Chapter 8: The morning; meeting Dr. Morris
Daylight was about to dawn on the horizon, showing the outline of North Hills’ buildings with tonalities of ochre and reddish colours. From Jack’s window she could hear the morning sounds floating in the air, its’ murmurs filtered through and around her like a soft and warm breeze.
Merchant stands were starting to be set up around the main square, surrounded by the three buildings that were North Hills. You could find anything in that market, from clothes and tools, to all kinds of ornamental things. Every Saturday they arrived to fulfill the necessities of each and every citizen who lived inside of the micro city that was the complex.
Jack was by her window looking down at the square, but her mind remained abstracted from reality. This weekly ritual seemed suddenly strange and foreign to her. She was thinking about the last night’s events. Not too many words were said between them at the time. They just remained in silence for the most part of the night, embraced in each others arms. First sitting in the living room and later in Jack’s bed.
Jack felt deeply confused. It seemed that nothing made sense in her life anymore. She had just realized that she had been living in a bubble designed by herself, to protect her from others and, actually, that bubble was about to deflate and leave her exposed to the world. She had been hugged by a dangerous killer, with such tenderness, that emotions had overcome her. It made her think about her actions last night, and about herself.
She remembered Riddick telling her about the security code of the door’s apartment and the furniture in her bedroom, she smiled wide as she thought about Riddick’s joke regarding her preferences in the colour of her clothes. He had said something like “who taught you to dress all in black, kid? A serial killer?”, in a low tone of voice. She actually laughed with him, it was true. She concentrated and tried hard to remember things about him, but the more she tried the less she could remember.
She shivered and looked at her hands that were now shaking slightly. She sighed and went to her drawers. She had felt so relaxed the night before and, for the first time in years, safe, that she had forgotten about her medical treatment. So she pulled out her black box and headed to the bathroom. After take a shower and dressing, she headed toward the kitchen and smiled a little when she realized that Danielle wasn’t at home yet. She probably was in some boy’s bed, she thought to herself and grinned. Well, how could she blame her? After all, she had passed the night with another. The only difference between them was that Danielle’s was probably a guy from the complex, and hers was Richard B. Riddick. Now, look at me, so shy and frightened, even of my own shadow, and in spite of that, I spent the night talking and hugging the most dangerous person in the galaxy, she chuckled at the thought.
Jack made a pot of coffee and took a seat on the couch, thinking about her life on Thalion. The vid com alerted her that a new message was coming in. Jack stood and went to check it. It was from Dr. Morris:
Audrey, meet me at the clinic at 12:00 am
Dr. M. Morris.
Jack glanced at her chrono, it was seven in the morning. Why does Dr. Morris want to see me on Saturday? she asked herself. Jack sighed and headed to her bedroom. Their next meeting wasn’t supposed to happen for another month, so she frowned and laid on her bed staring at the ceiling. She grabbed her pillow and buried her nose in it. Taking a deep breath, she realized that it smelled like Riddick. Her smile widened and she closed her eyes. She would sleep for a couple of hours before she went to her appointment with Dr. Morris.
Dr. Maurice Morris was in his office checking on his patients’ profiles, ignorant of the day of the week. More than twenty years before, that small detail had ceased to be important to him. His job was his life, and his life was investigation. He had studied medicine in one of the most prestigious Universities in the Galaxy, under the supervision of the best professionals. Thanks to his surname and his family’s influence, he had unlimited funds at his disposal to investigate, and the fact that this planet was out of the majority’s reach helped also. Dr. Maurice Morris was the youngest doctor to have been asked to impart his knowledge teaching at university. He had also traveled along the systems as a lecturer, sharing his research about mineralogy studies applied to medicine. But his thirst for glory and his desire to for posterity carried him to make a final decision that ended with him developing his knowledge to The Firm. Like Faust, he sold his soul, twenty five years before, to the devil in exchange for recognition and power. At the time his ambition didn’t know any limits, and neither was his selfishness.
Dr. Morris removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes, they were red and tired from the many hours spent in front of the computer’s screen. He slept just a few hours every day since he would always get absorbed in his research. His conscience was dirty with memories of his past actions, but he hadn’t started to feel guilty about them. Exhausted, he glanced at his beeping chrono, it was nearly twelve o’clock and Audrey would arrive at any time now. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply. Audrey Jacqueline Travis, he thought to himself.
