Patient, The: 5. Chapter Four: Aggressive Therapy

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5. Chapter Four: Aggressive Therapy



Aaron knew that was he was about to do was dangerous.

This had always been a last resort measure, something psychiatrists used when
conventional therapy did not yield results. If time had permitted, Aaron would
have preferred to apply those methods to help Moses regain his lost memories but
the truth was, they were running out of time. He had to find out what the old
man knew immediately because the truth was the only weapon they possessed
against Malcolm Industries and this was the fastest way to acquire it.

Although he was familiar with the dynamics of hypnotherapy and had used it on a
number of occasions, he felt a certain amount of apprehension at employing it on
Moses. So much of Moses’ condition was an unknown and prudence demanded that
they approached the tampering of his subconscious mind with caution. However,
the urgency of their situation required Aaron to attack the old man’s condition
with a more daring form of treatment, if hypnotherapy could be called that at
all.

Since releasing Moses from the psychiatric ward, the doctor and patient had
spent their time in a motel in Brooklyn, trying to decide what to do. Moses
seemed content to let him make all the decisions and Aaron would not have minded
this if he had actually had some idea of what they should do. Although his
first impulse was to go to the police, he was soon forced to remember the nature
of his enemy. John Malcolm was a part of a dynasty that was almost as prominent
as the Kennedys. Accusing the man of a crime was tantamount to sacrilege,
particularly when Aaron no proof to support his allegations.

Stuart’s death was an accident as far as everyone else was concerned. Only he
and Sandra Collins knew otherwise and he seriously doubted she was going to make
that statement public and implicate herself unless of course, hell really did
freeze over. Thus Aaron was forced to use the only weapon he had at his disposal
and that was forcing Moses to remember what it was that frightened Malcolm
Industries so much that they were willing to kill them both to leave it buried
in his mind.

“How do you feel?” Aaron asked Moses as he sat before Moses who was nestled
comfortably in an armchair within their motel room.

“Rested,” the man muttered somewhat dazed.

“Good,” Aaron replied with a soft voice. It was easy enough to put Moses in the
hypnotic state because the old man trusted him and a large part of the exercise
was the willingness to trust someone enough to open up your inner most psyche to
his ministrations. “There’s a flight of stairs where you are, you need to
climb up those stairs.”

“Stairs,” Moses nodded, his eyes were closed and his voice sounded heavy with
drowsiness.

“Are you walking up those stairs?” Aaron asked, setting the stage for Moses to
unlock the memories his conscious mind barred from him.

“Yes,” he answered dreamily, “I’m walking up the stairs.”

“There’s a door waiting for you Moses,” Aaron continued to speak in his soothing
tone.

“I can see it,” Moses replied, his eyelids fluttering a little as he added
further, “I am afraid of it.”

“There’s nothing to be afraid of,” Aaron said automatically since this was the
usual response of most people when they were about to take this step of the
hypnosis. “I’m going to right there with you and I won’t let anything happen to
you. You can trust me Moses,” he added, surprising himself by how much he meant
it.

“I know,” he nodded slowly. “I could always trust you, Strider.”

Aaron blinked, momentarily thrown by the sudden remark, “who is Strider, Moses?”

“You are,” Moses answered, “you have always been Strider. You were Strider
before you were anything else.”

Aaron was confused but he did not wish to press Moses further when he was in
such a vulnerable state. The doctor filed away the conversation for further
reference and continued with the hypnosis, “Moses, you need to go through that
door.”

“I need to go through that door,” he repeated in his stupor.

“When you go through that door, you will step into the past. You will be able
to remember everything about that past. All you need to do is step through and
if you feel at all uncomfortable, you just have to tell me and we’ll leave
together, okay Moses?” Aaron asked.

“Yes Strider,” he muttered again, “together.”

“Are you through the door?” Aaron inquired once more.

“Yes,” he nodded.

“Where are you?” The doctor asked, taking note of every action his patient was
displaying.

“On the street, it is very cold,” Moses replied, his teeth chattering a little
as spoke. The hands resting on the armrests of the chair were now folded as if
he were trying to shield himself from the icy weather he was experiencing in his
mind. “I know a mission where they serve warm soup, I want to go there.”

“Okay,” Aaron saw no reason why they could not let this play out for the moment,
“how long have you been living on the streets Moses?”

“A long time,” he replied. “So long I cannot remember when it began. I think I
have been like this for many years.”

“Why do you say that Moses?”

“Because I remember when people still rode around in carriages, with horses
pulling them wherever they wanted to go. You could wander the streets and not
worry about being run over or noisy horns screaming at you to leave the roads.
In those days, the roads belong to everyone, not merely the wealthy or the
influential. Even the displaced like myself could walk the paths and still be
master of his own journey. It was a more civilised age when the air smelled
sweeter, not full of chemicals and poisons that came with automobiles. I
remember when I saw the first one and thought that it would never catch on but I
have been wrong before….”

Aaron paused a moment to consider what Moses was saying and decided the old man
must be expressing some latent delusions because Moses may have appeared old but
he certainly could not have been wandering the streets as a derelict before the
advent of cars.

