White was my color. I owned it, because it was everywhere around me. I wore it, I drank it, I slept in it, and I lived around it. I was the Lord of White, and I was cared for by a seemingly limitless array of white-clad servants. These servants were touchy about my wealth of white, and they commonly attempted to change the subject when I brought it up. How I had inherited this richness of color, I can't remember, but I didn't worry about that. I couldn't remember much of anything that had happened to me before I received this white. It couldn't be too important, though. What mattered was how quickly my world fell apart, and I was given the white. Then, almost as soon as I had gained possession of the white, it was taken away from me, and my world collapsed upon itself once more. This is my story.
I was already awake, and talked to Wilfred, at just after seven in the morning. It was Saturday; sun was streaming through my barred windows. I assume the bars were there so that they couldn't come in, but my servants only forced a laugh when I asked.
'So, my dear friend, do we have an understanding?' Wilfred spoke slowly, and looked intently at my face, studying my features. We were sitting on my cot, but he was sitting straight as a board, completely ignoring the wall behind him that he could have easily leaned up against. He was odd like that.
I opened my mouth to reply, but I heard the lock on my door click to the 'open' position. I motioned for Wilfred to hide under my cot, and he quickly obliged. For some reason, my servants didn't like me telling them about Wilfred. So, whenever they came into the room, I made sure that he was out of sight. Before the door opened, I lay back down in bed, and threw my sheet back over me. A man with short, brown hair and wire-frame glasses walked in. Vaguely, I recognized this servant, but just barely, because I didn't bother learning the names of any of my attendants. When he walked in, he closed the door behind him, and grinned widely as he greeted me.
'Why, hello, Nathaniel! How are you today?' I inwardly cringed; I disliked my servants referring to me by my first name. I didn't remember my last name, but I preferred them to call me 'Lord.' Deciding to let it pass, I shrugged in as much of a dignified way that I could manage, and offered him a chair. Thanking me, he took it and sat down.
'Are you aware why I'm here, Nathaniel?' When the servant asked this, it dawned on me that he hadn't brought me my breakfast. This didn't make sense; they always brought me breakfast at 7:30. My heart began to race. Was it because of Wilfred? Had they found out why he was here? No, they couldn't be here to take him away. Wilfred was good. He wasn't one of them anymore. He's the reason I managed to survive! Without Wilfred…Without Wilfred, they would have gotten me.
Perhaps the servant had read my expression, albeit incorrectly. Maybe he had expected me to say 'no'. Whatever the reason, he smiled again, although it seemed forced this time. 'I don't expect you to know. Do you know why you're here?'
I almost laughed at this. Of course I know why I'm here! I own the white. This is my mansion. 'I'm here for the color.' I wasn't expecting what happened next. The servant looked stunned, and glanced back at the closed door. Could he maybe have forgotten the breakfast, and was now going back to get it?
But no. The servant pulled a white pen out of a pocket in his jacket, which was also white, and began to take some notes on a clipboard I hadn't noticed earlier. 'Nathaniel, I'm a doctor. To be more to the point, I'm your doctor. I have been working with you since you were admitted here three weeks ago. I want to talk to you. I want to talk to you about what happened before you came here.'
This was too much. This servant; my servant…A doctor? No. No, it couldn't be. I was the Lord of White, they were my servants. This man was no doctor. He was obviously confused. 'You are no doctor. I control the white, not you.'
My servant sighed. 'Nathaniel, I'm still not sure what you mean when you speak of the "white". Perhaps you could explain it to me?'
'You are not worthy to share the white, or even to hear of it.'
'Very well.' My servant wrote something else on the clipboard. I wanted to ask him what he was writing, but I refrained. 'Now, do you remember anything about what happened before you came here, Nathaniel?'
A crash. Fear, weakness, anguish. Fire. One of them advancing on me. More of them. Hundreds, swarming. A raised blade. Then…Nothing. I contemplated whether or not to mention these partial memories to my servant, when I heard Wilfred's hissing voice from below the bed. It was barely a whisper.
