Carlisle was working in a small and rather obscure hospice, near Trafalgar Square.
The majority of his work was done in the evening.
When the day was nearing its end, just as the light began to dissipate behind the tall buildings of London, there he could be seen. A dark figure walking through the milling sea of human bodies; passing through the concrete pavements with an indifference to their existence, and an odious contempt for his own.
You could see him, in all his listless glory; friendless countenance, and cold eyes. Walking with the perfect imitation of a life he no longer had.
The travel to the square was far more easier if it were taken by carrige or automobile. But for Carlisle, he despised machinery, it was a vexation to his inner solitude. He preferred to walk.
He was not accustomed to the company of humans, and certainly abhorred them half the time; he did, however, take pleasure being among them; studying all their actions at a surreptitious distance. It was a strange sensation to be surrounded by so many breathing and pulsating bodies, all of them in constant motion. To Carlisle it gave him the illusion of what he was, and how he used to be. But then again, whatever scarce pleasure it gave him, it also reminded him of the excruciating past. That terrible feeling of being dragged from an existence that was so viciously pulled from under him, and the constant reminder that it cannot be undone.
He arrived at the hospice thirty minutes later, at exactly half past seven.
The establishment tonight as he observed, was not as incapacitated with patients as he anticipated - that of which he was glad. If it were any other night, the hospital would be beleaguered with the sick or dying; moaning and wailing as their ailments consumed them. Their wasting bodies decaying before their very eyes.
He clutched his black leather bag as he roamed through the halls, absently nodding to a few of the medical staff who had greeted him a half-hearted 'Good Evening'.
The building was rather of reasonable structure, and composed of five floors, including a small sanatorium for the clinically deranged.
He walked with a significant silence, that very little noise came from beneath his heels. He breathed in the familiar scent of iodine and the pungent disinfectant used to clean the operating rooms as he turned a corner.
His office was located on the top floor.
The patients, however, seldom requested for him; they would only see him as their final ultimatum, or when their doctor was currently unavailable. His presence unnerved them far too much.
But it was not only his patients, but also the medical colleagues whom he had to work with. They avoided him - almost unconsciously.
There was certainly nothing malevolent about him.
Nothing that was obvious to them anyway.
Carlisle had long conceived of the fact that it was in their 'nature' to react in the manner that they are towards him. As with all living creatures with a natural innate instinct, Homo sapiens being more complex and at times highly overrated. (In his opinion at least.)However, the human instinct can be a most powerful thing. Even if there is no evidence of an impending danger, it will know whether it exists or not. A defensive mechanism that has evolved over time to ensure the successful survival of life. Even in the modern world, instinct still plays an imperative role between life and death.
Carlisle's rounds began two hours later. Within the first few hours of the early evening: he attended to a severe case of meningitis, mended and cast three broken ribs of a surly drunkard, and conducted an emergency surgery on an older gentleman who had managed to rupture his spleen.
Several hours later...
Carlisle was standing in the dense operating room thirty minutes after the surgery. The scent of blood in the air as a hospital orderly came to mop the blood and other bodily fluids that had gushed during the operation. Beside Carlisle was a small silver table, and on it was a small surgical basin that contained the bloody instruments he had used earlier to perform the surgery.
Carlisle briefly glanced at the man's body. His abdomen and organs were exposed, the blood gleaming a bright crimson against the glare of the light.
Unfortunately the man did not survive.
There was an insurmountable amount of blood loss, by the time Carlisle had attended to him in surgery, it was already too late. The internal bleeding had already occurred. The quiet doctor watched impassively as they covered the old man's body with a white cloth.
What once was a thriving, breathing human being - was now diminished to a lifeless corpse. He stared at the figure covered in white, a patch of bloodstains near the abdominal area; he could never understand why but in all his long years as a physician; after the death of a patient, he would feel a strange sort of empathy for them.
Carlisle took a last glance. He could see the top mop of the old man's graying hair sticking out from beneath the white sheet.
The man was dead.
A circumstance he knew all too well.
Carlisle realized that the orderly had left briefly, but came back. In his hand was a piece of paper.
"Excuse me doctor, could you please sign the death certificate before I take him down to the mortuary?" The young man said, extending his hand to offer Carlisle the certificate. His tone was very practical, very logical.
He glanced at the young man before him.
Sometimes Carlisle could not believe how humans would react when facing death. While others would mourn, plunge themselves into a deep catharsis; others would spend an insignificant amount of time troubling themselves with trivial matters surrounding papers that decree the person is dead. Is losing your mortality such a trivial matter? Has it truly diminished to nothing more than a few lines of ink, signifying you are no longer part of this breathing world? And that you mean no more to them than to the contraption that was used to print these words onto a blank sheet of paper?
Carlisle was shaken out of his thoughts.
"Sir?" The young man asked once more. His eyes trying to sift through the Doctor's darkened expression.
Carlisle caught his gaze and returned it with an icy stare. He raised an eyebrow as he signed the paper with an infinitesimal scratch of his fountain pen against the paper.
"Thank you, sir. I"ll have someone take him down." Said the young orderly, making a move to leave and inadvertently avoided Carlisle's glare.
"I will take him down myself." Replied Carlisle.
"You may go." Carlisle said, dismissing him with a wave of his hand.
The orderly wasted no time in retreating outside of the room.
A few moments later. After he had cleaned his hands and changed himself out of his surgical clothing, he then proceeded to transfer the man's body to the mortuary.
The body had already been moved to a small gurney with small rolling wheels that squeaked every so slightly when it was moved against the concrete floor.
Carlisle walked out of the operating room several minutes later. The dead body still covered in the same blood-stained white sheet as he rolled it carefully out into the long corridors.
The night grew deeper as he arrived at the morgue, which is located at the underground section of the hospice, to keep house to the dead bodies of their patients.
He entered the dreary mortuary, the stifling smell of formaldehyde permeating the air. The room was dull, and had very poor lighting in the later evenings. The mortuary was quite wide, the walls irritatingly painted white; which over the course of time had become stained from the residual chemicals used in post mortem. What used to be a fresh crisp cream colored white - has now become grayish in texture with sickly yellow stains at the high corners.
Carlisle could also smell the scent of rotting flesh from one of the other rooms outside, the scent of death. Corpses held not much interest for him, but in times when the night was unyielding; their cadavers became his only companion. He felt no different than them, but he envied their solace in the deep silence.
Four years later...
Esme was in the drawing room, tapping her foot impatiently against the carpet. Though still she could not see, she rather could hear the sounds of excited commotion in the foyer.
She of course knew who was visiting.
Charlotte Evenson. Her grandmother's bestest friend.
Esme had briefly met this old woman scarcely through the years, but never had the chance to fully interact with her visits were very much welcomed by Clementine, and seldom involved children in their topics for discussion - however today was different.
For Charlotte came accompanied by a stranger.
The identity was unknown to her. Which struck a chord of curiosity to burn throughout her system.
He was a man, a young man. That she was sure of.