The man in the doorway waded into the dark of the office with a narrow, clean-shaven face and misty green eyes. His pale complexion was born of too much time spent locked away indoors. He couldn’t have been more than a few years older than her. His thick, black hair caught the luster of neon lights outside.
His lips slid over perfectly white teeth and the most languid voice flowed forth.
“What are you doing here?”
Camilla’s tongue twisted itself in knots as she grasped for a legitimate excuse, but none came to mind.
“I—I need something from your patient files.”
“Honesty,” the stranger mused, tapping a finger on his chin. “Such a rare and commendable trait. Sadly, you couldn’t have picked a worse day to arrive at the clinic. I hope you can forgive me for the disarray. I wish I could explain away this mess but the truth is a complicated beast. I’ve been going through a… transition, so to speak. In any case, I’m sure you must be wondering what I’m doing here at this hour.”
Camilla jerked back as the man drew closer.
“Are you Dr. Elijah Merrick?”
“Indeed I am. Who might you be?”
“My name is Camilla Vesely.”
“Well, Camilla, you really shouldn’t be snooping through my records. You must be familiar with a legal concept called patient confidentiality, aren’t you?”
Camilla’s mouth was too dry to answer. She raised her guard, anticipating the moment when Elijah dropped his charade and lunged at her like a deranged psychopath. There was something off about this young man, something she couldn’t put her finger on, which made him ten times more frightening. He was a walking enigma.
“I’m just coming back for my things,” Elijah said, taking a step closer. “I thought it would be best if I arrived after hours. I’ve put the staff through enough as it is and didn’t want to overburden them. As you can see from the destruction before you, I’ve been going through a rough patch.”
Only the desk remained in between them now, a feeble barrier against a would-be killer. Camilla was confident in her martial art skills, but she wasn’t prepared to fight anyone mentally unstable.