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Tuesday 20 December 2022

The Prisoner - Village Day Chapter 17


An Arrival 

    Somewhere in a hospital room a man’s eyes suddenly opened, his vision was blurred and it was difficult to focus on any of the ghostly like images about him. And what’s more there was a thumping going on in his head, as if someone was doing double time with a hammer striking an anvil! He tried to stir himself, to sit up, but that only made the pain worse, so he relaxed and laid back and the pain was relieved slightly. Then there came the ghostly figure of someone standing over him, he tried to clear his eyes, to speak but his mouth was so dry, putting a hand to his head he felt the bandage. The nurse stood at the end of the bed completing the patient’s medical chart, then hung the clipboard on the end of the bed, then seeing that the patient had regained consciousness smiled and made to leave to find the doctor.

   The patient coughed and swallowed hard “Please wait, where am I…. who are you…. what….” but it was to much of a struggle for him.

    The nurse stood by the patient’s bed and soothed his brow “Don’t worry, you’re in hospital. Now please lie still and I’ll get the doctor.”

    The patient lay there looking at the ghostly figure standing over him “How did I get here…. I don’t remember….”

    “Then don’t try” the nurse told him “I’ll get the doctor” and went off along the ward and through the pair of frosted glass doors of ‘A’ ward.

     The doctor was walking out of the waiting room, a short stout woman with her black hair swept back in a tight bun, she was in the company of a tall, slim young woman in a light blue coat and matching knee length skirt and high heel shoes, and her blonde hair cascading down over her shoulders. To say that there was something familiar about her would probably seem clownish to the casual observer, but there she was tearful and upset about something.

    “Before you see him” the doctor began “you must understand that he is still in a coma and likely to stay that way for some considerable time. And should he eventually regain consciousness there is the possibility of brain damage.”

    Eleanor opened her handbag reaching inside for a handkerchief, wiping her eyes and blowing her nose “Then there is still a chance doctor?”

    “My dear, there is always a chance” said the doctor “only time will tell, we shall just have to be patient. But he is young and strong, I see no reason why not.”

    It was at this point that the nurse came hurrying along the corridor.

    “What is it nurse, I gave instructions that he was not to be left alone” said the doctor at seeing the nurse.

    “Yes Doctor, but the patient has regained consciousness, it

was only two moments ago” the nurse said with a smile.


    “Very well nurse, if you would be so kind as to return to your patient, we shall be along directly” the doctor informed the nurse.

    “But Doctor, the patient spoke!”

    The doctor turned to Eleanor and smiled “There my dear, it looks as though you are going to be a most fortunate young woman, and so too your fiancé. Come, we shall attend to him right away.”

    The double doors of ‘A’ ward swung open and the nurse hurried to the bedside of her patient who was lying quite still with his eyes closed. The doctor and Eleanor followed closely behind, and they too now stood at the bedside of the patient, who opened his eyes while the nurse attended to his saline drip.

    “Now young man, how are we feeling?” the doctor asked.

    The patient looked up at the shadowy figures around his bed.

    “Can you tell me your name?” asked the doctor.

    The patient said nothing, only lay there trying to focus his vision, then said “I have a headache and I can’t see properly” he said suddenly.

    “Well that is something” said the doctor “can you tell me your name?”

    The patient tried to remember “No.”

    “What about the car accident, do you remember that?” the doctor asked.

    The patient tried, tried to remember something, anything “Wh…what accident?”

    “Don’t worry young man, you are in good hands” began the doctor “you have slight amnesia, as for your eyesight, that will return, your fiancée is here to see you” and whispered in Eleanor’s ear “don’t worry my dear, he will not remember you.”

    Eleanor sat in the chair by the bed and took her beloved by the

hand “Oh my darling, you have come back to me, now you are not to worry about anything. You are in a hospital and they will take very good care of you, and I will be beside you for as long as it takes to see you well again.”

    The patient tried to recall “I don’t remember…..”

