Jon propped his elbows onto the countertop at the nurses station. Nurse Clara had her head down, writing into Mrs. Kyvonis’ chart.
“I’m going to catch him,” Jon broke her silence.
Nurse Clara shrieked at the surprise.
“He wants to get caught. He’s taunting us, showing off.”
He saw the name on the chart in front of Nurse Clara. Gladys Kyvonis.
“He injected her with some kind of poison, he was showing off the needle in the dining hall. The murder weapon. He was a veterinarian, I bet he knows a thousand things that could kill someone and never be traced. I didn’t know her name was Gladys.”
Nurse Clara closed the chart.
“Have you had your medication today Mr. Magnusson?”
Jon tapped his pockets as if he was checking for something.
Nurse Clara came around from behind the nursing station and gently placed a hand under Jon’s arm.
“I think you usually take your nap about this time,” she said. “I’ll walk with you and get you settled and then see if you’re up to date with your medication.”
“I,” Jon looked confused.
They walked slowly back to Jon’s room. Nurse Clara was as tall as Jon, taller when he slumped forward.
“I saw her, Mrs. Kyvonis,” Jon said.
“Yes, she was a nice lady.”
“In the freezer. Downstairs. Saw that short Doc there. You know, the one that comes to do the paperwork.”
“Dr. Hauptman? You saw Dr. Hauptman? In the Holding Room? What on earth were you doing down there. You must never leave the floor unattended.”
Jon stopped and leaned against the side rail to rest.
“There are signs,” he said. “We’ve seen it before.”
“Of murder. Nefarious goings on. It’s likely that Loftsson was murdered too. We think there might even be evidence of it if we could just find it.”
“Our dear father. Foster father actually.”
Nurse Clara tugged on Jon’s arm. Urging him to continue toward his room.
“Is that someone from your book Mr. Magnusson? A character?”
Jon huffed. “Not a character, a real person. As real as me and you. For crying out loud we are not a story book. We are real history.” Jon shrugged Nurse Clara’s hand loose from his arm.
“I didn’t mean anything by that Mr. Magnusson. Just asking.”
Jon continued on his own.
“Sure he was old. Not as old as me, though you can see I’ve kept myself in much better shape. I’ve kept my mind sharp and on the watch for seedy sorts like that Homesman fellow. I’ll catch him. He won’t get away with it like he did with Loftsson.”
A hall light flickered out just as Jon passed beneath it.
“See,” he said, pointing at the ceiling. “A sign that I’m on the right track.”
Nurse Clara caught up with him.
“Just the same Mr. Magnusson, you must stop annoying the residents. And leave Mr. Homesman be, he’s harmless, he just wants to get cleared so he can move upstairs with us.”
“Mr. Magnusson, nobody would bother to harm any of our people. Everyone is,” she didn’t want to say the residents were all at The Lodge living out their final days, that there would be no point in anybody resorting to murdering anyone. By the time someone came to The Lodge they usually had less than a year left, two at the very most.
Jon stopped in the hall outside the door to his room. He raised a hand up to stop Nurse Clara from following him inside.
“We couldn’t do anything for Harriet,” Jon said. “We were too late. Took too long saying goodbye to Lady. Maybe they departed at the same moment so their souls could join, who knows. Couldn’t do anything for Hallveig either, though she might have gone into the lamb that was newborn at the moment she left us, who knows for sure. Maybe she was meant to carry on a bit longer. And poor Lady.”
Nurse Clara pulled Jon’s day chart from the pocket on the wall next to Jon’s door. His meds for the day were up to date, his meals, his vitals, but no toilet visits yet.
“Here we are Mr. Magnusson, just in time for your nap.” She placed the chart back in the pocket.
‘The end is near,’ he thought, as dread washed over him.
“Please don’t poke your neighbors with your cane anymore Mr. Magnusson. Everyone here is elderly and bruise quite easily.” She left him in his doorway. “Enjoy your nap, I’ll see you at snack time.”
“It’s a walking stick,” Jon grumbled.
He watched Nurse Clara make her way back up the hall towards the nurses station. He imagined each light over her head die out as she passed underneath and the door for each resident close as she made her way, as if she closed them herself. He went alone into his room. Someone had left a stuffed bird, mounted upon a pedestal, on his dresser beside Harriet’s urn.
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