this chapter, which is as yet unnumbered, and is VERY DRAFTY, continues on from where the last post left off. I have just passed 41,000 words. 9.000 more to go.
Chapter Naked lunch
When the police finally left, Silas offered Rune some lunch. He started a batch of homemade chicken soup with dumplings and a small salad. He had wrapped a couple wool blankets around her while she and Harris and Wellington were filling out the paperwork. He suggested she put on some of his dry clothes before she got a chill. He turned up the heat in his apartment to help warm her. It smelled funny, because it was the first time he’d had it on all year. All the dust that had accumulated in the () was heating up.
While Silas was cooking, Rune stripped out of her wet clothes. Silas came in to get her some dry clothes, apparently not realizing she was already naked.
“Oh, he said, I’m sorry. Excuse me.” But instead of looking away, he looked at her, and instead of leaving, he walked toward her. “You look like you might need to be warmed up. The best way to warm up someone who I suffering from hypothermia . . . “
“Is to put a naked person in a sleeping bag with them. That sounds like a plan, but . . .”
“I won’t touch you in an inappropriate way unless you invite me to, in which case, it won’t be inappropriate,” Silas said.
“Maybe you should turn down the soup you are making,” Rune said, “and take off your clothes.” She smiled. She knew what was coming and was looking forward to it. Her liaison with Bart the other night had cranked up her horniness. She didn’t wait for him to make the first move.
After thoroughly but carefully warming her, watching for her injured knee, Silas brought her lunch in bed. They sat naked, eating together, laughing, spilling soup and salad into the sheets.
“That’s okay,” Silas said, “I was going to wash them anyway.”
“They look clean.”
“I want them to look clean next time you come back, too. You can come back and visit whenever you want,” Silas said. “But I need to tell you, I am not looking for a girlfriend. I am leaving to go to Thailand ((or somewhere, check this)) at the end of the semester.”
“What if I come tomorrow?”
“I’ll be here.”
“What if I come next week?”
“I’ll be here.”
“What if I come tonight? What f I come late?”
“I’ll be happy to see you and careful of your knee. The key is under that mat of the back door if I’m at class or Aikido. I have no girlfriend and I have no lover, that is, no other lover, but I am not going to attach myself to you and mustn’t attach yourself to me.”
“Okay, I can handle that.”
“Good. Want to go around again?”
“Sure. Then I have to go. I have a lot to do.”
Silas was good in bed, slow, easy and sensitive, attentive to her needs, but not overhearing. He was playful, smiled a lot, seemed to be having fun. He was quiet, but not sullen or reticent. He was incredibly muscular for one so thin. He wasn’t thin, he was lean and muscular. Rune wondered if it was the Aikido.
“My brother does Aikido,” Rune said.
“Oh, what’s his name, I might know him.”
“His name is Mingan, which is Algonquin for Grey Wolf. Mingan Greywolf Carmichael But he’s up in Maine.”
“Isn’t that like naming me Silas Silas or you Rune Rune? Well, I may have met him at a conference but I’d probably remember that name—are your parents hippies or something, Rune and Mingan are not common names.”
“Silas isn’t particularly common either. But yeah, they’re a little weird, especially my Mom. My full name is Rune Berkana Carmichael. Berkana is the Rune for Birch. That Rune is, among other things, a fertility symbol. I hope I’m fertile when it’s time. It also means, “enjoys sex,” which I do.”
“Were you conceived under a birch tree?”
“My mother thought so. My father isn’t quite so . . . um . . . “
“Yeah, that’s it, he’s more left-brained then my Mom. All logic and science.”
“Wait, did you say what you were studying? Didn’t you say your were at ESF? Is that a science school? Are you dissing science?”
“No, I like science. I like science a lot, including the hard sciences, but I’m more drawn to the softer sciences. I want to be naturalist, not a mathematician. I like poetry, art and music, and I believe that we have, within the wholeness that is our human potential, a spiritual side. We have both a left and a right brain, and a synthesis of the two, and above that a glowing spiritual self. I am not at all sure that that self continues on after we die, but I do think it exists while we live and that we reach our greatest potential and greatest happiness when we honor all of ourselves.”
“Wow, that’s cool. I like that, very well spoken.”
“Thanks for lunch. I hate to eat and run, but I ate, so I guess I’ll run—I mean, gotta go. Can I borrow your clothes, I promise to bring them back.”
“Yeah, leave yours hear. I gotta do laundry anyway. When you come back, they’ll be all folded and ready for you. You gonna be able to drive that bike home?”
“Dunno, I’m about to find out, though.”
It was still raining, but the bike did start. Silas bent the front foot-peg back down and Rune waved and rode off.
She went directly to the hospital to check on Eliza and McHaggerty. ((No can do, since this is skipping ahead and we don’t know if they are still there.)))((OK, the people who were discharged in teh CDC write-ups were discharged 7 days after eating the mushrooms, and hasn’t been 7 days yet, so they are still there.))
She checked on Eliza first. She was still hooked up to IVs and a heart monitor and other equipment. Rune wanted an opportunity to talk to Eliza alone, but was glad to see that Peter was with her. Her parents were there, too, and her mother was reading to her from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. It seemed like an odd book, perhaps chose because it was so long. Rune had read it because of her interest in magic, but it was not the kind of book she would have picked for Eliza.
