TITLE: The Fear and the Darkness
WARNINGS: Attempted Suicide / Mental Angst
STORY TYPE: Third Person
CATEGORY: Angst / Drama
LENGTH: One-offDISCLAIMER: The characters are property of Cannell and company.
Murdock watched the man lying lifeless on the bed before him. Crouching down, looking around the rest of the ward ensuring that no-one was watching him, Murdock nudged the man gently.
"Come on, Adrian. Wake up" Murdock whispered, feeling the emotion well up inside him as he saw marks on the man's forehead where the operation had taken place only two days earlier.
Adrian's eyes flickered open, a vacant look, devoid of any thought or reason. Then the lifeless eyes fluttered closed, and Adrian rolled to one side, away from Murdock, ignoring the anguished expression in Murdock's eyes.
"Damn it!" Murdock shouted, looking around the ward at the rest of the people. They watched him disinterestedly, moving like zombies. Annoyed and slightly disturbed, Murdock walked out of the ward, back to his room, lying on his bed thinking deeply.
Adrian was only 29, and because of an incident two weeks ago, the operation that ruined his life had occurred. Adrian would never be the same again. Murdock shivered at the thought of some doctor messing about inside his brain, and felt an overwhelming desire for revenge. Adrian hadn't meant it, it had just been a slip up.
Murdock wandered outside his room again. There were two times during the day that mental patients were allowed from their rooms. From ten o'clock in the morning until one o'clock in the afternoon, and then from three until seven in the afternoon. Murdock was given more privileges than other patients, however, because of his gentle and unassuming nature.
However, today Murdock was boiling with rage. He thought of his best friend in the VA, and found himself overwhelmed with horror and sadness. He thought of all the times the team had lifted him from the VA, and when he had come back nothing had been said or done. Then, Adrian had attacked an orderly for man-handling him, and the damage had been done.
Murdock also felt very alone. Richter was off on an extended vacation for two months because of a stress related illness and it seemed unlikely he would return anytime soon. Murdock sighed as he re-entered the ward, wondering whether to go outside and get some fresh air.
Adrian was now being dressed for the day, and Murdock warily watched the orderly dress him, the same orderly who had man-handled him, been responsible for the bad thing that had happened. Murdock tried to turn away, but his eyes were glued, watching the orderly.
"One slip man, one slip, I'll have you myself" Murdock whispered like a chant, repeating the words to himself over and over again. Adrian put his hand in the sleeve of a jumper, and tried to put his other hand inside the other sleeve, but it wouldn't happen. Gasping in frustration, Adrian tried again, and the orderly began to get impatient. Not only was he still sore from the attack three weeks ago, he was now caring for a vegetable.
"Come on, Adrian" The orderly said, roughly pushing his hand through the sleeve.
That was all Murdock needed to go over the edge. Adrian was being threatened, man-handled. Murdock rushed forward and punched the orderly squarely in the chest. The orderly grunted in pain and fell to the floor, where Murdock pummelled him with a series of blows. There was a series of cries, and the rush of feet as Murdock felt himself pulled off the orderly, and dragged back towards his room, screaming loudly.
He felt a fist in his stomach and doubled over as the door was closed behind him. Murdock started to shout in anger, and ran his fist into the television set, the picture hanging above his head. Murdock flipped his bed over in rage, then finally sat down on the floor, looking at the telephone.
Five orderlies broke into the room, one equipped with a straight jacket. Murdock yelled as the straight jacket was forced upon him, and an injection in his arm. He began to relax after this, and fell unconscious moments before Dr. Alexandre arrived.
Dr Alexandre was a young man, covering for Dr Richter in his absence. He fought his way into the room, past the five burly orderlies and looked at Murdock lying unconscious beneath him.
"What the hell happened here?" Dr Alexandre roared.
"Murdock attacked one of the orderlies, sir" Another orderly said. "Hurt him quite badly".
"What provoked this? Murdock has never been a threat to anyone" Dr Alexandre asked.
"He was upset about Adrian" Another orderly said.
"Hmmmm, get the bed turned over and restrain him while I find out what's going on" De Alexandre said, leaving the room to find the orderly Murdock had attacked lying almost lifeless on the floor. Dr Alexandre shook his head, this did not bode well for Murdock at all.
Murdock awoke with a start, and found himself restrained on his bed, in a straight jacket. He tried to struggle a little and found he couldn't move. He looked longingly towards the telephone, if only he could reach it and speak to Hannibal.
Dr Alexandre entered Murdock's room and looked at the restrained man, shaking his head. "Looks like you've really gone and done it this time, Murdock. That young man you attacked has died."
"He was hurting Adrian" Murdock said, tears in his eyes. He hadn't meant to kill the orderly.
