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It's quite the pleasure to run.

I should make it very, very clear that my motivation in writing this has never been clear, or for that matter guaranteed. It's quite hard these days to believe that what's put out there is really true, but I have no clue if even I have the right to make such an argument since any evidence - evidence that I do have - has itself been tampered with. My main courage in telling you this is the fact that over the years I've taught myself that it doesn't matter what exactly people think about what you tell them - it's rather the effect of what length you go to in order to make it resonate with them. I would guess that it's much more of an agreement as to not exactly what you may believe, but just how much it stays with you over the years. Something that you cannot quite block out even though it's obvious that it's the most appalling thing you've ever witnessed. To all the people out there who have tried to assist me with this - I'm sorry that I didn't learn the lesson. But I'll take a great leap just to say this: If you want to deposit a loan from someone that you think is going to take you out of the hole you're in - don't assign your contract to the highest bidder. While that may come off to you as sounding like someone who clearly doesn't understand how finances work, the point I'm trying to make is perhaps better expressed metaphorically. And no, it's not with the endless amount of therapy, pharmaceuticals, or psychiatry that I'm referring to. It's rather what opportunity comes about when you know that you're already in a hole. But you dig yourself deeper into it because some do-gooders give you something sharp to climb with. Yet all you manage to do is either deepen your position or dig further in endless directions. Always remaining underneath other goals that would've reached out to you had you tried your best to appear willing and unpretentious in achieving them.

Those thoughts come to me every so often. I'm sure that in reading this you'd make the assumption that I'm already permanently broken by the experience that I'm about to tell you about. In every sense I am, but I've tried my best to simply forget about it using the three things I've already made clear I've used as some form of higher coping mechanism. I rub my eyes as I write this because it's already giving me flashbacks into the practical katabasis I was in approximately twenty years ago. It's a useless habit because what your mind projects already lasts long beyond sight. It repeats endlessly even after you've already set off somewhere else after uttering your final words - and maybe then your final breath. I'll also go ahead and tell you that this isn't the first time I've tried writing about this. A few times I've attempted merely writing down the small and most inconsiderate things I saw, but couldn't get past even the first few words because it reminded me too much of just about everything in that cold, blue darkness that I found myself working in. You might as well call me a hypocrite to consider myself sane because it'll become very clear that my sense of ambiguity has already pervaded any resolve I do have in telling you this story cohesively. But it seems that leaving all of this - perhaps useless - information or musing in here is probably the best way I can get my thoughts out without veering straight into another downward spiral.

Do you know what it feels like to want to appear tough and commanding after you've failed badly? Do you know how it feels to have that very same commanding presence in you act like you know everything - even to the point where you try, and fail, to convince people that your failures were a test of others' trust and ability? That's me. I'm the one who tried acting up to appear so accepting to other people, and lost one single big opportunity because of it. It was 2004. I had recently gotten a scholarship to a major university nearby. Not quite an Ivy League one, but one which - to my parents - didn't force you to pay off your entire life savings attending it, and at least had a capable and mature student body leading it. To me it didn't seem like the administration cared all that much if you decided to sock a random person in the face solely because they didn't appear nice to you. But I was wrong. About two to three weeks before the school was to read over and accept applications, I took the liberty in visiting a local bar off-campus and found myself, unknowingly, face-to-face with another future student. I'd describe myself as being lean, but not strong whatsoever. While I'd like to tell you that I didn't instigate the fight, it wasn't particularly respectful to brand him a "knobhead" while passing by him to go the restroom, in the midst of his drunken haze. Within seconds I was on the ground taking hits from this guy. Before he nearly broke my nose - even though he'd by that point already left me caked in blood - I grabbed a pedestal near me and swung it at him. I wished I had calculated my trajectory because within the next few seconds he was lying incapacitated as a result of a collision between his head and a half-finished bottle of whiskey that an older man had yet to discard.

