Cyan was tucked beneath the sheets with an IV in his arm, but unaware of his surroundings. Dr. Wright had checked his fluids and ensured his comfort despite the lad’s distressing state. For three weeks he had laid there as doctors, nurses, and visitors left sadly. For three weeks he had been unresponsive since his altercation with Beryl. And for three weeks she had come to read to him every day.
First the story of Mad-Alice, the doctor who created a living flesh doll before the empire fell. Then the story of Thomas Steamfrost and the matchgirl. She was almost finished with Through the Looking Glass, as Cyan seemed to have an odd obsession with the tale, when she finished her chore two chapters from the end. After she adjusted his IV, Cyan never stirred even when she said outside the door, “Hopefully, this will be the last time I have to do this.”
“What was that Beryl?” Dr. Wright asked down the hall. The two began to speak, and Wright tried to offer an olive branch to share a drink at Alleycats.
“I am not certain I would be your prefered drinking companion,” Beryl responded quietly. “For what it is worth, I do regret being forced to betray you.”
It was not an apology, but a shared regret seemed to melt the tension between them, “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry if I’ve been an obstinate, hot-headed, ill-tempered asshole…I feel as though I’ve reacted…poorly.”
“You always have been.” Neither flinched, as it was not said without some affection. “But that didn’t lead us to where we are today. You have no blame in it. You threatened my life a few times since it happened, yes, but that was before the Hag. To me we are square due to how many times I nearly killed you.”
“I wish I had stopped you the night you ran out of the asylum…” Wright replied staring at the floor. “I failed to act…it lead you to what you are now. It’s my fault.”
Beryl considered him a short time, before responding, “I failed to realize the Hag could take me away from my current witch. I failed to realize that Dr. Maddox was so caught up in her own self pity she would refuse to come to my side. I failed to realize how weak she was compared with the strength of the Hag and Lady Byrne. I failed to realize that her abandonment in that moment was all it took for the Hag to plant orders to escape. I did not realize the Hag could make me kill for her even against my will and any other oaths I ever made.” And she had killed for the Hag, they all knew. Beryl had even slain her own father in law, Dr. Thaddeus Solsen. “I was fully aware of what I was doing, every horrible step of it, but that didn’t mean I could disobey.”
“I blame the Hag most of all, and so does everyone else.” Wright and everyone else had contended her actions had not been her own. They both entered the elevator together and he pressed the button for the first floor. “Choking the life out of her was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”
“I am…glad you did. Now, if you will excuse me, I have had enough emotional connection for one afternoon. Good day.” She walked out of the elevator and towards the lobby. Doctor Sonnerstein was speaking with Lisa, who was seated at the reception desk again.
“No luck with Cyan yet?” Doctor Sonnerstein looked between them and sighed as Lisa seemed resigned by the news.
Beryl shrugged, “Don’t expect anything out of him. He’s probably never going to wake.”
“You really think Cyan won’t wake up?” Lisa asked with her expression growing more dim. Doctor Sonnerstein replied softly, “We can’t think like that.”
“He is lucky he hasn’t been devoured already.” Sonnerstein mouthed the word ‘devoured’ as if surprised, but Beryl gave a concession, “If you ‘need’ some hope, the carrot for the horse, then perhaps the fact his spirit hasn’t been devoured means she has elected to be benevolent.” She snorted to show how likely she thought that. “In truth, it would be a mercy to end it now.”
“You know we can’t,” Wright replied simply while Sonnerstein turned his attention towards the floor instead of looking at her, despite his blindness.
“I am well aware that you cannot.” Was her final quip. Lisa and the others heard their stress upon the word and the feline turned to the girl alone. “Some things take time, I am afraid.”
Lisa nodded as the front doors opened and Kasa arrived for her shift. The bunny perked her ears and replied, “Afternoon, everyone.”
“Well, I suppose everything is in good hands now. I’ll be going, but I’ll be back to read tomorrow, all the same if nothing has changed.” Sonnerstein thanked her and the others said their goodbyes as she left, while Kasa nodded.
As soon as she was gone, Wright turned to his colleague, “I know what you’re thinking, Kris, but at this point I’d just rather keep the peace and be done with it.”
“I got a few things to do in my office then will be checking on the patients,” Kasa said softly as she headed upstairs. The two doctors discussed the matter quietly as she went to her office, then supply closet, and finally moved to check on Cyan and his IV. After that she got Snow’s IV and water ready. Wright was already checking on the sick boy by the time she arrived.
She moved past him and quietly collected some of the discards and trash and prepared his new IV. The lad replied, “Am…alive…no more…flu, I think.”
“Good…still tired?” He asked but Wright paused as his ears twitched. He ran out of the room suddenly and caused Kasa to drop her supplies in panic as a groan came from another patient room followed by a crash.
