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Nearly two months now, that I was trapped in this old shabby hospital in Bucharest. What did one of the doctors say? As God created Romania, he only had dirt, rust, desperation, and poverty left to work with. Someone muttered a genius response. It was the biggest and most elaborate shell game con that made this country survive another legislation period. Two sides of the same coin.

There. Romania in a nutshell.

As amusing as this forced holiday was, it started to bore me to tears. I needed to go back to my cave. The gravitation of the discovery cradled my mind day and night. I dreamt of Ostra. I saw Ostra in my mind. I thought of Ostra. It called for me.

So I planned.

I plotted.

But the doctors had other ideas than to let me go. They tested me, my blood, my hair, my heart, my brain waves. They x-rayed me. They took skin samples, hooked me up to various machines, all with the same result. I was perfectly healthy. I was an ordinary forty-two years old Caucasian male.

Still, they kept me under observation.

My recovery from those severe injuries I supposedly had, was considered unusual. I overheard nurses discussing my case, saying it was a miracle. How pathetic! The way they couldn’t wrap their heads around me and my healing, amused me.

However, I was better than that.

The secrets that leaked out of the shadows of ignorance and unawareness were worth any amount of pain, boredom, and suffering. What was more exciting, the dots I could suddenly connect, or my new abilities? I couldn’t tell. I marveled at the strange crystalline clearness of my thoughts. Glimpses of light breaking through storm clouds. That was, what Ostra did for me.

I allowed the doctors to examine me further. Nobody could blame me, that I wasn’t patient. What they didn’t know, was that it was the patience of a wolf, not the patience of a guinea pig. It made no difference to them.

Only Farnsworth sensed some change. He and his prey-instincts stopped talking to me. Did I  spook him that badly? He was obnoxiously restless, feet carrying him up and down in the hallways, avoiding my room. What was he mulling over?

That little nurse, he was so fond of, couldn’t give him peace. She tried so hard, but he grew cold to her. Farnsworth barely ate and lost weight visibly. This place was his kryptonite. He jumped at the slightest sounds, like an idiot. Or, to be precise, he jumped like a mortified child, eyes bright with terror, expecting punishment.

What worried me the most, was that he couldn’t stand looking at me. Was it contempt? For once, his guts told him to be wary for a good reason.

My guts told me to be curious. My new abilities showed new nuances on a daily basis. To be honest, they showed themselves mostly in darkness. I noticed that my hearing got acute. Suddenly, I discerned hospital stuff by their walking and breathing patterns. I listened and kept my knowledge to myself. Seemingly, being secretive was now one of my character traces. But that wasn’t all of it, my sense of smell grew beyond human capabilities. My vision pierced the darkness.

That was the point that got me thinking.

I had to get Farnsworth to tell me precisely, what happened to me. What did he see in the cave? What did Ostra do to me? I needed him to speak as clearly and as objectively as possible, with his consent. Maybe, if the nurse did the coaxing, he wouldn’t hold back any details. I had to befriend and get her on my side, which was ridiculously easy. I got her worried enough, so she’d invest emotionally into her “care” for Farnsworth. He won’t know what hit him.

I only had to wait until she cornered him. She even promised to have the talk in my room.

*

“Peter, please! I can see, that something is hurting you. Please tell me.” I heard her beg. They were in the most eastern hallway, on the same floor, but the furthest away from my room. Farnsworth did that on purpose. I closed my eyes and listened. “I want to help. I want you to be-,” she paused. I swore I could hear her pulse quicken. “Happy.”

He sighed.

“It’s that awful man!” Oh, that must be me, “He’s the problem, isn’t he?” Interesting. “I feel cold and empty inside when I talk to him. He’s cursed!” Her voice dripped with pity. “Why don’t you leave?” Hm. That was a good question. Why didn’t he?


4

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