the child

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
this is part of a story i wrote. although the story as a whole wasn't very good, i thought i could use it as flash fiction or imaginary character description

Submitted: July 25, 2016

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Submitted: July 25, 2016



…The psychiatrist moved at a turtle’s pace that might have signaled the pace of the psychiatric system in general, and the mind numbing hours and years spent in the reassembly of the psyche. Joseph prepared himself for the psychiatric sledgehammer that would be applied to his skull. Within thirty minutes of entering the ward they had him on a heavy antipsychotic medication that put him in a stupor. He would have noticed that the panic had disappeared also and would have been grateful for it, but he felt there was a white cloth smeared against his face and was unable to communicate messages of either a positive or negative content. He was unable to realize it, but the fear had disappeared along with the creativity that fit together what he saw in the dumpsters.


The medications were dispensed and he was asleep within the hour. He had an odd dream where the panic he had experienced was stolen from him. Later. When he was awake, he suspected the dream was manufactured by the psychiatric system, and then dismissed the idea as crazy. He felt himself the subject of a chemical blitz, the mind centered equivalent of Novocain with the same half numb attributes. A knowledge that the physical and function apparatus were there, but an inability to quite know where and how they worked. For a long time he lay on his bed staring at the ceiling. It was only an itchy feeling of boredom that finally convinced him to sit, he noticed a wet spot on the pillow of saliva, a side effect of the medication, he then stood, exploring the contents room. He noticed a pair of desks inset in the wall with directories and telephones on them. He walked a short distance to the room entrance where a bathroom paired off to the side. Looking out the door he saw a hallway of the main ward. He stepped into the bathroom and removed the bathrobe and then the pants and then struggled with the long shirt that was tied in the back. He turned the shower on, letting cold-water flow over him and making him gasp. It was habit, and it brought a short smile to his face. He surprised himself by that feeling that surfaced for a moment. Time seemed to slow, though he was unsure of whether it was the medication or not. He noticed that the fear he had felt for such a long time had disappeared, though he was too drugged to really concern himself about it. Why should the hope remain when it had nothing to fight? For the first time he opened up his mind a crack and eschewed the negative attitude toward the medication that he was taking. Time then resumed to move forward as he felt the medication clamp tighter around him. Forgetting where his feet were moving, he almost stumbled from the shower niche in the wall. He dried himself with a towel and used an electric razor, without a blade, to shave. After that he made his way into the ward.


 He passed a man who might have been forty though he had a shock of white hair and that moved stiffer and more disjointedly than Joseph. He found the television room and a half a dozen patients blankly watching the screen. He sat down and did the same, expecting an uninterrupted stretch of boredom. A flurry of white coated men and women came down the hallway, a pair of lead psychiatrists with physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners and nurses in tow. They stopped in front of each patient and the nurses administered medication while the psychiatrists asked the patients abbreviated question and the rest watched patiently. Joseph took two pills and up-ended a small cup of water. The psychiatrists passed him up, realizing him perhaps as a more prosaic form of schizophrenia, a term he had first heard from a nurse the night before. The group of doctors made their way down a second hall, the quiet gaggle searching out more patients. He watched the television, blank as the other patients observing the photo’s of an auto shop, the turning of gears and the slow precision of mechanics but he had lost his creative interest in the idea of machinery put together in original ways and the central idea that generated the creativity, the importance of nothing as a true descriptor of the world and everything in it. Would he ever again frame his existence within that? Would he ever be able to again find true creativity through observing the world around him? 


He felt that cotton had been stuffed in his ears and mouth and that the only nihilistic existence lit the television set in front of him. He had been watching it all day and after sunset, thoughts started to come to him. He had questioned whether hope would remain with him, and then realized that the singular feat of watching the television all day was evidence of it. He wondered about personal innocence and whether it and the medication would always be ground together. The medication had rescued him from panic. He could only hope to unearth the innocence that traveled with it. Maybe he could go light enough on it to create a balance closer to his inner child. He had discovered one miracle through agony only to be locked into another. He knew they would come together because they were there at that moment.


© Copyright 2018 Hans Sigurd Lillegard. All rights reserved.

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