Matthew was lying on his bed, his cell was a single bed one so he has been alone since he got here two months ago. The first weeks were challenging for Matthew, to say the least. If the screams near the front door of the asylum were loud then the ones in his surroundings were deafening. ‘That is probably the reason why this section of the building only had one-bed cells.’
Even now while he was in bed at night the screams kept going “THE WAR WILL COME AND YOU WILL ALL SEE!!”
“NO!! PLEASE, MASTER, THEY ARE JUST CHILDREN!!” a panicked plead was heard next
“Where the shadows shine is where the night hides
Where the shadows shine is where the night hides ”
Matthew knew that was his neighbor, he had sung the same song every day for the past month. Sometimes he spent hours doing without stopping.
The routine in this place was a simple one, he never left the cell, they gave him some incipient food twice a day. With the second food pot, they gave him a pill with irregular edges. Once ingested its effects were quite obvious, it was some kind of tranquilizer that lasted quite a bit. Unfortunately, it seemed that for some of his neighbors the dose was not enough
The first days Matthew swallowed the pill and it made him daze for hours. Thankfully, it seemed that they thought him as an obedient one and they stopped checking his mouth to see if he was taking it.
What Matthew did after, was to simply ground the pill to dust and throw it into his waste bucket. Nobody was eager to inspect closely that thing.
“ I have to figure a way to escape of this hell or else I will really go mad”. He started having these thoughts the moment he stopped taking the pill and his mind regain lucidity. ‘Sigh… the problem is I have nothing to work with’.
Matthew looked around his cell, it was small, around 15 square feet and painted in a turbid white. Not that it mattered since most of the walls and ceiling were covered with moss. It had a small window the size of his palm that faced the outside wall and was furnished with a bed and a toilet in the form of a heavy metal bucket.
This was the place where he spent the whole day. ‘It is inhumane to keep someone locked in a room without even getting him to enjoy some fresh air. What's worse is that they are treating insane people like criminals.’
So he had not come with a way to even get out of this room much less scape. “Maybe if I somehow pretend to be dead I could get a chance, but how? and would it even work? its a long run till the door and I know of no other exit.” He had been getting these ideas and immediately discarding them for the last two months.
“Anyway I have to get out, the worst part is this room and its putrid smell that is only covered by the smell of my feces when it's the end of the week.” He couldn't believe that they emptied his bucket only once every 5 days, that was unhealthy.
“Mmm?” His inner complaint stopped when the door was opened and an unusually sane voice came from the other side.
“Boy! you have spent two cycles in this pavilion and you behaved very well. So, we are moving you to block one, we need these rooms for more aggressive patients. Be glad, at least they don't scream at night over there.” A jailor grabbed him and without wasting a second, took him out, lucky this one was quite decent.
‘Well that is good news.' Matthew could already understand part of the sentences, he had been working day and night to get this language. He couldn't form a coherent sentence and could barely understand when someone spoke, but the meaning of this sentence didn't scape him.
The jailor took him down the same path Matthew passed by the first time. They walked for 15 minutes and halted on the first corridor, nearer to the outside door. 'Ohh that's what i call a gift from above, it doesn't solve my problem but it's an improvement.'
Now the jailor stopped him in the middle of two cells and seemed to be in deep contemplation while passing his eyes back and forth between the two. “Mmmmm, now this is a hard decision. Who do you prefer as a roommate kid? the cannibal or the old man? it's a tough one.”
He pushed Matthew closer to the cell at his right. He looked inside to a pale bald man looking at him with bright eyes, like someone seeing water in the desert. That look gave Matthew goosebumps, then without a sign, the man pounced on the door and started screaming and scratching like a mad animal.
Matthew looked at the jailor and tried to communicate something he had tried many times to say. “ Hey... Me.. not.. crazy... me forget talk.” Of course, he couldn't say he was the soul of a 22 years old guy in the body of a 13 years old. That was a crazy story, not that he could even make a sentence that complex.
