Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Savage 8

Adam sat at his parent's ancient yellow formica kitchen table in a fresh pair of underwear.  A perspiring glass of water rested loosely in his left hand while his right absently spun a pill bottle like a top.  The bottle whirred and wobbled and stopped, and Adam spun it again.  The bottle had no printed information other than the dosage and Adam's first name, he got his medicine directly from the center.  Doctor Adler had told him some of it was under experimental testing, it wouldn't be carried by traditional pharmacies.  Whir, wobble, stop.  It was 3 A.M., he had woken up a half hour earlier screaming and cumming.

Adam had a natural distaste for sexual expression, particularly when it was involuntary.  The quiet giant couldn't remember why he had paid Emily's mother for sex.  Adam had spoken to Dr. Adler about it and the two men agreed that it was perhaps a rite of passage he'd wanted to accomplish.  That seemed plausible to the broken Adam who had lost so much of his memory in the accident.  He could, however, remember the act.  He could trace in his sharp mind's eye every stretch mark, the C section scar, and the way she had wheezed after every squeal still made the hair around his ears stand on edge.  Emily's mother was not an unattractive woman, she was very becoming, and exactly Adam's age.  Adam wondered what Mr. and Mrs. Savage would have thought of Crystal, then he realized they must have known her.  Another memory lost.

Adam had been dreaming of the shadow again, the shadow and his childhood.  The boys slept six to a room in the orphanage.  Each room was a team, complete with color coded t-shirts to help staff more easily identify and place their young wards.  The orphans were grouped like this for the duration of their stay.  The staff at the facility felt that forcing the children to participate in these randomly selected microcosms of permanence within the system might foster in them a positive sense of family.  They were right and wrong.  Like any community, not all families engendered feelings of safety.  Adam had been on the red team, but his dream was about a tall thin boy on the Green team.

The boy had always been quiet, Adam remembered.  Quiet and a little dumb.  Each team was responsible for keeping their room clean and laundering their sheets once a week.  The orphanage operated on a tight budget and schedule, messes that required deviance from both the cleaning rotation and budget resulted in punishments for the entire team.  This was another staff idea meant to inspire some mimicry of the loyalty, pride, and discipline one might find in a family setting.  Again, they were right and wrong.  In the dream, the quiet, dumb, and tall boy had suffered from what the staff and nurses would call a nocturnal emission.  A wet dream.  This gangly orphan had woken up in the night and realized immediately what had happened.  Adam could sense the panic welling up in the boy as he gently awakened the Green team de facto leader.  The leader of the Green team, Adam remembered, was a cruel and wiry prick with muscles developed beyond his years.  He was a system kid, this strong boy, he lived with one or the other of his parents or relatives part time and the orphanage during court ordered removals from his "home" the rest.

In Adam's dream, these boys in green shirts and shorts moved as though they were underwater, their deliberate motions left rippling currents.  The team leader woke up the other boys in a whispering wave, and together they pushed the stained sheet deep into the tall boy's throat and took turns punching him.  Adam could feel the boy's shame wriggling like worms in his ears, he could feel their fingernails pressing half moons into the boys wrists as they held him.  And then the shadow came, more terrible than mean boys could hope to be.

The shadow made short work of the Green team.  The dark thing smiled a quiet smile and rippled with waves of energy as his smokey black fingers poked out the eyes of that wiry part-time orphan and and his long wispy arms choked and strangled and clawed his way through the rest.  Adam felt the tall, dumb, boy's thoughts, a jumble of animal emotions.  Fear, horror, glee.  He could not feel the other boy's thoughts but it was not hard to guess, Adam wondered if their screams and thuds and crunches would never end.

And then Adam had woken up, soiled and proud and sorry.  He had changed his underwear and headed into the kitchen.  And after a while, he had called Dr. Adler's home phone number.

"Have you taken your medication, Adam?"

Adam spun the bottle, whir wobble stop.  "The medicine makes me feel cloudy, I can't picture Emily", Adam lied.  Emily was the one thing he could always picture, he remembered nearly every detail of her sweet and clean little life better than his own.  Adam remembered Emily better than he remembered other things that should have been simultaneous happenings, the girl was a lighthouse forever calling his thoughts.  Adam was a creature of habit and patterns, so it startled him somewhat when Dr. Adler ignored his maneuvering.

"Adam, there's been an issue with the approval of some of the medications you're on, I need you to take what you have left on the prescribed schedule and I'll see if I can't clear it up, and I'd like you to come in as soon as possible for an assessment"  The doctor seemed a little interrupted and rushed, as though Adam hadn't woken him up at all.

"OK, I can be there tomorrow after my rounds", Adam replied tersely, he wasn't used to being ignored by the good doctor.

"I'd prefer you came in as soon as possible, you can come in now if you like."  The doctor's voice sounded like the movements Adam's dream, he could feel waves moving from them, important ripples and currents traveling away from each syllable.

Adam realized he wasn't going to get any sleep.  He slid into a bright blue jumpsuit and made his way through the late night chill to the center.

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