Eventualities: Allison Ch. 07byStultus©
After I hadn't heard from either of them for nearly two weeks, I determined to hunt down Myra and get some answers before I did another thing! It took me three days to track her down and I had to do it the old fashioned private eye way with a 24 hour stakeout and tailing them that eventually led me to the serpent's lair, literally.
The Serpents Lair (wasn't that also the name of a late 70's video game?) was down in the basement of the old Psych building on the Rice University campus. In the 60's wild-eyed professors with fat government grants ran testing labs down there and when this funding dried up by the mid-70's the graduate students turned this equipment junkyard into their official drinking and hangout den. With the obtainment of a legitimate beer & wine license in the early 1980's and named the Serpents Lair, this became the primary watering hole for the liberal arts and social sciences graduate students. Legal concerns shut the bar down for good a few years ago and the place had remained empty ever since, except for irregular shipments of boxes sent down for storage and then promptly forgotten about, by all parties concerned.
This place had been Myra's primary college home and she had witnessed its rise from obscurity, its heyday and final shutdown, had spent hundreds of hours here, bringing books from the library just across the street and reading until last call when the doors were padlocked. I had heard Myra mention the place often nostalgically so when I followed her car and saw her enter the building, I knew right where she was headed. As a valued alumnus, an occasional visiting teacher and guest lecturer, she had enough clout in the Psych department, to get a little 'research space' and where better than her old study den which was now only a semi-forgotten storage area?
Myra had apparently been a very busy little beaver; all of the old clutter had been moved into the corners and near the center of the room, where the old bar once stood was a large gleaming chrome metal tank, with several computer screen readouts, a printer, dials, hoses and instrument holders that seemed medical in purpose. There were wires everywhere, headphones and more still a few more individual computers, running along the right side wall on top of the original bar carpet covered bench seating that ringed 3 walls of the room.
The floor was bare concrete, and four large cement pillars lay in awkward spots near the corners of the room. The lighting was dim and irregular, about par for a nighttime bar level. Frankly the computer screens probably gave off more light than the fixed light fixtures did. I had never seen anything like this equipment before in any hospital or military base anywhere I had ever been.
"It's a sensory deprivation water chamber." Myra said, "Completely state of the art and it allows only one or two people to handle what used to take a staff of half-a-dozen. If there is anything better for reaching an alpha state trance, I've never found it. I had to get more help and spend more money to set this up than I would have preferred but that can't be helped, time is of the essence. Your Mr. "M" was a very, very smart man and he kept Allison in one of these for a long time while giving her drugs to reshape her entire personality. I'm betting that I'm smarter, and can undo at least some of his programming. Will you go away now?"
"Ummm, No." I replied. "We really need to talk."
"No… we don't," she snapped, "You're just mad because you're not getting laid and I am, unfortunately involving the same woman who loves us both. But don't worry about that, if push came to shove she would and will, choose you over me in a heartbeat. You're Mr Right, I'm Ms. Right now. We can yell and call each other names or you can leave me to my work and just maybe you'll get to fuck her someday again five minutes sooner than you would otherwise, so stop being a selfish bastard and let me do what I need to do."
I gave the attempt at conversation one last try.
"Myra, I know you want to help, it seems to drive your every waking moments these days… but is sleeping with your patient really necessary and or at all helpful to the situation?"
"For the millionth time, she is not 'technically' my patient. It's technically true, but other doctors, nurses and therapists actually sign all the paperwork, and she is my friend too, not just my lover." She angrily barked at me, and added more slowly and sadly, "Things just... happened. But now we have complete trust with each other and that really seems to really help and make a difference."
I wish I could have thought of something else clever to use as a leaving line, but I couldn't think of anything worthwhile, so I just said "Ok, fine." and left.
Now I was really sure there was something going on man speak vs. women speak that I wasn't comprehending. Under other circumstances, it would have been Myra I would have asked to get a proper female to male translation, this wasn't likely at the moment. Isn't the age long battle between the sexes really annoying sometimes?