“Moses, we’re going to go back a little further now,” Aaron decided that this
particular phase of Moses’ life was telling them nothing. He could have asked
the patient his name but instinct told him to leave that question alone for the
moment. During their sessions, Moses had been his most agitated when Aaron
probed deeply into his identity. Whatever trauma had brought about Moses’
amnesia, it was closely linked to the man’s sense of self and his name.

”I want you to go back to a time when you were not wandering the streets,” Aaron
spoke after a few seconds, “to the time when you first met John Malcolm.”

Moses seemed to twitch uncomfortably, making Aaron question the wisdom of asking
him such a question because his eyeballs were moving faster behind his lids,
Aaron could trace their moments even in the dim light of their motel room.
Moses had placed his hands on the armrests once again but his nails were digging
into the fabric. Aaron could see the muscles of his neck tighten into chords of
taut flesh and his jaw clenched as if he were fighting to restrain himself.

“I saw him,” Moses said smouldering with anger.

Aaron felt a chill running through his skin and for a moment, he could have
sworn that the shadows in the room seemed to have grown somehow. The room did
not look dingy but rather cavernous, as if it was transforming to correspond
with Moses’ dark mood. It was not the first time that Aaron experienced the
occurrence and when he looked at Moses, his patient did not look old or frail.
His voice took on a quality of command that demanded respect from those
listening to him.

“Tell me about it,” Aaron nudged gently even though his insides were beginning
to knot with uneasiness.

“He was standing at the foot of that terrible place, like a god about to take
possession of his kingdom. I was not far wrong though no one would believe if
they knew what I did. He has a new body now but I know it is Malcolm. I have
become accustomed to his changes. He has surrounded himself with devout
followers that ensure his secret does not escape and those who know the truth
without permission, die.”

Aaron felt his heart pounding at the chilling words Moses was speaking, having
no idea how much of this was delusion and how much of it was real. “What do you
mean by Malcolm having a new body?”

“Exile depleted much of his power,” Moses continued to speak. “When they
banished him, they ensured he would never be able to take corporeal shape again
but he has found a way to escape that limitation. All he needs to continue in a
new body, is to infuse his dark soul into an infant still slumbering in its
mother’s womb. Once his soul is gone from his present receptacle, the body dies
and he is born again, as heir and successor to his own empire.”

Aaron listened but he could not believe. He did not want to believe. This was
Moses’ delusion. It had to be. Everything he knew about science and the world,
refused to let him believe something like this could be true but if it was not,
then why was Malcolm Industries so determined to get their hands on Moses?
Aaron considered the history of the Malcolm family and how little was known
about them despite their prominence in the American culture. They were like
royalty in the same way that the Kennedys, the Rockfellers and the Vanderbilts
once were. While the sordid histories of all those families were a source of
fascination to the rest of the world, the Malcolms had remained surprisingly
untouched by the media.

The only time the family allowed the press near them was when it was time to
announce a marriage or the birth of a new Malcolm. More often than not, this
would usually be followed by a tragic death of the senior Malcolm. It was a
curiosity but not one that could be proven as foul play since it was something
that had been recurring for the past 100 years. It was like the Kennedy curse
but less noticeable. If Moses was to be believed then the person who inherited
the Malcolm fortune for the past four generations was the same man. The idea of
it impacted on Aaron’s mind with the same effect as all the air draining out of
his lungs.

“Moses, how do you know this?” Aaron asked softly, hiding how shaken he was
despite his determination to believe this was nothing but nonsense. “How can you
be sure that John Malcolm isn’t just another man?”

“Because it was my duty to find out the truth,” Moses replied, “I was sent here
to find the source of darkness. We all felt it, even as removed as we were from
this world, we felt him coming. The task was given to me because I had once
battled the evils of the past and aided in his defeat. They thought I could do
it again.”

“Who are you Moses?” Aaron finally asked because now more than ever, it was
necessary that they know. He needed something tangible to prove that this was
all some fanciful story that Moses’ subconscious mind was feeding him to keep
him away from the real trauma that had caused his amnesia.

Moses looked at him but the doctor was certain that Moses was not seeing his
doctor but someone else entirely, “you know me Strider. You have known me for
far longer than most men your age. You know my name.”

“No I don’t,” Aaron repeated himself. “I need to know Moses, if I am to help
you, I must know your name.”

“All right then,” Moses frowned as if the question was annoying and a waste of
his time. “My name is…”

Moses never completed the sentence because he burst into an ear-piercing scream.
It was a cry that could only be described as being torn from someone in
excruciating agony. Moses fairly toppled out of the chair as he convulsed in
pain, his hands flying towards his head as he howled so loudly that the sound
cut through Aaron’s ears and his mind in quick succession. However, that was
not the worst of it. His scream coincided with the sudden rumbling of the
walls. Aaron had been in Los Angeles during a quake and though it was one of
the lesser tremors, it was completely ecclipsed by what he was experiencing
inside the room.

