Sunday

deep down

It wasn't until he was twelve he found out that the other person did actually exist. He had spent many hours until that moment questioning whether or not it was schizophrenia he suffered. The news which was prbably meant to horrify him only acted as a glorious validation; he knew he was not alone.

As a baby he was always very unsettled he had been told. Prone to fits that lasted many hours and were always violent in nature. He would scream and twitch and vomit until the doctors agreed that in his early years he would be better off medicated. As the mind of the infant grew at the awe inspiring rate they are wont to the doctors became concerned that his development would be hampered. Much to the despair of his parents the doctors took the decision to try to wean him from his drugs. Initially this experiment was less than successful and the fits came back as strongly as when they started. His quite frankly traumatised parents took this as indication the medication would just have to say. A conclusion they came to quite happily as he was their first child and felt that he wasn't really what they were expecting. It would be fair to say they were thoroughly disappointed in their offspring and each had secretly, without informing the other, looked into sterilisation lest they be tempted to make the same mistake again.

The will of the medicine men, however, would not be bent and they were determined that the boy not go through life doped up to the eyeballs. Their approaches to the parents about withdrawing the medication did not go at all well and they abandoned this tactic when the parents began to threaten to switch doctors. The medical staff that had known the child since before his birth were terribly unwilling to desert the boy now. They feared that another set of professionals may be tempted to acquiesce to the parents desires so they employed subterfuge. A decision that came with a certain amount of guilt at the time which developed into a large amount of guilt many years down the line. In the defence of their actions however, they considered that they were truly doing their best for the boy.

They told a lie which didn't ever sit right with them. They told the parents that the drugs which kept their troublesome child passive had been proven through recent testing to be dangerous to the health of small children. They told the parents they would like to try another drug, a safer drug, that would have the same affect.

The boys mother and father suffered a crisis of conscience at the news. Truth be told they were terribly pleased with the current state of the child, they had a delightful nanny come nurse who dealt with the difficult parts of caring for a boy with no control of anything, they had it very easy. They definitely didn't want to rock the boat and going on previous experience they thought they would rather run the health risk to their boy than suffer his awful fits. However, they were a fiercely proud couple keen to keep up appearances so agreed to the switch if only so society wouldn't judge them for being uncaring parents.

The doctors changed the medication to a much milder form of drug. Initially at relatively high concentrations but eventually they lowered the dosing by the smallest percent every month to see what effect it would have on the boy. Despite his disadvantages the child wasn't stupid. He had a firm grip on language but up until this point had been too medicated to utilize it himself. With no immediate adverse reactions from the reduction in medication the doctors became bold. By the time the boy was five years old his dosage had been halved and he spoke his first word. This was a fair shock to his parents who had totally reconciled themselves to having a child who would be, for all intents and purposes, retarded. His first word was “we”.

At the time his parents mistook it for expressing a desire for a toilet function but as the boys language developed it was noted he never used the word “I”. Ever.

By the time the doctors had the boy on nothing more than a placebo he was walking and talking and behaving like any seven year old boy would. Well, nearly. He was still cared for at home and had never been to school. Wary, his parents had tried as hard as they could to keep him separate from other children lest his unfortunate fits return. The doctors and his nanny were concerned over this so had both made attempts to integrate him, very marginally, with other children. Whenever the boy was placed in those social situations he always chose to sit, mostly quietly, by himself. His parents were desperate for something to be wrong with him so they could retain their distance from the child they hardly knew, and hardly wanted to know. Even the nanny couldn't see why she was still employed to be his minder and carer. He could have gone to a school, his parents could have looked after him and they were fearing that societal pressure might force this situation upon them when they discovered his habit of talking to himself.

His mother, a willowy severe looking creature with unnatural blonde hair and a naturally pinched face, was passing by his room one evening and heard voices. At first she assumed he was talking with the nanny and was halfway down the hall when she remembered the nanny was cooking dinner downstairs. She crept back to the bedroom door and looked through the keyhole to spy on her son. It was an uncomfortable position for our detached woman to be in, spying seemed so low an act and try as she might she could not deal with looking at her own child for too long. She saw him sat in his rocking chair, staring with wide eyes to his left, talking in fast and hushed tones words she couldn't quite make out. Her view of the room was fairly good but she did not see anyone else in there. She knew she heard two voices though so patiently she waited and watched. As the boy drew quiet his head jerked to the right and his eyes narrowed and in equally fast and hushed tones he replied to himself in a different voice. She recoiled in shock but recognising the potential of having a crazy son she stayed. The conversation went on some time and she strained to hear, but only caught the odd word, “we will”, “we are, “we can”...

When her husband came to find her and saw her kneeling before the bedroom door he was more than a little confused. “Angeline” he blurted in tones that can only be described as stern. Not so much for the spying I might add but more because he didn't approve of seeing his wife in such an unsightly position. He shocked her and before she realised it she let out a might squeal and fell backwards from the door. She looked to him and he looked to her and then they both looked to the bedroom door behind which there was a bang, followed by a scurrying noise. The door flung open and their child looked at them with accusations in his eyes.

His mother who was terrified of this little boy and convinced he was crazy thought quickly and spoke just as fast:

“Hello, er, darling, I didn't hear Daddy behind me and he frightened me and I tripped. Silly Mummy yes? I'm OK though so don't worry, you can go back to, er, playing”

“I was reading a book.”