Dr Alexandre shook his head, and sat next to Murdock. "You are now considered extremely dangerous, Murdock. The board have reviewed your case and find it a necessity for you to have a lobotomy."
Murdock did not disguise his fear when he heard this. So, the same fate Adrian had suffered awaited him.
Dr Alexandre rose and left the room, not even attempting to sooth the frightened man. Murdock thought very deeply about his situation when Dr Alexandre had left. He needed to reach Hannibal, inform him of what was going on, but he was retrained.
Sighing, Murdock decided on a simple recourse.
"Well Murdock, you have been quite good over the last few days." Dr Alexandre commented, the orderlies reluctantly undoing the straight jacket and the other restraints. "The operation will be taking place tomorrow morning, so we thought we'd allow you some time to yourself without the restraints. You'll be locked in your room of course."
Murdock nodded vaguely, looking around himself once he had been freed.
The orderlies backed out of the room, and Dr Alexandre followed, looking back on Murdock, sighing. Wondering why they had failed Murdock so badly.
Once the room had been locked and the orderlies and Dr Alexandre had walked off down the corridor, Murdock darted over to the telephone. He had no idea of how to tell Hannibal that this had happened.
"What is it, Murdock?" Hannibal asked as he picked up the phone. Murdock was startled for a moment, and then realised his number was displayed on Hannibal's phone.
The line was quiet for a moment, and then Murdock began in a shaky voice. "Its over Hannibal. Best to forget me real quick."
Hannibal's worry was evident as he asked quickly "What's wrong Murdock? what's over?"
"I killed someone here at the VA. They're giving me a labotomy tomorrow".
"Killed someone?" Hannibal said incredulously. "You don't expect me to believe that, you'd never kill anyone"
Murdock felt the tears come, and fought them away bravely. "Its over Hannibal. I want you to forget me. I don't want you to do anything, I just wanted to say goodbye to you and the big guy. Is BA there?"
Hannibal passed the telephone over to BA in silence. "What's up foo'?" BA asked.
"Goodbye, I love you, man" Murdock said, trying to keep his emotions under control. He put the phone down before BA could say anything more.
Then Murdock phoned the 'other' number, the one he knew far too well.
Face picked up the phone, recognising Murdock's number from the LCD screen. "Hey, Murdock. Good to hear from you, how are you?"
"I love you Face, goodbye" Murdock said.
"What?" Face said as the phone went dead. Suddenly the phone began to ring again, Face picked it up shakily. "Hannibal?"
"Has Murdock just rang you?" Hannibal asked. "I've been trying to get through"
"Yes, what's going on. He told me he loved me, said goodbye and slammed the phone down on me"
"He's having a lobotomy tomorrow" Hannibal said.
"What!?! Why?" Face asked, slamming on the brakes and heading into a side road. He stopped by the side of the road as he talked with Hannibal.
"We need to find out what's going on in the VA, Face." Hannibal said "We haven't got much time"
Face's heart missed a beat in fear for his friend. "Sure, what do you want me to do, Hannibal?"
The pristeen, smart young doctor entered the VA mental ward with a self-confident smile on his face, watching the doctors, nurses and orderlies buzz around him busily, whistling as if he didn't have a care in the world.
It was Face, and he looked around himself, making a note of how many orderlies there were, what rooms were practical for an escape and who the doctors in charge were. He made his way, humming and whistling until he reached Murdock's room. The room was empty. Face felt his heart beat faster in fear. He hoped to god they hadn't brought the operation forward.
Carefully checking his notes, Face walked away, back to main reception. He saw Hannibal posing as an orderly, and knew BA was around somewhere too, like Hannibal he too was posing as an orderly.
Face smiled at the receptionist. "Hi there, I'm looking for a patient of yours, goes by the name of HM Murdock?"
The nurse looked slightly worried for a moment, and called over a doctor. "This doctor has just enquired about Murdock, Dr Alexandre"
Dr Alexandre eyed Peck suspiciously. "Why would you be after Murdock. He's due for a lobotomy tomorrow"
Face felt his heart leap with joy at this statement, and tried to look neutral. So the operation had not been brought forward, excellent, that gave the team more time.
"Why is HM Murdock due for a lobotomy?" Face asked, trying to appear important.
"He almost killed a young orderly we have working here" Dr Alexandre stated bluntly, pointing over to one of the orderlies, his arm in a sling.
Face felt confusion and horror. Murdock had told Hannibal he'd killed the orderly. That meant Murdock didn't know the orderly was alive and well. Face felt his anger rise, but kept his voice steady and his expression neutral.