Light globes brightened with powerful surges of electricity before shattering
completely, sending glass in all directions. Inside the bathroom, faucets
exploded free from ceramic, with jets of water spraying forth from broken and
exposed pipes. Furniture rattled around the room, chairs and lamp stands
toppled over themselves, while larger pieces like beds and tables shuddered
across the floor. Aaron’s eyes widened in astonishment as glasses shattered,
picture frames clattered to the floor having broken loose from their hooks and
joining the growing pile of debris.

Throughout all this pandemonium, Moses was still screaming. His convulsions had
driven him to the floor where he was lying on back, writhing in agony. Aaron
recovered his senses enough move, hurrying to the old man’s side as everything
around them appeared to be tearing himself apart. Aaron did not know what to
think and did not want to address what was happening, not until he helped Moses
from whatever dark place the old man had entered in his mind to precipitate such
agony.

“Moses!” Aaron cried out, pulling his patient to a sitting position, not that
was an easy feat in itself since Moses’ fingers were still clawing at his hair.
“Moses, find the door! Find the door in your mind! Listen to my voice, Moses.
It’s me, Aaron. Follow my voice back to the door!”

Moses struggled a little bit more and then the convulsions began to slow,
inciting Aaron to continue speaking, to lead him down the stairs away from the
memories that had caused him so much pain. “Just listen to my voice, Moses.
You’re leaving it all behind. There’s only the door in front of you. Go to it,
I’m there on the other side.”

“Door,” Moses muttered, his spasms becoming less violent by the second.

“Come through Moses, come through and shut it behind you,” Aaron said finally,
trying to sound calm even though his voice was cracking a little.

Suddenly the tremors and the shuddering stopped. Furniture hit the floor in mid
tremor, creating a final explosion of sound. The room was in darkness, with
only the illumination of the buildings outside their window and the moon itself
giving enough light for him to see the destruction left in its wake. He could
still hear the jets of water spewing from the damaged pipes and the feel the
vibration in his bones. Moses had all but stopped shaking now and Aaron
surveyed the damage before him, realising that whatever had happened was
connected to the old man, as impossible as it seemed. The chaos of the past few
minutes had been because Moses made it happen.

Aaron was shaking himself, having not realised it until the insanity had passed
and even then, he felt like had had woken up from a terrible dream and was
trying to decide whether or not what he had seen was real. Unfortunately, he
was not dreaming and this whole incident with its nightmarish implications was
all too real.

“Jesus Christ,” the doctor whispered to himself even though he knew God had
nothing to do with this.

************


“Well this is it,” Eve remarked as she opened the door to the house her father
had left her upon his death.

It was an old colonial style house that was much too big for just one person and
while Eve could probably get a decent price for it if she ever decided to sell,
there was a part of her that could not bear to imagine it in the hands of anyone
else. She and her brother Darien had grown up in this house. The pencil marks
of their growth spurts were still on the doorway where her father had marked
them so proudly and the house was filled with memories Eve was unwilling to let
go. Her mother had died of cancer when she was ten and her father lasted a year
longer than Darien. He never was quite the same after her brother had been
killed and all Eve had left of those happy years was this house.

Leading her unexpected guests into the place, Eve wondered whether or not she
had taken complete leave of her senses. She had been asking this question of
herself repeatedly ever since she chose to rescue these men from lock up. Eve
had no idea why she was risking her career on three strangers she had never laid
eyes upon before but all her instincts said that what she was doing was the
right thing. She felt compelled to help them and though she did not know why,
she also knew unconsciously that they would not harm her.

The three men followed her into the living room, looking about them with clear
fascination. Eve wished she understood what they were saying because she was
drawing conclusions about them that did not make sense. It was as if they were
seeing everything for the first time. The reaction to the car had been one of
outright fear and throughout most of the journey to the house, she had seen
apprehension in their faces at being forced to ride in the vehicle. It was only
toward the end of the trip, when the realisation that they were not going to
their deaths in her beloved T-bird did they start to feel a little easier about
being in the thing.

Although they spoke among themselves and tried to make some effort to converse
with her, Eve could not even begin to fathom the language they were speaking.
They looked as if they had stepped out of another time and she was certain that
whatever they were speaking, she would be hard pressed to find a translator.
Being unable to speak to them frustrated her because her curiosity at who they
were and where they had come from was overwhelming, particularly after that
strange episode in the precinct room.

They were spreading throughout the room with unbridled fascination, studying
everything closely. The two brothers seemed to congregate in front of the
mantelpiece studying the framed family photographs with deep interest.

“That’s my brother,” Eve walked over to the two of them, noticing how they were
staring at Darien’s picture.

They looked at her blankly, not understanding at first before Eve decided that
she would have to find some other way to explain herself. She thought quickly
for a moment before coming up with an idea.

”Brothers,” she tapped Elladan and Elrohir’s chest in quick sequence. Then she
tapped her own chest and the image in the picture, “brother.”

Elladan nodded in understanding and tried the word on for size, “ber..other,” he
said.

“Brother,” she repeated slowly so he could hear the subtleties of the word’s
pronunciation.

“Brother,” he replied and then reached for her hand and pressed it against his
chest and then against Elrohir’s. “Brother.”

