Of Nannies and Nurses (part 13 of 13)
Of Nannies and Nurses (part 13 of 13) postapocalyptic stories
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ferp2
ferp2 Old, well, old-ish.
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Magrat's last day.

Of Nannies and Nurses (part 13 of 13)

And, talking of offspring,

the middle son of Arch Stanton had taken to following Magrat around after school and even hanging around outside the clinic until chased away by whichever Lightbearer was on duty at the time.

The fact that he always appeared cleaner than usual and wearing his least patched dungarees suggested his reasons for doing so were, well, 'normal' for a twelve-year-old boy.

There were no more unpleasant incidents, either. That is until the final week of Magrat's time in Hope Springs when one Harold Johnson ran into the clinic one morning clutching his hand.

"Get out of my way! I'm next. Emergency...

see!

" Johnson, the aggressive shopkeeper who ran the shop and storage facility at the vehicle workshop,

waved his bandage covered right hand in the face of the elderly man who had just got up to take his turn for the treatment room.

Whatever retort the old man might have had was too late as Johnson was already pushing through the treatment room door.

Sitting next to the cupboard by the door, Magrat looked up from the patient file on the worktop.

"Mister Cook?" She looked doubtful. "Recurring gout?"

Johnson plonked down into the waiting chair by the treatment table and shot Magrat a withering glare, bolstered by a well-practised sneer.

"Do I look like that effing old grave dodger?" He pushed the damaged hand close to Magrat's confused face. "And no, this isn't effing gout. I've hurt my hand... Or rather that effing till did.

All the mayor's fault, if she'd spent... Anyway, probably broke it so show a bit more... Wait a minute, aren't you that trollop from that gang of effing savages over the hill?"

Magrat and Maisie exchanged a look before Magrat, determinedly putting more effort than she thought it was worth into a smile, turned back to Johnson.

"You'll have to wait your turn, Mister...?"

Johnson, Ignoring Magrat and her wasted smile had turned to Maisie."

"Never mind all that. This is an effing emergency. Old man Cook and his gout can wait. I need to get this fixed right away by an effing doctor and not some murdering bandit's whore.

" He looked around as if expecting the doctor to be hiding somewhere in the room.

"Where is the jumped-up little medic anyway? Wasting time and our taxes pampering to the likes of thugs and scroungers probably."

The tirade coming out of the injured shopkeeper's mouth had caught the two nurses entirely by surprise. Maisie was only just getting her wrath together so it was Magrat who recovered first.

She reached for the man's injured hand.

"Doctor Troy is out on her rounds. Just let me just take a quick look..."

Johnson snatched his hand away and stood up.

"Not effing likely. I've heard all about you. Beating up on kids at the school and spying on us for your tribe of cutthroat scum."

It was at just this point that Mister Johnson felt Maisie's hands on his shoulders and found himself, despite his best efforts, being pushed back down into the chair.

Her face appeared over his shoulder.

"Now you just sit your nasty self down there so that the nurse can check your hand." She leaned in closer so that Johnson could feel Maisie's warm breath on his cheek.

"And I better not hear another word about thugs or wasters and especially not about the young lady who is going to fix whatever is wrong with your paw.

" She stood up then, arms folded across the front of her blue scrubs but staying well within slapping range.

Magrat worked at keeping her own anger in check as the man Johnson reluctantly held out his bandaged hand.

Before coming to Hope Springs clinic, a man like the angry, sneering shopkeeper that now sat almost knee to knee facing her,

would have had Magrat shaking like a leaf and unable to even think straight.

Now, after nearly a month under Maisie's and Doc Troy's tutelage,

her mind was too busy thinking ahead about what may lay under the dirty makeshift bandage to worry or even care about her patient's attitude.

Harold Johnson's mutterings and complaining were now almost just background noise as she gently unwrapped the rag he had used to bandage his hand. Almost, but not quite.

Johnson was looking around.

"Look at this place. All our effing money spent on fancy equipment and expensive drugs just to be effing wasted on every workshy shirker who ambles into town."

Under the bandage, Magrat found, well, not very much. A little bruising and a mild contusion where something had scrapped a layer of skin off the man's knuckles.

Barely even any blood, in fact, Magrat had seen worse on kids who had skinned their knees playing. Still, as Maisie kept telling her, 'Not all damage is apparent...

poke it a bit, see if they squeal.'

The injured Harold was warming to his subject.

