Arthur

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πŸ“… Published on November 12, 2008

"Arthur"

Written by

Estimated reading time β€” 2 minutes

You volunteer at the mental health clinic. Given the dangerous nature of the residents, they assigned you the rooms of the less violent patients. The suicidal. Those who hear voices. Those that don’t say anything at all.

You become close to a mute man named Arthur. He is a rapt listener, willing to nod his head for hours as you tell him the story of your life. You mention your past, your present. The people involved in both. Your hopes for the future.

And Arthur just nods.

After several months of listening, you figure that you owe it to Arthur to get him out of the clinic. He can’t be happy sitting in a room by himself nodding at interns everyday. You talk to the supervisor of the clinic. You argue that he isn’t harming anyone. That he grooms and feeds himself with no problems. That perhaps his condition is a physical aliment.

The day comes when your arguing pays off. The supervisor has agreed to let Arthur go. You rush to his room to tell him the news. “You’re free!” You shout. “Isn’t that great?”

And Arthur just nods.

You write your name and address on a piece of paper. Hand it to him. “I’m going to miss having someone to talk to.” You say. “But now you can write me. I can learn all about you. Like why they were so insistent in having you in here, pal. I had to fight Dr. Thanner everyday to get you out.”

He looks at you and takes the paper. Just nods.

You go home, feeling good about yourself. You brag to everyone you can tell, friends, family, classmates, co-workers, about how you came through for Arthur. You even fall asleep with a smile.

That night, your eyes snap open. Screams, unearthly screams wake you up.

Then you see them. Your mother. Your father. Your friends. Your classmates. Your co-workers. Lying on your floor, their blood soaking into your carpet. Your walls stained with carnage. Their heads bashed in, their eyes missing from their sockets. Everyone you know dead or dying.

You whimper and see a man standing in the doorway.

It’s Arthur, holding the piece of paper you gave him.

Your entire body shaking, you choke out. “Are you here to kill me?”

And Arthur just nods.

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