Patient, The: 8. Chapter Seven: Belly of the Beast

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8. Chapter Seven: Belly of the Beast

The PatientChapter Seven
Belly of the Beast


“No,” Elladan looked at Aaron critically, disliking how the human was holding
the sword in his hand and strode towards him.

Aaron did not know why the elves were so insistent on teaching him how to use a
sword. After all, the likelihood of his ever needing to use one in this day and
age was remote when guns were available so freely. Not that Aaron felt that he
would ever get accustomed to using them even if Eve had begrudgingly admitted
that he seemed to have a knack for handling the weapons. Eve claimed he had a
marksman’s eye, a compliment Aaron did not know if he ought to be grateful for
or not. He was a doctor and the idea of taking life was reprehensible to him.

“I show,” Elladan muttered as he took Aaron’s hand and showed him the correct
way to brandish the elegantly crafted sword.

“For a guy who never heard English until a few days ago, you’re pretty bossy,”
Aaron complained.

Inwardly, he was rather impressed by the learning capacity of these elves who
had picked up enough words to be able to carry out limited conversation in so
short a time. Although they relied heavily on Moses to translate more complex
sentences, the elves had reached a point where they were able to communicate
with some effectiveness. Through Moses’ translation, Aaron learnt that the
elves were the first sentient beings created by their gods to be able to speak.
In the beginning, they called themselves the Quendi “those who could speak with
voices”. Their greatest gift to the world was the teaching of language to the
other races, including the humans. Their ability to learn new languages
quickly stemmed from this ancient predisposition towards speech.

“Elrohir, show him,” Elladan said to his brother in elvish before turning to
Aaron and speaking in English, “you see.”

“Fine,” Aaron frowned as Elrohir showed him the proper way to swing the blade.

The elf managed it smoothly, as if it were the movement of an elaborate dance.
Aaron could not imagine how anyone could look graceful with a sword especially
when he felt so clumsy. Legolas gave him a sympathetic look and Aaron wondered
how it was that Legolas did not feel inclined to show him some archery skills.
He wished he could have asked the elf about it but unfortunately he would need
Moses for that and Aaron had a sense that the elf’s answer would be somewhat
personal.

“You do,” Elladan ordered once again as Elrohir held still and waited for Aaron
to raise his sword.

No sooner than he had raised his weapon, the elf lunged and Aaron had to retreat
a few steps before he was able to block the sword that swung at him. The
lessons that had been drilled into his head the last two days returned to him
with a vengeance and though he was not quite as proficient with it as he was
with a gun, Aaron was able to hold his own with some measure of skill.
Unfortunately, he had a feeling that Elrohir was taking it easy on him during
this sparring session. However, Aaron believed that the purpose of the exercise
was to make him comfortable with handling a sword.

Aaron felt like he was playing Luke Skywalker and tried to improvise. He soon
learnt that movies did not have one iota of truth when his recreation of the
fictional Jedi’s moves landed left him unable to defend himself against one of
the simpler manoeuvres of swordplay. He was backtracking again, this time
barely avoiding the thrusts of Elrohir’s sword. Deciding that Luke Skywalker
did not know squat about handling a light sabre, Aaron employed some of the
manoeuvres he had been taught and found that he was able to able to provide some
form of challenge towards the elf who had faster and better reflexes than him.
He managed his own but the deviation from what was taught left him open for an
aggressive attack and he was driven to the ground.

“Idiot!” Elladan declared.

Aaron stared at him from the dirt, “idiot? Let me guess, Eve taught you that
one?”

“Do I show, not this!” Elladan repeated one of Luke’s more fanciful moods that
had allowed Elrohir to get the advantage.

“It worked with Darth Vader,” Aaron tried to defend himself but felt incredibly
stupid nevertheless.

”Enough,” Legolas spoke up in elvish as he approached Aaron, extending a hand to
the fallen doctor.

“He needs to learn how to fight,” Elladan reminded. “If we are to face Melkor
then he must know how to defend himself. He is no good to us in the condition
he is in.”

“He is a healer,” Legolas retorted, helping Aaron to his feet. “Can you not see
how difficult it is for him to pick up a weapon? This is a different world then
the one we knew. People do not need to defend themselves as they once did.
They have people like Eve to do that for them. You yourself told me that he is
not the Aragorn we knew, he is a hundred millennia from being that man.”

“I suppose you’re right,” Elladan sighed.

”Besides,” Elrohir added, “you’ve seen their weapons. I do not know how useful
learning swordcraft will be to him. Melkor will use weapons that are effective
to him and if those, what did Eve call them?”

“Guns,” Legolas said helpfully.

“If those guns are even half as dangerous as we’ve seen, then it is likely that
those are the weapons he would employ,” the elf concluded.

“I know,” Elladan gazed at Aaron thoughtfully, “I am so accustomed to seeing
Estel fight with the sword. He was one of the greatest swordsman in Middle
earth.”

