St Clement’s

It is a little-known fact that St Clement’s Hospital on Bow Road, E3, is actually still in use, having supposedly been closed in 2005. An extremely convincing decoration job – or rather, anti-decoration job – has been performed on the exterior of the building to give the impression of long-term disuse, while a system of tunnels allows staff and patients to enter and exit the building from clandestine access points in other buildings many tens of metres away. The reason for the incredibly covert operation of this hospital is that it is dedicated to the treatment of patients suffering from highly outré conditions.

Here follows a small sample of the patients currently receiving treatment at St Clements, including in one case an excerpt from case notes. (It should be noted that St Clements medical staff have considerably more freedom with respect to the usual requirements of clinical objectivity in case notes, due to the extremely unusual nature of the cases treated there.)

Patient #315; condition: reverse lycanthropy.

This patient spends 27 out of every 29 days as a wolf, during which time she manifests no specifically abnormal symptoms but unfortunately has to be kept in a specially adapted enclosure both for her own safety and that of the general populace of the Mile End/Bow locality. As an occasional treat, several specially trained members of the nursing support staff take her out to Hackney Marshes in the dead of night for some proper exercise. She is radio-tagged during these excursions and her whereabouts are monitored closely at all times, but she is used to the routine and has not (so far) attempted to elude her carers when it is time to return to the hospital.

During the two days in each lunar month corresponding to the new moon, her form shifts into that of a human woman in her early 20s. While in this phase she is confused and scared and can be highly aggressive, but becomes far more relaxed and approachable when the lunar crescent starts to appear and she reverts to her lupine form.

Patient #65; condition: RCS (reality-compromised syndrome).

The subject of an extremely rare condition documented fewer than ten times in British medical history, Mr C—– N——— presents a moderate to severe case of RCS. He is, on average, just 50-60% extant. On good days he is almost totally extant and would pass for a healthy and generally normal adult male in late middle age, albeit one suffering from chronic anxiety and with a general air of distraction. However, while suffering a severe episode, he may present as little as 10-20% corporeal reality, to the extent that it requires careful management of lighting conditions on the ward even to see him. On several occasions he is thought to have ceased to exist altogether. The longest such episode lasted several days, and it was the opinion of Dr Khan, resident specialist in the condition and one of the acknowledged world authorities on medical ontology, that #65 had gone for good.

It remains to be seen whether his condition will respond in the long term to the treatment he is receiving from Dr Khan, although it is thought the early indications are not totally unpromising.

Patient #734; condition: spontaneous involuntary time-travel.

Perhaps the patient with whom the St Clements staff enjoy interacting the least, #734 may well be the most mysterious case as well. A white male of indeterminate age, he was admitted under obscure circumstances in 199[X] and has never told anyone his name, if indeed he knows it himself. To judge from muscle condition, metabolism and so on he may be little more than 30 years of age, although his skin, particularly on his face, shows signs of ageing consistent with an age of at least 65. His voice, too, is cracked and weak. He spends no more than approximately 80% of his time on the ward, or indeed anywhere in the hospital, the remainder being spent in various periods of history or, in some cases, the future. His reminiscences about the past are seldom very pleasant and his revelations of the future, although invariably vague, are just as unsettling. From case notes compiled by Dr Chakrabarty:

The patient had recently rematerialized in his bed following an absence estimated at 3:42 (hr:min) in duration. He was very excited, appearing as if he knew a great secret that was unknown to anyone else. Upon being prompted to share where or rather when he had been (this sort of engagement being considered to be beneficial to his mental wellbeing) he would only smile and laugh. At length, all he could be induced to say was that he had been an unspecified time into the future and that:

(Dictaphone recording:) “It is all light: no shadows, no darkness, nowhere to hide – just light, everywhere. It will come for us – for you – for all of you. And then you’ll see… you’ll see what fools you’ve been. [laughter – unintelligible mumbling, more laughter] When the Light comes, the sky will open, and They will take all who are not of the Light… [more laughter]

At that point the patient was subject to a petit-mal seizure and lost consciousness. I can’t say I wasn’t somewhat relieved by this.

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