Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Gale


S. Crowe – Session 1 (Cont.)

(If you’ve missed where it started, you can find it over yonder!)

“If you’re certain. Though that does look quite painful. Potentially infected.”

Crowe rolled her shoulders again, seeming to retreat back into herself. Dorothea wondered if pursuing the subject of the girl’s injuries further would be worth it, then cast it aside. It was a symptom, surely, not the root.

“Alright, then. Do you remember the hospital where you woke up? What the doctor’s name was?”

Crowe’s lips parted, a thin hiss of air slipping free. One hand crept up to her face and she began gnawing an already ragged nail.

“Hanscomb. Dr. Hanscomb.”

Dorothea nodded, allowing her lips to quirk upward in a faint smile.

“That’s good,” she said. “But do you know why you remember that?”

Crowe gave a bark that Dorothea assumed was supposed to be some form of laughter, though it sounded more like an animal crying in pain.

“Yeah. I remember it because he was stupid. ‘Hanscomb like handsome, that’s me,’ he said.”

Her hand came away from her mouth, and she turned back to Dorothea, looking at her normally for perhaps the first time, the way one person looks to another when they’re having a cozy chat. Dorothea’s smile widened.

“That does sound a little… hokey, I suppose. But it stuck, did it not?”

“I guess. Doesn’t seem like such a great thing to me. I can remember some dumb doctor’s name when all he did was tap my knees, shine a light in my eyes, and tell me to talk to someone else. Hooray. Can’t remember my name or anything that happened before that, and wouldn’t be able to remember anything else if it weren’t for these stupid things, but yeah, great, progress.”

She rolled her eyes as she shook her mangled and braceleted arm in Dorothea’s direction.

Ah. Getting closer.

“Those help you to remember? How so?”

Dorothea suppressed a wave of worry as Crowe pulled back into herself, putting her knees to her chest and hugging them tightly. Perhaps she’d gone too far, too quickly.

“I dunno. Something…” Her voice trailed off, became almost dreamy. Her eyes went the corner of the room, losing focus as though she was looking at something much farther away than the potted plant that held watch there.

Dorothea let her stare for several seconds, not wanting to break whatever spell she’d inadvertently conjured. When nothing else seemed forthcoming, she leaned forward, hands clasped between her own knees.

“Something…?” she whispered.

Crowe nodded, and when she spoke again, it was in a singsong whisper that reminded Dorothea of when she would sing lullabies to herself as a child.

“Something my mother told me to do. If you can’t remember, snap a band and all is better.”

Dorothea eyed the other woman’s arm again, thinking that the behavior must go quite a bit farther back than this most recent memory loss. Whatever lay beneath the mass of hair ties and rubber bands was much more damage than could have been done over the course of only a few days.

Perhaps things like this occur often, she considered. Then she shook the thought out of her head. Regardless of how often this occurred, step one was resolving the current episode. Then healing could really begin.

“Do you remember your mother, Miss Crowe?”

There was near silence for several long seconds, broken only by Crowe’s hissing breath and the tick of the clock atop the mantle. When she answered, she was still speaking in that child’s voice.

“Sometimes. When I’m bad.”

KA Spiral no signature


S. Crowe – Session 1 (Cont.)

If you missed the beginning, you can find it right here!

“You don’t know it?”

Dorothea kept her voice pitched low, enunciating the words slowly and with only the slightest upturn on the last syllable; no reason to make Ms. Crowe any more agitated. Her eyes were locked on the bit of blood oozing out of the other woman’s wrist, but her peripheral vision could see more raw flesh hiding beneath the hair bands that braceleted the young woman’s forearm.

Crowe sighed, turning her head to look at the wall. Her eyes were glassy, unfocused. Dorothea suspected the woman might have recently engaged in an illicit substance. Possibly heroin, or oxycontin. The vacant look, apparent lack of pain reaction, and the notes that her initial medical contact had left in the file regarding possible track marks near the armpit certainly suggested it.

“No. Don’t know anything, really. Some doctor said I was lucky to be alive before he put me in a room, some other doctor asked a bunch of questions, then they sent me to you.”

She turned to face Dorothea, and in an instant the disinterested glaze was gone. Her brown eyes gave the doctor a shudder, looking almost predatory as they zeroed in.

“You’re just another doctor, who’s going to ask me a bunch of questions and then kick me down the line. I know that’s what you folks do, yes indeed. I know that much.”

