Free FutureImperfect by Stefan Petrucha

Book: FutureImperfect by Stefan Petrucha Read Free Book Online
Authors: Stefan Petrucha
said, shaking his hand, forgetting about the grease. Remembering the scratch, he added, “Do you know who owns that green BMW outside?”
    Shinn’s grin widened. “It’s mine. Brand new. Do you like it?”
    Tippicks tried to smile. “Oh, yes. Wonderful car.”
    Dr. Shinn waved Tippicks in and guided him into an elevator. As the numbers above the closed doors indicated they were going up, Tippicks rattled off what he knew about Harry, the trauma, the erratic behavior, but also the sparks of lucidity.
    Shinn eyed him with disapproval. “The boy does all this, has all these strange behaviors, but up until he goes totally berserk, you think he’s fine?”
    Tippicks felt himself turning red as the elevator stopped and the doors creaked open. Nervous, he rubbed the grease on his palm with his thumb. “I just thought he had a chance to recover on his own. That it would be better that way for him.”
    Shinn shook his head and exited. Silent, he slipped his card through a reader and led Tippicks into a narrow hallway. When they reached the third door, he motioned for Tippicks to look through its small window.
    â€œHere is the young man you thought could recover on his own,” he said.
    Tippicks leaned in toward the glass and frowned. Curled up in a far corner of the padded room was what looked like a pile of dirty linen. The unruly brown mop of hair on its top was the only thing indicating it was a human being.
    Shin shrugged. “He’s been violent since he arrived. Lashed out at the ambulance attendants, gave our interns some nasty bruises. Tried to escape last night. We’ve doubled his meds, so he’s pretty calm now. I doubt he can even stand.”
    Unable to conceal his anger, Tippicks asked, “If you’ve got him so doped up that he can’t move, why is he still in a straitjacket?”
    Shinn opened his mouth to explain when the mop of hair rustled. Both men turned as Harry Keller raised his head, brown eyes peering through strands of long, dirty hair.
    â€œMr. Tippicks?” Harry said hoarsely.
    Shinn’s annoyance fled. “He’s responding to your voice. He didn’t even respond to his aunt. He hasn’t spoken to anyone since he’s been here.”
    â€œYes, Harry,” Tippicks called through the door. “It’s me.”
    Harry struggled to his feet and slouched toward the door. He rested his forehead against the window, giving them a perfect view of his haggard face as his shallow breath made little clouds on the dirty glass.
    â€œHi, Mr. Tippicks,” Harry said.
    â€œHi, Harry. How are you?” Tippicks said back. Harry was always pale, but now he looked jaundiced. The spark Tippicks had often seen in his eyes was gone, replaced by a dull sheen, like a marble covered in thick grease.
    â€œBeen better.”
    â€œI can see that. Harry, if I can get Dr. Shinn to take you out of there for a while to talk to me, will you promise to behave, not to run away?”
    Harry’s brow furrowed. He looked down at his feet.
    â€œYou mean, I’m not running?” he said.
    He looked up and blinked. “Yeah. Sure. Promise. I’d cross my heart, but…”
    Tippicks turned to Shinn, whose mouth was still open wide.
    â€œWhat do you think, Dr. Shinn?” Tippicks asked. “Can you bring him out of there so I can talk to him?”
    Shinn hesitated. “The jacket will have to stay on. But yes. I think that would be a good idea. We can bring him upstairs for a bit. The courtyard is secure.”
    â€œExcellent. And…well, there’s something I have to tell you about your car.”
    When Shinn mentioned a courtyard, Tippicks assumed it was downstairs. Instead, while some beefy interns discussed how best to transport Harry, Shinn took him to the roof, to an open area covered with the metal net he’d seen from outside. It was pleasant enough, with benches

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