The Chronographer (part 2)

“H-h-h-h-h-h-h-hey, y-y-you!”

Chase stuttered worse than usual as he spoke. The two men either did not hear Chase over the commotion that filled the bleached color room, or they simply had chosen to ignore him. Chase licked his lips and did his best to speak up. His voice quivered as he spoke. His legs began to wobble and he could feel his hands begin to shake.

“H-h-h-hey, I’m t-t-t-talkin’ to you! Y-y-yeah, that’s right. W-w-w-w-ord’s a’goin’ round that y-y-y-you got a t-t-t-thing for m-m-m-men!”

The two men glanced up at Chase. Neither of them spoke or moved. Both men sat parallel from one another, with the game board separating the two. The man on the left was a tall, slender man, whose hair line was beginning to recede. On the right, the man who sat was a much more menacing figure than that of his gaming partner. The man had a grizzled face with a small scar over his left eye. He had a lazy right eye, and was bald. His arms were well toned and muscular, and his face was covered by an unkempt beard.

“W-w-w-w-what’s the matter? Are y-y-y-y-you d-d-d-d-deaf and r-r-r-r-retarded? M-m-m-maybe you’re too b-b-b-b-busy checking out your b-b-b-b-boyfriend to notice when someone’s insulting you!”

The man sitting to the left gave his friend a questioning glance, but the man on the right did not return it. He instead began to stand from the table, and walked directly in front of Chase. The grizzled man stood a good head above Chase, and both of his arms put together seemed to be that of the width of Chase’s entire body. The grizzled man stared directly into Chase’s eyes. Chase could feel the pounding of his heart within his chest. The sweat was pouring off of him, as he nearly felt his legs give out from underneath him.

“You talkin’ to me, boy?”

The scarred man spoke with a deep southern accent that seemed to bellow throughout the room. Chase was quivering. He glanced back behind him to see if he could spot the man, but he wasn’t able to catch sight of him. A sudden feeling of being very alone came over Chase. His hands were shaking as he began to clench them into a fist. And after several moments of nearly unbearable silence, Chase drew up enough courage to answer the man, his voice cracking as he spoke.

“Y-y-y-y-y-y-yes, I’m talkin’ to y-y-y-y-you, y-y-y-y-you ugly, bald headed, son of a b-b-b-b-bitch. Y-y-y-y-y-you’re n-n-n-n-nothin’ but an overgrown, piece of r-r-r-roast beef that likes it when men stick things up your-“

Chase didn’t get to finish his last few words. The scarred man brought his right hand up and clenched it into a fist; he then stepped forward into it, putting nearly all of his weight into the blow, as the man’s hand met its marked perfectly which happened to be Chase’s open mouth. The man’s hand dug deeply into Chase’s flesh, with one of Chase’s front teeth catching on the man’s knuckle causing it to be knocked freely from his mouth. Blood began to pour from the spot where Chase’s tooth had once rested, and before he could react he was now finding himself in a state of being in mid air. Chase was falling, falling, falling, and for a moment he imagined himself somewhere else. Somewhere in a nice spring field or meadow, or on a beautiful sandy beach. Anywhere was better than where he was now, getting beaten to death by a man that he had purposely enraged.

The grizzled man climbed atop Chase like he was a carnival ride at the fair, and began to pummel him with his hammer like fists as if he were a butcher tenderizing a slab of meat. Left, right, left, right, left, right. Blood now covered the enraged man’s hands as Chase cried out in screams of horror. Cries of panic began to flood the room as the man continued to pound away, but they were quickly drawn out against the hard dull ‘thud’ of flesh pounding flesh. With every punch and every crunching sound Chase’s face became less and less human, and began to resemble something else entirely.

Blood spattered onto the floor around both men. Chase was sobbing tears of sheer agony and pain as each blow began to feel less real than the one before it. His face felt as if it were on fire, and he couldn’t stand to open his eyes. His brain was telling his body to do something, anything, to react in any way, shape, or form so as to thereby stop the torment he was currently enduring. Then when he began to feel his entire body go numb, and he felt as if there was no way he could possibly take another strike, something happened. Three guards armed with wooden batons began striking against the back of the grizzled man. The batons made a hollow ‘thud’ like sound that echoed throughout the pale room. Again and again the guards struck the scarred man, until his screams became entwined with that of Chase’s, both unrecognizable cries of pain and woe. The grizzled man eventually fell to the floor, laying face first and sprawled out parallel to Chase. Eventually the guards let off, and a barely conscious Chase peered through his one good remaining eye to see if he could catch sight of his old friend. But he was nowhere to be found.