I realized much later that Myra had said something very important that I should have asked a question or two about. It bothered me at the time but I didn't know quite why. I didn't have to wait much longer to get that answer but by then it was definitely the wrong question.
Another month slipped by, things did seem to be improving, my very irregular dinners with Allison (never with Myra along) seemed to become more frequent and we established a semi-firm 'Date night' now for every Monday night. Our sex schedule, however did not improve. Weekends seemed to remain strictly off-limits and I never saw (or seldom spoke to) her during those times at all. We managed little more than a few occasional 'quickies' and one interesting (but cramped) interlude in my car.
My mood at work, volatile these days at best, was becoming volcanic and I often thought about quitting, or loudly offering to do so to my Assistant Chief who still wanted me to assume the soon to be vacated Medical Director position when my useless boss finally retired, hopefully sometime in the next year. Fifteen years ago that was my dream job and was what I had driven myself towards my entire EMT career. More and more I became convinced that now I didn't want the job at all.
As the Divisional Training Manager (and pretty much the de facto Director of Training), I got to do a little bit of 'good,' I felt. I could encourage and groom young EMT's with potential, get rid of the occasional bad apple, give a gentle hand with our 'burnouts' and saved more than a few from quitting. Once in a while I even managed another ride in the "box" and accompanied young EMT-I's and EMT's on a few calls for service but those occasions seemed to become fewer and farther between.
I was alone in my office at work on a miserable Friday afternoon dreading another weekend without Allison, just staring at the four walls of my offices at what seemed to be my endless certificates and certifications. I felt at that moment that I was little more than another "burnout" case myself and I had no clue as to how I could fix it. Myra was of course all busy with her crusade to save Allison.
There didn't seem to anyone available to 'save' me.
On Allison's Monday night dinners with me she invariably seemed happy and upbeat. They were making 'real progress', she assured me, but would say little beyond that. Any mention of her current sleeping arrangements seemed to provoke acute sadness and genuine unhappiness, and was guaranteed to cause an early end to the evening.
I bit my tongue some more, which was getting to be a new constant habit and we both tried to keep our conversations light and cheerful. I could tell that there was so much that she wanted to say to me and genuinely resented every moment that we were apart and invariably her parting words to me were a variation of "Soon, my beloved, soon."
It came as a surprise to me when she no-showed for one of our dinner dates, right after having received a final 'all's well' from her liver doctor, whom she would now only need to see much less frequently for checkups. Also, Tammy had phoned the previous Friday that nationwide raids of all of the identified Syndicate members was scheduled to start that weekend, and the Monday morning AM news station was reporting 'sweeping raids on a nationwide drug syndicate'. It looked to be the start of a great week.
I wasn't unduly disturbed by Allison's absence though until it became Wednesday evening and I had not received any telephone callbacks to the messages I had left either her and Myra. No one was answering the phone at Myra's house and I began to become concerned.
When I called Myra's secretary, Pamela at her office first Thursday morning, I was told that, "she had received a strange sort of phone call from Myra on Monday morning directing her secretary to cancel all of her appointments, classes and seminars for the week." When asked why, Myra had uncharacteristically screamed for her to, "Shut up and just do it," and then immediately hung up.
"Her voice just didn't sound right," Pamela added.
Now I was deeply disturbed. I cancelled all of my appointments with my own secretary and started to search for the women's whereabouts.
Using my house key for Myra's I gave it a quick look over, nothing obvious and lots of unanswered blinking of her answering machine. The cat food bowl was empty and the water dish dry. Her two cats, which had never had much use for me previously, were now suddenly my best pals as I refilled their food and water dishes. I couldn't resist a taking a look in the drawers of Myra's two bedside tables. I found a lot of interesting sex toys on both sides, with the more eye opening ones on the right side (probably Allison's, Myra always slept on the left side of the bed when we had shared a bed together). Amused and slightly educated, I left, there were no answers here.
