Chapter no 41

The Silent Patient

I ARRIVED AT THE GROVE THE NEXT MORNING, intending to talk to Alicia about what Barbie had told me. But as soon as I entered reception, I heard a woman screaming. Howls of agony echoing along the corridors.

“What is it? What’s going on?”

The security guard ignored my questions. He ran past me into the ward. I followed him. The screams grew louder as I approached. I hoped Alicia was okay, that she wasn’t involved—but somehow I had a bad feeling.

I turned the corner. A crowd of nurses, patients, and security staff were gathered outside the goldfish bowl. Diomedes was on the phone, calling for paramedics. His shirt was spattered with blood—but not his blood. Two nurses were kneeling on the floor, assisting a screaming woman. The woman was not Alicia.

It was Elif.

Elif was writhing, screaming in agony, clutching at her bloody face. Her eye was gushing blood. Something stuck out of her eye socket, plunged into the eyeball. It looked like a stick. But it wasn’t a stick. I knew at once what it was. It was a paintbrush.

Alicia was standing by the wall, being restrained by Yuri and another nurse. But no physical restraint was necessary. She was totally calm, perfectly still, like a statue. Her expression reminded me sharply of the painting—the Alcestis. Blank, expressionless. Empty. She stared straight at me.

For the first time, I felt afraid.

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