I work in the mental ward of my city’s hospitals.
The first thing I can tell you is that it’s nothing like the movies depict it. It’s not filled with insane maniacs or serial killers. Most of our patients are people who are confused or have certain issues.
Sure, we had our share of crazy or dangerous people here, but those are a rare exception to the rule. Most of them get put into the mental asylum, eventually. That’s the place that most people think of when they hear about the mental ward.
A few weeks ago, we got a new patient. It’s a case of severe abuse, mental fatigue, and confusion. The kid is in his teens and probably about fifteen years old. At least, that’s what’s written in his file.
It was clear that he never went to an actual school and came from an abusive home. After a while, though, it became apparent that there was more going on.
When he described the community he grew up in, it sounded like a cult.
The biggest problem with the patient is that he’s not able to describe things very well. There seems to be an issue with his cognitive development and his vocabulary is extremely limited. Even worse, he seems to have no understanding of or experience with normal society. It’s almost as if he was living out in the wilderness for all his life.
Things became even weirder when we asked him to describe his home and the people he lived with. He looked at us when we said the world people and seem to not understand it. He said the others differed from him and regarded him as a freak.
Everything else he said made even less sense and seemed to be nothing but nonsense.
It was a week ago that one of our therapists Mrs. Conrad had an idea. Since the patient could read and write to a certain extent, she wanted him to write his story.
It was me who suggested we’d use a computer, and eventually Mrs. Conrad complied. With my help, we could slowly teach the patient how to use the keyboard and how text editing worked.
It was a whole new world for him and the first few days he enjoyed it to make letters and numbers appear on the screen.
After some more talk with Mrs. Conrad, though, he understood what he was supposed to do.
At first, he typed out what he saw at the hospital, but before long he typed out his story.
It took him days to write the entire tale and after reading it I’ve no idea what to make of it.
The longer I sit here though, the more I reread it, the more I feel that it’s not just nonsense.
I’ve transcribed the document here word by word:
Hello I was told to type out my story for the peoples here. It feels strange to sit here all day but the caretakers said it is good.
I am a male one. The caretaker told me I must be five and ten numbers. They said what the age number is but it is strange. Back where I come from we do not have that.
I lived with many others. We all were different. This word is hard but the caretaker showed me how to type it. Different. The caretakers said it is because of age. Some are smaller others are bigger because of it. I am not sure if they are right. We had mothers and fathers. Better to say male and female ones who took care of the ones that were smaller and different and needed help like me. The caretakers said it was us being young. Children they said. They say it means ofsprung. That is another word I don’t know. They tried to tell me that it is the ones born from others.
I am bad. I am one that does not belong. I am a freak they said. I was not thrown out but I was also not treated like the others. I had a box I slept in. The others slept inside. When it was food I only got what the others left or not wanted. The caretakers say it is terrible and were sad but it is normal for me. I am a freak and freaks live like that and so I never ask about it. The hits the beating the pain it was normal. I often hurt and was hungry but that was right and normal to me.
I was at my home very long and learned speaking and reading like the others. We had a place to learn from the olders. I was happy that a freak like me could learn. I liked learning. My brain was real good not like my body. I was told that a freak can not have a good brain and was beaten. It was normal like that.
I know I was bad and my body was wrong and different. The others looked not like me. My head and body is weird and my arms and legs are wrong. I do not know why. I got older and learned more and often thinked why I was different. I wanted to know why I was the only freak. I got hit hard and said to be happy to be alive. I never asked again but wanted to know still. When it is night I walked. It hurt because my body was weak and weird. The others could do better. I still did. At night they slept and I was alone. I liked that. The walking was nice and being alone was nice and no beating was nice. I was happy. But my body is fragile and small and weird and white. Not like theirs.
One night I walked to far. I have a good brain and I can think but sometimes I can not think like the others. I can not feel the way and the time like they do. So I walked more away than usual. I forgot time because I was thinking. I wondered about other freaks. They said freaks always were treated like me. My brain is good so I know there were other freaks before me. So I dreamt about more freaks and walked on. I was slow not like the others but I still walked. I tried to get back when it got light but my body is stupid and brain smart but different. I got lost and not home.
I was alone for a long time. It went dark and light many times. I got scared. I was not beaten but I still missed the others. I can not hunt and eat on my own. My body is dumb my jaw and teeth are weird. I tried to eat like the others do and get animals but they get away always. I am not like them.
I was alone and cried. More than before. I walked on but I was hungry and weak. The during light I found a way. The caretaker named it street. I was surprised but I had learned about it. I was scared since the others said it was dangerous. I walked on it and it felt weird not normal. I was scared by fast animals often so I hid when they were running by. I had to sleep at one point because I was tired and weak.
That is when the thing happened. I am so happy. I can not type the words but I am more happy than happy. Happy was when I got to eat and was not beaten but this was different.
I saw others. Not the others from home but other freaks. They rode the fast animals. It was weird and I laughed that they rode inside. Oh I got told it was no animal by the caretakers. It is a car. A machine like the computer I am writing on. I forgot for a moment because there is so much to learn. Learning is fun. I was really happy when I saw the other freaks but also very sleepy.
I slept for a long time and when I woke I was at a different place. Not a cave or hut but a special one. A spital I think it is. I am still here. It is the caretakers home. There are so many here. I am so happy because this is a freak place. I think all the freaks in the world are here. It is so weird. The caretakers are freaks too only they are different. They are completely white and they have things around their body that others do not. Maybe they are not freaks like me but they look it.
The caretaker was here for a long time. We talk a lot. I like that but my head hurts from learning. I am sleepy but they said freak is wrong. I do not know what they mean. They wrote down a word for me. I do not know it. I never heard it but they say it is normal.
The word is human.
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