At first she did not comprehend what they were saying or how it could be
possible. She started to pull away, shaking her head because she was certain
that they were mistaken, that in her efforts to translate, they had confused the
meaning of the word.

“No,” she replied a little shaken but then remembered the images of her vision.
She remembered that other world version of herself, the one that looked like a
fairy princess in some fantasy realm and recalled the feelings of love and
affection she had felt these men. It was not romantic love but something
warmer, something familiar, like she had felt in her own reality for her parents
and Darien.

“Brothers,” Elladan repeated himself while next to him, Elrohir nodded in
confirmation.

“That’s not possible,” Eve muttered until she saw something she had not noticed
earlier.

In their flight from the precinct, she had not paid close attention and would
have missed it now if it were not for the fact that Legolas was tilting his head
back, draining the contents of the Coke bottle. His long blond hair fell away
from ears and Eve’s eyes widened in shock as she saw them for the first time.
She pulled away from Elladan and Elrohir, crossing the floor in seconds to reach
Legolas.

The elf stared at the woman approaching him quickly, his expression showing his
puzzlement as she paused in front of him and suddenly extended her hands towards
him. Suppressing the urge to pull away, Legolas allowed Eve to reach for his
ear. Her expression revealed her shock as her fingers glided over the soft
skin, following the shape of the ear to its inevitable point. She appeared a
little startled when she finally did touch it, pulling her fingers back as if
afraid. However, the hesitation passed and she scrutinized his other ear just
as closely. When the same sight greeted her, Eve turned her attention to
Elladan and Elrohir. The brothers who now knew what she was about, decided they
could not conceal the truth from her any longer and brushed the hair from around
their ears and confirmed her suspicions.

“Oh my god,” she gasped, “you’re Vulcans.”

*************


”I think we should not have revealed ourselves so soon,” Elladan remarked as
they stared concerned at Eve who was sitting on her sofa pouring herself a very
tall glass of what was almost certainly some strong spirit.

“We did not show ourselves,” Elrohir stared at Legolas, “someone who shall
remain nameless within our company chose a most inopportune time to indulge his
sudden addiction to a bottled drink.”

“I was thirsty!” Legolas protested as he guiltily put down the bottle that was
responsible for their present situation. “Besides, I do not believe it is fair
to hide from her what we are, considering the fact that we owe her our freedom.”

“She appears rather shaken by what she has learnt though,” Elladan said looking
upon his sister’s reincarnation with worry. Even though she was human, Elladan
could not see the woman before him as anything but his beloved sister, Arwen
Evenstar. It surprised him how easily old habits returned, even after so many
years of being without her in his life. The natural inclination to protect his
younger sister was still as strong as ever and even though Eve had difficulty
believing that they were family, Elladan did not.

“I doubt the race of men even know what we are,” Elrohir retorted as he saw Eve
raise the glass to her lips and drain the contents with the efficiency of a
Gondorian drunkard.

“I wish she could speak,” Legolas sighed. “She could help us find Mithrandir if
only she understood a word we were saying.”

“We are simply going to have to learn,” Elladan retorted. “The speech of men was
always simple, I do not think it will be all that difficult to learn. After
all, we taught them to speak.”

Legolas gave Elladan a look and remarked, “just as well since there was little
we could teach them about humility.”

In the meantime, Eve had downed the glass of scotch she kept in the house for
occasions like this, although in all truth, she could not remember the last time
she had invited three men home who happened to have pointed ears. Men, she
snorted, they weren’t men. Okay, so they weren’t Vulcans either. Vulcans did
not get picked up off the coast of Bay Shore by the Coast Guard or carried
weapons that were straight out of the Middle Ages. The closest definition she
could reach about the origins of her guest were that they were elves and that
made utterly no sense, she might as well be calling them fairies, although she
was certain faeries came with wings. She did not see any wings on them so she
decided that they had to the latter.

She also decided her thoughts were rambling.

Elves. What did she know about elves? Other than their origins in Teutonic
mythology, very little. In high school, she had gone through a phase where the
fanciful tales of world mythology had fascinated her. In Teutonic mythology,
elves were servants of the Norse god Frey and lived in a place called Alfheim.
However the legends were vague and difficult to pin down to any one culture.
They appeared in Celtic, Germanic, and Scandinavian myths. In the dark ages,
Anglo-Saxon Christians in England looked upon elves as dangerous creatures
capable of harming humans. However, certain characteristic survived despite all
the different accounts of the creatures and that was their luminous beauty and
their pointed ears.

”This is insane,” Eve started talking to herself. “I have elves in my house.
What next? Leprechauns?”

The three looked at her sympathetically, seeming to understand that she was
rather overwhelmed by the discovery of what they were.

“If you’re so supposed to be magical beings, how come you can’t understand a
word I’m saying?” She demanded and was unsurprised when the trio stared at her
blankly.

Suddenly the phone rang and while this was not an occurrence that normally
caused much panic in the McCaughley household, the ringing tone had the same
effect upon her guests as the car engine reving unexpectedly. All three
appeared as if they might jump out of their skin and since they were now armed,
immediately took a defensive posture with swords drawn and bows being loaded.

