A antisocial psychiatrist and an alcoholic surgeon uncover a conspiracy that could destroy the world.
Peter wiped the blood and vomit from his unconscious friend’s mouth and knew that today was not going to be a good day. There were certain things he would do for a friend but cleaning them up after a night of abusing themselves was not on his list. Nevertheless, he cradled Kate’s head in his arm and checked her pulse. It was slow and weak but steady. She would live long enough for him to lecture her about irresponsibility.
The bathroom floor was not the place for a woman as ill as Kate was to be sleeping so Peter scooped her up in his arms and carried her through to the bedroom. It was a short walk since despite all her family’s wealth, she lived in a tiny flat over a Post Office that had been closed for two years. She might be a callous bitch with no regard for her physical wellbeing, or the wellbeing of anyone else for that matter, but if there was one thing she did well, it was stubbornly refuse to spend more money than she actually needed to.
The bedroom was small, perhaps twelve feet square, and dominated by a double bed with deep purple sheets. The wall opposite the window was taken up by a fitted wardrobe, the wall with the door in it was lined entirely with bookshelves. Peter ignored the books for the time being, knowing their contents were not to his tastes, and laid Kate on the bedsheets. Her eyes flickered behind closed lids, but she made no efforts to open them.
‘Get some rest,’ he told her.
‘Where am I?’ she asked. Her voice was dry and little more than a whisper.
‘You’re in bed. Get some rest.’
‘I’ve got something I need to show you,’ she said.
‘Later,’ he replied but he may as well have held his tongue. Kate’s breathing was slow and regular and she lay perfectly still on the bed. She was asleep.
Peter pulled a blanket from the wardrobe and covered her with it, having decided this was the better option to waking her by pulling out the duvet she was laid on top of. Then he pulled a second blanket out for himself, closed the wardrobe and walked to the small lounge to settle down on the sofa for a few hours’ rest. It was eight in the morning and Kate was a late riser even at the best of times, so he could probably get four or more hours of shut eye before she started moving again.
That was fine by him. He had been working long hours over the last three weeks, dealing with an over-full accident and emergency unit. That was not his usual area but when a sudden rise in morons fighting in bars, or the streets, or each other’s homes, flared up like what had happened recently, it was all hands on deck.
No sooner had his head hit the cushions he had stacked up on one end of the sofa he was startled awake by a clashing sound in the kitchen. Someone was making tea by the sound of things. What time was it anyway? He checked his watch. 13:15. He had been asleep for around five hours. The person in the kitchen must be Kate.
He threw the blanket off himself, rubbed his eyes with his massive hands and staggered into the kitchen, still bleary from having woken so suddenly. Kate was by the kettle, pouring boiling water into a teapot and using her left index finger to check when the pot was nearly full. She put the kettle down quickly and sucked on her finger while she felt for the lid of the teapot.
‘Tea?’ she asked, without looking around.
‘Sounds great,’ said Peter.
‘There’s cereal in the cupboard if you want some.’
‘Tea will be fine, thanks.’
Kate carried the teapot over to the kitchen table, navigating the short distance from counter top to table with care and carrying the pot with both hands. Peter knew from experience that asking her if she needed help would only serve to annoy, her pride in her own self sufficiency being one of her most prized possessions, so he simply took a seat at the table and waited for her to finish pouring out the tea.
‘What was it you wanted to see me about?’ he asked as he sipped the hot, black liquid. He always took his tea without milk, to preserve the flavour. Kate, on the other hand, doused her tea in so much milk he was surprised it was still warm when she finally drank it.
‘A video,’ said Kate. ‘I need your opinion on whether it’s fake.’
Peter raised an eyebrow. Kate stared vaguely at him, as if waiting for him to react.
‘Why would it be fake?’ he asked.
‘Because despite my years of study, I have never seen a dead man make a video before.’