Rune greeted everyone, gave both Eliza and Peter hugs, and left. She figured she’d check back later. At least Eliza was alive and seemed okay. Then, she wished she’d asked for a status update on Eliza’s medical procedures.
She ran down to see McHaggerty and found him talking to a strange woman. The woman was wearing brown slacks , brown Patagucchi Mary Janes, a brown cardigan sweater, and a white blouse with a circle pin on the collar. Could anyone have looked more preppy. Her hair was the precise color brown as her clothes, and so were her yes. She had a sprinkling of freckles over her nose and looked very young. But not like a stumpy.
Rune was disappointed that McHaggerty, like Eliza, was not alone. At least he was still in Syracuse, and not in Rochester. “Can I come in?” Rune asked, at the door. She didn’t want to interrupt something.
McHaggerty looked at the woman, who nodded. “Rune, this is Detective Sergeant ((?) (what would her rank be?)) Brenda Crandall. She’s been asking me some questions. Detective, this is Rune Carmichael. She’s the one who got Eliza in to the hospital and called my house at 5 AM to hassle me into coming in.”
“Pleased to meet you,” Rune said, shaking Brenda Crandall’s hand. “I thought Sergeant Fisher told you to leave the case alone.”
“It’s my day off. I’m on my own time, and Dr. McHaggerty is a friend of sorts. We were just conversing about the Adirondack poisoning of the four professors. Dr. McHaggerty was telling me that he was called in on the case and that he suggested it had been murder and that no one listened to him. I’d hate to see history repeating itself. Tell me, Rune, why do you think that this poisoning with Dr. McHaggerty and Eliza Landon was an attempted murder?”
“They aren’t out of the woods yet. I’m hoping and praying they both survive, but it could still be a murder.
“There are several reasons why I think it was an attempted murder. First, Dr. McHaggerty is a mushroom expert. He is the authority that poison-control and the police call in when there’s a mushroom poisoning. He knows how to collect mushrooms and how not to. He’s been teaching students how to avoid poisonings for twenty years. He knows what poisonous mushrooms are. He would not mix poisonous mushrooms with non-poisonous ones, which is what happened here. The two species look very different. Second, I’ve been told to cease and desist with my investigations and have been subjected to two frightening incidents designed to scare me off.”
“Why haven’t you reported them?”
“I have. You can see the police report filed by Officer John Harris and Officer Rob Wellington. I was in a hit and run accident in a stolen car.” She turned to McHaggerty, “It was Larry’s car, but Larry wasn’t driving it.” She pulled up her pant leg and showed McHaggerty and Crandall her knee. It had turned a deeper purple and the discoloration had spread further down her leg.
“You need to go to the hospital,” Crandall said.
“I’m at the hospital,” Rune said.
“Funny!” Crandall said. “Not!”
“Look, I can walk fine. I promise to a doctor the minutes I can’t walk.”
“So, you’re investigating the case. I thought you wanted to be a naturalist, not a detective. What made you start sleuthing?”
“Because I love Dr. McHaggerty and I love Eliza, and think someone tried to kill them and might try again, and I wanted to fid that person and some evidence to prove they did it so that someone could protect Dr. McHaggerty and Eliza from harm.”
“Meanwhile, however, you seem to have put yourself in danger. You could have been killed in that hit and run accident.
“But I wasn’t. I don’t want to be killed. I don’t even want to be hurt. I don’t want my motorcycle to be hurt, which it was. I just got it back from the shop and now it will have to go back yet again.
“But no one seems to care that whoever tried to kill McHaggerty and Eliza might try again and be successful. I think they’re in danger, and probably in more danger than I am in.”
“You’re putting your friends in danger, too, involving them.”
“Are you suggesting we just stand by and let McHaggerty get killed by some murderous maniac?”
“I am suggesting that having yourself and your friends killed or hurt is not the best way to keep Dr. McHaggerty and Miss Landon safe.”
“Too bad!” Rune said bluntly. You’re not the first person to tell me to back off, and I am not backing off until I know McHaggerty and Eliza are safe.”
“You said there were two events; what was the other?”
“I am a little afraid to tell, even though what happened wasn’t my fault or my choice.”
“I’m off duty. Go ahead and tell me.”
Rune told Crandall and McHaggerty about their visit to the Acropolis and their getting high on what they assumed were Magic Mushrooms, Psilocybin. “There may have been something else in pizza, “ Rune said, because I have been doing some research now on Psilocybin, and the average recreational dose is 48 mushrooms. We did not each eat 48 mushrooms, by any stretch of the imagination. No way. But I don’t know what else might have been on there. It tasted pretty normal, but then, we got the works with extra mushrooms, and that’s a lot of flavors to conceal any surprises. Plus we were really hungry and gobbled it down. I read about Psilocybin experiences online, out of curiosity, and our experiences were somewhat similar, with some striking differences. I think my experience was much stronger than what seems to be an average Psilocybin experience from the write-ups online. I don’t know how accurate they are, it’s mostly self reporting.”
Crandall frowned and so did McHaggerty. “I don’t like the sound of that at all. Has your sleuthing told you anything more about that incident—who might have done it and why?”