'Do not tell him, Nathaniel. He should not know.'
I looked at my servant, carefully, in the eye. 'I remember nothing.' Wilfred's tail slowly slid into view, and then was pulled back. I hoped that the servant hadn't seen, and for a minute I thought he had. Apparently he hadn't, and I let out a silent sigh of relief.
'Are you sure? Please, think back.' I didn't answer. After several moments had passed, the servant took off his glasses and massaged the bridge of his nose. Then he stood up.
'Nathaniel, I'd like you to come with me.' He was beginning to walk across the room, to the door. I stayed sitting, my eyes fixated on the man. My mouth felt dry. Now at the other side of the room, with his hand on the door, the man turned back and looked at me expectantly.
'Is there something wrong?' Was there something wrong? Yes! Yes, I wanted to fall to the floor and cry. Something was very wrong.
'Do…Is…Are you my servant?' At this question, the man let out a nervous laugh, and attempted to smile at me.
'No, Nathaniel, I am your doctor. Do you know where you are?' I hadn't given it much thought as to where I was residing. I knew I was safe, I had food, Wilfred was here, and I thought I had servants and color. My entire world had just fallen apart. What did I really have? Where was I?
'Where am I…doctor?' I spoke slowly, and with thought-out words. I couldn't stammer or show weakness. The doctor, however, continued to smile.
'You're in intensive care in Maine's state psychiatric ward. You've been here for two and a half weeks.' Psychiatric ward? Intensive care? Two and a half weeks? I began to feel dizzy. I couldn't take in all this information at once.
'Why am I here?' The doctor's smile faltered after I asked this.
'That's what we hope to find out.' The doctor was silent for a moment. 'Now, come with me, Nathaniel…You have an appointment.' I got up on two shaky feet and slowly walked towards the door. I heard Wilfred crawl out from under the bed behind me, but he sounded distant.
The doctor opened up the door, and motioned for me to exit first. I walked through, and waited for him to lead the way. After he had started to walk down the empty, white hallway, to the left, I began to follow him. Wilfred hurried to catch up next to me.
'Did you know where I was?' My voice sounded hollow, as I muttered just loud enough for Wilfred to hear me.
'Yes, my friend. I am sorry, but it was for the best that you didn't learn.' Wilfred sounded apologetic, but I wasn't going to stand for it. My disbelief was replaced by flaring rage.
'You knew? For the best? How was it for the best, Wilfred? How?' I was whispering furiously now. My voice cracked above a whisper twice, but the doctor gave no signs of hearing me.
'As I said, I am sorry, truly. You must first understand, Nathaniel, that given the circumstances, it would not have been wise for me to let you know. It-' I cut Wilfred off.
'I don't want to hear excuses, Wilfred! I thought you were my friend. Whose side are you on?' I was having difficulty controlling the volume of my voice. After I stopped speaking, I saw Wilfred's ears rear back, a way he showed extreme anger or offense.
'I am your friend. If you honestly do not know which side I am on, perhaps I am on the wrong one. Maybe you'll remember when these doctors are through with you. I will meet you after your appointment.' With that, Wilfred spun on his heel, and stalked away.
'Fine!' I had forgotten to keep my voice down, and had yelled it down the hall. I froze, and watched the doctor turn around.
'Is there something wrong, Nathaniel?' I shook my head. 'Who were you talking to?' I paused before answering.
I could tell that he didn't believe me, but the doctor turned back around and started leading the way down the hall again. I followed him, but I was distant, lost in thought. Why was I here? I couldn't remember any concrete memories…Anything except for Wilfred. I remembered that there were more of his kind…But they were evil. I…I thought that I fought them, but that was only a guess. Wilfred had refused to tell me what had gone on, and after asking once, I could tell that he didn't want me to ask again.
