a 3,000 word chapter rough draft of a mystery novel, set in the 1870s London.
| He walked out Pierces room with fervor and turned down the narrow hallway hoping not be seen. He had every right to be at any area of the building he so chose, but to be seen exiting the wing which housed the most deranged, desperate, and down trodden at this hour of the night would likely raise suspicion from even the most oblivious of orderly. What had worried John the most was his uncanny inability to keep secrets. It would eat away at his moral fiber; he being the embodiment of Poe's "Tell-tale-Heart". He walked slowly and cautiously down the proceeding corridor, his long stridden steps echoing down the room as his heavy souls hit the weathered floor boards. He needed to just get back to his room while Pierces words still fresh in his mind.
He began replaying his parley.
" They are no longer human, yet above a beast, a being domesticated in will and mind, wiped clean off the essence of individuality."
He could hear his smooth buttery voice recant.
"but what does it all mean?"
He thought to himself. John slowly descended into the firm, rouge, leather chair positioned in the corner of his study. It sit fixed between his towering bookshelf and cherry oak end table. There sat a dimly lit oil lamp providing a somber light fitting of his current demeanor. He reached across his chest ; head positioned against the back of the armchair, his hand darting around the table eagerly grasping at thin air searching for his crimson tobacco pipe. His long, slender, dainty fingers finally finding what it were looking for. He fixed the pipe into his mouth gnawing away at the end. John swiftly raised his taught arm off the chair and placed his hand into his billfold, striking his match with a purposeful force. The light of the flickering flame were a warm and inviting sight for John. He increasingly became engrossed and entranced by the iridescence melting the tension which had built through his strenuous day. He dove into the trenches of thought. If this is true then the condition of man is far worse than I had expected. Ideas preceded building within him. Now sitting in his study he felt the ability to let go of the worries of the day allowing he to be free with his mind. Often surprising even himself as many of his revelations seemingly sprung from nowhere. It was a geyser of tension and anxiety which were catalyst for all profound thought. I had believed them to be mindless zombies wandering and consuming. He sat on the thought slumping back into his chair. No, no they are trained dogs forced into submission by the very culture which houses them. Gradually raising the flame up to his pipe, he drew upon it. The rich, smooth, roasted flavor passing through his lungs.
" Civilization is a living breathing organism, each citizen playing their role so it may function."
The voice of Pierce continued on, running a marathon through his mind. Images sprang to John of ancient empires and the current state of affairs in his own time. He saw the endlessness of war, power, greed, all for the consumption of this great beast. He changed positions of his hands drawing once again from his pipe. Placing his other hand on the arm of his chair, he braced himself so that he may rise to stand. He looked at the books on his shelf and began pacing around the study. He combed over the thought of mans motivation to sacrifice, his willingness to belong to the growing monster. Were it for safety, Mere self preservation, a purely evolutionary act which sits in the unconscious? Being that when he become part of the collective, man increase his likelihood of reproduction, food, and safety. No it had to be much more than that. John knew a man could not survive solely on his own for he recanted the words of Aristotle " he would surely be a beast or a god." Love and connection was necessary for man, he knew it himself, as his loneliness often struck him sour. His empty heart cup longed for the sweet waters of redemption. John stopped pacing and placed his pipe on his desk which was adjacent to his chair, his army cot of a bed placed in the opposite corner. He began picking through his old college medical texts preparing for his next morning rounds. He found ones that sufficed and carried them over to his gothic style desk. He had much paper work to complete as well; he grabbed a pen and in his cozy quarters began signing off on an overabundance of documents and medical charts. It caused him little to no intuition; he simply signed and initialed one after the other in succession the rhythmic motion sedating his body permitting him to escape into his psyche. At this point everything was benign to him, even spontaneity had become an aspect of going through the motions. He could feel the powers at play the chemicals working flowing through his brain propelling the neurons bringing imagery to mind helping to produce the words needed to proclaim the feelings he had trouble describing. It were the ego he thought to himself. As the pyramids were built with pride in knowing that generations to come would look upon the great wonder of the world in awe and amazement, so to the single man lay down the self so that generations may look in admiration at the great monolith we call civilization. He looked at his own life and his own sacrifices he had made, he could now put a finger on the great burden he carried throughout his time on earth. A reluctant participant in institution, some he helped to build and create; now he became a prisoner. He had given up his freedoms, his individuality, integrity, and sense of self, but all for what? He had signed all he could sign and had no fortitude to read anything that lay out before him. he had been trying so desperately to distract himself from the perverse crippling words that entered his mind, but he could not any longer. He just sat in his chair in silence. The stillness so poignant, as if Satan silenced the world so that John could be stricken powerless over the depths of his own imagination. He became disillusion, seeing that man think he synonymous with culture. That his sense of self need to be stepped on for the good of the great beast. They will be after me soon, I think too deeply, hurt with great passion, and my loves too unique. The final words of Pierce like a church bell calling him and ringing truth.
