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Mortally Challenged: Intern


by cherishtwilight

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Michal,

     Job hunting has taken a bit of a toll on me these past few months. I’ve been trying for internships to clinics all over Neovia, even sent some files to Neopia Central, and yet nothing comes up. It’s strange. The other day I received a letter stating a clinic (the Mayflowers) wanted an interview—and yet, the moment I came to the Lenny consultant, he turned me away.

     I don’t like to admit it, but I do think you were right about me being a doctor—at least, the doctors I’ve tried to contact seem to agree. The strange thing is that they never look me in the eyes; it’s the fangs that get them.

     Of course, I’m not an idiot. I know what they’re thinking. Though I suppose, given my qualifications, they’d at least try to look past that. You know, Professor Lambert once told me that if I’m good enough at what I do, the fact that I’m a bit…mortally challenged wouldn’t matter too much. That’s why I went to a university in Brightvale instead of back home. That’s why I worked so hard to be the best that I could be.

     I suppose that was my mistake.

     Well, on the bright side, I mailed the Professor the other day regarding my career prospects. He seemed sympathetic enough, but unlike myself, he was actually quite optimistic knowing that I was looking for a job back home. Something about an old student opening a hospital nearby. I’m not entirely sure why he’s eager to introduce me, I’m only certain the employer will reject me. Still. It can’t hurt to try.

     Your despondent brother,

     Daniel.

     …

     Michal,

     Some…ambivalent news? The Professor came through for me, and I received a letter earlier in the morning from the institution. You’d think I’d be rejected once they saw me, but—well—you see, I was employed by a skeleton.

     Well, not an actual skeleton. It was more a transparent Lenny in black robes and a hat wider than my shoulders. I had gone to search for my employers address, you see, but while I was heading out the door I found somebody knocking on it. And lo, there he was.

     (On an unrelated note, how tall are Lennies? The tip of my head could only barely reach his ribcage.)

     "Daniel Davenport?" The Lenny glared down at me. I thought I could see his brain from his hollow sockets.

     You know me well enough to know how I replied.

     After fainting, however, I found myself in the Lenny’s arms. In a carriage. Carried by, from what I understand, a mummified Uni. Understandably I screamed at the lunacy of the situation, jumping to the carriage door in a vain attempt to push it open. It was locked.

     The Lenny kidnapper was glaring at me when I snapped back to him. I feel like if he had eyes, he would’ve rolled them.

     "Where are you taking me?" I demanded. "Am I—am I going to die? Am I dying ? Are you taking me to the afterlife?"

     "Mr. Davenport, you’re a vampire." The Lenny said, laconically. "This is your afterlife."

     "That doesn’t make me feel any better. "

     The Lenny made a sound. I think it was meant to be a sigh, but gravelly and unclear, like electric jolts from a science experiment. "I mean to take you to the Institution, where you’d be interviewed for your position as intern," he (or is it a she? With the muffled voice, one had a hard time telling) said. "I was going to ask for your permission, but your—nerves seemed to have failed you. We may return, if it would please you."

     I truly considered taking the creature’s offer, but you must understand, Michal; I had no way to pay for Mother’s medicine. I was barely able to get by with the money I saved working as a bookkeeper in Brightvale. Ruminating on this, the Lenny butted in: "If you would like, I’m sure the Institution has a handful of mortal physicians at hand, some medicine. They might offer treatment for your mother."

     I looked at the Lenny. I distinctly remember there being a bump in the road when I asked: "How did you know what I was thinking?"

     The Lenny didn’t emote. "I’m formally known as Takdhir. You shall not know me by any other name, though certain individuals may circulate them. I know everything there is to know about the undead."

     And with that, the conversation was over.

     The ‘Institution’ Takhdir spoke of was, in all actuality, the abandoned Meepits Oaks Sanatorium building. It still looked old and decrepit, but it felt more like…a façade, than any real indication of the building’s condition. We had stopped near the entrance, when a zombie Korbat (two heads taller than me) came out of the swinging doors, carrying a notepad and a face of disinterest. He walked towards the carriage, greeting Takhdir with a grimace.

     "Have you brought him?" The Korbat asked, his voice gruff.

     Takhdir led the Korbat’s gaze to me. The Korbat seemed more cordial towards me, though only a little. "Good afternoon, Mr. Davenport," he said. "I give it your ride was pleasant?"

     Takhdir arched a brow. From the corner of my eye I could see the Uni from the carriage window, glaring daggers. "Y-yes," I lied, "Quite agreeable."