Cyan was convulsing, shaking violently, and had thrown himself from the bed in his seizure. The Doctors ran up to him and placed him back on the bed, discovering that the lad was foaming at the mouth. Wright held him down and checked his vitals as Sonnerstein brought a bedpan cautioning, “Don’t restrain him too tightly, he might break something.”
Kasa rushed to the room shaking her head and looked inside, “What’s going on?”
“Seizures!” Doctor Sonnerstein responded, though he felt at a loss, “We just do not know why…”
Kasa’s eyes widened as she darted in, “Put him on his side…what’s his pulse?”
“Elevated,” Wright responded quickly as he tried to keep the lad on his side, “Kris, keep the pan near his mouth. We can’t let him drown.”
“I will be back don’t let him on his back,” She raced to the nurses station to grab supplies in her panic.
Cyan’s seizure started to weaken, and for a moment they thought he was coming out of it. But then the doctors realized the boy had stopped breathing. Doctor Wright began to perform CPR, knowing that he was likely going to break the child’s bones but this was his only chance. The chest compressions were continued as Sonnerstein checked his pulse and looked up in alarm, “Something is wrong, his heart stopped!”
“Come on…Come on….” Wright grit his teeth as he kept up, Sonnerstein timing everything under his breath for Wright to keep pace. Kasa returned to the room with syringes filled with everything she could think of. She spoke to them out of breath as she leaned against the wall near them, “Here! Adrenaline, antitoxins, anti-venoms, morphine…”
Cyan’s body was growing cold and Sonnerstein reached for the Adrenaline, “Adrenaline.”
“On the count of three, I’ll hold him, you plunge it into his heart,” Wright said as he kept up his compressions. Sonnerstein nodded and Wright stopped to hold the lad, as the other Doctor ripped open his shirt, wiping with alcohol quick, and injected it right into his heart.
“Compressions until we get a heartbeat,” Sonnerstein replied after the injection. Wright began going again as he turned to Kasa, “Can you prep another dose in case?”
Kasa obeyed and started to fill another doss when Cyan took a deep breath, but then began to vomit to the bed and pan.
“Oh thank gods..!” Dr. Sonnerstein cried as Wright shifted the pan so the lad could get it all out. The lad was breathing deeply, shaking, but was weaker. Kasa tried to catch her breath as she turned to Lisa who stood outside watching helplessly.
“Third shelf down nurses station… box.. 12… 4th vial back.. feline… hurry,” Lisa nodded at the order as Wright informed them Cyan began to foam at the mouth again.
Doctor Sonnerstein frowned, leaning in closer to sniff for a moment. “Wright, Kasa, do you smell something off here…?”
Wright and Kasa did as ordered and discovered something horrible. “He smells like…like rat poison! How!?” Cyan’s breathing was haggard and slowing down again.
“Rat poison!! I don’t have much treatment for that!” Kasa thought wildly going through what she remembered of its causes. Wright and her came to the same conclusion quickly, but not before Cyan stopped breathing again.
“SHIT!” Kasa cried out as she went through her vials. Wright returned to performing CPR, ignoring the sound of crunching bones beneath his worried thrusts. He looked to the others, “We need a blood thinner!”
Doctor Sonnerstein shook his head, “No, rat poison acts as an anticoagulant. We need something to counter that.”
Kasa looked between them, “It depends on the rat poison, there are different kinds that react differently!” She grabbed the anti-venom, “This works as an anticoagulant, so it might help if we need it thinner! Lisa, cupboard 2, draw 8, left side vial..15! Bring me it! Vial 13 too!” She added a few more to be safe.
Sonnerstein looked between them, if they chose wrong they could finish killing the lad instead of saving him, “The most used poison is heavy on an anticoagulant agent and he’s showing typical symptoms..The primary acting agent is a high dose blood thinner. We’re looking at free bleeding and potential organ failure.”
Lisa returned and passed them what she had been asked for but still they hesitated as Cyan’s heart stopped again. Wright let out a curse, “DAMN IT! Don’t you die on me!”
“SHIT! But we can’t do anything unless we know and we can’t know unless…” Kasa looked at the lad and frowned, “Sorry Cyan.” She used the tip of the syringes to cut his leg to see how his blood would behave. There was no other way with Wright’s paw in the way to see the previous cut. His blood came out thick and held a scent of…calcium.
“You were right, Warfarin then!” Sonnerstein said looking to the others, but Cyan didn’t have time to get that now.
Kasa looked at what she had, and selected everything that had an anticoagulant or thinning property and mixed them. She hoped for the best and that her sudden mixture wouldn’t kill him instead. Wright moved so that she could inject his heart and moved back quickly, Wright resuming his work.
The lad had grown cold once again, deeper this time, but as Wright thrust Cyan woke sputtering and throwing up, convulsing. Eventually, slowly, as the doctors worked he began to breathe on his own, and he laid against the bed weakly. Exhausted by his ordeal despite remaining unconscious through it all.
Kasa sat against the wall as the doctors thanked her for her help, as a low voice suddenly coughed and whispered, “What happened?”