I was so lost in thought; I didn't hear the doctor tell me to stop. He said my name, and I returned to reality. We were at the end of the hall. I had never been to this part of the building before, and I had a feeling that I wouldn't want to be here now. There was a sign to the left of the door, stating that the room beyond its door was the hypnosis office.
Before I could question if there were going to hypnotize me, the doctor knocked on the door. I glanced over my shoulder, feeling a sudden presence, and saw Wilfred standing a few meters away from me, solemnly raising his arms in his salute to me. Feeling somewhat strengthened being with me again, I turned back to face the doorway. The door opened, and a man, wearing a suit and glasses, stepped out.
'Dr. Francis, hello. This must be Nathaniel?' The new man shook the doctor's…Dr. Francis' hand, and glanced at me. So did Dr. Francis.
'Yes, yes, that's Nathaniel. I trust that you're ready for our appointment?' Dr. Francis seemed nervous, and he was speaking in a rushed tone. Without waiting for an answer, he continued. 'So, Dr. Berg, if we could proceed.' He stepped forward, and spoke in a lower tone to Dr. Berg. I caught the words 'potentially dangerous,' but couldn't understand anything else.
Again, Dr. Berg glanced at me, and nodded. 'Of course. Nathaniel, do come in.' He retreated to his office, and Dr. Francis motioned for me to follow.
'Go on, Nathaniel. I'll be seeing you shortly.'
I entered the room, and Dr. Francis closed the door behind me. Immediately, I felt enclosed. The room was low-lit, and all the furniture was of dark wood; it was a shocking difference from the bright, white halls and rooms I had otherwise been living in. My eyes darted under the desk that Dr. Berg had just sat down behind. Instinctively, and unwillingly, a thought fled through my mind.
They could be hiding under there. I tried to push the bad thought away; I tried to suppress it. But, it was there. I couldn't pretend it wasn't. I just wished I could remember who they were. Why was I seeing them? Maybe I didn't want to know. I suppose I killed them, or they tried to kill me. While I was thinking this, I accidentally let out a low moan, causing Dr. Berg to give me a concerned look.
'What is it, Nathaniel?' What was wrong was that they were under the desk. I just knew it. I couldn't see under the desk, so they'd obviously choose that as a hiding spot. It would be a vantage point, where they could wait for me to sit down, and…and what? I didn't know, and that scared me even more.
I didn't answer the doctor. Instead, I hesitantly walked over to the desk and peered cautiously underneath it. Nothing was under there. Of course, they could have moved to the other side. Or else they weren't there to begin with. My legs were feeling weak, and I had to sit down. There was a chair nearby me, directly in front of the doctor's desk. It was far too close, so I pushed it a good three meters away from him, and slowly, steadily, sat down. Studying my face, the doctor pulled out notepad. It seemed all these doctors carried notepads.
'Why did you do that, Nathaniel?' Always with the questions. I was sick of the questions. Every action I did, it seemed there was somebody asking why! What did they have to gain from asking me?
Or were they under the control of them?
Trying to keep my voice steady, and devoid of the emotions I was feeling, I answered the doctor. 'It does not concern you.' I was pleased by the momentary expression on the doctor's face. He seemed taken aback by the coldness in my voice, but his face became a mask again only a second later. He read a page that was in his notepad:
'It seems that you have a habit of avoiding answering questions asked by Dr. Francis or the other attendants here. Why?'
I didn't hesitate before answering him. 'I don't avoid. I refuse.' Not to be outdone, Dr. Berg launched his next question.
'You avoided that question. What are you hiding from us?' I didn't answer. Instead, I stared the doctor into the eyes, unwavering. Finally, he wrote a few words on the pad, and stood up.
'Tell me, Nathaniel, are you aware of what hypnosis is?' Motioning me to follow, he strode across to the back of the room, to a door. I slowly got up, and began to follow him, looking back over my shoulder every now and then, to make sure that I wasn't being followed.
