Part 10

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Tehran's Old Ghosts

A short story set during the Iranian Revolution in 1978. Eight westerners find themselves trapped in their hotel. Little do they realise that the trouble on the streets is the least of their problems.

(Part 10)

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Harrison must have passed out with the shock of finding Rachel's ruined body. He remembered screaming and then he was aware of a man taking his pulse.

"I'm just an army doctor. Torn flesh and bruised muscles I know how to treat, but this man needs his mind healing. Who wouldn't after what he's seen ? He needs a hospital."

"He's our main suspect in the death of Miss Stott, perhaps the others too. He's staying here."

Two men arguing about him, as he drifted slowly out of unconsciousness. He was in his own room, undressed and lying in the bed he'd recently shared with Rachel. Two men in uniform were beside his bed, with two soldiers guarding the door.

"What time is it ?" He asked.

The man closest to the bed had to be the army doctor. He leant over the bed, shining a penlight into his eyes.

"You've been unconscious for four hours, it's now early afternoon. You had us worried."

"There are questions to be answered." Said the policeman.

"Only after he's had a chance to properly wake up."

"I don't mind." Said Harrison. "I didn't see anyone or anything in her room. She was already dead when I found her."

"Why do you say anything ?" Asked the policeman.

"No ! I insist that you at least allow Mr Thistle to shower and get dressed."

Harrison noticed it then, the traces of blood along the edges of his fingernails. He'd been wiped over before being put to bed, but they hadn't been thorough. His heart began to beat faster, as he noticed specks of blood near his left elbow.

"Are you alright ?" Asked the doctor.

"I need to get her blood off me."

The sheet had a few specks of blood on it, as he threw it back and began to climb out of bed. They'd left him in just his underwear, but his boxer shorts had specks of red too. How, he'd been fully clothed while in her room ? They'd have stripped him of course, before sending his clothes off as evidence. He probably had a lazy policeman to blame for the spots of blood on his underwear.

"Get the hotel to change the bed while he showers."

It looked the like the policeman might refuse the doctor's request. He did eventually nod at one of the soldiers near the door. Obviously not a soldier, just a policeman in full riot gear.

"Tell the hotel manager to get someone up here to change the bed.... Now !" He barked.

Harrison dug through his drawers of clothing, noticing the hiking gear he'd brought with him the first time he'd arrived in Tehran. Jeans and T shirts, even a pair of walking boots. He had intended to walk every weekend, perhaps take in a few of the famous ruins from the Persian days. The troubles had arrived and he'd only ever worn the clothing once. It seemed appropriate to wear his jeans though, rather than the suits he wore for work.

Harrison Thistle felt like a new man when he came out of the bathroom. There was still the pain of a headache across his temples, but nothing he couldn't tolerate. As he looked into the room a memory surfaced. The vague shape of a woman, rushing out of Rachel's room.

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