“The greatest,” Legolas corrected. “However, that time is past. This may be
Aragorn’s soul but the memory of that man does not exist in him.”

“You know it’s not polite to speak in a different language in front of someone
who can’t understand a word you’re saying?” Aaron replied, giving all three a
look.

“Rest now,” Elladan came forward and took the blade from him. “Do later more.”

“Do more later,” Aaron corrected, feeling just snide enough to point out some of
the elf’s deficiencies after the bruising his ego had taken during the lesson.

“Yes, yes,” Elladan said dismissively.

“Go drink,” Legolas replied, glancing in the direction of the house. “Coke.”

“No,” Aaron shook his head. “Bad for you.” He punctuated each word with
translating finger.

Legolas was about to argue when suddenly, he turned sharply away from Aaron and
stared at the lodge in the distance. Aaron had taken them to the river and
shown around the woods surrounding Bear Mountain prior to their lesson and
instead of returning to the lodge, they had chosen to continue his instruction
on its banks. From the clearing near the embankment, they were given a good
view of the lodge which allowed them to feel a little more secure about leaving
Eve and Moses alone. However, Aaron could tell immediately by the reaction
shown so abruptly by Legolas that something was wrong. It did not make Aaron
feel any better to see Elladan and Elrohir react in almost the same manner.

“What is it?” Aaron asked, his eyes instinctively searching for the gun that Eve
insisted he carry at all times. He had put it down earlier when his lesson
began but the look on Legolas’ face had prompted him to find it.

“Danger,” Legolas replied softly. “Near.”

Aaron stared at him with growing alarm until he heard the gunfire and started
running.

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

Not wishing to interrupt the whole male bonding session the boys and she was
pretty certain that the term was correct even when applying it to hundred
thousand year old elves, Eve had opted to remain with Moses while Aaron and the
elves had left the lodge. Personally, she could not see the logic in fighting
with a sword when it was so much easier to just shoot the enemy, however, she
supposed the elves had their reasons for wishing him to master the skill. If
anything, watching Aaron learn how to wield a sword was quite entertaining
although she was certain her amusement at the learning process would hinder his
progress somewhat.

Although Moses was drugged, he was still quite conversant and Eve found herself
growing fond of the old man in their subsequent conversations. The Thorazine
kept him from becoming violent and when given the adequate dosage was enough to
kerb his hallucinations to a tolerable state. Eve wondered what John Malcolm or
Melkor as she come to understand it now, had done to him. According the elves,
Moses had been a hero who had saved them all on numerous occasions. Eve felt
rather incensed that his service was repaid by having his mind tampered in such
a manner.

She knew part of the reason she warmed so quickly to Moses was because he
reminded her a little of her father. He had the senior McCaughley’s crusty
manner and had a cynical opinion on everything which Eve confessed she shared.
However, on occasion, she saw that he could be quite insightful and understood
why it was Aaron had grown so fond of him and was determined to help Moses at
all costs.

Of course Aaron was one subject that Eve tried not to think about too deeply.

The night before had seen them cross a line with each other and Eve knew
instinctively that there was no going back. If she was not in love with him, she
soon would be and that disturbed her a little, despite how right it felt to be
in his arms or to feel his lips against hers. She wanted to love him but she
wished it were not some preordained thing written in the stars long before they
had ever met. The romantic in her should be rejoicing at this but she was a
woman of her times and it was difficult to cope despite her feelings for him.

“You are quiet,” Moses remarked as they sat across each other at the stained
wood dining table playing a hand of gin.

“I thought you would prefer someone who didn’t say much compared to someone
whose always asking you questions,” she remarked discarding her unwanted cards.

“I’m afraid I’ve grown accustomed to his probing questions,” Moses declared with
a little smile.

“Yeah,” Eve nodded contemplatively. “He does grow on you.”

“Apparently so,” the old man raised a bushy eyebrow and gave her a conspiratory
wink.

“Have you been eavesdropping?” Eve stared at him hard.

“Well you were out there on the porch for quite some time,” Moses said
innocently, “one could not help but notice.”

“Snoop,” she accused.

“I have no memories of myself, I must take an interest in the affairs of
others,” he added playfully.

“Well there’s no affair,” Eve said firmly, “we were just talking.” Of course,
her story would have sounded more believable if her cheeks had not flushed red
with embarrassment.

“Elves have good hearing,” Moses added, “they did not hear much speech being
conducted.”

“You are a malicious old man with too much time on your hands” Eve retorted,
dropping her cards on the table and stared at him hard, her cheeks turning an
even deeper shade of crimson.

“There is nothing to be ashamed of,” Moses said gently not at all perturbed by
her remark, “I see how he looks at you.”

“He hardly knows me,” Eve reminded.

“Does it matter? Souls know each other,” he pointed out.

