Sheriff Engle pulled out a soft chair for Patrice.
“Now then, Ms. Hathaway, my Deputy tells me that you are making some serious allegations against Arkham Asylum.”
“Yes, that is correct.”
“Would you mind telling me about them?”
Breathlessly, Patrice recounted the sorry tale of her tribulations at the Asylum; when she described the outrage which she underwent in the basement, Sheriff Engle shifted uncomfortably upon his chair. Before the end she broke down, sobbing silently, like she was a party to an ultimate humiliation rather than the helpless victim that she was; between sobs she gulped, swallowing a huge intake of air, and warbled: “Where were you when I needed you? Where were you?”
“Ms. Hathaway, to whom are you referring?”
She did not reply to Sheriff Engle; staring at the upturned palms in her lap.
Sheriff Engle stood, motioning to a new police recruit through the plate glass of his office; the recruit, who was stood idly beside the water fountain, read the gesture clearly, it insisted: Come here, now!
The recruit opened the office door.
“I would like you to conduct Ms. Hathaway to the interview room, get her a cup of tea, handkerchief, whatever, and report back to me when she has collected herself.”
In the interview room Patrice fell upon the recruit’s chest, bedewing the lapel of his serge uniform. He stroked Patrice’s blond waves and gently patted her back.
Through bubbles of misery, she expressed thanks.
“Dorian, these last two weeks have been the worst of my entire life, unbelievable things have happened to me… incredible… And throughout it all there has been an all-pervading drain on my—my inspiration.”
Officer Minks was simply content to caress the lady’s hair.