'Of course I know what hypnosis is.' I hoped my voice would hide my annoyance of his unnecessary question. Emotions lead to exposing weakness.
'Excellent. I assume you realize that we plan on putting you in a hypnotic state, in order to understand what happened to you.' I stopped walking, even though I was still only halfway across the room from where Dr. Berg was standing.
'You mean…You mean, before I came here?' I couldn't help it. My voice was shaking slightly.
'Yes, before you came here. Are you willing to submit to hypnosis? Please, understand that it will be only be for the events you experienced in your house prior to your arrival here, and if you begin to suffer any emotional damage, we will, of course, remove you from unconsciousness immediately.' The doctor opened the door.
I paused. Did I want to know? With the little amount of memories that I had retained, did I want to remember everything that had happened? The answer was
'I'm willing to do it.' Dr. Berg nodded slightly.
'Very well. Please, follow me.' He turned and entered the new room. I followed the rest of the way across his office, and as I stepped through the doorway, I could have sworn that I heard shuffling behind me, and a familiar sound of long nails scraping on wood. I hoped to God that it was just memories fading into reality.
I stopped after stepping through the doorway and looked around. The walls had been painted white, like the rest of the hospital, and inside the new room, there was a padded leather chair, a small desk in front of it, and a recliner. I saw no obvious hiding places, which was good.
The doctor faced me again. 'Now, of course, you realize that we'll need you to sign a waiver stating your complete cooperation in this therapy. You'll be under the influence of a new experimental drug. It's side effects are…relatively unknown. We're treading into uncharted territory, by administering this drug on an actual patient, but it should prove more effective and overall safer than traditional forms of hypnosis. Are you still willing to try it out, Nathaniel?' The doctor opened a drawer on the desk, and produced a thick pad of white papers from inside the drawer, bound by several staples.
'Yes, I still want to do it.'
The doctor flashed me a quick, tight-lipped smile. 'Come to this desk, then, Nathaniel, and sign here.' The doctor pointed to a line on one of the pages. I picked up a pen next to it, and printed my first name. The doctor looked slightly confused when I set the pen down.
'Nathaniel, you need to include your last name, as well.'
'I don't remember my last name.' That was true. I had no recollection of what my surname was. Ever since I awoke in my white bed several weeks ago, I had been trying to remember, but failing to do so.
The doctor cocked his head to the side, thinking for a moment. Then, he excused himself and went back to his office. I heard him talking on what I assumed was a phone, most likely consulting Dr. Francis. I stood quietly, waiting for him to return. My mind was, for once, clear of thought, and I was able to just stare at the carpeted floor blankly and feel time pass by.
It could have been ten minutes later, or only a minute, I don't know, but Dr. Berg was back, and sitting down in the leather chair. He invited me to sit down in the recliner, and I obliged. It was a comfortable chair, but I felt out of place. No, the furniture felt out of place. With the walls being so white and bright, this dark brown and black furniture didn't match.
'What did you say?' I hadn't been listening, but Dr. Berg had asked me something.
'I said, would you like something to drink for the pills?' So the drug was in pill form. I didn't need anything, and I told him that.
'As you wish.' Dr. Berg took a small, orange pill case out of his coat pocket, and popped the top off. He shook two small, white pills out of the case into his palm, and leaned across to give them to me. I took them from him, and swallowed both at once. Then, I laid back in the recliner, and closed my eyes. The doctor spoke again.
'The pills should take effect within the next few minutes, Nathaniel, and then you'll enter your subconscious memories. You may feel like you have free will, but don't worry. You can't die, because everything has already happened. You'll…' I tried to continue listening, but Dr. Berg's voice drifted out of focus, and soon I could only hear a quiet buzzing noise. I didn't care what it was, because it, too, soon faded away. The last thing I saw was everything turn white, and then I slipped into unconsciousness.