Driving in circles, I was running out of places to call and check for her when I remembered her new lab setup at the Serpent's Lair. I kicked myself; it should have been the first place that I should have gone looking for them at. I started to head for the University at once, but something kept bothering me enough that about 2/3rds of the way there I first detoured by my house and picked up my gun. Soon after my return from San Diego I had gone to a gun show and bought a vintage military surplus, but still very serviceable, Colt .45 to replace the pair that I had 'lost' to evidence at the sewage plant. Packing a little reassurance, I broke several speed limits getting to the University.
Just exactly what made me stop and go back home for that weapon I'll never figure out to this day. Come to find out though, it made no difference whatsoever.
Taking the stairs down the basement (there was a freight elevator, but it was key operated only, a good thing since it was also noisy as heck). I found that the chain and padlock were off of the door handles to the Lair (it had never had a proper door mounted lock even in the old days) and I quietly opened it and crept inside.
I could hear a muttering voice, but something told me that it wasn't Myra's. Prepared for the worst I crept down the three cement steps and looked around the right hand hall corner into the center of the room. In my past experience when you prepare for the worst you are rarely disappointed. What I saw did not elevate my spirits though.
First, I saw Allison; That was alarming enough. She was nude, except for wearing a collar around her neck and a pair of sturdy leather cuffs that restrained her hands behind her back. She was kneeling in a submissive position next to small portly middle-aged man wearing a tweed jacket and glasses, who was wearing a headset that seemed to be plugged into Myra's new giant toy, her sensory deprivation chamber, which ominously to be seemed all lit up. A dripping IV and other tubes bearing liquids confirmed my suspicion that someone (probably Myra?) was inside it.
I cursed my crappy luck and drew my gun and angled into the room enough to get a shooting angle, but I wasn't happy with my immediate choices… either equipment or Allison's head blocked all of my immediate paths for shooting, plus I was not a cold blooded murderer. I also didn't know all of the facts and my growing suspicions could theoretically be wrong (in a pig's eye).
I first tried very discretely getting Allison's attention, but to no avail. Her eyes hardly seemed to blink and she didn't move a single muscle for the five minutes I observed her from my semi-hidden spot near the doorway. At least her captor, "M" (I was willing to bet my entire savings upon it being him) was so absorbed in his work, muttering seeming gibberish to me, into his headset microphone. Eventually, my increasing efforts to get Allison's attention attracted his; he seemed only a little surprised but recovered very quickly.
I brandished my gun in a manner that suggested much more confidence than I actually felt and charged into the room to face him. I was still unwilling to risk any shot with Allison anywhere nearby. I then ordered him to release Allison and then step away holding his hands in the air.
He laughed a thin squeaky sort of laugh and complied, whispering something in her ear as he released her from her cuffs and also handed her his silver tipped walking stick while stepping away from her, putting his headset down also.
My unease didn't diminish; Allison showed no signs of recognizing me and did not run or even hurry to my side. I grabbed her and pushed her behind me to protect her, and leveling my gun at "M", I ordered him to the floor and he complied. I thought again about just executing the man who had given me and my beloved so much irreparable grief but I slightly relaxed my grip and decided to cuff "M" instead. Myra might also need him alive to get all of his code words out of Allison, I thought.
Instead, as I took my first step forward to secure him, he shouted one of his codes out first. "Tula, Rumpleforeskin" and then "Tula, Kill!"
I turned just in time to see Allison swinging "M"s heavy silver-ended cane at my head with insane unblinking force. I had no time to dodge the block, which would have split my head open like a ripe melon, but I evaded just enough of the blows main force which struck me hard on the side of my head instead of upon the crown.
I was knocked dazed face down onto the cement floor and never felt the second (or third) blows that immediately followed.
I never realized how nearly my latest fuckup had also almost become my last, but my overworked guardian angel must have had a soft place in his or her heart for fools and utter idiots and I remained unconscious for a very long time.
I awoke with my head feeling like a small nuclear explosion had gone off. The pain was paralyzing and when I felt like I could almost manage to open my eyes, I had to immediately shut them due to the pain and at my quadruple vision.
