Christopher walked down the sidewalk still cradling Avalon in his arms in silence until he began to hear giggles and whispers from the people around him. He strained his ear and began to turn red to what he heard, mostly from elderly women.
“Isn’t that sweet?”
“I can’t believe men still carry girls like a princess.”
“He must really love her.”
Christopher stopped in his tracks trying to control the burning in his cheeks as he sat Avalon back on her feet gently.
“I’m pretty sure we are safe in the distance from that man, so just walk next to me,” stated Christopher. Avalon nodded taking his left hand gently with her right petite hand. Christopher didn’t notice it before, but Avalon’s hand was very soft to the touch almost like velvet. Just that thought alone made his heart race.
Christopher shook his head and urged Avalon to walk with him trying his best to ignore the giggles from the women watching them.
Christopher planned to return home for the day to protect Avalon, but his thoughts were interrupted when he felt Avalon tug his arm. He glanced at her and saw her pointing at an opened store. He followed the end of her finger and saw that the store she pointed out was a second hand computer store. Christopher felt like hitting himself for forgetting about their plan to lure James Connor to them, which was to have a computer for him to fix.
Christopher muttered a “thanks” to Avalon for the reminder making her smile brightly and Christopher to blush as a result.
They entered the second hands store that smelled of armpit and wet dog nearly making Christopher run out for fresh air, but the goal was a computer and he couldn’t afford to go to any other store with his current budget. Christopher huffed a few times to withstand the smell and then glanced at Avalon, who was clasping her nose with one hand after releasing Christopher’s hand.
“We’ll make this fast,” assured Christopher. Avalon nodded clutching her notebook to her chest.
Christopher looked over the computers that looked ancient and some were even out of date and wouldn’t work with the current advancement of technology. Even though the computer for the bait didn’t have to work, Christopher believed that James would be suspicious if they had an out of date computer, so it was best to get a computer that was at least part of their century, but there didn’t seem to be a computer that fit the qualification in sight.
Christopher glanced toward Avalon saying, “We may need to go somewhere else.”
Christopher suddenly took notice that Avalon was staring at something sitting on a high shelf and followed her gaze. On the top shelf was a purple toned flat screen computer with a monarch yellow butterfly on the top right corner of the screen.
Christopher went to Avalon’s side and plucked the computer from the top shelf. He examined it closely realizing that this computer was a model of the first computer screens that held all functions and was a touch screen. There was no keyboard needed and he also noted that there was a socket for a microphone making it clear to him that the computer was voice activated as well. This computer was within the century, unlike the others within the store.
Christopher turned the computer around to its back looking for a price. To his surprise the price was only $50, a steal with the technology that the computer held. Christopher looked toward Avalon and asked, “Do you like this computer?” Avalon nodded eyeing the computer in Christopher’s grasp.
Christopher smiled and headed to the counter of the store, where a man with a greasy beard wearing a stained white shirt sat. The man burped as he took notice of Christopher and Avalon.
“What you want?” he asked, taking a yawn afterwards. Christopher placed the computer on the counter saying, “I would like to get this computer.”
The man looked at the computer and his bored look turned to one of shock as he exclaimed, “You really want this cursed computer?”
“Cursed?” asked Christopher. The man cleared his throat saying, “People buy this computer and then bring it back saying it brought bad luck.”
Christopher chuckled saying, “That’s superstition.”
“Superstition? Well hear this then. The very first owner of this computer was murdered by a serial killer named Wrath.”
“Wrath, one of the notorious serial killers of our century?” asked Christopher. The man nodded and was about to go into more detail, until Christopher felt Avalon tug his arm. He looked at Avalon and noticed her shaking. Christopher understood her worries and looked at the man saying, “My friend doesn’t like hearing stories like this, so let me just buy the computer for now.”
The man nodded, but instead of scanning the computer price, he boxed it and pushed it to Christopher saying, “You can have it free of charge and don’t bring it back here no more.” Christopher nodded wondering if he should feel glad or worried.
