Arnold entered the city’s gates to find that he was not in the Babbage that he knew. There were a sea of rails on either side of him like a sea of bamboo. They were sticking straight up into the sky and must have been about ten feet high. They blocked his path to the right or left and only allowed him to follow the road forward towards the trains. He didn’t have time to speculate on this as he caught the scent of blood.
Arnold looked towards the Train station and now that he was focused he noticed a murder of ravens swarming a struggling rat urchin as he tried to fight them off. Gilhooly cried for help, as he batted at them helplessly.
Arnold dropped the cane and charged forward on all fours, letting out a roar, and unleashing his claws. The small birds taken by surprise fled, leaving Gil and Arnold alone. Gil collapsed to the cobbles, cradling several bleeding wounds and the cat rushed to his side.
“Fanks Mr. A…augh, me everyfing.” Gil moaned. “Why’s fings always fink I’m tasty?”
“Hold on, I’ll…” Arnold had reached for his medical armband, but only now did he realize he had not worn it since he was shot. “I’ll get you to the hospital.”
Gil nodded as once again Arnold carried his friend across the city and towards Wheatstone.
The city looked different to the cat. Massive structures had become even more imposing than he remembered. Roads curved as if they were following a stream. Chimneys lined the sky, but were twisted or curved so badly that it was a wonder they could remain upright at all. As he passed over the bridge he was certain he saw a Wiggyfish Moreau in the water.
He arrived at the hospital to find that the Wilde hospital was standing next to the Murgam Asylum. The bedlam looked horrific and grotesque, and the gargoyles seemed to move their heads watching them as they entered the Wilde.
Blackberry Harvey was at the front desk, and stood to greet them, but shouted Gil’s name in dismay as he saw the situation. He asked what happened, and why he was wearing that since the Piermont dance was not for some time. Arnold put Gilhooly on a triage table quickly, ignoring the query.
“Whatever it is, I’d hate if you were to ruin it. Get into your uniform!” Harvey said and moved to treat Gil’s wounds.
Arnold saw his nurse uniform, apron and all, and moved to change as quickly as he could. He was dressed and ready before he knew it. In fact, it was a blur completely how he had reached the point where he was now helping Mr. Harvey, though he noticed he still had the tie, green crystal, and the white hat.
The two worked until Gil’s wounds were treated. Fortunately the damage wasn’t as bad as they’d feared and his friend even grinned as they gave him a lollipop.
Arnold was about to take off the uniform when Mr. Harvey stopped him. “Go ahead and keep it for now. I know you’re trying to decide who you are, and I want you to remember…You are a healer.”
He looked down at the uniform for a few moments considering the possibility that he was a healer at his core. That sounded good in a way, but it still felt disingenuous. As with the urchins before him he kept the outfit and moved on, stopping to tell Gil goodbye.
“See ya, Mr. A!” Gil cried out. “Wach out fer dem birds!”