An excerpt from the Ultraviolent Ocean recently published in River Magazine. The Ultraviolet Ocean is currently a two part novella, featured is the opening chapter segment of the first part titled: Mr Thompson.
Pity the Dead??
“There’s only three ways to open and close a gateway,” his aged voice climbing, “I only was taught two of those ways by the wakers.”
Wakers were a hard concept to understand she didn’t fully grasp yet. The elderly sage of a schizophrenic old man he was, was full of stories. Interesting stories. Some were believable but all connected to this world of wakers which was the centre of his fantastical delusions.
He was wearing a greyish gown this morning, he looked sickly, pasty and pale. He was drooling, his lower lip protruding outwardly, his face was of a scrunched kind of determination on his next word.
“You really have to have had a vision of the symbols involved in the opening of the gateways if you go the visualization route …” Fara zoned out of the conversation at this point. Its hard not to drift when he gets more technical about his strange experiences.
There was a soft knocking at the entrance of the poorly decorated quarters, yellow walls with beige spots, a landscape painting, there was the sound of the movement of feet.
“Hello … Mr. Thompson?” His regular nurse Charlotte was used to having to interrupt his rambles. She was a middle aged black woman, average height and hair tied back into a small bun. Charlotte sometimes smelt of cigarettes rather strongly as did Fara who was also middle aged but was six feet tall on the line. “Mr. Thompson it’s time for your noon medicine.”
Fara zoned back into the room and looked at her device to check the time and realized she had been there listening to the old man for nearly two hours without so much as a smoke break from the strange confusing reality of Mr. Thompson.
She was wearing tight jeans and a tough grey wool sweater that was hooded and lined with faux fur.
“They showed me a symbol to … ,” Mr. Thompson coughed, “…into the … reality … of alll realities.” He was falling back into mumbling. Fara placed her hand on Mr. Thompson’s hand and whispered something low enough the nurse couldn’t hear. Mr. Thompson shook his head slightly as if returning to the room from those strange dimensions he always spoke of. As usual he took his medicine by dry swallow refusing the water.
“You really need to drink more liquids Mr. Thompson.” Charlotte spoke in a gentle yet loud and clear voice before moving towards the door which was suddenly blocked.
“Is he still here?” A voice questioned angrily. It was the old colonel as people liked to refer to him as.
“She’s still here and you have to respect the volunteers.”
Fara was about two years into her transition and hadn’t fully reached a point where she could pass as a something acceptable to society completely, nor did she really want to, of course she wanted nothing more than just acceptance, she didn’t feel like any of this bullying was right, she knew that acceptance would come though, she felt in between the worlds of male and female. It was a frustrating first few weeks here at the retirement residence but things really had begun to smooth out except for the Colonel.
“He doesn’t belong here.” The Colonel then left abruptly.
Fara could feel tension in her toes and a burning anxiety in her chest. Her thoughts became a fog. It was becoming routine the intrusions by the colonel, at least once a day. Charlotte shook her head and turned back to the room.
“Meet you in twenty Fara?”
“Su..Sure … Yeah how about ten.”
“I’ll try to get through my next few rounds as quick as possible.”
After Charlotte left Thompson started up again with his continuously evolving plot line.
Fara had been volunteering at the low-income retirement residence for under three months. Those on staff had their wages subsidized by the government. The volunteers were sorely needed to give the place a human element of actual time spent conversing with the residents.
Fara was drawn to Mr. Thompson by the usual strange aura she always saw in schizophrenic people as she herself was schizoaffective. She could never understand that aura and how it worked and it seemed to lend to her weak theories that there was more to schizophrenia than a simple chemical imbalance.
Mr Thompson was completely stable at this point, though eighteen years of recurring psychosis left him still believing a lot of what had him completely dysfunctional and living in the streets.
Fara had grown close to Mr. Thompson and found his life experiences, though sometimes dragged out, completely fascinating and echoing her own psychoses. She actually had pulled the elderly fellow out of a cocoon he had been in for most of his stay at the residence.
It was suddenly quiet in the room.
Mr. Thompson had ceased speaking and Fara had a bad feeling he had died in that instance.
She felt a pain in her heart physically and emotionally.
She looked into Mr. Thompson’s glazed stare. He had to be alive she thought. Those eyes were so dead looking though as if Mr. Thompson were looking nowhere in particular. She was grasping his hand.