Horace of the Horizon-Part 7
A Time for Darkness
Dr. Mary Sycamore sat in the orange plastic hospital chair, her eyes puffy and raw and her mind barely able to register the scalding heat of the vending machine coffee in her hands.
In another room Police were talking with the Security guard who had found Yoris. His name was Ram Patesh. Mary knew him from when he had worked at the institute at the front desk. A pleasant, articulate and resourceful young man. His brother Surinder worked with Dr. Ray’s son at the Sun newspaper. Mary had always liked Ram. Now she was quite certain that his keen eye and quick thinking had saved her friend and colleague’s life.
Now she just hoped that Dr. Ray could hang on and heal. She wished he would wake up and take back his institute, take back his life.
She thought about Dr Suty Apepi and it made her feel literally sick to her stomach. Whatever happened to Dr. Ray she was all but sure that Apepi was behind it. She just couldn't prove it.
She felt numb, drained and close to simply losing any sort of mental structure, like an ice sculpture melted and deformed into an unrecognizable blob awaiting its eventual fate of utter dissolution under the glare of the sun.
She stared at the floor. The flecked designs of the linoleum floor blurred and swam about like a swarm of gnats.
Worry filled every corner of her mind, and lack of sleep twisted and pinched her joints and muscles.
“Fuck,” she whispered to herself in a hoarsely emotional voice.
She was not the sort to swear. She just wanted her friend to be OK, to not have died a terrifying humiliating death.
She allowed rage and frustration to percolate through her being.
She was kept from letting her mind spiral away by the sound of her own name.
It was Dr. Suty Apepi.
“I came as soon as I heard” he said, his voice laden with concern.
Mary just looked up at him, and said nothing, the coffee cup searing into her hands. He walked across the room, his walking stick making a distinctive ‘clack’ against the floor. He pulled himself into a seat next to hers. “I am afraid that whoever attacked Adam could also be after me. “
He seemed to be oblivious to the look of incredulity Dr. Sycamore shot him.
Instead he nodded as if agreeing with her. “I know Mary, I know but I feel that despite his falling in with the wrong people, and the wrong ideas, at its core Dr. Ray’s work, our work is very important”
An Alliance With Apepi
He twisted in his chair to face her and put his hands on her shoulders and put his face close to hers. He smelled of shaving cream and soap. “Mary!” He said with soft urgency. “I am not ashamed to admit I am worried, that I am frightened, but I owe it to Dr. Ray, my dear friend, I owe it to his work to make sure I continue it, to pursue it as if it were my own.”
He released her but still kept her eyes fixed.
“You know this is what he wanted, I have all of his notes, he shared them with me. All of it.”
Dr. Sycamore’s eyes widened with alarm.
“There is just one thing, but I think you can help me with it, can you help me Mary. You can can’t you? Help honour Yoris Adam Ray by helping me finish his work?”
Mary felt trapped, wrapped tight in coils of lies but entwined around so much that was mostly true and so many difficult emotions. Mary felt trapped and suffocated.
He had already started the process of taking over before Yoris was attacked. He knew she knew that! Yet why would he have given him all of his notes? In the past, maybe, but Dr. Ray had long expressed concern and suspicion regarding his peer. With good cause too, Mary thought.
Abbot Suty Apepi leaned back in his chair and pressed his walking stick against his lips in a contemplative pose.
“Dr. Sycamore,” he began, placing his staff on the ground, so it raised up between his legs like some unnatural phallus. “I have not gotten to where I am and what I am in life by being unaware of the nuances of human interaction, and it is clear you do not trust me”
Mary was so alarmed by this that a small almost animal squeal escaped from her lips.
He raised his hand in a dismissive gesture. “It is Okay Mary, I understand I do with all that has been going on and all the turmoil and change, and maybe even how you may have perceived events in the past, but the truth is Yoris trusted me and you can see that by the fact he gave me his notes, all of it. Whatever else may or may not be true between us, he chose to entrust me with the most important work of his career. Can I ask you to respect his choices enough to give me a chance?”
Trapped! The coils wrapped around her and tightened. She said nothing.
Suty Apepi sighed and gave a regretful look.
“There is one other thing,” he said slowly “There is of course always the chance that the attack on Dr. Ray was random, but I really do not think so. I think it was deliberate, and by a person or persons who want to see our work disrupted and not completed, and they would I fear be willing to go to any lengths to accomplish this,”
He placed his hand against the back of her hand. “There are sadly crazy people in this world, sick people, and evil people. I am worried they might go after you to disrupt our work. I am afraid that what happened to Dr. Ray, will happen to you,”
Suty Apepi was manipulating her, and ensconced in that manipulation was also a very clear and stark threat.
She nodded almost imperceptibly at first and then with more vigor.
“Yes, yes I understand, what do you need me to do?”
Suty Apepi smiled sympathetically. “Thank you, Mary I know this is a tough time for you, so I want you to know how much this means to me, and to the research”
He rolled his walking staff between his fingers and seemed lost in thought for a moment before continuing.
“Dr. Ray gave me all of his notes, except a portion of them are encoded, and obviously if he was conscious I could just ask him, but sadly that is not the case, and so our hopes fall to you,”
Mary Sycamore felt lost and off balance, as the impossibility of her situation seemed to assault her from all sides like massive dissonant trumpet blasts.
She had no idea how or if she could break the code, or even if it was a smart thing to do. She just knew she had to look like she could.
Her very life could depend on it.
“Yes,” She said with mock determination “It won’t be easy, but I will do my best”
Suty Apepi stood up and adjusted the sleeves on his jacket.
“Yes, I know you will”
With that he left the room, leaving Mary Sycamore alone with the cold heartless abyss hungry to swallow her up.
To Be Continued..
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