A nutritionist opened the door to Sanax’s room. The lights were off, and she seemed surprised he was awake. Sanax wasn’t sure why. It was the safest policy when the light itself might be lying to you. Sanax didn’t like the nutritionist. She seemed to think a Lifeless body required calories instead of quanta of Investiture. Plus, she didn’t smell good.
“Miss food dictator, where is Emily? She was nicer than you are. At least she listened to me. You just want to pretend you know what a dead person should eat, and then tell the people hiding in the walls I’m eating enough..” Sanax narrowed his eyes. “How do I know you aren’t telling the tar people where I am?”
The nurse folded the blanket he’d put on the table and put it on a cart outside the door. That was good. Sanx had counted on her obsessive controlling-ness that she wouldn’t leave his table messy. He’d hidden the soul of a fork inside. The fork hadn’t been very nice to the spoon she’d given him. It kept trying to take the spoon’s pudding, which was ridiculous. You can’t eat pudding with a fork. Forks were for vegetables and meat and pitch and rivers. She didn’t answer him, choosing to ignore him. The nutritionist, of course, not the fork. He’d taken the fork’s soul, so of course it didn’t talk anymore.
“Miss culinary tyrant, I believe I asked you a question. Would you answer if I had my sword? Sometimes, people talk more when I have a sword.” He looked around the room for his blade. It wasn’t here. He looked back up at her. “Can you get me my sword?”
The dietician continued to ignore him as she placed food on the table. It looked like Hallandren-style seafood. That would probably taste good. He’d told Emily he really liked it earlier in the day (or maybe it was last week, or tomorrow - he liked tomorrow, traveling there was always nice, though it took a long time, and sometimes you missed and just ended up today), and she’d said she’d see if she could get him some. Why wasn’t she the one doing this instead of the deaf lady here? He could see the little machine in her ear that was supposed to amplify sounds. Sanax’s eyes lit up. Maybe her machine wasn’t working and she really was deaf! That was an easy fix. Sanax pointed at the window, gesticulating wildly for her to open the blinds. She shook her head, and moved past the bed to open them.
As she turned her back, Sanax darted for the open door, locking it behind him. She’d left a tray on a seat next to the door. There was a metal chopstick for one of the other meals - it looked MaiPon. Fortunately, it was a tin chopstick. Sanax was pretty sure they tried to hide the more dangerous metals in case someone who was actually crazy checked into the hospital. He held the chopstick out, and the darkness ate it, leaving it pointed. He’d been training the darkness to eat his food. He didn’t like all the boring food they’d been giving him. Too many genetically modified vegetables, not enough Stormlight grown ones. The deaf lady pushed the door behind him, but Sanax knew the locks would hold. He and the door had a deal now - they only locked and unlocked when told to, unless the tar people came back. Sanax had given the lock permission to ignore tar people, and it had agreed as long as Sanax promised to give it a triangle.
Sanax darted down the hall to his next door neighbor. The man lay in bed, unconscious. His chart had said he was on a forkroot dosage to keep him from destroying the hospital. That was ridiculous. Forkroot would just keep the guy from using saidin to destroy the hospital. Most people could destroy it a couple of ways. Using only forkroot was sloppy work. Plus, this guy said he could feel the aliens attacking his brain - that was a kind of situation to put in quarantine. Sanax took a quick look at the room, memorizing where everything was, and then wrapped a towel around his head. Aliens weren’t getting in his mind.
He opened the door, darting in, and quickly and efficiently slid the tin chopstick through the man’s ear, neatly piercing the concha cymba. It was one of the nicest bindpoints, and one of the few that wouldn’t cause permanent bodily harm. Plus, it stole human hearing (and hearing from basset hounds), which was nice and symmetric since it was on the ear. Ears were good things to have working if you were a nutritionist - how many times would you miss hearing someone tell you they didn’t want your gross food, or the sounds of the souls of spoons, or… Sanax had a thought. The man who was missing his hearing struggled to sit up, reaching for Sanax. Sanax could hear him fumbling for him, and stepped away from the bed. Couldn’t be too careful with brain-aliens. He signed, “Good luck with your brain monsters,” then walked out of the room, shutting the door behind him. What if the deaf person was deaf so she wouldn’t hear the light whispering to her, lying? He’d have to make sure she wasn’t hiding from the light with her broken ears. He unwrapped the towel, and sat down on the chair by the door. The dietician - ician was kind of a fancy decorator title, wasn’t it? Mathematicians took numbers and then made them look more interesting, physicians did the same things with particles, rhetoricians, morticians - maybe that’s why the food was so bad: it was just supposed to look good, not taste good.The dietician had finally made it past the door. It looked like she was angry at the door. Sanax would have to talk to it later about manners. She walked over to him.
“I’m really sorry about the door, miss. I’ll talk to it about having better manners tonight. But, I got you a treatment! As long as you don’t mind the light being able to lie to you, I took some hearing from the guy with the crazy brain aliens, and so you won’t be deaf anymore!” Sanax beamed, then realized he should probably have signed that instead. He started signing out what he’d said when she interrupted him with a yell.
“What are you thinking? What is wrong with you? You refuse to eat your food, lock me in your room, call me deaf, and then assault another patient with my chopsticks! No, I don’t know where Emily is, no, I don’t know where your sword is, and no, I wouldn’t give it to you if I did. I am not dealing with crap like this anymore, I quit!” She stormed down the hall toward the exit.
Sanax gaped at her. She wasn’t deaf? That wasn’t very nice, to pretend like that. “You probably shouldn’t yell. It might scare the crazy people,” he called after her. He looked down at his chopstick. He should probably hold onto it, make sure no one else wanted it before he got rid of it. He walked back to his room and sat back down on his bed. He stared out the window for a while at some birds. They weren’t very interesting. He kept the lights off. He liked it dark.
Behind him the door opened. “Sanax? How are you doing?” Emily stepped into the room. “I heard Brittany quit while she was up here. She said something about you locking her in here and then attacking another patient? That doesn’t sound like you. Do you want to explain that one to me?”
Sanax sighed. He turned toward Emily. “She wasn’t a very good listener, so I figured she just had to be deaf. So I made this to help her, but she wasn’t actually deaf and she wasn’t very happy with me.” He held up the chopstick. Emily took it carefully.
“And how was a metal chopstick going to help a deaf person?” she asked.
“It’s tin. If you have tin, you can help most sensory problems. That’s how Hemalurgy works.”
Emily dropped the chopstick. “They didn’t say you’d killed a patient!” She looked horrified.
“I didn’t! I just took his hearing through his ear. He’ll be fine. Deaf, but fine. Besides, he’s crazy. It’s better if his hearing went to someone normal, like me or you, or the cranky dietary despot.”
Emily carefully picked up the chopstick again. “You’re right, but make sure you talk with a nurse before you try to do something like this again. You don’t know if there might be complications or situations you don’t know about. I’m gonna take this spike and see if there’s anyone in the hospital who could really use it, okay?”
Sanax nodded. “You’re not gonna quit cause I made it, are you? That would be really sad.”
Emily smiled. “No, I’m going to keep working here, don’t worry.” She wrapped the chopstick in a napkin, then stood up and walked to the door. “Bye, Sanax.” He waved as she shut the door again.
He started watching the birds again. He liked watching the fun birds.