Chapter 8 - Analysis

Richard walked back to the private room with Jenny Dempster to find his wife and baby still asleep. His mind was racing and far from feeling tired, his body was alive, fuelled by a toxic mix of adrenalin, anxiety and disbelief, not only about the condition of his son’s eyes, but now the discovery of this previously unknown ability to super heal himself.

After making a cursory check on his wife and son, he turned to Jenny and spoke in a semi whisper “I’m struggling to deal with all this. It’s like I’m in some sort of wild dream, or a sci-fi movie or something. What the heck is going on Jenny? I’m feeling really scared and …..”

Jenny placed her hands onto his shoulders and he lifted his head to look at her, as she stepped towards him and they hugged each other, in somewhat awkward manner at first, but this soon gave way to a genuine and mutual show of warmth and comfort which they both drew strength and calm from.

They came apart and Jenny said “You need to rest Richard; although I’m sure you’re far from feeling the need to do that; so would you like me to get you something to help you sleep?

You’ve had a long and momentous day and we’re all feeling shocked and anxious for both you and William, but be assured that we will find out what’s going on, although deep down I really don’t think there is anything to worry about, certainly not for yourself, as whatever has happened to you is clearly not going to threaten your life. As for William, then once the tests are completed, we’ll know more and can formulate some answers and if it warrants it, some treatment, perhaps not only for him but you as well”.

Richard nodded and heaved a big sigh, running his hands through his hair whilst looking across the room to the crib where his son lay sleeping soundly.

Jenny continued “It may turn out that we will need to involve a lot more people and resources than we have here at this hospital, so I’ll just warn you now, that we may have to move all of you to a scientific facility in London, so you’ll need to prepare yourself for that. Notify your place of work and so on”

Richard frowned and his brief onset of composure was replaced with renewed alarm “What you mean this could take weeks, maybe longer?”

Jenny motioned him towards the door and they walked outside into the corridor and away from the room.

“I’m sorry Richard, but like you my mind is racing too. We’re dealing with so many unknowns here and I can’t predict how long this investigation will take or even what the eventual outcome will be. However, there’ll be a lot of people wanting to be involved in getting a better understanding of what is going on and how your body has somehow managed to become capable of healing itself. Maybe your genetic code has had some influence on William’s development during your wife’s pregnancy. It’s a wild theory and I’m probably completely on the wrong track, but there has to be a link in all this”.

Richard listened intently and nodded saying “No I understand and you may be right; but what about Alison, do you think we’ve yet to discover something about her?”

“I don’t know, but so far she’s not demonstrated anything unusual or abnormal from what we’ve seen or been aware of already”. She smiled slightly and said “Let’s put it this way, she certainly can’t repair herself” referring to the delivery, “and she looks and behaves pretty normally to me”.

Richard smiled in acknowledgement and nodded repeatedly, almost accepting the strange set of circumstances he now found himself in.

“Are you hungry?” Jenny asked. “I’ve just realised that you’ve probably not eaten all day, Can I get you something, or we can go to the cafeteria if you like?”

“For some bizarre reason I don’t feel hungry but I could murder a coffee, but you know, not from a vending machine”.

“Yeah I know what you mean. Do you want to come with me?”

“No I think it’s best if I wait in the room in case William or Alison wake up, besides I really need to ring my Sister and get some clothes and stuff brought over here”.

“OK that’s fine. You make the call and I’ll get some coffee sent over and we’ll catch up again soon” and with that she turned to walked off down the corridor, but paused and turned back to face Richard and said “Did you want me to get you something to help you sleep? I see the porter has already put the extra bed in the room; so you could take the opportunity of getting some rest yourself – you might need it”.

Richard shook his head and declined the offer saying he wanted to be on hand for his wife and son, besides he had a lot of things to think through and come to terms with and he wasn’t going to do that in a drug induced sleep. Besides he also needed to tell Alison all about what had happened.

