“We need it alive.”
The room was dark. Darkened silhouettes stood around the room, their faces shielded by the darkness. The room was empty, yet not absent of feelings. It felt familiar, as if they had all been in there before. It had become home for so many.
Four silhouettes stood in a circle, engaging in the quiet whispers of problem solving. They looked through a class window that shown into a medical room, just over a young man lying on a medical bed. The young man lay shirtless with a number of small censors placed around his stomach and around his head.
“We must continue to study it. We have got to find a solution.” One of the male silhouettes said to the other three. He was an older gentleman with a bald head and glasses. A thin white goatee encircled his mouth. He shoved his fists into the pockets of his white lab coat. The three remaining silhouettes nodded in agreement.
“Sir, we…we’ve been studying it for months and we found nothing.” A blonde haired female said nervously to the man with his fists shoved into his pockets of his lab coat. She pressed her glasses to the top of her nose, allowing her eyes to look through the spectacles. As she spoke the words, she could feel hopelessness wash over her. She was ready to give up.
“We need to find the solution.” He repeated to the group. His voice filled with more determination. “There is something different about this one. There is a reason that it is surviving when everyone else is….”He couldn’t finish his sentence. It was too much. It sounded so sinister.
“Doctor,” Another female silhouette said, getting the doctor’s attention. His fists still balled up in the packets of his lab coat. She was dark hair, with her hair pulled back into a pony tail, leaving a strand of her hair to frame the either side of her face. “We’ve tried everything. We’ve been monitoring its brainwaves the entire time. We’ve tried putting it under great distress. We’ve tried tapping into its dreams, I’m not sure we can finish.” She continued in a strong-willed voice.
“Sir, every time we put it under distress we notice the heart rate speed up, but it doesn’t seem to stay that way, within moments the patient is fine. It’s always like nothing every happened.” The last of the nameless silhouettes spoke up. He was a male with short brown hair. In his hand was a clip board will a small stack of printed paper clipped to it. These papers are most certainly the numerous test results on their test subject.
“What about during the days? When the patient is active and awake? What does it do?” The head doctor said to his other three associates. He pulled his fists from his packet and gestured toward the clip board. The young man handed it over to him and he quickly thumbed through the various pages.
“He….it doesn’t leave his room. It doesn’t exercise. All it does is read and kneel at his bedside.” The blonde female doctor reported to the lead. She looked down at the floor, unable to look into the eyes of the lead doctor.
“Is the patient happy?” The lead doctor asked without lifting his eyes from the test results on the clip board.
“It shows no emotion. I mean, it’s not void of express, there is just no definitive emotion.” The second female doctor reported. “It’s like the patient’s content.”
“Hmmm,” The lead doctor hummed to himself. “That’s odd. Most of the people that have been here as long as this one has would usually show signs of giving up, such as sadness, depression, or even harmful thoughts of suicide; yet, not this one. It’s like its holding on to someone, or something. There is something that’s giving the patient hope.”
“That’s what we’re saying, sir. Usually at this point, the isolation creates craziness in our patients.” The young male doctor thought aloud.
“Doctor Napier, has there been any communication to the outside?” The lead doctor wondered.
“None,” The young male answered, attempting to look the lead doctor in the eyes, but finding no success as the lead doctor kept his gaze on the test results.
“Doctor Quinn, have the tests been traumatizing enough?”
“It….it grows more devastating every day.” The blonde female doctor said with a forced smile as she pushed her large-rimmed glasses up the arch of her nose.
“And there’s no sign of insanity?”
“Not a one.” She frowned.
“Doctor Selena, what does he dream about?”
“It varies, sir, but it always revolves around the things that were left behind.” The second female doctor answered as she brushed a strand of her dark hair behind her ear.
“That’s odd. Nobody’s come to visit since the day that it stepped into our doorway. Why is the patient still thinking of them? What is it holding on to?” The lead doctor thought to himself taking a step closer to the window that framed the hopeful patient’s bed. “Well, keep increasing our studies; eventually we will break this patient’s strength and hope. Eventually we will find the solution.” He walked away.