After spending a night in the county jail, I was of course in for the worst luck imaginable. But thankfully the man's fiancé and parents had the audacity to convince him not to press charges since this apparently wasn't the only occurrence in which he had been confronted at that same bar. While this one was obviously the most violent of it all, it still surprised me that he still hadn't found himself in any visible run-ins with the law - or for that matter the university administration - for his behavior. But I won't spend this entire time levying the blame on him. After getting a scolding from my own parents about the incident, I made a promise that I would "make up for it" by finding a job of decent pay yet stronger management somewhere on the edge of town. This would've meant that I would've had to venture into a semi-rampant crime zone on the eastern side of the city I currently lived in. And when you're on the east coast of the United States, you know that you'll definitely get what you're looking for. I'm sure many of you are thinking that I had the thought of becoming a police officer, or a volunteer or a community servant. But nope, I didn't. I didn't want to make up for it by going straight to the law again to become one of their own. While I was interested in enforcing some kind of rule, I wanted a schedule regardless of any time. After failing to find a few part-time internships which surprisingly appeared to have great pay, even if you only worked there for around eight to ten hours a week, I came across something that sounded more like the "next best thing" in comparison to law enforcement. A security guard. For a local asylum. From dusk until dawn.

You could've told me at that time that I still had yet to reach my final destination in the endless web of job openings or internships. But I probably would've called you crazy. Being a young person only three to four years senior to becoming an actual adult says two things: the first being that what I've told you - you look for what you deem the highest bidder out of other, amiable opportunities, and the second being that you're too lazy to make considerations as to what exactly you want to achieve by doing it. My sense of achievement in that sense was nothing extraordinary. I thought that putting myself forward into near-literal darkness would save me and teach me a lesson about earning a career and making a living. That came to me much later in the process of stocking shelves at a supermarket. Here's what I want you to know: don't make the same mistake. Look for people who will treat you as sternly as your dad when you've broken porcelain in the kitchen, people who will only make an account of you based strictly on your own merits rather than your own earnings. You might find yourself in a much better place than a younger me was in. I can still remember that cheeky grin I was giving myself as I applied to work at Auxilium. And another piece of advice I can give you is to always, and I mean always, look up what kind of place you're finding yourself in. There is no telling that judging something entirely by its cover can have dire, dire consequences.

I should have been surprised when my application was accepted within the course of a week. When you live where I lived at that time, it would've taken a near month if you were thinking about something tough or for that matter entertaining. But my best guess by this point is probably something that just about confirms why the place closed down five years later. There was probably someone also serving there who knew what was really in for them, and left not long after, leaving a slot open for another imbecile such as myself. Auxilium wasn't particularly old by the standards of the city I lived in. The place was built in 1933 using the remaining funds and loan payments of a local millionaire who had lost his fortune just as Wall Street fell twenty stories. It's speculated that his wife allegedly poisoned him to pursue his inheritance after their only son died, and instead invested in a mental health facility to have herself institutionalized. But it's not like the company cared to tell us that. I, myself, wouldn't have either if you decided to tell me about it as I applied. At the time I had accepted the job, the place was under maintenance for what the parent company deemed "electrical incidents", and pictures I had seen in my returned application all showed backhoe loaders and orange trucks surrounding it. Likely because they only showed me remote parts of the outside in said photos, the place was fairly large when I approached it in person.

