Right, now it really is Saturday! Well, it’s Thursday as I write, but… just read my previous post!
It’s time for another instalment of The Book. Last time, DOCTOR MONTE HILTON was in a therapy session with JEFF REINHART, who was telling him more about the titular book. Today, we leap forward in time again to see Monte in his own therapy session, talking about the book.
“Do you have the book with you today, Monte?” Claire asked. “May I see it?”
“No, no, no. I think I’d better hold on to it.” He was shaking his head as he spoke. The words ran in to each other. “I’ve taken steps to ensure that no one will ever read it. Ever.” He was sweating profusely, and he forearmed sweat from his forehead.
“Did you destroy the book? I thought you told me that it wouldn’t burn.” Claire tapped her pen against her teeth. It was beginning to annoy Monte.
“Please stop that.” He pointed at the pen in Doctor Maskell’s hand. “It’s really infuriating.” He waited for her to put the pen down before he continued. “The book’s safe, don’t worry.” His breathing had quickened, and he fidgeted in his seat. “It’s out of reach. Safe.” He repeated.
“And how do you feel about that?” Claire asked.
“Good, good.” His eyes darted around the room. “It’s good.”
“Can you still hear it?”
“Yes. It wants me to help it.”
“The book? The book wants help? Am I understanding you correctly?”
“Yes. Well, no.” he corrected himself. “It’s what’s in the book that needs me.”
“So tell me more about what’s in the book. Have you read it all?”
“Of course not. We wouldn’t be sitting here if I had, would we? Do you believe in God, Claire? Do you believe in the whole thing – a supreme being that snapped his fingers and brought our world into existence? The whole ‘on the first day God created the heavens and the earth’?”
Claire shook her head. “No Monte, I don’t. Science has moved us past those beliefs.”
“Correct!” Monte snapped his fingers and pointed at Claire, making her jump. “I don’t believe that either. Our universe is almost fourteen billion years old. It started from a point in space and everything we know and see in the sky came from that point.”
“The Big Bang. I know this, Monte.”
“Right. The Big Bang. Did you ever wonder what came beforethat?” Claire continued to stare at Monte, but said nothing. “Well, I’ve seenwhat was before that; beings that you couldn’t comprehend, beings that existed in a universe so very different from our own. That universe was dying and they needed another, and with its final act, that universe birthed another. Our universe.”
“So the book is the story of that universe?” asked Claire. It sounded ridiculous.
“No,” He was exasperated. “Not the story of the universe. Itisthe universe! Well, at least the essence of that universe. Everything that lived in those final millennia is in there and wants to come out to seed thisuniverse with their kind. They’re looking for a way in, and Jeff knew that. I know that. They’re seeking a vessel to assist their passage, and that’s me. The more I read, the closer they get to finding me, and when they find me, they’ll come, then everyone and everything that you know and love will be gone, which is why I can’t let anyone see the book. It’s my cross to bear, mine alone.”
“Would you please let me see the book, Monte?” Claire’s voice was calm, soothing. She held out a hand to Monte. “I don’t think this is helping.”
“I don’t have it. I told you that already.” His hand dropped to the pocket of his jacket. “It’s safe.”
“Put yourself in my shoes, Doctor Hilton.” She used his professional title, which had the desired effect of focussing Monte’s attention. “What would youdo? You have a patient exhibiting clear symptoms of psychosis. That patient is seeing and hearing things that are not there. His behaviour has become progressively erratic. You’re concerned for him. What would you do, Doctor Hilton?”
“I havebeen in your shoes, Doctor Maskell. Did you forget? That’s why I’m here. I treated Mr Reinhart correctly. Hemade the decision to stop the medication. Hemade the decision to stop seeing me, and frankly, I’m leaning in that direction myself. I don’t think you’ve anything else to offer me, Claire.” He stood up and moved towards the door.
“And how did that work out for Mr Reinhart, Monte?” Claire’s words froze Monte in his stride and he turned back around.
“It didn’t work out, did it? Not for him. He passed the book to me. It was the last act of what had been a worthless life. It was the best decision he ever made.”
“So you’re happy to have this book, this burden,as I think you called it?”
“In an ideal world, I would never have known about it. But we don’t live in an ideal world, and it didfind me. But, given the alternative, which was Jeff, I’m glad to have it.”
“I can help you if you let me,” Claire said, “but you have to want it. Please come and sit back down.”
“I don’t think so. I think we’ve gone as far as we can. Goodbye Claire.” Monte turned back to the door, opened it, stepped though, and was gone.
That’s all for this week. Hope it still makes sense!