L’ Esprit d’ Esacallier: Part Four.

by | Nov 25, 2023 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

so he prepared a syringe of adrenaline and injected the substance into his massive chest.

“Go down and be with him, Caaisho. I will follow directly. I need to get my bag,” Lucien reassured the distraught woman. He physically turned her giant bulk and ushered her away from the door. She began to descend the stairs, turning to seek reassurance. The doctor nodded furiously, waving his hand. “Directly.”

As the woman disappeared from view, he looked down, realising that he was still wearing his pyjamas, slippers and overcoat. Even though the hysterical African woman wouldn’t have noticed if he was naked, he still felt a sense of shame at his appearance. He pulled the coat around himself, checked his pocket for keys, and picked up his bag from near the umbrella stand.

Lucien closed the door, and his world, with a soft click and entered the battleground. It was like leaving the trenches in the great war, the unknown waiting in the smoke and mist ahead. The door of the apartment below was wide open and he could hear the sound of voices ahead. Many voices in different tones and languages. It was like some mad modern opera, with wailing and shouting echoing up the hallway.

The flat was identical to his own, spatially, which was where the similarity ended. He stepped through into the empty hallway with its peeling walls and rucked up rugs on the floor. As he entered the lounge, the noise abated and the source, the multicultural crowd, turned to greet him. It seemed that the whole apartment block was in this tiny room. A few seconds later, the ruckus started up again as the mob parted to confirm his worst fears.

Sitting in an old tattered armchair, arms and legs outstretched, appeared Cheik Warsame at the end of the corridor of people. As Lucien sidled through to the victim, it became clear he was too late. The man’s black face was covered in a sheen of sweat and had already taken on a grey pallor. His unseeing eyes stared up at the single incandescent bulb in the centre of the ceiling. His prosthetic right leg lay on the floor next to the stump, as if it had just been amputated. He turned to the crowd, who collectively abated again and silently bid him to work a miracle.

Lucien kneeled by the giant Malian’s cooling corpse and opened his bag. He went through the motions of checking for vital signs. CPR was impossible due to the man’s colossal mass and position, so he prepared a syringe of adrenaline and injected the substance into his massive chest. He repeated all of the checks again then turned to the new widow.

“I’m afraid we are too late, Caaisho. Cheik has already passed.” He reached out to take her hand but she batted him away.

“Too late? WE are too late? What do you mean doctor? You have just arrived. You must do something!” Her pleas were accompanied by murmurs and profuse nodding from the spectators. Lucien felt the rock expand in the pit of his stomach, the one that lay there to remind him that everything was his fault. This one was going to be huge.

“Caaisho, there is nothing I can do. Cheik has been gone for some time. When did you discover him?” He began to swim against the tide of shrinking optimism that was the bereaved woman and her entourage.

“Please Lucien, do something!” She ignored his question and begged him, her words were echoed by the crowd, in a ripple of words.


Do something.


Doctor Lucien.

He replaced his equipment in his bag and clipped it shut.

“I’ll call the undertaker before it’s too late. He needs to be moved.” Lucien’s mind had already fast forwarded to the problem of how to get this giant’s corpse out of the tiny flat and down three flights of stairs. Once rigor had set in, this quandary would double. His morbid thoughts were disturbed by a single voice in the crowd. The croaky Parisian accent was unmistakable. It was that of Raymond Cournoir, the oldest resident.

“Don’t you understand the doctor? He’s gone, dead. There’s nothing he can do. What’s wrong with you people? Now, can we all go back to bed and let him do his job?” The mob, silent to a man, turned their attention to the diminutive Frenchman, who shrugged his shoulders in true Gallic fashion. He turned and shuffled down the hall and out of the apartment.

Lucien brought his hand to his forehead and closed his eyes tightly. This could go one of two ways, he thought. He was ready for either.

1 Comment

  1. Ken Childs

    Very descriptive and imaginative.


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