Visiting Hours- working title

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
I wrote this at the weekend while getting over tonsilitis, not sure where I'm going with it, to be honest. I think it works well as it is, but something may compel me to add to it at a later stage. Hope you enjoy it.

Submitted: January 16, 2012

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Submitted: January 16, 2012

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A A A


The door buzzed shut behind me, the electronic bolts sliding greasily into place. The room was dark, the only light coming from a two inch gap in the curtains, the dust motes dancing in the circulating air, catching the light and glistening like sunbeams on water.

I took the two steps from the door to the edge of the bed; I could see my sister laying on the mattress, her arms and legs tucked up so she appeared to be just a torso and head. She was breathing deeply.

“Hobbes”, I whispered.

She made an exaggerated snoring sound, then broke into a peal of laughter, so good to hear. She turned, her face beaming in the darkness of the room.

“Hi, Calvin”, she said, sitting up and throwing her arms open. I sank to the edge of the bed, hugging her tightly. “Hey, sis, Dr Marsh was just telling me how well you’re doing. I’m so pleased”, my words were muffled in her dark hair.

She looked up at me, her eyes filled with tears. Well, not exactly filled. When Hobbes cries, which is seldom, all her tears seem to come in one huge teardrop, like she can get all her emotion out in one go. I held her face in my hands and smiled at her. “Don’t be getting all girlie on me now”, I said, “Tigers don’t cry”. She giggled again, sounding like she was trying hard to suppress the tears.

Let me explain- my name really is Calvin, but Claire’s real name is, well, it’s Claire. If you’ve ever seen the cartoon strip Calvin and Hobbes, then you’ll know about the tiger reference. Claire is my Hobbes, my best friend, the person I have adventures with, she’s always been there for me, and me for her, and we don’t need anyone else. Our childhood years were difficult, our father worked away more and more often until he didn’t feel the need to come back anymore, and our mother drew more and more into herself, leaving the two of us to fend for ourselves. Oh, I don’t mean we were neglected, not physically, but we were left to our own devices for longer periods of time. So we had adventures together, just like Calvin and Hobbes, fighting imaginary aliens and monsters. Little did I know that some of those monsters were more real to Hobbes than to me.

Hobbes had obviously had enough of hugging; she broke free and poured two plastic mugs with water from a jug beside her bed. I took a surreptitious look at her arms as she passed one of the mugs to me. She caught me looking. “I’m ok”, she said, “I’ve not cut myself for ages now”. I could see the old scars, although healed they would never fully disappear. When she had first come here, I’d tried to smuggle her some clean razor blades in. I figured if she was going to cut herself at least she should do it with a clean blade. Security at this place was hot. I’d only tried it the once. Luckily, Dr Marsh had been sympathetic.

Hobbes pulled at her sleeves, trying to hide the reminders. I took her hand, smiling into her eyes. “I can see you’re ok. You get stronger each time I see you”. She didn’t feel comfortable with all the attention, so quickly changed the subject.

We chatted for while about mundane things, my life outside, her routine in here. I tried to make out that my life was just as boring, just as structured as hers, thinking that she needed to see stability in everyday things. Finally, she grew tired of small talk, and asked, “Can we go on a trip?”

I leaned back on the bed, pulled a pillow up across my stomach, and Hobbes snuggled up on the pillow. Of course, a real trip was out of the question, so we went on imaginary trips instead. All fragments from our childhood, some real, some fantasy.

We made the trip up as we went, one of us deciding the method of getting there: a train, a coach, a bicycle ride away: then the other would pick the destination, today we were at the seaside, it was an amalgamation of all the best bits of the beaches we’d visited as kids, before dad had left, before the holidays had dried up.

We had ice-cream, and walked on the hot sand with our shoes swinging in our free hands. Hobbes wore shorts and a long sleeved top, despite the heat. I knew she wanted to keep her scars hidden. I wore knee length shorts and an old cotton shirt, also with long sleeves. Hobbes told me to roll the sleeves up, but I figured I’d keep my arms covered too.
We walked near the water’s edge, Hobbes keeping her distance from the sea. She was afraid of the open water- something else deep inside her she kept locked away. Hobbes would happily splash around in a rock pool, but not set foot in the ocean itself. In time she’d open up about it.

We watched the muscle men on the bars, doing pull ups and press ups to impress the girls that had gathered. Hobbes stopped; one of the men did that thing where he made his chest muscles jiggle. Hobbes looked at him sadly, held out her little finger and waggled it slowly back and forth. She often had a really dry sense of humour! I took her by the arm and led her away while the guy was trying to figure out what she meant, as a couple of the girls watching burst into fits of laughter.

We took in a Punch and Judy show, Hobbes crying with laughter at the crocodile stealing the sausages. I didn’t find it that funny, so she gave me one of her “Sheesh” looks, like she couldn’t understand how anyone couldn’t be amused by it. She linked her arm in mine as we walked along the promenade, just people watching and making small talk, making each other laugh with silly observations about people, nothing malicious- we both know what it’s like to be the butt of cruel words.

We spent our imaginary hours beach-combing, looking for fossils, making sandcastles on a quiet stretch of beach, our necks getting sore from the sun, our feet hardening under the sand. Hobbes’ input had dried up a while ago; she snored gently on the pillow, so I continued with the tale, always involving her, always putting her point of view across. This was our time, we needed the time together. The sunlight through the curtains had dissolved away, I looked at the clock, it was nearly time to go. I stroked Hobbes hair, waking her gently while describing the journey home on a rickety train, through the woods and into the quiet station.

Hobbes yawned, a full stretching yawn, “I can still taste that ice-cream”, she said. I felt a lump in my throat. “As soon as you’re better we’ll have ice-cream by the sea”, I promised. She looked at me through her fringe, “Ok, that’s a deal”.

There was a movement in the glazed portion of the door, and I could see the familiar shape of Nurse Ukalu in the corridor. Hobbes turned on the light by the bed, and said “Come in, Precious”. The door buzzed and the nurse came in carrying a small tin tray.

“Evening, Hobbes, evening, Calvin”, said Precious, “Time for your medication, Miss”. There were eight tablets on the tray, all varying sizes and colours. I’d expressed concerns with Doctor Marsh before about the number of drugs Hobbes was prescribed, he’d tried to assure me the drugs were all necessary for short term care of Hobbes’ problems and weren’t intended for long term use, but she’d been in here for 18 months now. Hobbes didn’t seem to mind, though, and dutifully took the pills as dispensed by Precious. If they were doing her good, I reasoned, then she needed to keep taking them. And while she was taking them, she needed to be in here, and was unfit for trial. Selfishly, I knew that while Hobbes was still sectioned I had regular access to see her.

We said our goodbyes, I kissed her forehead as always, she seemed to hug me just a little tighter than usual. I pushed the bell beside the door, and the door buzzed open.

“Night, Hobbes, no parties or staying out late tonight”, I teased, “I’ll see you on Sunday”

“Can’t wait! Night, Calvin, love you”, she said. I blew her a kiss before the door closed and bolted, then made my way down the corridor to the next security door. The guard was a friendly man; we made small talk while he unlocked the gates and let me into the main hospital wing.

Leaving the building, I walked across the grounds to the car-park at the rear. I was looking forward to Sunday, maybe if I asked the right questions I’d start to find out why Hobbes had killed our mother.


© Copyright 2018 sanchez88. All rights reserved.

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