“No!” Glyph screamed, and opened his eyes. He was in a hospital room.
“Fuck!” He yelled, as he tried to sit up. Then he realized he was strapped to the bed. There were restraints around his wrists and ankles, as well as three straps across his body.
Just then, three police officers ran in with guns drawn, pointed at him. Glyph turned his head and stared at their eyes. They were normal.
“Don’t move!” one of them commanded.
Glyph glanced down at his bonds, then back at the officer, and smiled.
“I don’t think I’ll have any problems there.” Glyph said smugly.
The officer blushed slightly, as the other two gave him the eye. They holstered their weapons and two of them left to retrieve a nurse. After about a minute an RN came in to check on him. She checked his I.V. and stared at the monitors for a few seconds.
“I see you’ve found your way back to us.” The nurse said as she started to take his blood pressure. “One thirty-nine over eighty seven.” She stated and recorded it on the chart beneath the last entry which read ‘zero over zero’, and mumbled something about never believing this in a million years.
“How are you feeling today, Mr. Young?” She asked.
“I’ve been better.” He replied, wondering what was about to happen.
“The doctor will be in to see you soon.” The nurse informed him, and left.
Laying his head back down on the pillow, Glyph wondered what was going on. ‘I killed Drathus, the curse should be broken, so why am I here? Something should have happened by now. It’s been almost ten minutes, why is nothing happening?’
A doctor came in some time later, and picked up Glyph’s chart.
“Mr. Young, my name is Doctor Greene.” He said as he examined the chart. “You appear to be in fairly good shape, at the moment. I was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me?”
Glyph stared at the man, expecting his eyes to go dark at any moment. When nothing happened, Glyph replied. “What’s up doc?” And tried without success to crack a smile.
The doctor peered at Glyph over his clipboard as he sat down in a chair next to Glyph’s bed. He turned his head, as if to make sure the nurse had gone, or to make eye contact with the policeman standing just inside the door to Glyph’s room. Then he cleared his throat. “Hm.” He said and paused like he didn’t know where to start.
“Are you aware of the fact that something is happening to you?” Doctor Greene finally asked.
Glyph laughed. “Seriously?” He replied. When the doctor said nothing, Glyph finally answered. “Yes.”
“Do you know what it is?”
Glyph’s eyes moved to stare at the man. “I’m fucking cursed, what do you think is wrong with me?” Glyph snapped sarcastically.
“We don’t know. I can’t explain medically what we have witnessed in the last 24 hours in regards to your… condition. I believe you have possibly suffered a type of head trauma that is somehow manifesting its symptoms in the form of a recurring coma.” Doctor Greene explained, then shifted in his seat. “Have you had any head trauma in the last several days or even weeks?”
“Look, undo these straps, and we can have a decent conversation.” Glyph said, his eyes constantly darting between the doctor and the door. ‘It’s going to happen’ Glyph thought. ‘Any moment now. I’m a sitting duck laying here like this.’
“I’m afraid after the incident yesterday that will not be possible. So, as to my question, any head trauma lately?”
Glyph could feel the agitation rising once more. “No.”
“Have you ever had trouble sleeping?” Doctor Greene asked calmly.
“Did you ever commit a murder?”
Glyph glanced at the policeman, and then glared at the doctor. “If you’re fishing for a confession, you won’t get one.”
Doctor Greene asked several more questions, but Glyph was finished, at least until his sixty-first minute rolled by. It was then that he realized the curse had ended. For whatever reason, he was stuck here, and now he had to deal with it.
And so they began the unending quest for a diagnosis. Glyph was asked about a hundred questions that day, and several hundred more the next. He was subject to test after test, and hours of poking and prodding.
Then after about a week, they cleaned him up, chained his legs together, slapped him in handcuffs, and took him to the courthouse. Glyph was brought before a judge, and was appointed a public defender. He was charged with a long list of crimes, including: murdering several police officers and civilians, grand theft, and breaking and entering. Afterwards, he was dragged to the state penitentiary to await his trial.
He was placed in solitary confinement, and passed the days wondering what would happen to him. He thought about it all the time, but no one would tell him anything, so he stopped asking. At night he would sometimes dream of Ishea and Toban, and even Drathus. He would awake wondering what happened to them. Where was Ishea now? What was she doing?
