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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Spring (as in the season) (11/28/05)

TITLE: Psychotic Illusions of Grandeur
By J. C. Lamont


Through the cold steel bars, against peeling frosted windows, Scott caught a glimpse of the winter’s frost receding and the first blades of grass shooting from the earth as spring began its emergence. He turned from the window and appraised the steel grey table and the two metal folding chairs in the interview room of the psychotic ward in the federal prison.

Within a moment, Dr. Bradshaw entered the room, peering at him over the lenses of his reading glasses.

“Have a seat, Mr. Reece,” Dr. Bradshaw said.

Scott sank into the cold chair and let his eyes wander from the Dr.’s stack of files and charts to the outside window. He strained his ears, hoping to hear the song of the lark that flew by, but all he could hear was the humming of the furnace.

“I see your time here has been well spent,” Dr. Bradshaw began. “You get along with the other patients, even help the orderlies with some of the more…needy.”

Scott continued to stare out the window. A faint hint of pink told him a rose or a tulip was beginning to bloom.

“Yet you continue to hold onto this fantasy of…” the Dr.’s voice broke off as he flipped through Scott’s medical records. “Of being from another world. A world in which you admit you have never been too.”

“That’s right,” Scott said, barely listening.

“So how do you know you are from there?”

“I am not of this world,” Scott said. “And someday, I will go home.”

Scott caught a glimpse of a butterfly flitter by and a smile formed at the corners of his lips. “You could go there too, if you’d like. It’s a beautiful place. There’s no death. No pain--”

Dr. Bradshaw chortled. “I will not get caught up in the psychotic illusions of grandeur of which you possess.”

Scott continued to stare absentmindedly out the window, wondering what the scent of fresh air smelt like in the Spring, imagining the fragrance of wild flowers blowing in the wind.

“Mr. Reece, this is your 4th interview session since your admittance 2 years ago. I am trying to work with you here. If you can overcome this fantasy world and begin to face reality, we may be able to have you released.”

Scott turned from the window and stared at Dr. Bradshaw. “Dr., this world of which I speak is not a fantasy. It is quite real. My son is there and--”

“Mr. Reece, you’re son is dead. He was killed in a car accident several years ago. And it was right about that time that you developed this diagnosis. It‘s called post-tramatic stress syndrome, it is very treatable, but you must work with me.”

Scott sighed. “I will see my son again.”

Dr. Bradshaw dropped the folders on the table. “So tell me about this world then?”

Scott smiled. “There’s no sun or moon, and yet it is always warm and light. The streets are gold, and there is this celestial city, with jeweled gates. And a river runs through it, a river that’s water gives immortality. And the trees, their fruit have healing powers.”

Dr. Bradshaw sighed. “Scott, you are saying nothing new. This is old, ancient mythology. Every culture in our history has had a fountain of youth or a philosopher’s stone.”

Scott leaned forward in his chair. “I will be there someday. With my son.”

“And have you ever seen this place? Or talked with someone who has?”

“No. No one who ever goes there comes back.”

“Then how do you know of it?”

“There have been some who have seen it, in visions, and recorded it in manuscripts--”

Dr. Bradshaw took off his glasses in agitation. “Hallucinations, Mr. Reece. Nothing more.”

Scott fell silent and stared once more out the window at his last glimpse of Spring. He could tell the interview was nearing its close, and it would be another 6 months before he would be able to see the outside world again.

It was the year 2150. Beliefs in the supernatural and an afterlife had been outlawed and condemned. History books had been rewritten. And there were few who had any knowledge of an ancient belief in a Deity who created a perfect world for those who believed.

Two orderlies came to the door to escort Scott back to his enclosed room, but as he rose, he caught a hint of the sunset as it sent streaks of pink and gold across the sky.

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This article has been read 1177 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 12/05/05
Intriguing concept, written well. I wonder if you need the next-to-last paragraph. I'd rather infer that information, or have it more integrated into the story, than just explained in an expository paragraph. This reads like a chapter of a good sci-fi novel.
terri tiffany12/06/05
Very good. I liked how you built to the ending. :)
Anita Neuman12/06/05
This is a great story. Very realistic and gripping (even though I don't usually enjoy futuristic/sci-fi stuff). I agree with Jan, though - you don't need the second-last paragraph. Great job!
B Brenton12/06/05
I am clapping right now for this article!

Clap... clap... clap...

Good one.
Jesus Puppy 12/07/05
I have to agree with Jan on the second to last... If perhaps it were a front not e to the piece... Otherwise great job..
Kevin Kindrick12/08/05
A great piece. Very fun to read, and I love sci-fi. Because of that, I was able to infer what was coming without that infamous "second-last" but it was still a great touch.
Thanks for sharing this chilling picture of what our future could bring.

God bless,

Julianne Jones12/10/05
Interesting story. I enjoyed the touches of spring that suggested hope. The second to last paragraph confirmed what I had already guessed. Perhaps you could omit it and just place the date at the beginning of the piece? A well-written piece - nicely done.
Amy Michelle Wiley 12/11/05
I really enjoyed this! Would have liked to have Scott infer about Jesus or God, but well done!
Beth Muehlhausen12/11/05
Scott's hope is REAL (heart level) even in the midst of his confinement. I walked away with, "Yes, no matter what, there is always hope...." Good job with this.