Halo Zero: Patient:
On an undisclosed date in October, an undisclosed mental institution prepared to receive a new patient that morning. The clouds in the sky looked like they would give way to rain at any moment. The institution itself gave the impression of being out of place. Outside, the owner looked at his watch. The patient was to be due about seven o'clock. The forty-eight-year-old owner looked out at the parking lot and sneered.
Those bastards never show up on time like they're supposed to! It didn't help that they never called ahead of time either. Still, the police were only doing their jobs with criminally insane patients in this country. The owner puffed up his cheeks and huffed. Finally, a dull grey truck pulled up into the parking lot.
"About time," he muttered under his breath. The back doors of the van opened and the cop escorted the patient into the building. The boy couldn't have been no more than seventeen years old. He kept his eyes down as they walked him up to the stairs. The owner of the institution show the boy no sympathy as he filled out the paperwork. What the hell is wrong with the youth of this country these days? The author of Battle Royale had the right idea. He bid the officer farewell as they marched the patient into the building.
Already, the patient received a chilly reception. The orderlies stripped him naked and hosed him down with high-pressured cold water. After getting cleaned up, they dressed him up in a grey shirt and matching pants. It didn't help that the "saner" of the patients were whispering about him. The whole morning, the patient felt like he was in a fog. Every voice around him sounded like it was underwater. He didn't even rouse from his stupor as they took him down for therapy. The orderlies sat him in a room empty except for a long table with two chairs on either side. They sat him down and left. The patient of seventeen years sat with his mind and eyes empty. He couldn't remember why he was here or how he was found in an alley outside of the city. The clock ticking on the back wall seemed to make time move even slower. If a fly flew into the patient's mouth, he would even know it. However, something did bring him back into reality.
The therapist walked into the room and closed the door behind him. He noticed something stir in his new patient's eyes.
"Good morning," the therapist greeted him as he took a seat. "How are you today?" The patient didn't speak, staring at him as if trying to figure out what was going on right now. Things turned strange when the therapist leaned and asked him a simple question.
"If I take these cuffs off of you, will you behave yourself?" he asked. The patient's eyes widened as he drew his mouth closed. He could hear his own heart pounding in the dead silence of the room. The therapist reached forward with to unhook the plastic cuffs on the patient's wrists.