The jailor looked surprised. During all the time the kid has been in this place, he has said no words other than a few incomprehensible mumbling. But he recovered quickly and just shook his head.
Then he saw what the bald man was doing and sighed. “Well, I guess you will be stuck with the old pervert. Sorry kid, this one usually behaves well and is very quiet but he seems to dislike you, well the old one is weird but harmless.”
So Matthew was pushed to the left door where an old man was sitting on his bed looking at the floor. When the jailor opened the door the old man only tilted his head in their direction with his eyes still locked on the floor. Then he slowly looked up with a smile.
The jailor just threw Matthew in and close the door quickly as if he didn't want to get too close to the old man.
‘Well he is a little creepy but at least he's smiling and not out for my blood.’ Thought Matthew with a relieved sigh. He looked at the room and noticed it was much bigger than his previous one. Besides the two beds, there was a bigger window on the much cleaner wall, but a frown popped up on his face at the look of only one waste bucket for two people. 'This will be a disgusting experience’ concluded Matthew.
The old man got up slowly and came before him. Matthew had seen this old man mumbling when he first came to this place. He had bushy eyebrows and white matted hair, he was skinny, his arms were full of wrinkles but his face had only a few.
When he got in front of Matthew he stopped and look down, Matthew followed his line of sight to see the old man looking at his feet. ‘doesnt matter how odd he is at least I will have a someone to practice conversation’
“Hi, nice to meet you.” Matthew greeted him with one of the few sentences he knew. The old man slowly raised his head again and answered. “Hi there. Hey, I couldn't help to notice you have some good feet.” Then he put a sheepish look, like a kid who knows that he is doing something bad, and pointed at Matthews' feet. “ May I lick you one? I’ll make it really clean.”
Matthew had a mental block. ‘Did I understand wrongly?’ But the old man continued. “Okay, okay maybe not one foot I’ll settle with just a toe.” Matthew creased his brows, and a realization hit him ‘ So that was what the words the jailor said meant, I only understood old but I missed the pervert part.
Matthew started to take a few steps back, the old man’s face was starting to look much like the guy next door. But suddenly the decrepit old man stood up, grabbed his sunken belly and laughed. “Hahaha, kid your face was priceless! Nice to meet you.” he cupped his fist in a sign of formal greetings that fail miserably in the formal part due to the context.
Matthew looked with a skeptic's face at the old man. Although he said the earlier words were a joke he was still giving a few sneak peeks at his feet. Making Matthew believe that had he answered yes to the previous question this guy would have gladly licked his feet clean.
In the end, Matthew could do nothing else but talk with the old man. He was in so much need of company that even this strange man was good for him. Like that, he passed the next few moments telling the old man that he had suddenly convulsed and lost most of his memories. He also told him that he even forgot how to talk.
The old man accepted everything without much question and even gladly offered him to re-teach him the language. With the condition that Matthew had to stop wearing shoes. After making the old man promise that he will do nothing weird and only look, Matthew agreed to the deal.
"Oh by the way. What's your name boy?" The old man was now speaking with exaggerated hand and body movements that made him look silly but strangely, it helped Matthew understand.
“I'm Ma..” He stopped for a moment and sighed thinking ‘sighhh. I guess my old name will be of no use anymore. I'm not sure but it may sound strange to the natives here, it's better that I start to look at myself as Aleran.' With some reluctance, Matthew left behind his name. “I'm Aleran Vistrage, and what is yours?” he asked back.
“Ohhh Aleran nice name, almost as nice as your feet.” Said the old man gesturing, something that Aleran would have prefer to not understand.
“As for me, I’m the one and only Zarasen Ignim. Zar for friends so you can call me Zarasen.” Said the old man slowly conveying the meaning perfectly with a smile on his face
Matthew´s eye started twitching. ‘Man, was there a need for that last part? I'm already regretting asking him to teach me.”
And so time passed, with Zarasen teaching to the now Aleran, the language and some basic knowledge he had ‘forgotten’.