My phone rang at ten in the morning. It wouldn’t be too bad but everyone knew that I had been on night shift so they shouldn’t have been trying to contact me. I assumed it was a cold caller trying to sell me insurance or help me make a claim from an accident that never happened.
Like all people, I ignored it, my phone kept ringing. It wouldn’t stop until I picked it up to see it was Deirdre. She was a friend who suffered with mental illness and I was her emergency contact. That was the only reason I answered. No good turn goes unpunished it would seem.
“Lee get over here now!” She shouted down the phone, then hung up. I tried to call her back. Nothing.
My name is Lee, I am a 26-year-old student nurse who had seen their fair share of shit. Deirdre is the type of friend we all have to some extend or another. I should really distance myself but can’t stand the idea that she may end up being on her own and get into trouble or hurt herself. Since I’ve known her the share of shit has gotten higher than I could imagine. Of course, that’s only made working as a nurse that bit easier to deal with.
I shrugged on my clothes and grabbed a taxi to her place. I sent her a text to let her know I was on the way. She sent me back a list of things she needed, could I get them on the way. Duct tape, tinfoil, water, sugar, coffee, and some plasters. The continued calls went unanswered however the list made me think she wouldn’t do anything too stupid anytime soon.
The driver dropped me near her place and the local corner shop had everything from her list. Finally I ambled up the stairs to her flat.
The door was ajar and when I gave it a gentle nudge it swung open to a hallway which looked as if there had been a fight. Her mirror and lamp lay shattered on the floor.
I called out. No response. I continued further into the flat and saw more evidence of a fight. Pushing open the living room door, I wasn’t prepared for what I saw.
A man was sitting in a chair. He seemed unconscious. Behind him was Deirdre working away furiously on computer typing code I couldn’t even begin to understand.
Between the man and the computer was a number of wires and some sort of black box. The wires were sticking out of his open skull. Some wires were stuck directly into his exposed brain.
I’m not going to lie; I threw up right there on the floor. It was only then that Deirdre noticed me. She was so happy and gave me a big friendly hug. She was so excited almost bouncy, then went back to her computer.
“What have you done?” I was gobsmacked, then I started to remember what I should be doing and attempted to take a pulse, listen for a heartbeat. The man’s skin was icy cold, pale and it was obvious he was long gone.
“Oh, don’t worry” she responded, “he’s not alive”
“I can tell. What happened?”
She typed furiously for a moment then told me what had led to her murdering a man in her living room.
Apparently, she had been out on her balcony the night before. She suffered with insomnia so her being out at half two in the morning isn’t unusual. The she noticed something odd. It had been a number of lights that were moving in very random and unusual ways. So being a good citizen she called it in. Then this guy knocked on her door the following evening. She invited him in, and he threatened her. He had been acting strange anyway and looked weird. What I thought was a death pallor was apparently how he looked when he arrived to talk with her.
After a couple of veiled threats he decided that his ‘energy was low’ so he started to leave. Of course, she was pretty pissed off being threatened and as he was leaving, she clocked him with the hall lamp. That lead to a fight but it’s more he seemed to power down than die. That’ when she noticed the cables sticking out the back of his neck. She pulled them and the hatch to the back of his head popped open. She had to try and find some compatible hardware but not she was furiously working screwing the guys who had sent the dead man to her door.
“Serves them right with trying to scuffle with an unhinged computer engineer” she said with a wry smile.
I believed about a tenth of what she had said. After all it was Deirdre, in my professional opinion she was nuts. However, she had killed this man, one way or another and I was not about to get involved in her crazy.
“We need to call the police” I said as I sat down.
“Oh, I already did, they’re a bit used to me, so they’ll be another hour at least” she never took her eyes off the screen. Her fingers typing furiously. “I’m more worried about this guys’ friends showing up”
“So why did you get me over here at this god-awful time of the morning?”
“I needed stuff but didn’t have the time to get it before I’m done here”
“And what are you doing?”
I was surprised how calm I felt at all this.
“I’m downloading this guy’s brain and sending it to a bunch of friends internationally who will be able to decrypt it and upload it to oh so many places”
We sat in silence, it only being punctuated by her typing or clicking. About fifty minutes later the police arrived. Deirdre finished up what she was doing when by the time they knocked. Once they saw the scene, they went into full blown situation mode. I never really appreciated how efficient the whole process could be. Ten minutes later an ambulance was dealing with the dead visitor. Deirdre and I were in the back of a police car on our way to the station.
After being checked in we were taken to different rooms. I spent the next day answering questions. The same questions with the same answer for hours.
There was a knock on the door. A lady who looked like she was in charge, interrupted the interview. She introduced herself and she was the senior officer. The other officers sat straighter and tried to come off as more professional.
“We’re sorry for the inconvenience Sir, you are free to go and there will be no further enquiries”
She shot the interviewing officer a look of ‘don’t question me’ then left.
I was dropped off home and I fell into bed thankful for having a couple of days off.
The following week Deirdre knocked on the door.
“Can I come in?” She asked.
“What do you want?”
She held up a silly hat made out of tinfoil. “Peace offering”
I huffed but let her in.
The hat sat on my kitchen table. It’s still there now.
“So?” I asked
“Well my interview got interrupted by two guys from some senior department. They were dressed just like the first guy who had some to see me. Turns out they didn’t want their details out there, so we came to an arrangement. No charges for either of us was part of that”
“You murdered a man Deirdre!”
“Actually no, he was a robot…er cyborg… thing. Its how I could wire into his brain”
She got up “Anyway I’ve got to finish straightening my place up before work”
“Work? You’ve got work?” astounded, she’d been unemployed for a couple of years.
“Oh yeah, I got a new job, can’t wait to get started”
As she left, she was joined by a man, he looked exactly like the one from her living room, they walked down the stairs in silence.
It was the last I saw of her, honestly, I think I’m happier not knowing what happened really. Sometimes though I look at the sky and see planes go by and think of Deirdre, her stories and I wonder how crazy it really is.