"They keep us chained in the name of justice and empathy, it all a great fade, even you do not see the great yolk upon your shoulders and the plow you drag behind."
The realization was at first a great relief being able to understand why he felt the way he did in this world. It was a fleeting moment. John became even more distraught then he were originally. Sure he could place his feelings, but had naught a resolution. He recognized it, the heavy weight of his burdens, burying him as if pulling him further into his grave. John's eyes opened wide; he curled his lower lip inside his mouth and pressed his tongue against it, moving it ever so slightly. He was struck with terror, for he knew whether madness, truth, or delusion it would never escape him. It a constant, gnawing at the back of his conscious never succeeding, even for a passing moment. Perhaps this is the inner workings of a misanthrope; I surely can recognize that to be true. But the reality of that made no difference to John, if he indeed were a self aware apathetic his new world view would remain. It likened to a lions compulsion for the hunt, it need to hide in the tall grasses of the savannah slowly approaching till it pounced on its prey. So too this will indubitably creep upon his rational to overwhelm and subdue his mind. Johns stomach was churning over and the walls of the study closing in on him. He could not leave though he had nowhere else to go. If the nurses or orderly's saw him in such a condition they would find a place for him among the paupers. He was trapped; the air in the room becoming increasingly thin, every breadth becoming a great chore. He rushed to his bedside and opened the window, mouth gaping gasping at the cool autumn air. It was little to no avail. If only a drink would calm my nerves. But it hadn't for quite some time. He had faced and conquered that dragon with a swift blow. His will power was quite strong, apparently not strong enough to escape the dank, darkness of the unconscious. He had concluded that his earthly distractions were just that. They never absolving him of his unknown over whelming feeling of loneliness'. If it were his only problem he knew it could be solved with more than a mere spirit. It was just always in his heart the utter sadness, there was something else too but he hadn't known what till that very night. Maybe there are answers man was not meant to know. John identified all he had unraveled as becoming an issue, as he already was overwhelmed and started his transition into madness. Perhaps I was already mad .he muttered under his breath eloquently, and perhaps he was. Some say it madness to have not a free inclination but for that man to be under the belief that he had. John found it equally maddening to believe himself the catalyst for free thought only to find his position to be held by many. In hindsight he realized he had run from these truths while under the guise of searching for the exact answers he was running from. It was indeed a subtle way to tricks one self. What to do now .he continued pacing this time in a frantic attempt to acquiesce his nerves. "I wish I knew what else I was searching for". His process worked in a peculiar way. He had neither question nor answer but there was something inside him that needed to be assuaged. He held that that man can have an answer. John searched for the right question. No wonder he found himself so distraught. He had no query to quell.
A gentle rap on the door jolted John out of his trance thrusting him back into reality. He shot up off his chair and stood in a stiff pose glaring at the door.
