Armitage - Chapter 3 - A Good Night Gone Bad (Part 2 of 2)
‘Professor I…’ she began.
‘You’re safe now, Madeline,’ said the professor, using her first name, something she could never remember him doing before.
‘I’ll deal with you another time,’ said Professor Mason, addressing the attacker. ‘Now get out of my sight, and tell your friends to expect the same if I run into any of them!’ The attacker quickly picked himself up and fled into the night, leaving the three of them in the darkened alley.
‘Are you hurt, my dear?’ he asked, his voice returning to its normal level of kindly concern.
‘I don’t think so,’ replied Madeline almost in a whisper. Her thoughts seemed to be her own again, but now that the ordeal was over the impact of it sank in, and her legs buckled underneath her, causing her to lurch forward.
‘Easy now, I’ve got you,’ said Professor Mason. He looked down at Mike’s prone figure and took a sweeping glance around the alley. ‘We have to get you two to a hospital.’ The professor pulled a mobile phone out of his jacket pocket with his free hand, dialled a number and spoke briefly with someone on the other end of the line. ‘Help is on the way,’ he said.
‘Thank you,’ said Madeline, as she allowed herself to be supported by Professor Mason.
‘It was just fortunate I happened to be passing, I tell you the streets aren’t safe these days, but I must check on your friend. Can you stand?’
‘Yes, I think so.’ Madeline steadied herself on a nearby wall as Professor Mason knelt down by Mike and examined him briefly.
‘He’s concussed but he’ll live,’ he said, standing up. ‘Ah, here’s Andreas now.’ From out of the night came a sleek, black Mercedes Benz that glided elegantly up to the mouth of the alleyway and stopped smoothly. Out of the car emerged an olive skinned man with jet black hair and a neat looking suit. He nodded at Professor Mason as he closed the car door.
‘Sir,’ he said.
‘Thank you for coming so quickly, Andreas. Miss Jameson and her friend have had a nasty encounter and need medical attention, the young man is unconscious in the alleyway, do take care when moving him.’
‘Yes sir.’ Andreas disappeared into the alley and returned moments later with Mike, carrying him like he were a sleeping child.
‘We will have to lay him on the backseat,’ said Professor Mason, opening the passenger door of the car. ‘Will you be alright to have the young man’s head on your lap, Miss Jameson? We don’t want him hurt any more than he is now.’
‘I’ll be fine,’ said Madeline.
‘Excellent, well let’s not waste anymore time. Andreas, County General if you please.’
‘But Professor, why didn’t you call an ambulance?’ asked Madeline, suddenly realising the strangeness of this situation.
‘This way is quicker,’ replied the professor.
‘But who is that man?’ she asked.
‘He’s my assistant, come now, we must get you and your young friend to a doctor.’ Madeline climbed dutifully into the backseat of the pristine Mercedes and took Mike’s head in her hands as he was laid across the seat. As soon as Professor Mason and Andreas were in their seats the car sped off in the direction of Armitage County General Hospital.
* * *
Traffic at this time of night was sparse, so the one called Andreas made good time to the hospital. He pulled into the drop off point and got out of the car, as did Professor Mason.
‘You take the boy,’ said the professor, as he opened the passenger door. ‘I’ll attend to Miss Jameson.’
‘Yes sir.’ Andreas lifted Mike with ease and began walking towards the hospital entrance, while Professor Mason helped Madeline out of the car.
‘How are you feeling, my dear?’ he asked, as he put her arm over his shoulder to help her walk.
‘Better, thank you,’ said Madeline.
‘Well let’s get you seen to anyway,’ said the professor, as they came to the door. As soon as they were inside a nurse came out from behind the Reception desk and approached them quickly.
‘Tito, Raymond, we’ve got one out cold here,’ she said, looking back at two male orderlies. ‘Get him to Curtain Five and page Doctor Bradford.’ The orderlies took Mike from Andreas, laid him on a gurney and wheeled him off down the corridor. The nurse then turned her attention to Madeline and the professor. ‘Mary, bring me a wheelchair.’