The night before I did my interview, I took the liberty of practicing my acting skills in front of a mirror. It didn't help that they had mailed me back my application on the eve of a thunderstorm, so picturing a man in a dark bathroom reciting his employment history before a candle-lit mirror isn't what you'd imagine to be career-guaranteeing. I remember that the mandarin-colored leaves outside had grown even duller and had retreated to the ground, per the usual transition from fall to winter. But I was ironically lucky that neither the interview or the job itself took place before or during Halloween. I wrote out my mistakes and fallacies on a piece of paper to hopefully ensure that I didn't come off as either condescending or completely unwilling to whoever would interview me. After sitting in bed watching television for a leisurely two hours, I very easily fell asleep. But I swear that I heard something that night outside of my apartment as I dozed off. Imagine a low frequency whistle that only changes pitch with the wind. It was as if I had heard something outside that either wanted to warn or encourage me for what was to come. As much as I'd love to say that this had an impact on the day afterward, I didn't recall the sound itself until weeks after I quit my job there. Driving there in the morning was fraught with risks and unnatural difficulty. Crossing three lanes of rush-hour traffic doesn't do great for someone who is both nervous and enthusiastic about something that may or may not benefit them. I was remarkably lucky to have not collided with anyone, but the number of incensed looks and inappropriate hand gestures bitterly compensated for that. By the time I arrived it was around fifteen minutes past the initial time, but the administration that was - for whatever reason - waiting outside for me did not make any issue of it. In fact, they appeared fairly welcoming, likely due to the fact that they had found a new person to torture with what godforsaken abominations lay in that building.

While there were at least five people there to greet me, only one of them bothered to invite me inside. He was middle-aged and about the age as my father, completely shaven aside from thick sideburns that stuck around on both ends of his face, extending down to his chin. His questions I don't remember to be particularly interesting or specific - in fact they merely comprised of off-branched personal ones or subtle inquiries about my interests in employment. Whatever the case, he took my own ramblings as sufficient enough for that of a new person to work at the institution. It took about an hour or two for him to go over procedures and how many patients were in the building. He told me that the building itself was not crowded to the brim, and the apparent "caseload" had been too high in the last thirteen years, leading to the transfer of a number of patients to other rehabilitation facilities that the state had requested convert into living spaces for the mentally insane. I will admit that the man himself seemed fairly odd - to the point where if he asked you if you had remembered what he said, you wouldn't be able to recall even one word uttered by him. The only remark I considered genuine on his behalf was something along the lines of "and that's what budget cuts on social welfare does to us." Whatever that meant, I wasn't interested in digging deeper, and asked him about what precise position I was to manage.

Inside, I was partially enjoyed learning that, perhaps due to my obvious lack of a security record, I wouldn't have to inspect the rooms or hallways housing patients. That was entirely up to the caseworkers who likewise worked during my hours - on the complete other side of the building. Due to an apparent history of four escapes, the original entrance had been converted into an office, leaving the only other alcove aside from the exit an area on the left side of the complex used for emergencies. That was the place I was to be sitting in. I would simply be there to monitor whether or not an unlikely scenario occurred in which there was another escape, or if there was an issue, such as a fire, caused by the recent electrical repairs. This, they said, was to compensate for the lack of anyone responsible for putting in the new cables after midnight. The area in particular where my office lay was less furnished, due to the fact that it hadn't been operational for the last ten years under the newest company that had bought the rights to the complex. I neglect to mention that Auxilium itself wasn't the first company that had bought the complex. There were three others that had owned it beforehand. The first was originally the insurance company that had paid for the expenses of the late millionaire. The second was a retail business which had attempted to convert the facility into a shopping market, only for the county to stop funding for the project over a dispute with the location. The third was a mental health cooperative which had chapters all across the county, but had leased it, before selling it completely, to the current company over an apparent "exchange" that the business owners refuse to clarify anything about. I found out much later, when I finally gained the courage to look it up on the internet, that this was because a local museum curator had been found dead in the old cafeteria only days after the lease.

The man, who I have again neglected to mention referred to himself as Michael, walked me through the main hallways that ran from the main entrance to the office where I was to be sitting in. Most likely because of the large abundance of a number of people above the age of 60, the entire place ran and smelled like a retirement home. One rather odd feature I noticed about the nurses was the fact that none of them had what I would consider "modern" uniforms. They all were dressed in white, and had those turban-like hats on their heads with a red cross ensigned into them. While he was certainly talkative during the initial interview, I noticed he resisted any effort at making small talk as we took an alternative entryway to the area where I would be assuming my post. I looked at the signs on the walls and, while I don't remember what precisely they said, they indicated that we were in a section of the facility in which there would be "more severe" patients that required advanced care. While I would have considered it a blessing that I didn't hear any screams or whatnot coming from this section, the quietness of it aside from what sounded like large fans made me greatly uneasy. I largely brushed it off as assuming that the patients in this section were either sedated or had fallen asleep. I likewise noticed that our footsteps seemed to echo throughout the interior of the building, and I swore I could hear the sounds of my shoes proceeded into the vents deeper into the building.

