“John?” the pretty doctor was at his bedside. John opened his eyes. He must’ve fallen asleep, as the light coming through the window looked different. More afternoon and warm light. He sat up.
“You don’t seem too happy? I would’ve expected you to be packed and ready to go?” He looked at her. “I don’t think I’m better. I think I should stay some more.” Her eyes narrowed. “What are you talking about?” she asked. He stayed quiet for a while and then relayed the whole incident earlier with the psychologist.
After he had finished speaking she looked at him for a while. “You realise this makes no sense?” she offered. “What do you mean?” he ventured. “Well, in order for Paul to send emails to real people, in the real world, without you knowing, you would need to be having schizoid episodes, which honestly, you’re not. All your delusions have been conscious experiences. So…” John stared at her. “Are you telling me the psychologist was having me on, because I swear I’ll kill him. That’s not funny.” She shook her head. “Nah, that would be super stupid and silly.”
They both sat in silence for a while. “Paul certainly isn’t real. That I can tell you.” She looked at him. “When did you speak to the psychologist you said?” “Straight after our meeting. He pulled me aside and said he had a message for me.” She stared at him for a while.
“John, he left the office with me and walked with me to my office. He never spoke to you straight after the meeting.” He stared at her. “So, with other words, I was seeing things again?” She nodded. “It could be the stress of your release that has just been too much and this caused a bit of an episode…,but…” “I’d better stay another couple of days till we’re sure?” he finished the sentence for her. “Yes, I think so.” He looked down to the floor. He was still wearing his running shoes. “OK.”
She briefly touched his shoulder, walked out and closed the door. He sat staring at the floor for another couple of minutes, looked up, and came to a decision. “Ok, Paul. Let’s chat.” He reached over to the side of his bed where the tablet computer was sitting. He started typing an email address: paul@notsoreallifestory…. then,
It seems you’re looking for me. How strange. Let me know if you’re available for a cheroot when I’m out.
He hit "send”, put the tablet down, and leaned back on the pillow. He fell asleep shortly after and while he was fitfully getting some rest, a reply was received in his inbox.