"All of the sudden, he stopped eating and all but shut down," Jason explained as he creaked down the hall with the doctor behind him. "Says he got another headache, same as he did when you were here."
"I see. Any other symptoms?"
"No idea, doc. Here you are," he knocked and pushed open the last door on the right. He allowed the doctor in and closed the door behind him.
Sheriff Ruskin raised his eyelids in the dim room. Sunlight outlined the patchwork curtains, as though striving to illuminate the room.
"Glad you came in," he murmured.
"I hear you have an intense headache," Dr. Samson seated himself in the chair beside the bed. "I mentioned that was one of the side effects of the medicine."
Riley drove his elbows into the mattress on each side of him and propped himself up more. He squinted at the doctor despite the pain and answered, "There is something more to that medicine. I have never seen anything similar, and I want to know why is causes so much pain."
"The medicine I administered to you was intense. It is the reason you survived."
"I know," Riley responded in a murmur. "I survived a wound that everyone was sure would kill me. I know this is no ordinary medicine. I am positive I was able to perceive the situation with Margaret Smith outside and respond sooner than I ever could. Is that another side effect?"
As he spoke, the doctor stood and creaked to the end of the bed. He set his supplies on the dresser and extracted a cloth and a bottle. He unscrewed the lid and clamped the cloth over the mouth. With a twist of his wrist, he gave the bottle a couple shakes upside down.
"Let me administer something to ease your pain," he removed the cloth and spread it out with his hands. The sweetness of the liquid reached Riley. "After the pain subsides some, we will discuss everything you are concerned about."
He returned to the bedside and reached to set the cloth over the mouth of his patient.
"Will this one have any side effects?" Riley asked suspiciously a moment before the cloth landed. The doctor cupped a hand over his mouth and pinched his nose so he gasped for air through his mouth. He thrashed his arms and legs, but he weakened in moments and seemed to drift into sleep…
… until he became aware of Jason leaning over him. He stirred and rubbed his eyes with the heels of his palms. His mind seemed slow to realize that his brother was speaking.
What had happened? The doctor was there. They conversed. Did he get any answers about the medicine? No. Where did they leave it? The doctor covered his mouth with a cloth.
"Where is the doctor?"
"Rushed out. Said you were resting."
"He put me to sleep," Riley straightened himself with some struggle. "I have to go speak with him."
"What?" Riley asked.
"Hollander stopped by to see how you are. Said he packed up his practice and got a ride to the closest train. What do you mean, he put you to sleep?"
Riley collapsed down on his back again. Now what?