The filing cabinets were my first choice of prize. It was to them that I headed.
Luckily, there was a key tucked in the top of the first drawer of the desk. I snatched it up and raced over to the filing cabinet, inserting the key in the top drawer and turning it open.
I rummaged through the cabinet, searching terribly for anything relevant. Although the files had been meticulously alphabetised, there were so many of them, some ballooning out for older patients who had been transferred to Dr. Aquilus’ care, or the files of the mothers he serviced; others, the files of new-borns, barely a year old. I skimmed one of the thinner ones, noticing which facts that I supposed all the files contained: birth certificate, any medical complications- of the birth, or post-natally contracted. Most of the certificates contained both the baby’s mother and father; my heart leapt that I might be a step closer to finding the names of mine.
I hurriedly raced my fingers through to ‘H’; the first drawer of the filing cabinet did not go that far, and, though I had checked ‘B’ for Brooks, too, I doubted I would be filed under that. My hands shook as I shoved the first drawer closed, jamming the key in, and turning it with great haste when I was sure that there was nothing of great importance in that first place. Then I concentrated my attention on the second drawer, supposing that Lily’s file- my file- had to be in there.
I unlocked it as quickly as I had the first, well aware that my hands were shaking all the more. Every time I moved closer, there was less control in the pages I flicked through. Brown card, white paper tucked inside, followed brown card again, and I became more desperate, knowing all too well that I should not have been doing what I was.
Nevertheless, I dug deeper, finally reaching the files between ‘G’ and ‘I’. There were only three labelled with ‘H’s: Harrison, Harper,Holland. But where was Highclere? I dug through the files, double- and even triple- checking, but I could see no glimpse of my name.
Then, panic set in. I wasn’t here; what if I had wasted my time, my ideas, and had put myself in such a risky position. I spun back into the mess of the office, my eyes frantically flicking from furniture to floor and back. I was moving so quickly that I couldn’t remember finding myself at the desk. No files. Too many files that they dripped everywhere. Having searched those few files that lay on the desk, I pushed myself to the floor, rooting through the remainder of the folders, in piles on the floor.
My file had to be there! Suddenly, my entire organisation had vanished. I pushed the files away from their tower so that they were scattered about my knees, pouncing on the first I found, discarding it as quickly as I saw that it had nothing to do with me, throwing it across the room in the first direction electrical signals sent my hands. I didn’t focus on the next, however; I was engrossed in whichever I found, regardless of where it had been in the pile.
My head began to hurt, lost only in the rhythm of my paper shuffling.
When it was, I didn’t hear the door swing open behind me. Barely did I notice the footsteps. If I hadn’t been so self-absorbed, I might have, and I might have had the time to make an excuse. As it was, I wasn’t so lucky.
The door slammed shut, making me jump. I turned, slowly, though I should have been quicker. I hadn’t realised hospitals had such good security. Dr. Aquilus raised his eyebrows.