“Hi, honey.” A young woman entered into well-lit room. Her face was painted with a joyous smile. She was dressed comfortably in a pair of ladies pajamas and a white T-shirt. Her auburn colored hair was pulled into a lovely, yet messy bun.
“How are you, honey?” She asked as she sat on the bed, next to her love. She flop the thick comforter over her legs. In her second hand she held a coffee cup with steam escaping the top. She slowly sipped the hot beverage.
“Hmmm, I’m great.” The man answered her, looking into her fiery auburn eyes. “It’s great to see you this morning.” He whispered into her ear. “How are you, my love?”
He sat up in his bed, revealing a black tank top shirt and a pair of sweat pants. He rubbed his face with the palm of his hands numerous times in order to fully wake up. The room was light and welcoming with lightly colored walls and lightly colored pillows and bed comforters that corresponded with the color scheme of the walls. Although he knew that he was not the one who decorated the room, he loved it. He felt at home.
With a clinched fist, he pulled the comforter off of his legs and rotated, leaving his feet dangling off of the edge of the bed. His feet met the tiled floor. He laid his elbows on his knees and bowed his head. He could still feel his wife smiling at him from behind him.
“Thank you, God. I get to see another day. Thank you for my wondrous wife. Thank you for your love and grace. I am thankful for your plan. I pray that you would bless me with the strength and the patients in order to best glorify you today. I pray you’d be with my wife and protect her and guard her with all that she does today. I am very thankful.” With his elbows on his knees, he prayed. With each word uttered he knew he was being led and empowered. He could feel the fingertips of his wife glide down his arms, wrapping her arms gently around his neck. She joined him in prayer.
“Your words empower us. Your Spirit guides us. We are able to push all fear and anxiety from our lives in your name, Heavenly Father. All that we face we can face due to the fact that you go ahead of us, LORD. I pray that you would be with us today, LORD; in Jesus’ name, amen.”
“Thank you, honey.” The thankful wife whispered through a smile into her husband’s ear. “I appreciate it that you always pray for me.” She tightened her grip around him. He smiled.
“You’re welcome, honey.” He stroked his fingertips down her arm in pleasure. “I’ve got to shower. We’ve got a lot to do today.” He lifted himself off of the bed and walked around the tiled floor toward an open door at the opposite side of the room. “It’s going to be a great day.”
“Doctor Napier, how does the patient’s heart rate look?” Asked the blonde haired doctor with the large-rimmed classes; which slid down to the tip of her nose.
“He looks normal.” The young doctor responded looking down at the clip board in his hand. He thumbed through the variety of pages that lay clipped on the board. Let’s take a look at him now.” He added.
“Don’t call it, ‘He’. The doctor says that means that you’re getting attached.” Doctor Quinn responded, pushing her glasses back up the arch of her nose. The two of them began to walk down a long, well-lit hallway toward the patient’s room. “We must keep all personal emotions away from the patients.” She added.
“How’s he….It doing?” Doctor Napier asked the female doctor that was already observing the patient. Doctor Napier and Doctor Quinn entered into the room, standing side-by-side with the third doctor.
“The patient is kneeling down at the foot of his bed.” She answered; turning to meet the eyes of the entering doctors’. Her left hand was buried into the pocket of her lab coat while her right arm cradled another clip board under her armpit.
“Get it ready, we’ve got testing starting in five minutes.” Commanded Doctor Napier as he swiftly turned away and exited the room.
“Yes, sir, I already know.” Doctor Selena responded, turning her head toward the door that Doctor Napier exited out, her ponytail swinging back and forth.
“AHHHH!” the Patient yelled to the sky. He lay atop of a metal medical table. With a rounded censor pressed on either side of his chest, underneath his arms and one on each side of his head. With the single push of a button, electricity is sent through the red and blue wires into the Patient’s body through the circular censors.
