This is the final part of a fiction serial, in 848 words.
“This will be our final session, Jeffrey, as I have now completed my assessment. You should know that I am not in the least intimidated by your remarks the last time we spoke. I could not do this job if I allowed myself to be worried about threats from those I assess”.
“I wasn’t threatening you, just stating how easy it is to get information, even in here”.
“Okay. Do you have anything you would like to add? This will probably be the last time we see each other”.
“I would be interested to hear what your conclusions are”.
“It is not usual to discuss those, but I think you know full well that I will not be recommending your move to a conventional prison. In fact, I will be strongly recommending that you remain here until such time any future assessment shows you are fit to be considered for parole. You have shown no remorse, no sympathy for your victims, and I cannot imagine that this aspect of your personality is likely to change anytime soon. Furthermore, you refuse to concede that you are mentally ill, and that in itself makes you very dangerous, as far as I am concerned. If and when any appeal hearing is granted, I am sure my detaled report will ensure that you are not successful”.
“Would you like me to say sorry, and confess to rape? Would that make you feel different?”
“I know you are just saying that, Jeffrey. It is not in your nature to feel sorrow or regret for what you did. You are even smiling as you speak. If you said sorry a hundred times, I would still not believe you”.
“Alright, doctor, you got me. No I’m not sorry. But I didn’t rape that woman, whatever you believe. Why are you so prepared to believe a bad thing about me, but not about her actions on that Sunday? Whatever you think of me, I told you the truth. I am not a rapist.”
“I would have to talk to her to change my opinon, and I can’t do that. Because you killed her”.
“Now you are sounding angry, doctor. Not like you to let anger creep into your voice”.
“I am not angry, and any change in my tone is caused by human emotion, something I suspect you do not understand”.
“You would be very surprised at what I understand, doctor”.
“I think that is enough discussion, Jeffrey. My full report will be submitted to the relevant authorities for their consideration. However, if I were you, I would not expect to ever be released. With that in mind, you might want to think about ways to deal with your life here, perhaps improve yourself in some way. There are classes, and you are allowed to study too”.
“Oh, I think I have done all the studying I am ever going to do. But thanks for letting me know”.
“Very well, I am closing the interview. I doubt we will ever meet again, Jeffrey”.
“Oh don’t say that, doctor. I live in hope that we will”.
Nine months had passed since Fiona Eccleston had presented her report. It had not been necessary to see Jeffrey North again, and she was as busy as ever with new referrals and admissions. But there was a holiday to look forward to. In three weeks, Poppy would be home from university, and the promised mother-daughter bonding trip to California was going ahead. As Poppy had asked, Fiona had arranged the rental of a classic American car. They would just drive north up the state, and see where they ended up.
Fiona was up early on that Friday morning, and the strong coffee had made her feel perky. Reversing her car out onto the street, she drove to the junction with the main road, and pressed the button to turn on the radio. The weather forecast was good, and when the next song came on she drummed her fingers on the steering wheel and sang along to the familiar words.
The police roadblock was unusual.There must have been an accident. As she got closer to the head of the queue, she saw officers opening the rear hatches of the cars in front, and looking in the back doors and windows. When it came to her turn, she wound down the window as the policeman walked over. “Can you please turn off the engine and open the boot, madam? Just a routine check, won’t delay you too long”. Reaching into her bag, she showed him her Rampton Hospital identity card. “I have to get to work, officer, please hurry”.
The policeman glanced at the card. “Rampton eh? It’s one of yours we’re looking for. That Londoner, the one who killed all the people in that block of flats. He managed to escape during the night somehow. Can’t have got far on foot though”.
Fiona reached into her bag for her mobile phone. Scrolling quickly, she pressed to dial her daughter’s number.
It didn’t ring at all, just beeped. The line was dead.