up, turned away, and ran back to the doe and the faun. The three then walked back past the line of trees. After the doe and faun disappeared into the forest, the stag turned and looked back at the old man once more before trotting into the shade of the woods himself.
I wish I could tell Loretta about this.
* * *
The next day in the cafeteria, the old man was seated at a table, his broad shoulders hunched over a plate of food. The cafeteria was quiet, subdued. Men in white were standing guard along the walls and walking down the aisles between the tables.
Loretta walked over from behind the old man and sat down. He gave her a warm look. “Oh, your bruise is healing up. It won’t be long now.”
Across the room, a mentally challenged young man was being bullied by two of the men in white. Billy was his name. He couldn’t have been any older than 25 years. Billy’s clothes were ill fitting and he seemed to move like he had just been placed in an adult body. He seemed to have a permanent runny nose. Blondie was holding a bag of chips just out of Billy’s reach. “Hey! That’s mine!” When Billy lunged for the chips, a second man in white pulled him back.
“Nah-ah, Billy. Sit down.” The second man in white grabbed Billy by the shoulder and shoved him into the chair. Blondie opened up the bag, pulled out a chip, popped one in his mouth with a smirk at Billy and started to walk away.
“That’s mine! I’m starving!” Billy stood up and lunged for the bag. Blondie smacked Billy in the face and threw him to the ground.
“You want your damn chips?” Blondie crushed the bag and poured hundreds of broken pieces onto Billy. The other man took Billy’s plate of food and started walking away.
Billy started to cry, “No! You haven’t fed me in two days!”
“Go back to your room Billy. When you’re ready to be good, you can eat again.” The man in white towered over Billy, waiting for him to stop crying and to walk back down the hall.
Billy grabbed at the crumbs and shoved them in his mouth as fast as he could. “Come on Billy, get up.” The man in white yanked on Billy, who finally surrendered. He walked back down the hall, slumped over and stumbling.