Atonement

The sequel to the short story "Coming Home," some time has passed since the incident between Simon and the doctor which resulted in their deaths. If you haven't read the first story "Coming Home" I suggest reading it first to clear up any confusion about the beginning. The aim was to answer questions left in the short story; please comment, and enjoy.

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5. Recoveries and Rememberance

 

     At this point Dr. Duquesne had finished with the poor kid he had to cut open, the child was now patched up and awake, but he was deathly ill as a result of the doctor’s tampering of the boy’s insides. That was when the call came in that Edward had been admitted to ‘Mercy Regional Hospital’ and Dr. Duquesne saw this as a double opportunity, and after slipping by Miss Tenmore the doctor signed out for the day and snuck the other sickly child into his car and thundered off to the hospital darting through traffic at dangerous speeds.

Back in purgatory the two child friends continued to converse with each other as good friends do until the clock in the corner of the room chimed announcing it was time for Edward to return to his body.

            “Well it’s time for you to go my friend, but don’t worry I’ll be watching from above making sure you guys are safe. Goodbye for now Ed,” Simon spoke as he faded away along with the world around him. Before Edward could respond he felt as though he had been sucked through a straw as he was thrown back into his body. When Edward awoke he was in a hospital bed by a window overlooking a town below.

            “How are you feeling Edward?” Dr. Duquesne’s voice called out quietly.

            “Oh, I feel fine I guess. To tell you the truth there isn’t much I remember,” Edward responded alertly. “Can we go home now Edgar?”

            “Even if I say no you’d come anyway, am I right?” Dr. Duquesne chuckled.

            “You bet I would,” Ed smiled. “Besides as you can imagine I hate hospitals.” Quickly getting dressed he stretched a little, yawned and assumed his position at the doctor’s side smiling.

            “Well you bounce back quickly, but I suppose that is expected for a child, sure just let me get a few things signed and we can go,” Dr. Duquesne replied. As he signed the release papers for Edward he instructed the doctors that if the other child survived, release him to an orphanage since the doctor had “found” him on the side of the road, which was a bold faced lie. According to the papers he had written up for his report the child died on the table and Dr. Duquesne had cremated him and stored the ashes away temporarily, which the doctor knew the institute would believe with no doubt. As the sun set Edward and Dr. Duquesne returned home. The car ride home was a long and quiet one; both Dr. Duquesne and Edward had been through a trying first day of their new lives. It was Edward who broke the silence first.

            “Edgar, would it be too much if we could stop by the cemetery?” Edward asked. “I need to properly say goodbye to my friend.”

            “I don’t see why not, as long as you are up to it I suppose,” Dr. Duquesne replied with a smile of empathy on his face. When they got to the cemetery, the doctor stopped the car, turned it off and started up the hill with Edward in tow. As Edward talked to the grave of his friend, Dr. Duquesne walked over to a nearby stone bench and sat down. Looking to the west side of the cemetery he was taken aback by the striking beauty of the sunset seeming setting the sky ablaze.

            “It’s beautiful isn’t it?” came Edward’s voice from behind. Standing up the doctor brushed his coat off, and turned to face Edward.

            “Yes it is,” he replied to the boy’s question. “It is one of nature’s most beautiful moments in life.” Edward looked at Dr. Duquesne, and then back at the sky smiling lightly.

            “Yeah, the few times they let the kids out Simon and I would sit on one of the benches and watch the sun set; it made us feel alive,” Edward finished with a quiver in his voice. With that the two of them walked back to the car and drove off towards the house. That is when the doctor asked a peculiar question to Edward.

            “Edward out of curiosity, you know what I do for a living, and I know what you’ve endured at the hands of Dr. Murdoch so tell me; if you could get revenge on those who tormented you, would you?” asked the doctor with a mildly evil grin on his face. At first Edward was puzzled.

            “Are you testing my sanity doctor?” Edward asked with a hint of mistrust in his voice.

            “No, not at all,” Dr. Duquesne replied. “Just hypothetically, if you could, would you?”

            “If I only could doctor, I would annihilate every last one of them and burn that hell hole of a place. Why do you ask doctor?” Edward replied grinning as he fantasized over how he would erase the institute from the face of the Earth. There was a moment of silence between the two and then again Edward broke the silence.

            “I have to wonder, why would you ask such a question of me?”

            “Because Edward, I think it is time to put my true research project into action, and by the end nothing will remain of that place,” Dr. Duquesne replied in a sinister tone, laughing quietly to himself as he too fantasized evil deeds. By the time the two of them returned, it was black out as the sun had set. Dr. Duquesne parked the car in the roundabout and went inside, leaving the door open for Edward. He sat there on the steps for a while wondering what was going to happen to him in the next few months; would the doctor finish his experiments and then leave them all in the dark basement of the institution? Would he kill them off one by one, starting with him? These thoughts gave Edward chills so he stopped thinking about it. As he walked inside he thought he heard a voice ever so faint, being carried on the winds.

            “Remember us,” said the wind, as it wiped through the trees and the yard. It stopped Edward dead in his tracks until he heard Dr. Duquesne’s voice.

            “Are you coming in Edward?” the doctor yelled from inside the house.

            “Yes Edgar, I’m coming in now,” Edward replied as he walked up the steps. He looked back for a moment, and thought he saw a shadow amongst the trees. He stood there for a second and then went inside to the comfort of the house, closing the door behind him.

 

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