Eve did not know what to say to that and opted for a convenient silence as they
continued with their game of cards. Eve was embarrassed that the others were
aware of what had transpired between Aaron and her the night before. Even though
their intimacy was no more than a few exploratory kisses, Eve was still a little
uncertain of her feelings towards the doctor. Everything was moving at a faster
pace that what she was accustomed to. However, she had no desire to discuss it
with anyone until she herself was capable of making an informed decision about
their growing relationship.

However, any further rumination on the subject was shattered when the glass of a
window shattered quite spectacularly. The bullet responsible for the destruction
moved soundlessly through the room before striking a wall.

“Moses, get down!” She ordered, grabbing his arm and dragging him to the floor.

More soundless bullets tore through the air, giving themselves away by the
windows it broke upon invading the room. Objects shattered noisily throughout
the living room space as the bullets tore through windows, picture frames,
furniture and virtually anything that was in its path. Eve and Moses dropped to
the floor, with the policewoman upending the table that they had been sitting at
to its side so that they could take refuge behind its broad surface. She pulled
out her Baretta while she and Moses remained trapped behind the table, unable to
move because the onslaught of bullets left them pinned.

“You should leave me,” Moses spoke over the din of breaking objects, “this only
came about because of me.”

“I would not be so sure about that,” Eve retorted and emerged over the table to
start shooting herself.

She could not see their attackers as she let loose a hail of bullets but she
could tell which direction they were coming from. Her efforts earned her an
even deadlier barrage that forced Eve back behind the table once again unable to
offer more than incidental fire to aid their situation. She knew their strategy
and Even knew that if she did not find someway to leave the kill zone the lodge
had become, they were going to be overwhelmed in a matter of minutes.

“We have to get out of here,” she cried out, her eyes moving to the door.

“That will not be easy considering our present circumstances,” Moses pointed out
as a matter of factly.

“No kidding,” Eve said sarcastically. “Look, when I stand up to shoot, I want
you to run like hell for the door.”

“At my age, that is easier said then done,” Moses retorted but his reluctance
was due to a desire not to leave her.

“You’re going to try nevertheless,” she said abruptly. “On the count of three,
you go! Understand me?” Eve glared at him.

“I do this under protest,” Moses returned unhappily.

“One,” Eve shot him a look that ordered him to get ready to run.

Moses swallowed thickly and braced himself for the speedy departure even though
he was torn between obeying her and leaving her to languish alone. None of this
would be happening if it was not for him. Aaron had already lost a friend
because of the doctor’s fierce desire to protect him, Moses did not want anyone
else to lose their lives because of him.

“Two,” Eve’s voice hissed in his ear.

“Maybe I should…..”

“THREE!” Eve shouted. “GO!”

Her words sent him running forward as Eve stood up from behind her hiding place
and emptied and entire magazine through the windows where most of the bullets
were coming. Glass that was already damaged exploded as Moses crouched low and
raced across the debris-covered floor, towards the door. Eve continued to fire,
her face turning away slightly as the erupting sound of gunfire filled the air
almost as destructively as the bullets tearing apart everything.

Eve did not stop firing until she saw the old man escape out the door and as
soon as he did vanish from sight, Eve scrambled back behind the table and
released the spent magazine from the chamber of her gun. The shooting had
stopped but Eve did not feel comforted by that fact since it was most likely due
to the enemy knowing that she had to reload her gun. Emerging from her hiding
place, Eve moved towards the chest where the rest of her ammunition was kept.

She did not make it any more than a few steps when smashing through the already
fragmented glass of the window, were three men. The men were dressed in black
and rolled across the floor as they made their dramatic entry. Eve paused long
enough to be startled by their arrival but was racing towards the trunk for her
spare ammunition less than a split second later. Unfortunately, they moved with
surprising speed and one of them launched himself at her in a full body tackle.
Eve let out a short cry as she hit the floor hard, pain flaring through her side
as she was lacerated by debris of glass and wooden splinters. Her gun flew out
of her hand and Eve made a frantic lunge to retrieve it when she felt herself
being dragged back by her attacker.

She reacted swiftly, her foot kicking out and making contact with his jaw. She
saw another approaching her fast and realised that she would have to deal with
him first before she could even think about getting her gun. Getting quickly to
her feet, she met his approach with a sharp kick to the sternum which sent him
sprawling. He crashed into a chair that was not yet reduced to splinters and
toppled both it and himself. Eve turned around and saw that the man with the
bleeding mouth was on his feet and about to throw a punch. She ducked as his
fist flew, sliding beneath the swerve of his arm to throw her elbow into his
side and delivering a back kick.

The third man appeared and he had a gun, however, he was slow to target her and
she kicked high, tearing the weapon from his hands before she threw a fist in
his face. He clutched his bleeding nose in pain as Eve retreated from him, only
to find a set of arms wrapping themselves firmly around her waste. The
policewoman had still considerable fight in her and as she struggled to break
free, she raised her legs off the force and pushed hard against a nearby wooden
beam. The force of the sudden backward propulsion made her attacker stumble and
her struggles only served to further unbalance him. They both fell to the floor
in an unceremonious heap.

