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The Thirty Days of Magrat (part fourteen, final)

 
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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 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 thankyou 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 rather 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, stories that made people uneasy. Magrat had heard them all ever since she was little, and the threat of being sold to thaat place 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 left overs, 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 lids 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 his 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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