Sunday, December 4, 2016


Copyright (c) 2016 by Randall R. Peterson ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This is a work of fiction. All persons, locations and actions are from the author's imagination or have been used in a fictitious manner.

By R. Peterson

Matthew Robyn (Bob) Vineyard crossed the border from Idaho going north into Montana on Highway 93. He wasn’t going too terribly fast; about fifty was all the old Ford pickup could handle. If he had been in his Peterbilt 579 he would have been doing at least eighty. It was night, but a full moon lit the darkened sky. Bob kept one eye open for deer; they were liable to jump out from anywhere, while he tuned his radio into a Missoula station playing Charlie Daniels’ Long Haired Country Boy. It was this attention to detail and a quick stomp of his fifty-four year old foot on his worn brake pedal that saved him from hitting the girl head-on when she ran in front of his rig. He did hear a bump.
The fourteen-year old Ford F-150 careered sideways and both front and rear wheels on the driver’s side lifted from the ground but Matt steered into the skid and kept the old truck from rolling over on the narrow two-lane blacktop. Charlie was singing …wants me to send a donation … 'cause he’s worried about my soul …When Bob shut the radio off.
He opened his door when some kind of black hairy beast sprinted across the road in the same direction as the girl. It’s shaggy fur brushed the side of his truck and left a residue smell of rotting cabbage. The first thing Bob thought was Grizzly and he reached for the Winchester 30-30 mounted above his back window. He had barely got the gun out of the rack when the girl screamed. The brush was too thick around the border of Motha Forest, a private trust that was off limits to the public, for him to see anything.  But he could at least scare the bear off. Bob fired a warning shot into the air … before the resonant echo died away, he fired off another … then another. More shaken than he cared to admit, because his mind kept insisted that the creature wasn’t a bear, because whoever heard of a bear wearing ragged clothing?
Bob later swore to friends in the River City Saloon that the sound of the creature was just like the screaming howl a man with his arm caught in farm equipment had made on a summer-job near Ashton, Idaho … although he was sure he didn’t hit it with either shot. He heard the beast crashing through the trees and then there was only silence. Bob was just about to climb back in the truck and go on, passing the whole incident off as some kind of wild hallucination … probably too much of that stoned-redneck music, when he heard a  moan from the bushes.
Her ankle length dress looked to be homespun, although Bob didn’t know anyone who still used a spinning wheel. “Are you okay?” The girl tried to strand up but he gently pushed her back. Her arms looked too pale. “Best lay still Hon … until we can get yawl some help.”
“Hodemedod!” she moaned. She sounded terrified … and then she went limp.
She looked bruised but there didn’t appear to be any bleeding. But it was the cotton flour-bag tied tightly over her head with bailing twine around her neck that made Matt climb back in his truck. He threw a plastic sandwich bag, with about a quarter-ounce of marijuana in it, and a pipe as far into the brush as he could toss and then dialed emergency channel nine on his CB radio. “This is Bob chuckjaw jacking from highway ninety-three about twenty miles north of the Idaho border. I just come from spud town and bumped an almost-grown beaver here by the side of the road … it looks like she might have been kidnapped … bring it back.”
Twenty-minutes later, Bob sat in his truck and lit a Marlborough Red when he saw the bubblegum machine lights from the police and ambulance vehicles approaching. His hands were still shaking. The girl wasn’t dead … he could hear her breathing, but he didn’t want to touch her. He hadn’t smoked a regular cigarette for almost three weeks … this was a hell of a time to quit.