‘I’m okay, I can walk,’ said Madeline.
‘Now now, do as you’re told,’ said Professor Mason. ‘You’ve had quite a scare; you don’t want to take any chances.’
‘Are you a relative?’ asked the nurse.
‘No, I’m her History Professor.’
‘Then you’ll have to wait here.’ The orderly returned with a wheelchair. ‘Thank you Mary, Curtain Two should be free.’
‘Okay.’ Madeline was wheeled off in the same direction Mike had gone and the nurse then turned her attention to Professor Mason.
‘So what happened, sir?’
‘It appears the young lady and her friend were attacked downtown.’
‘Have you called the police?’
‘Not yet, no, my first concern was getting them here.’
‘Right,’ said the nurse. ‘Well stick around; they might want you to give a statement.’
‘Of course,’ said the professor. ‘You will let me know how they are, won’t you?’
‘We’ll let you know as soon as we do,’ said the nurse.
‘Thank you.’ Professor Mason walked back towards where Andreas was standing and spoke quietly in his ear. ‘You know what to do.’
‘Yes sir.’ Andreas promptly left the hospital and Professor Mason sat himself in the waiting area, casually eyeing the pitiful collection of magazines that were lying on the table.
A short while later a young female doctor approached Professor Mason, who stood to greet her.
‘I’m Doctor Karen Bradford,’ she said, extending her hand.
‘Nice to meet you,’ said the professor, as he shook her hand politely. ‘How are they?’
‘They’re going to be fine. Mister Newman’s suffering from mild concussion but he should be okay, and Miss Jameson’s just a little shaken up, nothing serious.’
‘Thank you, Doctor,’ said Professor Mason. ‘May I see Miss Jameson?’
‘Yes of course,’ she said. ‘It’s right this way.’ Doctor Bradford led Professor Mason to Curtain Area Two, where Madeline was sitting on the bed, staring at her feet.
‘Are you alright, my dear?’ he asked, as she looked up.
‘Yeah, I think so,’ she said.
‘Doctor Bradford said your young friend has a case of mild concussion but should be fine. In the meantime is there anyone you would like me to contact for you? Friends? Family?’ Madeline thought about Ben and Abby out at one of Armitage’s nightclubs, they probably wouldn’t leave until gone 2am and she didn’t like the thought of them walking back to campus at that time, not with someone like her attacker loose on the streets. She handed Professor Mason her phone and asked him to call them for her. He stepped out into the corridor and Madeline could hear him having to shout to be heard. He paused for a second and when he spoke again his volume had returned to normal.
‘They’re on their way,’ he said as he re-entered the curtained area. ‘I had to shout for them to hear me, but I’m sure you heard that.’ Madeline smiled. ‘Mister Stockton finally had the good sense to go somewhere quiet so we could talk properly.’
‘Thank you for calling them, Professor.’
‘It’s nothing, my dear. Now you just get some rest, the police will be here soon and they’ll no doubt have many questions for us both to answer.’ The professor stood up and smiled at Madeline before returning to the waiting area. When he next returned he was accompanied by Doctor Bradford and a member of the Armitage City Police.
‘Madeline, this is Sergeant Thomas,’ said the doctor, indicating the middle-aged police officer standing behind her. ‘He’s here to take a statement from you.’
‘Hi,’ said the sergeant as he entered the curtained area. ‘Mind if I sit down?’
‘No, go ahead,’ said Madeline.
‘Thanks.’ He took of his hat and laid it on the bedside table. Then, sitting down in the chair next to the bed he took out a notebook and pen.
‘I shall go and wait in the lobby for when your friends arrive,’ said Professor Mason.
‘Okay, thank you,’ said Madeline.
‘He a relative of yours?’ asked the sergeant after Professor Mason had gone.
‘No he’s my History Professor; he brought me and Mike here.’
