It was Lisa’s third day working at the asylum. Arnold had shown her around, and where to find everything, and for the most part, she did her best to stay out of the way of the other workers there. She hadn’t even seen Dr. Solsen yet, but now, as she wiped down the dining table, she saw him come in. “Oh–you must be the new maid Arnold hired,” he said.
Lisa tried an awkward curtsey to the doctor. Politely, he forbore to mention it, and smiled. “Arnold failed to mention that Lisa was someone I already knew. So why have you come back?”
“I decided it was time I learned to work,” she said shyly. “I chose here because… because I trust Arnold.” That was certainly true, though not the whole truth–she wasn’t going to tell him about wanting to keep an eye on Tenderpaws.
“I understand…” Dr. Solsen’s face fell. “You don’t believe the rumors either…do you?”
Lisa shook her head emphatically.
The doctor seemed relieved by her confidence in their mutual friend, “I don’t believe he’d have attacked Penn either. That boy never did anything to him. I’m just worried that some others in town may get it into their heads… I’ve heard the locals get… bold.”
“He has had trouble of that sort before, sir. He knows how to take care of himself.”
“More than I think you know,” Dr. Solsen said, his eyes twinkling with a moment of delight again. “I’ve known him for years; that cat can never stay out of trouble for more than two months.”
Lisa hid a smile. “Yes, sir.” The doctor took a seat at the table, touching his eye gingerly. “Are you all right, sir?”
“My eye does not appear to be healing well,” Solsen replied quietly. “Bruises tend to linger when you reach my age.”
Lisa asked him if he needed anything, and, when he requested some lunch, told him that she would get it. She went into the kitchen while the doctor went to the office to rest. His eye still made it painful to smile, but that didn’t stop him anymore.
If either of them had known that Cortman was standing outside with his keys, they would have bolted the door; it had been left open so that Arnold could get back inside when he returned from his trip to the Three Cogs Pizzeria. Cortman unlocked the door and he and four of his men rushed inside.
Cortman slammed the door and bolted it after he stumbled into the building and fired his weapon into the ceiling. The doctor jumped in his chair as two men entered his room, while the other men began to look for anyone else in the facility. Lisa, startled by the sudden shot, hid inside an empty cupboard in the kitchen.
Dr. Solsen was held down to his chair by two of the men, Weston and Aldrydd. Cortman approached, saying, as he prepared his Colt, “One of mine goes missing, one of the cat’s goes missing. One of mine dies, one of his dies.”
The doctor braced himself as Cortman fired. Shock alone nearly took the doctor’s life as the bullet entered his shoulder above the heart. Weston and Aldrydd let the doctor fall down onto his table where he would bleed to death.
Lisa heard the second shots, and bit her lips to prevent making any unnecessary noise. The clumsy M’an-folk were not thorough. One quick glance around the kitchen and they had left. After a few moments, Lisa dared make her way to the door to listen through it, and she heard a familiar, and hated, voice.
“Two of the patients for two of us,” Cortman was saying, but she couldn’t hear very well as he kept coughing in between his sentences. “You take the ship downstairs. I hid it there.” Lisa frowned, wondering what “it” was, as the men moved. She heard the gate rising at the head of the stairs.
Lisa didn’t know what was going on, but she slowly opened the kitchen door, and slipped out into the dining room, silently making her way along the inner wall. She saw that only one of the M’an-folk was still downstairs, but he was standing at the front door, blocking any way forward for her.
Cortman opened the way to the cells alone, while the rest of the crew made their way to the ship and their escape. Weston guarded the door in case the dwarf or someone else came out of a hole while they were busy. He knew his first target–Rasend was lying tied to a table in one of the cells, and he was not moving. Cortman opened the door, shot the wolf between the eyes, and slammed the door, fighting to remain upright from his own wound as he stumbled to the next door. Cortman opened the door to the other vegetative patient and shot him as well. He reminded himself that he would likely not survive the night, either, and one of those he’d shot had been brain-dead already. He needed at least one more victim to even the score. He went to Elizabeth Winters’ room, threw open the door, and fired.
Lisa felt frantic inside, wondering what she could do as she heard shot after shot from upstairs. She finally retreated silently to the kitchen, looking for weapons.