II – The Doctor

The doctor poured water into the white basin that stood on the dresser. He rolled up his sleeves and splashed water on his face. He blinked a few times and looked at himself in the mirror. He was feeling weary and it was starting to show. A few nights ago, he thought he had seen a man being knifed, but he had imagined it or at least he thought he did. He wondered if he was beginning to hallucinate. The whole thing had disturbed him and since then he hadn’t been out of his loft at night.

The doctor dried his face and walked away. He changed into his day clothes and when he reached for his wool coat there was a knock on the door. The doctor paused. He wasn’t expecting anybody and it was too early for visitors. Perhaps it was a patient. He put on his coat, grabbed his black satchel and opened the door. It was a man he didn’t recognize, a man that wasn’t from the city, but a farmer. He was dressed in plain clothing, a beige coat and a wide brim, black felt hat. He was tall and thin with a youthful appearance. The doctor couldn’t tell his age since the man kept the hat over his eyes.

“Doctor,” said the man. “I’m glad to catch you before you left.”

“How can I help you?” asked the doctor.

“My sister is very sick and I came looking for you,” the man said. “Can you come and see her?”

“Give me her address and I will see her as soon as I can.”

“I was hoping you could see her right away.”

“I have other patients. I’ll see her after I do my rounds.”

“She doesn’t live here, doctor.”

“Where does she live?”

“In Dacia, doctor.”

“Dacia? That’s sixty miles away. Don’t they have doctors there?”

“No, sir. The closest doctor lives about twenty miles away.”

“Why don’t you call on him?”

“I did… he won’t come… I’ve called on every doctor… and none will come. You’re the last doctor I’ve come to see… If you refuse I will understand. I will head to the other nearest town to call on the doctor there.”

The doctor thought it was strange the other doctors had refused. The man looked desperate, but, the good doctor couldn’t turn him away not when somebody was ill.

“Very well,” the doctor said. “I will go with you to Dacia, after I made my rounds.”