In Good Faith

This is a short story thing I've written, it won't take much of your time, and I'd be very pleased if someone was to provide some feedback!

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1. Blue walls

PALE LIGHT DRIFTED softly in through the frosted window and settled upon the room like snow, there were no shadows here, no place where this cold but peaceful glow did not touch. The light fell upon the blue walls and white tiled floor, the pale plastic office chair. It fell upon the single wooden door and passed through the window within it and drifted into the hallway on the other side. It fell upon the bed with the white sheets, and it fell upon her face. It kissed her ratty ginger hair that exploded from her head, her pale skin turned grey by dust, her spots and her eyes, deep brown eyes. Wide open. Looking up at the ceiling in fear.

 

She did not move for a few seconds, she dared not even move her gaze, dared not even breathe. Then suddenly, deciding it was safe, she bolted upright and looked around the room for anyone who dared attack her.

 

But there was not a soul in sight.

 

She rested on the edge of the bed and tried to control her heart rate. She looked to the frosted window, but could see nothing on the other side, only a blurry blueness the colour of sky. She turned to the door, and through it’s window she could see a corridor, with walls the same ocean blue as her room’s. Nobody walked through the corridor, and she could hear no footsteps, only the gentle whirring of the air conditioning and her panicked breathing. Pain in her stomach. She winced.  But when she reached for her pockets she realised, with disdain, that they had changed her into this stupid hospital gown and in the process taken away her medication.

 

They changed me, but didn’t bother to shower me? She thought, noticing her smell, Or maybe they did, they just couldn’t get it out. Her dry humour did nothing to calm her nerves.

 

Footsteps. She jumped up from the bed and grabbed the chair, holding it in front of her in defence and retreating to the corner of the room, “STAY BACK!” She shouted at the door.

 

The footsteps stopped, she couldn’t see anyone through the door yet but knew they must be close.

 

“Vicky Fletcher?” Said a voice, male.

 

“No!”

 

The voice ignored the lie, “I’m a doctor.” it said.

 

“Let me see your face!”

 

He stepped into view on the other side of the door.

 

His hair was blonde and well-groomed,  his features were indistinct, with a flat chin and small nose. He wore a doctor’s coat and carried a clipboard, and it is between this clipboard and her that his pale blue eyes darted. Each time their eyes met he regarded her with something between hate and fear. This strange mix of emotions didn’t surprise her; she tended to provoke that reaction.

 

He inhaled like a man about to be executed and reached to open the door.

 

“STAY BACK!” She shouted suddenly and his hand retreated almost in relief.

 

They stared at each other through the glass for a few seconds.

 

“Tell me your name!” She demanded.


 

He wasn’t really looking forward to this. But he had known it was coming for a long time and had mentally prepared for the occasion, prepared to have the walls ripped down, prepared to be broken.

 

She looked so much older than she actually is, he thought, life and suffering had embedded themselves into her face in wrinkles and scars. Her eyes were bloodshot, her voice raspy, and when she spoke he saw her tongue was black. She was only 25... But she looked 50. It made it hard to hate her when he saw her like this, when he saw her so weak and afraid.

 

“Doctor...” He couldn’t tell her his real name, he thought, “...House.”

 

He regretted the bad lie immediately. Of all the time he’d spent thinking about this event, had he never stopped to think he might need a fake name? He checked his watch - an ornate gold thing - nervously.

 

Vicky raised an eyebrow, “Dr. House? Like the TV guy?”

 

He winced, “Yes... Like the TV guy.”

 

She frowned.

 

“Can I come in?”

 

“No.” She said instinctively. There was silence for a while, and during this time he begged she wouldn’t give in, he begged she’d hold him out the room until it was over. But he knew this wouldn’t happen, it couldn’t happen.

 

“Ok, Ok you can come in.” She said finally.

 

He entered, and he could feel her gaze noting his reluctance, he could feel her observing every movement of every muscle in his body, “Put the chair down,” He said, wanting it to sound like an order when in truth it was a beg.

 

She refused to move, “Where am I?”

 

“You’re in a hospital. Sit down, please.” He looked at his watch again.

 

“I’ll sit when I want to sit. How am I still alive?”

 

“Someone found you and called us.”

 

“Why is there no heart rate monitor?”

 

He was surprised by this question, “We saved you, you were fine, all that was required was rest. Now please, sit down.”

 

Vicky frowned, and put the chair cautiously on the ground before sitting on it.

 

He realised that she had just sat on the only chair in the room, and was forced to perch on the end of her bed awkwardly.

 

“What do you want with me, then?” She asked him, still very hostile.

 

“Tell me about yourself.”

 

“What?” This confused her, “Are you a councillor?”

 

“Yes, tell me about yourself, tell me your story.”

 

She laughed, “What the hell is this?”

 

He winced, he didn’t want to have to do this, he wished this would be over, “Please...” He urged. Checking his watch again.

