William Doonan

I write books and stories.

MedicineLand: Chapter Forty-Eight

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“You were supposed to be here hours ago,” Billy St. Clair said as the Audi passed the gates and pulled in next to the Range Rover.

Adam stretched as he got out of the car.  “Handles like a dream.”  He tossed Billy the keys.  “I got hung up.”

Adam stepped into the kitchen where Julia and Alice had assembled the still.  “Very nice,” he said.  “How is the girl?”

“Karen ate a ham sandwich,” Julia told him.  “Her vitals are great and her eyes track, but she’s still sick.”

“We should get to work then.”

Julia accepted the role of lab assistant, handing Adam the ingredients as he asked for them.  First, they slow-boiled a Kit-Kat in olive oil.  Adam filled the still’s  boiler with vodka and set it over a low flame.

He handed Julia the licorice and told her to chop it into thin slices and add it to the vodka.  “I don’t know exactly what I’m doing,” he reminded her.  “I’m trying to replicate an odor.”

“Maybe we don’t need to do this,” Julia suggested.  “It could be dangerous for her.”

“You think?” Adam chopped a garlic clove and a chicklet-sized lump of black tar heroin he hand been hoarding for a  rainy day.  “Karen is in a chemically-induced trance.  She will wear out of it in a day or so.”

“Why do you think you know something about this?” Julia asked.

Adam shook his head.  “I don’t know anything about this.  But I know a lot about addiction and withdrawal.  This girl is addicted, and the withdrawal might kill her.  What we are doing here is concocting some palliative brew that will bring her down gently.”

“She’s been here almost three days.  That’s long enough to dry out.”

“No it is not.”  Adam added a spoonful of baking soda to the garlic/heroin paste, crushed it with a spoon, then added it to the vodka/licorice brew.  “Her metabolism has slowed considerably.  Has she urinated?”

“Not much.”

“Then she’s building up toxicity.  Two more days and you’ll have to flush her kidneys.  I think she’s going to die.  It’s not because of the drugs, it’s because of the cancer.  You can smell it in her.”

Julia shook her head.  “I can’t smell it, not like you say you can, but her blood test came up clean.”

“Sure, because you’ve had her on saline and glucose since she’s been here.  Her blood is barely flowing.  This girl has probably been mostly dead for months.  She still has some glimmer of consciousness but it’s so deep that she can only communicate by using her mind.”

“Then what are we doing here?” Julia eyes filled with tears.

Adam added three drops of melted Kit-Kat to the brew, added three raisins and some liquid nicotine, then dropped in six little Digitalis pills.  “We’re going to make her comfortable.  We are going to give her what she wants.  And we might learn something.”

Rocky closed the door to his study, shutting out the noise, shutting out the horrific smell wafting up from the kitchen where his wife and the trippy fat guy were boiling up a potion for the dead girl upstairs.  Things were getting strange.  Not that he minded strange, but he was beginning to worry.  Sooner or later someone was going to come for the girl.  She was valuable, and they had stolen her.  He had stolen enough in his life to know that these things had consequences.

He sat down in front of the computer and reread the files on Ruth Black.  He got on the internet and researched methamphetamines and pheromones and zombies but nothing made sense.  He poured a glass of Scotch but set it aside.  He turned on the news and fell into a stupor.

In the kitchen, Julia opened her eyes wide.  “What just happened?”

Adam froze, slightly confused.  Something had changed.

“I feel so relieved,” said Julia as she leaned forward onto the counter.  “I couldn’t remember how benzodiazepans interfaced with neurotransmitters but I just thought it through and it just made sense to me.”

Adam squinted so he could see her clearly.  She was leaning over, resting her head on her outstretched arms.  “Julia,” he called out.  His own voice sounded faint and far away.  “This is quite bad.”

He told himself to breathe, but then decided against it.  He stumbled to the window but he couldn’t get it open.  He opened the refrigerator and stuck his face inside, breathing deeply.  Lemon juice.  There was always lemon juice in refrigerators.  He found it and squirted into his eyes.  It hurt.  He ran to the sink and flushed his eyes, then turned on the range fan.  He was getting confused again.  Hold it together, he told himself as his head fell onto the counter.

Air.  He rushed to the kitchen door and struggled with the lock.  He got it open but found another lock below the door knob and it looked tricky.  He reviewed the possible solutions in his head before slowly lifting the little knob and sliding the bolt.  The door yielded and he ran into the yard, breathing deeply.

He took some deep breaths, then ran inside.  He found Julia unconscious.  He picked her up like a doll and carried her outside, dropping her on a lounge chair.  Then he turned to go back for the others.  He stumbled to the door but it was locked.  He jiggled the knob and looked up to see Karen Sorrows at the door.  She smiled and waved at him, then turned the second lock.


Written by williamdoonan

July 11, 2013 at 10:35 am

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