He felt very awkward and insincere when he met his Sister in the reception area of the hospital, but in lying or rather being very calculated with the truth, he had managed to convey the feeling of joy, tinged with the awareness of concern and apprehension needed to justify why he couldn’t let her or any other member of the family see the baby.

Thankfully Sarah was his only immediate family member that he needed to have to worry about.

His parents lived near Perpignan in the south of France and were merely waiting for the call with the news of the birth, so they could get themselves organised to travel to England when it suited him.

Alison’s parents lived in Bath and she was an only child, so Richard rang them and explained the situation.  He suggested that they come over when the family were all safely back home, which he hoped would be in the next week or so; little knowing that matters were going to get a lot more demanding and complicated.

Richard eventually managed to get some sleep; albeit somewhat punctuated by the need for Alison to feed William. Strangely though, it wasn’t because he was crying in that usual uncontrollable way that babies do when they are hungry, but merely waking her with a soft warble not unlike that of a wood pigeon.  It was yet another unusual behavioural point he noted and later shared with Jenny and Doctor Thompson when they both came to see them the following morning.

As they were all talking, there was a sudden knock on the door and all eyes turned to see a male nurse walking in carrying a plastic wallet, with what looked like several pages inside it.

He went straight up to Doctor Thompson, who had positioned himself strategically between the Nurse and the view he might have had of William, who at that moment was in Alison’s arms as she sat upright in the bed. 

He simply announced that they were Richard Jackson’s blood test results and then he glanced over at Richard with a frowned expression, before turning to leave almost as quickly as he had arrived.

He hadn’t quite reached the door, before Doctor Thompson called out “I don’t need to remind you about patient confidentiality in this hospital or elsewhere do I Nurse?”

Without looking back, the Nurse opened the door and paused to quickly say “No of course not Doctor” and with that he was gone.

“Well let’s see what caused him to look at you rather strangely Richard” said Doctor Thompson as he unclasped the wallet and slid the documents out onto the foot of the bed, retrieved his reading glasses and started to speed read through the more revealing data.

On more than one occasion, he paused to look at Richard and later he glanced over to Jenny Dempster and gestured her to look through the pages he had finished with.

“What is it Doctor?” asked Alison, “You look rather puzzled”

Jenny’s eyes widened as she glanced through the paperwork she’d been given to read; repeatedly looking at Richard then the Doctor, before slowly uttering “Is this right? Surely it can’t be? Has there been some sort of sample contamination? Some sort of chemical interference or something?”

Richard came over to stand closer to where Jenny and the Doctor stood and demanded to know what they were concluding; with Alison’s words echoing around them, pleading for an answer.

“Well let’s see. What we have here is Richard’s normal healthy blood sample results; but we also have significant traces of ….. something, or shall I say someone else” Doctor Thompson announced awkwardly, feeling completely unable to fathom the possibility of how such a set of results could be obtained.

Jenny picked up where the Doctor had fallen silent, whilst still reading and turning the pages over in her hands, “Yes and I would go as far to say however fanciful and far-fetched this may sound, but this DNA blend is human-like, rather than definitely human. There are trace elements and other substances that are not quantifiable, or can be identified in normal data analysis terms”

Richard was speechless and as the voices in the room fell progressively silent; it seemed as though the walls around him were beginning to close in.

Doctor Thompson broke the eerie atmosphere that had descended on everyone “OK well if we work on the theory that whatever has contaminated Richard’s DNA is shall we say, alien for want of a better word, then this would answer why he has the ability to heal himself and it would also explain how William’s eyes have ended up looking the way they do”.

Jenny nodded and repeated to Alison what she’d said to Richard and now she had the medical evidence to substantiate her thoughts, but as she turned to Doctor Thompson she added “But how did this DNA get into Richard’s system and manifest itself so elegantly, without disturbing the balance of his own DNA, or indeed cause him to feel ill or troubled?”

Richard started to laugh as he said “Are you seriously expecting me to believe what you’re saying. This is madness. What are we saying; alien abduction or something stupid like that?”

