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The Matthew Effect (rough draft)[]

Imagine not being able to tell the difference between your imagination and reality. Imagine not being able to tell if your dreaming or not. That was everyday for Matthew Nash. I am his therapist, or was. He had disappeared from his high school in Deschutes County after the death of ten students, and later, his parents. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia from a very young age. As his parents explain, they were becoming suspicious of a mental condition with Matthew after his drawings started to become more vivid in detail. One drawing in particular drawing portraying Matthew, his mother, and father. However there was one more figure in the drawing. They had originally dismissed this as his imagination running wild, as most children are often known for. However, one morning in November, they found their son scratching his arms profusely, to the point where they bled. As any parent would, they took Matthew to the emergency room. After being screened, the working physician administered a mental screen.

"Hi, Matthew, My name is Doctor Johnson. I heard your arms were itchy." Dr. Johnson knelt down, holding Matthew's small bandaged arms. Matthew nodded slowly. his face was blank and his eyes were red, as if he were crying. The small boy had long dark brown hair and green eyes. He was a very pale boy, much more pale than any child the doctor had seen.

"Ow." Matthew said lightly.

"Im sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you." Doctor Johnson said. When he looked up at Matthew, he smiled. However was looking to his left. Matthew blinked, the started to smile. the doctor looked where the boy was smiling, but it was and empty corner of the room. Then the boy looked back at the doctor and and giggled. The doctor smiled lightly, but was concerned about what he saw.

"Ady likes your coat." Matthew said. The doctor's smile left. He glanced at the boys parents. Matthews mother nervously tapped her heels on the linoleum of the office. She was holding her arms and staring at her boy. She was obviously anxious. his father on the other hand was harder to read. His arms were crossed and his brow was furrowed.

"Who's Ady, Matthew?" The doctor asked, trying to hide the concern in his voice.

"My friend," Matthew said. "He was tickling my arms." The doctor looked alarmed. he stood from the ground and cleared his throat.

"Mr. and Mrs. Nash," He stated."may I have a wor with you?" He gripped the handle to the door that lead to the hall. the three of them walked into the hall and the doctor closed the door. he turned to face the boys parents. "Ma'am, I believe your son is suffering from some type of delusion."

"What?" Matthew's father said. "You think my son is crazy? That's just his imaginary friend.."

"Sir, an 'imaginary friend' wouldn't make your son scratch himself bloody." He paused for a moment. " I want to run more test on your son. I think he has Schizophrenia."

The doctor eventually did run the tests. Several of them. They all came back the same. After that, Doctor Johnson referred the Nash Family to me as Matthew's therapist. And he was my patient for almost twelve years. Through the years of therapy, we talked about his delusions. And as anyone would, he had his bad days. Matthew, aside from the delusions and very rare mood swings, was a cheerful child. And as he got older, he was very charismatic and kind-hearted. However there was one day in particular that to this day chills me to the bone. It was May, and he had turned seventeen a month and a half before. He was sitting in a chair across the room. It was a leather recliner with it headrest faded from many patients. I was sitting in a rolling desk chair in the center of the room. I had my clipboard in hand. I clicked the pen and looked up at the boy. His legs were crossed as he fiddled with the drawstring to his grey hoodie.

"So, Matt, how was school?" I had asked him. This seemed to obviously snap him from a trance. He sharply jolted his head in my direction and smirked timidly.

"It was school." He said plainly.

"Can you be more specific?"

"Well," Matthew took a breath. "I was asked to go to homecoming with someone. so that's nice, But the rest of the day, I couldn't focus."

"Why couldn't you focus, Matt?" I had asked to try to get him to elaborate.

"Ady wouldn't stop humming in my ear. He thinks it's a trap." Matthew was fidgeting with both the strings of his hoodie now.

"Why does he think that?" I asked. Matthew quickly glanced to his left. he flinched slightly and muttered something under his breath. "Matthew, are you alright?"

"I'm fine, but he doesn't want me calling him that."

"You mean Ady?"

"Yes." Matthew said slowly. He glanced to his right, at a tribal mask I had gotten on a trip in Ethiopia. It was carved from the bark of one of the oldest trees in the tribe I had visited. He stood and walked over to the mask. he leaned over on looked closer to examine it.

"What does he want you to call him?" I had asked. I wondered why the sudden change. We always referred to his only consistent delusion as Ady. What else could he be called?

"He wants me to call him by his full name." Matthew said as he raised the mask off the mantle. "May I?"

"I'd prefer if you'd not." I stated. I started suspect there was something wrong.

"Oh, come on, I want to see if it fits." he stated playfully.

"Matthew," I said with a little force. Matthew looked at me then turn back to the mantle.

"Sorry." He apologized. "He likes the mask, though."

"What does he want you to call him?"

"He says his full name is Asmodeus." I raised my brow. I thought it was an odd name.

"Now, when you were asked to the dance, why did you think Ad-" I stopped myself."Asmodeus think it's a trap."

"He said he saw the girl snicker as she was walking away, But I like her."

"What's her name, Matt?"

"Sarah." He said as his face brightened up. but he snapped to his left and raised his eyebrow.

"Matt?" I questioned.

"Asmodeus says he knew a Sarah." he slowly turned his head to me. "He said that he loved her very much."