“She is just a child, for God’s sake!”, Dr. Morris exclaimed as Jack’s body was laid on the bed. She was chained by her ankles and wrists. “Take off those immediately!”, he ordered as he checked her pulse. He then turned on his heels and yelled “Who is responsible for this atrocity?”, his voice full of rage as he stared at the two armed men in front of him. Neither of them answered. He gritted his teeth and turned his attention to Jack. She was lying unconscious, beaten and restrained. “I said take these fucking restraints off her!”, he yelled again annoyed and looking over his shoulder.
One of the men looked at the other and the second one nodded yes in one vigorous move; making the first one unchain Jack’s limbs. As soon as they were removed, Dr. Morris took a little scanner and passed it along Jack’s body to look for internal injuries. “I’ll take care of you, Audrey. Everything will be fine now that you’re back with us”, he murmured to her. “Now you’re safe, my dear. No more pain, I swear this to you, my child”, he said to her as he stroked her forehead. One of the men cleared his throat. “Are you still here?”, he asked them without turning.
“She carried this”, the man said and extended his hand with a small sack in it.
Dr. Morris turned and in one fast move he snatched the sack from the man’s hand. “That’s all gentlemen. Now you can leave, your services won’t be necessary anymore”, he said and returned to Jack’s side.
The men looked at each other and left the room. Dr. Morris looked at Jack in silence. Where have you been all this time, Audrey? he asked to himself. Jack shook slightly on the bed and murmured some words that Dr. Morris couldn’t understand, so he bent closer to her head and frowned. “What are you saying, my dear?” he asked softly in a gentle voice.
Jack frowned and shook again but this time a little more hardly. “ …., you promised ….. don’t leave me, … I’ve got no one else but you, …..”, she murmured as she shivered and fell unconscious again.
Dr. Morris frowned. You promised? he thought. Who were you with, Audrey?, he asked silently as he stared at her. He then called his personal team and headed toward his office with her bag. Locking the door, he pulled out her things from the bag and put them inside of a box after checking them. He closed the box and put it inside of the credenza in his office. He then wrote a report with all the events that had occurred that night, and made a copy in a disk. His com sounded and a voice on the other side of the line told him that she was awake, so he opened his safe box and put the disk inside and headed toward Jack’s room in search of answers.
End flash back.
Jack opened the doors made of glass that were at the entrance of Dr. Morris’ clinic. The receptionist smiled at her, but Jack noticed that her smile didn’t reach her eyes. Jack grinned in response. The woman’s smile was as fake as her blonde hair and red nails. She told her to take a seat and wait a minute. Jack did as she was told and waited for Dr. Morris.
The first person she saw when she awoke in the hospital five years ago, was Dr. Morris. He had smiled at her and reassured her that everything would be fine and that she was in a safe place. He acted as if he had known her for years and prescribed her a medical treatment. Along the years he had been her doctor and a friend, but for some strange reason, a voice inside her mind told her not to trust in him completely and she followed her instincts.
“My dear Audrey”, Dr. Morris’ voice brought her back to reality.
Jack looked up at him and smiled. “Dr. Morris”, she said softly.
Dr. Morris bent over and kissed her forehead. “Come to my office, Audrey”, he said as he offered his hand to help her stand up. Jack took it and he guided her along the corridors.
Once in his office, Dr. Morris told her to take a seat and sat in front of her behind his big table made of wood. A real expensive one considering that there weren’t forests in the nearest systems. He cleared his throat. “How you feeling?”, he asked concerned.
Jack looked at him smiling. “Good, I think”, she said and looked down to her t-shirt and played with the bottom of it.
Dr. Morris watched her in silence. Jack’s face reflected fatigue and a slight dark shadow under her beautiful eyes, telling him that she hadn’t slept too well lately. “Something out of the norm?” he stared at her.
Jack raised her head in one fast move and slowly nodded no. Dr. Morris narrowed his eyes and both went silent for a moment. “Why do you want to see me?”, she asked stroking her hair.