Michael gestured to the left as I noticed that both of our reflections stared back at us in that direction. A small boxed-in area, about fifteen feet wide, with a wide glass window appeared. This was to be the post where I'd be sitting from a quarter after midnight to sunrise. The checkered marble floors below us extended into the lower wall of the post before touching the glass. The upper half comprised of the beige-colored concrete that made up the walls of this section of the building. I looked to my right and noticed that folded chairs as well as large tables had been pushed against the wall. They weren't placed in any particular order, and the wires hanging from the ceiling confirmed to me that this was another area subject to maintenance. Behind us, to the right of the hallway where we came from, there were two iron doors, with blemished brown windows surrounding them. Above them were two lights that both showed red. When I asked, Michael told me that this indicated that the doors had been locked; when I would take my first shift the next day, they would be green - and thus open - upon my arrival due to the fact that maintenance workers needed to use them to access the wires to the left of the post. Another part of my job was to ensure that I would lock them immediately as nobody would be present before my shift to do so. Before we entered the office he turned around and gave me a blank yet stern look - and told me that no matter under what circumstances, I was not to open them afterwards. The lack of emotion on his face said to me that there was likely a corporate reason behind this - one that I had no right to question as a new employee.

It only entered my head at that moment that I realized that there was no training for this job. I did not have to do a select course to prepare for what was to come. Sure, while this likely was because there wasn't an open requirement for me to accost anyone or bark out orders, I had thought that giving a future employee a short preparatory course had been, up to this point, a state mandate. But as I couldn't find anything in the company's legal documents or disputes surrounding this issue when signing off on my application, I merely suspected that this job did not require it. When we entered the post, a smell immediately came upon me. While the room for the most part was largely clean, there was an odd sulfuric scent to it. It was as if someone had spilled rotten eggs in there, but it had taken ages for them to clean it, enough for the smell to consume the room. A small wooden half extended from the area between the glass and the checkered marble wall, acting as an impromptu desk. An empty notebook for logs or for what I assumed drawing or writing was on it. Alongside this, a holder containing pens as well as a television set tuned to static were on it. It was an older television set given its small size and the fact that it had two semi-curved antennas sticking out of it. I would have described the sound of the static as overbearing had Michael's tone of voice not been far louder. Unpulled from the desk was a large black office chair, with small cuts revealing a white interior on its top.

On the top right of the room there was a large vent that ensured that the air wouldn't remain as humid as the rest of the building was. I felt bad for all the nurses who worked in the heat, as that section of the building lacked air conditioning due to the repairs. I looked outside the window and noticed to the left of the two doors and the light outside was a large, dark hallway that led to another corridor towards another unused part of the building. Michael followed my gaze, and proceeded to tell me that that corridor led to the asylum's old courtyard, which had a roof built over it after it had nearly flooded during a storm in the 1980s. He pointed at two gray deposits on the wall next to the television set. One had buttons which cued the locks on the doors outside, the other was a light that would flash red if there was an escaped patient heading towards my post, based on a motion sensor at the end of one of the hallways. Michael looked back at me and said in another stern voice that I should only ever press the "lock" button once, as pressing it two or more times could cause it to seize up or cease working during day hours. He then sighed and put his hands in his pockets as he told me that aside from having to wear a company uniform during my shift, I was now "effectively ready" to hold the post. I saw his eyes, perhaps unintentionally, glance back at the dark hallway to the left outside. He gestured for the two of us to walk outside and handed me a contract otherwise agreeing to company conditions. I, of course, signed it without much hesitation, though I remained slightly bewildered over the fact that this was not included in the application itself.

