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FLIGHT OF FANCY
A Story by Tony Mehrtens


Dr Killbone was a bastard there were no two ways about it. He seemed to remember when he first started out as psychiatrist he had wanted to help people, but all that he cared about now, was to earn as much money as possible for as little effort as possible. He would have devoted his time entirely to his private practice, but for some reason, which he did not understand, but which everybody else did, he wasn't very successful in that respect.

He had been made chief consultant psychiatrist at Daylands psychiatrist hospital because there was a shortage of consultants willing fill vacancy. He added to his earnings by doing drug evaluations for the big drug companies, for which he received large sums of money both below and above board. Some of his colleagues knew what was going on but were reluctant to blow the whistle for fear of reprisals.

Jimmy Lane wasn't a bastard but he had been treated like one all his life, especially since he had developed mental illness. His mother and father had both died when he was young lad. Both had been considered odd by their neighbours Jimmy had inherited this oddness and a bit more besides. He was of slight build and fairly tall which made him look even more frail. His fair hair was unruly and this added to his eccentric look.

He had been told by doctor Killbone at different times that, he was a depressive, a manic depressive, schizophrenic, and at one time that he had severe personality problems, but then Dr Killbone was very free with his diagnoses and told most of his patients the same sort of things.

Dr Killbone liked treating Jimmy because he could domineer him. He always liked treating people he could domineer. He would sit them down in front of his desk and stare at them until they felt embarrassed, and averted their eyes. Those few who could out stare him and he couldn't dominate he soon discharged, cured or not.

On the day it all started Dr K was doing the rounds of the wards. His black hair and his face with its hooked nose could be seen above the heads of the other staff members accompanying him on the rounds. Even if people didn't see him coming they could tell by the sound of his harsh Scottish voice echoing along the corridors that he was on his way. Jimmy was in the shower when he first noticed the two lumps on his back. He had had a strange feeling near his shoulder blades for some time, but now he could definitely feel two small bumps. At first he thought they were muscles that had just developed, but when he felt again them seemed more solid than muscles, they seemed more like bone. He was a bit concerned and dried himself straight away intending to tell the charge nurse, but as he came out of the shower room he met Dr K coming into the ward. He blurted out right off "Doctor there are two lumps on my back and I'm worried". The doctor annoyed to have his ward round interrupted replied angrily " Not another one of those crazy ideas Lane. I tell you it is all in the mind, don't bother me with such nonsense". " But doctor" Jimmy started to say before Dr K just walked away leaving Jimmy angry and frightened.

Over the next few weeks the lumps on Jimmy's back continued to grow even Dr K started to get worried. What if they were a side affect of the medication Jimmy Lane was on? He considered using surgery to have them removed but thought better of it. By now the bumps had developed into appendages resembling another pair of arms. They kept on growing and now they were so big Jimmy had to have holes cut into his clothing to make room for the new limbs. It was when feathers started to grow on them that people realised they were wings. By this time Dr K was really frightened. What if the press got hold of the news. It would ruin him. He could see the headlines" Doctor makes man into bird." What could he do? He had Jimmy put into isolation in a locked ward.

While all this was going on Jimmy was taking all in his stride. In fact he never felt better. The illness that had caused him to enter hospital seemed to have disappeared and he was feeling confident and self-assured. He was getting on with the patients and staff, when he was let out of the ward for exercise one hour a day. Of course they couldn't help but notice his wings but they soon forgot about them when he started talking to them, because he had such an air of goodness about him. He wasn't bullied anymore. In fact everybody who came into contact with him always felt better and more positive after talking to him. There were even rumours of people being cured of their illnesses, something that left Dr K in two minds what to do about the situation. Of course the worthy doctor was taking all the credit for the cures, but he was still worried about the press getting hold of the story.

Big John as everybody called him had decided to end it all. He was always telling people this, but this time he appeared that he meant it. He had climbed to the top of the clock tower and was threatening to jump. The fire brigade had been called, as had the police. But before they had arrived big John didn't wait. Whether he jumped or slipped nobody knew, but he was just starting to fall, when out of nowhere there was flurry of wings and big John was caught in midair and carried safely to the ground. It was Jimmy's first real miracle. Of course the press heard about it, it was all over the papers next day. Big John seemed none the worse for his ordeal indeed he seemed more stable than he had been all his adult life. There were all sorts of rumours going round the hospital, the press were everywhere. But there was no sign of Jimmy. Doctor K had driven him up to Scotland to a private mental health clinic. Dr K was there as well partly to avoid the press and partly to try to get to the bottom of the so-called miracle. He couldn't believe that such a weak little nobody as Jimmy could perform miracles. He had observed that the rest of the staff and patients all seemed happy and relaxed since Jimmy had arrived. People were being cured on all sides and the staff were happy. Dr K was the only one that wasn't. He had Jimmy in his consulting room but he couldn't get any satisfaction from the meeting only when it was over did he realise that he hadn't been able to brow beat Jimmy. In fact it was he who had come off worse. He hated Jimmy and felt things couldn't get any worse.

The men from the ministry of defence arrived the next day they had the clinic surrounded. They had Dr K in a room and grilled him for three hours. Then they had Jimmy and questioned him, but to no avail. He couldn't tell them any more than Dr K. After some time it dawned on the doctor that what the military wanted was the ability to develop soldiers who had wings and could fly into battle. Killbone was getting more and more irate but he daren't get on his high horse with the men from the ministry. They had Jimmy in a side ward and they were going to do a surgical examination on him. They had the ward locked, with guards outside the doors and windows. There was no way Jimmy could get out, but never the less he did. He made a quick visit to see the doctor and then he ascended into the sky and was last seen very high in the sky before he finally disappeared.

The government hushed up the incident, and the press were told to say that it had all been a publicity stunt. Things got slowly back to normal at Daylands Dr K was still in charge, but there was a subtle change things seemed more relaxed some how, the doctor was often seen smiling and that was a miracle in itself. He did not know what the future held for him. The doctor was in the shower when he first noticed the two lumps on his back.

THE END


By Tony Mehrtens .