"John, its me. Im sorry to bother you, you know surely I wouldn't if it weren't quite urgent."he quietly scrambled to hide and organize the plethora of paper he had scattered about the entire room, holding onto the superficial appearance of sanity. John urgently stacked up all his books from biggest to smallest laying them flat on his desk, he moved towards the door. As he put his hand on the cool steel of the handle he turned his head back and stared at the texts. They weren't in alphabetical order! Naturally he scurried back and rearranged them once again, this time standing them straight up spine facing his chest. "yes, Peterson,winthrope...and then... mhmm that should do."He said aloud. They seemed to be in an order he found acceptable. It still bothered him so, if he had not any other pressing matters he would have kept fiddling and rearranging them until John deemed them both visually appealing and in a literary order which would only make sense in his own mind. "yes, uhh...coming" He shouted realizing he had taken up much more time then was necessary. He glided over and opened the door eagerly."Dahlia!"he exclaimed with a forced grin. Dahlia had seen this face oh too often, she knew something were the matter. "is something wrong sir, you seem a bit flustered, are you ill?"John retorted back still maintaining his uneasy grin "oh no,no,no, ha ha, you simply caught me by surprise my dear". It were very apparent his eyes told a different story. often when he spoke his eyes glistened and though he was indeed listening he appeared aloof. Those cold glassy eyes had a way of shooting right through you. If you were not accustomed to the gaze it would be terrifying, as if the man had no soul and his gawk was an attempt to reach inside and steal yours. Dahlia found them to be innocent and child like. " I hope so! I wouldn't think you would be expecting me this late "her doe eyes staring into his. Dahlias naturally warm disposition could melt the heart of the most hardened of men. she worried for John , maybe she had to, John no longer had anyone else to worry for him. " You had interrupted me as I was finishing up paper work, It must be finished before the commissioner comes, that was all!" he said disgruntled. he had not meant to be so sturn with her but he was already over whelmed with his new position and title in the hospital, along with the new laws being passed in parliament he had a lot of catch up work to do to get the hospital into working condition. Dahlia had snapped out of her motherly predisposition and held a more serious tone. John had that way about him. For all his worries and frets when it came to be doctor of psychology he was fully involved. It was thee only thing to bring him back to this world. When he was helping patients He became more than a mere spectator of life, he was fully engaged. He was a great doctor and was well respected in his field. He was a published author of several books which helped to bridge psychology from a philosophy to a science. Still his job to him was as much a fantasy as some of the contents of his mind. He couldn't shake the feeling and felt himself a phony, that he was playing a part. He thought himself a child playing pretend. It would be sure to follow that both his colleagues and patients would both disagree. He had saved many a lives and assuaged numerous pains of the heart and mind. John wished he could save himself in the same way and cease the constant chatter that play in his skull. Dahlia spoke "they're no doubt at it again doctor, some of the more ornery patients in the east wing have been shouting and yelling at the other patients. She started out slowly her words beginning to pick up momentum. "We've subdued the more violent ones, it took both Rhoda and Henrietta to get that Tabernack boy, he has always been the little trouble maker you know." John could feel his eyes glazing over as Dahlia droned on. He was attuned to what she was saying. It was difficult to pay attention as he was not an active participant in the conversation. He cataloged every word that came out of her mouth. "Clarence thought himself a jokester by putting his bed pan on his head, while the other patients are running around screaming their heads off!"John was waiting for the moment the incessant jabber would finally cease. John was quite fond of dahlia but it never appeared that way, perhaps he himself didn't even realize his own fondness over her. No one understood John, not that Dahlia in particular id either. But the ambiance about her was bright and cheerful as if the light of her spirit could not be contained within her body, so it burst forth and projected itself. She found redeeming qualities in the unredeemable. She found redeeming qualities in John. He of which found it quite admirable, at first he thought her a fake like most women he found in his life, walking around eerily with painted smiles. Using the their quant charm and ambivalence to connive and manipulate. He saw many lies and wrongs in the world but he could spot not a single one in her. I believe they created the phrase a heart as pure as gold in reference to her. Though he loved her openness truth and honesty he found her to be a morning bird singing about unaware of all else, happy and in its own world. Indeed it is a sight to see and a beautiful harmony to be heard... when the time is right. She had finally finished. " so I really don't know what else to do Dr. Kennedy , They are just a bit out of hand tonight, I'm certainly sorry don't want you to think I can't handle these situations, but..."John stops her. He can see she is on her last breath. Her face completely flushed, beat, apple red. Her broad nose scrunched and nostrils flared hair all in a tizzy. John new it his time to speak " It's quite alright dear, calm down now, catch your breath, well take care of this together."John was much more at ease now, he was drawn to the conflict, or should it be said solving the problems of others. Without such conflict he would be stuck to his inner turmoil. He stepped out from his room straightened his tie and walked straight down the hall. Dahlia just standing there slowly turned to see John jetting away. "Well let's go Miss Crimshaw.", His monotone voice trailing off as he proceeded down the corridor. "the patients wont certainly put themselves to sleep now will they?" Dahlia quickly caught up to John she spoke gently and softly "They certainly will not."