“Well reading then, your dinner will be ready soon. We'll see you at the table OK, run along....”

The child returned to his room and his perplexed father was dragged downstairs by his extremely flustered and excited mother. She explained what she had seen, initially he didn't quite understand but when she highlighted that if their son was in fact mentally disturbed the meds might return and the nanny could stay his joy was obvious. They had an extremely enjoyable dinner and that night in bed vowed to do see the doctors first thing in the morning.

The reaction of the doctors though was less than satisfactory. Boys have imaginary friends. Nothing to worry about at all. No need to bring him in. The doctors suspected the parents were exaggerating the problem and the parents, not being at all stupid, knew this. They decided that they would have to take their own proof. At this point they were desperate and took a course of action they weren't especially proud of but truly felt it to be essential.

They arranged a play date with the disabled child of a woman they knew but didn't like very much. There was no point inflicting their odd offspring onto someone respectable. This made the nanny suspicious as it was the first attempt the parents had made to integrate their child, but being a generally sweet sort she hoped this marked a changing of their attitude. While nanny and child were gone the parents, whose attitude had not changed one iota, installed cameras in their only child's room.

Three weeks later, after the spectacular failure of the play date the nanny was told that they would be going to see the doctor again about their boy. She didn't really understand why because his behaviour hadn't changed at all. Sure, so at the play date he completely ignored the other child and was never asked back, so he was a loner, a little isolated, he wasn't a bad kid. The nanny prepared the child for the doctors visit but the parents said that he wouldn't be required. They went their way and suspicious, she followed.

The parents had amassed the footage they required and paid a film student a significant sum of money to edit the footage appropriately and to keep his mouth shut. When they showed the scenes of the boy talking to himself and the fury he worked himself up to, concocting plans with himself, telling himself that he was all that mattered, they agreed there may be a problem. Arrangements were made for psychological testing and a low dosage sedative offered as an interim solution.

Once the victorious parents had departed the offices the Nanny went in to see what was going on. The doctors had zero qualms about sharing this information with her as they had come to think of her as the boys family anyway. The Nanny was disturbed by the news of a potential mental illness but had to agree that the complete solitude the boy craved wasn't exactly right. She wasn't entirely happy about the meds and as she knew she would be the one who gave them to the boy she vowed to hold off until the testing had been done. A mistake she regretted for the rest of her days.

I would understand if your sympathy lay solely with the boy but in all honesty it shouldn't. Whilst it's not exactly his fault what followed, he did nothing to prevent it and believe me; he was more than capable.

The psychological profile and interview with the child was recorded on video as were all such interviews in the offices of the high priced doctor. The parents were present as this was not a responsibility they could shirk, but the nanny waited outside ready to take over again as soon as their duty was done. It began very simply with some exercises looking at photographs and drawings. He was asked to draw comparisons. He played a word game. He was asked to talk about himself and jotted down in the psychologists notebook, highlighted by a red box, was “Never refers to self as I, always we.”

As the tests drew to an end the boy became more and more suspicious and his parents looked more and more triumphant. The psychologist gave the boy some complicated building blocks to put together while he spoke with the parents. His conclusion was that the child may be suffering from multiple personality issues and it would take many hours of therapy and medication to make this other, malicious, personality disappear completely.

What followed next was disturbing to all who have seen the tapes. The boy, who had been listening in as all young boys do, looked up and howled. Grabbing the structure he had just composed out of his blocks he flew at the psychologist and repeatedly smashed it into his head until he was dead. The parents, transfixed by this gruesome sight, only realised what was happening when the boys attention turned to them. He grabbed the letter opener from the desk of the late psychologist and buried it into his mothers chest before withdrawing it and attacking his father.

When all was quiet and still the boy left the room and told the nanny he would like to go home.

The police picked the child up when the bodies were discovered and he went with them quietly. Since his request to leave the offices he had not spoken a word, a habit that stayed with him for the rest of his life. He was judged mentally unfit and sent into care where he was separated from other people all the time. In the early days his former nanny would try to visit him, determined that he wasn't a bad boy, but he would spit and snarl until she went away and then eventually the visits stopped all together. He liked it better that way, to be alone and not alone.

Twice a day a carer would silently take plates and bring him food and meds. Once a month the doctor would come look at him. None of these things ever took more than half an hour. He could have happily gone without them tough. A year into his incarceration he gained a new carer after his old one had died in a car accident. The doctor brought the stern and large woman into the cell and pointed to the boy and warned her to be wary of him.

“But Doctor, he's tiny, he looks harmless”

“He killed both of his parents and a doctor when he was eleven years old Nurse, he's not harmless at all. Be careful, don't linger too long he doesn't like the company. Don't attempt to engage him in conversation because he will not talk. Drop the food, take the plates then leave. He's attacked people who have tried to engage him. With this one it's best to just let him be OK?”

“How did such a young boy get into such a state?”

“It started before he was born, his mother was pregnant with twins but only had this one, the other was smaller and weaker and became absorbed is what the records show. There's probably parts of it in there, pushing on his brain, causing pressure. I suppose technically he killed before he was even born absorbing his twin like that. Just keep away as much as you can Nurse.”

And that is how he knew the other person really did exist and that they both were happy, in their cell, all alone by themselves.