The Curious Patient

My Dear Emil,

Though it was only been a number of days since I last wrote to you, I thought that you might be interested in the early details surrounding The Patient.  Please forgive me if I succumb to the sin of pride for a moment.  It seems that my hands have not forgotten as much of their prior experiences as I had feared.  The Patient appears to be in a dangerously weak, but otherwise stable condition.

He has periods of consciousness, but these appear to tire him rapidly and he soon lapses back into insensibility.  During these moments of alertness, he speaks but rarely and with confusion.  To be honest, I am unable to determine whether the tangled nature of his words are due to the particular nature of his pathology or the injuries that he has sustained.  I can reasonably assume that he knows he is in the asylum once more; upon one occasion he murmured that he “was placed upon the green fielded chessboard.”  I recall this as a reference to the tiled floors and grounds of the asylum that he had used in previous sessions with me.

I note also (with some professional regret) that he has not improved since his previous accommodation with us.  If not fever induced, then his manner of speech is as twisted as ever.  On the evening he arrived, His face wore the remnants of his idiosyncratic greasepaint, and without it, when awake, he unconsciously turns his visage away from sight.

I desperately wish to know what has befallen him since his disappearance, and in particular what has landed him in his current state.  Given the length of his disappearance, was it coincidence that brought him to my door?  Given his wounds, he cannot have been far from the asylum when he was attacked.  If not a slip of Fate, then why was he here?  Perhaps, if I was not mistaken in what I heard, it is related to those words he whispered, of “grains that fell too fast”.

For myself I have never answered the question of his Cassandra-like abilities.  Others who have spoken with him have stated that pronouncements he has made in the past have born themselves out to be true.  I however, must note that the tangled way in which he phrases anything leaves for a wealth of interpretations.  Just as beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, so precognition may lie equally in the ear of the listener.  Much of what I heard myself could be explained away by this, or by a quite mundane, though gifted man taking note of his surroundings.

If there were one aspect of The Patient that I would assign away to superstition and apocrypha, it would be his damnable talent for escapology.  While he has never presented any violent symptoms, it is not my policy to allow patients to wander freely throughout the entire asylum.  Even if not violent themselves, there are others here who do suffer from such psychoses and might very well cause harm, given the appropriate opportunity.

When he first arrived here, I recall well the surprise I felt upon encountering him quietly sitting or strolling where he had no business to be sitting or strolling.  He would present no resistance whatsoever when escorted back to his rooms by the orderlies, but once out of sight of eye, there appears to be no number of restraints and no lock that will bind him.  It made me wonder whether he had previously been a cat burglar, or engaged in some other larcenous occupation.  When questioned about this, or asked to demonstrate his lock picking skills, he absolutely denies having any, claiming “I don’t speak their language, so I’m the last person they’d tell their secrets to.”

Eventually, given that he had not shown himself to be a danger, and that it required an unreasonable number of orderlies to watch him at every moment, I extracted a promise from him to stay out of the higher, dangerous wards.  From that point, he was the only patient who roamed the asylum freely, and to my knowledge, no harm ever came of it.

I hope, that upon his recovery I will be able to resume my sessions with him.  Certainly I have many questions born of my own curiosity to ask him, but I particularly wish to see what (if any) progress he has made outside, and how these experiences have affected him.  Prognostication, escapology and dramatic returns aside, he is still a man obviously labouring under an incredibly resistant mania, and I am his doctor.  He might appear incurable, but the rationality which otherwise underpins the rest of his personality behooves me to attempt a cure.  To make him comfortable, so that we may begin, I have left a tin of greasepaint, pencils and a mirror on his bedside table.  When he has the strength, perhaps he will talk to me.


Dr Robert Oatman


~ by Electro-mechanical Man on April 11, 2011.

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