Part 2 of Daniel’s Accused series.
Thoughts of the police investigation and the murder dance through Ben’s brain as he makes his way through the hospital. Rolander said Ben’s not officially a suspect, she just wants to figure out his movements on the night of the murders, but Ben knows she’s targeting him.
Why did he have to get so drunk?
Why can’t he remember?
His small, light feet stop treading outside the hospital room and he opens the door to step inside. He doesn’t have to double-check the location, he knows these halls as well as he knows the house he grew up in.
“What now?” A young woman asks as Ben smiles and approaches. She has lovely blonde hair that dangles down past the black bags under her eyes. She’s holding the hand of a man who’s doubled over in his chair, silently staring at the ground. His hair is just as long as the girls, black strands pointing to the Earth in thin pinstripes.
“You don’t look like a doctor.” The girl says and the man releases a single long huff, adding, “No more doctors today, please. Not today.”
“I’m not a doctor mate. I just came for a chat. Do you mind if I sit?” Ben asks and woman shrugs. He pulls the chair as close to the couple as he can manage and leans forward as the man looks up at him. His eyes are as red as the paint on a ‘no stopping’ sign and the collar of his shirt is drenched with tears.
“What now?” She asks once more.
“My name is Ben and I’ve been asked to come in here to speak to you.”
“Why?” The man queries and woman leans back, watching the exchange with tight lips.
“I have what the doctor’s call ‘lived experience.’ I was diagnosed with bipolar about ten years ago after I attacked my mother. I love my mum, and we’re the very best of friends and the day I hurt her was the worst day of my life. Well, I realised it was the worst day of my life a little later, after I got some help. As soon as I was diagnosed everything stated to get better.”
“I didn’t hurt anyone. They’re afraid I’m capable of hurting myself or others.”
“Fear is more dangerous than you or me mate. What’s your name?”
Ben’s walking back through the lobby, past the gift shop with all the balloons and teddy bears and cards, when he hears the words, “I was wondering how long it would be before I saw you again.”
Ben turns to see Greg standing with his hands on his hips, a thin smile on his face and his uniform looking ironed and perfect, as always.
“Hi Greg, working today?”
“Yep. Another shift in the funny farm.”
“Why are you a psych-nurse if you hate it so much?”
“I don’t hate it. There’s nothing wrong with this job. I hate that you’re back here already.”
“Why do you even think I’m here today?”
“Aren’t you here for treatment? Didn’t you kill your next door neighbours?”
“Wh- What?” Ben gasps and a look of pure shock carves its way into the creases between his eyes. “How did you know they were my neighbours? They can’t put that stuff in the newspapers.”
Greg’s grin deepens and the top left corner of his mouth curls into a little point as he says, “There’s a photo in the paper of your vandalised car. Things in your street must be tense.”
“Just get away from me,” Ben says as he nudges his way past Greg.
“Watch that temper Ben, it’ll get you in trouble.” Greg calls out as Ben breaks into a slow jog through the car park.
Ben sees Greg’s bright yellow Volkswagen and he glimpses back over his shoulder to make sure no one is watching. Then Ben moves to the car and sucks down so to hide behind the metal. He pulls his key ring from his pocket with nervous, trembling fingers and presses the tip of one to the yellow paint.
Ben smiles as he tears and scrapes at the vehicle and carves “PRICK” in huge letters across both doors.