Dr. Morris breathed deeply and looked at her with concern written all over his face. “Audrey, I’ve been your doctor for the past five years. The treatment I prescribed you, it seems that it hasn’t had the desired effect, and the truth is I don’t know what to think”, he said as he pulled out from one of his drawers a copy of her medical profile in paper and waited for her to say something.
Jack remained silent and continued to play with her t-shirt. For some reason she didn’t feel the urge to tell him that she remembered a few things here and there. They were mostly about Riddick.
Finally he gave up and sighed. “It seems to me that your memory loss is going to be permanent, Audrey”, he explained to her as he glanced through her medical profile, not really paying attention to the information printed in it. “Honestly, I think I can’t do anything else, my dear Audrey”, he closed her profile and looked at her.
Jack raised her head and locked eyes with him. “And ….. and now, what is going to happen with me, Dr. Morris?”, she asked as she rubbed one hand on her thigh nerviously.
“Well that’s depends on you”, he fixed her with his gaze. “What about the seizures? You still have them?”, he asked. Jack nodded yes. “Ok. Now pay attention to what I’m going to explain you. You must go on with your treatment”, he said as stood and went to her side. Jack followed him with her eyes. “It means the difference between life and death for you, Audrey”, he said as he sat close to her and took her hand in his.
Jack panicked when she heard his words. “But ….. but, you’ve just said that this treatment is not going to help me anymore, so ….”, she trail off trying to hide her fear.
Dr. Morris stroked her hand tenderly and looked at her eyes. “Audrey, listen to me. If you leave the treatment and have a seizure, your heart won’t be able stand the stress and you’ll suffer a heart attack”, he explain to her as her eyes widened, completely shocked. “Promise me that whatever happens, you won’t leave the treatment, Audrey. Just promise me that”, he pleaded with his voice deathly serious.
Jack felt tears rising but forced them back. She had believed that her medical treatment was something temporary, and now she would have to take the injections for the rest of her life! She shivered thinking about that fact. Her throat was closed and she tried to breath deeply. After a moment she cleared her throat. “All right, I’ll do it”, she whispered and sounded weak.
Dr. Morris nodded and smiled. “Excellent”, he said and stood. “I must leave Thalion for a while, just public lectures, and I have already anticipated this, I have taken care so that you’ll be provided with your treatment during my absence”, he explained to her as he offered his hand to help her stand.
Jack took his hand and stood. She then closed her eyes and breathed deeply, trying to dissolve the nut in her throat. “When should I get the ampoules?”, she asked looking at him.
Dr. Morris turned and went to the door. “Right now, Audrey”, he opened the door. After that he hugged her and kissed her forehead. “Take care, my dear Audrey”, he said. As he let go of her, his face had a look of guilt that didn’t go unnoticed by Jack. She narrowed her eyes and nodded , “I’ll take care of myself, doc”, she muttered and turned on her heels and headed toward the infirmary level.
Dr. Morris watched as she headed to the lift . “Good luck, Audrey”, he whispered as he stared at the girl that had been under his watch since she was three years old. You’ll need it now that you are going to face the devil, he thought, smirking, and closed the door to his office.
“Miss. Travis, wait a minute, please”, a female voice called from behind.
Jack headed toward the doors made of glass and stopped when she heard someone calling her. She turned and saw a young woman running in her direction with a box in her hands.
“What’s this?”, Jack asked as she looked at the box in the woman’s hands.
The woman shrugged and smiled. “Dr. Morris asked me to give you this, Miss. Travis”, she handed it to her as she talked.
Jack frowned and narrowed her eyes in suspicion. “Thanks”, she said as she gyrated it in her hands.
She froze when she saw something written on one side of it. She saw her name and a date marked on it, and she gasped as her eyes widened. After what seemed an eternity for her, but were just a few seconds, she stared at the box lost in thought. She suddenly turned around and saw that she was alone in the hall of the clinic. So, Jack crossed to the doors and went outside. She hurried her steps with her treatment pocketed in her cargo pants and the box under one arm, thinking about the date stamped on it. It was from five years before. Why did Dr. Morris give it to me after all these years, she thought to herself as she walked, trembling and sweating, almost running after a few metres, in the direction to her apartment.