"Never used to be like this. We had a proper Mayor back in the day. Kept the riff-raff out and the bad guys in check.

Proper effing doctor, too, not some slip of a kid who got herself knocked up and had to come running home to Mommy..."

Which was the moment Magrat chose to 'poke it a bit'. Actually, she squeezed Johnson's fingers, hard. And squeal he most certainly did.

Johnson slid off the chair onto his knees.

Maisie promptly picked him up and dumped him back onto his chair where, pale-faced and with his jaw flapping like a fish out of water, Johnson only just managed to hang on to consciousness.

Magrat looked up at her boss with a big beaming smile.

"I think mister Johnson may have broken a finger or two."

The last few days of Magrat's time in Hope Springs were without incident.

Harold Johnson made the mistake of complaining to the mayor about his treatment in the clinic.

As Tukiko had already made her aware of what had happened, and 'had words' with Magrat about the principle of 'First, Do No Harm',

Mayor Troy sent the unhappy shopkeeper away with a flea in his ear.

Amongst Winnie Barrow's circle of old ladies, Magrat had quickly become quite the in thing.

Tea had taken some getting used to but, after attending a few of Winnie's tea parties, Magrat was beginning to quite like it.

On her next to last day, Magrat was taken by surprise when she walked into the clinic entrance hall to be met by more than a few of the townsfolk.

Mayor Troy was there too and, much to the teenager's embarrassment, the mayor presented her with an actual diploma.

Then it was the turn of a very red-faced Evan Stanton, pushed to the front of the crowd by Maisie, to present Magrat with a monographed stethoscope in a posh black leather box.

However, the kiss on the cheek it earned him made it all worthwhile.

Somehow,

Magrat managed to splutter through an ad hoc thank you speech and then it was refreshments all round and a selection of all Magrat's favourite pastries from her daily visits to the waffle house,

catered by a rather anxious Theis.

By contrast, the following day, Magrat's last, was rather more sombre. She was going to miss coming in every morning.

And, by the looks on the faces of her new friends, it would seem that they might miss her too. It also being a quiet day workwise didn't help.

Magrat and Maisie kept busy by doing 'make work' refolding things that didn't need folding, sorting perfectly sorted cupboards and cleaning gleaming worktops.

Even Dr Troy joined in when she got back from visiting the southernmost of the three raider camps.

Of the three camps, the South Camp was somewhat more insular and much more resistant to progress. Tukiko's visits there were not as frequent and she did not feel welcome when she did go.

There were many stories and unsavoury rumours about the camp that made people uneasy.

Magrat had heard them all ever since she was little and the threat of being sold there was guaranteed to subdue any drudge into obedience.

The day wore on until, eventually, it was time to go. One more visit to the waffle house to collect pastries and say goodbye to Theis. Magrat smiled. And to Evan, who was bound to be there.

Her parting goodbyes with Dr Troy and Maisie almost ended up with all of them blubbing... well, maybe not Maisie...

So, it was with a slight feeling of relief that Magrat turned away and walked down towards the bird shit covered statue for the last time, proudly wearing her own stethoscope around her neck.

Although Tuki knew that she would see Magrat almost every day in the camp and that the young medic would finally be free of Drudgery,

she also knew that she was going to miss having the bubbly teen around the clinic.

Tuki came to a decision. Leaving Maisie to lock up, she headed off to see Hyle. If she could do it this with one, there was no reason she couldn't do it with the other two camp medics.

Maybe even more after that. With a determinedly set jaw, Tuki set off to convince her mother of that.

The following morning, in the dew-laden dawn, Theis arrived at the wafflehouse to get ready for a new day.

Gathering up last night's leftovers, he went around the back of the eatery to the dumpsters.

He hated lifting the heavy lids because it nearly always meant getting at least some dirt or grease on his immaculate clothes. But the covers had to be heavy to keep the scavengers out.

Never locked, though, Hyle's orders. Some scavengers were always welcome to take what they could find and, just maybe, stay.

And so, the lid hit the Wafflehus wall with a clang, just like every morning and Theis lifted the bag of scraps onto the edge of the dumpster, just like every morning. Then he saw it... Her.

Broken and twisted. Bruised and bloody. Eyes staring but seeing nothing of the new day.

Theis turned away and vomited. Still wiping he mouth and not caring that his expensive vest was covered in this morning's breakfast he ran towards town.

Spotting one of the new constables he ran up to him.

"Murder! There's been a murder. Magrat's been murdered!"

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