Sunday, April 24, 2011

"The Odd Patient"

Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends...

"Hey, doc. What'll ya have?"

"Hey, Moe. I'll take a whiskey."

"Here you go, one whiskey. Say, you don't look too good."

"Yeah, it''s a long story."

"Lookit me, I'm a barkeep. You think I got places to be?"

[He sighs.] "Okay. It's a patient of mine. A Phillip Williams."

"What's wrong with him?"

"Someone found him six months ago. He was drowning in a pond near his house."

"Crap, is he okay?"

"That's the thing...he's in a coma. Completely brain-dead. At least, he was, for the past six months."

"He recovered?"

"You could say that. See, during his coma, he'd just lay there, eyes open, staring into space. Every few weeks, we'd get reports from nurses or janitors, reports of Phil looking at them. From across the room. Then when we'd check, he was back to being brain-dead."

"So he did recover?"

"Hang on. A week ago, when I stepped into the ward, he was looking at me. This time, he continued looking at me, following my movement with his head. As I spoke, he repeated my words. He did this with everyone nearby. We asked him questions, but he would only repeat them, not answer."

"Damn. Must be annoying."

"It was a little, but then a few days later, he spent an entire day just...moving his limbs, saying random words. The next day, he acted like a toddler. He tried walking. He sounded words out, specific words. He asked for water."

"This is almost heartwarming, Jake."

"I'm still not done. The next day, he was saying 'Doctor Morgan.' Again and again. All day long."

"Who's that?"

"...that's me, Moe."

"Oh!" [He shivers.] "I...sorry, I didn't, uh...hoo. You got more to this story? I'm gettin' goosebumps."

"A little more. The day after that, I stepped into the ward and asked him how he was feeling. He replied... 'As you are, I was. As I am, you will be.' I remember it still to this day, every word."

"I don't blame you..."

"I spoke no further with him that day. He stayed quiet."

"How many more days did this stuff happen?"

"Four more. The day after the aforementioned, he asked for a pencil. We gave him a pad and pen. He scribbled all day, not saying a word to anyone. After a few hours, he drew shapes, and as the day went on, he moved on to words, proper pictures, and eventually.. he drew a man. He labelled it 'Jacob Morgan.'"

"M..maybe he was growing attached to the guy who's been keeping him alive?"

"The next day, he started asking questions. He asked what the building was called, what a hospital is for, what people do in their days, if I had a much I loved them..."

"'s your whiskey."

[Takes a long drink.] "Thanks. So the next day...yesterday...when I came in, he was sleeping. He eventually woke up and asked what was going on. I told him he's been recovering from an accident six months ago. He asked a few more innocent questions before saying he was going to try to stand. He did so successfully. Then he asked for a check-up. He was fine. Finally, he asked if he could check out."

"Ah, see, he was just recovering all this time!" [He sighs with relief.] "Did you let him go?"

"We had to. We saw no reason to keep him any longer; he seemed to have recovered completely."

"So what's wrong today?"

"You read the newspaper, Moe?"

"Yeah, as a matter o' fact. I remember today's, too; it was talkin' about some serial killer who's drowned at least seven people today."

"Do you remember the name it gave?"

"Nah, can't say I do. ....are you gonna say it's—"

"Phillip Williams."

"...damn. Well, I hope they catch the guy. Oh, I'll talk with ya later, I got a customer. Hey, what'll ya have?"

"Hello, Jacob Morgan. This is a nice conversation. Your words amuse me."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Newspaper Clipping"



Thursday, November 7, 1998

XXXXX, OH - Victor Higgins (age 35), after a lengthy trial on the kidnapping of two young girls, was found Not Guilty by reason of Insanity. Higgins, who had been charged with abducting his daughter, XXXXX Higgins (age 9) and her friend XXXXX Smith (age 8) will institutionalized at XXXXXXX Sanitarium.

On May 20, Smith went to Higgins' house on 417 XXXXX St for a playdate with his daughter, and neither of the two girls has been seen since. Higgins was accused of kidnapping by Smith's mother, and when brought into questioning, he told the police a story of a door that appeared in his house and, in his words, "ate" the two girls. Higgins was arrested on June 3.

