First Draft

Page 21

“The reason that I ask, Benjamin, is Because it is very rare for a new medication to begin showing signs of success so quickly. Usually – and you’ve been through this before,” he paused to make eye contact with Ben, who quickly shot his own gaze back to the doctor’s face, giving an awkward smile and a singular head nod. The warrior, who now stood in front of the door, again hissed as it lowered itself into a crouched position. Benjamin could see the glint of it’s eye through one of the holes in the enormous, fiercesome mask, which now motionlessly studied him.

“–usually there’s a bit more of a ‘settling in’ period, in which a few minor side effects show up for a bit, and then hopefully die back down. And over time, you’ll hopefully notice that the episodes start to become less frequent.”

From the corner of his eye, Benjamin could see that the warrior, still crouched and guarding the exit, had quietly shifted its body position, so that the metallic point of its spear was pointed towards his face. He briefly locked eyes with the entity, but then returned his focus the best that he could back to what Dr. Davis was saying.

The doctor, who momentarily showed a frustrated look, glanced down at the floor in thought. Looking back up, with a reassuring smile, he scooched his chair closer to where Ben was perched on the edge of the examination table. Like an old friend, he briefly put his hand on Benjamin’s left knee. “Look, Ben. You wouldn’t be the first patient of mine – and I’m not saying that this is the case – but you wouldn’t be the first who’ve thought twice about getting involved with a new medication. I’ve had patients who’ve admitted to flushing their clozapines the second they got home – one lady had been doing it for months before I realized that anything was amiss. Some people certainly can do a good job of masking their symptoms when they want to.” The doctor smiled up at Benjamin, who grimaced in response and then looked down at his own dangling shoes.

From under his brow, Ben looked up and over at the crouched warrior. He could hear the bits of bone and shell, attached to the mask, jingle as it shifted. With its spear still held in its right hand, it reached back into a woven bag that was tied to its waist with a piece of leather. From the satchel, its red fingers silently produced a net, and began unfurling it. Much quieter this time – nearly inaudibly – it hissed.

When Ben had returned his attention to the doctor seated before him, he realized that his gaze had lingered too long. Doctor Davis, who’s head was turned, was peering towards the door, directly at the tribal warrior. Turning back to his patient, he looked up and studied Ben’s face, with a patient smile painted on his own. “Ben. Let’s just give this one a good try, and see what it does. The last one was a bust, and we learned from it. I think there’s a really good chance that this new drug will work better, but we have to give it a fair shake.”

Ben looked the doctor in the eye, gave another fake smile and a nod. Doctor Davis smiled, and patted him on the knee again. “Okay, well how about we reconvene in two weeks? Tuesdays are good for you?”

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