Continued from the previous installment, Part V: The Chase (in which our heroine visits the Strange Physician)
– “It’s him!”
Dr. Millie Fethermann beamed like a child and pointed to the closed window.
– “You only need to see him! Then you’ll understand!”
Even to the Strange Physician, she must have, at that very moment, seemed completely hysterical. She flung open the shutters (which had never widened beyond a crack as long as the physician had been there) to find the raven waiting as expectant as ever.
The physician grew silently enraged as this common, large black bird flapped onto her shoulder, but more so as the sunlight lit upon every covered secret he held inside that dark little room. It was the first time since he had opened the door that he thought to speak to this odd little woman who had barged in and just wouldn’t go away.
He inhaled vehemently.
– ” Whoever you are, lady! I don’t have time for you and your…mutilated…little pets! Get out!” He flicked his hand at the raven as he finished the sentence.
– “No, no…you don’t understand…it’s him, it’s him I need to talk to you about! Everything you said in your lectures, he’s what you’ve been looking for! I…I can help you…I–”
The raven had been eyeing the Strange Physician up, one eye closing in and pulling back again.
– “You can help me?” He laughed sarcastically. “I don’t need help with anything! You’re mad! Now get out!” Millie simply blinked, so he made his point again. “Get out!”
The raven felt what he had never felt from Millie’s end, even in her frequent moments of selfish distraction. This man had nothing. He had said goodbye to everything which makes a man listen to a fellow creature. Instinctively the bird lunged at the physician, who covered his eyes as the big black wings batted against his raised elbows. The physician screamed, his pride beaten down by the raven’s determination to get to the flesh of the face, and most likely, to the eyes.
Millie saw only flashes between blinks and panic. She tried to stop him but the bird’s behaviour played itself out with such violence that there seemed to be no way in which she could come between him and the physician. Finally, between yells, a chair toppling over and over again, and several tables being bumped into, the physician managed to hurl the raven beyond the threshold of the door, and Millie along with him.
The din brought a handful of haughty gentlemen stamping down the hall with all intention of knowing what could have caused the disturbance. Millie wasn’t about to make herself out to be a madwoman on top of it all, so she snatched the raven, who was now standing at the foot of the door, beak open and breast heaving with rage and exhaustion.
She made her way back – briskly but discreetly – to the bustling streets. Here she hoped to get lost and fade away. Between Millie’s lace and satin, through the bend of her elbow, the raven tried to make out the Strange Physician’s door for as long as he could. She imagined that that was that: there was no one she could share her secret with because there was no one else who she thought could understand her raven.