This story is a lot darker than most of my work, so be warned!
Doctor Novak walked in the direction of the main room, the medicine room, where all the medicine were standing, ready to be divided among the patients.
Except he wasn't walking, he was more like… sneaking in that direction, almost afraid to be noticed by the nurse who was currently working on the medicine.
Every nurse who worked night shifts had that task: they divided all the medication between the patients, so the nurses who divided the medicine wouldn't have to: it saved time. Nobody who divided the medicine would really look at the little boxes as it wasn't their task, making things easier and the dividing of the medicine quicker.
Together with that nurse, Doctor Novak was working the night shift. They were the only ones in the whole department.
It was strange, him sneaking – despite having emigrated from the Czech Republic at his twelfth, he had always felt at home in the United States, he had always felt welcome and never did he have to sneak. Nobody made him to, anyhow: doctor Novak was not the kind of guy to sneak, as he was always quite a presence in the room.
But this woman had mysteries he had to solve, right then.
It was five years ago that nurse Kelly White joined him as a co-assistant, a nurse in training who stood and watched, looking at the real nurses and learning from them for a while before moving on.
She was a happy, outgoing, social woman, never refusing to go out with the rest of the staff. She celebrated her last day as a co-assistant with pie, sharing it with all the nurses: she had bought plenty, saying her brother and sister had helped her carry it along.
Long story short, she left with a party and went on with her education.
Two years later, she rejoined his staff, saying she liked working in there – but the only thing that was the same about her was how she looked like.
The outgoing, social, nice Kelly White had disappeared, and there was a woman in her place who had built a long, hard, impregnable wall around herself.
She never joined any activities done by the department to ensure some group-bonding anymore: she didn't go to restaurants, nor did she ever go bowling, which was a tradition. She was incredibly hard to reach.
Novak decided to shrug it off, he had no need to be sneaking around in his own department. Nevertheless, he felt inclined to be discrete about this – about the secret nurse White had, which he thought he had uncovered.
He saw her working on the meds and he got closer.
"Kelly," he said, and nurse White looked up immediately.
"What is it?" She asked, not stopping her work, putting all the necessary meds in the jars for the other nurses to divide among the patients.
"I want to talk to you."
Three months ago, another patient joined the ranks. His name was Finn Belacqua, and he had been sent to the hospital by the feds, who had caught him killing his sister. A psychiatrist had determined he was insane and needed to go to a hospital as soon as possible, where the nurses would take care of him. Doctor Novak would supervise him and write a report on him every month, just like he did with all other patients.
He had suicidal tendencies and believed he wasn't mad at all, and he had problems with trust – he believed everyone around him was trying to kill him. In other words, a typical schizophrenic.
Yet there was something strange about this man, making nurse White want to stay away from him. Whenever she had a shift, she always made sure never to have to get into room 51 at all, the room where Finn Merson was sleeping: she changed rooms as soon as possible.
Also, whenever it was unavoidable that the two of them would be in one room, she seemed to… melt. Some of the old Kelly came back as soon as she saw him, every time, for just half a second before she was back behind her impregnable wall.
It made Doctor Novak wonder…
"You are talking to me, spit it out," Kelly said, not looking up from her work. Doctor Novak decided to ignore it.
"Are you married?" Now, Kelly did look up from her work to send a glare to Doctor Novak. An angry one.
"I'm not interested in stupid Czech people who speak with a weird accent and are twice my age." She retorted. Doctor Novak didn't do anything – he just nodded and even smiled a little. Kelly didn't bother and continued.
"I just asked because I'm married too," he smiled. "You know…" he said, before Kelly could get in between, "I've always found the system strange… women get two names, men keep their own. Though people can change that now, and that is good… still, my wife's called Novak-Casey. The jokes she's had that were related to a fictitious character called Casey Novak…"
These words did seem to move Kelly a little, because she had stopped working. She just stood there with a few pills in her hand, not doing anything, not even looking up – but doctor Novak had seen the effect of his words.
"You're not married, are you?" Doctor Novak repeated his question and changed it a little.
"No," she said and she swallowed.
"Why did you choose to keep his name?" Kelly rolled her eyes.
"So you've 'figured out' that I'm divorced. Genius."
"That's not what I was asking," Doctor Novak continued, patiently, as he knew he needed to be with Kelly. "Why did you choose to keep his name?"
"Because of the jokes related to another fictitious character, doctor Novak."
"What's your maiden name?" Doctor Novak asked, his facial expression moving as much as a stone. Kelly didn't reply.
"What's your maiden name, Kelly?" He asked, again.
"Belacqua," she said, putting away the box with pills and taking a deep breath. "Just like the girl in the trilogy by Philip Pullman," she said.
"How old are you?" He asked, again.
"Twenty-five," she said, breathing harder.
"Funny. Just like mr. Belacqua at room fifty-one, and… he was the same age as his sister when he killed her. Weren't they triplets?" He asked: Kelly was biting her lower lip. Doctor Novak got closer. "Finn Belacqua at room fifty-one… he's your brother, isn't he?"
"He's not Finn Belacqua," she said, her voice breaking down. "He's… he's just the patient at room fifty-one. He has to be. He can't be… he can't be my brother…" She hid her face in her hands. "He swore to protect us… both of us… but he killed her and forgot… it… it could've been me! It should've been me!" Doctor Novak, feeling compassionate, put his hand on her shoulder, alerting Kelly back into the real world, looking at him with a look full of anger.
She regained her composure and looked at Doctor Novak with her old, bitchy look. "It's none of your business, doctor Novak," she said and took back up the box.
Doctor Novak saw her slip a few extra pills into the box that belonged to the patient at room fifty-one: pills the patient didn't need. Pills that would probably kill him if he took them.
Kelly looked at him now, constantly, as she took even more pills and stuffed them in her pocket: they weren't meant for her and they would kill her if she would take it. But her look was as much as 'you stop me if you dare, I don't care.'
But all Doctor Novak could do, was watch, and stagger back to his own office, somehow unable to interfere.
He would regret that for the rest of his life.
Author's Note: This story was requested by wingsofair(who's got an account on DeviantArt) who completed a challenge on my website as the first one. You want a request too? Then I suggest you go to my website pick a challenge nobody else has done yet :) You'll find the link in my profile, go to the section 'challenges' if you're interested. You can also go to challenges if you're curious with what story wingsofair completed the challenge.
As for this story itself, this is mostly me trying out a few other things while still meeting the demands I was given. Normally, I'm a very specific writer who mostly downright states everything and implying very little: I thought, let's turn it around this time and imply a lot. Therefore, most questions you have can probably be answered with 'yes'. However, if you have any questions, let me know in a review! And if you haven't got any questions but think this story could be way better, feel free too. Spelling mistakes can always be corrected and reviews will always be returned.
So feel free to review :)