Chapter One Contiued
Dr. Kinney Arrives--Building 50
He wasn’t sure what he’d expected upon his arrival. Perhaps to enter the great facility alone and in solitude. He imagined he would call out for assistance, hear his words echo along the corridors. At after 9PM in the evening on a Tuesday he certainly did not expect to be greeted by two rows of nurses and orderlies, dressed in bright white, men in pants and collared shirts, the women in white dresses with white aprons and white hats. He did not expect to walk through the aisle they made for him and certainly had not anticipated the applause. Two men stood at the end of the line, one dressed in a dark suit, the other in dark working clothes. He expected the gentleman would be one of the board members who had hired him to assist Doctor Christopher Grooms, and Kinney was not disappointed. This, at least, fit with his expectations.
The thin gentleman with spectacles reached out to grab his hand and the applause abruptly quieted. “Doctor Kinney, a pleasure! A pleasure! Do come in.” His handshake was warm, firm, and sustained. “I am Mr. Harrison, Edward Harrison, and this is Mr. Biggart.” Mr. Harrison dropped his hand and it was promptly captured in the meaty embrace of Mr. Biggart.
“Name’s Harvey,” Mr. Biggart said. His palm was cool and moist and once the handshake was over, Kinney discreetly wiped his palm against the fabric of his coat. “I’m in charge of the facility management.”
“And I’m the president of the board,” added Mr. Harrison. “I do apologize that the rest of the board is not here to meet you but that will change in due time. In due time. Come along now. I’ll have someone carry your bags to your room.” He motioned and the precise white lines of nurses and orderlies dispersed, as silently as snow falling. “We have you stationed in Building Fifty for the time being and then will move you to one of the cottages on our site. Of course, should you choose, you may want to purchase a home near the waters. Traverse City is beautiful. That is, of course, if you stay.” Mr. Harrison looked at Kinney as if expecting a response.
“Ah,” he said.
“Very good then, very good. To your room and then we shall reconvene for dinner and a tour if that is all right with you.”
Kinney hesitated to pull his pocket watch out. The weight of his travelling from Detroit played heavily on him. Mr. Harrison adjusted his spectacles and then winked. “Of course, perhaps you prefer a little solitude tonight. I will show you to your room and we can reconvene for breakfast and a tour. At that point, I can turn you over to Doctor Grooms and the support team. Will that be too your liking?”
Kinney offered a smile thinned by fatigue but heavy with gratitude.
“To your room then!”
Kinney followed Edward Harrison up the ornate staircase and down three or more corridors. “You’ll learn all this in time,” Mr. Harrison said over his shoulder as he quickly navigated the labyrinth. “Ah. And here we are.” He stopped in front of a door labeled DR. E. KINNEY, withdrew a skeleton key and opened the door. The room was expansive, with an ornate bed and his bags already waiting with him, dripping slightly with rain.
“How on earth…” Kinney started.
“Magic,” Mr. Harrison said soberly. “In other words, Harvey Biggart. He’s a master at coming and going as is most of the support staff. They move around like whispers. It’s really quite astounding. All so that we do not disturb the graceful minds of our patients. And on that note, I will leave you to your solitude.” He adjusted his spectacles one more time, turned and was gone.
And with that, Doctor Elliott Kinney entered his room and was alone. Of course, he had been entirely alone for two years now, and though he appreciated the quiet he found no comfort that night in his solitude—not when the presence of Rose was almost so palpable that he could smell the hint of her perfume lingering in the air.
Kinney sat on the bed. He tried not to breathe too deeply. When sleep finally took him, it did not soothe him. Even though this was a new place, a new start, it seemed his wife had followed him again, even into the deepest of shadows; and she was with him still.