Swamped Chapter 129 Page 8

“They had a real nasty odor about them. Stood out even though I’d just emptied a grebling’s chamber pot. Couldn’t tell you what it was, though – nothing I’ve ever smelled in town.”

You think you’re just getting more questions now. But there’s one thing you can clarify, hopefully.

“When was this?”

“Would’ve been, let me see… just after the first time you came in, I think.”

Okay. You didn’t see this patient until after the lockdown. Come to think of it, that means that whoever it was would have been in here at the time… or has their own way to slip in.

Well, if they can slip in and out unnoticed, you really don’t know where to start. For the moment, then, assume that’s not it. Who had a chance?

The bruises suggest a fight, which would have been noisy. So probably they would have gotten the patient away from here… but then why hide them under their own bed? Why not hide them wherever the fight happened?

Okay, different angle. What if they were trying to get back to their bed? If they’re drugged, it might have taken some time to knock them out. Maybe they came back here, passed out, and happened to fall under the bed.

Not the most likely thing. Unless they were looking for something under the bed and the drugs kicked in while they were there. Or hiding.

So…. Maybe they sneak off somewhere, and get attacked by someone. Get badly beaten. The assailant has to stop for some reason, maybe run off to do something else. They drug the patient, figuring that’ll keep them quiet, and the patient decides to hide. They go for their own bed because… because they don’t want to be spotted, and maybe they figure the attacker doesn’t know where their bed is. And they pass out while hiding.

It’s just a guess, but you don’t see anything that doesn’t fit with it so far. If it’s right, what does it tell you?

Well, first it suggests that the attacker wasn’t very familiar with the drugs. Probably thought they’d work faster than they did. Maybe grabbed something from the hospital?

You decide to ask the nurse, for a start.

“Is there anything here that might have been used to drug them?”

“There’s some leaves we’re studying,” he muses. “I only glanced over the report, but I don’t think this matches the symptoms. Their breathing is fairly normal.”

Oh, that’s right – the wizard mentioned something about that.

“Anything else?”

“We do have a sleeping medicine, but it’s not very reliable and it’s a bit expensive to make. So we keep it locked up.”

“I’ll take a look and see if anything’s been disturbed, then.”

“All right,” the nurse nods. “We keep it near the showers.”

You hope you aren’t getting too sidetracked with this, but you also don’t have a lot of other ideas. You make your way to the showers.

And something immediately strikes you as off.

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There’s water all over the floor!