Chapter Forty Four

Doctor Holloway’s Office

Hickman, Kentucky 8:04 a.m.

 

Kemper woke up weeping. He could not recall where he was and had no explanation for his sudden outburst of emotions. Over the years, he had become quite numb to unnecessary up or downturns in feelings. He rarely found himself delighted or depressed and he preferred it that way.

Anger, to Kemper, was a far better median to ride through life than happiness or sadness, for both of those other extremes were fleeting. What he had an unlimited supply of in life was anger and desire for revenge.

Yet there he lay, sobbing like a war widow. He had no explanation other than the deprivation of his medicine. With this clear grasp on his situation, reason took over and anger once again was quick to sow and reap.

Daylight crept in from the high windows, but he did not know north from south or if it was daybreak or dusk. He was bound at the wrists, but had been untied and retied with cotton batting around the ropes. The doctor did not want Kemper to lacerate his wrists as he had done his ankles.

So thoughtful, Kemper mused with acidity. A brief test proved the new knot-work was much looser than before. He projected he could wrangle out of the restraints if and when it became necessary. He bided his time and waited for an opportunity to grow.

He looked about the room and saw little changed from his last conscious moments. His clothes still sat, neatly folded in a stack on the bench behind him. He looked about for his bottles, but saw no trace. A ripple of fear and then despair whipped through him. He forced himself to imagine the doctor pleading for his life. In this waking vision, the Samaritan trembled and sweat at the end of a scalpel as Kemper towered over him.

When he thought about his sobbing and wondered if he had been heard, he noticed the infants were no longer wailing, either. The dark nudge inside him hoped they had died. A brief flicker of self-loathing flared for thinking so darkly, but he quickly stomped on the weak-minded sentiment in case it might catch his mind aflame.

Kemper heard boards creaking outside his room. He lifted his head and focused on the key hole. He saw a key being inserted on the other side of the lock. He dropped his head back and closed his eyes. The door opened and he listened as the doctor locked the door. He lay still, listening to the footfalls coming nearer.

He felt the doctor lifting the bindings around his legs, not testing for security, but gently probing perhaps for signs of infection or healing. The doctor stepped to the cabinets and could be heard rummaging quietly for supplies.

Kemper did not stir or even open his eyes, for he wanted the attempt to free himself to be a full surprise. There was, however, a tension building Kemper knew must be released. He felt a mainspring inside himself wound tightly. The good doctor had no idea how many turns he was applying by keeping Kemper here. One twist too many and the machine would come to life, pendulum slicing through the air, gears interlocking and forcing intricate changes and forward movement. Time was held still, but Kemper’s clock could not be stopped forever.

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