted the part that I was experiencing bouts of superhuman power and monstrous blood thirst. But I told him that I had licked the wound clean. I didn't tell how much I enjoyed the taste of blood though.
“Ron, Ron! Her wound cannot possibly have healed so quickly!” Brian interjected. “Even if you licked the wound...”
Then something burst within me,
“Doctor! I'm a monster! I enjoyed her blood, I'm freaking out, I don't now what is happening to me!”
I wish I could break down and cry like Sheena's father. I just stared at him, waiting for a reaction. He stayed calm, too calm for my taste. I wanted to see his disgust, at least confusion.
“Ron... you're not a monster. The taste of blood can affect people in various ways, depending on circumstances. It's natural that you're upset. It's admirable that you're not in a complete state of shock.”
He was trying to use psychology.
“I drank her blood. I didn't care to save her life! I'm... I'm a vampire!” I wanted to shock him now. Vampire sounded more severe than werewolf. He smiled mildly.
“Now, now. You know that vampires don't exist... but lately there is a lot of hype around these matters. Naturally, you're imagination can go haywire in such a...”
“I have supernatural abilities. I carried her on my shoulders through the forest...at warp speed! How do you explain that?”
“Perception... you were probably in shock at the time and your state of alert made your senses much sharper. You experienced a much higher speed than it actually was. Not strange. Also, in such situations you can access powers within yourself that you...”
“I solve math and physics problems that I shouldn't be able to...” I continued. “I ran to school in twelve minutes... three miles!”
Brian was still trying to suppress a chuckle and trying to rationalize my story. I felt so powerless and not taken seriously.
“It was me who broke into Mandy Seiferts window last night. I jumped up from the street, into her room and tried to kill her. Then I ran into the woods. Dan's dogs took up my scent when I was running through the woods and the rangers thought I was the wolf because I was running so inhumanly fast. They shot me in the leg, twice... The wounds are healed by now...”
Brian stared at me.
“You see? I'm not exactly a vampire but I'm a werewolf. A blood thirsty monster. I heal at superhero speed. I know Sheena's blood type by tasting her blood. I licked her wound, so it healed...” Then my own words struck me: was it that? Had I infected Sheena now by licking her wound? And what was with Mandy's father, I thought in horror. I had drawn his blood with my fangs as well. “Was... was it you, as well, who took care of the wound that Mandy's father got?”
Brian got my meaning,
“Byron! Calm down, you're completely confused. Let me assure you: Mandy's father didn't show any abnormalities. He came in last night and I had a look at his bite wound. He got a tetanus shot and the wound was disinfected and bandaged. -- Ron, I think we should put this subject at rest now. I shouldn't have put you through this after what happened. I regret my curiosity. Forgive me. You should go home and lie down. Sleep. Skip school tomorrow, I'll write a sick note for you.”
I felt weak and queasy. He didn't believe anything about my story. Suddenly he changed his expression,
“I know your mother. But what about your father? I came to Baskerville almost ten years ago but I never had him as a patient. He died a long time ago, right?”
“Not exactly. He left us. Thirteen years ago. No one knows why or where to. -- How come?”
He shook his head,
“Ah, nothing, I just thought...” But he never told me what he was thinking. It knocked on the door. “Come in!”
“Dr. Winsley, Byron's mother is here. Shall I ask her to wait?” The nurse asked.
“Thanks Kate. No we're done here.” His eyes turned back to mine, “OK, Ron, thanks for your help. Do as I told you and get some rest.”
I nodded weakly and got up. Just before I closed the door behind me, I caught a glimpse of him checking a patient file on his computer. If I wasn't mistaken, I saw the name Jack Mansdale on top. My dad's name.
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