"Well, I am here on behalf of the Government. Top secret mission went wrong four years ago, Murdock may have some crucial information which could save ten thousand lives." Face flipped a forged badge, and continued. "Name is Doctor Raspe. I demand to see Murdock as soon as possible"
Dr Alexandre looked visibly uncomfortable. "Now may not be the best time"
"Why?" Face asked, a foreboding feeling clouding his act.
"Mr Murdock tried to commit suicide an hour ago. We found him in his room with his wrists slashed. At the moment we have stopped the bleeding and he is recovering." Dr Alexandre said.
Face couldn't hide his shock. A slight noise behind him made him turn his head. He turned back to the doctor. "Suicide?" Face managed to gasp.
"Yes, he's fine now. We caught him before he could slit his throat"
Face began to pale rapidly. He held tight to the desk before him and managed to gasp "Where is he?"
"On the second floor, in the recovery room" The doctor pointed to the stairs. Face walked away, forgetting to thank the doctor in his haste. He barely noticed Hannibal and BA follow behind him closely.
Face reached the recovery room and sighed as he realised Hannibal and BA were right behind him. Looking around hastily and realising they were alone in the corridor, Face signalled for them to come over to him.
"What's going on?" Hannibal hissed.
"Murdock tried to commit suicide" Face said quietly. "They told him he'd killed the orderly. That fucking orderly is still alive."
Hannibal cursed to himself as he saw Face redden and start to shake. "Calm down, Lieutenant, we have to get Murdock out"
Face opened the door to the recovery room, and Murdock lay on the far side of the room, on a bed, sleeping soundly with bandaged wrists. Face looked around himself, contented there was no-one but Murdock in the room, walked forward and embraced his friend, waking Murdock instantly.
"What, the ...." Murdock said, muffled, his head against Face's chest.
"Murdock, its me Face. Hannibal and BA are here, we've come to get you out"
Murdock, now freed from the embrace, looked at the three men and shook his head. "I'm sorry guys, I don't deserve to get out. I'm not leaving this place, I am going through the operation tomorrow. Please leave me alone"
Hannibal shook his head, looking at Murdock intently. "We're not leaving without you, Captain"
Murdock shook his head, feeling the tears well up again, and watched Hannibal - eyes bright with tears. "I killed that man, Hannibal. I can't leave now. I lost control"
Hannibal shook his head. "I'm sure there was a good reason why you flew at him Captain, besides you don't know everything. They've kept information from you"
Murdock looked bemused, feeling weak and ready to give up "What information?" he asked.
"The dudes not dead, Murdock" BA said, coming closer, and removing the sheets from around Murdock. "They said that to send you on a guilt trip"
Murdock gasped in horror, as he watched Hannibal bring a blanket from a cupboard. "Not dead .... why the hell did they say that then, I felt awful"
Face nodded "I bet you did. But they lied, and we're here to get you out of here"
Murdock nodded, as he watched Hannibal stretch the blanket out before him. BA lifted Murdock onto the blanket, and both himself and Hannibal wrapped Murdock inside, so that only his eyes were peeping out of the top. BA lifted the blanket with Murdock inside as if it were treasure, very gently. He moved towards the door, with Face in the lead and Hannibal bringing up the rear, carrying his treasured package, no burden on BA at all. Just the sweet smell of Murdock, the warmth of his body against the blanket making BA want to wrap him up in his arms forever more.
"No worries little brother" BA said softly. "Your with me now. No one's gonna come near you"
Murdock felt sleepy inside the blanket, watching Face hazily in front, feeling so safe and snug in the blanket, he closed his eyes, too tired in his current weakness to stay awake and started to doze.
"You know what this means, don't you Colonel?" Face asked. He handed Hannibal over his keys to the corvette.
Hannibal sighed, taking the keys from Face. "You mean about Murdock being with us full-time?"
Face nodded. "It could be worse. He could be dead. At least the four of us will be together now, the way it should have been from the start" Hannibal said.
"Yeah, man. He belongs with us. He's a part of the team" BA said, clutching his soft burden closely to his heart.
Face nodded, as they reached the stairs. Face went first, diverting the orderlies and doctor with a complaint he had made up there and then, whilst BA and Hannibal walked out of the VA and towards the van.
BA got in the drivers side, still holding Murdock to his chest, and put the dozing Captain on the passenger seat beside him, still wrapped securely in the blanket, quickly doing up the seatbelt. Hannibal got into the drivers side of the corvette, putting the key in the ignition, and waited for Face. BA started the van's engine, ready to leave.
Face had just wrapped up the con, saying he would be back later to check on Murdock, and see if he could glitch any information from the man before the operation. Just as he was leaving, the alarm went off, and Face began to run, rushing out the door, and moving towards the corvette.