    “It’s Eleanor darling, I came as soon as I was told of the accident” she said smiling and clutching his hand in hers.


     “Yes darling, you were on your way to see the Colonel, I’m to phone him as soon as there is any news” Eleanor told him.

    “The Colonel?” the patient said shaking his head “I don’t remember!” and closed his eyes in some distress.

    “Nurse something to sedate the patient please” the doctor ordered, helping Eleanor to her feet and steering her along the ward in her quite obvious distress.

    “Why sedate him?” Eleanor asked out in the corridor.

    “He needs to sleep, sleep will be very good for him” the doctor told

her “sleep will help him recover. He had a very nasty car accident, his physical injuries are not serious apart from his head, which accounts for his loss of memory.”


    “And that will return?” Eleanor asked, a worried frown upon her face.

    “In time” replied the doctor “he has a bad case of concussion and will suffer from headaches, once his physical injuries have healed and he is able to leave the hospital, I suggest you take him away somewhere, somewhere familiar to him, somewhere quiet and peaceful where he can relax and recuperate. Such surroundings will only aid the recovery of his memory.”

    Eleanor dried her eyes with her handkerchief “I think I know the perfect place doctor, an Italianate village with the most peaceful atmosphere.”

    “Sounds Ideal” said the doctor “now if you will excuse me, I have to be getting on.”

    The sun was high in a cloudless sky, it was the perfect summer’s

day. The green hills which rolled by were scattered hither and thither with sheep, water ran down the mountains into the streams of the valleys and there was not another human being to be seen for mile after mile. The open road stretched on ahead, twisting this way and that, winding its way round hills and down vales and the blue Mini Cooper S sped ever on, with Eleanor at the wheel.

    They had been driving for hours, since early morning in fact, and in the passenger seat was Eleanor’s fiancé enjoying the scenery, enjoying the ride and their destination was that tranquil Italianate village of which he had grown so fond over recent years.

    “We’ll soon be there now darling, not much further” Eleanor said assuring her fiancé, steering the car through a series of sweeping bends. The man looked at Eleanor and smiling said one word “Portmeirion.”

    “You know where we are going? You will soon start to remember. Everyone there is looking forward to welcome your return” Eleanor said with a warm reassuring smile.

The man smiled and said nothing more, there was nothing to say, because he was too busy trying to remember. The Mini Cooper S turned left off the main road, then a right turn down a narrow hedge and tree lined lane. Ahead was the grey stone walled building which was trying to do its best to look like a castle, but somehow failed in the attempt. There was a left hand fork in the road at this point, a blue sign with white lettering indicating Italianate Village, the car took it and followed the winding road, lined on both sides by Rhododendrons and then trees. It felt familiar to him and he was trying to remember, just as he had been trying to remember since leaving the hospital some three weeks earlier. But it was difficult to think, difficult to concentrate, to focus his mind. He had been feeling quite calm, too calm in fact, perhaps a better word for it would be lethargic. There was a lack of energy, a dullness about him, Eleanor had been looking after him since he left the hospital, there was hardly a time when she was not by his side, to almost suffocating proportions. Everything seemed so distant, that was the treatment the doctor had explained, but that would soon change once the treatment stopped. But the treatment had not stopped, it had carried on at the hands of Eleanor and that feeling of things being so distant, and lethargy, had if anything, increased. Strange how he could not remember anything. This woman Eleanor said she was his fiancée, but he could not recall any fiancée as hard as he tried! And yet there was something familiar about her, he couldn’t recall exactly what, but something. They were almost at their destination, following the road through the trees. The passenger suddenly felt rather drowsy, possibly from over tiredness, the long drive, the glare of the warm sun through the trees and windscreen, all playing their part to make him drowsy and finally to slump unconscious in his seat. Eleanor dropped the gas gun onto he floor, wound the window down and removed her gas mask. She looked at her slumbering passenger.

    “Sleep well while you may, but don’t worry, you will soon be amongst old friends!”


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