You must understand that in my practice I insist on using first names. I like the informality and I think it helps put the patients at ease. I let Peggy, my receptionist, look after all the other details; the date of birth, the address, and, of course, the family name. If I’d been aware of the new patient’s surname I probably wouldn’t have made the connection anyway. If I had I’d have dismissed it as paranoia.
Peggy ushered him in and introduced him as ‘Leonard’. He made some comment about the weather as he settled into the seat. I asked him about his holidays as I reclined it. I don’t remember what he said, I was busy checking the instruments on the glass tray before I swung the big light into place so that I could see right into his mouth when he opened it. I noticed a strange glint in his grey eyes as I asked him to ‘Open wide, please.’
There was a low growl and I found myself staring into a dark red cave. The stink of carrion from those evil looking teeth overwhelmed me. It was as I was hurtling through reception, Leonard in hot pursuit, that I heard Peggy calling after him. I didn’t need the note of horror in her voice to make the connection then.
‘Mr Cecil? … Mr Cecil!’
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