They left Amanda with Mathias, who proved to be a surprisingly sympathetic individual as he sat in the chair next to the girl and held her hand as she cried.
A shadow comforting a reject. It was a sight that wore at the foundations upholding Samuel's understanding of the City.
"You were right inspectors," Bertram admitted, as they left the ward and made their own way towards the stairs. "Silas Miller believes there's a conspiracy hurting this woman."
"The ironic thing? He isn't wrong," Angela said. Her voice had a vicious, bitter note that Samuel knew was directed at him. "And our fearless leader has given his solemn vow to not pry."
"Ang. Whatever this is that Amanda is involved in, some people think it's more important. More important than fourteen people killed by a reject who will kill again."
"So says Research," Angela said bitterly.
"So says Oversight. So says the second in command of the Fury of the Dawn. So says a man who will be on the burning Sixth Tapestry. That's the opinion of the army, Oversight, and the opinion of a man who knows the stakes of letting a reject run loose," Samuel said.
"That's burning insane," Angela muttered.
"It's also honest. He let us learn as much as he could, and we're going to have to make that work," Samuel finished. "Now cauterise your gob and go do your job."
It took Samuel a moment to realise what he said. Just long enough that Angela's shock washed away, and she doubled over in laughter. "Did you mean to rhyme, Sam?"
"Nope, bollocks. Really took the impact out of what I wanted to say, didn't it?" Samuel reflected ruefully.
"It's all right, Sam. I'll still take the hint. What's the plan now?" Angela asked.
Samuel moved to answer, but a thought occurred to him as he walked. Something scratched at the edge of his awareness, and it concerned Silas.
"A quick word with the reception desk," Samuel said, leading them down the stairs.
Silas knew two people who suffered this affliction, and both were involved in Research. A well connected young man, leaning on his parents, might have an enviable access to records, even comparable to Samuel's own. Silas also had the trust of those fellow rejects, and if he learned his friends were sick, it wasn't a stretch that he might have discovered where his friends spent those sick days.
Samuel made his way to the hospice's reception office, set in an alcove near the door, and took a good look at the woman sitting behind that desk.
It was subtle, but the hints were reasonably easy to see. The woman's shoes were the same soft-soled boots Bertram wore, her white clothes were slightly too baggy around the shoulders and chest, and her desk was clear of clutter.
"Excuse me," Samuel said, stopping in front of his desk and smiling. "I had an odd question for you."
"Okay, I'm not exactly..."
"Not about a patient here. Sorry, I'm Inspector Samuel Fraser," Sam said as he showed her his badge. "I was wondering what the protocol was for visiting hours around here?"
"Were you hoping to make another appointment with Amanda Destir, Mister Fraser?" The woman asked, her hands shifting towards the ends of her slightly oversized coat.
"No. I'm hoping for the general procedure. For instance, do you even have visiting hours?" Samuel asked.
"For most patients," the woman said, taking a slow breath and folding her hands in front of her.
YOU ARE READING
Bitter Cold Truth: A Tale of the Everburning CityFantasy
There is no night in the Everburning City. There can never be. Fourteen people lie dead on the platform of Billows Station, killed by fire and rage. And as the perpetrator hides within the millions of people who inhabit the City, the task of findi...