It is approximately thirty minutes after my last report, and I’m back in the waiting room at Melmoth Memorial, enjoying a steaming hot cup of coffee I sweet-talked off one of the nurses. I don’t know what the patients drink, but the Nurses’ Lounge is stocked with a damn fine brew. Alexandra is still not back from her examination, but I’ve just spent some time with her erstwhile kidnapper, Possum Reynolds. Or rather, with something purporting to be Possum Reynolds. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I was informed, if you’ll recall, that Possum had awakened and was asking to speak with the Sheriff. I decided that he should perhaps speak to me instead, and had the nurse lead me to him. Rooms in the intensive care unit are usually small, and cramped with machines. Possum’s room had those features, but it was also dark, and unnaturally humid. Like someone had just taken a shower in it. But instead of the clean smell of soap, it smelled… Well, it’s difficult to describe what it did smell like. Dirt, I suppose. Dirt and blood.
Possum seemed surprised to see me. “Ii. Ast. For. The. Sheriff,” he said, and immediately I knew that whatever was wrong with the room, it emanated from him. His lips were moving in a series of jerky stop-motion twitches around a mouthful of broken teeth. Each word was a spasm. Clipped. Brittle. And not entirely in synch with his lips. It was simultaneously disorienting, abhorrent, and fascinating.