Hannibal waited patiently until Face was in the passenger side and then drove off, with BA's van following close behind. "You alright, Lieutenant?" Hannibal asked, watching him intently.
"Sure, got out of there before they locked the doors" Face gasped, out of breath. He did his seatbelt up, and then looked behind at the van. He could just about see BA driving behind the wheel, and Murdock was too wrapped up to see anything of, apart from his eyes, which were closed tightly at this moment in time.
Hannibal drove for miles, away from the VA until they reached a small motel in the middle of no-where. Hiding the van and the corvette out of sight, Hannibal and Face went in to book a room, whilst BA waited outside with Murdock in his arms.
"Alright" Face said. "We have a room. Lets go and rest for a couple of hours, then we can get back on the road"
Hannibal nodded. "You two should rest first, then I'll have a doze in the corvette while Face is driving"
Face nodded. BA put Murdock on the sofa, unwrapping the blanket. Murdock was awake, staring at them weakly. "Is everything OK?"
Hannibal laid a reassuring hand on Murdock's shoulder. "Everything is fine, Captain"
Face walked out of the room briefly to his corvette for some clothes, and then returned with some comfy trousers and a tee-shirt.
"Come on, Murdock. Lets get you dressed" Face said.
Murdock nodded, and lifted himself weakly. "Sorry about the suicide attempt guys, I just felt so low"
Hannibal shook his head "No apologies, Captain"
Murdock nodded, and watched as Face took off his hospital pyjamas.
"He could use being cleaned before we hit the road again" Face commented, watching for Hannibal's reaction before he put the clean clothes on Murdock.
Hannibal looked at Murdock's body, grunting. "He looks clean enough to me"
"just to get rid of that hospital smell, wash his body and hair. He'll be set up for the road then" Face suggested.
"Alright. Captain, you mind this being a team effort?" Hannibal asked.
Murdock smiled, trying not to laugh. "Your all gonna wash me?"
"It'll be quicker" Face smirked, as BA lifted Murdock towards the bathroom. Face ran the water, making sure the temperature wasn't hot, whilst Hannibal checked Murdock's body to make sure there were no other abrasions or cuts. Satisfied there wasn't, Hannibal signalled BA to lower Murdock's weakened body into the water. Murdock gasped as the water touched his body, squirming a little as three pairs of hands scrubbed him.
"Owww, you three could have been torturers" Murdock complained as he was lifted up by BA, and Hannibal scrubbed his back.
Once his body was nice and clean, Hannibal held Murdock's head close to the water, letting his hair become wet, and then lifted him whilst Face gently massaged his scalp, washing his hair with the shampoo. Murdock groaned softly, remembering what an expert Face was with his hands when massaging, and relaxed totally in BA's arms and Hannibal's tight grip.
Face ran the conditioner through Murdock's hair with a comb, and reached for the shower head, washing away all the soap suds from Murdock's hair and head. Murdock sighed, then felt himself being lifted, as a warm towel was wrapped around him.
"Now I know what heaven is like" He whispered.
Hannibal laughed lightly. "See, Face was right. A good bath and clean-up can do wonders"
BA carried Murdock over to the couch, where the clean clothes awaited him, and rubbed him dry with the towel, and then Face dressed Murdock, paying careful attention, so he did not chafe Murdock's hurt wrists.
Once Murdock was in the clothes, Hannibal threw the blanket away, and let him doze on the couch. You two get some sleep" He ordered. Face and BA nodded, wandering over to the bedroom for a couple of hours sleep.
The team were soon back on the road. Hannibal stayed with Face in the corvette, whilst BA and Murdock were in the van.
"You think he'll be OK?" Face asked, concentrating on the road while Hannibal dozed lightly beside him.
"Sure Face, Murdock will be fine" Hannibal assured, looking back at the van following them, and seeing Murdock already starting to harass BA. "He looks to me like he's becoming his old self again"
"It was lucky he contacted us, I mean he would have never been the same again" Face said, looking in his rear view mirror and smiling when he saw Murdock wink back at him.
"Murdock will be okay. He's a survivor. He's also with us now, for good. No more sneaking him out of the VA. Its worked out quite well."
"We'll see if BA thinks like that" Face smirked as BA was straining to keep his temper with Murdock.
"I think we all agreed secretly it was time" Hannibal said. "Next time it happened, Murdock might not have been able to contact us. May as well get him out while the going was good"
Face nodded. "I like the idea of having him around all the time Hannibal. Might lighten things up a little"
Hannibal smiled to himself, and dozed off in the seat, lost in his dreams. It was the four of them now, the way it should have been from the start. The four of them together on the lam. With Murdock standing by them side-by-side, instead of being trapped in the VA. Murdock, together as a fourth member, now and forever.