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Surveillance – Ch. 18

He turned off the TV and set the remote down. He wanted to sleep, but his whole body hurt after what George had made him do. He liked George, and he liked leaving his room, but the things George wanted him to do were hard, like pushing the heavy ball around, or grabbing the tall bar and pulling himself up out of the wheelchair. Some things, like moving his bad leg and arm, he couldn’t do at all, and that made him angry.

With a sigh, he stared up at the ceiling, watching the sunlight fade in and out as clouds drifted across the sky. He heard the door open and raised his head, hoping Harold had come back to see him, but it was the dark woman who had put the handcuffs on him. He didn’t like her, but he didn’t want to be mean.

“Hello,” he said, reaching over to rub at the sore spot in his wrist when the metal hurt his skin.

“Hello, John,” she said, walking over to his bed, frowning as she looked down at him. “Well, it seems your guardian angel came through again. The DA is refusing to prosecute and I’ve been ordered to stop ‘harassing’ you, so…” She pulled out a small ring with pieces of metal strung on it…A word floated up through the darkness inside his mind. Keys. They were keys. She used one of them, a small silver one, to unlock the handcuffs and take them off. He rubbed his hand up and down over his wrist, then pulled his bad arm over into his lap, away from her, just in case.

“Thank you,” he said. He waited for her to go, but she just stood there. After a minute, he looked up at her again. She wasn’t frowning anymore. Instead, she looked a little…sad.

“I don’t think I ever thanked you properly for saving my life,” she said. “So thanks. And…” She sighed. “God, I hope you’ve got everybody fooled, I really do.”

He watched her leave, then rubbed his wrist again as he closed his eyes. A moment later, he heard the door open again, and he wrapped his fingers around his wrist, but it wasn’t the dark woman. It was Megan.

“What did she want?” she asked, coming over to his bed.

He smiled and patted his wrist. “All gone,” he said.

“It’s about time,” Megan said, taking his arm and lifting it so she could look at his wrist. “Does that hurt?” She touched the sore spot, her fingers cool.

“Yes,” he said. She set his arm down and walked to the cupboards where the gloves and tongue sticks and band-aids were kept. As she came back with a band-aid, he asked, “Harold?”

“Sorry, John,” she said, putting the band-aid on his wrist. “I don’t think he’s coming today, either.”

He sighed and looked over, out the window at the tall buildings.

“Do you miss him?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said. “Like Harold.”

“Me, too,” she said, sitting down in the chair beside him. “You knew him, you know. Before you were hurt, he was your friend. Do you remember? Do you remember Harold?”

He frowned, trying to remember. He wanted to remember Harold. Inside his mind, inside the darkness, he could feel something. It was not like the words that came out sometimes, like keys and coffee, it was big, very big, and it made him feel scared. It was bad. It would hurt him, so he pushed it away.

“No,” he said, shaking his head. “No.”

“It’s okay,” Megan said, taking his hand. “I know, why don’t I call Harold and see if he can come for a visit? Would you like that?”

“Yes,” he said. He watched her poke at her phone and then hold it up to her ear. She frowned and brought it down again, then put it back in her pocket.

“Bad news,” she said. “His number has been disconnected. It doesn’t work anymore. I can’t call him.”

“Oh,” he said. He sighed and looked back out the window.

Megan patted his hand again and headed for the door. “Selfish bastard,” he heard her say as she left, but he didn’t know those words, and he didn’t think she was speaking to him.

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