Before Chase ever said anything to the grizzled man who was now responsible for nearly killing him, the man Chase so desperately longed to see one last time had already started to put his plan into effect. At exactly three forty five P.M., the guard at the front door of the white room left to get his daily paper. As he left, and as Chase began a conversation that would inevitably leave him scarred for life, the man quietly slipped out of his seat and proceeded down the long hallway. Once in the hallway, the man did not make a break for the nearest exit, but rather he began searching for a room.

The man passed one room after another, each door looking identical to the one before it. The doors had been painted a shade of dark grey. As the man pressed on through the long hallway, he felt his heart beat quicken when he noticed a sign up ahead above one of the gray doors. The sign had been painted with black letters on a white border, and in all caps it read, “CONTRABAND”. The man reached forward and felt his hand shake slightly as he grasped for the door knob. The hard, cold metal of the handle sent a shiver through the man’s arm and down the back of his spine. The man gripped the knob and leaned slightly into it, freeing the door from its latch.

The room was filled with hundreds, thousands of small and large lockboxes. Many of them were stacked from floor to ceiling; others were strewn across the floor where it looked as if a careless staff member had simply thrown them into the room and had foregone the entire organization process. The man stood in the center of the room for a moment, and an overwhelming feeling came over him. He then took a step forward to the large stack of boxes on the right side of the room, and began glancing at each one in a downwards order. Each box had been labeled with a five digit number. Time seemed to stand still as the man checked the label of each box. And with every stack of lockboxes that the man ruled out, a sense of urgency and desperation began to sweep over him. The man moved faster. He could feel his body begin to sweat and perspire. In the distance the man could also hear screams, screams of agony and pain. He knew he had little time left. He began to question whether or not it was worth it. Whether or not this was worth risking escaping in time. He was flustered. He felt defeated. The distant screams grew louder and louder. There was no time, he had to leave it behind, but he couldn’t bring himself to let go. A little bit longer he told himself. A few seconds more, he thought to himself. Then as the last of his nerves were about to give way, his eyes spotted it. Box number 69341.

The man reached up for the lockbox and removed it from its hiding place. The smooth, cool steel of the box caused a therapeutic sensation to come over the man as he held it in his hands. The man then reached into his shirt, and revealed a silver chain that had been hidden around his neck, and at the end of the chain laid a single silver key. The man took in a deep breath and held it for a moment. He then took the key and placed it into the hole on the front of the box. The key clicked into place, and the lid of the box slowly opened. The man’s eyes widened as he looked into the small, metal tomb-like case. The man reached into the lockbox and removed the solitary item. He then held it up close and spoke aloud.

“Hello my old friend.”

The gold from that of the object glinted off the man’s head, and for the first time in a long, long time a slight smile crept across the man’s face. Gripping tightly his newly reacquired possession, the man threw open the door, and began a mad dash down the long hallway towards the nearest exit whose guards had conveniently been called away from their post to respond to a disturbance within the white room…

The doctor’s newly shined, black shoes echoed throughout the long hallway as he strutted toward the pale room. The doctor stepped to the side of the doorway as two men were being carried out on stretchers. One of the men squinted up at the doctor with a single opened eye and let out a slight whimper. The doctor gave the injured man a slight glance, and then proceeded into the white room. The doctor removed his right hand from his coat pocket and brought it up to his chin. He then stood quietly, as if to take in the entire event that had just transpired. As the doctor began to speak, he was quickly interrupted by his assistant who nearly barged through the door. The doctor’s assistant opened his mouth to speak, but he was silence by the doctor’s hand gesture. Both men stood in silence for what seemed like ages, but this was finally broken by the doctor.

“The guards tell me the dispute was over an insult. This seems… strange to me. I wonder if this was truly the reason for such a brutal attack.”

The assistant began to speak once again, but he was abruptly cut off by the doctor who shot him a glaring look.

“I’m told that a patient has escaped as a result of this outburst.”

“Yes. That’s correct sir.”

“And if I’m not mistaken the patient that has gotten out was 69341, correct?”