After a month or so, Glyph was visited by his court-appointed attorney. Glyph told him the whole story, leaving nothing out. What else could he do? His only possible hope was an insanity plea, and his lawyer confirmed this. They met off and on for several months. Each time his lawyer would ask him a set of questions; some new, some old. On several occasions Glyph was visited by various doctors and psychologists. Each time, he would tell his story, answer questions about drug use, his sexuality, or his relationship with his mother. He would always answer with the truth. Glyph knew no one would believe him, but he also knew he had nothing to hide.
Eventually his trial date arrived, and the guards came and let him clean up. He put on a suit and tie, and was escorted to the prison van in handcuffs. He met with his lawyer at the courthouse, and they went in and sat down. Luckily for Glyph, the court was presided over by Judge Hinelin; his wife had apparently gone loony tunes sometime in the mid-nineties. Ever since then he was known to be sympathetic to insanity pleas.
They read a long list of crimes that Glyph had committed and asked for his plea. It was of course ‘Not guilty by reason of insanity’. There really was no other option other than guilty, and that was simply unacceptable. The opening arguments were also nothing Glyph hadn’t heard before. He had a lot of time to think about what the prosecuting attorney might say. “Serial Killer” and “Mass Murderer” were just a few of the titles placed on him during those first several minutes. He knew they weren’t true, and that he had good reasons for the things he did. Yet, for Glyph, it was still the judgment of society. In his mind he had to come to grips with the ramifications of what he had done in that regard, and that began to bother him a little.
The first witness was Doctor Jacob Hughes; he had been the last doctor to evaluate Glyph’s mental state. When asked for Glyph’s diagnosis, Dr. Hughes responded
“The complete medical diagnosis of the defendant Glyph Young, would be ‘Acute Paranoid Schizophrenia with Delusions of Persecution and Psychotic Episodes’.” It was the first time Glyph had heard it spelled out like that, and he found it to be very sobering.
Both sides continued questioning the Doctor at length, hoping to trip him up, or use him to some advantage. The unexplained injuries that would appear and disappear while Glyph was in ‘his trance’, or coma as it eventually came to be known, were not allowed as evidence. Glyph decided that all lawyers would most likely be evil, when it came down to it. The thought sent a shiver down his spine. They broke for lunch, but Glyph found he wasn’t really hungry.
In the afternoon, they began to hear testimony from witnesses at the hospital. There had been two nurses that had witnessed some of the attack when Glyph first left his hospital room. They had apparently survived by hiding in a janitorial closet. There were also a number of people who had seen the crowds that besieged the elevator when it stopped briefly on the 1st floor. It seemed to Glyph that the whole sticking point here was that most of the witnesses felt some sort of sympathy for him. They would tell what they saw, but would always add some comment as to how they felt compelled to help him, or felt sorry for him. Glyph certainly wasn’t complaining, every little bit helped. Not to mention that everyone who had gone evil on Glyph, and survived, had amnesia about what had happened to them. Beyond that was the whole “Mass Hysteria” label that the media pinned to the episode. The prosecution didn’t like mass hysteria as an explanation for their witnesses’ behavior, but what else could they call it? There simply wasn’t a sufficient logical reason as to why they had acted the way they did. The jury also felt this label was too ambiguous, as they wanted answers and got none.
Several of his neighbors were there in the courtroom, most likely to tell how they had seen Glyph murder their landlord. He was sure that anything they said would only make him look worse. Glyph decided that his best witness would be the girl from the Christian camp. She had seen everything and helped him to escape. When he didn’t see her in the court room, he became a bit apprehensive. Maybe she was supposed to testify tomorrow. Glyph asked his lawyer about her at the end of the day’s proceedings.
“You mean Maureen Tiney?” The lawyer clarified.
“Yeah, Maureen. When is she supposed to testify?” Glyph asked.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Young. Ms. Tiney was admitted to a mental health facility shortly after your encounter with her. I’m afraid she won’t be testifying.” Glyph’s heart sank.
Witness testimony and questioning went on for several days until they got to the police officers. This was why the prosecution sought the death penalty, and as the days went by, the thought of death began to weigh heavily on Glyph.
The following week they heard more testimony from the police, and relatives of all the people Glyph had killed. The words they said made him sick to his stomach, but he knew it was true, from their viewpoint anyway. The most damning piece of evidence was the girl’s driver’s license, which they found in Glyph’s jeans pocket. Interestingly enough, they still hadn’t found the car he had ditched off the highway. Had he not kept the license, they would have never suspected him, not that it would have mattered much.