According to Dr. XXXXXX, Criminal Psychologist, Higgins' story is little more than a delusion he suffers from, to assuage his guilt of his crimes.

Higgins claimed that soon after Smith arrived at his house, a doorway appeared in his upstairs hallway that was not there before. The two girls, curious, opened the door, and on the other side was a large sprawling city. "They wanted to walk inside," Higgins stated during his trial. "I told them no, but they disobeyed. They just stepped out onto the street. I ran after them, but a gust of wind knocked me back, away from the City. The girls turned to look at me, and for an instant I thought they would come back into the hallway, but the door slammed shut before they could move. When I opened the door again, there was nothing but a wall on the other side, and the next time I looked down the hallway, I couldn't find it anywhere."

Saturday, April 2, 2011

"The Scarecrow"

The first time Hank Harding saw them was the day of his wife's funeral. He had lowered her into the ground, wiped the dirt from his hands, and drove back to their farm with an incomparable sadness. But when he stopped the car in front of the small house, he saw a figure, tall and dark, amid the rows of wheat.

He turned off the car and quickly got out. Someone was in his field! The field him and his wife had labored over season after season! He was beyond mad. He walked into the wheat field, his fists clenched tightly.

The man stood arms outstretched in the middle of a clearing. Hank looked at him. Something was wrong. The man wasn't a man. His body seemed to be made feathers.

Hank stepped closer and suddenly the man exploded outward in a storm of birds. He ducked as the birds flew overhead and when they finally vanished behind him, Hank looked back and saw that the birds had completely covered the one lonely scarecrow his wife had planted years before.

The unusual bird behavior didn't worry Hank. When his rage subsided, he was left only with sorrow.

The days passed and every so often, Hank would look outside his window and see the scarecrow covered in the mass of birds, looking more like a man than the scarecrow ever did.

One day, after drinking himself to sleep, he awoke to the sound of clattering. Specifically, the clattering of typewriter keys. He rushed into their study, where his wife had kept their old Remington typewriter and there it was. Sitting on the desk. And one bird, what looked like a rook, pecking at the keys.

"Shoo!" he said and waved his arms. The rook seemed to look at him and then flapped its wings and flew through the window (though Hank could have sworn he shut that window).

He stepped over to the typewriter and saw that there was one sheet of paper in it. And typed on that paper were these words:
we are the convocation
we are many

He wondered if the bird had typed that for a moment, then dismissed it as nonsense. It must have been something his wife had typed, some story she was working on. She had always been telling him crazy stories, maybe she had decided to write one of them down. He would never know now.

He put the typewriter away and got out another bottle of scotch.

The next time he woke up, he heard the clattering of the typewriter again. He rushed into the study and observed three birds, instead of the previous one. Two of them were pecking at the keys, while one was turned to look at him. The one looking at his squawked and the other two stopped their pecking, then all three flew out the window.

Hank stepped forward gingerly. How had they brought the typewriter out? He knew he put it away, but here it was, another piece of paper inside. More words:

out talons can tear through bone
our beaks can wear down mountains
our wings can cover the skies

He looked at it for a long time, then crumpled it and threw it away.

The next day, there was another note:

we are the roc we are the ziz
we are the angha we are the anzu

And the next day, another note:

we are the relentless motion of wind
we are the fury of air
we are many

Hank took another drink as he crumpled this latest note up and threw it on the floor. He looked at the typewriter with unease. He should destroy it. Smash it up. Tear out all the keys and melt them down. But he just couldn't bring himself to do it.

He wondered why the birds were doing this to him. Why were tormenting him like this? He had never gone out of his way to hunt ducks or shoot pheasants.

He stumbled into the bathroom and took another drink of whiskey. Then he looked into the mirror and saw himself. His eyes were sunken and his skin looked leathery. His clothes were dirty and old and he had slept in them for days. He was so thin now, too. It was his wife that had reminded him to eat.

He knew why now. He looked like a scarecrow.

He walked outside, dropping the bottle on the ground. He walked through the field of wheat. As he came to the clearing, he spread out his arms and he waited. He waited to be covered by the birds.

A swath of blackness spread across the sky and Hank smiled.