A Place Of Healing – 21

Andrew sat drinking coffee whilst Cassie regaled him with a blow-by-blow account of the rehearsal and with her thoughts on the possible romantic dalliance of Maura Campbell and Gideon Reed.

Then, of course, she had to give a summary of the state of play between Mary Jordan and Paul Bryant.

Andrew watched her animated features. He was so glad she was so involved in the life of Skerrabost. The more she was involved, the better. She needed to live in the present and not in the past.

Physician heal thyself, he thought. He kept telling himself that he must give Skerrabost time to apply its balm.

The telephone rang. Perhaps it would be for Cassie.

It wasn’t. A man’s voice came, sounding agitated.

“Hello, hello? Is that the doctor?”

“Dr Shelley speaking.”

“Hello, Doctor. My name’s Philip Latimer. Sorry to bother you out of hours, so to speak, but my wife’s had a fall and cut her head. She says she’s OK but there’s quite a lot of blood. I tried Sister Hughes but her answer machine says she’s out on a call. It’s just that, with so much blood . . .”

Andrew needed to calm down the caller.

“There always is with a head wound, Mr Latimer. There are lots of little veins near the surface of the scalp. How old is your wife?”

“She’s sixty-eight. She says she didn’t lose consciousness but I think you should look at the wound. Can I bring her over? We’re about twenty minutes away.”

“If you think she’s OK to travel. Bring her to my surgery and I’ll meet you there.”

“Thank you, Doctor.” The line went dead.

Philip Latimer? The name rang a bell.

“Cassie, do we know a Philip Latimer?”

“No, we don’t know him. But I know who he is. He’s a well-known thriller writer. Chilly thrillers. He lives quietly on the island for a few months in the year. Probably when he’s writing a new book and he’s knee deep in blood and dead bodies.”

“Well, it seems he has more blood than he wants at the moment. I’m away to the surgery, love. See you later.”

Away to the surgery? He was beginning to talk like a native!

A little while later the thriller writer arrived at Andrew’s surgery with his wife, who had a bloodstained towel pressed to the top of her head. Mr Latimer was tall, thin and bespectacled. Mrs Latimer, a small, neat lady, was pale.

“Hello, Doctor. This is my wife, Stephanie. She’s rather shaken up.”

“I’m fine now, Philip. You mustn’t fuss.” She smiled at Andrew. “I’m sorry to bother you like this. I was rather clumsy and tripped on the patio, then caught my head on a low wall. And I scraped my knee and arm.”

“Come and sit down, Mrs Latimer.” Andrew cleaned and inspected the head wound. “It’s not a deep cut. I think we can get by without any stitches. Just a dressing.”

Philip Latimer sighed.

“You wouldn’t believe that I write about blood and mayhem every day, but I can deal with blood on the page much better than blood on my wife.”

“You’ve both done very well,” Andrew reassured him. “I know that you said that you didn’t lose consciousness, Mrs Latimer, but I just need to check your eyes to see if the pupils are normal. And we’ll clean up your knee and arm to get rid of little bits of gravel.”

When he had finished Andrew wrote a prescription for antiseptic ointment and gave it to Mrs Latimer.

“Just some ointment for your knee and arm.”

She took the prescription and looked at it.

“That’s fine, Doctor. Thank you so much.”

After the couple had gone Andrew sat thoughtful for a moment. He couldn’t be sure, but he hadn’t been entirely satisfied when he had looked at Stephanie Latimer’s eyes, and when he’d handed her the prescription she had looked at it upside-down.

He decided that it might be a good idea to make a house call on Mrs Latimer.



Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!