Driving home that night I felt a brief but sudden sense of unease pass over me. On one hand, I had secured a job I felt would ensure my willingness to pursue higher goals and careers. On the other, I had also felt partially unwillingness to sign the contract itself since there were multiple odd factors about the job itself. Why were they open to hiring random people with little to no experience in security? Why was there no formal training session? Why hire me and me only to guard over a wide and relatively unused section of the building past dusk? The meeting had taken place in the afternoon, and Michael had informed me that taking a nap during the day would help me in adjusting for the shift itself. I couldn't blame him - granted that people I knew had already considered me someone who had a habit of being fast asleep before the sun was even halfway below the horizon. I remember as I fell asleep, the thoughts of the building still very much present in my head, that a melody began playing from the television I had left on. A small discreet guitar playing a sorrowful progression which never changed. The tone remained the same after each key repeated itself. There were no verses, no bridges, nor a chorus. Instead it just continued until I was already dozing. While I am oddly one to remember my dreams, even years after they happened, all I can recall from that night is the sensation of walking down a causeway. I could feel my feet colliding with something rough but circular, which rapidly descended and ascended in small amounts, held together by mortar or plaster.

Over the uneventful next two days I tortured my brain - to the point where I could almost feel it painfully acknowledge the adjustments made to my regular sleeping schedule. The day on which my first shift began, I had forced myself to fall asleep in the afternoon, awakening in the evening around six to seven hours later. Instead of Michael or any of the associates that I had seen during the interview, I was met with one of the nurses outside of the front entrance. She told me that she would be responsible for escorting me to my office, to ensure that any patients would not disturb me or accuse me of being an intruder whilst walking down the narrow hallways leading there. Yet like Michael, she retained the same calm yet silent demeanor as we walked down the hallway despite previously being quite chatty. Recalling the previous day's events, I listened intently along what I assumed was the more active corridor used for the severer patients. This time I heard nothing. There was not even the sound of fans as there had been prior. Just a dull, near ear-splitting silence. During the night the hallways each had some kind of alternative lighting turned on; there were far smaller yet far brighter lights used to accommodate the hallways, each emitting a large dark yellow tinge that made everything before it look green, yet with a halo effect if you did not stare directly at it.

Arriving at my post, the woman said that due to the repairs, there was no active phone available to be used in case of emergency; I could only rely on the red light if there was an emergency on their behalf - something that Michael had neglected to tell me. I silently cursed the administration, knowing that there was no way I could communicate with the front desk if someone attempted to break in after-hours. I sat down at the desk and, before I could ask about security concerns, I noticed the door to the post shut behind me, and I saw her figure walking back down the hallway from which we came. A few moments later, the loud sound of a door slamming reverberated from down the hall, indicating that the large heavy door I had seen on the side of the hallway entrance was used to shut this section of the building off. Above me there was a small blue light that emitted along the wooden desk, effectively giving me and the office a sarcastically ominous glow. Using a small remote behind the set, I changed the channel of the television to see what was on, not before pressing the button to ensure the iron doors outside were locked.

That night was particularly uneventful. All I did was just watch late night talk shows as well as airings of different movies that were obviously low budget to accommodate an older television set. Several bad holiday movies were on air that night, which I often took great pleasure in laughing at. I opened a small cupboard under the desk which I had noticed during the original interview and noticed that there were supplies likely left to daytime security. Several construction notes, as well as some old photos of the building were present. Some were in black and white, and some were oversaturated, indicating that they were two to three decades old. However, in one of the old photos, I noticed that there were a set of windows on the front half of the building that weren't present in the others. There wasn't anything inside of them. Just pure, black darkness aside from white crosses outlining the rectangular panes. My shift ended at around six in the morning, and after being awarded a lukewarm paycheck, I was sent home as the construction crew arrived to continue their work with the wires outside the post.

