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The Patient

 Margo December was always ahead, pots banging and pack swaying as she moved.  She never ran but Beryl got no closer.  She lead him towards the surface, through twists and turns until he had no idea where he was or how to return. The smell of death was still strong in the air, but he was starting to smell other things. The clinical smell of disinfectants and metal.

 When Beryl came to the end of the tunnel Margo was nowhere to be found.  There was only a small doorway that brought him to a small and familiar basement.  It belonged to Erica Fairywren, someone else he had not seen much of since his injury.  It had been empty when he visited, but now it was filled with medical supplies, bandages, towels, disinfectants, laudanum, needles, and more.  

 There was no sign of Margo December, but Erica Fairywren was there in a nurses apron.  She was talking with a very strange looking bunny clockwork in doctor’s white coat.  The clockwork would have appeared alive if it hadn’t been that one of her arms had been the Steam Hare’s flamethrower.

 Erica and the bunny turned towards Beryl and their faces brightened and they ran towards him with exclamations of  “Beryl!” and “Kitty!”

 If her voice hadn’t been enough to make Beryl realize that the doctor must have been Avariel Falcon, then seeing the horn on the center of her head would have done it.  He was very surprised, she had been a full unicorn the last time he was here. He didn’t have time to ask as the two of them saw Arnold’s head.

 “You can’t bring that in here, we have a patient!” Erica said as she went for the disinfectant, apparently unaware the head was alive.  She snatched the skull from Beryl in his surprise and started to wipe at it furiously with a rag dripping with disinfectant.  Beryl tried not to laugh when she she dropped it in shock as it yowled.

 “Oh!  The kitty head can talk too!” Avariel cried with an excited squeal of delight.  “Maybe it can give the squirrely some extra company while we check that nasty wound out?”

 Beryl looked into a corner to see their patient laid on a medical cot.  On the bed was a white furred Moreau who had lost most of her limbs.  Beatrixe Rouse looked weak, but alive and mostly awake.  

 “Beryl?” She asked weakly, her one remaining eye fluttering between open and shut. He left Arnold to Avariel and Erica’s ‘tender’ proding and questioning and went to Beatrixe. She smiled softly, “Is that you, or are you not you, like everyone else?”  

 “I am myself,” Beryl said, though he was unsure that he had understood the question.

 “Which Babbage are you from?” Beatrixe asked, tilting her head very slowly to hear with her last ear. “Mine, or this one?”

 Beryl didn’t answer his friend.  He couldn’t.

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  1. Erica Fairywren Erica Fairywren May 21, 2014

    So know everyone knows what goes on in my basement. Oh damn.

    Always was fond of sanitation!

  2. Dee Wells Dee Wells May 21, 2014

    “…which Babbage…” or ‘witch’ babbage? *looks across at her neighbour and smiles nervously* o.O

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