The Wayward Poet

Finnick watched the man, Crowley, scribbling words onto the floor with a stubby marker.  The walls were a body of work that encompassed volumes of words.

“It is some of the worst poetry I’ve ever read,” Martin chuckled.

“You’ve read it?  He allowed you in?”

“Well, no.  He was sedated.”

“I see.”  Finnick rubbed his hand along his jaw.  “Has he let anyone in since he arrived?”

“Not that I know of.  His doctor either speaks with him from here or uses tranquilizers.  He’ll stick his arm out for blood work, medication, to grab a food tray.  He really only becomes unhinged when someone tries to enter.”

“Why; do you know?”

“He thinks they’ll steal his words.”

“How strange.”  

On the wall opposite the door, Finnick could see two lines written larger than the rest:

I painted her with blood/Gave her personhood.  Martin was right, this was awful, just awful.

“You do know his story; don’t you?” Martin asked.

“No, not really.”

“He turned a machine.”

“What does that mean?”

“It was a machine and then it was…well, it was one of us.”

“That’s not even possible.  Do they have it?  Has anyone seen it?”

“I hear it was destroyed.”

“By whom?”

“The church.  The government.  Who knows.”

Finnick was intrigued.  “May I have a go at it?”

“Be my guest,” said Martin.  “He may not speak with you.  He’s unpredictable in that regard.”

Finnick knocked on the glass as Martin walked down the hall, screen in hand, monitoring the other patients.

“Hello in there.  My name is Finnick. I’m a writer too, a journalist actually.”

There was no reply.  The man was sprawled on the floor in blue scrubs and matching cloth boots.  His hair hung about his ears and just above his eyes.  It was dark with a sweaty slick look that showed patches of mottled skin.  

Finnick came here for a story.  He wanted to know the series of events that would lead a person to the Wayward Asylum.  This, however, felt like a jackpot.

“You created something,”  Finnick said.

“I created a woman.”  The flat voice floated up to Finnick but the face remained concentrating on the words being written on the floor.

Finnick could make out a couple of lines: Open up the coffin lid/In my  body slid.

“Sometimes we must step over the edge, break boundaries,” Finnick remarked.  He was in pursuit of the man’s justification, hoping that would be a roadmap in.

Crowley looked up, appeared interested.  He popped to standing and jumped to the window of the door. “They’re trying to get my brain to work, but I just want the mating to commence.”

Finnick felt unease at Crowley staring into his face and because that was really creepy.

“I thought perhaps you’d explain to me what happened, tell me about her, tell me your story.”

“Archipelago,” he said and began to walk around the room with his hands clasped behind his back.  His mind remained a self-imposed lockout.  

“She may still be alive,” Finnick coaxed.  “Archipelago, that’s her name; right?”

“Will you bring her to me?”  Crowley’s face look tortured.

“I can’t find her unless you help.  Tell me about her.”

“It will seem far fetched to the uneducated,” Crowley stated.

This was not going to be easy, but at least getting him to talk was. The one thing Finnick became sure of was that he needed to get into the room and read the walls, that would be the key to unlocking this mystery.  He departed when Martin appeared to escort him out, but he returned with regularity.

A month later when Finnick arrived, Crowley allowed him to enter.  He sat stiffly upright on his bed, motionless.  His eyes stared off without expression. Finnick heard the hiss and click of the door as it closed and locked.  He was alone with Crowley.  His hands were shaky.  He broke rules as well as personal protocol and lit a cigarette.  He placed it between his lips and inhaled.  The smoke exited his nostrils.  The situation was a precarious one. This could go either way, he thought as he looked around at the fragments that floated from one wall to another, words in a  multitude of colors and sizes.  Through those words, that God awful poetry, Crowley’s inner longing and craziness was visible from ceiling to floor.

“I’m beginning to believe.”  Finnick said.  He removed the recorder from his pocket.

Crowley lowered his head until his chin hit his breast bone.  His shoulders shook.  Finnick couldn’t tell if he was crying or laughing.