I mostly spent the money dabbling with random restaurants than doing anything productive. My apartment by that time was a mess, and the rent I did pay was thankfully compatible with the money that I earned. For about a week, my cycle comprised of arriving at the location, being escorted by the same nurse, and sitting in boredom for the entire night before using the money I earned to buy just about everything unremarkable that the local stores had to offer. The traffic became less tense as days went on, regardless of whether it was day or not. I took the liberty of buying a flashlight as I noticed that the blue light began adopting a tendency to flicker on and off repeatedly during the night. While it was enough to frighten me several times, I worked it up as having been caused by the daytime repairs. My brain was able to successfully adjust to having to constantly sleep during the day, and most of the time I would appear fully awakened to work at Auxilium without having to worry about sudden bouts of exhaustion or tiredness. But one thing that never seemed to disappear entirely for me was this occasional sense of uneasiness that had been growing consistently in me as the days went on. The only thing that did considerably frighten me was the malfunctioning blue light, but that was nothing compared to the sudden bouts of dread I'd feel at random during my stay in the office.

It had been about eight days counting when I arrived for what was to be my last day working at the complex. The company had always done the generic "weekends off" thing, so I never had to be considered about sleeping, or attempting to sleep, in the evening after Fridays. After finishing up additional paperwork for policy changes in the company - policy changes which did not actually apply to me - I prepared for yet another night in a place which despite its dark atmosphere was enough to continue my career as a wholehearted tough-guy. Traffic was unusually bad that day. While I initially planned on simply taking the metro that ran from my end of the city to the other, days of sitting alone in both the asylum and my apartment had made sitting alongside people in a crowded train seem alien. As a result, I arrived at Auxilium much later than I was supposed to be. There was no nurse to greet me, which is something I partly expected, but another thing caught my attention - there didn't appear to be a wide number of vehicles parked in the lot today. And those that were parked there, I didn't recognize. Most of them were simply black and white, obscuring the blue or red ones that I had noticed days before. When I walked inside, I could hear the shuffling of footsteps and the voices of nurses in the far edge of the building, but they were beyond my sight aside from one who walked from one room to another to grab an empty wheelchair. What happened that night came off as abrupt - but no matter how hard I've tried, I cannot rid it from my memory.

By the time I had entered my office, the blue light had grown to probably the dimmest it could muster, indicating that it had likely been on during the entirety of my stay, powered by one of the weak generators in this portion of the building. After sitting down, I decided to look again at the photos present in the small cupboard. This time I noticed that a large paper note was sprawled above each of them. I still have this note on me, as I put it into my pocket, where it managed to remain, well past my shift. It read: "You know you can't make a deeper offer to always let them in. You might as well just have to accept them for who they are." It was written in cursive, hence my lack of an immediate ability to read or understand it, but the ink it was written in had begun to melt, as if it had either been swathed around while in the cupboard or was written with a weak pen. Beneath it was a small illustration, a symbol. It showed a modest sketch of a lantern, with an arrow indicating two buttons, which I recognized as similar to those for opening and closing the doors before me. Glancing up, I realized I had neglected to engage the locks. As I prepared to press the buttons, I cast a look towards the iron doors. Both were ajar, yet I had not heard the distinct clack that should have accompanied their opening.

Within seconds a shape appeared in front of the wall, illuminated by the green light above it. A human shape. I saw as a bald figure wearing only a hospital gown ran through the corridor. It briefly slowed to look at me. I faintly saw a small grin appear on its face as it made its way into the dark hallway. With no effective way to shut the doors directly or even phone the front desk, I grabbed my flashlight and ran after it. My shoes squeaked against the increasingly damp floor. I occasionally ran into wires hanging from the ceiling above. I shined my flashlight in its direction, only to notice that the corridor split into three different directions. The sound of the figure's echoing footsteps reverberated in each of them. I made a brief glance into the two nearest entrances at the start of the hallway and didn't see whoever had just run by. I continued down the longest intersection and erratically moved my light around. It was then that a memory, as if brought into my head by something else, came to me - the noises from outside the office. I had always heard a breezing noise coming from outside, where the entrance to this corridor was. I realized that what I was hearing was never the sound of a fan or air conditioner blowing. It was a higher pitched whistle, the same one that I heard many weeks prior. Continuing down the hallway, I spotted a foot far ahead of me, leaping into another room.

