The laughter is the first thing that gets to most people. The shriekers, the wailers. And then those who snicker as if they know something you don’t. Makes more than a few wonder if it’s in fact the patients who know more than you. That they are privy to secrets that you are not. Maybe feeling that way is what drives most people away from places like this. An asylum.

Yes and he was here to see a patient, his most recent patient. Had been admitted only a few months back. Sad tale really. But he was a bit hazy to remember all the details at this moment.

What time is it? as he glanced at his watch. 0354. No wonder my eyes don’t want to open.

He had never been a morning person, and ever since he had started his work here at the asylum, though he would not admit it even to himself; much less anyone else, he had been sleeping even worse than before. Scanning his card he passed the first barrier.

Security here is like a damn bank! he though to himself, then caught himself and smiled, What would you know about a bank fool?

The guard after the first barrier gave him a curious look. Probably thinks im as fucked up as the patients. Can’t say I blame him, coming in here at this hour and smiling to myself

“Mornin’, sir!” the guard greeted, though he definately wanted to say something else.

“Morning,” for the life of him he could not remember the guards name. no matter he was wearing a name tag! Score! “Haris!” He smiled triumphantly.

“It’s Fareed actually, sir!” the guard replied with a snicker. “I wear the wrong tag sometimes just for the fuck of it.”

Even the fucking guards here are crazy!

Or maybe just fighting of the crazy.

The guard let him through, despite the name disaster. Sheepishly he walked in past the second barrier. Up the huge staircase and into the long corridors. Checking the notes he had with him, C Wing they said. Seeing the sign up ahead pointing lazily to the right for C wing, he made his way. Maybe should have had my morning coffee before heading in, almost drove off the cliff and everything seems a haze Pushing through his sleepiness he shuffled on. Past closed doors, the echoes in the halls even at this hour did help somewhat towards waking him up. How could they not?

The white corridors kept going on and on. He saw a few orderlies and some cleaning staff roaming the halls. The doors for a ward was left open and he peaked in as he walked by. He saw an orderly roughly push a patient into bed face first, with his legs hanging off the bed, with a knee to hold him down. Next he took an injection, with tranquilizers most likely, and jab the patient in the buttocks as he squirmed under the weight of the massive orderly.

I ought to reprimand the orderly for the force he was using. Then he saw the orderly turn and saw the scratches on his face. Long deep scratches, nails dug deep into the face near the ears and dragged across to the nose. Three long lines, the patient possibly never got a good hold with the pinky. Sigh. And he moved on to C wing.

Finally reaching the C wing, he signed himself in at the reception. The reception lady was no where to be seen. Shrugging he made his way to where he thought the room would be for his patient. After a few bumbling attemts he finally found the right room. Atleast that is what the sign read.

Rouman.

He opened the door expecting the patient to be quietly sleeping in his bed, after which he would angrily go find the receptionist and demand why she had called him in the dead of the night, or morning however one would like to look at it. Hmmpphh. Dissapointment, as the bed was clearly empty, and still made. Just to be sure, he checked under the bed and in the bathroom. Nothing.

Where is he now? And where is that damn receptionist? Coming out of the room he was fuming; anger and the still-not-quite-awake mood not helping to stem the frustration. He started walking around the corridors in the hope of finding an orderly or the receptionist, no such luck.

Giving up he headed to the lounge area thinking he’ll just wait there. The large wooden doors marking the entrance for the lounge area opened up to an expansive and spartan lounge. Lots of tables with a few chairs littered about the room. Lots of board games and decks of cards lying on the tables in haphazard fashion, possibly from last nights game time.

There was a lone occupant in the room, sitting in the far corner and staring out the window. The straight jacket gave him away immediately as a patient. Tossled long brown hair meant he had been difficult with the nurse or orderlys when they tried to comb his hair as part of the nightly ritual of sorts of grooming before bed.

Moving closer to him he realized that was Rouman. Sighing in relief at the idea of not looking further he inched closer. Rouman gave away no response to his approach. Maybe they have him sedated heavily. He thought, Seems calm enough. Don’t know why they would call me in that case.

As he approached Rouman, he saw him react to his presence.

“Oh hi there Doctor!” Rouman greeted.

“Hello Rouman!” Amin replied, “How are you today?”

“Oh you know? Same, but different.” replied Rouman vaguely, “You do realize that answer has a different meaning depending on the time of day you ask that question. So what did you mean actually?”

A little surprised Amin replied, “Well I mean, how are you doing right now?”

“Well that is a more relavant question now isn’t it?” was the answer, or rather not.

Amin looked for a chair nearby, finding one, picked it up and placed it near Rouman and sat down. Knowing he would have to wait for the answer, he just sat and looked out the window as well.

“Beautiful isn’t it?” Amin asked, “The view I mean.”

“I supposed.”

“You don’t find the beauty of nature appealing Rouman?”

“Never really thought about it that much,” came the answer. “I think I grew up in the city mostly. Can’t be sure of that these days.”

The receptionist walked in at that moment and half-shouted a greeting from the doorway. “You ok there Doctor?”

“Yes, I believe we are good here,” he replied. “I will let you know if we need something.”

“Sorry for not being on my desk when you came in Doctor,” she offered. “You see there was this difficult patient…”

“Totally understandable!” he lied back. So not understandable, but fine woman!

“Ok I’ll leave you to it.” And she walked out, the doors swinging in her wake.

“Hold up!” shouted the doctor as he ran to grab the nurse. Now to see why they dragged me here this early.

To Be Continued

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