He slept in those stages of being barely alive and almost dead for a long time. Hooked up to this and that. Sensors and fluids, oxygen and alarms. Locked down and restrained to his own deathbed so much that Christian hardly recognized him at first.
He had never been able to say goodbye to his father. Or even know him all that well. For a while in the good days of the company, when they were still in it for all the right reasons, he thought of Don as his missing father figure.
Maybe that is what kept him there for so long.
He was accomplished, brilliant, and didn’t beat around the bushes most of the time. He seemed like a good enough model then anyone. And now, in front of him he was dying. Or at least, if this didn’t kill him it would catch up with him in about a year or so. Either way the man would be dead. At least by being here, he wouldn’t miss saying goodbye.
The doctors report said heart attack. The old man’s heart had just given out on him. When he was found he was clinically dead. Maybe they should be grateful science had brought medicine so far up that there was the possibility of still bringing him back?
But what exactly would they be bringing him back to? Murder charges and so many unanswered questions; A year of life before finally his heart would just give up again and there would be nothing they could do? Perhaps even a year behind bars.
And deep inside Christian knew things weren’t as they seemed anymore. That maybe lying before him was an innocent man. And there was nothing he could do.
Dr. Bushere and Christian had spoken long into the night about the visit he had with Jamie. How they were so desperate to get their hands on Don’s secret project. And the scope of the man involved.
Inside his mind Christian was already going over the conversation again and again. Trying to find the answers he was looking for.
“I knew someone was going to end up dead. I just didn’t know who. I don’t think they realized it… maybe things just got out of hand?” Bushere had a quaver to his voice. The man was shaken up too much to get clear details. “Christ’s sake I thought they were going to have me killed!”
“What do they want with it? I mean come on – it’s a Toy! Nothing more then that.” His office had been locked up tight, with the privacy screens down and even the phones turned off.
“I don’t know. Maybe, it wasn’t just a toy. We both know Don was a little unstable before this mess… what if it was something else? A weapon even…”
A weapon? No, he couldn’t see it. Don wasn’t a saint by far, but he didn’t want to hurt people. Christian refused to believe that. But what if whatever he had been building could be used for the wrong reasons? That was more easily accepted.
Another question stood out from the rest flooding his mind. Where was it now? His office had been searched, and all it turned up was blood and chaos. There was talk of some sort of attack. The police weren’t saying much. But nothing was recovered. So project Reality was still out there. Somewhere.
“Oh, Mr. Wolfe. Your still here?”
The nurse was round in the hips and dark skinned, with a friendly smile that pulled him out of his spiraling depression. Her name tag said Sandy and her nurse number was 224. He wasn’t sure why this was important but it’s where his eyes flowed. He watched her for a moment, drowsily. “What time is it?”
“Getting on to morning. You know usually we don’t let guests stay this long.” She winked at him with her big brown eyes and set the chart down at the end of the bed. “We let you because the poor man didn’t have anyone else it seems. How is our Mr. Vaughan doing anyway?”
“No change. Hasn’t even blinked.”
“Eh, he’ll come around soon I’m sure.”
Christian could only nod before pushing himself out of the comfortable chair which he had been sitting in for far too long.
“You know there’s lots of rumors going on about this guy. He created those little monkey toys right? My daughter got one as a prize in school.”
“I think I should head home for a bit. You don’t… think there will be much change for a while?” He hesitated looking to the old man casually ignoring the hint of rumors and gossip.
“If there is I’ll call you, right? Go get some rest hun, he’s in the best hands.” She adjusted the fluids and went back to marking down scratches on her clipboard. Busying herself with her routine chores of keeping a comatose alive.
The man shuffled out of the room with a yawn stifled by his sleeve. Only now had the hours of sitting there truly gotten to him.
The florescent lights above him buzzed and the walk back to the lobby seemed crowded with people coming and going in the metro hospital. He imagined the wait in the emergency room would be topping off at 8 hours or more.
There was a little girl crying in the side room, a man bloodied from a bar fight. Even a shot cop who got whizzed up past everyone in a chaotic rush. Then of course followed by a lot of angry mutters and curses about the doctors being biased.
He always hated hospitals. Ever since he was a little boy and broke his leg he hated them. The people buzzing around, the needles and the pain. Even the strange machines that swirled around him.
At least in the production house his machines were graceful and exact. Run by finely tuned programming rather then human fragility.
He missed his office and the quiet. He missed the company picnics and the normal 9-5 life. That picture of calm and sanity that the world was starting to lack. He missed Jerry and synthetic coffee and heckling the co-workers.
He turned again, twisting down corridors left and right until a familiar face glared back at him. It was a Monkey, smiling and playing with a few kids. It stared at him from one of their campaign ads posted at the gift shop.
A digital poster of moving images which circulated on motion timed devices. It had cost them a fair bit to get dozens of the things created. At the time it seemed like a good idea. Now he wasn’t so sure.
He watched as the monkey hopped around and danced. Showing off its functions for the one-man audience. It had overly expressive eyes and a mouth that reminded him of old television puppets. It was obviously over exaggerated solely for display.
Finally he just turned and walked into the open elevator. Hoping it would speedily take him away from all this madness.