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The Waiting Room

~ Chapter Eighty-Five


Fourteen Minutes Late


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Crane found himself pulling away from the fog of sleep. Cobwebs of last night clung to him as he tried to focus, tried to remember what was the last thing he remembered.

He opened and closed his eyes, attempting to rid himself of the final stages of whatever it was had taken him out. With his eyes finally wide enough he looked about and found that he was viewing the world from the lowest level of the room. From the floor.

Crane cricked his neck in a circle, listening to the popping sounds of the bones telling himself that the pillow he had used was not exactly the best. But then the pillow moved.

“What?”

He turned his head to find himself prone, head against the stomach of the pirate.

He gave out a cry as he sat up, disturbing Jack who looked to Crane through slits.

“Wee too much of the drink, I think,” Jack slurred as he turned to his side, trying to push himself to a sitting position. He managed to get upright, but still weaved as he took in his surroundings.

“Still here, I see.” he mumbled. “Bloody Room.” He stumbled to his feet and found an empty chair, plopping down with so much force the legs scraped the floor.

Gingerly Crane eased himself from the floor, keeping his eye to Jack, afraid the pirate would create an outburst and draw even more attention to them. How embarrassing, Crane thought as he looked about the Room.

Some of the men sneered at them. Some made shrugs. But most ignored them.

Ichabod staggered to his table, the one with the damaged computer, his instruments, his research equipment and the manila envelope.

But as he took stock Crane realized that the envelope was not among the inventory.

“No…no….no….” he cried quietly, rummaging through the items, lifting things to see if it had been misplaced among the chaos. But there was no envelope.

A quick turn to face the others sent his head spinning and he placed both hands to the side of his face. Good Gracious, what was it he and the pirate consumed last night? Whatever it was he would be sure, in God's good name, not to partake of it again.

“Something wrong, copper?” Jung called out across the Room. “Looks like you’re missing something.” Jung's laughter brought more gaiety to his table.

“Do you know about it?” Crane asked. “Do you know what is missing?” he asked trying to keep a level head and a vertical stance.

“What’s missing? Yeah, I’ll tell ya what the f--k is missing! My sanity! When the hell are we getting out of this screwed-up place? Uh, answer that, Mr. Constable!”

Their laughter cut into Crane’s head, his hangover whirlwinding his thoughts as well as his logic.

But he knew that Jung did not have the answer he needed.

The constable took a seat and waited for the Room to stop spinning. He felt it was going to be a long day and a long hangover to free himself from.

It took most of the morning and into the afternoon before Crane began to feel better. He had dozed on and off and during his waking hours he dogged those around him for a clue to the missing manila envelope with the spent bullet. But no one, so they claimed, had seen anything.

“Constable?” It was Mort.

Crane found enough strength to make his way over to the writer’s desk.

“Yes, Mr. Rainey. I must apologize. I really thought I was going to find out who was responsible for the damage to your computer. But it seems all I have managed is to lose the evidence.”

“Mm? Yeah, well, right. Good job, constable.” Mort blew the man’s confession off. “But I think you might find that something else is missing.”

Ichabod let his eyes roam the writer’s desk. “What is it, Mr. Rainey?” Crane asked.

“What is missing?”

Mort looked at his watch and seemed to be counting the minutes. Which of course he was.

“Fourteen.” Mort said, tapping the watch face. “Fourteen minutes.”
Crane sighed. He may have been feeling better but he was not 100%.

“Fourteen minutes, Mr. Rainey? Fourteen minutes until what happens?”

Mort shook his head.

“Not fourteen minutes until what happens. It’s been fourteen minutes since it didn’t happen. And it’s not what is missing, but who is missing.”

Crane frowned, waiting for Mort to explain.

“Glen Lantz.”

Ichabod kept frowning.

“The kid from the bed. Everyday, like clockwork. Two forty-five on the nose, the kid goes into the bedroom, lays down, and the damn bed eats him.”

Ichabod looked over to the bedroom door, then back to Mort who was tapping his watch again.

“Fourteen minutes, Constable. He’s fourteen minutes late. I don’t think he’s coming.”



 

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