“Yes sir, you’re correct.”

“Ah. Very well then. I suppose we should go and contact the authorities then. You will want to tell them that are patient is considered dangerous, and has had a history of psychosis as well as has shown signs of Pseudologia fantastica.”

“Yes sir, right away sir.”

“Oh, and one last thing. Be sure to call a maintenance worker and have him come up here and clean up these blood stains as soon as possible… Those sort of stains seem to really agitate the patients. Alright then, carry on, carry on.”


The Chronographer (part 1)

The pale, vanilla splashed walls reminded the man of a place he had been before, but no matter how hard he tried he couldn't seem to place where or what made him feel reminiscent about the achromatic design of the room around him. The floors on which his feet rested gave back a slight reflection when he glanced down into it; the wax that had likely been applied to it last night was starting to give the man a headache from the malodorous fumes rising from the floor tile. The room felt cold. Not necessarily cold in temperature, for climate of the room was endurable, but rather the pleasantness of the room seemed to be lacking. This too reminded the man of something from long ago.

"D-d-d-did you s-s-s-see what happened this morning to Marcus?"

"Shut up, Chase."

"The g-g-g-g-guards really g-g-g-gave it to him t-t-t-t-this time."

The stuttering man licked his lips as he spoke. His arms were crossed at his chest, not to signify a sense of authority or power, but rather to keep himself from likely losing control over his limbs. The stuttering man was short in stature; his face was worn and strained, and showed advanced stages of aging. He couldn't have been more than 25 years of age, but his face was quite deceptive of this fact and made him look much older. His eyes shifted from one side of the pale room to the other as he finished his story.

"Yeah, D-d-d-d-don told me what happened. He said that M-M-M-M-Marcus asked for a piece of toast at breakfast right, b-b-b-but when he got his toast he started complainin’ that it was b-b-b-burnt. So he went up to the s-s-s-s-server and s-s-s-s-s-started complainin' bout his toast, and then started yellin' or whatever about it, and the next thing ya know he's gettin' his ass b-b-b-b-b-b-b-beat."

The stuttering man looked behind him after he finished speaking likely to check and see if any of the wards had overheard him telling the story. The stuttering man's wrinkled face seemed to accent the fear in his eyes.

"D-d-d-did you hear what I said, Al?"

The man's face was of cold indifference. He hadn't glanced at the stuttering man at all during their conversation. His gaze was fixed upon a lone clock that ticked silently in the corner of the room. The man's appearance was considerably more pleasant to look upon, and he looked half the age compared to his stuttering counterpart. The man sat upright in the semi-plastic folding chair, his back straight, hands upon his lap, giving off a sense of vigor and eminence. The man did not respond to the question.

"Al, w-w-w-why do you always do this to m-m-m-m-me Al? W-w-w-why do you act like you don't h-h-h-h-h-hear me sometimes, Al?"

"... Chase, didn't I tell you to shut the hell up?"

"C'mon Al, I thought you'd just w-w-want to know what happened. T-t-t-that's all Al. T-t-t-that's all."

"Stop. Just sit down."

The man's gaze did not fail to break as he callously ordered Chase. The stuttering man removed his arms from against his chest and began rubbing the cheeks of his face with both hands in a clockwise manner. He continued to do this for a few moments, and then stopped as he sat down in a chair parallel from the other man. Chase brought his hands back down from his face and crossed his arms once again. He then began to look from one side of the room to the other, his eyes darting from each living person in the room to the next in a frantic search to make sure that he recognized each person within the bone white walls. The stuttering man then began to rock back and forth uneasily, causing his bony elbows to knock against the back of the seat. The sound emanating from the creaking chair seemed to saturate the walls of the alabaster room. As Chase continued to rock in his seat, for the first time since the stuttering man had entered the room, the man broke his gaze from the mounted clock and gave a bitter look to Chase. The stuttering man seemed to shrink into his seat, and quickly stopped his incessant swaying.