Eve recovered first, getting to her feet quickly as she found herself quickly
being surrounded as more men filtered into the room. Despite the odds, she was
prepared to fight them all because she was not going to be taken easily. She
only hoped that she had distracted them long enough for Moses to escape their
clutches. As they advanced upon her, Eve braced herself for a fight when
suddenly, something sharp pierced the skin on her back. She let out a soft cry
of irritation as her hands flew to the source of the pain and found that
something was protruding from her flesh. Eve wrapped her hand around the cold
metal object and tore it from her skin.

“Oh hell,” Eve swore as she saw the object for the first time.

It was a tranquilliser dart.

Even as the thought formed in her mind, she felt her legs become weak and her
head beginning to swim. She threw the dart away, deciding quickly that the only
thing to do in a situation like this was to run. However, she was capable of no
more than a step before her legs gave out and she was driven to her knees. A
wave of nausea overwhelmed her as the room began to spin, the faces closing in
on her melted into a blur of colour until she could distinguish nothing. Even
voices were disjointed and Eve’s last thought before the darkness claimed her
was a silent pray that Aaron had escaped.

***********

Unfortunately, Moses did emerged from the encounter in any better condition than
Eve.

After the old man had made good his escape through the door, thanks to Eve’s
efforts to see him safely out of the lodge, he found his actions had already
been pre-empted by those who were attempting to capture him. A group of men in
dark clothes were awaiting him, led by a handsome blond woman who appeared
familiar to him, though he did not know why. He was certain they had crossed
paths before though he could not remember when that might have been. Moses soon
decided that it was a question for another time as the enemy had him surrounded
and he should take flight before they sealed of any more avenues for his escape,
if it was not already too late.

Moses thought the men might try to rush him and was quickly thinking of a way to
get past them when suddenly one of them raised a weapon at him and fired. At
first, the old man thought it might be a gun but in the split second before the
trigger was pulled, he realised that it was not that all. The dart struck him
in the chest and Moses could only look at it in astonishment as he felt the pain
of its penetration replaced by a spreading warmth across his body. His head
felt heavy as Moses forced himself to move but the concoction weighted his limbs
and he was unaware that he had fallen until the dirt scraped his cheek.

Through the haze of his perception, he heard a decidedly feminine voice speaking
and her words were the last thing he knew before his world faded into the
darkness.

“Take him.”

***********


“What about Doctor Stone?” Barry asked Sandra once they had returned to their
limousine.

With Moses and officer McCaughley drugged and suitably restrained in the van
behind them, Sandra wanted to return quickly to the Malcolm Building before
anything else hampered their progress. If there was one thing she had learnt by
now, it was never to take chances. Doctor Stone was a mere hindrance, a person
who needed eliminating, nothing more and that could be done at any time. The
real prize in her possession was Doctor Stone’s patient, Moses as he was called
though Sandra was perfectly aware of what his real name was and had been for
some time. She was especially proud that along with the capture of Moses, Eve
McCaughley was also in their possession.

Sandra was aware that Malcolm was impressed by the woman when she had come to
the Monolith to investigate Richard Falstaff’s death. She supposed that if
Malcolm wanted another conquest, Detective McCaughley, who was not exactly
unattractive, would suit his purposes. Malcolm had a taste for beautiful women
and though he did not always use them to create his next body, Sandra had been
more than accustomed over the years to clean up after him when he was finished
with them. As one who had been on the receiving end of his sexual appetites, she
was rather grateful she had grown too old to inspire his attention in that
regard.

Sandra saw Bear Mountain falling further and further behind them in the window
before she deigned to answer her junior associate. “He’ll be along shortly, I
think.”

“You think so?” Barry looked at her with some measure of surprise as he ran his
fingers along a long, wooden object in his hand.

“Yes,” Sandra smiled knowingly, “Doctor Stone sees himself as the protector of
the innocent and his sense of outrage at Stuart Farmer’s death ensures that he
will come to the Monolith in an ill advised effort to rescue his patient and
Officer McCaughley.”

“He’s just a shrink,” Barry said dubiously. “What’s he going to do? Analyse us
into letting them go?” The man smirked with derision.

“Let’s just say I have a feeling about Doctor Stone,” Sandra realised before she
noticed what he was running his fingers over. “What is that you’re playing
with?”

“I found one of this on the floor of the lodge,” Barry remarked, hoping she was
not going to disapprove because he had helped himself to a little souvenir.
“It’s an arrow. It looks old so I figured its must be one of them old Indian
ones. There were a few of them on the floor and since we shot up the place I
don’t think anyone is really going to miss it.”

There was just enough hint of defensiveness in his voice to indicate to Sandra
that he felt just a little guilty about stealing but then the moral conundrum
seemed out of place considering the man had just been in charge of kidnapping
two people.

Sandra took the arrow away from him, examining the tapered shaft and the
exquisitely forged arrowhead. There were intricate designs on both the wood and
the metal, designs that looked familiar to something she had seen in Malcolm’s
private study in his penthouse.

