Shame

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12 John’s Visiting Time

John woke up early. He hadn’t slept at all, waiting for morning to come and hurrying back to the institute. He entered the control room to see what Julia was doing and, finding her asleep on the monitor, he left for his lab.

Julia woke up. She went to the bathroom to see herself in the mirror and was surprised at how relaxed she felt, knowing she was still alive... She took a bun from the storage room for her breakfast and ate it sitting on the bed. Then she turned on the radio, but all she got was silence, so she started to shout.

‘Hello... anybody there? Hello.... hello... anybody there? Please, say something. Is anyone listening to me? Please, release me. I won’t tell anyone anything. Is anyone listening to me? Please, say something, someone. I can’t stay like this anymore.’ Again, she began to weep.
‘Dr. Robert, did you hear that?’ queried John. ‘She said she won’t tell this to anyone. Dr. Robert, I think we should let Julia go, and its time I tell her about our research. I can make her understand. If we don’t do it immediately, she may lose her mind.’

‘Dr., I think you’re being irrational. Please, control yourself. She is our research subject. Emotional attachment is a liability. You’re a brilliant man. Why would you take such risks? You should be focused on the successful completion of our research, not her. No one in our team and I would want to take any further risk right now. A single sentimental decision could ruin the entire project. I hope you understand that, John?’

‘Yes, of course, I do, but it’s not about my feelings, this is inhumane. We’re doctors, we do research to save lives, not to destroy them.’

‘Do you think I don’t know that?’ Dr. Robert said in astonishment before leaving the room. John remained behind, watching Julia through the monitor and figuring out how he’s going to save her. He observed Julia for a long time and started to feel guilty. John fell into deep thinking, considering the decision of bringing Julia in the lab again.

Later that day, while John passed the control room in the hopes of checking on Julia, he met Dr. Robert instead, working on some papers positioned by the monitor desk. As John motioned to leave, Dr. Robert smiled and remarked, “Didn’t you see? Julia’s fine. She’s calmed down. She’s even spending time writing at the desk. I just saw some paper in her hand.’ John didn’t reply.

It’s night now. John is still in the institute. He is now in the control room watching Julia and what she’s doing. He waits for Julia to sleep before checking the passage for any activity. Two doctors were coming towards the control room. Seeing this, he quickly went back in and started shuffling some papers around in an attempt to look busy. The doctors picked up some folders and left. John searched the passage again, and, this time, he found it empty. Without letting the opportunity pass, he walked directly towards the door of the white chamber, silently opening it and heading towards the writing-table where a hidden camera was installed, shifting it’s positioning, so the table was no longer visible in the recorders field of vision. He picked up the paper silently and took a photo of it with his phone. Then he quickly left the room, shutting the door of the chamber quietly and went home. Reaching home, he immediately took out his phone and read what Julia has written.

I am not a happy bird,

For a cage is now my home.

Lonely me, the time is hard,

For suffering is my salvation.

John felt heartbroken reading this, a symbol of Julia’s shattered mind. He knew her mental health was deteriorating, and she needed help. If she stayed inside there for too much longer, she might lose her mind or her will to continue. Already, she’d faced so much with the pain of her beloved husband and daughter’s deaths and now this, a sick, mental game. It had to be stopped immediately. Dr. Robert was not going to release her before they were finished with their research, and until then, her position may only get worse. He needed to get her out, and soon. John felt like he, with his own hand, set a trap for Julia.

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