Testosterone levels had become toxic, polluted the air and caused temporary hallucinations. I sincerely prayed this to be the case. I wanted so badly to have imagined it all. The alternative was unacceptable. In the time it took to exhale one breath, the situation had gone from chest-pounding stupid to a waking nightmare.
Ryland erupted from his seat in a burst of Kenneth Cole clad fury. Hints of his other nature flickered to life, as tawny colored streaks spread from his hairline toward slightly pointed ears. The charcoal threads of his cotton blazer, which seconds ago fitted to tailored perfection, strained against a frame almost two sizes larger.
He leaned over the ancient desk. His weight rested on the tips of curved fingers that looked as if frozen in the act of becoming. A heart-stopping chuckle escaped before his words. It was the laughter of four-legged death on the hunt in the savanna.
“Let’s be very clear, Merryl. As administrator, I’m the authority at Tepes Memorial.”
“So long as I allow it.”
“I’ve earned my right to lead this facility, and you well know it.”
“Settle down cub,” Dr. Lynn sighed, “before I slap the fangs out of your mouth.”
“You dare address me in that manner, and in front of an outsider?”
Ryland personified speed. He started around the massive desk before my eyes registered movement. Too bad, it wasn’t fast enough. With a slight flex of Dr. Lynn’s left hand, a gesture better suited to remove dust from his hospital jacket, Ryland became airborne.
I watched in horror and a good measure of shame, as he was yanked five-feet above the floor. Carried by an invisible angel with obvious anger management issues, Ryland moved jerkily through the air by the collar of his expensive shirt and blazer. In that snapshot of time Ryland indeed looked the petulant cub, one about to be scolded, by a parent who missed its kill, and hadn’t eaten in days.
I knew Dr. Lynn was powerful. I’d soon learn he was also the stuff of nightmares.
Dr. Lynn didn’t rise from his desk; he levitated into an upright position with the aid of the same invisible valet. He took a half step toward the immobile Ryland, reached for him with a hand possessed of fingernails sharper than razors, and with the tenderness of a father grasped his head just behind the ear.
Ryland seemed to expect what happened. He neither struggled nor submitted. He stood his ground, such as it was, and defiantly held Dr. Lynn’s gaze.
Dr. Lynn returned Ryland’s glare with one of those this-is-gonna-hurt-me-more-than-you looks.
Yeah, when was the last time a parent went to bed with their ass burning after they’d delivered a spanking.
And for that matter, why punish me too? I hadn’t done anything.
Power, the flavor I’ve never sampled before, sucked the oxygen directly from my lungs. It was early morning; the sun flooded the small office in golden brilliance. Yet the light seemed to have dimmed. I heard children laughing, the light faded faster. A child shrieked in pain or terror, I was in darkness. Angry adults, lots of them, shouted vulgarities at Opie. I saw Opie, from Mayberry. Opie with a mop of brown hair so dark, he could have washed it in tar.
Blood. I tasted the sweet coppery tang of blood in the air. I felt a hurt between my thighs. I began to grow and stiffen, I needed to rub it and make the hurt go away. But I liked the hurt too, it made me kinda dance funny. I’d never felt like this before, I needed to rub my penis really bad.
I saw another child, flat on his butt, nose bleeding profusely. Angry hands struck me across the face and back of the head. Something hard smacked across my backside, hard enough to knock me down. More blows, someone kicked me in the rump. Where was Paw, Aunt Bee, hell, I’d settle for Barney.
“It wasn’t my fault. Martin hit me first. The blood smelled so good, it made me want more. So I hit him harder. I didn’t mean to break- De’javu.” I came too in the middle of another argument. Only this time I was the one jerked from the floor.
Ryland lifted me into his arms and carried me to the leather couch at the other end of the office. Yes, leather couch, it comes with the license to practice. Dr. Lynn handed me a shot glass full a colorless liquor. One sniff and my sinus cleared as my eyes teared in surrender. I thought it prudent to sip the unknown concoction rather than tossing it back.
I pushed myself up on wobbly arms until I sat properly with my feet planted on the floor. Every emotion and doubt I’d suppressed during the interview, raced upward from the pit of my stomach toward the only available escape hatch.
I wanted my composure and professionalism back. I needed them. I took a large gulp from the shot glass, I wanted to get my emotions drunk enough to have my way with them. I came here with a purpose, and I planned to see it through.
“I believe Dr. Lynn, you asked about my leopardess. I’d like to continue where we left off. Assuming there are no further objections?”
To be continued…