Avalon and Christopher walked out of the store taking in a deep breath of fresh air. Christopher noticed Avalon writing in her notebook and asked, “Ready to tell me something?” Avalon nodded and showed the words in the notebook.
“I’m sorry for preventing you from hearing the story, but I didn’t want to hear it since it is about a murder, but I won’t go to the past if I am within a past right now, so you hearing the story wouldn’t have made us jump again.”
Christopher sighed in relief saying, “That’s good. I thought I would need to prevent you from looking at magazines and newspapers while we were on the case.” Avalon smiled and wrote, “Thank you for your concern.” Christopher nodded with a smile.
Christopher glanced at the box that held the computer and said, “We should install this in my home and make sure it is really broken.” Avalon nodded and began to follow Christopher in the direction of his home.
Night had fallen when they reached Christopher’s apartment. Christopher heaved out a sigh and began to head to his apartment door with Avalon trailing behind him, but he suddenly heard the sound of a police siren and froze. He glanced over his shoulder and saw a police car park in front of the main apartment building where the landlord resided.
A male policeman stepped out of the driver’s side. He had jet black hair with traces of white hair, but his facial structure and the tone of his skin made it clear that he was around his thirties. His police uniform was navy blue with his golden police badge pinned to the left of his chest jacket.
Christopher would have believed that the policeman was just dropping by to check on the apartments for any disturbances, but those thoughts vanished when he caught sight of a familiar symbol sewed into the left shoulder of the police uniform: a red sparrow with a branch in its mouth, the symbol of the Machina Hospital employees.
Avalon noticed too for she began to pull Christopher quickly toward his apartment door. Christopher unlocked his apartment door and shoved Avalon in making sure to shut and lock the door behind him.
“Why is a Machina Hospital employee here?” muttered Christopher with sweat running down the side of his forehead as he placed the computer on the floor. He glanced at Avalon and saw her sitting on the sofa hugging her legs to her chest shaking. Christopher approached her and asked, “Are you OK?”
Avalon shook her head showing the new words she wrote in her notebook.
“That man knows me. He hurt me.”
Christopher noticed the tears forming in her eyes and hugged her to his chest whispering, “I won’t let him hurt you.” Avalon nodded wrapping her arms around Christopher.
Christopher suddenly heard a knock on the door making him gulp as he released Avalon. He peeked through the peek hole of the door and saw the policeman and his landlord standing before the door.
Christopher gulped and glanced at Avalon saying, “I need you to hide now.” Avalon nodded taking her notebook and ran to Christopher’s bedroom.
When Avalon was out of sight, Christopher took a few deep breaths and then unlocked the door, opening it to face the policeman and his landlord.
“Do you need something?” asked Christopher. His landlord, an elderly gentleman with a little hair left, smiled and held his hand to the policeman saying, “This is Officer Moore from Machina Hospital and he is doing a sweep of all residential areas near the hospital.”
“Whatever for?” asked Christopher with wide eyes.
Officer Moore answered this time saying, “I’m sorry for the bad news, but a Machina Hospital patient has escaped.”
Officer Moore nodded adding, “We don’t know how she got out, but we need to get her back before she decides to kill.”
“How long has she been missing, what does she look like, and who is she?” asked Christopher.
“I’m afraid that is none of your concern.”
“Considering that she might be dangerous I would want to know all the details. Besides, I am an assistant of Detective Joshua Collins.”
Officer Moore pondered to himself before nodding and said, “Well she has been missing since this morning. She has long chestnut brown hair, emerald green eyes, a thin figure, and a birth mark in the shape of a heart on her hip. She is Patient 6000.”
“Patient 6000, doesn’t she have a name?” asked Christopher.
“All patients of Machina Hospital no longer have names,” stated Officer Moore. Christopher frowned at the statement, but shook his head and stated, “I haven’t seen anyone that I would call suspicious or with those features.”