“I know you’re thinking of them.” A voice echoed out of series of speakers installed into the roof of a brightly lit, clean medical room. The young man looked around for the source of the mysterious voice, yet he only was white walls. There were no visible doorways or double-sided, double pane windows for anybody to hide behind. “Let’s be honest, they’ve forgotten about you. You have been missing for too long. They’ve moved on.”
“Come on, break!” Doctor Selena said under her breath, behind a sinister smile as she pressed the trigger button again. She watched the experiment from a monitor in another room. Tiny cameras were hidden within the room with the patient, invisible to the naked eye. She loved hearing the Patient yell from the pain. “Now, it’s time that you talk.” With each press of the button, the more Doctor Selena smiled out of enjoyment.
“What are you holding on to?” The speaker spoke with the same mysterious voice to the young man on the table. The young man was fastened to the table with large belts, keeping him from wiggling free from the electrical pulses coursing through his nearly naked body. “What is there to hope in?”
The trigger was pressed again.
The body wiggled and convulsed in agonizing pain. The young man clamped his jaw shut intensely, trying to endure the continuous pay. With every increasing moment, the pain grew more excruciating. Every time the trigger was pressed, the electricity increased, creating burns and boils on the skin of the patient; leaving him highly disfigured.
“You’re forgetting their faces, aren’t you?” The mysterious voice in the speaker continued. “You’re h trying to picture them. You’re trying to remember them, yet you’re realizing that soon you will forget, the way that they’ve forgotten you.
“No,” The Patient spoke to himself as the electricity surged through his torso; creating yet another layer of burns on his skin.
“You…..have…….no……idea.” The patient spoke through gripped teeth. “You will……never figure…..you will never know what……. I know.” Each word was followed by deep breaths as he struggled to speak from the pain.
“I will, soon enough.”
The trigger was pressed again. The Patient cried in agony.
Doctor Quinn stood next to her, slightly wincing with each shock to the Patient’s body. “You’re new here. Don’t worry, you’ll learn to love it soon enough.” Doctor Selena said to Doctor Quinn, pressing the button once again.
The Patient screamed in agony.
“Daddy,” A young girl called excitedly from the kitchen table. She spun her head around, her stringy dirty-blonde hair tossing through the air. She had a small spoon gripped tightly in her right hand, cereal and milk pouring from the spoon back into the bowl.
“Good morning, beautiful.” The man with the black tank-top and the grey sweatpants said as he emerged from the bedroom into the living area. He looked ahead to the dining and kitchen area. “How are you?” He asked, still wiping the sleep from his eyes. He yawned and stretched his arms out as he headed toward the kitchen table.
“I’m happy.” The young child said through large bites of cereal and milk. As she brought the spoonful of cereal to her mouth, the milk spilled off of the back of the spoon as she tilled the spoon upward toward her mouth.
“Have you said your prayers?” He asked the young girl, grabbing a clean cereal bowl and sitting next to her at the kitchen table. He soon realized that there was no boxes cereal on the table and his bowl remained empty. He stood from the table and headed to the kitchen to grab the cereal box.
“Mhmm hmmm,” The little girl responded with a shake of the head, cereal swishing around in her mouth.
“Let’s pray.” He requested of his daughter. The little girl dropped her spoon into the milk-filled cereal bowl and folded her hand together and closed her eyes. “God, thank you for this food that we have received; we are very thankful for it. Thank you for waking my beautiful daughter, Emily, up. I am very thankful to have her in my life. I pray that your spirit would be with us today. Amen.”
“Daddy, you have someone who wants to see you.” The beautiful auburn haired wife said holding a tiny child in her arms. The four month old glared around the room with his fist shoved in his mouth.
“There’s my boy.” The man at kitchen table said as he once again stood from the table and walked to his wife. He plucked the infant from her hand and embraced his gently. “How are you, Brian? Yeah? That’s great! It’s great to see you.” He expressed through his son’s gurgles of joy.
“I Love you.”
“Have we learned anything about it, yet?” The doctor with the bald head and glasses asked his four associates. They stood in a line at the window that peered into the patient’s room. They looked intently into the room, observing the patient.