The girl opened her eyes … and the nurse smiled. “My name is Edith Morgan, and I’m a registered nurse here at Missoula General Hospital. Can you tell me your name?”
Teng,” the girl said. Her eyes gazed about the hospital room in growing alarm. Her fingers touched her too pale face. “Where is my kawl?”
            “If by kawl you mean this hood that was covering your head, you don’t have to wear that awful thing anymore … you’re safe now.”
Teng covered her face with her right hand. She was obviously embarrassed … but the nurse failed to notice.
Mrs. Morgan picked up a very soft and faded Solar Seed bag, with eye holes and a mouth opening cut and hemmed into the fabric, and then dropped it next to a length of yellow twine. “From the looks of what you were wearing when they brought you in, you live on a farm and make your own clothes. I live on a farm too. I love the good life … hate the city. I just work here to make ends meet.” She moved to a laptop computer and clicked on a file. “Can you tell me your last name Teng?”
Teng pointed to the modified bag Edith had dropped on the countertop next to a box of nitrile gloves and a plastic box labeled sharps disposal. Her voice sounded pleading. “Give me my kawl back … I feel naked without it!”
            “I don’t know what your captors did to you, but you are a very pretty girl with a lovely face and you have absolutely no reason to be embarrassed.” Nurse Edith was shaking her head and smiling.
            “Please!” Teng was begging now.
            “That will be up to your physician,” Edith said with mock cheerfulness. “If Doctor Burnside decides to let you wear that thing … it will at least have to be cleaned and sanitized.”
Teng sat up in the bed and spied the clothes she had been wearing along with her shoes folded neatly on a chair. The blue cotton gown she was wearing covered only her front and was open and tied in the back. ‘I’m leaving,’ she said climbing from the bed. It was then she noticed the IV tube running from her left wrist to a plastic bag hanging from what looked like a chrome coat-rack with wheels. She stared in horror. “I’m going home!”
            “Easy now!” Edith moved to gently push the girl back onto the bed while she slyly pushed a button mounted on the wall for assistance. “You don’t want to pull out that IV. Lord knows we had enough trouble getting it in! I had to call Doctor James, a cosmetic surgeon, to make an incision for a simple blood test on your finger. I’ve worked as a healthcare professional for forty years and I’ve never seen elastic skin resist a needle the way yours does.”
Teng burst into tears and covered her face with both hands, not even looking up when Doctor Richard M. Burnside and Philip D. Candor the hospital’s administrator marched in along with two orderlies. Doctor Burnside beamed as he examined the blood test results.
“She wouldn’t tell me her last name,” RN Morgan blurted. The doctor ignored her. He shook his head in disbelief as the hospital assistants secured Teng to the bed with nylon restraints. ‘It’s a good thing she doesn’t have any somatic injuries,” he said to Candor. “We don’t have any of her blood type in this hospital … and I’d be willing to bet a year’s worth of lunches at Vargos that no one else on this planet does either.”
            “What blood type is she?” Candor tried to look at the head doctor’s clipboard.
            “Something that has the best medical lab in the northwest stumped,” Doctor Burnside said. “The guys down in Hematology are doing a psycho dance … and the DNA analysts from Butte are playing the music!”
            “The county detectives will be here in a minute,” Candor said looking at his watch. “They were both in Helena testifying in another homicide investigation. What do we tell them?”
            “You don’t say a damn word … I will handle them,” Doctor Burnside said glaring at his boss who suddenly looked more like a subordinate. “It’s my determination that Teng Doe be held for further testing. All of her medical records are a matter of patient confidentiality until we receive an official court-order stating otherwise … and with the fifty-thousand I slipped Governor Brown under-the-table for his re-election campaign that is positively not going to happen. I’ve made any breach of confidentiality grounds for immediate termination very clear to all the employees in our lab … and throughout in this backwoods facility … besides …” he said admiring his hands, “we’ve never been this close to having our pictures on the front cover of JAMA… and by God none of these zombies this hospital forces me to work with is going to screw that up!”
            “I’ll take care of it.” Candor assured him.
Doctor Burnside leaned over the bed where the strange girl was tied down and he smiled for the first time. He looked like a crocodile wearing blue surgical scrubs as he made his voice sound fatherly. “I don’t know exactly what you are … Teng,” he said as the girl beneath him continued to struggle and cry. “But we are going to take awful damn good care of you.”


