Chapter 6:


Curiosity Killed The Cat

Kothur was in shock. Two very important things had happened to him. Mylise suddenly grabbed his wrist and there was no scenery change. Up until this point, he thought his eye would act up if anyone touched even near his hand. 

Still, he had found himself frozen for a second, perhaps out of habit or maybe because it was Mylise. How embarrassing, he thought. He tried to keep a neutral expression as he saw her off, hoping she wouldn’t think anything was off about him. He didn’t dally around, however, and quickly turned around. This place made him uncomfortable.

Psychiatric hospitals like these were government run and housed "mentals". People who get sent here are wards of the state for life. Though the government claims to do it out of goodwill for the country, but the reality is that it’s worse than prison. There's no freedom and you're often unknowingly subject to experimental drugs.

Those with all sorts of mental illnesses accused of being too dangerous or crazy to live in society get sent there. Kothur has heard that you can get accused for anything these days, like just being a little too ‘off’. Family members could even be sent there for reasons like ‘it runs in the family’ which was the scientific thinking of the time. If he wasn’t careful, he feared it would be where he lived out the rest of his life.

Recently, places like these have had their hands full with the increase in people committing violent acts. If you get caught doing something like that, you would definitely get sent there. Though people who commit murder get the death penalty. They say murderers don’t count in the same classification as a mental, another thinking backed by science supposedly.

In any case, they probably really appreciate Mylise’s volunteering her time. He wondered why she chose to volunteer at such an unpleasant place in the first place? Maybe she was very kind under her cool exterior. The walk there could be dangerous for a young woman at this time, maybe he could accompany her more often. Just for the sake of safety and nothing ulterior.

Unfortunately, Kothur’s day was yet to be over as he still had to visit the on-site doctor before they closed. It was mandated that he receive some kind of examination at least once a week to prove he was still fine to work. So much has happened to him today that he nearly forgot. He never liked it all that much in the first place considering he didn’t like to talk about how he got the injury to his right eye.

The walk was uneventful so far. As he strode along, the clear evening sky was replaced with the low ceiling of the building he entered. He thought about what Mylise said about doppelgangers. Strange, if true. It was a fact that when he was younger, he knew a girl that looked just like her. Were doppelgängers supposed to be the same person or just look alike? There was a slight difference though. The girl he knew definitely had green eyes. His chest tightened as his thoughts about the two continued.

Still, why had Mylise suddenly grabbed at him like that?

The nurse called out Kothur’s name. Her white outfit was similar to his coworker's uniform dresses with the addition of a small white hat. He followed her to a room in the back. The walls were as white as the chair he was made to sit in. All of the clean white always made him feel confined. The dark sleeves of his suit contrasted the chair's arms.

A man in a lab coat sat on the small stool next to him. “Good evening, Kothur. How are you feeling today?” He was also one for protecting the polite rituals Kothur abided by. They surely helped to keep the world spinning, that Kothur believed. Kothur was sure it brought his doctor the same comfort to do what was expected of a man.

“Fine as ever, Dr. Nuford. How about yourself? He asked with a smile.

“Oh, you know. Still struggling to keep up with my kids.” He came closer to Kothur. “I’m going to remove the eyepatch now, alright?” His gentle hands came around the right side of his face.

Kothur could feel Dr. Nuford’s hands examine his right eye. Although he was completely blind on that side and could not see any of the movement. “Hm, are you still experiencing any pain? Any new developments?”

“I don't feel much pain still. Nothing new.” Kothur lied with a straight face.

“Are you sure? What about your energy levels?”

The question worried Kothur. Did something look off after all? “I get a bit winded by the end of the day, but nothing serious.” That much was true.

“We already have you on some pain management, but the scarring is still good for now, albeit unique looking. You seem to be recovering at a fine pace.” He put the eye patch back on for him. “I just want to let you know, we still aren’t over the possibility of having to remove it, especially if it starts to get worse. I just don’t think the major surgery is worth it right now. I know you are against it as well.”

“Yes, sir.” Kothur adjusted the covering as the doctor took some basic readings from him. Kothur removed his jacket for him to take his blood pressure. “Sounds a bit terrifying.” He didn’t fancy the thought of such a major surgery much. He couldn’t afford to lose this eye either. It was a dear part of him and helped him at his job. Though maybe it has been working too well lately.

Dr. Nuford chuckled as he leaned away from him to jot more notes on a small pad of paper. “I guess you are good to go now. Please come back next week again, Kothur.” They were the same words that were said to him every week. How many more times will he have to hear them in his life? More over, if his eye was fine, why didn't he feel fine? Still, he gave a respectful response as he rose from the chair.

Later in the day, Kothur finally made it to his government dorm building. It wasn’t much to look at as a mostly brown four-story rectangle of a building, but it was perfectly safe and guarded at all times. All the staff were offered to live here, separated by gender. As he entered the small room on the first floor, he felt the heaviness of the day wear on him. He didn’t want to think; he didn’t even want to eat. Eating alone never appealed to him after his mom passed anyway. It made his broken family situation more apparent as they used to always eat together for practically every meal. He only ever really ate a full meal with Reohn at lunch.

His tired body was beginning to ache. Yet his mind continued to pester him with thoughts and emotions. He wondered about what it meant to be principal, what did Mylise think of him, and if he would ever see Fehram again. Even if he did see his older brother again, he was labeled a traitor of the state. Those who have committed treason were to be killed on sight, unless they turn themselves in.

The bullet clattered against the others in a pile as he threw the one that was in his pocket on the floor. The pile of silver shone with a blue tint. He walked to the kitchen. A small pill went down his throat with some water from a glass on the counter. He slumped on his couch after changing out of the dark suit, not finding the motivation to move another inch.

Tomorrow was a new day.