“Look Richard, this is not a laughing matter and I can only tell you what we are looking at here” retorted Jenny, “To be honest we are out of our depth with all this. We are going to have get some serious scientific and bio engineers to examine these results and no doubt take a much closer look at you. Besides, you only have to look at William and to observe what you are able to do, to see that we are dealing with something extraordinary”.

“Or perhaps extra-terrestrial” added Doctor Thompson with a somewhat blank expression on his face.

Up until now, Alison had been listening intently and getting more nervous and distressed by the minute and suddenly she shouted out “Look what the hell is going on. I’m getting very scared. No-one’s telling us anything that makes any sense” and she started to cry.

Richard rushed over to comfort her as Jenny and Ian Thompson looked firstly at each other and then across to the crib, where William lay quietly and calmly.

Jenny whispered “We need to schedule the MRI scan on William for sure, maybe Richard, albeit I don’t think it’s going to reveal much more than what we’ve discovered from the blood tests and then we need to get in touch with Kings College London and move the family down there ASAP”.

Ian Thompson nodded and gestured across to the bed where Richard and Alison continued to comfort each other, saying “This is going to put a strain on them all, especially with the need for us to keep all this under wraps. God if news of this broke out, then the media would have a field day. We need to get the Hospital Director alerted and get a communication lock down on all staff”.

“Do you think we need to get the Police involved for security?” suggested Jenny.

Doctor Thompson laughed nervously and threw his arms up in the air saying “I don’t know if I’m honest. This is all just so surreal. I feel as though I’m an extra on some sort of SciFi film set. This stuff only happens in the movies doesn’t it? What do you do in a situation like this? Do we call the Government Security Services, or what?”

“I think we’d better leave that to the teams down in London”

They both walked over to the bed and spoke softly to both parents whilst casting glances across to the crib and explained what needed to happen and that they would be moved to London just as soon as Alison felt able to travel.

It would be left to Richard to keep the wider family informed but with limited information and make sure that his employers could support his time away from work, even though he was due Paternity leave in any event, but he had the growing belief that he was going to need quite a bit of time off from work.

During the days and nights that followed, the most notable and alarming change that had begun to worry the medical team, let alone Richard and Alison, had been the rapid growth spurts that William was being subjected to. His crib had already been replaced with a cot, such was his size.

And yet despite these dramatic physical changes, William remained calm and peaceful; never once crying for any reason, be it through pain, discomfort or the need for a feed. He never even complained during all the monitoring tests and blood sample processes, which had also demonstrated that his body had the capacity to self-heal.

The day had now arrived when the medical team felt it would be safe to place William into an MRI scanner, especially as he was nearly the size of a toddler.

 “When was the last time he had a feed?” asked Jenny.

“Oh about an hour ago” replied Alison, “Why?”

“We are keen to get the MRI scan completed today, so it would be very helpful if you could avoid feeding him again, so he can have a four hour break before we sedate him. Obviously we’ll try and get through the scanning process as fast as we can, so as he comes round, you’ll be with him and no doubt he’ll be ready for another feed”.

Doctor Thompson then added “We may want to run an MRI on you too Richard, especially as we should be getting the full analysis from your blood tests shortly, so if you want or feel the need to be sedated; then you’ll need to avoid eating”.

Richard smiled “I fully intend to have something to eat Doctor, because I am famished, so I’ll just have to make sure I lie still, even though I’ve heard that these scanners are somewhat frightening and claustrophobic?”

“OK Alison we need to get William’s MRI scan underway; so for the sake of putting you through any discomfort I would suggest you let Richard bring him down to the imaging room, whilst you remain here. Will that be alright?” asked Alison.

“Oh I feel really bad about this. I’m his Mother for God’s sake”

Richard held her hand and spoke softly to her “And I’m his Father, lovey, I’ll make sure he’s OK and I doubt very much whether he will come to any harm. There’s no point in you struggling and probably hurting yourself coming down to the scan room. It’ll be alright. I promise”

Alison reluctantly accepted but not before asking Richard to pass William over to her, so she could hold him and look once more into those amazing blue eyes.