“I think Mr Malcolm needs to have a look at this,” she replied, troubled even if
she did not know why. “I am sure you won’t mind sacrificing it will you Barry?”
She stared at him.

Barry swallowed and nodded. “No, ma’am.”


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


By the time Aaron reached the lodge, he knew it was too late.

The gunfire had ceased and there was only silence in its wake. Even though it
was likely that they were waiting for him to arrive, Aaron could not bring
himself to heed caution. After losing Stuart, the possibility that Eve and
Moses might be taken from him in the same manner paralysed his reasoning. He
heard Elladan calling after him but Aaron did not pause to answer the elf. He
could not when his worst fears were being realised like bile forcing its way up
his throat.

Legolas kept pace next to him, refusing to let Aaron out of his sight despite
the foolishness of the human’s advance towards the lodge. Save of shooting him
with an arrow, Legolas knew that the healer was going to let nothing stand in
his way of reaching the people he cared about. Legolas marvelled at how easy it
was for him to fall into old habits now that he once again found himself at
Aragorn’s side. True, Aaron was a far different person than the King of Gondor
but to Legolas, Aaron was still the friend with whom he had shared the best
moments of his life.

Legolas was not blind to the growing affection between Aaron and Eve. He was
really surprised that they had not found each other sooner than this. Seeing
them together again was like seeing a vision of the past and though both had
tried to keep their distance, there was no denying the fact that each had
recognised the great love they had once felt for each other. Even if they were
determined to approach each other cautiously, there was no denying the intensity
of what they felt, even to the people around them.

Aaron’s heart was pounding as he crossed the distance between the woods and the
lodge in record time. As it came closer into view, he could see the broken
windows and the holes where gunfire had torn at the wood. His breath caught as
he slowed his pace. However, Aaron refused to turn back even if it was a trap.
He told himself that Eve was more than capable of protecting herself and Moses
if need be but the shocking number of bullet holes across the walls of the lodge
made that hope vanish into a deep well of despair.

Nothing was as disturbing however, as the sound of silence.

He could only hear his breathing as he approached the lodge and saw through the
windows that the inside of the building was just as ravaged as its exterior.
His instincts told him that they were alone, that Sandra Collins had taken what
she wanted and had left. The door to the lodge was ajar and when Aaron pushed
it open, he saw shafts of light crisscrossing the room through holes left by
bullet. There was little that was not destroyed by the barrage of ammunition
and Aaron treaded carefully as he avoided fragments of glass, ceramic,
splintered wood and other ruined remains.

He did not see either Eve or Moses.

He searched the debris, his eyes moving across the destroyed sanctuary as he
tried to find Eve and Moses in this mess and swiftly came to the conclusion that
there was nothing to find. After all the trouble Sandra Collins had gone
through to acquire Moses, she would not be foolish enough to risk killing him.
Aaron’s stomach hollowed when he realised that he was not as sure whether or not
that consideration would extend to Eve.

“They’re gone,” Aaron said softly, not caring or not whether Legolas understood
him.

“Yes,” Legolas nodded, sensing the danger had passed even though their
situation was still dire.

“Why did she take Eve?” Aaron asked out loud, not expecting an answer. It did
not make sense that Sandra Collins should take Eve along with Moses. If
anything, Aaron would think it was expedient to get rid of the policewoman, not
leave her alive as a witness to what Malcolm Industries had been up to.

“They’ve been taken,” Legolas glanced over his shoulder and told Elladan and
Elrohir when the brothers finally caught up to them.

“Taken? Both of them?” Elrohir said with some measure of confusion. “Why? It
does not serve Melkor to take Eve since only Mithrandir is a danger to him.”

“I do not know,” Legolas shook his head, “it worries me nonetheless.”

Elladan saw the damage done to the room and had to admit that he did not like
these guns that the human were so accustomed to calling their weapons of choice.
It seemed like such an indiscriminate killer where it was easy for innocent
bystanders to be hurt in the crossfire. Swords and arrows ensured that only the
intended target was harmed, not anyone else who happened to be in the immediate
vicinity.

“I hope she is still alive,” Elladan found himself saying. “I do not wish her
harmed when we only just found her.”

“We do not know that she is dead,” Elrohir returned sharply, frightened by the
possibility himself. Even though it was obvious Eve was not the Evenstar that
they had known and love, to them she would always be family because she wore
their sister’s soul.

Through all this discussion, Aaron had not spoken.

He took a step forward, staring around the wreckage of the room in something of
a daze. Even though his blue green eyes appeared to be shifting through the
damage, Aaron’s thoughts were far away from the destruction before him. If the
truth were known, Aaron was on a journey. He was on a journey that had began
with accepting a patient that should have been sent to another facility long
before it ever became his personal responsibility. It was a journey that had
shattered the oh so safe boundaries of not only his world but also his beliefs.
Before all this, he had been a doctor, supremely confident in his ability, the
way all doctors were, because they believed life and death was a matter for
their control.