”CALM DOWN!” Eve shouted, gesturing wildly as she hurried to the phone before it
got smashed to pieces with the business end of a sword.

“Hello!” She spoke into the receiver after snatching it off the hook with one
hand while trying to convey to the trio that there was no danger.

“Detective McCaughley?” A familiar voice responded.

Eve recognised the voice as belonging to junior detective Ken Harper, “Harper?
Is that you?”

“Yes ma’am,” Harper’s voice responded politely. “You ask me to run a financial
check on Richard Falstaff?”

“Oh yes,” Eve declared, realising that despite the bizarre events of her day,
there was still the matter of the murder case she had been trying to solve. “I
remember. Did you find anything?”

“I sure did,” Harper replied. “I got a friend of mine to pull some strings and
she got access to his bank records, the ones his wife and the government did not
know about. It seems Mr Falstaff was making a salary in the six digits. Too much
I think for a senior accountant.”

“I agree,” Eve nodded, ignoring the puzzled expressions on the faces before her
at the conversation she was having with a piece of plastic that was only a
minute ago, making a dreadful sound. “I think I need to go talk to Mr Malcolm
again. Thanks Harper, I’ll talk to you later.”

Eve hung up the phone, rather pleased that she finally had something tangible to
prove that John Malcolm was lying to her. For the moment however, she replaced
the phone on its hook and returned to her immediate problem.

“Okay, first things first, let’s put down the weapons” she placed her hand
across Elladan’s own and lowered the sword in his hand to a less defensive
posture. The others followed suit soon after and Eve was about to relax when
she took note of something else and approached Legolas.

“Secondly,” she retorted intercepting the bottle of Coke he was reaching for,
“stop drinking this stuff. You’ll rot your teeth.”

************


This was a mistake and he knew it but Aaron could not stay away.

The rain was beating down relentlessly on the cemetery lawn, creating a sheathe
of grey that seemed to turn the landscape into a watercolour of grey shades
melting into each other. Despite the weather, a sizeable gathering had appeared
for Stuart Farmer’s funeral. The space where he would be laid to rest forever
was surrounded in a bloom of black umbrellas. The mourners were both teachers
and students who on this occasion shared mutual grief for their fallen friend.
The mood was sombre as the preacher performed the ritual of sending which was
more for the benefit of those left behind then that of the dearly departed.
Aaron should have been there to deliver the eulogy but his absence had forced
the duty upon the dean of the university.

Aaron listened a good distance away, taking refuge behind a particularly large
monument to some poor forgotten soul, allowing his tears to flow as he mourned
privately for his best friend. He wished he could join the others because he
needed to feel the kinship with those who would miss Stuart as much as he.
Aaron honestly did not know how his life was going to be without Stuart and felt
the pangs of guilt coursing through him, strengthen with an intensity that was
almost back breaking. This should not have happened, Aaron thought to himself.
Choices like this were forced upon people who mattered in the world, not a
psychiatrist trying to do his job by helping a patient.

He felt the rain soak into his skin and the chill biting at the bone but he
could not leave, not until the service was done. It was the least he could do
for Stuart since Aaron was the reason that the professor was dead. When he had
left Moses at the motel, the old man had questioned greatly his decision to go.
On some level, Aaron knew that Moses was right, that it was dangerous for him to
be here. However, he could not bring himself to be absent from Stuart’s
funeral, especially when he was responsible for his best friend’s death As a
psychiatrist, he knew the folly of blaming oneself for things that were out of
his control. Yet Aaron knew that he should have considered the consequences more
before he refused Sandra Collin’s offer.

Stop it, he told himself quite forcefully, he could not have foreseen the
actions that would be taken for his refusal and now that he was aware of why
Moses was wanted so badly by them, he knew that despite Stuart’s death, he did
the right thing. After bringing Moses out of his hypnotic state, Aaron had
ferried the old man into his car and fled the motel before anyone could discover
what catastrophe had befallen the room. Although part of him wanted to believe
that it was an isolated earthquake, that everything he had seen was just some
seismic aberration, he knew that it was a lie. Moses had made it happen.

As a psychiatrist and a trained analyst, he thought he had seen everything but
never once did he see a patient’s mood manifest into a physical force that could
effect his environment. He knew what telekinesis was, beyond its portrayal in
pop culture. Although once considered nonsense, it was rapidly gaining some
legitimacy because of the cases that could not be disproved. There were people
who could bend spoons, set fire to things and shatter glass. Moses however had
surpassed that and more. He would have been a parapsychologists dream if Aaron
could believe he was simply telekinetic, which the doctor did not.

Moses was something else and Aaron was starting to get the feeling that he was
way over his head.

Wiping the water from his eyes, he continued to observe the proceedings and saw
Stuart’s family and wished he could offer words of comfort. What they must be
thinking of him for his absence, Aaron thought grimly. He knew he could not
remain long either because if they were searching for him, then attending the
funeral may not be something they could discount and if what Moses had said was
true, then John Malcolm would never stop searching until he found them both.
Aaron started to consider the possibility that it may be necessary to leave the
city.