 Margie O’Brian glanced out the living room window when the doorbell rang. A battered Oldsmobile was parked next to the seven fountains shooting colorfully lit water into the night sky. It must be someone to see Sean or else the guards wouldn’t have let them past the main gate. Margie hated to walk across her freshly cleaned carpets, they were still damp but she had given all three servants the day off and someone had to answer the door. She took her shoes off and tried to stay on the edges of the large entryway. White plush carpets were beautiful but the maintenance was sometimes tedious. She remembered helping her mother sweep a dirt floor in the late 1930’s that had been oiled and packed hard as cement in their depression era dry-farm home. All we dreamed of then was a floor made of wood Margie mused as she opened the door.
A man with his hat in his hand and two days stubble on his chin stood on the step. “Sorry to disturb you mum,” he said. “I’m here to see Mister O’Brian.”
“Charlie Clancey!” Margie laughed. “Ain’t you a sight for sore eyes! There are no Misters here as far as you’re concerned. You should be ashamed even calling me mum. Sean is in the den, ever doin’ his books.” She pulled him inside and held his arm as they walked across the white carpeting.  “I haven’t seen you for ages. How is Nancy? Does the arthritis still trouble her legs?”
“She can still take after me when she wants to … Margie,” Charlie said sheepishly. “Thank you for asking.”
Sean heard their voices and came out of his office. “Doctor Clancey! Welcome to me bocht cottage. Would you care for some coffee or tea?” Sean laughed. “Or perhaps something a we-bit stronger? Margie let her girls off for the day … and we’d hate to trouble the poor overworked mum now wouldn’t we?”
            “Sure and it’s no trouble trying to sleep when two old shams are both langers and crying whilst they sing Irish ballads all night is it?” Margie’s smile softened her sharp tongue. “I’ll make some coffee … you can nip it with the spirits if you must.”
Sean led Charlie into his office.
            “It’s not Doctor any longer … not since I lost my license to practice medicine,” Charlie said. “I’m still employed by Missoula General but now I spend nights mopping floors and cleaning the jacks instead of listening to old women complain about living and ordering them some more pills.”
            “Richard M. Burnside! I’ll bust his dial!” Sean roared as he poured two shots of Canadian whiskey. “I’ll give the snaky bastard a baytin when I find the time … and I still say the poor bugger of a doctor framed you for something he did.” Sean handed Charlie the glass and smiled, his passion vanishing as quickly as it appeared. “Don’t be waiting for the paint to dry,” he said as he swallowed his drink. “Margie has one of them new high-speed coffee makers that can brew a couple of cups faster than a Dundalk cat can throw a litter of kittens.”
            “Burnside and Philip Candor are the reason I’m here,” Charlie said. “But it has nothing to do with my suspension.” He swallowed his drink and then handed the glass back to Sean who quickly stashed both shot glasses and the whiskey behind a stack of ledgers. “Burnside and the hospital administrator are holding a Mommet girl at the hospital and they won’t release her. Candor has been threatening all the employees with termination if word gets out. She was bumped by a pickup on the highway that runs past your section of Motha Forest. She’s not hurt, but Burnside has discovered that she is different than other people and the bastard is trying to make the most out of it.”
            “Philip D. Candor is no better than Burnside,” Sean growled. “He’d eat you through a sack.” Sean thumbed through an index filed on his desk. “Burnside has been pumping rake money up Governor Brown’s fat arse for the past three years. It’s time he was tossed back in the piss pot he crawled out of.” Sean picked up his phone and dialed a number … then pointed toward the door. “Go ask Margie about that coffee will yaw … I’ll be talking to some hard lads and they don’t like no others but me to be listening … I’ll be with you shortly.”
            Margie and Sean both walked Charlie to the door after insisting that he stay for dinner … they had ordered-in pizza. “It was nice seeing Charlie again,” Margie said when she closed the door. “What did he want?”
            “Nothing for you to bother your wee pretty head about,” Sean turned away.
            “Well I can see a fire in your eyes,” Margie said as she grabbed and turned him around. “And what burns you, Sean O’Brian, sets fire to my own heart … so let’s have you tell … or do I have to get rough!”
            “One of your dear face-covering creatures has been captured and taken from Motha Forest,” Sean said. “I swear to the lord I will put things right … I know a large part of your heart dwells with those who we hide.”
            “It wasn’t just Brian,” Margie told him. “All of the Mommet still living have very kind hearts and they need to be sheltered like children.”
            “Then they will be,” Sean told her.
The two-million dollar Jacob Godschalk clock in the hallway had just chimed eleven o’clock and  Margie was still on her knees with a rag and a bottle of spotter removing the marks Charlie’s shoes had left in her white carpet. “Sometimes I think having a dirt floor wouldn’t be too bad,” she whispered to the sleeping house.

