The old one sat relaxing after filling his belly, when a noble told him to pack up, he was moving to another section in the building. It was a place for the veterans, men who fought for their country or served in one of the armed forces. The old had served and fought and was wounded in battle many, many years ago.
And for this wound, he was given a small pension every month, this compensation was supposed to repay him for his wound, his pain, his suffering; however it did little for his mental anguish, but now it seemed that his wound would pay off nicely.
The VA nobles gave him something called grant per diem, he did not understand it fully, but it would guaranty him a place in a community within the shelter for a period of two years. He sat on his rack thinking about all the different scenarios, one was that if his full pension came through he would stay at the shelter for the 2 years and bank the pension. In addition, by the time his per diem was over his parole would be close to being complete. He would have a nice healthy sum of money and he would leave this cold forbidding city and head for warmer climates for his final days. So for now he would wait to hear whether his pension would be granted or not. He had money, though not much money he had enough to buy his coffee and snacks, he had a locker full of clothes, and he had peace of mind
Peace of mind, what a joke, he lived in a shelter in a cold, dirty, unforgiving city with 400 other lost souls. Peace of mind, his mind was in torment, he hid his feelings, he masked his pain with false humor, and he portrayed himself as an actor. He had learned after 40 years to hide his emotions, to bury them deep to bury the hate, deep in the recesses of his brain. Moreover, the façade he had created, he had shaped and polished it, to hide the pain and the insecurities from the many. It was flawed; his veneer had begun to crack.
Those who knew the human, those who were trained in the science, the psychology of the human, they could see through his façade and see what lay behind it_ and what they saw was UGLY.
The old one needed an overhaul. Not the fresh coat of paint type overhaul, but the tear it apart and rebuild it with new parts type overhaul. The kind of overhaul the wizards and sorcerers knew how to do.
The day before, he had talked to a seer, her black eyes had pierced his façade, she had seen the turmoil within, and she had sensed his pain. It wreaked, it had an odor of its own, not like the odor of fear, or the odor of cowardice, it was something no mortal could define; however, the seer could sense it with no problem at all.
The seer told the old one that in order to be fixed he had to see the wizard and sorcerer. It would not be easy it would take time. She told him that to shed 40 years of emotional distress, might take a long time, it might take forever.
The old on thought “Time”_ it seemed, that all he had was time, he had a life sentence here. He had time, time was all he had, and his time measured in days and months. Moreover, the days passed, they passed slowly, some seeming to never end and others seemed to take forever to begin.
The old one felt lost in spite of the fact that he interacted with as many people as possible. He wrote he tried to chronicle, all that had happened to him, yet the thought it might be a never-ending story and he was right, his story would be complete, when death would steal him away from the living. All he could do now was to wait and write, so he took his quill in hand and while he waited for his story to end, he wrote.
He sat in a dimly lit, cavernous room, with his quill in his hand and his paper lying before him on a great round table, he wrote, filling page after page, his writing, what wasn’t written was as important if not more important than what was written. What was not written contained all the thoughts, ideas, and visions that came between the words, the sentences, and the paragraphs? What was not written was the soul of what was written. The old one lived between the words, the sentences; his existence was lived between the pages of what he wrote.
And so it was written or wasn’t as the case maybe, at least, the old one knew and perhaps one day just perhaps, before his never-ending story ended, he would write what wasn’t written for others to read. However, for now, he would write, write what he saw, write what he felt, and he would write what he dreamed.
The old one made the appointment to see the wizard, now maybe the old one with the help of the wizard make some sense of his life, but only time would tell.
The day had come the old one was going to his first visit with the wizards, and on this auspicious day, the old one had made plans. He was going to the moneylenders to withdraw some of his savings for his outing, he planned to go to a restaurant to eat, a meal that he chose not a meal that was chosen for him.
He arrived at the castle an hour before his scheduled appointment he chatted with the alchemist’s assistant about some of his medicines then he went outside to wait in the sunshine and cool air. He sat on a bench, opened his tablet, and began to write, but there were too many distractions so instead of writing he watched the passersby’s and the other creatures that crossed his path.
A few minutes before one in the afternoon, he began his trek to the third floor and his first visit with the wizard. He checked in the assistant and she told him to have a seat and wait the sorceress would see him in a little while, “the sorceress,” he said, “I thought I was to see the wizard.” The assistant told him that the sorceress was the one he would see she was the one that would begin to help him with the demons that raced through his mind. The old one sat down, but before he could become comfortable, the sorceress appeared and told him to come with her.
The old one and the sorcerer entered the office and she offered the old one a seat. Then the old one began speaking he told her of his childhood and the cruel tortures he had endured at the hands of his father. He told her of the attempts to end his life in order to escape the torture, and he told her how he had never been able to make of have friends. On the other hand, when he did make a friend his father would run the person off, he told of how his older sister would tell a lie to his father and then watch as he was beaten. He told her how his mother stood by doing nothing and sometimes, how she would join her husband in punishing him. He told her how to this day he didn’t know how to make friends, how he would spend many hours working and then go home and hide to avoid people. He told her how he would avoid crowds and would make excuses not to attend parties and outings. He tried to avoid most people for fear of being hurt, it was not the physical pain; he could handle the physical pain. What he tried to avoid was the inner pain, the mental pain, which was the pain the old one could not tolerate.
