Hollow Moon Part 9
- Hollow Moon Part 1
- Hollow Moon Part 2
- Hollow Moon Part 3
- Hollow Moon Part 4
- Hollow Moon Part 5
- Hollow Moon Part 6
- Hollow Moon Part 7
- Hollow Moon Part 8
- Hollow Moon Part 9
- Hollow Moon Part 10
- Hollow Moon Part 11
- Hollow Moon Part 12
- Hollow Moon Part 13
- Hollow Moon Part 14
- Hollow Moon Part 15
- Hollow Moon Part 16
- Hollow Moon Part 17
- Hollow Moon Part 18
- Hollow Moon Part 19
- Hollow Moon Part 20
- Hollow Moon Part 21
- Hollow Moon Part 22
- Hollow Moon Part 23
- Hollow Moon Part 24
- Hollow Moon Part 25
- Hollow Moon Part 26
- Hollow Moon Part 27
- Hollow Moon Part 28
- Hollow Moon Part 29
- Hollow Moon Part 30
- Hollow Moon Part 31
- Hollow Moon Part 32
- Hollow Moon Part 33
- Hollow Moon Part 34
- Hollow Moon Part 35
Sam led the way down to the state prison office, which Esk marveled at. They house behaviorally inept humans in cages here? Amongst the psychopaths? What is this species thinking? Esk almost tripped over himself to keep up with the warden’s pace past the jeering locked-up humans in orange jumpsuits. They looked much like the maintenance armor that the clones used in the examination rooms.
“Here’s the shrink’s office. Have fun. Buzz me when yer done,” said the tightly uniformed warden.
“Well, here we go, Esk,” Sam said, opening the door.
The room was bright—more cheery than Esk had anticipated. White walls and a mahogany desk gave the office an immediate character that was interrupted by a gruff voice.
“I’m not a ‘shrink’, I’ll have you know. I am a doctor. I am a psychiatrist,” said the voice from behind the desk.
“How should I address you?” asked Esk.
“First, you’ll tell me who you are and why you’re here. You don’t look like prisoners to me.” The man eyeballed the two of them.
“I am Esk. I am a linguist and I need to know about psychopaths.”
Sam took a step backward and let Esk hang himself with the psychiatrist. He could not believe that his friend was so blunt. Fortunately, the shrink ended up being just as blunt and liked Esk’s approach.
“Well, you say what you want up front, now don’t you? I like that. Flat-footed communication. I’m Dr. Severius,” the man said, extending a hand.
“Do you know of psychopaths, Dr. Severius?” Esk asked while shaking the physician’s hand.
“Yes. Most definitely. I work with them all the time here at the prison. What is your interest in them, may I ask?”
“Their neural connections and how to reprogram them.”
Dr. Severius let out a guffaw and apologized instantly for his raucous outburst. “I’m sorry, Esk. They cannot be ‘reprogrammed,’ as you put it. There is something missing in their brains—a conscience.”
“This I am aware of, Dr. Severius,” Esk replied with confusion over the laughter. “Why can you not grow a neural connection for a conscience in a psychopath? I have done much research and discovered nothing about any attempts to do so.”
“That’s because we can’t experiment on other human beings that way. The world governments all say it’s ‘too barbaric’ and ‘violates civil rights and morals.’ Trust me, I’d love to try such an experiment, but sadly, it’s not possible with our current political climate.”
“Can you identify a few psychopaths here in the prison for me?” Esk asked as innocently as he could.
“Cell Block D is full of them. Don’t go down there without me. If you’ll excuse me, I have a prisoner intake interview scheduled now. Do come back, Esk. I enjoy your line of thinking. We’ll have to talk some more,” Dr. Severius said with a warm grin.
Once the prison gates slammed shut behind Sam and Esk, Sam let out a sigh. Esk was deep in thought. Why would the humans not want to fix psychopathy? Why would they not do the research? Political climate? Civil rights? What do these things have to do with fixing a fellow human being’s inherent lack of judgment and morals? This race is so confusing to me.
Esk reported to the Council that night after Sam had gone to sleep. The collective consciousness of the Council was intrigued by Esk’s line of research, encouraging him to follow up with this Dr. Severius. Perhaps he could shed some light on the entire situation, they hissed as one. Esk confirmed that he would indeed be in contact with Dr. Severius while he allowed the experiment with the Bandersnatches to unfold the coming Sunday. Leaving with the Council’s doting approval, Esk translated himself back to his recliner and contemplated his next move. It would be a cautious one—a crucial one…
“Dr. Severius, please?” Esk asked the prison guard.
