Swamped

Swamped Chapter 135 Page 16

What’s missing is a small chalkboard. It’s for keeping track of what’s in the room and what’s been returned. Your eyes went for it quickly because you were supposed to write everything on it down on paper before wiping it.

But for the nurses, it’s probably just something they do without thinking after a while. They’d notice when the time came to mark something off or note it down, but otherwise they probably just think of it as part of the background.

Then again, so is the rather conspicuous nail it hangs from. Which is why it took you a few moments to realize it was there. That’s exactly what you need.

“Is something supposed to go on that nail in the wall?” you ask. “It seems rather out of place.”

Susan turns and glances at it.

“Oh! The lost property board. I didn’t even think about that.” She pauses. “Well, it couldn’t have been taken that long ago, because I wrote the book down on it. But why would someone take it?”

“The reason doesn’t matter much right now,” Burgundy says. “What matters is somebody did take it, and they’re probably still in this hospital. So we’re going to figure out who it is.”

“Wait. Maybe it was the other nurse?” Brian suggests. “And he just took it to, I dunno, write it down for the records or whatever.”

“He was in here after me,” Susan says, nodding. “I’ll ask him. And the doctor. Best not to cause a panic.”

The other nurse.

Evan was replaced by an impostor for a while. He might have taken the list because something on it might give him away. You’re also fairly sure you haven’t actually learned about the impostor yet but you remember him anyway, and it’s making your headache worse.

You should probably take Susan’s advice and lie down. In fact, you decide to play it up a little.

“Oh, my head,” you groan. “I suppose you were right. Sorry about causing you trouble.”

“Well, you caught the nail before any of us,” she says. “I’ll walk you over to your bed, Mr. Long. Evan shouldn’t be far from it right now.”

Burgundy’s eyes brighten just a bit.

“Long, was it?” he asks.

“Yes.” Oh dear, you think you know where this is going. At least the relevant memory is in the past and not the future, or you’d start feeling worse.

“Are you Kandrian?” he asks.

You just know that you’re going to remember a line from the Pledge, whatever that is, whether you like it or not. But you feel you ought to make up your mind as to whether you’ll go along with this or not before you go reciting it.

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