About the Book
“Put out your tongue, please, Anne,” the ‘doctor’ says, approaching me slowly.
“I don’t want to, you beast,” I say. I’m really in trouble here.
“Anne. You must show me your tongue. I am a doctor.”
“My tongue is perfectly fine, you fiend. The only thing wrong with my tongue is that it has to be used to talk with you,” I say. I close my mouth and purse my lips together tightly.
He sighs and looks about him, before making his way over to my bed. He sits on it and puts his head in his hands.
“Yes, you may very well cast your eyes upon the ground, you despicable creature. How dare you lock a Lady in a cell, and pretend to be a doctor, in order to look upon her tongue?”
He moves to pull something out of his pocket, and I move quickly: far to fast for him to catch me.
“A-ha! You never imagined this did you, you wobbly eyed fish!” I am over the other side of the cell now, facing him, brandishing my chamber-pot. I hold it above my head. “It is full: stinking, filthy, dirty full, and I shall throw it upon you unless you give me the key.”
His puffy fish-eyes wobble a little more, practically standing on stalks out of his face.
“I can smell them,” I say. My arms are starting to ache. I am malnourished, no doubt, from tepid, thick, nasty porridge.
“Your eyes, you sea-creature.”
“Yes, your eyes. You horrible, beady eyes. Fish-eyes. I should imagine you’d like to cut mine out and make chairs out of them. I simply refuse to put my tongue out.” I can hear my own voice, and it sounds slightly hysterical.
He starts writing on a long, slender notepad, evidently that which he pulled out o f his pocket before I retrieved my weapon.
“Can you stretch out your arms for me instead then, Anne? Perhaps wiggle your fingers a little?”
Whilst I’m holding a chamber-pot? Either he thinks I am stupid, or he is stupid.
“No. I shan’t do anything you ask of me. Is that my ransom note?”
“No, Anne. It is-”
He is a liar.
“It is, I know it is. Why else would you be writing upon a pad? I hope that the ink leaks out of your pen, all over your disgusting, cheap-smart clothes.”
He frowns, ignoring me, continuing to write, occasionally wiping an invisible piece of dust from his lap.
“Have you ever taken any morphine, Anne?”
I ignore the question.
“Give me the key.”
“No, Anne. I can’t give you the key.”
“Give it to me!” My voice rises, my throat starts to close up. “Give it to me right NOW, give it to me, give it to me! Give it to me, give it to me-”
The door opens with a bang, hitting itself upon the wall. Some yellow paint falls onto the floor in a pile. I want it.
“Doctor! What on earth is she up to now -”
I launch my chamber-pot.
Time stops for a moment.
The ‘doctor’ runs to Fat-Ruth’s aid.
“Doctor! Ohhhhhhh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhhhhhhh!!!!
I am in hysterics. The laugh simply won’t stop and it comes with force, pushing my voice up my windpipe and out into the air in dancing, happy tones. It forces me to bend over, such is its vigour and wait; something is shining next to my foot.
Before I can grab it, hands pull my arms behind me sharply and I am thrown to the floor. My giggle stops in a huff sort of sound, and I can’t breathe right.