The plan was to ‘get by’ without having Glyph testify, but after the case took several bad turns with the killing of the police officers, his lawyer decided it was the only way to prove to the jury that he actually was insane. The polygraphs he had taken, that proved at least that he believed he was telling the truth, were also stricken from evidence. Evidently, believing your own insane tale does not make you insane.
And so the time finally arrived for Glyph to take the stand. He was called by the defense, and his lawyer did a fairly good job of making Glyph out to be nuts. Glyph did the rest. At some points in his rendition of the facts, a couple of the jurors actually let out a snicker. For most of them though, an intense look of pity was all that fell across their faces. For two days Glyph sat and told the story with the help of his attorneys, rehearsed questions, and remarks on his mental condition.
As it turned out, that was the easy part. It was the way the prosecuting lawyer tried to twist his words into something murderous and evil, that truly struck a chord with Glyph. The battle of good and evil was playing out right before his eyes, in this three ring circus of a courtroom. Through it all, Glyph stuck to his guns, and offered up explanations for his actions that at times made the lawyer take pause in his questioning. Glyph could tell it was starting to get to the prosecution that no matter how hard they tried, they could not prove he was sane when it came to the killings. After a total of three weeks the trial was at a close.
Glyph sat anxiously as he awaited the verdict. The jury deliberated for three days before coming to their decision. As the lead juror read aloud ‘Guilty by reason of insanity’, Glyph started to breathe again. It meant that there was a good chance he wouldn’t die.
The judge stared at him thoughtfully for several seconds.
“Due to an acute antisocial personality disorder, the defendant, Glyph Young, is hereby sentenced to an involuntary civil commitment for the rest of his life, with no chance of parole. Mr. Young will be remanded to serve his sentence at The Forensic Psychiatric Hospital for the Criminally Insane, in Trenton, due in part to the fact that he poses an immediate threat to himself, and the public.” The judge proclaimed.
It was like music and pain for Glyph. He remembered how happy he was that he would not die, and at the same time cringed internally at the thought of life in a mental institution. The yin and yang circled in his thoughts for days after the trial, good versus evil, life versus death, and freedom versus imprisonment. It always came back to the balance, and Glyph was the line that separated them both. It was scary and profoundly enlightening at the same time, and he began to withdraw into himself as the thoughts began to consume his days.
Glyph was admitted to the hospital four days after the trial concluded. He was placed in a padded cell, straightjacket and all, to serve out his sentence. The psychologist assigned to Glyph was named Dr. Osirus, and the irony was not lost. He was prescribed some heavy-duty medication, which Glyph hungrily took down. The drugs fucked him up pretty well, and that made it much easier to cope with his situation.
Glyph met with Dr. Osirus three times a week. They talked about everything, and because Glyph appeared to be sane, other than his ‘incident’, Dr. Osirus went about scientifically explaining the reasons why Glyph had gone insane. Delving into everything from hallucinations to sleep disorders, Dr. Osirus had an explanation. At first Glyph tuned him out, and on several occasions, actually tried to use his magic to undo his restraints, but it never worked. Thoughts of Ishea and the world in which he was King, began to fade. It was a slow process; eventually he gave up hope of a rescue, or even an escape.
It was at this point he broke down; eighteen months of constant explanation and theory took its toll. Dr. Osirus called it a breakthrough. Glyph didn’t know what it was anymore, and on some subconscious level he wondered if the good Doctor wasn’t just using him as a way to further his career. Of course, it really didn’t matter for Glyph; it wasn’t as if he would be released for accepting these logical explanations for his behavior.
On the third anniversary of Glyph’s incarceration, Dr. Osirus left the hospital for a better job. He never even came to tell Glyph he was leaving. ‘How could a person do that?’ Glyph had wondered, as he sat in front of Dr. Aehsi, his new shrink.
She was of Indian descent, and wore a dot in the middle of her forehead. Glyph thought he once knew what the symbol meant but had long since forgotten. He wanted to ask her about it, but all the doctors had a strict policy against asking personal questions.
Interested in his current revelation and acceptance of his condition, she asked Glyph to explain it to her as best he could. This had not been too much of a problem, until about a month had passed, and Dr. Aehsi was asking him about his love for Ishea, and how he felt about her being a mere stress-induced hallucination. Glyph faltered momentarily, and began to cry.