The room was well-lit, yet felt dark and cold. It was lifeless. The walls were bright white, nearly neon. The room was empty of all, except a metal-framed bed covered in bright white linins. Being in this room for a few moments would cause nausea in anybody, much less living in this nausea inducing medical room.
The Patient lay on the metal medical bed, his hands clinched tight and resting on his forehead. He wore a long hospital nightgown and grey flowing robe. The Patient moved his lips in silence, as if he were whispering to himself.
“Nothing new, sir,” Dr. Napier replied, looking down at the papers on his clip board. “We’ve increased our testing and we’ve increased our intensity and nothing has changed.”
“Hmmm,” The Doctor pondered with his hand placed at the edge of his chin. “Have we brought in the outsides?”
“We…..We haven’t, sir. We know that it thinks of them often. We…….we’ve brought them into conversation while we test it, but we haven’t shown them.” Dr. Quinn responded with slight hesitation. She looked back at The Doctor, who stood behind her.
“Hmmm……Let me talk to the patient.” The Doctor thought aloud.
The room was well-lit, yet felt dark and cold. It was lifeless. The walls were bright white, nearly neon. The room was empty of all, except a metal-framed table and a metal chair. The Patient sat stoic at the table, face facing the surface of the metal table. His hands were hidden in his lap underneath the metal table.
The door from across the room opened. The doctor with the bald head entered into the room with a thick manila folder of files and papers. The Doctor made his way to the table that stood in the middle of the room and sat down on the opposite side of The Patient. Silently The Doctor laid the file folder in front of him and rested his intertwined hands atop of the folder.
“Hello, Job. My name is Doctor Edwards.” The Doctor extended his hand out to greet the patient with a friendly handshake. No response. “Well, you’ve been with us for a long time, nearly eight months.”
The Patient’s expression remained.
“It looks like you came to us to be treated for………Well, that’s interesting…..You came here on your own.” The Doctor said thumbing through the file folder. “It seems that you never gave us a reason for your visit and you never let us run a complete diagnosis.”
The Patient’s expression remained.
“So, tell me about yourself. Do you have any family?”
“Job, what happened to your family?”
“Well, we’ve also seen that you came from a wealthy family. How did you lose it all?”
The silence remained. The tension between The Doctor and the Patient grew thick and awkward. The Doctor seemed as if he were bothered by the silence that fell between them, yet one could get a sense that the Doctor truly enjoyed the silence. He enjoyed the awkwardness. It allowed him to lead the conversation in any direction that he pleased; and he knew exactly the direction that he would lead the conversation.
“I’ve got something to show you.” The Doctor said with a smile. He opened the manila folder to the back, where he had a special stack of files and papers. He looked down at them, the smile grew more devilish.
“In actuality, you didn’t volunteer to be here; we brought you here. You wouldn’t know that because we worked behind the scenes, we had to make it seem voluntary. It actually started with Emily, when she was born. We’ve been planning this for nearly ten years; right after you and your wife were married. ”
The Patient looked up from his trance on the metal table top. He looked intently into the eyes of The Doctor that sat before him. The Doctor flashed his devilish smile. The Patient listened more intently as the Doctor spoke.
“You see, first, it was your job. We began to infiltrate your business, or should I say the business that your father left you after we rid of him. Anyway, we ate at it from the inside out until there was nothing left.” The Doctor pulled a document from the manila folder and laid it in front of the Patient. As The Patient quickly read through the document, he realized that the document reveals the merging of one company into a slightly larger company and the smaller company being liquidated and dissolved into the larger, causing all those involved with the smaller company to lose their jobs.
“You see, that was the easy part. When we absorbed your business, we knew that your wealth would soon dry up, leaving you with nothing. We knew that this news would create further tension between your wife and you. You be honest with you, I was a bit shocked. Trust me, your wife married you for you, not your money, but at the end of the day money influences a lot.”
The tension continued to grow between The Patient and The Doctor. The glare that The Patient delivered to The Doctor grew more and more intense with every secret revealed.