Dorothea felt her spine tingle, the muscles begging for the chance to pull back from that animalistic gaze, but she steeled herself. She hadn’t spent almost a decade in school and another five years working the psych ward just to cower from a woman who, despite obviously being in need of some sort of help, was nothing more than a skinny junkie with memory loss.

“Well, I can’t say I’m not going to ask any questions as that would be a lie, Ms. Crowe. I have no intention of lying to you. But I don’t have any intention of ‘kicking you down the line,’ as you put it. I’m here to help, and will be with you for as long as that takes.”

“Kill or cure,” Crowe muttered, her eyes glazing over again as they sought the comfort of her wrist. She snapped another band, this one a vibrant red and adorned with a stalk of straw. Pink fluid, not quite blood and not quite pus, seeped from underneath.

“Preferably not the former,” Dorothea said. “Would you like a tissue? Perhaps a bandage?” She knew the other woman would refuse it – the plucking and injuries it caused were obviously some sort of comfort mechanism – but felt it important to offer. The patient needed to know it was always on the table, if only so Dorothea could hope it would one day be taken.

The only response was a slow roll of the shoulders, punctuated with a disinterested grunt.

Better than a flat “no,” at least, she thought.

It’s short, I know. But it’s something. More to come, I promise!

KA Spiral no signature


S. Crowe – Session 1

(If you missed the beginning of Dr. Gale’s tale, you can find it right here!)

The two women sat in silence on opposite sides of the faux ancient apothecary table (only $199.99 from Ikea, the last Dorothea had checked), each eyeing the other. The scrawny blonde on the side closest to the door was tucked into herself, limbs pulled up in a protective manner as she gnawed an already ragged thumbnail, bloodshot brown eyes flicking between various aspects of the room’s decor, her own feet, and Dorothea’s face.

Dorothea’s posture was straight but relaxed, legs crossed at a demure angle, leather-bound notepad perched on her lap and silver pen poised to scribble as need be. Her light blue pantsuit stood in sharp contrast to the other woman’s ragged tank top and Lycra shorts. Her blue eyes were steady, focused, moving slowly along the other woman’s frame as she took in the small details – a series of hair ties and rubber bands, several with shafts of wheat or straw hanging from them, along the woman’s left arm; a latticework of scar tissue on her right shoulder; an odd dent in the right side of her skull that the stringy reddish-blonde hair couldn’t quite conceal despite a mighty effort.

After a long moment, Dorothea cleared her throat. The sudden sound in the quiet office provoked a startled squeak from the other woman, who narrowed her eyes and brought them to sharp focus on Dorothea.

“Miss… Crowe, correct?”

A noncommittal grunt came from the other seat.

“S. Crowe. Is there a reason you haven’t given a full first name?”

“Don’t know it,” the other woman mumbled, her eyes drifting downward while her teeth went to work on another fingernail. Dorothea saw the woman’s right hand creep up to one of the hair bands and tweak it, producing a small bead of blood as the end of the straw tangled in it prodded the thin flesh beneath.


I know it’s short, and perhaps not all that interesting. For that, I apologize. We’re trying, though! Dr. Gale isn’t going anywhere, so rest assured we’ll hear more from her and her quartet of patients in the near future. Until next time, folks!

KA Spiral no signature


Dr. Gale, Open for Business

Four folders laid out on the desk, like a fan of cards waiting for a fifth to make or break a hand.

“S. Crowe. Post-traumatic amnesia,” she muttered to herself in a husky, musing whisper as one manicured blue nail danced along the edge of the folder before moving on.

“Catherine Leone. OCD and anxiety.” Her finger dallied on the edge of the folder, danced for a moment as though debating on whether to open it, then moved on to the next.

“Hunter Woods. Severe disassociative identity disorder, possible solipsist.” Again, her finger toyed with the yellow tab at the edge of the folder, flirting with it, lifting it up a quarter of an inch before letting it fall once more and moving on to the last.

“Tom Torneau. Agoraphobia, codependence.” She sighed. “Almost boring, that one.”

She pulled her hand back, sweeping a critical eye over the folders once more. Which direction to jump? They all needed help, and all of them had something in the files that had called to her, but…

Her musing was interrupted by a knock at the door. Through the frosted glass pane and the black lettering proclaiming to all that the door belonged to Dorothea Gale, M.D., she could see a shape that was frustratingly generic and sexless. No way to identify which of her star patients – if any – it might have been, if it was indeed one of them at all.

“Dealer’s choice,” she whispered, rising from her chair to open the door and see what came next.

The story continues here!

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