Wonderful, I had a major concussion at the very least. My hands didn't seem to be tied and my face seemed wet, like I was in a puddle and I could taste blood - nothing bleeds like a scalp wound. The detached Paramedic part of my brain told me that I was hurt… badly, but I could guess that "M" had thought I was dead. I guess he had never learned to take vital signs properly in med school, or else he was overconfident – it did feel like I was in a fairly big pool of blood... all mine.
Things were bad but I had hope. I settled for that and kept my eyes shut for awhile and remained still, but despite my efforts to remain conscious I know that I blacked out at least a few more times. When my sight had improved to merely only having triple vision, I risked taking a long look around at my surroundings.
The pain was nearly unbearable, but I got the good look I needed to evaluate my situation. Allison was kneeling again in the same tranced out position she was in when I had first entered. "M" seemed to be taking a short catnap. I guess even the evil genius couldn't stay awake three or four days straight without a little rest and was lightly snoring with his headphones still on.
I was indeed laying in a large pool of my own blood, but not a dangerously large such amount. It looks worse than it was. I had been dragged across to the other side of the Lair from the doorway on the opposite side of the room from Allison and "M". There was still no sign of Myra.
My first piece of luck! Now, if I could move, I could get the drop on him for a change. The problem was my head was a broken mess and my body wasn't following instructions well. I tried to stand up and had another short blackout. I tried to pull myself up a bit but quit just as I felt myself start to blackout. Not so good.
I went to Plan B, I pulled out my cell phone. "M" assumed a dead person wouldn't be using it, and had left it in my pocket, but he had taken my gun) and started dialing numbers. I got no answer at either my office, Tiny's office (I couldn't remember his newish home phone number) or Myra's office. Darn, it's late at night then.
I seemed to have a harder time focusing and dialing and decided I really only had one good chance left. 911 or Tammy. I choose Tammy first and after at least five attempts someone answered that sounded vaguely like her. Now the problem was that my whispered speech made absolutely no sense to my own ears. Who knows what I was really saying. Was I talking nonsense and hearing it correct, or I was I speaking lucid and my brain was interpreting it as gibberish? For that matter I could not understand a word that Tammy was saying, if by a miracle that was her I had actually reached at all.
I think I then had another long blackout for when I revived, the phone was still powered on, but no one was there. I could see what looked like the low battery signal (I had improved to only suffering double-vision) and it could not seem to stay connected to any signal tower. I was on my own again, and it was now or never to come up with a plan to save ourselves.
I began to slowly inch my way across the floor towards Allison. It took seemingly forever. "M" shifted slightly once but continued to snore (he must have utterly exhausted) and did not awaken. I crawled it seemed for an hour, I reached Allison's side where I could whisper to her safely and not risk being overhead. The problem was, she didn't seem to see or hear me at all. Even gently poking her leg seemed to exact no response. I was exhausted and dizzy and feared that even moving another inch would cause another blackout… I couldn't risk moving much further.
If "M" awoke now, there was no way I could play dead any longer.
Next to Allison was one of the old bar tables. Maybe it had my gun on it or something I could use? I risked pulling myself up into the old carpet covered wall length bench that used to be the main bar seats (there had been a few tables and chair but not many, the grad students had preferred to sit in a three-sided square along the walls for their drinking and group discussions). With effort, I pulled myself up enough to take a look, drat – nothing there on the table. In fact I thought I could now see my gun resting next to "M's" side in the corner. I saw no way of getting over to it, either quickly or safely.
That left only emergency Plan Z, which I had, really, really hoped not to have to try and prayed that my language skills had returned. I took two deep breaths and summoned every ounce of my will and concentration.
"Tula, Rumpleforeskin… Tula answer Master, can you hear my voice." Allison answered in a tiny, far away voice, "Yes Master I hear your voice, but it does not sound like Master's voice." Ok, this might work, but I would have to be oh, so careful.