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.
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.
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.
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.
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?"
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.
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.