The Clinic Chapter 3

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Kanon knew that many of the other nurses found Brian hard to deal with. After all, he had memory problems and strange habits. Even when he shook hands, which he said made him remember things, his memory was still spotty at best. Even so, Kanon found that he wasn’t difficult to deal with. He didn’t cause any trouble, besides occasionally standing in a hallway looking confused. Even then, he would quickly pull out his watch and notebook, then start walking off. That was what he was doing now. “Hey Brian!” Kanon waved, and she smiled at him. She didn’t really have time to stop and chat but…

“Kanon.” Brian’s smile was worth the effort. What he really appreciated was just people acknowledging him. Perhaps that was what everyone really wanted, but he only really needed the simple acknowledgement. Thus, even though they didn’t even say more than each other’s names, Brian walked off with a satisfied look on his face, after they exchanged a high five on the way past each other.

—–

Sam Butler was sitting on a chair, staring at a trash can. It was full of various kinds of garbage. They would likely burn pretty well. Perhaps, if he just kept watching, it would catch fire. That would be great. He would get to look at something pretty, and nobody could yell at him. Well, they would probably yell at him anyway, but it wouldn’t be his fault, so he wouldn’t feel bad about it. If he just kept watching… it could happen at any moment.

Someone walked in. That was fantastic. A witness. They would be able to say that he was nowhere near the garbage can, so if it just lit on fire now…

“Hi, I haven’t seen you around… probably. I’m Brian.”

Sam blinked. Ah, this guy had his hand out. He supposed he should shake it. “I’m Sam.” His eyes flicked back to the trash can. It still wasn’t on fire. How disappointing.

“You shouldn’t set things on fire. That’s bad.”

Sam nodded. “Yeah yeah, I know. I don’t do that. Can’t I just watch though?” It was another person who’d heard about him. It wasn’t surprising really. Everyone thought he went around spreading fires, but he wasn’t that kind of person. He just happened to be there when they started, and would stay to watch. People thought he was dangerous, but he wasn’t. Even the doctor thought so, and he seemed pretty smart. Sam had to admit the doctor had some points, though. Maybe Sam was a bit too obsessed with watching fires. He didn’t call for help or try to put the fires out, which could be dangerous… but it was kind of a shame to destroy something so pretty. Even so, Sam considered himself a good person. He didn’t start the fires, so it wasn’t really his fault. Besides, no one ever really got hurt. If there was a person in a burning building, he would help them, if he could. The trash can was in the middle of the room, so it couldn’t even catch anything else on fire. People should be fine with that. It still wasn’t on fire though, which probably made them the most happy.

“So what do you do all day here, just sit and stare at trashcans?”

Sam shrugged, “Pretty much.”

“Thinking about fire?”

“Yeah.”

“Have you considered getting a hobby or something?”

“Hmm. I watch the incinerator when it gets used, and sometimes I go see the hot water heater. There’s a pilot light, and the heater also turns on at night pretty often.”

“They let you do that?”

“Not… really.” Of course nobody let him do that, but it wasn’t too hard to sneak into the area. It’s not like he broke anything, so he didn’t feel bad about it.

“Do you have any… non-fire related hobbies? Like movies or television or something?”

Movies were alright, Sam supposed. They weren’t real though.

“Star Wars? Space Ninjas?”

“Star Wars is fine. Space Ninjas?” It sounded stupid. Sam had no idea why anyone would watch that.

“It’s stupid and terrible. You should watch it, it has explosions.”

Maybe that would be worth it. Sam blinked. This person… Brian? was still holding his hand. He wasn’t particularly keeping Sam’s hand. He was just still holding on. Sam just hadn’t bothered to pull his hand away. Usually people would just let go after a handshake, and his hand would fall back to his side. It was easy like that.

“Ah, sorry about the hand thing. I have a… condition. I hope you don’t mind.”

Sam didn’t really care. At least Brian didn’t seem to care that he wasn’t looking at him. Some people got bugged by that, but Sam didn’t want to miss the moment a fire started, if it did. “How long have you been here?”

Brian looked at his watch. “Ten minutes? At most. Probably a lot less. Why?”

“Because… the shadows are different.” The shadow from the trashcan wasn’t the right way at all. Hadn’t it been the other way only a moment before? Sam looked out the window. It definitely didn’t seem like the right time of day. Was the sun behind a cloud or something?

“Hey umm… I’m not going to say my memory is the best but… Weren’t the mountains less… I dunno. Don’t they normally look different?”

Sam shrugged. He didn’t really look at the mountains much. If the sunset was just right, they looked like they were on fire, which was pretty cool, but that didn’t happen much. “I don’t know, they look like mountains to me.” Then he really looked. “Umm… the thing is… I have no ideas what mountains those are.” On one of those rare days, there had been this perfect little valley in the mountain that caught the light just right… it was pretty good. The issue was it was now sunset, and the light wasn’t hitting the valley at all. Because it wasn’t there.

“Uh, has there always been a forest that way?”

“Umm…” Sam was pretty sure there hadn’t been. Maybe the meds he was on messed with his memory. “I think… we need to go find someone who’s theoretically not crazy. I don’t… I have no idea what is going on.” Sam did just that, standing up and extricating his hand from Brian’s grip.

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