The Figure in WhiteMature

Footsteps of the orderlies through the halls, blank faces, all of it empty images that flitted through the day until night would come and reclaim us back into it’s shadowy depths, veiling away suspicion, regret, pain.

 On that rainy day in late autumn, I was gazing at the uppermost part of the north tower of the male wards. I did not believe in those stories the nurses and orderlies whispered under their breaths, the horror stories of wild patients stabbing the unsuspecting staff with shards of tile they pulled from the floors with their bare hands or throwing themselves from the ninth story of the tower, careening to the unforgiving earth below while laughing with glee at the prospect of oncoming death.

 I thought about it in the back of my mind, wondering if the people in those wards on that ninth floor were anything like us, the people of Ward 16. Or perhaps they were wild and frenzied like the orderlies said, strapped to chairs and restraints, so far lost from humanity that their only thoughts were to fight anyone that approached the wretched souls, or if there was no one to attack they resorted to maiming themselves out of the sickest and most dire bloodlust. Why else would they be locked away up there in those tall towers?

 I could barely make out the ninth story window as rain plummeted down in sheets from the slanted roofs; by now it was easing up slightly and it had succeeded in washing away bits of the grime and leaves that stuck to the window of Ward 16. My chin resting on my palm, I stared up, thinking and listening to the rhythmic pounding of the rain.

Suddenly, I discerned a flash of white against the dark window of the upper tower. Intrigued, I pressed my face against my window, squinting to get a glimpse of what was occurring. I had never seen anyone in the windows of the male wards before. Straining to see through the rain, I could scarcely make out the contour of a figure, slender and garbed in a white patient’s gown, thrashing violently at the barred window. The white of the gown created a brilliant blur about the figure as it repeatedly threw itself at the bulletproof glass, pounding violently with such fervor I almost thought it would be able to break through the window.

No, I whispered. If it did indeed break through, it would inevitably plummet down to the unforgiving earth below, falling nine stories to it’s death.

Who was this person? Did this slender white silhouette belong to one of the legendary ninth floor patients? I shuddered at the thought, but I still didn’t want this person to die, whoever they were.

 There was a recurrent pounding that resonated through my head, every second came a sickening thud, like the sound of bodies falling on pavement. One after another. Thud, thud. It was the beating of my own heart.

 

The End

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