"Well that's nice and all, we're here to talk about you." I stated to try to get him on topic. Matthew stood from the chai once again and smiled. But this wasn't a normal smile, nor was it a smirk. I was a maniacal grin.

"I heard that Sarah was getting married." Matthew stated as he slowly paced in front of me. "I was just so jealous. She was magnificent." He stared me strait in the eye. "Actually, She was married seven times."

"Matthew, please sit back down." I said with as much authority as I could muster. "I'm afraid your not making any sense."

"You know what jealousy can do to a man?" Matthew stated as he stopped at the mask. "It can drive them just..." he paused.

"Well, mad." As Matthew said this, he lifted the mask to his face. I stood from my chair and put a hand out.

"Matthew please, wait just a moment." I pleaded with him. But he had gone into a full psychosis.

"You know what doesn't make ANY sense?" Matthew said. I couldn't see his face anymore, but his eyes were bloodshot. I backed away and bumped into the door. "Why you keep calling me Matt." he looked at my desk and walked over to the cup of pens and pencils. He reached an arm out and gripped a hand on a pen. "We are NOT friends."

"Matthew. That's enough!" I yelled. My fear bubbled up and started to pour out. My knees began to shake. I gripped the doorknob until my knuckles were white. Sweat ran down my forehead and down the bridge of my nose. "I don't know what I could have done to make you angry, but I'm sorry!"

"It's not me who is angry." Matthew stated. "Isn't that right, Asmodeus?" He looked to his left and nodded. "Should I?" He slowly nodded. "They want to trick me? Well, we won't let that happen." He turned his head on glared at me. "Have you hear the phrase 'don't kill the messenger'?" He asked me.

"Y-yes." I stuttered. "I do." He stepped closer to me.

"Asmodeus and I think that's bullshit." then he rushed forward. I only had enough time to open the door and get behind it. Matthew slammed into the door and knocked me down. I reached for the knob and held it still. Shaking furiously and now drenched in sweat. I turned my head to look for anyone to help, but the hall was empty. Matthew slammed against the door again and again. Over and over again all the while screaming at the top of his lungs.I feared that the door would break from its hinges, but eventually the banging stopped. I heard the distinct shatter of glass pane. There was a dreadful silence coming from the room. I leaned closer to the door to listen. But there wasn't a sound. Still gripping the knob with now bloody knuckles I slowly opened the door. what I had seen stuck fear to my very soul. He had escaped the room by jumping through the window. I ran to the sill from the second story and peered over into the street. But there was nothing but broken glass. I backed away and collapsed on the ground, Finally able to catch my breath. The events that unfolded in my office ran through my head furiously. That night, I didn't sleep. Or the next night. nor the one after. I turned on the T.V. and sat on the couch, fearing that Matthew would come for me. When I flipped through the channels, I stopped at a news report. The headline read "Massacre at Elton Gregory High School" I leaned forward, with my hands over my mouth. the anchorwoman talked urgently.

"Just behind me, a hideous display of violence had just unfolded the night of Elton Gregory's Homecoming dance." She paused and held her hand to her ear. "This just in, the police have a suspect. A Junior named Matthew Nash." As soon as she said the name, my worst fear came true, ten-fold. What would have happened If I had talked him down? I sat at that couch for what seemed like days. Eventually I was able to stop loathing myself for not doing more.

It's almost a year after the Massacre of Elton Gregory. I'm now in therapy for what had happened . Ironic, Isn't it? A therapist in therapy. But I'm coping, I'm doing much better. On an early morning in February. I sat down on the couch, with a cup of coffee in one hand and my T.V. remote in the other. Turning it on, the news read "Couple Murdered Almost a Year After the Disappearance of Their Son." My coffee slipped from my hand. The same dread I felt that night came back with a vengeance. Fear of the boy and his friend Asmodeus ran rampant through my body. I stared blankly into the screen not registering anything for almost hours, until I hear a the door. I came out of my daze and stood. I shook at the thought of it being him. i slowly walked to the door and reached for the handle. I hesitated for a moment. What if he is there? I open the door, preparing myself for the worst, but no one is there. just an envelope. I knelt down to pick up the unexpected mail. I turned, closed the door, and read the envelope. It read "Dr. Caine" I opened the envelope and unfolded the piece of paper.

"Dear Doctor Caine, I'll be for you soon enough."

Which brings me to the reason im telling you all of this. If you are reading this, I am dead. Likely murdered by the tormented boy. So I warn you. If a boy in a blood stained hoodie, for your sake. RUN.

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There were quite a lot of issues present here in regards to awkward wording, capitalization (Dialogue tags improperly capitalized. If you are used a dialogue tag like he said, she said, they said, etc. that serves as a continuation of the sentence, it should not be capitalized), punctuation (Improper punctuation used in dialogue. A lot of your dialogue ends in periods when they shouldn't as you attach a dialogue tag and continue the sentence), words missing from sentences/redundancies (I would suggest carefully reading the story aloud to catch instances where you repeat words in sentences or leave out words.), and plot issues (the main issues being the story's pacing and over-reliance on tropes). Your story ends up feeling more like an introduction vehicle for your OC (complete with common tropes seen in that genre) and needs quite a lot of work. EmpyrealInvective (talk) 10:49, 22 January 2021 (UTC)