Officer Moore nodded and glanced at the landlord saying, “I would like to see the other apartment rooms please.” The landlord nodded and began to walk ahead.
Officer Moore looked back at Christopher and handed him a black card saying, “If you see her, please contact me first using my full name: Galvin Moore; and I would appreciate it if you got the famous detective to assist in her capture.” Christopher nodded and watched the Officer, Galvin Moore, walk after his landlord to the next apartment room.
Christopher shut the door with a relieved sigh and stared at the black card that held the Officer’s full name and contact information for both computer and phone. Christopher crumpled the card and tossed it into the wastebasket and then headed to his bedroom. He looked around his bedroom calling for Avalon.
He heard his closet creak and then saw Avalon peek out of it with a worried look. Christopher smiled saying, “Don’t worry, I sent him away.” Avalon immediately ran out of the closet and hugged Christopher with tears falling from her eyes. Christopher hugged her back saying, “You’ll be fine.”
Christopher sat Avalon on the bed and stated, “I’ll order us some take out and then make sure that the computer we bought is really broken, OK.” Avalon nodded. Christopher headed to the door, but noticed that Avalon was following like a duckling follows her mother.
Christopher smiled and glanced back at her saying, “You can follow.” Avalon gave a sudden bright smile that nearly made Christopher blush uncontrollably.
They left the room and Christopher pulled out his cellphone dialing the number for the closes Chinese Food Delivery service. Avalon on the other hand approached the computer in the box. She plucked the computer from the box examining it closely. She then placed the computer on a small table in front of the sofa and plugged it into the closes wall socket. She pressed the switch in the back of the computer, but the screen refused to turn on. She nodded and wrote in her notebook just as Christopher hung up the phone after finishing ordering the food.
Christopher noticed Avalon sitting in front of the computer and said, “I could have tested the computer for you.” Avalon showed her notebook in reply.
“I can do this much. The computer is definitely broken from what I can see. It might be the CPU or the motherboard that is busted.”
Christopher nodded after reading the words and then sat next to her on the floor.
“This is one of the busiest days I have ever had,” stated Christopher. Avalon nodded in agreement and wrote, “This day is long even for me.” Christopher chuckled. He then glanced toward Avalon’s hip and asked, “Is there really a heart shaped birth mark there?” Avalon blushed and nodded writing, “It’s really embarrassing.” Christopher smiled and patted her head.
“It actually sounds cute, so don’t be embarrassed,” reassured Christopher. Avalon’s cheeks went a deeper red, but she was smiling as she felt Christopher’s hand on her head.
Christopher heard another knock on his door. Christopher glanced at the clock noting that it was way too early for the food to arrive. He cautiously approached the door and peeked through the peep hole. He once again saw Galvin Moore at the door, but with an angered expression. Christopher gulped and glanced at Avalon saying, “You need to hide again.” Avalon didn’t need to be told twice before running off with her notebook in hand and into Christopher’s bedroom.
Christopher inhaled before unlocking and opening his apartment door revealing Galvin.
“Do you need something again?” asked Christopher. Galvin grabbed the front of Christopher’s shirt making Christopher gasp in surprise. The look Galvin showed him was one of murderous intent.
“You lied to me.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I just spoke with your neighbors and they told me that you left your apartment during the day with a girl matching the description I gave you,” stated Galvin. Christopher frowned cursing repeatedly in his head of his predicament. Christopher searched for any excuse, but any wrong move could lead to Galvin arresting him or worse, finding Avalon and executing him in the process for concealing her.
Galvin tightened his hold on Christopher’s shirt and demanded, “Where is she?” The tone of Galvin’s voice was almost that of a demon in Christopher’s opinion sending chills down his spine, but as he remembered Avalon’s innocent smile, he refused to break under the pressure. Taking a few deep breaths, Christopher’s look grew serious.
“I did not lie, Officer Moore. It is true that I was with a girl this morning, but she didn’t match the description you gave me. You said Patient 6000 had a birth mark on her hip. Well the girl I was with had no such birthmark.”
