No.2 took a taxi ride to the hospital, it wasn’t that she was feeling unwell, no she had never felt so good as she did today. You see today was her last day of her term in office, and tomorrow she was due to leave the village. No, she had a very good reason to go to the hospital, one of compassion seeing as she was a hospital visitor.
The taxi pulled onto the gravelled forecourt and came to a halt behind an ambulance. Two medics were helping a man out of the Red Cross trailer, as an orderly appeared pushing a wheelchair. No.2 told the driver not to wait, that she would walk back to the village, it being such a wondrous day. The sun shining, the birds singing, and everything in the garden was lovely, everything except for No.9!
No.2 entered the hospital behind the orderly pushing the man in the wheelchair, and made for ‘ward A,’ but was stopped by the matron.
“And just where do you think you are going my fine lady?”
No.2 stopped, and turned to face the woman behind the voice of authority “I take it you know who I am.”
“Yes, you are Number 2.”
“That’s right” and made to turn.
“Chairwoman of the village.”
No.2 stopped and turned back “Yes, that’s right.”
“And presumably you know who I am.”
“You are the matron here.”
“Yes, and this is my hospital.”
“I am here to see one of your patients.”
“Visiting hours are between twelve and two” the matron said looking at her watch “it is now ten minutes after the hour of two.”
“Do not test my patience” Number 2 told her.
“You have clearly come to test mine!” she said in return.
“I need to know why Number 9 did what he did.”
“Is it that important?”
“He is sedated, so you had better come back another day.”
“I don’t have another day.”
“That is not my problem” the matron told her.
Just at that moment a man in a white coat appeared on the scene.
“What’s the problem?” the doctor asked.
“I need to see a patient, Number 9.”
“I told her she can’t, visiting hours are over” the matron said butting in.
“It’s alright matron, Number 2 can see the patient” the doctor told her.
No.2 walked towards the double doors of Ward A.
“But you won’t get anything out of him.”
No.2 stopped and turned “Why?”
“Because he died five minutes ago!”
This came as a shock to No. 2.
“The after effects can be pretty nasty, I thought he was going to pull through.”
“What was it in the end doctor?”
“His heart finally gave out.”
“Would you say his escape was a form of suicide?”
“There’s no way of knowing, I do not know what was in his mind at the time. He must have known he would not have got far. I expect he knew the consequences of any attempted escape.”
“Yes, yes he knew doctor.”
Later that afternoon No.2 sat in her black spherical chair. The steel doors opened and No.22, a young dark haired woman in blue sweater, and blue slacks marched smartly down the ramp and across the floor.
“Did you get to see Number 9 ma’am?”
“No, he died before I could see him.”
“So he took it to the grave with him” 22 said.
“If only that
Orange alert had not been initiated.”
alert ma’am, there was no Orange alert.”
“But the Guardian attacked Number 9.”
“The Guardian was on routine patrol, there was no
Orange alert initiated ma’am.”
“It was suicide, 9 attempted to escape fully aware of the consequences” No.2 told her assistant.
“But he couldn’t possibly have known he would die.”
“If only he had talked, told us what he knew.”
“It wasn’t my fault” No.2 said in her defence “We tried everything we could.”
“You leave tomorrow don’t you?”
“This isn’t going to look good on my record I know that!”
“You failed!” 22 said.
“What does it matter now?”
“It doesn’t matter to me, but it might to someone” 22 suggested.
“You mean Number 1, yes she has been quiet all day. I expected to hear from her as soon as 9 had died” No.2 glanced that the red ‘L’ shaped telephone.
It was the next day and No.2 was busy packing for the journey back to the homeland, and much relieved she was to be leaving. As it happened she had left an item of personal properly in her office, and so she went there via the underground passages. At the end of a corridor there was a dais, she stood upon it and it raised upwards, a hole appeared in the ceiling and she passed through, and stood there in her old office in the Green Dome. The black spherical chair was turned away from her, but as she stepped forward it turned, turned towards her. It came as a shock.
“What is that thing doing in my chair?” she ejaculated angrily.
In the chair was the white membranic mass of the Guardian, it throbbed a little as No.2 circled the chair, as she fronted the desk she reached for the red ‘L’ shaped telephone.
“Number 2 here, tell me what this thing is doing in my chair………it’s no longer my chair, well I realise that………….I simply returned for a personal item………I’m due to leave in a few minutes, the helicopter is waiting.”
Suddenly the mass of the Guardian began to shrink ever so slightly so that it could float out of the chair. No.2 dropped the telephone and backed towards the pair of blast proof doors. By the time she reached the top of the ramp, with the Guardian increasing its size, she had expected the doors to open, they remained closed. The Guardian drew ever closer then came the noise, something crossed between the sound of a frogman breathing through an aqua lung, a bicycle pump, Gregorian chant, and a roar. And within moments it was upon her, she screamed and clawed at the membrane which threatened to cover her face cutting off the oxygen, smothering her until she ceased breathing and finally her body slumped dead on the floor. The Guardian resumed its chair, which slid down through the floor into the blackness below.
Be seeing you