As a psychiatrist, he had been no different. It was all about control and he had
believed that the way to healing a damaged mind was to control the fear that
made it so, to drive it away like one would chase away disease with a vaccine.
He wondered how many patients languished in their own private hells because
doctor like him were so certain of everything that outlandish tales could not
possibly construed as being true. It was easier to say that they were the result
of a sick mind rather than to admit the possibility it might be true. When he
had first sat across Moses, he had thought that way. He had thought Moses was
delusional. Now he knew better.

If he were to bring his story to any of his colleagues, Aaron was certain they
would be fitting him for his very own straightjacket.

He had walked into this like a complete novice, without having any clue as to
what he was facing, assuming that Moses was insane, bringing Stuart into a world
so dark that he had been killed for it. He had been stumbling through this
thing like a child scratching away at the dark even though all the pieces were
there in front of him, pieces he did not wish to see until he had unleashed the
truth and had no other choice but to believe. Even then, he had still acted
like a fool. Stuart was dead and Aaron still had no idea what he was facing.
All he knew how to run and he was not even very good at that because it took Eve
to save his life. He rewarded her by dragging her into this mess and now
Malcolm Industries had both her and Moses in their clutches.

Moses had trusted Aaron. He had allowed the doctor access to his inner most
demons despite the danger and Eve had been foolish enough to believe him when
Aaron said he would protect her. He had protected nothing and he had lost them
both.

No more.

Aaron was not going to let Malcolm, Melkor or whatever the hell he was called,
have either of them. Aaron had been doing nothing but reacting to his situation
since it began, running on defensive instead of offensive because there was a
part of him that did not want to believe that Moses was not human, that elves
could exist or in another life he had been a king. None of these things had
seemed real to him, even after he had seen what Moses was capable of or when he
met Legolas and the others. He had half expected to wake up from this dream and
find everything back the way it was.

It had only become real to him the first time he kissed Eve.

When their lips touched for the first time, he knew without doubt or reservation
that he had been waiting for her all his life.

There is a part of humanity that exists beneath the insecurities of modern day
living, beneath decades of layered social and cultural doctrine that disconnects
human beings from the ability to recognise what they truly needed instead of
what they believe society expected of them. It is the curse of modern man to be
saddled with neuroses that form because the repression of feeling creates walls
inside the mind that are sometimes too complex to navigate and detract from real
desires.

When Aaron kissed Eve for the first time, the impossibility of reincarnation and
the fact that they had known each other in a previous life had simply bled away
into nothingness because he knew, he knew absolutely and completely that he
loved her, that he had always loved her. It screamed through the walls of his
belief like a banshee’s wail and shattered the fixed notions that everything
that made him love her was impossible or could not be.

For once in his life, he knew with more certainty than he had ever known
anything that she was the woman he loved. Once he was able to believe that
without doubt, it was easy to believe the rest as well.

And for the first time, Aaron knew what to do.

It had been so simple if only he had opened his mind enough to consider it. He
was going to get Eve back and he was going to cure Moses. All of it was within
his reach because he believed it was.

“We have to go,” Aaron stared at Legolas.

Legolas knew what ‘go’ meant but he was rather alarmed at where Aaron thought he
was going. If he intended to pursue the Evenstar and Mithrandir, Legolas would
accompany without hesitation however, one simply did not attempt to confront an
evil like Melkor without some sort of strategy.

“Go?” Legolas looked at Aaron in question.

“We’re going to get Eve and Moses,” Aaron repeated.

“Danger,” Elladan reminded.

“Yes,” Aaron nodded, understanding the reason for their caution but they had run
out of time. “Trust me,” he said.

“Trust?” Legolas did not understand.

Aaron wished he could speak their language but opted for the best that he could.
He took Legolas’ hand within his while tapping his chest at the same time and
spoke to the elf firmly; hoping the sentiment behind the word would explain its
meaning, “trust me,” he repeated himself.

It took few seconds for Legolas to comprehend but when he did, the elf broke
into a little smile and answered with a slight nod, “trust.”

Aaron looked at Elladan and Elrohir, asking the same question with the same
gestures and receiving the same response. He needed their help. He could not do
this without them. However, if they were going into the belly of the beast, he
would need more than their trust if any of them to come out of this alive.

They were going to have fight fire with fire.

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

One of the advantages of being a psychiatrist in a large city hospital with no
paying clients as such and most of his patients coming to him by the way of the
New York City Police was the occasional criminal element that he was forced to
evaluate.

When a young Italian teenager named Luciano Dede claiming to hear voices was
arrested for knifing a schoolteacher during class, the police was forced to
bring him to the psychiatric for evaluation. Even though NYPD was sceptical
about the boy’s allegations particularly since he came from a family with links
to the Mob, the doctor had nevertheless conducted the examination with an open
mind. Aaron had found that the boy was suffering symptoms of growing
schizophrenia that could not be faked and had recommended he receive treatment.

