“You don’t need to be scared. Your husband has regained the ability to speak.” he said without a smile.
Susan burst into tears, overjoyed by the news that traveled into her ears. She closed her mouth with her right palm as though it would escape from there.
“What is the other news?” she wiped her tears quickly, hoping her heart wouldn’t melt at the mention of whatever it was. She stared at the doctor, but her eyes were fixed on his aging mouth.
“Your husband.” the doctor was about to establish the statement when Susan cut in out of anxiety.
The mention of ‘your husband’ kicked her out of her mind. She must have thought something had happened to her husband since she would not be expecting a good news.
“What happens to my husband?” she asked pulling herself forward to the tip of the chair. Her eyes were all open and it felt she would faint at the mention of anything the doctor would spill.
“Madam, you have to calm down. I didn’t say it would be a bad news. Don’t be too agitated.” the doctor who could sense the obvious fear in her eyes, voice and reaction said, gesticulating using his two weak hands. “The news is that although your husband seems good now, he’ll not be going home with you neither us he leaving here tomorrow.”
“Bu..t why?” Susan asked, confused. She wondered why the hospital will want to keep him since he was okay. Maybe the doctor was trying to hide something from her, she thought.
“Well, I discussed with your husband and I must tell you that he is scared of going back home.” the doctor pulled himself forward as he talked, trying to get Susan’s full attention.
Susan stared, looking into his eyes, wondering what his husband told the doctor.
“He told me about the birds he sees every morning, and to crown it all, he had seen one in his office, waiting for his arrival before flying out through the window at the sight of your husband.” the doctor broke the unknown story responsible for Dave’s sudden attack.
Although Susan would have preferred hearing it directly from Dave, she was surprised he found the owl right there in his office. But if there Dave was seeing the birds in his head at home, it could be possible he was only imagined seeing an owl on in his office, she thought.
“But I don’t think these birds really exist. I think they are just his imaginations.” Susan told the doctor. She tried to take hold of herself.
“I don’t believe in superstitions also, but I knew something was off when he mentioned that he saw it in his office. Just like you, I thought he was going crazy. But can you tell me why you think the birds aren’t real?” he asked, resting his back on his chair. His greybeards were pointed forward and his arms folded.
“He sees these birds every morning, but when I checked to ascertain this morning, I could not find the birds at the spot he claims to find them.” she said with fear in her voice. Her eyes were cracking also but she tried to hold back the tears. She could not look into the doctor’s face, but into her thought.
“Exactly what I expected.” the doctor smiled, leaning forward again. “I’m not an inspector but I have so much interest in your husband’s case.” he said, looking straight into Susan’s eyes without blinking.
Susan lifted her eyes, unsure of what the old man was driving at.
“If it were to be spiritual like the birds were real, then they could have shown up here just like they did in his office.” the doctor said. “If it were just to be his imaginations, again, he should be shouting by now.” he continued.
“What are you trying to say?” Susan quickly broke in.
“There is more to this. I think there’s somebody out there trying to play games in his head.” the doctor spilled resting his back on the chair and rocking it.
For minutes, Susan went speechless. She tried to figure out what he was trying to say, but it all did not make sense at that moment. She just kept staring.
“So, what next?” she finally broke the long-existing silence.
The doctor bowed his head as though he didn’t know what next. He kept rubbing his palm against his face before speaking up.
“The ball is now in your court.” he simply said.
“Do I involve the police or what?” she asked, still confused about what step it was expected of her to take.
“The police? Not at all. You need to play the heroine’s role in your husband’s life this time. You need to investigate this yourself. Don’t worry, I’ll always be here to help you.”
“The heroine’s role.” Susan repeated slowly. “What do I do now?” she asked, staring at the doctor.
“Has Dave’s office remained open ever after the incident?” “No. It has been locked ever since then. I have the keys with me.”
“Perfect! Don’t tell any soul about this. Not even Christopher?” he asked as though he wasn’t sure if the name. Susan nodded her head. “Yes, not even him. The person responsible for all that is happening is someone close.” he warned. “Now, you have to visit the office when everyone is gone. At least, if there was a bird, it should have left a feather behind. Just try to look around the room to get whatever is necessary.”
“Of course. You have a point there.” Susan said, nodding her head in agreement. “Can I see my husband now?” she asked suddenly.
“I’m sorry but he would not be seeing any visitor until we have made some progress in this case. I already told him that.” he said looking serious.
“Are you serious?” Susan asked. She could not believe her ears.
“I’m afraid I am. The earlier you figure out something, the better for the both of you.” the doctor said, trying to attend to some files piled up on his table.
Susan got the impression he was done talking with her for the day. Maybe it was time to be on her way, she thought. ‘The earlier, the better.’ this kept ringing in her head.
“I didn’t get your name the other day.”
He looked up, “Albert”.
THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING!!
Read previous episodes here.