Twenty Years – A Short Story

‘Unfortunately,there is no mistake,’ she said, closing the file. ‘You’ve failed, yet again.’…. The words reverberated around my cerebrum, turning my mind into a demonic pinball machine. ‘You’ve failed again’. If ever there was a story written of my life, if ever I should become prominent enough to warrant a biography, a depiction of my gradual stumble through the race that is life, ‘You’ve failed again’ would be as apt a title as any. At least, if one is talking about functioning in the world that men long before me had built without my consent or my say so.

For twenty years these walls have been my home. For twenty years I have paced this box like room, a caged animal forever denied his freedom. For what crime? For being born beautiful, not scarred or tarnished by the traditional frailties of man. You all run in circles, like lost chickens removed of their heads, flapping in the wind, going nowhere. I was born beautiful, I could see the world in a way you people never could. Am I the crazy one? My friend, my dear reader, in a world that was the bastard offspring of random chaos swirling in an infinite vortex, why, the only crazy recourse would be to remain sane.

My mother knew, early on, that I was a special sort. At school, as a young child, I never had much if any time for those around me. I didn’t dance with the great masquerade that is the traditional relationship paradigm of young children. Nobody came to my house for dinner, and never once did I show interest in attending or hosting birthday gatherings. Solitude was my friend, and I liked it that way. What I didn’t like, was how my father would treat me, late at night, when the doors were locked.

He was a respected man, a local politician, I believe, and to the outside world, we were the model family.

He was a successful man, my father, in every sense of the word. He was blessed with twinkling blue eyes, eyes as deep and as seemingly eternally beautiful as a river. They appeared as if they swam, never standing still. He could do anything, say anything, but if he caught you with those eyes, why, forgiving him was the only logical recourse. And late at night, when my mother sleep idiosyncratic with the rest of the world, that was when those eyes would pierce through the darkness of my bedroom. In these times I can tell you with some certainty of conviction that they would shine brighter than ever, and he would creep into my room, and enact strange doings.

I know what must be running through your mind at this moment, and let me take a moment to clarify. My father never did anything untoward to me of a sexual nature. These late night visits were always accompanied by a book, a book of a mystical and fantastical nature, in a text that I could never understand or comprehend. My father could, and thus every night, at the witching hour precisely, he would recite passages to me, and strange and fantastical things would happen.

Great figures would appear; figures of such a disturbing and grotesque stature I can barely comprehend, let alone describe to you with any accuracy. They defied what defined ‘Anthropomorphic’ as they were eerily human in shape and nature, yet as far removed from such as any animal mortal eyes had ever laid upon. Words could never do justice to how I felt, watching my father’s fascination as he attempted to engage with these beings. He would always tell me;

‘Jacob, my son, never speak during these meeting, for these beings have no time for our mortal selves, and only I, after years of research and study, am possible of any form of equality with them.’

One night, he came as usual, at the same time he always did. Again, he read from the book’s pages, speaking in that tongue that sounded too me like no language ever devised by the tongues and minds of men. As per usual, a manifestation revealed itself, but what was unusual, was its nature. During my father’s late night rendezvous with the supernatural I had become quite accustomed to many a manner of monstrosities. This thing, however, somehow stood out from its peers. A great floating paradox in a sea of monstrous conformity. I tried my hardest to heed my father’s warning, tried my hardest to keep my lips sealed as if by an unbreakable adhesive, but I could not. I turned to the creature, and before my horrified father could stop me, said thusly, with a voice that trembled and quaked;

‘What are you?’. The creature turned instantly to my father, and its eyes,if one could call such previously black and deep articles eyes indeed, flashed for the first time with an emotion that was distinctively human. The emotion was anger. It pointed a single finger at my father’s distraught face and that was the moment my life forever headed down a path from which it could never return, and from which twenty long years of my life would be forever lost.

A thin line of red appeared across my father’s throat, as if somebody had drawn it with the red ink. Then, to my eternal horror and disbelief, his head simply fell from his shoulders, rolled to the floor, and ended face up. That final look of terror and shock forever etched upon its now still features. Then the creature bent down, picked up the book, and stared directly into my soul, via the route of my eyes. It never spoke, not once, but thought a single thought of coherence that was beamed directly into my own mind; I AM DEATH. I AM THE END OF YOUR FATHER. I AM THE RUINING OF YOU. I AM THAT WHICH YOU WILL NEVER KNOW, AND WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER. With that final utterance, the creature vanished, and I was left alone, with the corpse of my father.

In my panic I never checked the room before first running hysterically to my mother, who in turn alerted the authorities. This was a mistake, for, on the floor, by the corpse of my father, was found a knife. A knife that was covered in the fingerprints of yours truly. The story I gave was, naturally, dismissed, and I was deemed mentally defective and shipped here, to this ungodly place, a place of freaks and outcasts. They never did find the book.

Here I was left to rot for twenty years. I never changed my story, never deviated once from even the most minute of details. Yesterday, they put me up for reevaluation, and today they would give me the results. Surely, after twenty long years of telling the same tale, spinning the same yard thread-for-thread, they must logically concede that this is the truth. They ask me ‘What happened?’. I tell them the only story I know.

I enter the nurse’s office with a great sense of joy and anticipation. Finally, after all these years, they must set me free. I have told them everything they need. Finally, finally, she will set me free, and my life can begin again, finally exorcised of those long ago demons. I enter the small room, and smile at her, a genuine smile. I am not restrained. Never once have I struck out a guard, never once have I acted in violence or malice within these walls, and as such, never once have I been under restraints. I smile at her, and sit down, and she offers me tea.

‘How are you feeling, Mr.Nektar?’ She asks me, politely enough.

‘That depends on that file on your computer, Nurse Deckart,’ I respond, with genuine affection and politeness, ‘ I can only hope that you have deemed me fit again for society. I kinda miss it, you know?’. She smiles at me again, and sits down at the computer. I stare at her, intently, the world momentarily at a stand still. Twenty years. Twenty years. Twenty years. Here I go, I’m out, after twenty long years! Her face drops, a frown etched upon it. It is a look of apology and sorrow and I know then that my time here is not at an end.

‘It says here you’ve failed the psychiatric evaluation,’ she declares, with a sincerely apologetic tone.

‘It…it can’t be,’ I desperately plead and beg, ‘There must be some mistake!.’

How did I expect any other outcome? Hell, I must have been crazy.

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