“And when you look long into the abyss, the abyss also looks back at you.”
– Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
The next seven days were a blur of numbness and passive activity, as Dr. Jared and assorted nurses tested, poked and prodded every inch of his body; fed, medicated and cleaned him; and asked him a never-ending stream of questions formulated, he assumed, to check the effect of his wound on his memory, personality and cognitive abilities.
The nurses’ softer, calmer visits were sharply contrasted by the frequent appearance of the police, their torrent of questions like flies buzzing around his head. He yielded to these intrusions into his personal space with indifference. Nothing mattered; pain was now the currency of his life, and discomfort the minimum payment.
Adam’s memory had returned upon waking from the initial sedative Dr. Jared had ordered, bombarding him with Technicolor images of his daughter’s abduction and his subsequent murderous act. He was an intelligent man, and quickly made the connection between his daughter’s death and the delay caused by his violent vengeance upon the man that had kidnapped her. He had always been a good man, solicitous of others and honorable to his core; how was it possible that in a single day he had caused his daughter’s death and committed murder?
On the seventh day of his confinement to the hospital, Dr. Jared paid him a visit, pulling a chair up next to Adam’s bed. As he spoke, he kept his eyes on Adam’s chart.
“Adam, it would appear that you are sufficiently recovered to be released from the hospital. At present, I don’t believe that you’re going to suffer any real disability; you may notice certain changes in your personality, such as loss of ambition or a more extreme religiosity, and possibly a few holes in your memory, but physically you’re going to be fine. No rehabilitation should be necessary.
“As soon as the paperwork is done, you will be released into police custody. I’ve been assured that you will be placed in your own cell, and that you will be monitored closely for any problems related to your injury. I’ve given them my pager number, and if you experience any complications, I will be available to look in on you.”
The doctor paused, and he looked straight into Adam’s eyes. “Adam, I can’t tell you how sorry I am about the trouble in front of you. If I had been in your position, I don’t know that I wouldn’t have…” He looked away, and then stood. “Anyway, I’m just sorry. If you experience any physical issues, please make sure I’m paged, and I’ll come to the jail’s infirmary to check you out.”
“Good luck to you, Adam.” The doctor, knowing that he would receive no response, walked out of the room, leaving Adam to stare listlessly at the ceiling.
Now comes the reckoning, thought Adam, as he was led handcuffed through the booking station of the Detention and Corrections Bureau.