(Apologies for being late today...allergies are a bear).
Mary continued to struggle, but Mark's hold was too strong. She was gradually losing consciousness as the much younger orderly applied his chokehold. Mary stopped struggling.
Dr. Channing regained his composure and grabbed the syringe. He checked it for air bubbles and slid it into Mary's arm. Mark had her subdued and the effects of the lorazepam would take effect in about three minutes, most likely. Channing wiped his brow and checked Mary's vital signs. She was fine.
The two men helped Mary get settled on her bed. She would be asleep for awhile.
"What set her off?" Mark asked.
"The same thing as usual. I can't imagine what it would be like to be her," Channing replied.
"What is it about Connie, Dr. Channing? I mean, if you can tell me."
"It's all public record, I suppose, so I can tell you. When Mary was 13 years old, she and her friend, Connie, were in her backyard and they found a black widow spider. The girls were scared by this and Mary ran and got a small gardening pickaxe that her mother had been using in their garden, I would imagine..."
"I can see where this is going," Mark interrupted.
"Yes, it was a tragedy. Mary accidentally hit Connie with the pickaxe as she swung back to kill the spider. The spike end entered Connie's skull and killed her almost instantly. Mary hadn't realized that Connie had stepped behind her because she was afraid of the spider."
"Oh, man, Doc...that's awful...but how did Mary end up here?"
"Mary was understandably distraught about what happened. Her family was fairly well to do and had a very nice porch on their house. She attempted to hang herself using a long-ish piece of chain that hung down from a ceiling fan. Do you remember those at all?"
"Sure, Doc. That's awful. Is the lack of oxygen what caused her brain injury?"
"No, she was too big for the chain to hold her bodyweight. In her grief and shock, she grabbed the small pickaxe and dislodged it from Connie's head before burying the sharp end in her own skull."
"Oh my God."
"Yes, it is amazing she didn't bleed to death, but her brother, Randy, came home from playing at a neighbor's house and found the two of them and called 911."
"Jesus. Poor kid."
"Yes, from what I've heard, it took him a long time to come to grips with it. He was killed in a car accident out near Palm Springs when he was in his mid-30s. He was Mary's last surviving relative."
Dr. Channing continued:
"When Mary is awake, she barely remembers anything, but when she dreams, it's like she takes on whole other lives. This time she and Connie worked in a school, but a few months ago, they were part of a rock band. There are always black widow spiders, though, and always 'fans' involved."
Dr. Channing stared down at Mary who was sleeping in her bed. She looked so peaceful now. The tension of a few minutes prior had drained from her face. This wasn't the first time she'd attacked him, but it was the first time he had seen her get so angry so quickly.
"Is there anything that can be done for her, Dr. Channing?" Mark asked.
"Sadly, no. She's going to be in this loop for the rest of her life."
Mark and Dr. Channing left Mary's room. When the door shut behind them, Mary's eyes flashed open. Inside each pupil was a red hourglass.
She was starting to dream again.
See you tomorrow.
Jim J. was a great interview.