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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2. The Doctor and His Patient

   Alone in the silence of the pitch black room sat a child as pale as a vampire who’s decrepit condition could’ve made him pass for a walking corpse. He sat in solemn silence listening to the voices he could barely hear through the steel door that held him prisoner to this abysmal cell of a room.

   “It would appear that the child known as Simon is indeed dead,” a voice muffled by the steel door spoke to another. The second voice replied rather uncaringly.

   “Good riddance, he was a constant pain to deal with.”

Hearing these words enraged the child being held in the dark room. ‘They killed him, That mad doctor deserved to die and so does all the people who work in this hell,’ he thought to himself as the rage began to grow more intense. The metal viewing slat on the door was opened, temporarily illuminating the cell that was his room.

   “Edward, please come over here,” a voice called from the other side of the door. Edward sat bewildered by the sound of the voice, it wasn't the voice of any of those who worked at the institute and it was strangely enough soothing to him. The voice called again to him.

   “Edward, could you please come over here, I would like to see your face,” the voice called, snapping Edward from his thinking. Despite the pain and severe dizziness Edward forced himself to stand up and stay standing. Taking careful steps to avoid falling he approached the door. Looking into the slat he saw the shadowed face of a man. After calling to the child the young doctor began to write his initial observations of the child he was to work with. Upon gazing on the boy for the first time the doctor was little disheartened at the poor kid’s condition. As the doctor observed Edward had short cut deep brown hair, and pale steel grey eyes. Upon further visual observation Edward also looked thin with minor muscular definition with signs of obvious malnutrition. ‘He has obviously been abused in his time here,’ the doctor thought to himself. He turned to the stalky, ragged women by his side.

            “Miss Tenmore, please open the door, I wish to get a better view of my first patient,” he cordially stated.

            “Doctor Duquesne I must suggest that you not do so, this child is unstable in the highest degree,” the ragged women replied.

            “Miss Tenmore, must I remind you that he is my patient and thus I may do what I see fit,” Dr. Duquesne replied minorly agitated.

            “Doctor I must protest, after all he was the accomplice that helped Simon escape and cause this fiasco in the first place,” the women replied tersely.

            “Trudy for god’s sake, open the damned door or so help me!” Dr. Duquesne roared with anger. “Or have you forgotten that I am in charge of Dr. Murdoch’s research now, and therefore you will answer and oblige my damn requests!” With fear pounded into the women she quickly opened the door by releasing the latch. The metal door slowly creaked open; the noise was a god awful screeching that played havoc in Edward’s ears, it felt like a hammer being slammed into the back of his skull. Plugging his ears he screamed for the hellish noise to stop when he felt a hand on his shoulder, it was surprisingly warm. Looking up Edward looked into the bluish green eyes of a young man in a white lab coat. The man was evenly built, his hair was somewhat raggedy and black; gold rimmed wire glasses hung on his nose glinting in the pale light of the basement that was solitary confinement. There was a tag on his coat which read as; Dr. Duquesne, Psychologist for troubled children and Special Treatment. So this man was the replacement for Dr. Murdoch and he was expected to carry out his sinister experiments. The thought made Edward cringe with fear for he knew that he would probably die if he was suscepted to any more experiments.

            “Come along now Edward, let’s get you out of here and into the light,” Dr. Duquesne calmly spoke as he nudged and guided the child down the dimly lit hallways. As Edward was guided along his mind slipped into despair as thoughts of death and how his last breath would be spent. Before he knew it though, he was outside in the sunlight. He snapped out of his panicked thought when he felt the chilling touch of the wind wrap around his pale exposed skin.

            “Where am I?” Edward asked in daze of confusion.

            “You are outside the Johnston Institute for Troubled Women and Children,” Dr. Duquesne replied smiling, the sunlight reflecting off his glasses. His smile seemed to draw the sun from the clouds of the dull grey skies.

            “Why am I here? Are you setting me up to be laid to rest doctor?” Edward asked with a mistrusting glare. The doctor examined Edward for a second and laughed a bit.

            “Actually you’re going to be part of my personal research on the psychology of a child with mental issues as far as the institute is concerned,” replied Dr. Duquesne still smiling.

            “That would be a lie though isn't it Dr. Duquesne?” Edward responded with contempt in his voice. Feeling the chill of the wind gave him a rushed sensation of fear, mistrust and the need to just burst out into a violent fit but he resisted as he did for all those years against the torture inflicted upon him be Dr. Murdoch.

            “Nothing gets by you does it Edward?” Dr. Duquesne replied still smiling. “In actuality I’m getting you out of there for a bit, by the way I read your file and there isn't much I don’t know about you and I understand why you and Simon tried to break out.” Finishing with a whisper Dr. Duquesne motioned to the waiting car. Unfortunately all this excitement must’ve been too much for Edward’s beaten self to absorb and as such he stumbled and with a gasp fainted collapsing onto the side walk. Seeing this only made the doctor chuckle slightly. ‘Poor boy couldn't cope with this new found freedom, oh well he’ll adapt over time I suppose,’ Dr. Duquesne thought to himself. Placing the now sleeping child into the passenger seat the doctor got in and drove off through town stopping at the cemetery in town. Walking up the hill to the statue of the winged angel Dr. Duquesne stopped, placed the flowers he had purchased earlier in the day and spoke to the grave for a bit.

            “My name is Charles Edgar Duquesne and I am now in charge of the operations that I understand you tried to run away from. I understand you and Edward were good friends in life and believe it or not I can sympathize with the suffering you two endured,” Dr. Duquesne paused for a second to take in how quiet it was before continuing. “Simon, I hope you are at peace with your family where ever you are; if it isn't too much to ask I wish you could protect Edward and I for what may happen to us in the future… I… I am sorry I wasn't there sooner to help you avoid the final destination you have come to but I hope I am not too late to save Edward and the other children. My hope is that soon that institute will be nothing but a fading memory in the aging pages of history. Goodbye Simon and family.” As the doctor walked back to the car he had the feeling he was being watched and as he drove off in the corner of his eye he thought he saw the figure of a pale skinned child with sea salt crusted blond hair sitting on the angel watching him.

 

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