“What’s yer bi’ness with the shrink here?” the prison guard countered.
“Dr. Severius invited me to share further conversation with him.”
The guard reluctantly opened the gate for Esk with a huff, and Esk visited the warden’s office. The warden seemed busy, but Esk waited his turn in a hard-backed chair outside the official’s quarters. The warden stepped out, angry with the man whom he was speaking with, and told him never to darken his door again. Upon noticing Esk sitting to the right of said door, the warden blushed a bit.
“Well, hi there,” the warden greeted him, “I apologize fer the argument. That fella just don’t know when ta’ quit gettin’ under my skin sometimes. Esk, right? What can I do fer ya’?”
“I am here to see Dr. Severius. He invited me to return,” Esk stated.
“Ah, so you and the shrink get along, huh? That’s odd. He don’t get along with nobody ‘round here. ‘Course, he’s not from here, either. He talks funny, kinda’ like you do—real proper-like. But that’s okay. I figure ya’ need ev’ry friend you can get ‘round here, Esk, no matter how odd. This way. I’ll walk ya’ past them riff-raff punks in lock-up.”
Again, Esk struggled to keep the warden’s pace. The warden always seemed to be in a hurry. Esk could not surmise for what purpose, though. There was no other place to go except up and down the hallways. Perhaps he does it for the cardiovascular benefits. Or perhaps he finds the caged humans as detestable as I do…
Dr. Severius’s door was closed. The gold lettering on the door was dull and peeling. Either Dr. Severius had been here a very long time, or the conditions of the prison were hard on lettering. Perhaps the person who painted the letters simply did a poor job of it. Esk rapped with controlled purpose on the door, which opened immediately.
“Esk. What a pleasant surprise. Come in. I have a report to finish up and I will be right with you. Come, sit down.”
The psychiatrist guided Esk to a plush leather chair to the side of his desk—not a position a prison doctor would have a prisoner sit. No. This seat was for special guests and was comfortable. It left the physician exposed to attack, which he had no anticipation of from a friend or esteemed guest sitting in that chair. Esk felt welcome. The clicking of computer keys commenced and was both quick and efficient. Dr. Severius practiced the art of typing up notes, Esk concluded. One final heavy keystroke and the man was finished with his current task.
“So, Esk, where did we leave off in our conversation during our last visit?”
“I recall the current political climate not supporting critical research in the areas of reprogramming psychopathy neurologically.”
“Ah, yes. I had to scrap an entire experiment due to the Internal Humanities Board’s rejection of my proposal for that very type of research. What is your background in neurology and psychiatry, Esk?”
“My background is extensive. I am an expert in this capacity.”
“Well-spoken and well-educated. I can tell. So, where do your moral boundaries lie concerning such research if you were presented with the opportunity to conduct it, my friend?”
Dr. Severius’s countenance turned pensive and he leaned forward in his chair. Lowering his voice, he continued.
“I can provide you with the resources to do such research, Esk. You have only to ask. I will participate as I am able if you are interested in pursuing this.”
Esk was overjoyed to have psychopaths at his disposal to experiment on for the greater good of this species. His right thumb throbbed with excitement, which he could hardly contain in his reply.
“Dr. Severius, you have a deal. We shall do research together,” Esk said.
The physician slapped his desk with his right hand and jumped up from his seat. Esk left with a hearty handshake from the doctor and an appointed time and place to meet later that evening to discuss plans for the research to begin. Esk skipped down the street to the diner, where he was sure to find Sam having lunch.
Esk looked high and low for Sam but could not locate him. A hand on his shoulder from behind startled him. Positive it was his friend, he whirled around with a smile only to find the Reverend Bandersnatch standing unyielding before him.
“I think you an’ I ought’ta’ have a word, young man,” the Reverend said, motioning to the nearest yellowing bench in the diner.
“What have we to talk about?” Esk asked without following the cue.
“Oh, you an’ me, we got a lot ta’ talk about, Son.”
“I am most certainly not your son. You are mistaken.”
The Reverend took Esk by the shoulder and pushed him into the nearest seat, crowding in next to him with a steel expression. Esk was pinned between the wall and the Reverend, and so angry that he was beginning to glow through his armor. This human had just attacked him. What was he to do—surrender? NO. I will not be treated in such a manner by any human, especially this one! Cannibal! I will lure him out and translate him immediately for examination. Reprogramming will not be pleasant for him this time.
Image by Chouaib Saoud via Pixabay