June 14th, 1925
It has been another whirlwind day for me, Journal. I slept in, after wrestling with being able to sleep in the first place. I remember the first trickles of light at my window before my eyelids finally gave way and there was nothingness. My mother rapped upon my door to ask about my well-being a few hours later. I made up the excuse of feeling sick to my stomach. I refused any entry into my domicile, though I heard her place something down at my door an hour or so later.
Confused and upset I went to push the bookcase out of the way and receive a tray of soup, bread and tea that she’d made for me. Though I really did not feel like eating, I sipped at the soup and nibbled the bread. The warmth in my belly eased my frazzled nerves and I ended up curling into bed again.
Alas, I had forgotten to lock my door back into place and when next I opened my eyes, my mother was staring down at me. I practically shrieked into her face, pulling the blankets up to my neck and lecturing her about the propriety of entering a full-grown-man’s bed chambers. She merely huffed and reminded me that she was my mother. She put a hand upon my brow, as if to check for a fever, and despite my age, it did feel nice to have that comforting hand against my flesh. I wanted to tell her what I had seen the night before and for her to hold me and spout off that it was only a dream, but I stayed silent.
I promised to come down for dinner, stating that I felt better after some soup and a bit of rest. I do not remember what she chattered at me while her back retreated from my room. I only remember the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I feel so alone. It had never occurred to me before, but I feel very alone in the world.
I wonder if there is something inherently wrong with me. Clearly my father is not the man that I thought he was, and my mother either purposefully ignores his wrong doings, or is in so much denial that she is not the woman I thought her to be either. My life is pretty much a lie and then there is me. I do not know who I am or what I want. I have never known these things. I am merely a puppet for my father to send out into the world; forming into the perfect medical doctor. But to what end? If my father is some sort of sadistic terrible man, what does his investment into me being a doctor really entail?
I have nowhere to turn. I do not have any friends. My studies have never afforded me such luxuries. It is not as if I am very well versed in social graces at any rate. I am shy at best and I have nothing interesting to discuss with others. I do enjoy medicine and the prospect of helping my fellow man, but my heart belongs to watching plants grow and being amongst the outdoors. Perhaps I could try to make a ‘friend’ in my Botany class when I return to University? But then what? I could not possible tell them what I saw my father doing in the cellar.
I suppose I should stop feeling sorry for myself and continue with the goings and comings of the day. I washed and readied myself for dinner in a mechanical fashion. Nothing felt real. It was as if I was walking in a dream. The sun had set outside and all was quiet. To my surprise I could hear my father moving about in his study as if he might actually join Mother and me for the meal. My mind kept wandering to the man that was chained below and what might have become of him.
To further surprise me, as I went to sit down and tuck under, the man and my father appeared in the kitchen doorway. Father announced that his ‘patient’ was feeling much better and was leaving. I stood from my seat, more out of shock than actually being polite. The man’s gray eyes locked on me and I could feel the way I gulped. He smiled, and in the smile was that predatory gaze I was almost getting used to seeing. My mother and father were saying something, but I was too enthralled by the stranger. He took my hand, for a moment I thought he might actually bring it to his lips and kiss it, as if I was a lady.
As soon as the moment began, my father was dragging the stranger towards the door. He did not allow the two of us to speak, or even finish the touch of our hands. There was only this feeling of electricity in my finger tips and a queasy feeling left in my stomach. I was lightheaded and confused, but the stranger was gone from my sight and an awkward dinner with my parents began.
My father started by saying that he was certain I had questions about the stranger. He engrossed in this elaborate lie that were I the man I was just days earlier, I might have swallowed down naively. However, I am not that young man anymore. I listened to his lies and it was everything I could do not to laugh in his face. He made up some ridiculous notion, including a rare disease that I was actually familiar. In a matter of moments I had debunked his bull-cockery and was practically angry that he thought me so ignorant.