The man turned his cold, hard stare away from Chase, and began to refocus his attention back upon the ticking of the wall clock. Reaching behind him and digging his hand into his left pocket, the man pulled out an ebony colored plastic comb. The man then began to run the comb through his hair in a right-to-left motion. As the man brushed his hair he quickly glanced down to the floor beneath him, and caught a slight glimpse of his appearance; his ashy brown colored hair which he had now parted to the side was being reflected back to him in the way of a distorted like image. The man peered at his image and stopped what he was doing for a moment. His arm fell to his side as if it had been paralyzed by some unseen force. He sat silently for a moment, and peered down into the contorted portrait that lay before him. Many thoughts ran through his mind, as well memories from long ago, most of which he could hardly remember. Others seemed to be nothing more than dreams that once existed, but were now all but lost.

“Say Al, w-w-w-why is it that you keep on lookin’ at that clock?”

The man’s head slowly turned away from the floor, and returned to face the direction of the clock once again. The man answered in a frigid, emotionless tone, and he made sure not to turn to Chase as he spoke.

“I’m waiting.”

“…Well whatcha waitin’ for, Al?”

“Something. Someone to be exact.”

“Well w-w-w-who is it, Al? Who’s it you’re w-w-w-waitin’ for?”

“I’ve already told you. You know who I am waiting for.”

“Aww, d-d-d-dammit Al, you knows I’m no good with rememberin’stuff. Does this have to do w-w-w-with you being the special person that you are?”

“… Yes.”

“W-w-w-w-well then… I think I understands now.”


An eternity seemed to past before either men spoke again. Chase had started to shift in his seat slightly, and began to watch some of the other people that were also in the room. Chase licked his lips, and gave a quick glance over at the man to see if he had moved from his statuesque state. The man ignored Chase’s glance, and refrained from moving his eyes. The stuttering man then quickly averted his attention away from his friend, and opened his mouth to speak. His arms and hands which had been resting at his side for most of their conversation were now placed into his lap. Chase’s eyes darted from corner to corner of the hoary room, until finally they became focused upon the floor just slightly above where his feet rested.


The man did not answer.

“Hey Al?”

“… Yes, Chase.”

“I was w-w-w-wonderin’, if maybe, just maybe you could, ya know…”


“If you c-c-c-could maybe tell me the whole story again, since ya know, I w-w-w-w-won’t be seein’ yas anymore really.”

The man’s eyes turned away from the clock. He slumped back into the plastic folding chair and pushed back against the floor with both of his heels causing the feet of the chair to rise slightly up. As the man replied, his eyes met the table in front of them.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea Chase.”

Chase frowned and removed his hands from his lap. He made a motion as if he were about to stand up from his seat, but a further response from the man stopped him cold.

“… I’m afraid if I tell you again, it will only confuse you.”

The stuttering man shook his head violently.

“N-n-n-n-n-n-no Al, you w-w-w-w-won’t confuse me. I’m a smart guy, Al, honest. Y-y-y-y-ou know me Al, you can t-t-t-trust me.”

Silence filled the space between the two once again. The man sighed long and hard. He exhaled from his nostrils and breathed in deeply from his mouth, letting the warm air fill the very inside of his lungs. The air smelled funny, and to the man it seemed to even have a peculiar taste, if that were even possible for air to have a taste, the man thought to himself. The man continued to sit in silence, and chose neither to move nor speak. Chase squirmed in his seat, awaiting an answer from his elder.

“… If I tell you, will you still agree to go through with the plan?”

A look of exhilaration came over Chase’s face.

“Y-y-y-yes! Of course! Y-y-y-you know me Al. I’ll just sit here and listen, then I’ll do w-w-w-whatever it is you want, Al. Y-y-y-you can trust me, Al.”

The man leaned forward causing the front legs of the chair which had been previously suspended in mid air to touch down upon the floor. The legs hit with a crunching sound, and skidded slightly against the ground. The man then looked down for a moment, and caught yet another glimpse of himself in the waxed floor. Then, for the first time during both men’s colloquy, the man turned and looked Chase right in the eyes.

“…My name is not ‘Al’… It is Aldred Caldwell de Montfort. I was born in Leicester, England in the year of our Lord 1643. I was a distant relative to the 6th Earl of Leicester, Simon de Montfort, and as such I am of noble birth. I fought with him at the Battle of Evesham where he was famously slain by the army of Prince Edward. During the battle I felt a moment of cowardice, and instead of staying and dying a courageous death like my lord and cousin, I instead fled and hid like a peasant. Many years passed and knowing that I could not show my face again amongst my brethren, I instead lived amongst the poor and needy, tilling the land and working with my hands to sustain myself, trying to live an honest life to pay for the sins I had committed. Then one day while I was working the land, I saw a beautiful girl from afar. I later inquired of this woman, and shortly afterward she became my wife. The two of us lived in peace and happiness, or at least as much as a couple could during those times, however as time moved on, I began to notice something. I noticed that as I grew older, my face did not seem to show it. My wife, who had been considerably younger than I when I had first met her, now looked much older than myself. Even the children that we had together were beginning to look older than I. Time passed on as it always does, and before I knew it I was burying my wife. Then my children. Then my children’s children.”

