13. Live Dead Girl (6)

“My fan club,” he confided. “They just won’t leave me alone. Just as I won’t leave you alone,” he tittered. Then he tried, with a furious twitching, to wink.

By this time the nurse and two orderlies had arrived. They lifted the skinny little man as if he weighed no more than a sack of white rice. A third orderly arrived with a gurney and the other two slid him onto it. I watched all of this from my perch on the chair in the darkened room, but nobody noticed me. They were preoccupied with the old man.

“Get his oxygen,” barked a nurse. “How did he get out of bed? Can somebody read his vitals?”

She had hospital staff running this way and that, but Mr. Takashita was not phased. He lay on the gurney, his head turned towards my room. He was laughing at me, mouthing warnings.

“You can call me Clément,” he rasped. “Remember that, girl. You’re mine. You can’t just go taking things into your own hands anymore. No, I call the shots now. I own you. You’ll see. Hee, hee, hee,” he laughed. “Hee, hee, hee.”

The tangle of hospital personnel closed around him.

“What’s he talking about?” asked an orderly.

“He’s delirious. Get his oxygen going. Get him back into bed.”

They fussed over the gurney and they wheeled him away, presumably back to his room.

“Ok, let’s go,” yelled the nurse. “Haya-ku. Hurry. Hurry.”

The shapes left the doorway, rushed off down the hall. I stood on my chair in the darkness. It didn’t matter if they hurried, if they fussed. I knew this because I could see what they couldn’t, had known it from the minute he’d appeared in my doorway dragging his tubes and snickering at me. Nothing they did could help him now. This was not the man they were trying to save. It was another creature entirely. Takashita was already dead.

—DEAD LOVE/Chapter 13.6/Live Dead Girl