Echoes of Tomorrow's Past - Part 14 (My Original Novella)

in #steemit2 years ago

The tenth consecutive day of respite had brought with it something that had been alien to them for quite some time. Normality. After much persuasion, James relinquished control over his sleep to the powers of medication. The pills Dr. Grey provided seemed to have been the miracle antidote they had so wished for. A dreamless, restful night followed by a day of cognizant productivity. The dark cloud pervading their skies had appeared to drift away. Each morning, Dr. Grey would call to receive a daily update on James’s well-being as well as provide further assistance if required.


Dolores paced the corridor in her usual hurried manner. She kept the phone balanced under one shoulder whilst spooning out another helping of strawberry yoghurt from the small, plastic cup. Glancing up at the clock in the hallway, she saw it was 9.46am. James would still be out for at least for another hour and back just in time for a late breakfast. She had always made it a point to have these conversations when James was not around.

”Well, I must say I’m extremely pleased with what I’m hearing so far.” Said Dr. Grey over the phone’s muffled loudspeaker. ”It would still have been preferable to follow up with a more thorough examination of him, but if he staunchly refused to see me, there’s little I can do from my side.”

”Yes, Doctor. It's his stubborn nature. Perhaps one of his most redeeming qualities.” She remarked back. ”Believe me, every day I’ve been at him to pay a visit and get the all-clear from you, but he insists things are back to normal. Though I must admit. I’ve almost been sleeping with one eye open these days, given his previous nocturnal outbursts.”

”I understand.” Replied Dr. Grey. ”It’s not the first time one of my patients found it easier to run away from a problem than tackle it head on. But I’m counting on him changing his mind in the end. He’s scared right now but I’m sure that feeling will start to subside in time. He’ll think more rationally when that happens.”

Dolores moved into the kitchen, flipping open the lid of the trashcan and tossed the empty container inside. ”One thing that’s been on my mind is how everything has just stopped. The nightmares, the visions, just up and vanished into thin air all of a sudden. I mean, does that make any sense to you?”

She could hear him rubbing against the course stubble of his chin in the background. ”Given that I’ve only encountered the singular case of poor Mr. Wilcot, I can only take an educated guess right now. But you mentioned that James has been taking the pills every night before bed, correct?”

”That’s right.” She answered before returning to slump into the living room couch, tucking her legs up as she did so.

So that would mean those pills are suppressing the subconscious because of the deep sleep they put him under. Though normally, a certain level of brain activity would still occur during normal sleep patterns. So, with that aspects deadened, it’s like someone just turned out the light switch. A total shutdown. And as for no other recurring issues during the day, again I can only hazard a guess. Possibly the subdued state of his subconscious during night hours somehow carries over into the day. I can’t be exactly sure without running the necessary tests. It’s imperative you convince him to see me as soon as possible so we can understand more clearly what’s really going on.”

”Of course, Doctor.” She reaffirmed. ”That’s all I’ve been trying to do these days. To make him see sense and speak to you further about this matter.” She closed her eyes in frustration at the thought of James gambling their life away on his personal insecurities of another trip to the clinic.

”Give it time, Dolores. Again, from my understanding, this attitude won’t last. He’ll come around soon. Now more to the point, how are you holding up in all of this?”

That was the first time the Doctor had asked her that. James bottled up his paranoia to such an extent that communication between them all but dried up. Since they had both returned back to work a few days past, the only time spent together had been at the dinner table, sitting opposite each other. Hardly a word spoken besides the usual small talk. Apart from the nightly coercion to take his meds which was fast becoming more of an ordeal than a wife’s dutiful responsibilities. The stress was beginning to tearing them apart, she thought.

”To be frank, Doctor. I’m at the end of my tether.” She murmured, almost out of embarrassment. ”I also can’t sleep properly now. You see, I’m worried sick about us. I mean, what happens when he stops taking those pills you gave me? I know the problems will come back again, only this time with a vengeance.”

”Mrs. Donnell, let’s not rush this but instead take things one step at a time.” Dr. Grey interjected. ”As long as he stays on them for now, everything appears to be under control. Therefore, your main priority should be getting enough rest to cope with what’s happening.”

”That’s easy for you to say. You don’t have to lie down every night in fear of your own life. What if he woke up and saw me as somebody else? What if he attacked me… or worse?” The Doctor knew full well these were valid concerns, but could not let her see his acknowledgement of this fact. His voice tightened in response.

”You need to take a step back and look at the situation preceding you. He is under the influence of medication and at work most of the day. Coming up to a week and a half now and still no sign of any hallucinogenic imagery. Things are under control for the time being.”

Dolores breathed out a heavy sigh in reconciliation. ”I know, Doctor. All I’m saying is even though things are as you say, his current mental condition is still questionable. He’s always on edge, readying himself for some unexpected eventually. He’s finding it harder and harder to hold it together, I can just feel it. And I don’t know how much more of this I can take.”

At that moment, the phone sounded out two beeps in quick concession. ”Hold on, Doctor. I’ve got a call waiting.” The Doctor heard the faint click as she answered the other line. It was clear to see there were more issues at play here than simply curing James of his medical dilemma, he thought. The relationship itself was hanging on by a bare thread. Whether James saw that or not was debatable given the pre-occupied mental state he was engulfed in. Without Dolores in the picture, James would surely fall apart. His prescribed meds offered a temporary band-aid that would soon run their course of effectiveness. What happened after that was anyone’s guess.

The phone clicked back. “Doctor.” Dolores shrieked. ”We’ve got a big problem. At the supermarket. It’s James. I think he’s having another attack.”

(To Be Continued)


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Hope you enjoyed this story, please look out for more on the way... (author: @ezzy)

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