I shouted "Hey!" several times to no response. I noticed that aside from the sound of my and the figure's footsteps, there was no sound emanating from the rest of the building. The echoes had stopped. I looked around me as I slowed down to catch my breath. To my left was the door to an unused storage room, to my right there was a group of stalls, each carrying numbered marks on them. The ground below had become dirtier as I ran, and I noticed that there were dirt-covered stains in the shape of bare feet leading to where the figure had gone. I made the decision to round the corner and shined my flashlight ahead of me. I covered my eyes. A large, blue neon light appeared ahead of me, somehow aggravated by the addition of my flashlight. Rubbing my eyes and straightening up, I raised my gaze from the ground and saw a surreal sight. It was like a hallucination - I saw a large crowd of people, all pale, all in gowns, standing stationary in a circle in what I insinuated to be the former courtyard. Nothing seemed to disturb them. The sound of my flashlight dropping to the ground didn't cause any of them to flinch or even express an indication of movement or thought. I felt something external channel within me. Within seconds I felt as if I was consumed by a blind rage - and I could not resist the urge to scream at whatever I was now witnessing. I said to them: "What is this? Why can't I reach you?"

There was no response. There didn't ever emit any visible change in response to what I yelled. I looked further up and found the source of the blinding light, covering and squinting my eyes. A large statue, comprising of a multi-limbed yet emaciated figure, whose head looked up, seemingly past the roof and into the night sky. It wore a crown and its facial features reminiscent to that of a cow. On a set of elevated benches, a number of the same pale figures sat down and bowed before it. They clasped their hands in a gesture that indicated they were praying to it. Without any sound coming from anywhere around me, I felt something speak. While I could only make out its words, I fancied its voice to be raspy and gravelly, like a chain-smoker attempting to deliver a sermon. It told me, and presumably the unmoving crowd, that the words of messengers are written on walls, halls, and papers, before finally stating that the "truth" of the nature of all around it could be "revealed" through it.

I awoke on a ground of solid dirt. I was still clothed and had all of my necessities still on me. In the distance I saw the sun rising. After a minute of attempting to figure out where I was, I looked up and saw a road sign indicating I was near a turnpike, effectively about half a mile from where I lived, and around five miles from the asylum. After stumbling a few times on the uneven grass, I walked several blocks and arrived home, noticing that my car was again parked back where it had been the previous day. I noticed that the mailbox was open, its cap lifted downwards, with a small paper leaning outwards. It was a termination notice, addressed from Auxilium directly, stating that I had been fired for "not appearing at a time's notice", alongside a bunch of other accusations that I didn't care to remember. The document, however, provided a final paycheck of around $15,000, thanking me for my work and claiming that the building was no longer under the company which had handled it previously.

In the weeks afterwards I ultimately resigned myself towards working in public spaces. I really, really wish I could have told you the entirety of what happened. I can't remember the officials who hired me. I can't remember what position Michael held. I can't remember either how short or long those long hallways were. I also can't remember how I ended up unhurt on the side of a highway several miles away. But what I can remember is the fact that it was a sense of false determination instilled in me that led to this. If you want to achieve something far more to hopefully make your life better than it already is, don't do something that you think will make you appear tough. Don't do something that will make you question your own sanity. It's not worth it. If you want to put yourself out there, start at the bottom. If you want to reach out your hand to someone else, it's not always going to be someone at the top. Don't be like me. Don't yell into a crowded but quiet square. Nobody will follow your words. They've already been said -

And echo in the wells of silence.

Written by Duckman367
Content is available under CC BY-SA