Story I'm working on--this part initiated it, and can stand [somewhat] alone. Words: 654
| “Dr. Lane”.
The businesswoman sulked towards him. Her normally fluid aura felt prickly against his skin. He was stooped nonchalantly at his desk, noting virtually nothing around him. Diagrams of synapses, spines, skeletons crowded his cubicle. Normally, they erred on the side of professional. Today, a macabre ambiance.
Someone’s synapses, someone’s spine, someone’s skeleton, an overall functioning vessel had been placed at the hands of this average white-cloaked man: violated at his dock. Today, someone’s melancholy had possessed his bubbly manager. His face was drenched, flat and pale as flotsam. Her hair billowed about her, smog brooding over the sea.
Slam. Lane, slouched over the keyboard that was slowly losing its letters to his digits’ oils, merely eyed the stack of off-white documents impounded beneath her palm. She seemed oddly ghastly today; a medium after an omen had slapped the sweat off her brow. Normally, the white suited their doctorate statuses. Today, macabre.
He acknowledged the specter. “Yes?”
“Dr. Lane, I would like you to recount the American Psychological Association Ethical Guideline’s General Principles”.
A voice as flat as a board: “Principle A: Beneficence and Nonmaleficence”.
“Good,” she patronized in monotone. “I see your hippocampus isn’t as damaged as they pray. Go on”.
“Principle B: Fidelity and Responsibility--” Her hand shot up.
“Dr. Lane, please recite the Ethical Principals of Psychologists and Code of Conduct section concerning Standard 3, Human Relations.”
His mouth opened slightly with a sound of rusted mechanisms. No ghosts would escape. No breaths would be purged. No spirits would be opened today.
“Dr. Lane, section 3.04, ‘Avoiding Harm’.”
He drifted to his lovely wine cellar at home. A haven excommunicated from science, when he could banish his synapses, where his spine didn’t prop a world of reputation...
....while skeletons screamed through the mouths of black cats from masterfully plastered walls…
No spirits would be opened today.
“Psychologists take reasonable steps to avoid harming their clients/patients, students, supervisees, research participants, organizational clients and others with whom they work, and to minimize harm where it is foreseeable and unavoidable.”
She abruptly swung his worn faux-leather chair around. His demeanor, hardly fazed, took in more. Her Celtic scarlet mane with liquid amber eyes blazed at him beneath a make-up caked face, as if she thought excess foundation would quell the explosive aura unwittingly brought to office. Her eyeliner faded to suicidal tones, a kohl ocean that could erode cliffs.
He felt himself weathering away.
“What did you do, Xavier?”
“What d’you mean, my dear?”
She leaned back creakily.
“You f…lipped something around. Bad.”
“Your recent ‘research’, Lane. Tell me about this drug,” she inquired with a perverse sarcasm. “It’s a generic Benzodiazepine,” he responded matter-of-factly. “It often is used to treat anxiety and depression, among various symptoms such as insomnia. What of it?”
“A certain Jane Doe didn’t receive the placebo.”
“This subject was allergic.”
“…Well, tell me--how was I supposed to know? Clarence was supposed to set that up. It was a double-blind—every patient was warned for any allergies!”
“Clarence claims that you deliberately told him to stay away from your “work”. Yes, the researcher and subject did not know which group was the control, but he was neither and he checked allergies against the prescriptions.”
“Tell me how this happened then? He clearly wasn’t deliberate en—“ “The camera has you shuffling the folder around. It seems that pitting the female with the actual drug was conscious…if you still believe in consciences, that is.” Lane doubled back. He could feel the tattoo of an atlas emerging from his heart’s swamp. She continued. “She suffered anaphylaxis.”
Thus emerged the Lochness Monster, its saliva converting to his sweat.
“Do you know the victim, Xavier Lane?”
Thus emerged the sea.
“Sir…”—she articulated the documents like a lawyer, shifting her glasses habitually while preaching Corporate’s curses, the accusations, the damnations—
“…Lillian Lane is dead.”