She sat and looked at him; she studied him for a long time. Then she told him of her initial feelings. The old one listened in amazement as she spoke and described his mental state. She told him she was going to set an appointment for him to see another sorcerer he would prepare a treatment plan and tailor it to his needs and she was going to send him to another castle where they would check his memory for any damage done while he was growing up. The old one thanked her and wished her a good day, he got up and headed back to the second floor where he picked up a new appointment sheet and to his amazement he was to see the sorceress and he was to go to the new castle the following week.
He left the castle and headed to the carriage stop to catch the carriage to the library. He had waited only a few minutes before the carriage appeared; he climbed aboard and took his seat.
The old one, stepped down to the ground from the carriage, and he headed straight to the library, he was going to do a little research for his book before heading back to the 2100. He checked in and went to the fifth floor, he rattled around the stacks hunting for a book he wanted when he found it he headed to a table and began reading. He broke out his tablet and his quill and began to write, the hours flew by, before he knew it, it was 5 o’clock and time for him to return to the 2100. He boarded the trolley that would take him within three blocks of the shelter then he would walk the rest of the way to the 2100.
He caught the carriage at 7:30 in the morning to the new castle where he was going to have his memory checked. The ride took about an hour for him to reach his destination. There in front of him was a sprawling campus of castles. He read the directory; he was to go to building five, first floor, room 156. There he spoke with a woman who was assisting the sorcerer who would evaluate the test she was going to give the old one.
The woman guided him to a room full of electronic screens; she brought up a program and told the old one he was to work this program. The program pasted four cards to the screen: the first card had a red six-pointed star, the second card had two blue X’s, the third card had three green +’s, and the last card had four large yellow dots. The old one soon figured out there was a sequence to the program and it alternated from the shapes, to the colors, to the number of items, on each card.
The old one completed the tests as quickly as he could and soon had completed the tests. The woman came in and looked at what he had done, she told him that he would have to return to complete the testing and see the sorcerer. The woman told him to go to the reception office and they would schedule an appointment for him.
He made his way to the cafeteria, up one hallway then another hallway, up a floor and then down a floor finally he turned the last corner and there before him was the place he had been hunting for. He gave the white coated man sitting at the door his meal ticket. He followed the rest of the people in line: first, he took a tray from a stack of trays, and then picked out the utensils, a knife, a fork, and two spoons he walked down the line where he picked the food he was going to eat. When his tray was full, he exited the line and found a seat at a large round table.
He sat down at a large round table and eight other men joined him, all of them were patients at the castle. The old one ate his meal in silence while all around him they talked and told jokes and complained, but most of them just complained and they complained about everything. The old one thought to himself “I think these men have complained about every known subject to man, and if they missed one it wouldn’t be long before they got around to it.”
He finished his lunch, took his tray to the scullery window, and set it on the conveyer where it disappeared into the innards of the giant kitchen. He marveled at how things had improved since he was a youngster. He made his way to the carriage stop and waited for the carriage back to the forbidding city and to the 2100.
He returned to the castle the following week. He completed the rest of the testing and then was shown into the sorcerers office where he was told he did exceptionally well on the test and as far as they were concerned the old one had no brain damage. His memory problems were caused by one of two things one being his depression the second being his diabetes. At least now, he knew he did not have old-timers.
He returned to the clinic to see a new sorcerer, this one, would set up a treatment program for the old one. This new sorcerer asked the old one many questions and after careful evaluation of his answer, he would make notes of the old ones responses. These notes were the basis of how the sorcerer planned to treat him.
The old one received a message from a sorcerer whom the noble at the federal building had contacted. The old one called him and found that this one too wanted to see the old one. He could only assume that the nobles at the federal castle were worried about the old one but the old one scoffed at this notion, because the nobles did not care about him and then he remembered something the court had ordered long ago when he was convicted. The court said, “That when the old one was released he was to be evaluated by a sorcerer to make sure that he was not going to harm himself of anyone else. The old one laughed he was being evaluated three times in less than two weeks. How lucky could he be?
The last workday of the week, the old one ventured out to meet this new sorcerer. The sorcerer was not that far from where the old one stayed at the 2100. He was early, he was two hours early he walked the distance quicker than he thought he would, he sat in the waiting room until the sorcerer arrived. Sure enough a little after ten in the morning he entered the sorcerer’s office, the sorcerer asked the old one the same questions the other two had asked. The old one had the inside track on the questions the sorcerer would ask him. He answered them. Then he told the new sorcerer, twice in the past week he had an evaluation for the same thing. The old one had started his recovery before the federal nobles had ordered it. Now, the old one would wait, he had time Hell! Time was all he had.