An Empty Pasture
It's a good thing I'm crazy.
If I wasn’t crazy, I would be dead – just like the rest of them. Being crazy is what saved my life…well, it at least saved me from death.
Thirteen years ago I was committed to a hospital. It was just a normal hospital like St. Francis or St. Augustine’s. I was diagnosed with a tumor, so I spent a few years undergoing surgeries and biopsies and all sorts of tests. They ended up having to cut out part of my brain because that tumor just kept growing. They couldn’t stop it. With all the tools and technologies that they have nowadays, and they can’t stop something from growing inside your head.
That doctor must have used to be a barber or something. He goes and cuts out the tumor, but he takes a little too much off the top with it. Just a sixteenth of an inch too much and I lose a little bit of who I used to be apparently.
They say I used to be a nice sweet guy. The kind of guy any gal would marry and the kind of guy any mother would love. But not now - now that ain’t me anymore. Now I got an attitude problem, a short temper, and a violent personality. Now I got issues that I ain’t had before. Now I got to spend the rest of my life locked up under surveillance.
Well, things could not have been any luckier for me. Let me tell you…
A few years after being under house arrest in this awful facility, I’m having a very lovely day outside minding my own business. I’m sitting in a chair, drinking a tea as the sun is gently warming my skin and all of a sudden a ball comes flying out of nowhere and knocks that tea right out of my hand! It fell and shattered under my rocking chair. As I leaned forward to stand up, I could hear the glass breaking under the chair and it sounded like a car being crushed at a junkyard.
I couldn’t stand that sound. I couldn’t just sit here and let my tea attract the ants and bugs that would soon be here swarming my freshly brewed tea that I made for me. So I walk across the lawn to the older man who just kept staring at me. I look him in the eyes.
I hear voices behind me saying things like, “He didn’t do it!” and “It was an accident!” Accident, all right.
“I’ll show you an accident!” I says to him. “I’ll show you!”
So I grab him by his collar and throw him down on the ground. He was on concrete, so he hits pretty hard. I jump on to him as fast as I can to make sure he doesn’t try and escape. I look around and I find a stone within arms reach sitting on the grass next to the concrete path.
I won’t go into bloody details, but let’s just say that between his face and the glass he broke out of my hand – the broken shards of glass looked better than his face did when I was through.
That gave me a week in confinement. This is where I got really lucky. When I was down there, the world ended. I’m not even sure how it ended, but it did and I survived it.
The room they kept me in was ten stories underground. They don’t want anyone knowing we bad people are down there, so it’s so deep that if the building caved in, search crews would give up trying to dig for us because we are so far down there buried.
They would bring us one meal a day - steak. We either ate it or went hungry. They would bring us water twice a day. Brought it in big pails so they wouldn’t have to keep coming back. I ate and drank and rather enjoyed the solitude. Nobody knocked anything out of my hands down there. Nobody at all.
One day the lock on my cell door unlocked itself. I thought it was a trick or a trap at first, or even maybe a mistake. So I slowly peeked my head out into the hallway. I didn’t see anyone in the hall. It was deathly quiet too. One light at the end of the hall kept flickering. I wasn’t sure which way to go, so I just walked towards it.
I stopped underneath the light and just stared for a moment. It was odd somehow. It was beautiful flickering almost to a beat. I could hear in my head the sound of Metallica’s ‘One’ playing to the beat of it’s flickering.
That’s when things got weird though.
I never believed in ghosts. I don’t believe in an afterlife either. But things started getting strange. Odd things kept happening starting at that moment.
Something touched my arm. I turned around and there ain’t nobody standing there so I look back up at the light. Then I feel something push me. Not a light tap, a strong physical push. I had to take a step forward to keep from falling over. I spin around completely and I still see nobody around me.
I start walking down the hall away from where I was held captive for a week. As I’m walking, every door is unlocked for me. As if the spirits are leading me home.
“I must be dead.” I think to myself. But it felt too real to be death.
I have no idea of where to go, so I go back to my old room. I walk inside and the first thing I see is my bed all nicely made up. I been sleeping all week, but all this strangeness happening makes me want to at least nap and see if I can wake up to a different reality.
Just as my head hits the pillow, the door to my room swings shut. I cower up against the wall it startled me so much. But at least I am safe here in my room. At least I hope so.
Every day since then has been basically the same thing over and over. I just wander these halls waiting for someone to find me. I have enough food to last for years here. I don’t have much for entertainment, but I look through the barred windows for hours in hopes of seeing dust flying up from a car, or someone riding up on horseback, or even a young child who lost his or her way and just needs a friend.
Every once in a while as I wander through the desolate halls, I think I hear the laughter of children. Or hear footsteps. I try and follow the sounds, but they are distant echoes from another time, possibly another dimension.
I do get so lonely locked up here by myself, but even if I could leave, where would I go? I assume there to be some sort of nuclear fall-out beyond these walls, and I don’t want to take a chance. I would rather stay here and die alone than have my insides rot away from breathing in contaminants.
Close to the end of every seven days, things start to get weird again. I will start to see blurs of what I believe to be dead people in my peripheral vision. Wheelchairs will roll across the room on their own. The radio will turn on and off by itself. I will sometimes hear some music come from it, but mostly static.
Every night when I return to my room, my bed is already made up. I didn’t do it, I never do. If it were up to me, I would just leave my bed messy and comfortable.
At the end of the week though - at the end of the week when I start seeing dead people wandering these halls aimlessly.
That’s when they come for me…
These tall gray colored figures. I can never make out their faces, but they come and grab me. I have tried to run from them and hide from them. There is no escape from them. Their long slender gray fingers grasp me so firm, the more I fight and squirm, the tighter they squeeze.
They talk to me in some foreign language. It doesn’t sound like any language I know or have heard of. I once saw a woman play a saw used for cutting wood on TV. She used a violin bow and a wood saw. The sound it made is almost identical to the voices of these gray creatures. They shriek in agony just to communicate with each other.
They would drag me and force me away with them. It used to be that they would tie me down to a table and lock me up in a room. They would restrain my limbs and force-feed me pills.
It’s been years and I take less pills now. I’m down to just one pill that I have to take.
Instead of forcing the pill down my throat, once a week they lock me into a room. Once I take the pill, they release me from the room and everything and everyone is gone again. No more voices. No more visions. No more anything…except uncontrollable bliss.
“So doctor, tell me once again what these pills do…”
“You see, the patient has various negative disorders that are difficult to…to deal with. These pills that we keep giving him help him to cope with those…those issues, so to speak. It makes them manageable, by taking them away.”
“I still don’t follow doctor. You may need to dumb it down and simplify things for me. What exactly do they do?”
“From his perspective sir, these pills block out reality. They block out things he doesn’t want to deal with.”
“And what things might those be?”
“People. They mostly block out people. He cannot see or hear them when the pills are at their full potential, but the pills only last about a week. After a week we have to administer another pill, or he starts to come back to reality. He starts to see people. He starts to hear the world around him again, and that’s dangerous.”
“How is that dangerous…?”
“He is a killer and a monster. If we leave no cows in sight, the dragon has nothing to kill and therefore cannot slaughter.”
“Brilliant!” he said, removing his glasses and rubbing his eyes with his right hand.
“I like to think so. Would you like to have some dinner, sir? The steak here is very delicious!”