“It appears to me that you have been fed a line of regurgitated reasoning, and made to believe these explanations through repetition, and mental manipulation.” Dr. Aehsi told him.
“What do you mean?” Glyph asked wiping his tears away.
“I mean that Dr. Osirus brainwashed you into believing his explanations instead of finding real answers.”
It sounded better than it was. Dr. Aehsi began to deconstruct his current thinking of his incident by offering alternate reasoning and explanations, and after a while, Glyph realized that she was right. Osirus fed him one version, and made Glyph believe it. It was like a mind rape, and Aehsi helped to slowly talk him back out of it. Unfortunately as he found himself revisiting his feelings for Ishea, and his former friends, she would squash their existence in other ways. Eventually he started to tell her less and less, and after two months decided not to speak at all.
Glyph remembered that last session well.
“So, are you not going to say anything now? Are you just going to pretend it didn’t happen? Or try to relive it, over and over in your mind, hoping for what? Salvation? Immunity? Self-preservation? You are at a crossroads now, Glyph. You can either run from your problems, or learn to face them. The choice is yours.” Dr. Aehsi had told him, then had the guards wheel him back to his cell. He had felt like screaming at her, to ask her what difference it would make, and how any of this would change his quality of life, but he remained silent.
Now, Glyph lay on his mattress in the corner of his cell, staring at the wall thinking about everything, and nothing. The yin and yang. It had been three years and three months since his imprisonment, and nearly four years since he awoke from a coma in the hospital. Almost four and a half years since the incident began and he was first tormented by his hallucinations, or whatever you wanted to call them now. Glyph had ceased to care; he would be here in this room until he died and nothing would change that. Nothing at all. There were so many things he would never do, and the weight of his thoughts made him weep.
He must have drifted off to sleep, because he suddenly felt awake, like he had been jolted out of his sleep. Looking around his cell he saw nothing out of the ordinary, yet for some reason the hair on the top of his head stood on end.
Suddenly a blue crackling energy filled the room, and Glyph closed his eyes to block out the blinding light. When he opened them he saw Ishea standing in front of him, the blue light of the Divinare crystal surrounding her. Glyph closed his eyes and tried to turn away as best he could.
“Glyph.” He heard her say. “Glyph! Thank the Gods I have finally found you! It has taken me months, but I have found the way to bring you back! Glyph?”
Glyph turned further into the seam in the padding at the corner of the wall.
“Glyph what is wrong? What has happened to you?” Ishea asked.
“NO.no.no.no.” Glyph said into the wall.
“I have found a way to bring you back, but we must hurry! Glyph, do you understand?”
Glyph stiffened, and rolled over. He pulled his legs up underneath of him like a worm, and stood up leaning against the wall. He turned then to face her.
“Oh Glyph, what have they done to you?” She said sadly, and tears began to streak down her face. The room was dark around her and something clicked in the back of his mind. He had seen this scene before, woven in a tapestry.
“How?” Glyph asked her hoarsely, his eyes wild.
“I can open a gate between this world and yours, but we must work together, and quickly!” Ishea replied.
He began to laugh, and then cried, and then laughed again. The thought struck him, who cares if it’s real or not, it has to be better than a padded cell. “What do you need me to do?” he said gruffly, his wide eyes shifting back and forth.
“I have found you by using the Divinare, but in order to open the gate I need you to concentrate on me. When I feel your thoughts I can create the gate. It will only last a few seconds after it appears, so you must act quickly. I can only do this once, Glyph, so we must make it count.” Ishea explained to him.
“So I just have to think about you?” Glyph asked dubiously.
‘Isn’t that a little convenient?’ He wondered as the idea occurred to him that he may just be having a conversation with himself.
“We’re running out of time! I don’t have time to explain everything to you. I am in danger right now.”
“Where are you?”
“Degruthras. I’m on Drathus’s world, Glyph. It was the only way to find your world. Now please hurry. Concentrate!”
Glyph stared at her for a few more seconds, then closed his eyes, and concentrated on Ishea, and the memory of her. There was a loud snap sound, as Glyph’s ears popped. He opened his eyes and there was a large oval of swirling blue-green energy in the corner of the cell. He looked back and forth from the cell door to the gate of energy.
“Fuck it all!” He wailed, hopped across the cell, and leapt full force into the wall of crackling light and vanished. The room went dark, and all was silent.