“Okay, no problem,” said Tommy, opening the door.
“You sure Doc?” Tommy nodded, and walked him back to Tarquin’s room. Seeing the paper bag and flowers on Tarquin’s bed, Tommy picked them up.
“You left these,” he said, handing them to Jeremiah.
“They’re for Seebee. We take grapes and flowers when visiting people in hospitals back in the twenty first century.”
“Oh,” said Tommy, looking at the peculiar mix of daffodils, rhubarb, dahlias, barley wheat and wild roses held together with a frayed shoelace. He opened the brown paper bag to find it full of pips and grape stalks.
“I thought you said there were grapes?” He looked up, but Jeremiah had gone.
The room shook to the sound of thunder. Painters standing on wooden platforms high above the floor, fell to their knees grabbing anything to keep them from falling. Below the painters, an ornate, Chinese sedan chair materialized, spinning violently. Held within a vortex of steam it collapsed the wooden platform like twigs in a breeze, sending the painters crashing to the floor, before tearing a four-foot section of plaster from the wall. Buried beneath plaster, rubble and wooden planks, the chair spun slowly to a stop. Half a dozen painters lay groaning amongst the debris. From within the chair came a scrabbling noise, then movement, and a hand poked through the pile of debris. Emerging, blinking from the chair door was a naked, hairy man. His wide, beady eyes scanned the bewildered faces looking at him. Recognising one, he let out a tortuous wail and forced open the sedan chair door before scrambling over the mess, and running, open armed toward him.
“Leonardo, Leonardo! I need to speak with you!” he shouted, in faltering Latin. Two men barred his way and he fell to the floor, babbling. Surprised he could understand the stranger, the master painter replied,
“I am Leonardo, who are you?”
The man grasped the ankles of the nearest man and gawped at Leonardo through his legs, like a prisoner through cell bars.
“Your humble servant, Michel de Nostredame,” he replied, falling back and spread-eagling himself in supplication. Leonardo looked down on the prostrated, pitiful caveman and signalled to a student painter to get some clothes.