Strangely enough the idea of abandoning Moses to Malcolm never crossed Aaron’s
mind although he knew his life would be simpler if he did. Moses kept calling
him these different names, names Aaron knew were of people he trusted deeply.
Where was this Strider? Was it even a person? Strider seemed like such an odd
name but Moses had used it with such trust in his voice. Perhaps if they found
this Strider, they could learn what had happened to the old man and better yet,
how to stop this despite the fact that Aaron was still fuzzy on what this was.

When the flotilla of umbrellas began to disperse, Aaron turned away from the
funeral and made his way out of the cemetery using the worn pathway through the
gravestones. He had to get back to Moses and decide upon their next move. He
had a place upstate in the town of Goshen near Bear Mountain that he stayed at
whenever he wanted to go fishing or get away from it all. It was hardly
luxurious but it was remote and functional enough to serve as a sanctuary while
he decided what he was going to do about his present situation.

Rounding the corner of a particularly ornate headstone that came with angels
perched on a dais with wings outstretched, Aaron froze as he ran straight into
Sandra Collins and at least four men in dark suits. His first impulse was to
run but when he turned, he found that there were men behind him as well and
whatever effort he made to escape would be futile.

“Doctor Stone, you are a difficult man to find,” Sandra Collins said with a
sickening smile of triumph on her face.

It was a smile Aaron was rather happy to wipe off her face with a hard right
across her jaw. Although he was not one to hit women, in fact he was not one to
hit anybody, Aaron was not a sexist either and was willing to make an exception
to the rule. The blow to her face was hard enough to send her reeling and
swiftly prompted her entourage to set upon Aaron. Fortunately, their very
public arena made a protracted beating unwise so he only suffered a return punch
to his face and a jab to the stomach that doubled him over in pain.

“Well, I suppose we can dispense with the pleasantries. Take him to the car,”
Sandra declared after straightening herself up and wiping the blood from her
torn lip. She appeared not at all angry about being struck but rather as if it
was business as usual. Her indifference was more unnerving than her ability to
have his friends killed, Aaron thought.

“I won’t give you anything,” Aaron hissed.

“You will,” she smiled cruelly. “Before the night is over. You will.”

*************

Eve drove the Malcolm Building, determined to get some kind of answer from John
Malcolm. Armed with the paperwork she picked up from Harper earlier today, Eve
was determined to confront Malcolm in his lie and get the truth about what
Falstaff did for him. While she was uncertain of the extent of Malcolm’s
complicity in Richard Falstaff’s death, she did not know the man was lying to
her and was taking great pains to hide it. How he reacted to being caught out
in a lie was going to be of great assistance to her.

In the meantime, Eve had contacted INS and informed they dutifully that the
three prisoners had managed to escape whilst on route to the INS offices.
Although she suspected she would suffer some consequences for this, it was a
good deal better than telling INS that she had them stashed at her house.
Considering the bizarre report already filed by the Coast Guard, it did not
surprise her when INS said they would look into this themselves and did not
admonish her too badly for it. Apparently the three men were making it a habit
of escaping the clutches of government officials since their arrival in the
United States.

Still she was glad to get out of the house. There was only so much of naming
everything she could handle before she was inspired to find her gun. Although
truth be known, they learnt surprisingly quickly and had extended their
vocabulary in a matter of hours to more than a dozen words. There was a part of
her brain that refused to accept that they could be elves even if their actions
proved it more effectively than their ears. Everything fascinated them, from
her clock radio to the contents of the refrigerator. She did not know how late
she stayed up trying to explain things with hand signals. In the end, she gave
up and turned on the television set, giving them a quick instruction on how to
work the remote.

She was unsurprised to find them still in front of the thing when she woke up
the next morning.

Elladan and Elrohir were still convinced they were family though Eve could not
even begin to imagine how that could be. Unfortunately, she could not deny the
feelings of familial bond she had for the duo and she could not explain in any
better than she could explain the need to rescue them from a jail cell. In any
case, she decided to concentrate on the more conventional problem of Richard
Falstaff’s murder.

She parked her car across the parking lot entry to the monolith, trying to
decide what was the best way to approach the man. The Monolith disappeared into
the clouds relatively quickly when she looked through the windshield at the
imposing structure. The weather had made the cumulous clouds heavy and the fog
of white and grey mist obscured the top of the building. The rain was beating
down heavily on the canvas of the T Bird’s roof. It provided a comfortable
buffer from the odd sensations she was feeling of late, particularly when she
was in any kind of proximity to this building.

She was about to make a move when suddenly, she saw a long black limousine
driving into the ramp leading to the parking lot beneath the Monolith. If that
was Malcolm, it would make things much simpler than having to confront him in
his office and honestly, she would prefer to avoid any situation that required
her getting into the elevator. Putting the T-Bird into gear, she followed the
car in, staying a suitable distance to ensure that Malcolm did not see her so
that he could try and avoid her.