“Cyan…!” Sonnerstein and everyone looked at him overjoyed that the ordeal seemed over. Lisa let out a gasp. “You’re finally awake!”
“Was I asleep?” he asked in a raspy voice as he felt at his ribs slowly. His motions were lethargic. It was clear he was in extreme pain and had no memories from after his ordeal began.
“You’ve been in a coma,” Wright responded as Kasa began to gather up her supplies, and then slumping against the wall trembling, “That… was too close….”
Dr. Kristos Sonnerstein half laughed, “You have slept for a few weeks now. What a way to wake up. What do you remember?”
“I was mad at Beryl… and then something… and then woke up here.” Cyan closed his eyes. It was clear that his awakening did not mean he wasn’t suffering. “…Sorry to…worry everyone.”
As they treated his leg and gave him something for the pain, eventually Wright moved on to what they needed to discuss now. “Now that we’re out of crisis mode…the pressing matter is that…well, let’s speak outside. One of us will be back shortly, Cyan.”
Cyan was placed to rest, laying on his back, but as the door shut and they moved further away, Wright turned back to speak in a low hushed voice, “It’s obvious someone tried to kill him…I checked on Cyan just before Beryl came in and he was fine. His uncle has been barred from going on the first floor and I know his scent. Only me, Kasa, and Beryl had been in there since I went inside.”
“Sabotaged supplies?” Kasa ventured. “Like how I was poisoned with the rot maybe?”
“My main concern… if it was indeed Beryl… Did she intend to kill him, or did she somehow know it would end like this instead…?” Remembering the broken body of the boy back in the room they all dearly hoped not. His ears twitched slightly, “She’s downstairs in any case.”
“We confront her then,” Wright said in a cold response. They approached her together and she appeared cool and composed. “So…what brings you back?”
“I came back to see if Cyan lived or died,” She replied simply. Kasa narrowed her eyes as Lisa shook her head. Wright grit his teeth as the cat continued, “Well, I might as well be honest.”
“You’re being honest in the worst way, Beryl.” Lisa told her, “Is that also part of your orders?”
“Very well, let me be more specific. I sensed his death and came to see what happened. I’d say he died twice on the table tonight.” Beryl responded quietly. “Good thing you were there to resuscitate.”
“Did you poison him?” Wright demanded to know, his anger growing but he tried to contain it.
“Why would I poison him?” She could think of several good reasons, but she did not offer them. Phaedra had taught her that. “So I am a suspect then? Very well, I suppose I had that coming.”
“Three people were with him tonight, you, myself, and Kasa,” Doctor Wright growled out, his former attempt at keeping the peace fading away.
“I suppose I am the only one on that list with a possible motive. Feel free to smell my paws for poison,” She offered them without hesitation. Wright sniffed them and he caught the scent of the deadly substance, but not from Beryl. He turned and looked in shock at Kasa.
Kasa blinked in surprise at why he was sniffing her, “What?”
“I can smell it on you…why?” Wright said with disbelief as Beryl watched the events transpire. Lisa herself was covering her mouth aghast. Kasa looked confused and back up at the doctor trying to say she didn’t know. “Kasa, I have one of the best noses in this city, and I can smell the poison on you.”
“But, but I have not touched any! And why would I poison him?” She tilted her head as she looked between her accusers and smelled herself, finding the poison there.
Wright was quickly approaching her, cutting off any escape, “I can smell it on you, you were with him just before he convulsed, you know poisons better than anyone.”
Kasa rubbed at her head, noting that Beryl was the only one who was not closing on her, “But wait.. I…I don’t remember touching the poison! I was just…just…” She paused as she looked around, quietly as she tried to remember what happened. It was then she realized, “I don’t even remember coming here…. I remember you visiting me last night Beryl… but.. to be honest… I don’t even remember coming to work…” She looked to Beryl, and on her face was what seemed honest confusion.
Beryl’s face fell slightly, “You remember that do you?”
Kasa nodded as she sank against the wall, feeling at her head, trying to remember anything after it, “Ya… I remember you visiting.. before I went to bed…and the next thing was hearing Cyan yelling and dropping what was in my hands…” She looked up at everyone, “Did… did I do something wrong? How…how am I even here?”
Lisa turned to Beryl, worry now showing in her normally trusting gaze, as the others also turned.
Beryl noted how they all turned to her and shook her head with a sardonic smile, “Isn’t it obvious at this point? Someone made you poison Cyan, and clearly that was me.” After a moment she added, “But hey at least you turned out better than what I did to Mr. Rookswood? Right?”
Wright growled as his hackles stood up, his transformation moments from happening though the feline did not seem intimidated. Kasa trembled in the corner, another life destroyed by Beryl’s actions as Cyan laid above broken, “Get out, now! I do not want to see you return here!”
Beryl smirked and shook her head, leaving the hospital as Lisa watched her go, debating if she even wanted to speak to her this time. The only thing that was clear was that this was not over.