Teng hated the arm and leg restraints that held her to the bed.  Her mother was right , people on the outside were cruel. She closed her eyes and reached out with her mind … the entire hospital reeked of pain and deceit. The registered nurse was coming down the hall toward this room. Teng cleared her mind and began to channel Edith Morgan’s thoughts. The captive Mommet shuddered. The friendly woman who said she lived on a farm was laughing inside as she thought bad things about her … husband?
I hope John drank that bottle of special beer I left on the kitchen table after he finished his chores. I swear Rohypnol is becoming my best friend … poor old hubby never remembers anything. If he’s passed-out when I get off at 4 AM we’ll play some footsies. Those coins I put inside that lost-sock of his makes it easy to swing and I know it has to hurt like hell. Thank God it doesn’t leave a lot of marks. Who would have thought that a measly half-dozen rolls of nickels could be so much fun? The dumb bastard thinks I’m saving all those coins so that we can play the slots in Vegas. That will be the day … I’ll break both his legs before I’ll let that happen. I almost split a gut this morning when he fell trying to get out of bed and wanted to know the symptoms of arthritis. I’m having tons of fun but I’ve got to be more careful, that damn nosey sister of his wants him to go into a regular doctor and have those bruises checked out. I’ve got to be more careful at work too. It’s fun to turn Mrs. Thomson’s oxygen off and watch her gasp for air … she looks like a jut caught river-fish floppin’ on the bank. I was laughing so hard last time, I barely got the air turned back on before Burnside made his rounds. If he knew how many patients have died while receiving my “special care” he’d have me out behind-the-barn for a whipping. Not that he gives a damn if they suffer he’s farm-people like me. All these cows in our hospital beds can be milked for six grand a day.

The door opened and a beaming Edith Morgan walked into the room. “What are you still awake for?” The nurse sounded like she was giving good natured scolding but Teng noticed a sadistic pleasure lingering behind her spoken words. Teng strained to read the woman’s thoughts but they were guarded. “For what you pay to stay in this overpriced heartbreak hotel, we should at least allow you to sleep shouldn’t we?”
Teng watched the woman walk toward the IV stand, take a small medicine bottle from her pocket and pour the contents into the drip bag.
            “What are you doing?” Teng asked.
            “Just giving you something to make you sleep,” the nurse said pleasantly. “Don’t worry in a couple of minutes … you’ll be in another world.”
Teng strained to read the label of the empty bottle the nurse dropped on the counter … one of the words was Rohypnol!
The nurse’s thoughts were now blaring like loudspeakers inside her head  …
            The little albino bitch has skin like rubber … I could probably beat her for an hour with a bedpan and no one would ever know. There won’t be another room-check for at least an hour … I wonder how her skin does with … burns?
Teng could feel herself getting sleepy … she fought to stay awake. Her heart pounded and the room began to spin. She wanted to beg the woman to let her go but she knew the nurse would enjoy that. Instead Teng closed her eyes and thought about how frantic her mother must be looking everywhere for her. If only Teng had listened to her and hadn’t gone exploring and then got chased by that Hodmedod.  She could smell smoke! Teng forced her eyes open. A Momett’s worst fear is of dying by fire.
            “I know it’s against the rules … but I won’t tell if you won’t” Nurse Morgan smiled as she stared at the glowing end of a cigarette and then blew a mouthful of harsh smoke toward the restrained girl. “Close your eyes … I’m going to be right here … taking care of you.”

To be continued …


1 comment:

  1. Are you paying more than $5 / pack of cigarettes? I buy high quality cigs at Duty Free Depot and this saves me over 60% on cigarettes.


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