     The Korbat smiled, if albeit sardonically. "My name is Oppenheimer Tamus. I’m the Institution’s Coordinator, caring for the ins and outs of patients and doctors. The Neopian Resources counselor will want to speak to you further, but I wouldn’t worry of that since you’ve made it this far."

     I waited a beat. Nobody seemed to elaborate, so I willed myself to ask: "Whose the counselor?"

     Oppenheimer seemed…amused. He looked to Takhdir. "You didn’t tell him?"

     Takhdir simply looked at him.

     Oppenheimer chuckled, though for what reason I wouldn’t know. "So he did, did he? Before you could even introduce yourself?" he laughed. "Very well. Mr. Davenport, Takhdir here is the counselor, though not particularly close to any of the Institution’s business."

     I sat in the carriage. I looked to the skeletal figure. Then to the zombie. Then to the Meepits Oaks Sanatorium, abandoned, yet oddly alive. "What job am I in for?" I asked, under my breath.

     Oppenheimer smiled. "An internship."

     …

     Michal,

     I forgot to end the last letter I sent to you. Of course, it doesn’t matter since you won’t read any of these anyway, but I apologize still.

     The name of the place is the Medical Institution for the Mortally Challenged. It’s rather inaccurate, since they also admit Werelupes and various mutants, but the majority of the patients are undead. After the ‘interview’ with Takhdir (which was really just me secretly writing to you while the skeleton stared at my forehead for an hour), Dr. Tamus was kind enough to introduce me to various locations in the Institution.

     "You’ve already seen the Entrance, but I’m sure haven’t had the chance to meet the receptionist, Ms. Ingrid," Dr. Tamus gestured to a mummified Ruki behind the counter in the entrance lobby, who waved an arm at me. It subsequently fell off. There were two ghosts sitting on the waiting couch, giggling, though only until Dr. Tamus turned to them. "A lovely lady. She and Takhdir were of the Lost Desert, though she’s only been in the Haunted Woods recently."

     I didn’t much care for where she or the skeleton counselor came from, since I was more concerned with the matter of her hand. Oppenheimer whisked me away before I could think of it further, and I soon found myself walking through the hallways, to the wards.

     "Ward 001 to 016 are formally known as the Ghost Wards," Oppenheimer explained as we walked past the ward itself. I ducked slightly, seeing an elderly ghost Ixi throw a bluish bowl of porridge my way. "Ward 013 is a container for disruptive ghosts certain monster hunters may hand us. That may be a little too much for you, though, so we’ll pass by it."

     Ward 014 to 036 were for zombies, in which I nearly got eaten alive. 034 to 046 were for vampires, in which I was mistaken as a patient by a ghost Acara nurse. 044 to 056 were Werelupes, hidden in the deepest corners of the Institution as shelter from the Werelupe King’s wrath. 054 to 066 were—

     "Strictly inaccessible for anybody except me and Kal Xadum," Oppenheimer gestured to the door leading to the ward, metal and rusty. It glowed with an electric sheen. "And Takhdir. But there’s no reasonable way to stop him, bar destroying the ward itself."

     I asked him why. "It’s the prison wards," he said. "Those who pose a threat to society are kept here. It’s an inactive ward, though dangerous regardless."

     I meant to ask him one more question regarding who this ‘Kal Xadum’ he mentioned was, but I didn’t want to push my luck. I had little idea what they’d do to me if I were fired.

     Somewhere along the line, I asked if there was a spare dorm room for me. He looked at me, oddly, and said, "Were you expecting to go home?"

     "What?"

     "Of course, you’re allowed to. We certainly aren’t keeping you here if you have a home." Oppenheimer looked to the door he was blocking. "But, you must understand—very few of us do."

     I didn’t understand. But I felt like I could’ve, if I didn’t still have Mother in Neovia. Being rejected by employers was one thing, but what of landlords? Neighbors? Real estate salesmen?

     I told Oppenheimer of Mother. He seemed more empathetic than I could be. "Very well. I’m sure Takhdir would be pleased to bring you in his carriage."

     And that might’ve been the worst prospect of the work.

     Not that the rest of it was acceptable. No, actually, most if not all of it was acceptable even by hygienic standards. Unconventional hygienic standards, but reasonable standards. The pay is remarkable considering I’m only there as an intern, and that slightly makes up for the fact that I’ll have to deal with monsters on a daily basis. Which I do. If I ever come across a mirror. But I’d like to think this is different.

     Oppenheimer is calling me. I must leave—he’ll most likely introduce me to one of my mentors.

     Your Ambivalent Brother,

     Daniel.

     To be continued…

 
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