The Fall of the Phoenix
by TT (a.m.tilmouth.s99 at cranfield.ac.uk)
Tessa woke up; coloured blotches met her and she blinked to try
and clear the mist from her eyes. She waved a hand in front of her eyes;
something pink flew across her vision, making her jump. There was a minute
of confusion before she remembered where she was.
She heard the door lock, followed by hinges, footsteps, and the
clatter of a tray. 'You slept through breakfast, my friend, so I gave it
to the lab rats. Lunch, however, is tuna sandwiches, crisps and orange
Tessa shook her head. 'Not hungry.'
She heard the manís breathing change: slower, more deliberate. 'Oh,
I made it myself; no arsenic or anything, I guarantee.'
'Sorry, still not hungry.'
She felt breathing right next her cheek. She moved away and nearly
fell off the bed; hands grabbed her.
'Careful, canít have you hurting yourself, can we!' She was pulled
back upright and the tray was placed on her lap. 'I do suggest you eat it
or itíll be chloroform and vitamin injections for you, my friend. And I
must admit I donít have any particularly small needles, so it will hurt,
and I really donít want to hurt you. ' A gloved hand brushed her cheek;
'Iíd just make a mess; I canít see anything.'
A hand grabbed hers. 'Iíll help; Iíve got a half an hour to spare,
my friend, and we can talk.' She felt a glass being pressed into her hand.
'Itís not that full so donít worry about spilling it.' The figure by her
side helped her drink and eat something.
Tessa forced herself to be calm during the meal; the man was always
so close to her she could feel and hear his breath. His hands were strong
and without her sight she didnít think she could have fought him and won,
so she sat and talked a little, ate a little. She felt utter repulsion for
him for some reason, even though she had never set eyes on him. Eventually
she decided it was the tone of his voice: it was so eager and in some
weird way, hungry, as if he was savouring her every word.
Eventually she heard footsteps across the room -- high heels, she
thought. She heard the sound change to carpet and then the womanís voice
came at her from the doorway. 'You should not be in here, Doctor. Your
work is far from complete.'
Tessa felt movement by her as the man bobbed at the woman in the
doorway. 'Loss of sight is very hard on the bearer; the young lady was
having trouble eating.'
'Even so, she can manage. Out of here, now; deliver her meals
through the slot as arranged.' Tessa felt the man get up and leave in, as
far as she could tell, a sulky manner.
The heels came closer. 'I would not encourage the doctor, my dear;
he isnít...good with humans.' There was a brief spurt of laughter. The
heels clicked out the door, leaving her alone again.
On to Part 10!
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