‘I wish I had professors like that when I was at college,’ said the sergeant with a smile. ‘Anyway, about tonight, tell me everything you can.’ Madeline recounted the evening’s events as best she could, the sergeant asking questions and taking notes along the way, and when she had finished he clicked his pen and smiled again.
‘Okay, I think that about does it for now.’ He stood up and took his hat off of the table. ‘If you think of anything else you call me, okay?’ He fished a small white card out of his jacket pocket and handed it to Madeline.
‘Okay, thanks,’ said Madeline.
‘I’ll go and have a word with that Professor of yours. You take care now.’ The sergeant doffed his cap and pulled back the curtain, where Madeline could see Ben and Abby making their way over to her.
‘Oh Maddie thank God you’re alright!’ gushed Abby as she flung her arms around Madeline and hugged her tightly.
‘Whoa easy there,’ said Ben. ‘Maddie might be hurt.’
‘I’m fine, but thanks for coming,’ said Madeline, as Abby disentangled herself.
‘What happened?’ asked Abby. ‘Is Mike okay? And why is your Professor here?’
‘I’ll leave you to it,’ said Sergeant Thomas, smiling. He stepped out into the main corridor and made his way back to the lobby, where Professor Mason was waiting. ‘Thanks for sticking around,’ he said as he approached the professor.
‘Not at all.’
‘Madeline tells me you’re her History Professor,’ said the sergeant.
‘Yes, she’s a bright young woman, such a shame about what happened.’
‘Did you witness it?’
‘No but I saw Miss Jameson at Jack’s Coffeehouse earlier in the evening.
‘The little place on Gordon Street?’ asked the sergeant.
‘That’s it,’ nodded the professor. ‘I know the proprietor and stop by there every now and then.’
‘And you spoke with Miss Jameson while you were there?’
‘Did you leave with her?’ asked the sergeant, as he wrote down some quick notes.
‘No, she left with the young man who is down the hall.’
‘Mike Newman, right. Madeline said you saved her from her attacker although she couldn’t confirm it, said she couldn’t think straight. Did you get a good look at him?’
‘I’m afraid I never saw him,’ said the professor untruthfully. ‘I was on my way home and heard a noise coming from the alley, it sounded like someone was in trouble, but when I went to investigate the ruffian had already made his escape.’
‘You didn’t see anyone?’
‘I’m afraid not,’ the professor lied.
‘Okay well here’s my card. If you remember anything else call me.’
‘I shall do just that,’ said Professor Mason, taking the card from the sergeant and slipping it inside his jacket pocket.
‘Well goodnight, sir.’
‘Goodnight officer.’ Mason smiled at the sergeant as he left the hospital but as soon as the police officer was gone his expression hardened. He took out his phone and dialled a number.
‘Yes sir?’ said Andreas.
‘The police have nothing,’ said the professor. ‘Continue as instructed.’
‘Yes sir.’ As Professor Mason left the hospital Madeline was explaining to Ben and Abby what had happened earlier that night.
‘And then he brought us here,’ she said, finishing her explanation.
‘Good thing he was nearby,’ said Ben.
‘But you’re okay?’ asked Abby.
‘Yes I’m fine, just a little shaken.’ As they were talking, Doctor Bradford pulled back the curtain and approached the bed.
‘You seem fine,’ she said. ‘You can go home when you’re ready.’
‘What about Mike?’ asked Madeline. ‘Is he going to be okay?’
‘We’re going to keep him in overnight for observation but he should be fine. I assume you guys will take Madeline home?’
‘Yeah sure,’ nodded Ben. ‘Just as soon as…’
‘Shhh!’ hissed Abby, as she kicked Ben in the shins. ‘She doesn’t know yet.’
‘Know what?’ asked Madeline.
‘Sorry,’ said Ben, as he leant down to rub his shins.
‘Know what?’ repeated Madeline a little louder.
‘Promise not to be mad,’ said Abby.
‘Why? What’s going on?’
‘Well, the thing is,’ began Abby, as she avoided Madeline’s patient stare. ‘When we heard you’d been attacked we…kind of called Chris.’
‘You did what?’