The man stopped speaking for a moment, as if he were trying to bring to remembrance so many different things that happened so long ago. The man cleared his throat, and the sound seemed to echo throughout the ivory room. Mesmerized by the man’s words, Chase sat in a tranquil, sedated like state.

“… Since then I’ve been married thirty seven different times, have raised hundreds of children, and have had to bury every single one of them. I’ve fought in 16 different wars, two of them a ‘World War’, as well as countless battles. I’ve seen more men die than I care to recall, and I’ve killed more men than I’d like to take credit for. I’ve seen cities destroyed, towns rebuilt, and entire countries started a new including this one. I’ve lived more of a life than a thousand men put together, and yet all I wish is to sleep an eternal slumber like all of those before me… I don’t know why I have been chosen to endure this curse, perhaps it is because of my fearfulness so long ago. Perhaps it is because of my bloodshed upon the battlefield. Or perhaps it is simply a result of the sins of all those who came before me. Only God Himself knows. Regardless however, I am but alone in this dreadful walk that I have been irrevocably damned with. The only ally I have or have ever known is but the constant tick tock of time herself, and even then she has been nothing more than a cruel tyrant.”

The man glanced away from Chase. His words fell hard upon his own ears. Telling his story was the last thing he wanted to do for it meant reliving so many things that he had wished would stay forgotten. Chase started to try to speak, but the man cut him off.

“… I’ve been in this place for thirteen years. ‘Doctors’, therapists, shrinks, and other kinds of people have studied, questioned, and pricked me with God knows what. That’s why in exactly three minutes and nineteen seconds my time here will come to an end… and you Chase, are going to help me.”

The stuttering man jumped from his seat. He looked both startled, yet eager to help. He knew what he must do. He had been rehearsing the plan for the past eight months. Every night before he went to bed he went over his lines, remembering exactly what to say, when to say it, and then what to do after he delivered it. Chase walked over to where the man was seated and gave him a nervous smile; he then anxiously began to wring his hands together and took a step forward. With his back to the man, Chase spoke in a quiet tone that the man had to strain just to understand what had been said.

“I’m gonna m-m-m-m-iss ya, Al.”

The man gave a slight nod; his face remained emotionless, however. Chase began to walk. His steps were small and clumsy as beads of sweat began to run down the side of his ruddy cheeks. He could feel the perspiration at the bottom of his neckline, and he swallowed hard as he approached two men sitting down at a table. The men were playing a board game that Chase did not recognized, although the pieces from the game were made up of two different colors, black and white. Chase stood awkwardly in front of the two men whom neither seemed to notice that he was there. Looking behind him, he caught sight of the man and waited for his signal.

As the clock’s hands reached both the three and the nine, the man knew that it was now time. For the past thirteen years, the man had been making mental notes of precisely where every personnel was at during any given time. For example, on Fridays at 9:35 A.M. the man knew that both door guards at the east wing left their posts for exactly five minutes so that they were able to walk to the cafeteria and obtain their weekly coffee. He also knew that every Saturday at precisely 6 P.M., the head of psych ward B would receive an anonymous female visitor into his room. And today, the man knew that at exactly 3:45 P.M. inside the white room, the door guard leaves his post for precisely three minutes to walk down the hallway into the staff lounge area to pick up today’s paper, and then walk back down the hallway to return to his post.

The man thought to himself for a moment, and spoke silently to himself.

“Three minutes.”

As the man spoke, a simple thought entered his mind. The next three minutes although seemingly trivial when compared to the length of the man’s life, will in fact decide his future. The man dismissed the thought as quickly as it entered his mind, and began to try and focus on the task at hand. He glanced over at the guard who was now beginning to stand to his feet, and the man could begin to feel his heart beat grow faster. The man looked over at Chase and nodded towards him. The plan was underway.