The parking lot was literally empty at this time of the day with most of the
staff having left for the evening. She parked first so that the limo driver
would be too concerned with fitting the stretched vehicle into the reserve
parking spot to notice her. Eve kept her eye on where the limo had gone and
proceeded towards it once she had the T Bird squared away for the duration. As
she walked across the floor of car park, she could hear the limousine’s engines
cutting out.

“Get your hands off me!” She heard the angry voice of a man shout in protest.

The parking lot’s cavernous structure ensured his voice echoed so Eve heard
clearly the scuffle that followed shortly after and the sound of fists slapping
flesh. Immediately, she went for her gun and her approach took on altogether
different advance. Her movements became stealthy and she heard more voices
attempting to contain the situation. It did not take long for the limo and its
occupants to come into sight.

She recognised Sandra Collins and the suits the woman had working for her. She
had seen these men when she was making her investigation in the building. The
only person she did not recognise was a tall and handsome dark haired man
dressed in jeans and a sleeved t-shirt who was clearly unhappy to be there. The
suits were holding onto him tight and she saw traces of blood on his lip. It
took Eve but a split second to interpret what was going on and another a second
to act. She wanted to do so while they were out in the open like this when she
had some chance of preventing harm from befalling their hostage.

************


“Restrain him,” Sandra said sharply as Aaron tried to make another effort to
break free.

The goon holding him produced a gun and held it to his head. The man did not
speak but the click of the gun hammer was capable of conveying volumes regarding
Aaron’s continued existence if he struggled any further.

“Doctor Stone,” Sandra came up to him and said with a cold smile, “we are doing
this with or without cooperation. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll tell
us what we need to know and we’ll avoid the unpleasantness of more persuasive
methods. However, you are not leaving until you tell us where your patient is.”

“Go to hell,” Aaron spat in her face.

“Bastard!” She lashed out and hit him across the face.

Aaron shook of the blow easily and glared at her with defiance. “I know what
Malcolm is,” he said staring her dead in the eyes, “I know that he is the same
person, that he changes bodies every so often. That’s why you want Moses isn’t
it? Because he knows.”

Sandra’s indifferent mask shook slightly at the revelation and she hit him
again, this time with more venom and rage. “You had a chance to come out of this
alive Doctor,” she retorted, her voice became low and menacing. “You should
have taken it. It does not matter what you tell us now, you are not going to
tell anyone about Mr. Malcolm.”

“I didn’t know anything,” Aaron returned swiftly. “I thought Moses was insane
but you proved it. You proved he was right. Malcolm is some kind of freak!”

“Kill him!” Sandra fairly roared. “He is of no use to us and too much of a
liability!”

“Halt!” A new voice came into the mix and brought a new urgency to the
situation. “NYPD!”

All their eyes were fixed upon a woman approaching them slowly with a gun
pointed in their direction. Although she had identified herself as a
policewoman, she was not wearing the uniform, rather clad in a long dark coat
with dark jeans and a crisp untucked white shirt. The badge clipped onto her
belt clearly indicated the shield of a New York Police officer. He had seen
enough of them in the psychiatric ward to know the difference. Aaron never
thought he could be so grateful to see anyone in his life.

“Officer McCaughley,” Sandra turned to his saviour. “You have the worst timing.
If you know what’s good for you, you’ll walk away from this.”

“Sir,” the woman ignored Sandra and spoke directly to the gunmen holding Aaron
hostage, “let the man go.”

“Or what?” Sandra asked her defiantly.

“Or I’ll be forced to take measures to protect him,” she replied shortly

“I don’t think you will,” Sandra said smugly.

The policewoman did not answer and promptly pulled the trigger.

The bullet was so close, Aaron heard it whiz past his ear. Through the ringing
in his eardrums, he heard the groan of the man holding him, shortly followed by
the slacking of his grip. Aaron broke free and saw him on the floor, clutching
the bloody wound near his shoulder. Aaron was impressed by her marksmanship.
Her shot was intended to sever the nerves controlling the motor reflexes of the
hand holding the gun.

No sooner than she had fired, she had re-targeted and this time her gun was
aimed squarely at Sandra Collins.

“Sir, walk towards me,” she ordered and Aaron was not about to argue. He took
cautious steps to the lovely brunette, aware that the situation was poised on a
knife’s edge.

This could still get bloody.

***************

Eve could tell that she had stumbled upon something important or more
specifically someone important. Sandra had been angry enough to order him shot
right in the middle of a parking lot. Granted, this was still the premises of
Malcolm’s private fortress but it was a risk nonetheless. Eve had to question
this man and find out what he knew which she had a feeling was about more than
just about Richard Falstaff’s death. Reaching into her pockets, she pulled out
her car keys as he approached, aware that Sandra’s men were most likely armed
and the only reason they had not produced their weapons yet was because she was
aiming her gun at their boss. Unfortunately, she had a feeling the indecision
would not last.

“There’s a blue T Bird parked back there,” Eve said to the man as he approached
her. “Get in and start the engine.” She tossed him the keys with one hand while
the other was still fixed on Sandra.

He grabbed it with one and nodded mutely before asking, “what about you?”