While the police had been unhappy with his findings, Aaron had nonetheless stood
by his report and the boy was sent to a private hospital to receive proper care.
Within days of Luciano being removed from the hospital, Aaron had received a
visit from a man called Vito Andretti. Andretti had been polite, thanking him
for his fair evaluation of the boy and then remarked that should Aaron ever need
a favour, to not hesitate calling.

Aaron had thought little of it until he learned through reading the Sunday
paper some months later that Andretti was supposedly the consigliore of the Dede
family. The doctor considered himself fortunate to walk away from the
encounter unscathed and had resolved never to call in that favour.

Until now.

“So what’s a high price college boy like you want with stuff like this?” The
rather overweight man with a balding head and a thick Jersey accent asked Aaron
after he and Legolas entered the cavernous warehouse in the seamier part of
town.

“Fishing,” Aaron said shortly, marvelling at the completely illegal merchandise
in the store and wondering what kind of clientele this place usually had.

“Fishing?” He looked like Aaron.

“Yeah, I got tired of using flies to lure the fish. I figure a little C4 should
bring them up to the surface a lot easier.”

The man uttered a laugh through his cigar and Aaron saw Legolas wince at the
smells emanating through the place. Aaron was glad that he told Elladan and
Elrohir to watch the car because he felt sorry for Legolas and his superior
sense of smell. Aaron was certain that their esteemed host had no idea that
showering was meant to be a daily experience. Legolas’ demeanour was not helped
by the fact that the warehouse was sectioned by rows and rows of steel shelves
housing all kinds of dangerous weapons and made one feel as if they were
wandering a maze. Since the establishment was illegal, most of the lights were
kept dim, promoting the illusion that the warehouse was abandoned.

“You’re real funny Doc,” the man remarked and then added, “seriously though, you
gotta be careful wit this stuff. You remember when they blew up the towers?
This could potentially do the same if you know what you’re doing.”

“I don’t,” Aaron replied sincerely, “I just want something that will go off
without me being near it and when I want it to.”

”I don’t want to know what you want it for,” the man named Nicky retorted. “But
I can help you. We got remote detonators here. You can set the charges off from
a mile away. Watch the fireworks from your penthouse even.”

“If that means it will blow up if I press a button, that’s good,” Aaron replied.

Suddenly Legolas paused and reached for something on the shelf.

“Hey don’t be touching that,” Nicky retorted seeing what he was about to do.
“That’s stuff’s dangerous.”

Legolas stopped what he was doing but he was looking at his discovery with
interest as well as a determination to have a closer look at it.

Aaron stared at Nicky, “what are you kidding? Everything in here is dangerous.”

“Well that’s dangerous and expensive,” Nicky grumbled as he saw the tall blond
man pick up the object and examined it closer.

Aaron could see why it had captured Legolas’ interest so. The arrow shaft was
made from smooth aluminium-carbon with an arrowhead that did not appear to be
either the broad or field type that was customary for these projectiles. If
anything, it was almost conical in shape and was considerably heavier than the
shaft itself. Legolas was thoroughly fascinated by the odd-looking arrow and
Aaron who had seen a demonstration of his skills could appreciate his interest.

“It just looks like a regular arrow,” Aaron remarked, “except for the head.”

“That’s because they’re explosive tip,” Nicky retorted. “You shoot that in
somebody’s ass and sitting down is going to be the least of their problems.
You’re gonna be scraping them off the walls.”

“Explosive tips huh?” Aaron smiled deviously, his mind already envisioning how
much damage the archer could do with those arrows in his arsenal. “You might as
well put that on the shopping list.”

“Are you kidding? You know how much those things cost?” Nicky baulked, “I had to
ship them all the way from Europe!”

”I thought Mr Andretti said you were going to help me,” Aaron stared at him with
just enough of an edge to his voice to be intimidating. Vito Andretti had sent
him to Nicky when the doctor had finally called in his favour. When Aaron had
arrived, Vito had already given these illegal arms trader orders to provide him
with everything Aaron would need.

”Alright,” Nicky frowned conceding defeat. “You and your girlfriend are going
send me out of business.”

“He’s not my girlfriend,” Aaron bit back.

“With that hair,” Nicky retorted, “who could tell?”

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

When she entered John Malcolm’s office, Sandra Collins did so with an
immeasurable feeling of pride and vindication that she was able to accomplish
the difficult task of recovering the greatest threat to her master’s existence
with such resounding success. With the capture of Detective McCaughley and
Moses alive, Doctor Stone was more or less an after thought she could deal with
at her leisure. After all, his credibility had been destroyed the instant he
had stolen a patient out of a psychiatric ward and with the exertion of Malcolm
Industries formidable influence, Sandra was certain she could see to it that he
never practised medicine again. That is if she did not decide to simply kill
him first.

