Madness (short story)

Warlock #7

Pocket watch

-We left Owen just after he had somehow killed a man with his pocket watch-

Owen sat on the edge of his bed in the bare room. It was not bare for lack of anything to fill it. There was a large cupboard, bed, bathroom and desk. Together they left little space to walk in. It was not a large room.

It was the decoration that made it seem empty. The walls and ceiling were painted stark white, the furniture a pale, unvarnished wood and the floor a pastel green linoleum. Owen supposed it was a standard design they used for every hospital.

A knock sounded at the door. Owen did not know why they bothered knocking, there was no lock on the bedroom or bathroom door. Perhaps it was just a way of being polite, as if politeness were a big concern when you were living in a mental hospital.

“Hello dear, are you Owen?”

It was exactly the sort of person you expect to see in those sorts of situations, the friendly nurse, the kindly school counselor, the lady who sold you an iced bun at the supermarket. She had a wide, beaming face with soft brown eyes which seemed pleased to see you but sad at the same time.

To say she was plump would be an understatement. Her belly wobbled slightly with every sway of her hips. Though Owen would not have admitted it to a living soul, she was the kind of person he would have liked to be given a hug by.

“Hi, I’m Owen.”

“I’m Maggy, your case-worker from Social Services. How are you doing?”

“Not great.”

It was the best way to summarise his situation. He had been questioned by the police for over an hour. They had threatened him numerous times and treated him like a confused baby, refusing to believe that the attempted robber was killed by magic.

Then he had been driven to a hospital where a doctor had asked him hundreds of pointless questions. Did he really believe those things had happened, was he able to tell the difference between things in his head and events around him, how would he describe his home life.

Finally, there was this place. It was a plain, unsigned building out in the countryside. From his window he could see hedges, fields and clumps of trees. This was the sort of quiet, isolated place where they sent people who were not really right.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, caused by witnessing the deaths on the train. Owen wondered why they could not just say what they meant. He was a crazy person, mental, insane.

“Do you think you’re crazy, Owen?” The lady asked.

“Probably.”

“Why’s that, dear?”

“I believe in magic and things.”

He fumbled inside the pocket of his trousers and pulled out the silver pocket watch. It had not made a sound since the antiques shop. Owen wondered if he should show it to the woman, try to explain what had happened.

When he looked up, her soft brown eyes were fixed on the pocket watch. Her mouth was set and her brows raised in a look of apprehensive fascination. She knew something, Owen realised. He was not crazy.

PART 8

Find more fantasy here.

My book, Vikingr, is available on Amazon Kindle.

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