Fort Meade, Maryland. Deep below the ground, where few souls dare to tread paces a creature of the night rather accustomed to this dark. Except for tonight, whereas he is trying to sleep. Yet frequently it is disturbed by what he doesn't know. And it intrigues him.
Finding the incident both of interest and mildly alarming, Dr. Penderan Fauste settles upon the modest bench chained to the concrete wall of his cell. He poises delicately to write upon some old sheets of paper, torn from books which are no longer of use to him. At first, he takes to the task furiously with great enthusiasm and speed. He then stumbles, uncertain in his thoughts. Yet one thought curiously comes to mind. And one name. He writes it a dozen times more in great succession, continuing with the fury of an addict. As if each secondary stroke may suddenly enlighten him to its purpose. It is the most activity his poor, near-to-atrophying cerebellum has seen in … years. He cannot let this inspiration, this spark, this… Muse get away. He must capture it for all it is worth. Dissect it, then put it back together again. Take it apart once more, examine it ever closer, and then attempt again the reassembly - and continue this madness until he is assured of its inner workings and he may know its definition, its composition, its intention. And yet a part of him hopes never to be satiated. To be driven to this madness forever. This… joyful, exasperating, paradoxical madness. Bliss. With strings. He would have to locate them, jerk them, unhinge them from their origins and take control of them for himself. Or he would never be free of it.
He stares upon the paper, the scrawlings of the name everywhere, covering each available space upon the page. Finally, he can do no more. Now, he must contemplate. The first stage of the process is complete: the kinesthesia. Now, he must engage in the rumination. That would take far longer, and much more. And with what it would take, surely they would not supply him. They would not be so stupid.
Or would they?
A smile creeps upon his face. A mad smile, of a mad man. He laughs, euphoria overtaking him. And finally, he chuckles, then snickers. Tired of the entire thing, he tosses the crayon into a jar (for they had learned their lesson with pens and pencils, and would provide him with such things never again) and scatters the paper to the floor. He returns to his previously horizontal position upon the bench and stares to the wall. No, that wouldn’t do.
He snatches a red crayon from the jar and begins scrawling a final time upon the wall, directly before his vision. Satisfied, he dusts off his hands, (as he cannot stand the wax residue it leaves upon them) places the crayon back into the jar, and returns to the bench, otherwise known as his bed - or chair, dependent upon its use for the time being.
Resting his head once more upon the poor imitation of a pillow, he stares to the word upon the wall. Just a single word, and with no particular ring, either. So peculiar. So plain. “RILEY”. Nothing more, nothing less.
He closes his eyes and peacefully launches into rumination.
© 2003 Aubigne Spratling. All rights reserved.