Knight & Deigh started life as a retelling of The Orphans, from the point of view of the second lead character, Hannice Knight. It begins in Tanzania as I remember it from the early 1980s, but some of the technologies used are much more recent. To that extent, it is anachronistic. Don’t forget, though; it is fictional, made up, lies. All of it.
Hannice Knight had run the African operation of his father’s global business for many years, when a freak accident at home left him unable to walk. Together with physiotherapist Sophie Deigh, he tries to bring into his life the excitement and adventure he missed in his formative years, due to the need to be tied to the business.
A number of adventures and activities follow including scuba-diving, sky-diving, power-boating and camping, and a half-brother he never knew about; but even these can’t lift Hannice’s spirits.
What, or who can? Will the developing closeness between Hannice and Sophie come to anything, and what of the rumoured advances in medical technology?
Beginning on 12 February 2017, I am publishing Knight & Deigh here as a serial; one scene each Sunday.
The full list of scenes so far published is here
Knight & Deigh. Chapter fourteen, scene three: Preparations.
sorry, published a day early due to a scheduling error
I had the house to myself when I got back from seeing Dr Harry. There were a number of strands running through my mind, and it was useful to have an hour or so just to sit quietly and let my mind do its job.
Two things, above all others, were occupying my attention. I was, of course, worried about this surgery; not so much about the surgery itself, as the possible outcomes. I was excited by the possibility of walking again, of getting out of this damned chair, but at the same time, I was nervous about the risk that I may never walk again. I didn’t know how I would cope with that; it was only the prospect of walking again that was keeping me sane, I felt sure.
The other thing I was mulling over was Sophie, or at least, my relationship with her. I had engaged her as a physiotherapist cum PA cum housekeeper, and she did exceptionally well in all of those roles. I didn’t engage her as a friend, but she’d certainly become that, and more. She had become a companion who was fundamental to my physical and mental well-being, and I fancied that I’d started entertaining romantic notions about her. Yes, me, Hannice Knight, confirmed bachelor and loner, whose nearest approach to an emotional involvement had been with his dogs. For sure, that was a worry. I had no idea how to behave in such a relationship, if indeed, there was one. At the same time, if Sophie was entertaining feelings for me, which certainly seemed to be the case, was it me as Hannice Knight, or me as a substitute for Dave Deigh? Much as I needed time to think, she needed time to grieve for Dave and to sort out any feelings she may have had.
By the time Sophie returned, I had decided that both of these issues were best played by ear.
“How did it go with Dr Harry?” she asked.
I gave her the gist of my exchange with Dr Harry, and the decision that I had made.
“So, when do you have to go in?”
“Next Monday,” I said, “then the operation will be a week after that.”
“How long will you be in hospital altogether?”
“At least five weeks,” I estimated, “maybe six.”
“I hope you will be allowed visitors,” she said.
“I’ve been thinking about that, Sophie,” I said. “It’s not going to be much fun for you, traipsing in and out of the hospital every day for six weeks. I think it would do you good to go off and have a break while I am in there.”
“Why would I want to do that?” she asked.
“Because, my dear Sophie, you have been through a lot in the past weeks. Since you started looking after me, you haven’t had a single day off.”
“No, you’re right. It’s been hell. All that skydiving, speedboating, water-skiing, camping, scuba diving, safari and globetrotting in first class; I don’t know how I’ve coped.” She was laughing as she said that.
“I’m being serious, Sophie. You need time away from me; time to be yourself. Time to consider your own future, and how you’d like it to pan out. When you come back we can compare notes on our plans, hopes and dreams.”
“I’m sure you’re right, Hannice,” she said, “but it just seems so wrong for me to go off and have fun while you’re stuck in a hospital bed being prodded and poked like there’s no tomorrow. Especially when it looks like you’ll be in there for Christmas.”
“Don’t worry about me. I have always been a loner,” I reassured her. “You’re pulling me out of that, but I think I can cope with it for a few weeks, especially as I’m likely to be involved in a hectic round of tests and physio. After Christmas, if I end up able to walk, that’ll be the best Christmas present imaginable.”
“Okay,” she said eventually, “I probably need to do some thinking, anyway.”
“We both do, Sophie,” I said.
“If she’ll have me, could I spend a few weeks with Max in Tanzania? I’d quite like to get to know Kanene a bit better, too.”
“That’s a splendid idea. Spending time with Max will give you the bridge between your earlier life, looking after Max and caring for Dave, and your current life, looking after this cripple.”
“Please don’t ever refer to yourself as a cripple, Hannice,” she said, clearly suppressing a tear. “But I do need that bridge. I think I’ve worked through my grief at losing Dave; not that he has completely gone, he will always be a part of me, a part of my life; but I need to be sure. About a number of things. And I’ll be back before Christmas.”
“Make the arrangements Sophie, and charge it to Knight Global’s executive travel. In fact, don’t do that; let me know what dates you want to travel, and I’ll have Emily’s people make the bookings.”