§ Cells for the Insane §
One time at night, the hospital came alive with shrieks and howls. My master was not there but I heard what had happened from the other doctors. It was the Frank again. Only this time the Christian proved just how much of an animal that he was. At first it was quiet, the patients residing there silent and sleeping until the screaming of the Frank broke through the night. I saw the attendants run past and out of sight to tend to the man’s wailing. The animal noises coming from him woke up everyone in our hospital it seemed for soon enough, they were calling for doctors. The other patients sought answers or attendance of the workers.
The workers struggled to subdue him, for despite the Frank’s small size, he managed to require several orderlies and a doctor to drag him to the cell. His body shook violently and he could not stand on his legs. It was though he had suddenly been gripped by a quivering tetanus. The Frank’s shoulders reached toward his ears. His hands made quick motions of opening and closing. It was just like Tetanus, but his mouth was still moving perfectly fine (God Silence Him). The sounds that were coming from him made it clear that this was not tetanus. They dragged the Frank in front of my master’s office and that was how I saw him look like he was under some unlucky spell. He muttered words about the heat and about the sounds of the market outside having been too loud that say.
The next morning my master brought myself and my colleagues into a cell for the insane where the Frank had been moved. The infidel was curled up on the cot corner. His shoulder was resting against the wall. His legs were pulled up against his chest and he held them there with his arms. The red on his face from swelling was starting retreat and the red from the heat replaced it on his pale skin. His breath came out in a sound like a cough, but it was short and shallow, not deep in his chest like one of terrible sickness.
“Þeudhar, what happened last night?” my master asked, not getting very much closer to him. He was cautious in case the Frank was carrying anything.
The Frank spoke tersely, “Too much in my head.”
“That sounds like the words of a mad man. What happened?” my master asked again.
The Frank shook his head.
“You seem lucid enough yesterday”
The Christian’s shoulders slumped at that. “I know.”
“You lied to me,” My master said. “You had said that your head worked perfectly well.”
“Sometimes it doesn’t like to work very well.”
“Are you sick? Do you have a headache over your eye?”
The Frank shook his head again, his voice was exceedingly quiet. “It’s not any sickness I know of afflicting my brain. I was born this way. Maurifius always said I had the devil inside of me.”
At once my master became much more interested in this Christian than he had ever been before. Although he worked here constantly and was one of the few doctors that seemed to never leave, rarely did my master have a chance to sit down with patients who were here for maladies of the mind and not only of body. My master liked talking about the head and the brain very much. More than any other part of the body. He would tell the other doctors how much he wanted to talk with the insane.
“I would like to help you, Christian, but I can not help you unless you tell me what happened last night.”
The Frank swallowed hard and started speaking. When he started, he did not stop. My master listened intently and did not interrupt. I was not ready to receive this information about the Frank, nor did I care much of how this man grew up in someplace called Vienna. I did not care that his father abandoned him. I did not care that he was set to be a doctor’s apprentice who now no longer wanted him. I only wished that God (Glory be to him) would have found some way to silence this Christian’s endless talking. Where before he barely said a word, now he would not silence himself (God curse his tongue).
“And here, last night, I couldn’t sleep. It felt to stifling and I could not stop the feeling that I might be dying with how my heart started racing and how my hands shook and my head hurt. I don’t know why, but I remember odd things when that happens. I remembered trying to learn how to suture a wound.”
My master looked pensive, “Þeudhar, I would like you to stay here if you wish. I would like to talk with you about these problems.”
“Its hard to talk.”
“You will try while you are here.”
It did not seem that God was very pleased with me at all. The infidel was going to be staying longer than originally planned and I could do nothing to convince my master otherwise. He brought me back to his office and left to go back to observe the Frank.