“Just get going!” she barked and shifted her gaze from Sandra long enough to
add, “NOW!”

Unfortunately, it was a distraction she could not afford because no sooner than
she took her eyes off Sandra, the other men went for their guns and they were
not held back by any desire to keep the situation from escalating in a gun
fight.

The first shot slammed into the column behind her and Eve opened fire, directing
her shots at Sandra who went running for cover behind the limousine. Taking
advantage of their desire not to shoot the woman in the exchange of gunfire, the
gunmen paused long enough to give Eve the opening she needed to run.

“Come on!” She shouted at her new companion who was taking cover, reluctant to
leave her but uncertain of what to do either. She admired his loyalty if not
his sense.

Running as fast as they could with Malcolm’s men soon falling into pursuit, Eve
took the lead as she hurried to her car. She probably should have called for
back up but she did not dream that she would be entering such a volatile
situation when she drove into the parking lot. Reaching the car, she could hear
the revving of engines starting from elsewhere in the structure, telling Eve
that if their pursuers did not catch up to them on foot, they would do so by
car.

“You drive!” Eve ordered when they reached the vehicle.

“Are you sure?” He looked at her puzzled.

“Do you want to be the one to shoot?” She asked sharply.

“I’ll drive,” he retorted and proceeded to unlock the doors. Sliding into the
driver’s seat of the car, he opened her door before sliding the key into the
ignition.

Eve promptly jumped into the passenger seat, feeling a little strange to see
someone else driving her car but the situation warranted it. He seemed to know
what he was doing though and the engine came alive as she saw three of Sandra’s
men running towards them, all armed.

“Get us out of here now!” She ordered as she saw them raise their gun to fire.

“What do you think I’m doing!” He shouted as he slammed his foot against the
accelerator and the car lunged forward, a tonne of good old-fashioned American
steel roaring toward their pursuers with more speed than he could control. One
of them flew towards the windshield, a making a blunt thud against the smooth
finish of metal and causing Eve to flinch at the damage to her bodywork. He
clung there as the T Bird swung around in a tight circle, prying loose his grip
and sent him tumbling to the concrete floor.

A gunshot shattered the back window of the car and Eve cursed loudly before let
off another series of shots from her automatic. She was not aiming to kill but
directed her bullets close enough to make the two men retreat in caution. In
the meantime, the T Bird was surging up the sharp incline of the car park ramp,
taking them to the main street. However, Eve could see the black limousine
screeching through the underground structure in pursuit.

“Where are we going?” He asked.

“Police station would be a good bet right now,” she replied as she reached
across to the glove box.

“Thank Christ,” he muttered under his breath. “If you hadn’t come along, I don’t
think I was going to get out there alive!”

“Who the hell are you anyway?” Eve asked as she grabbed the box of shells she
kept there and reloaded her gun. She had an idea that she would be needing the
extra ammunition.

“Aaron Stone,” he answered as the car made a bumpy return to the main street.
“I’m a doctor.”

“What did you overcharge them or something?” She asked not really thinking
because her mind was more firmly focussed on the limousine that was following
them and would most likely be accompanied by other faster moving vehicles
depending on how determined they were to catch up.

“I’m a psychiatrist,” Aaron replied as he tried to remember where the nearest
police station was from here. “They want a patient of mine.”

“Why?” She glanced at him briefly before her eyes moved to the rear view mirror.


Aaron paused, unwilling to tell her the truth because she would think he was
insane. Fortunately, he did not have to because the limousine behind them was
catching up and through the glare of headlights, he could see the figure half
hanging out of its window had a gun that looked too much like an Uzi.

“Get your head down!” Eve shouted as the shooter opened fire. A hail of bullets
shattered the back windscreen and prompted Aaron to press the accelerator down
even further, forcing the T Bird to tear through the streets like a bat out of
hell.

The limousine sped up to match their speed but could not keep up. However, Eve
caught sight of two other vehicles forging ahead with just as much determination
and saw knew the cars chasing them were no longer just one but three. The T
Bird was racing through the rainy streets, barely avoiding collision with other
cars and blaring its horn in an effort to warn pedestrians from the street who
might unwittingly wander into the path of the chase. Eve leaned out of her
window and fired at the limousine that was still the nearest vehicle behind
them. She aimed low, hoping to hit the crankcase or perhaps if she was lucky,
the tires.

“Shoot the tires!” Aaron called out as he tried to see through the shattered
windshield before him.

“What the hell do you I’m doing?” Eve barked in exasperation. “Its not like on
TV you know!”

“Sorry!” Aaron apologised as he swerved into another lane to avoid slowing down.


Eve did not have time to accept his apology for she was pulling herself into the
compartment again, avoiding the bullets being fired in her direction. She
checked her ammunition and prayed that she would have enough bullets to fend off
their attacker because whatever it was that Doctor Stone knew about Malcolm
Industries, it was perfectly clear to her now that they were willing to kill
both of them for it.

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: Scribe

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: Other

Genre: Action

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/07/03

Original Post: 04/03/03

Go to Patient, The overview

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