Bookworm Hienrichs sighed as she watched Tepic dash out of sight. She still didn’t understand what was going on with that raven, but she was definitely getting the idea that there was more here than met the eye. She went back inside and settled down in a chair by the couch where Arnold was lying.
She’d been on the go ever since yesterday’s incident. Her entire night had been spent there, directing the investigation, and part of her Sunday spent at Militia headquarters, until Commodore Dagger had ordered her home to rest. She was still too keyed up for sleep, though, so she’d taken over tending Arnold from Mrs. Pritchard.
About twenty minutes later, she heard a knock at the door. Peeking out of the window, she saw Dr. Sonnerstein, and hurried to open the door. “Hello, Dr. Sonnerstein,” she said. “Please, come in.”
“Good afternoon, Ms. Book,” he replied, stepping inside. “Has he woken yet?”
“No, there’s been no real change. He does, occasionally, open his eye for a moment, but there’s no real response when he does.’
“It’s small progress, at least,” he remarked as she led the way into the library, where Arnold was ensconced on a couch by the fireplace, his body covered with blankets, his head covered by bandages. “I can change the dressing, at least, while I’m here. I brought some gauze and bandaging with me.”
Bookworm nodded. “I’ll bring some water.” She hurried to the kitchen and grabbed a small pot of water off the stove that was constantly kept filled with warm water. She returned to the library and set the water by Dr. Sonnerstein, standing by to offer assistance if it was needed.
“Thank you, Ms. Hienrichs.” Dr. Sonnerstein took bandages and gauze from his coat, along with a small pair of scissors. He laid out a bit of gauze under Arnold’s head before unwrapping the used bandages. “I’m sorry to impose him on you like this as well,” he continued. “Even if we could get him as far as my house, with the kids about it wouldn’t be good for his rest.”
“It’s quite all right. He was staying here temporarily anyway.” At Dr. Sonnerstein’s raised eyebrow, she sighed. “I was concerned about his safety with Cortman about. I just wish I’d thought–”
Free of the bandages, Arnold’s eyes flew open. One eye was very obviously orange in color. “There–see?” Bookworm pointed.
“Ah!” exclaimed Dr. Sonnerstein. “Id? Are you still in there?”
Arnold stared up for a moment, unblinking, then his eyes closed again. “I wonder…” mused Dr. Sonnerstein.
Bookworm looked at him, puzzled. “Id?”
“Arnold’s had some difficulties coming to terms with himself. There was a separation in his mind. I’m not sure if that’s changed, though. The other called itself Id, because essentially that’s what it was. His Id.” He looked up at her. “The last time he opened his eyes, were the one that off color like just now?”
“Yes–it happened when Tepic was here, and he noticed.”
“Id may be trying to communicate for him despite the injury.” Dr. Sonnerstein suddenly coughed, looking at Bookworm sheepishly. “Just keep this between us, though, please?”
Bookworm nodded, though she still looked puzzled. “This is beyond me, doctor. Is there anything we should do differently?”
Dr. Sonnerstein was cleaning around the wound with the water she’d brought. He disinfected the area before starting to rebandage Arnold’s head. “If he keeps opening his eyes like that, test it a little. Move a finger in front of the orange eye and see if it focuses or moves. There’s a small chance it may respond independent of the other. If the shot fractured him… it could be his mind is quite literally split. I mean, certainly part of it is physically… but it could be mentally as well. I just hope he hasn’t been lobotomized.”
Arnold’s eyes opened again. His now-orange eye stared up at Sonnerstein, while the other one seemed to be vacant. Dr. Sonnerstein’s ears twitched, and he leaned over. “Id? Blink your eye if you can hear me.”
The orange eye dropped and opened in a deliberate blink, before both eyes closed again. Bookworm shivered a little.
“Ah! That is promising,” Dr. Sonnerstein said with satisfaction. “Perhaps with more rest… If you see that more often,” he continued, looking at Bookworm again, “see if she can answer a yes or no question once in a while. But try not to push it. It may be a bit exhausting for him.”
“We’ll make sure he gets that rest,” Bookworm said, then muttered to herself, “even if I have to hunt that damn raven down myself.”
Bookworm nodded. “There’s a particular large raven that I keep seeing. It was at Hoyt’s body when I discovered it. Same one flew into the asylum yesterday. And Tepic and I saw it hanging around here today.”
Dr. Sonnerstein shook his head. “What is it with ravens and mad houses?! Goodness.”
“I wish I knew,” Bookworm replied, more amused than anything else that the doctor was apparently lumping her residence in with the asylum.
As they walked to the door, Dr. Sonnerstein said, “I really must apologize for my deplorable behavior at the asylum before. I’m afraid I’ve had some rather rough experiences that have left me a bit… prone to panic in such places. In future instances involving that place, you may have to call on Dr. Watson instead.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
“I feel rather ashamed to admit it though. That anything should keep me from performing my duties…”
Bookworm smiled reassuringly. “It’s all right, Doctor.”
“Thank you. Though it just as easily could have been not all right. I’m just glad I got through taking care of Dr. Solsen and Arnold before I broke down too badly.. The other victim, is he faring well?”
“Remarkably so.” She had heard that lycanthropes could heal quickly, but this was the first time she’d seen that demonstrated.
“Well, I’ll leave you in quiet, Ms. Hienrichs. Again, thank you for looking after Arnold.”
“Thank you for stopping by. It’s been… informative.”
“I probably shouldn’t have said as much as I have, but it may help in his recovery.” Dr. Sonnerstein looked at her ruefully. “I just hope if he does come back to us, he doesn’t hold it against me.”
Bookworm chuckled a little and opened the door for him. “Good afternoon, Doctor.”
“Good afternoon, Ms. Book.”
She closed the door behind him, feeling fatigue finally starting to catch up. She drank a cup of soothing tea, then asked Mariah to take over the watch on Arnold. Reaching her bedroom, she had just enough time to undress and crawl into bed before sleep overcame her.