The Assembler

Chapter 33 - Recovery

Jean G Hontz

@copyright 2009 all rights reserved

 

Richard, when he was more or less coherent, gave Ned the number and address of a private physician. Ned used the private telephone Richard had (rich enough to have all the latest gadgets, Ned thought wistfully) and arranged for the man to come over to Richard’s townhouse.

Ned repaired to the bathroom to do his best to improve his currently disheveled appearance. He wasn't surprised to see a hollow-eyed looking, unshaven, filthy and rather desperate-looking criminal staring back at him from the mirror. He bathed, shaved and cursed Richard’s equipment, and then raided Richard’s closet for clean clothes. He was just finishing dressing, hoping he wouldn't scare the help or the doctor as he heard the front bell ring. He hurried down the stairs and down the hallway to meet the doctor.

The physician took one look at Ned and compressed his lips together. Perhaps the repair job on himself hadn’t been as effective as he'd hoped. The physician then took one look at Richard and demanded he be moved to hospital. Richard refused. Ned and the doctor, with Richard offering what weak assistance he could, instead moved him to the sofa in the drawing room where he could bleed on his good furniture rather than on the floor.

The physician, apparently used to Aisworthian ordering about, gave in to all of Richard’s demands with as little grace as possible. His bedside manner consisted of shoving a cloth covered in chloroform over Richard’s protesting lips.

“That’ll burn,” Ned observed mildly.

“Good,” the physician replied. He then proceeded, with nearly no attempt toward gentleness, to fish around in Richard’s wound. With a grunt either of satisfaction or disapproval, Ned couldn’t really tell which, he produced a bloody bullet. He dropped the thing into a basin of clean water and wiped his bloody hands. He looked an accusation at Ned.

“Hunting accident,” Ned informed the physician dead-pan. “it wasn't me.”

“Dueling, no doubt, over some stupid woman,” the doctor muttered angrily.

Ned was more than happy to let him think that, so he tried on his best guilty smile for him.

The physician eyed him then Richard and sighed. Perhaps he was thinking he’d have to have a long chat with Scotland Yard if he reported or objected to anything. For whatever reason, to Ned’s great relief, the doctor shut his mouth with a teeth clacking thunk and sewed Richard up.

“Perhaps you'd like me to look you over too?” the physician suggested.

Ned shook his head. “I’m fine. Nothing a few scotches won't cure.”

“That knot on your head might give you considerable grief. I'd go easy on the scotch and opt for rest, were I you.”

Ned frowned. “I’ll take it under advisement.”

Ned saw the physician out and returned to the drawing room, to find Richard still as he'd been left, dead to the world.

He’d been told it would be an hour or more before Richard surfaced toward coherence again, so Ned headed toward the pantry to see what sort of food he could scrounge. He scored tea and stale scones which at that moment tasted heaven-sent.

So fortified, Ned took a seat in a wing chair where he could watch over Richard. Watch over the man who’d kidnapped Emmie... And then himself. The irony didn’t escape him.

The sitting around was making him crazy though. He had too much to worry about. His mother was somewhere and he he needed to find her. And then there was Emmie and Cyril and the Marchants. He had no idea if the Consortium had managed to capture them or what had happened to them, and at the moment he had little idea how to find out other than by asking Richard what he knew.

There was also the small matter of his own head. He'd be no use to anyone hung. He had to stay out of the way of the authorities at least until he knew how much trouble he was in.

And, he had to kill his father. All in all, a fairly busy schedule, he decided. He leaned his head back against the chair and was disappointed to find out it was several hours later before he himself found consciousness again.

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Emmie and Margot looked far better when they emerged into the sitting room from their bedroom at Clarridge’s. They’d bathed and had changed into clothing the hotel had arranged for them. They both looked a bit odd, dressed in the latest London haute fashion rather than in their usual more practical streetwear.

Septimus and Cyril had cleaned up as well, and had since been doing serious damage to the scotch decanter. Cyril had already checked. Sergeant Lumm was on the door and he had Constables with him. There was not going to be another jailbreak, not even by Emmie.

Emmie, her tears gone, but her face pale and her eyes bruised looking, walked over to examine the refilled sandwich tray. She made herself tea and took a sandwich and walked over to take a seat on the sofa.

“So. Prisoners again, are we?” she asked.

Cyril nodded glumly. “Yes. Father even sent round a note for us to be patient and stay put. He’s at Whitehall trying to learn what he can. They’re still worried about our safety, or so it appears. They also said they’d brief us the moment they knew anything definitive.”

Emmie snorted.

Margot, munching on her own sandwich, walked over to stand beside Cyril. “We’re waiting for what?” she asked him.

“Chief Inspector Rory, apparently. He’s gone walkabout. Under London, or so Lumm reported. I gather Lord Mallister is worried about him, since there’s no indication the shooting war has as yet been called off.”

“Still no sign of Ainsworth?” Margot asked. “Nor of Ned’s bo... of Ned?”

Cyril shook his head. “I keep hoping, you know? Hoping that Ned somehow managed to save his bacon, as it were. He moved himself and us and the Assembler before, so why couldn't he have done it then?”

Cyril paused and watched Emmie, whose color was suddenly better, as it faired on her cheeks. Then he added, “He has no idea we’re even in London, I dare say. He’d not know, would he? How could he. And he’d have no way to contact us to let us know he were safe, or to check to see how we were. I’m sure he’d let us know if he could, don't you think?” The appeal was clearly being made to Emmie.

Emmie considered this, rolling the idea around in her brain. And, it gave her hope. She slowly nodded. “Yes. We were whisked off the moment we landed at the aerodrome, and if Ned still thinks he's in danger of hanging he’ll be reluctant to contact anyone who might be remotely working with the police, or who he believes might be watched.” She sighed. “We wait.”

 

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