For the moment however, she was going to relish presenting news of her success
to Malcolm who had grown considerably impatient with her lack of success. She
knew from experience that he would not hesitate to remove her from her vaunted
position as his trusted associate if it suited him and continued failure was not
something he tolerated well. At the very least, he could kill her. At the very
worst, he might have let live and for Sandra, who had endured the punishment for
failure on numerous occasions during her tenure of service to him, rather
preferred the former.

“I trust you have good news for me,” Malcolm said looking up from the papers on
his desk.

“I have them,” she said proudly. “It was as I suspected. Doctor Stone was
leasing the cabin in the area around Bear Mountain. It took a few calls to find
out exactly where.”

“And did you eliminate the dear doctor?” Malcolm asked, not really concerned by
one mortal with a story so outlandish that to repeat it would most likely see
the man committed himself. It was one of the reasons Malcolm so loved the
twentieth century. Humanity was terribly cynical of anything outlandish.

“He was not present but I have a feeling he will try and make some foolish
attempt to rescue the old man and Detective McCaughley. I believe he will be
along soon enough,” Sandra said confidently.

“I hope that Detective McCaughley was left unspoiled?” He gave her a look of
menace daring her to say any differently.

“She put up quite a fight, took down two of our people before Barry subdued her
with a tranquilliser dart. After that, she was no trouble at all.”

“You’ve moved her to my suite upstairs?” Malcolm asked casually, looking forward
to seeing the young woman once he was done with Sandra.

“Yes,” Sandra answered, “she is heavily sedated though so it may be a few hours
before she will be awake. If that is even important?”

Malcolm met her eyes with a gaze of dark flint, “it is to me. I like the
difficult ones,” he said with a malicious smile, amused by the fact that Sandra
was perfectly aware of what he was talking about. When she was younger, he had
enjoyed her so. It was one of the reasons he kept her at his side, even when
his interest in her as a sexual partner had dwindled.

“I do seem to recall,” Sandra replied, hiding the anger in her voice at his
reminder that she had been passed over. However, she hid the emotion knowing
that Malcolm would enjoy seeing her flinch.

“I did wish to call something else to your attention however,” she spoke up
after a moment in an effort to change the subject. “Barry found this at Doctor
Stone’s cabin. He thought it was some kind of Indian souvenir.”

“And you don’t think so?” Malcolm replied not really interested because his
thoughts were more focussed on his plans for Detective McCaughley.

“No,” Sandra strode to his desk and placed the object Barry had found across
Malcolm’s desk in front of him. “I’m sure I’ve seen the design before, on some
of the items you have in your penthouse.”

Malcolm was no longer listening to her.

He was not listening because his eyes were fixed on the arrow in front of him
and specifically the engravings etched across the wood and upon the arrowhead.
For a few seconds, his human body almost stopped breathing from the
astonishment he was feeling. It was a completely new experience for him to be
taken so unawares and it was not one that he liked at all.

“Where did you get this?” He asked slowly, his voice taking on a manic edge that
immediately forced Sandra to retreat from his desk.

“At Stone’s cabin. Barry found it among the debris,” she stammered.

“YOU’RE LYING!” He fairly roared.

Sandra felt herself being swept off her feet, her back slamming against the
nearby wall with so much force that she thought for a moment that she had broken
every bone in her body. She let out a groan of pain as she landed face first on
the hard floor, her head spinning with pain as she heard his footsteps
approaching her in forceful strides. She looked up at him and saw that he was
enraged. His eyes becoming dark with fury until she could no longer see the
whites, only black that seemed like infinity.

“Where did you find it?” He demanded again, holding the arrow in his hand in a
tight fist. “Answer me or I’ll tear the skin from you right this minute!”

“I swear to you!” Sandra cried out. “We found it at Stone’s cabin! There was
more than one!”

“Do you know what this is?” He shouted waving it in her face as she struggled to
get to her feet.

“No,” she shook her head terrified of his rage. “It looked familiar but I didn’t
know what it was! I thought you might be able to recognise it!”

“The writing on this is in Quenya!” Malcolm hissed.

“What is that?” She managed to ask through her fear.

“It is a language that has not existed for almost a hundred thousand years! It
is the language of the Eldar! The First Born!” Malcolm declared.

“Who?” Sandra looked at him blankly.

”ELVES!” He shouted. “Elves!”

“Elves?” She tried to hide the disbelief from her voice but could not quite
manage it. “How is that possible?”

“I do not know,” Malcolm said calming himself considerably, though his rage
still burned white hot. “If this is here,” he glanced briefly at the arrow,
“then there are elves here as well and our problem with the Maia becomes a good
deal more complicated.”

“How could they hurt you?” She asked.

Malcolm turned on her sharply, “that is not for you to know. You will get out
there and you will find Doctor Stone. It is time we met face to face. If you
don’t find him, I’ll find you and believe me Sandra, you will regret it for
every second of your last hours on earth. Do you understand me?”

Sandra nodded frantically, “yes, I understand.”

She had to find Aaron Stone. She had to find him or she would end up as dead as
he was going to be.





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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