 

“All right then.” She smiled slyly, “From the beginning?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“My WHOLE story?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Well, I was raised on farm in Yorkshire, I had a lovely childhood, lots of friends, my parents were very kind-”

 

“You’re lying.” Interrupted the doctor.

 

“Yeah well maybe I shouldn’t be being interrogated by a FUCKING JOURNO!” She shouted, stepping up from the chair in a sudden explosion of anger. He crawled backwards onto the bed to retreat from her, “Who the hell do you think you are!” She screamed at him.

 

“I’m not a journalist.” He whispered weakly.

 

“Well you seriously are NOT a fucking doctor are you? I know your type, you’re here for the next big scoop, aren’t you? I can see the headlines now: “The True Story of the Child Killer!””

 

He was now crouched at the head of the bed, with the girl stood at at the bottom berating him, he clung the clipboard to his chest with one arm, “No... Listen, I need to explain.”

 

“NO!” She shouted, picking up the chair, “GET OUT!”

 

“I’m not a journalist!”

 

“GET OUT OF HERE!” She screamed, wielding the chair threateningly.

 

“You have 7 minutes! 6 now!”

 

She charged at him, climbing up onto the bed with the chair in front of her. He rolled off, “Listen!” He begged, “I’m telling you now you have 6 minutes left to live!”

 

“GET OUT!” She repeated for a third time, climbing off the bed and charging again. Trapped in the corner, he dived to one side. And ended up laying down in front of the door, still with the clipboard against his chest.

 

“GET. OU-”

 

Her legs buckled, the chair fell, and suddenly Vicky was on the floor, paralysed by pain, desperately trying not to scream.


 

Pain. Vivid red pain like knives in the stomach, pain that made tears well in her eyes. Dr “House” tried to help her, but she batted his hand away and screamed at him and that seemed to shut him up.

 

It’s a terrifying thing, to realise you’re not dead when you fully expected to be, when you wanted to be.

 

“Do you understand?” He said, after the pain abated.

 

She crawled into a crouch on the floor, one hand still on her stomach, the other wiping away the tears in her eyes, “Yes...” She whispered. He offered to help her up, she declined.

 

She struggled to her feet, clambered back onto her chair.

 

He checked his watch again, “5 minutes.” He said softly, sitting once more on the edge of the bed.

 

“5 minutes exactly?” She asked, her strength slowly returning. In her stomach, the echos of that searing pain began to fade.

 

“5 minutes and 3 seconds.” He said, looking at his watch, she noticed that the mixture of hate and fear he felt before was going away, he was more comfortable now, more in control.

“How do you know this?”

 

“I just do; I’m a doctor. Now, tell me about yourself.”

 

“How could you know with such accuracy? ”

 

“I just do.” He snapped.

 

She squinted with suspicion, “I don’t trust you.”

 

“Well, do you want to risk it? Do you want to die knowing you never said anything?”

 

This caught her off guard, “All right then. All right then I tell you. Screw it, why not?” she leaned back in the chair, then added, “It wasn’t my fault he died, you know.”

 

He winced at the thought of the child’s death, “I know.” He said, “I know.”

“Well, I grew up with my grandparents. I didn’t know my parents, my grandparents said I’d just been dropped at the door one day by my Dad. “This is your daughter’s child.” He said, and then walked off. My Mum was dead, you see.”

 

She inhaled deeply, she wanted to tell this story, she realised, but at the same time she was afraid, “My grandma and grandad never knew who he was; we could never track him down. But I always wanted to meet him, always wanted to find him.

 

“I was a shitty child, to be honest. Always stealing and getting involved with the police, and grandma and granddad, bless them, couldn’t raise me for shit. They were old, grandma was senile and granddad weak and decrepit. So I was left to my own devices a lot, got drunk, did drugs, stole and got in fights.

 

“When I was fifteen, my grandma was dying, social services were coming in like vultures ready to whip me off to some foster home. I didn’t want a foster home. I wanted my Dad. I hacked grandad’s computer to see if he knew more information.” Her voice began to quake, her hand trembled, “I discovered my he already knew where my father was; he’d tried to contact them a few years ago but they’d declined. Pissed as hell... I- I wrote down the address and set off.”


 

The doctor looked at her with sympathy, he knew how the story went, he could see it all taking place in his mind. He didn’t want to hear this any more than she wanted to say it.

 

But he knew he had to hear it all, he had to hear it until the end. It was his duty.

 

“Do you want to go on?” He asked. Knowing that no matter what she said, he’d have to force her anyway. He checked his watch, 3 minutes.

 

She stood up from the chair, “I’ll be...” Then she fell to the ground once more in a spasm of pain.

 

He rushed over to help her, crouching down. “Are you-” He was interrupted by a fist hitting his face.

 

He tumbled to the ground. That brat! She’d faked her pain to attack him! He was dizzy, and could see through his half-shut eyes her blurry shape climbing off the floor and running to the door.

 

“NO!” He shouted.


“Fuck you and your games!” She spat back.

 

He closed his eyes and waited; there was no point trying to stop her now. He heard her stop in the hallway. He heard her gasp.

 
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