“She never left you. She would never dream of it. Believe me when I say that we tried, yet no amount of money could persuade her to pack up herself and the kids and leave town. She definitely stood her ground. That’s when we brought the kids in.”
The Doctor pulled two pictures from the manila folder and laid them in front of The Patient. The first; a lovely black and white photograph of a four year old girl with stringy hair and a delightful smile. The second; photograph of a four month old boy with slobbery fist shoved into his mouth.
The Patient’s body began to shake beneath his medical gown and robe. He tried his best to keep his trauma covered under his stoic glare at The Doctor.
“They called for you. In fact, they cried for you.” The Doctor said with a smile more devilish than before. The Doctor watched as the face of his patient changed instantly. “With every agonizing moment their cries became more traumatizing, more intense……until their very end.”
“No!” Job cried, breaking his stoic glare.
“That’s when she snapped and took a leap of faith into the darkness. She was swallowed by it. She couldn’t resist. She couldn’t live without her darlings. She couldn’t live without you, yet she didn’t want to live with you.”
“Stop it.” Job looked up once again, bringing his face back to the stoic look that would mask his pain. He glared into the eyes of the man who single-handedly disassembled his life.
“It’s at that point that you ‘volunteered’ to be here. We perfectly organized our presence in your life to ‘help’ you. Yet, we haven’t been helping you, have we? It’s been quite the contrary. Yet, through all of this you remained. You never broke, not fully. You remained strong.” The Doctor rose from his desk and began to circle around the patient as if he were encircling his prey. “You see, we started this nearly ten years ago for one reason; we wanted to see how far you would go. We wanted to see how much it would take before you broke under the pressure. You never did. Why is that?”
“You have no idea.” The patient spoke through gripped teeth. “You will never know what I know.”
“Sir, sir, you lied to him.” Dr. Quinn said looking at The Patient through the large window that looked into the medical room. She pivoted her eyesight to The Doctor, awaiting his response.
The Patient sat silently at the metal table, he swayed back and forth. His fingers where entangled in his unkempt hair. With each sway he tightened his grip to the follicles of hair that rested in his palm. As he moved in his seat, he began to whisper to himself. He was so quiet that he could not be heard if you even sat next to him. His mind was fully of the words of The Doctor; Doctor Edwards.
“Not entirely,” he said in response. “I only told him what he needed to hear. His family is gone, his wealth his gone, it may or it may not have been me who was responsible for all of it. I guess he will never know.”
“Anyway, this was left at the door.” Dr. Quinn continued, handing a small white envelope to the delish doctor standing next to her. The envelope was addressed to The Patient, written in the blue ink of a ball point pen and decorated with the scribbles of a child with a crayon. “What about the other letters?” Dr. Quinn asked nervously, remembering the various letters that came in the mail, all of them addressed to the same person: Job Roberts.
“What about them? The Patient doesn’t know that they exist. It believes that the wife and kids have forgotten all about him. The Patient believes that they are dead; and it will never know anything different.”
Job, the patient was lead back into his room. A well lit, white room that felt dark, cold and lifeless. As the door slams behind him, Job looked around at the milk white walls that were made out of large cinder blocks.
His metal framed bed was covered with a white blanket, neatly made. Job slowly stepped toward the edge of his bed, where he fell to his knees. With very little strength left, job laid his elbows across the bedspread. He interweaved his fingers and bowed his head.
You are my strength. Regardless of my circumstance or my situation, you are my refuge. I am thankful for your love and grace every day. I pray for my family. Thank you for my beautiful wife, Rebecca; my amazing daughter, Emily and my chip of the old block, Brian. I know that they are alive. I know that wherever they are, or whatever they are doing, that they are taken care of by you. I know that you are protecting them and guiding them and that you are reminding them that I still love them. I do not blame them for not visiting me, although I wish I could see them. I wish I could hold them. I can only continuously thank you for protecting me and loving me and continuing to give them the strength that I need to face all that I am being asked to face.
Anthony K. Giesick
I grew up loving stories and quickly found myself loving writing poetry, stories, songs! Here is a sample of what Beautiful Feet Writings is all about!.