Jenny echoed Richard’s thoughts and said “Don’t worry Alison, we’ll make sure he’s well looked after and we’ll have him back here with you before you know it”

Richard carried his son down to the room which housed the rather foreboding MRI Scanner. It looked as alien as he was beginning to feel and having taken in the eerie looking machine, his gaze was drawn to look even harder at William.

Amazingly he’d continued to remain awake but unnaturally calm; despite all the frantic movements and anxious voices of the medical people flying around them.

“OK we’ll give William a small injection to sedate him and then you can help position him on the bed of the scanner” Jenny said softly.

Once again, just as soon as the nurse had finished injecting the syringe into William’s arm, his skin heeled immediately; but his eyes did at least close a few seconds later.

Richard gently placed him on the bed and then Jenny arranged him so that the operator would get the best images.

“OK we’ll need to leave the room and go into the operation booth through there” said jenny as she gestured towards a door.

Richard followed her and watched intensely as the enormous machine groaned into life and the eye of the scanner began to orbit William’s inert body. Jenny watched wide eyed as the images began to compose themselves on the monitors in front of her and the operating technicians.

There was the very clear outline of some sort of membrane running all the way around the body. For a baby, the brain was incredibly well developed, notwithstanding the fact that its shape was at odds to the typical design of a human brain.

It appeared to be constructed of layers, with recesses in between each fold. The eyes which had been the source of the original alert to things being different about the baby, were not round, like a ball, but in fact were a simple concave disc.

Other bodily organs appeared to be similar to those found in human beings; although Jenny doubted they would be technically the same or function in the same way.

After about 30 minutes, the operators looked at each other and then glanced at Jenny, indicating that they were finished and Richard could collect the toddler.

Richard handed his son over to Jenny to hold and climbed onto the bed of the scanner and laid down, trying to relax and following the operator’s instructions over the intercom.

He closed his eyes and tried to empty his mind; but it was racing around far too much, as the awful drone of the scanner once again resonated deeply around him.

“Very good Richard; you’re doing well” Jenny kept saying repeatedly, trying to encourage and support him as his nerves were clearly jangling. “William is incredibly warm and I can’t get over how calm and content he is; even though he’s with me. Sorry I don’t know why I’m talking to you, as you can only chat back in between the knocking sounds” she said with a little laugh.

A while later and Richard was allowed to leave the claustrophobic and noisy tunnel of the MRI Scanner.

As soon as he walked back into the room, Jenny handed William back to him and he asked her how things looked.

“Well as per what the DNA results suggested; William’s genetic make-up is different from what we expect to see in a human, let alone a baby. There is a common thread which runs between you and him, which appears to be what is protecting the body from being cut and supports the fast healing process”.

For what seemed like an age, Richard couldn’t even muster a reply, as his mind struggled to take in what he was hearing and then he felt his son stir in his arms. He looked down to see those large jewel-like eyes beaming up at him. William was definitely smiling and he appeared to be trying to say something, as his little mouth was forming what looked like words.

Aware of the silence, Jenny looked over at him and then drawn by his gaze, she lowered her head and frowned just at the point where William blurted out the word “Hello”. She gasped in complete shock and dropped the report material that she had been originally looking at as she was speaking to Richard.

“Oh my God he can talk!” she shouted as she raised her hands to her mouth in total disbelief.

Everyone else in the room stared at the toddler, echoing Jenny’s feelings and being equally dumbfounded and amazed. They looked at each other, mouths agape and hands pleading for an explanation, as they anxiously began to wonder what was going to follow next.

Richard lifted him up to his own eye line and smiled before saying “Hello William. Can you understand me?”

There was a pause before William replied, the lips on his mouth moving around as if he was trying to formulate the words and when he did the whole room fell about in complete shock and bewilderment.

“Yes I understand you Father. But my name is not William it is Janithillon”.

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