(Patreon) The Clinic Chapter 5

“Did you hear that?” Sam stepped out into the hallway. He didn’t normally take the initiative to talk to people, but this was relevant enough to do so.

“Hear what?” Brian tilted his head.

“What? That was a rhetorical question, of course you heard it. Didn’t you? Uh, do you have hearing problems?”

“I don’t. When was it? I have memory problems.” Brian reached into his pocket and pulled out a small notepad. Then he glanced at his watch. “Oh, just now? It sounded like a gunshot. I heard it from the south hall.” Brian looked around, then pointed, “I was probably just over there somewhere.”

“Wha- oh. Right. You’re… Brian, was it? Anyway, yeah, a gunshot! Let’s go see if it really was!”

“The logical option is to move away from the sound of a gunshot.”

“Oh come on, it’s been like two minutes and there haven’t been anymore. If we wait too long, we might not be able to see what happened.”

Brian reached out his hand and shook Sam’s. “Very well. Let’s go.”

—–

Adrian stood at the back of the crowd. He couldn’t see anything, and there was no way he was going to get closer or try to push through the crowd. He couldn’t gather any useful information from the mutterings and murmurings of those in front of him. Surely some of them should have been able to see, but he supposed any testimony of what was actually there was subject to doubt unless he could see who actually said it. Grace was pushing through the crowd, and she would be able to tell him what was there.

“Alright everyone, that’s enough. Nothing to see here, move on please. The staff will answer your concerns later.” Adrian heard Dr. Crocetti’s voice. Yeah, he was right. There was no point in staying here. He couldn’t even see what was going on anyway.

—–

“Hey, weren’t we going to look at the gunshot? Why is everyone leaving now?” Brian’s grabbed Sam’s wrist and tugged him to a stop.

“Huh? I dunno man, I was just kinda walking with the crowd. Let’s go.” Sam turned around and started walking against the crowd. Why had he left anyway? He’d just gotten there and hadn’t seen what was going on. Still, when everyone left, he’d just sort of gone with them.

When he got back to the area with the gunshot, he sort of hid around the corner. He just felt like that was the right thing to do. By the front gate, he saw a pool of something. It wasn’t oil or gasoline… and in fact it left a trail that drew his eye over toward the security building. There, he caught a glimpse of the security officers… and something more.

“What would you say that was?”

Brian shrugged, “I dunno. A body and an axe?”

“An axe? Oh, yeah. But, I was going to say… the body looked like an orc.”

Brian put his hand on Sam’s shoulder. “You’re crazy man.”

—–

From the private journal of Doctor Odran Crocetti:

The last few days have been… eventful. Everything was proceeding as normal for a Tuesday, but then everything changed. The North Star Mental Clinic had a prime location… and then suddenly it didn’t. Nothing happened to the area around us as far as we could tell, but rather it was just suddenly a different area. Teleportation, in a way, but there was no fanfare involved, just suddenly the whole facility was somewhere else.

That was strange, to the point I had to question if I myself was crazy. However, there were no warning signs, and the sheer reality of the situation makes me have to believe it. Perhaps I am crazy, then, but with no other sensory input, I must believe what I see, and what I saw. What I saw was that the clinic was in a different place… and if speculations are correct, a different world.

That part is somewhat crazy, but I have to admit there are some signs that make it seem probable. It is hard to imagine a point on Earth completely without satellite access- no, there shouldn’t be any. Even if there were no useful signals, there should have been something. I have also found that I do not recognize any of the constellations, however a mere shift in hemispheres could cause similar disorientation. Then again, I can’t think of a method that would shift our location on Earth, and given some other things, having come to another world is appearing more and more… rational.

Normally, when I tell people not to panic, I expect them to panic. Certainly, I expect them to panic less, but people don’t function that way. Calm reassurance can help a situation, but even so people cannot control themselves entirely. All those who work here are competent individuals, and I do not mean to discredit them, but people do not act so calmly when faced with new stressful situations. Yet, all of them did. With my years of experience, it even seems to be a real calm, and not just a front. However, I know that is not the normal human response, for I experience it. I have no idea what to do. Should we plant food? Sure, why not. Keep treating the patients? It is our duty, but we can only do it so far as we have resources. I myself am on the verge of panic, but my staff… is calm. They do experience moments, but reassurance from me seems to help.

That brings me to the incident. Our youngest security force officer fired his gun today. Before this, he seemed stable and competent. Like the others, he seemed calm. After the incident, he was clearly not so. However, I cannot fault him for the incident. It was… well outside of expectations. Unfortunately, we only have his word to go by. There were no other witnesses, and we didn’t have the security cameras on- a waste of power. On the other hand, I have heard people lie- to me and to themselves- countless lies. He seems to be telling the truth.

Someone not part of our Clinic approached the gate. They were threatening, and so the officer shot them. Unfortunately, there was a language barrier preventing clear communication, so we can’t be sure. However… the person carried an axe. A large axe. That alone seems like a threat, regardless of whether it is brandished. The foreign person apparently didn’t seems to react when the officer drew his gun, and he had to open fire.

Thus, we are left with what we have. A shaken officer, and a death on his hands. I don’t know what the crowds saw, but they didn’t get too close. Then, I asked them to leave… and they did. That is not how people work. At least there would have been grumbling and complaints, and eventually I could talk them down, but they just left… patients and visitors alike. That is strange, but perhaps not more than the body. The body had greenish skin, clothes I would describe- perhaps insensitively- as ‘primitive’, and large lower canines almost like tusks. I don’t know what it is, but apparently it spoke… and for now I will have to go with the term ‘orc’, since that is the thought that it immediately brought to the minds of those who saw it. Regardless, it is nothing from Earth… and thus I must be crazy, or we are in another world- or at least have come in contact with one. These possibilities are not mutually exclusive.

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