I said nothing about the rouse, but instead I narrowed my eyes and brought my brows together. I actually glared at my father. It was the smallest hint of defiance I have ever shown him. I was surprised again this evening to see the man sit back in his chair. I saw a glimmer in his eyes that let him know, I was not buying his lie. He continued spinning yarns, but he fidgeted in his chair as if uncomfortable with my deep and unforgiving stare.
Yes, it -was- unforgiving and it shall be forever more.
I excused myself from the table early and retired to the gardens to think. I tried to come up with a hypothesis about what my father was truly doing in his laboratory with the stranger. The stranger was perfectly fine when he left, in fact, he was better than fine. Considering how he’d been bound and whipped, I would have expected him to at least seem uncomfortable as he left. There was no pain in his face and he stood upright and at ease.
Amongst the flowers I began to piece together an impossible and yet somehow probable line of thought. My father is known as a doctor that can bring individuals back from the very brink of death. He has, in fact, done the very same to me. It is a famed story in my village. As a boy I was fascinated with the pond behind our home and would often lean dangerously over the water to peer at its depths. One day I fell in and drowned. Yes, I drowned.
Those who gathered to pull me from the water stated I was blue in color and cold to the touch. However, my father bent over my body and breathed life back into me.
He is an exceptional doctor, dangerously ahead of his time. My mother has to keep him in check at various holiday functions revolving around religious beliefs. Father does not ‘believe’ in a lot of religious rhetoric. I can remember him pounding scientific method into my mind as a child and reminding me to never count on luck or superstition. Though I have never heard him say so directly, I do not think my father believes in God.
So then what did this lead me to conclude in the darkness amongst the flora I love so much? Well, I believe that my father is doing experiments that take him dangerously close to blasphemy. Clearly he would need subjects to bring to the brink, and I doubt they come easily. Perhaps this stranger is some sort of masochist and they have developed a sick and yet mutually beneficial relational. It turns my stomach, but if my father has found a way to heal the body beyond the means that modern medicine is now capable, he is truly a sort of ‘evil genius.’
I do not know whether to be proud or sickened. Perhaps this is why he believes it so important for me to keep my own records. Does he believe I will follow in his footsteps and continue his research? I am conflicted. If I am to cure the greatest of illness and broken bodies, does -any- means justify the end?
At any rate, the day was not quite at an end. I stood in a clearing of the backyard. I had walked all the way through the gardens and down to the edge of the pond that once claimed my life. In the darkness the water looked black. There was a slight breeze, but otherwise it was completely calm.
That is when I became aware that I was not alone.
His voice set my veins aflame and the hair stood up on the back of my neck. I could not believe that the stranger had come back. He did not stay but for a few moments and it was such a whirlwind that I seldom believe that it happened at all.
He stalked around me in a circle and I had that feeling of being a white rabbit before a hungry wolf once again. I was oddly not frightened, but my breath quickened and my pulse sped to a near race of thunderous pounding in my ears.
His message was rather simple. He told me that I was brave for traversing down into my father’s laboratory and trying to free him. He apologized for his conduct the night before and promised that it would never happen again. He stated that he was as invested in my well-being as I was apparently in his and that one day he hoped to return the sentiments with actions rather than words.
He took my hand, as he had back in the dining room, and as I thought he might at that time, he brought it to his lips and kissed my knuckles. For a moment it was as if the pounding of my heart ceased entirely and I had died. I heard him talking, but I was frozen and could not respond. He said clearly that I would see him again, and with a wicked grin he turned on his heels and started to walk away.
It took a moment for me to gather my thoughts, but eventually I tried to call after him. A particularly harsh gust of wind whipped at my face. I raised a hand to shield my eyes and in that instant I swear to you it was as if he simply disappeared.
I do not know if I am losing my mind, or if the world has suddenly filled with lunacy. At any rate, there was nothing left to do but return to my room and recant the day. Thus, here I am, Journal.
I doubt I will be able to sleep tonight, but I am going to attempt it.