“How do you know that?” demanded Galvin, refusing to loosen his hold. Christopher smiled and said, “I checked every bit of her body the night before.” Galvin fell still staring at Christopher with wide eyes.
“So you and that girl…?”
Christopher nodded with a blush forming on his face and added, “See why I didn’t mention her?” Galvin released Christopher’s shirt allowing Christopher to brush himself off. Galvin cleared his throat with a slight blush saying, “I apologize for making you reveal something very personal.”
Christopher waved his right hand saying, “Not at all. I’m sorry I didn’t mention her, even though the descriptions were close.”
Galvin cleared his throat getting rid of his blush.
“I apologize again, but please let me know if you see the Patient anywhere or anyone matching her description,” stated Galvin. Christopher nodded.
As Galvin began to walk off, Christopher suddenly asked, “How dangerous is this patient?” Galvin stopped in his tracks and stated, “So dangerous that murderers are drawn to her like a dowsing rod.” With those words, Galvin went back in the direction of his patrol car out of sight.
Christopher shut the door immediately placing a hand on his chest as he panted.
“That was way too close,” stated Christopher. Christopher glanced at his bedroom door saying, “It’s safe now.”
Avalon walked out of Christopher’s room with a worried look.
“Is something wrong?”
Avalon wrote quickly in her notebook and showed it to Christopher.
“Is he really gone this time?”
Christopher nodded and stated, “I gave a believable lie.”
Avalon pressed her notebook to her chest and walked to Christopher. She leaned her head forward against his chest slightly shaking. Christopher hugged Avalon and whispered, “That man won’t hurt you anymore.” Avalon smiled pressing closer to his chest.
Unknown to any of them, Galvin was driving away with a look of hatred in his eyes.
When Patient 6000 was still in the hospital, he would visit her in her room and while the doctors weren’t looking, he would wrap her in thick sheets and then begin to beat her with a crazed smile on his face. The look of pain in Patient 6000’s face as his baton connected to her body made him feel extreme ecstasy. He even had thoughts of violating her sexually, but considering that she was still a virgin, the doctors would have figured out the assault, so he stayed content in beating her to release his own stress in life. When he learned of her escape, his anger rose to a point that if the doctors of Machina Hospital knew, he would be employee turned patient.
Galvin clenched the wheel of the car with a dark look muttering, “I will find you. You belong to me.”
Galvin drove into a left street just as the red haired man that attacked Avalon and Christopher entered from the other side of the sidewalk. His hands were stuffed in his pockets with his hat shadowing his eyes. He thought of Christopher as he held Avalon protectively and clenched his fists in his pocket.
I don’t know what you have planned this time, but that man won’t protect you from me when I find you.
On the other hand, James Connor was in his office repairing a broken flat screen computer. A male coworker of his peeked into his office and asked, “Aren’t you heading home yet, James?”
James shook his head and stated, “I want to get this fixed, so I can focus on one job tomorrow.” The male employee chuckled with a smirk.
“One job tomorrow, eh? Hell must be ready to freeze over. You never take one job for a single day. It is usually ten jobs or more in one day. What makes this job tomorrow so special?”
James smiled looking at his coworker saying, “Well this job will allow me to meet a special girl.” His coworker whistled in amusement with crossed arms.
“Now I really think Hell is going to freeze over. Didn’t you say that getting into a relationship is too much trouble? This girl must be pretty hot to catch your attention.”
“She’s pretty, but what really caught my attention was how innocent she is. The women I usually meet only want me to get into bed with them, but she just wanted my help because of my abilities. I like girls like her.”
His coworker shrugged saying, “I would like to meet her too, but I have too much work tomorrow.” His coworker began to leave adding, “If you manage to charm her, introduce her to me too.”
“Of course,” stated James and then continued to work on the computer not noticing the small camera pressed against the corner of his wall giving a perfect view of him.