Not Knowing | Teen Ink

Not Knowing

June 14, 2018
By Brendan-Durkan, Wilmington, Delaware
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Brendan-Durkan, Wilmington, Delaware
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Author's note:

i am a freshmen in college, and believe that if you don't know whats happening in the world you can not act on it and make change.

Not Knowing





He sat, watching the bleak fish tank. The fish seemed to be hiding from the horrors of the outside world, but of course they didn’t even know what was happening in the room around them.

How comforting it would be to not know about all the devastation and despair of the world, he thought.

His eyes scanned the large rectangular fish tank for a sign of the other fish. The sun beamed through the water, as if to show how murky and dark it was. In the dim room, you could not see the dead skin and parasites, spiraling to the bottom of the tank where they would sit for the next fortnight and the ones to follow. He peered at his calloused, yellow hands. His sagging skin heavily scarred, his finger nails white with black bruising at the base.

“Mr. Sauer?”  A soft voice broke his train of thought.

            He squinted as though she were hundreds of feet away, but smiled slightly in the direction of her sweet, soothing voice.

“Yes, my dear?”  

She murmured, “Doctor Yung is ready to see you now. Please follow me.”

Forgetting why he had come to this strange place, he placed a quivering hand beneath himself and pushed. A loud crunch, and he tumbled back into the cushioned set.

The woman rushed towards him to lend a hand but was waved off. He slid slowly to the arm rest, placing an unsteady hand upon the wood and another on his cane. He heaved. There was another crunch and a snap, like an animal stepping into a trap. This time he steadied himself with a grunt and a groan and stood straight.

            She gestured towards the empty hallway. “The office is right this way.”

He followed close behind leaning heavily on his cane. The hallway was brightly lit, to simulate sunshine. The ground grew uneven, making him stagger and hesitate as he approached the office door. There was a silvery grey plaque, with the name Doctor Yung engraved right in the center of it. The door clicked open, and revealed a small plump man sitting at a desk that was twice his size. The little man looked up from his papers and adjusted his gold rimmed glasses.

            “Thank you, Kristin,” he said with an oily voice and a crooked smile.

The young woman turned. The door clicked shut as she walked out. A clock ticked faintly, though he scanned the room but could not spot it.

            “Would you like to sit?” Dr. Yung asked as he drew a new sheet of paper and took up a pen.

Behind the desk a coffin shaped Gothic window loomed, the light blended with the colored glass to form a strange murky color.

            The doctor pushed back his chair. “Sit, please.”

The little balding doctor studied his patient, but offered no help, as Sauer struggled slowly onto a large wooden chair.

            “Mr. Sauer, I want you to forget everything you think you know about the world around us.”

            “How am I suppo…” 

The doctor held up a hand.

“Mr. Sauer-- Edward Thomson Sauer-- I want you to forget everything.”

The doctor’s eyes widened, and his mouth creased into a large uncomfortable grin.

The ticking of the clock become louder as Dr. Yung sauntered towards his patient.

            Sauer’s chest tightened. “Why am I here?”

A bead of sweat ran down his forehead. The doctor’s face lit up, like a jack-o-lantern, “You don’t remember? Why, my dear sir, we are here to fix your problems and calm your troubled mind.”

            “This was a mistake! I was not in the right state of mind when I signed the papers. I want out! I don’t want this!” 

The old man’s hands trembled uncontrollably, and he could hardly hold a breath any more. He struggled to rise, but soft hands stopped him. Considering Kristin’s sweet face, he could see that she was sorry for what she had done. He tried hopelessly to break free of the horror, thrashing and yelling until his feeble body gave in. A needle punctured his arm and left him immobilized.

Dr. Yung and Kristin stepped back. The doctor strolled back to his seat in front of the massive window and slowly sat. The girl stumbled towards the desk and stood next to the doctor with tears streaming down her cheeks.

How could I let this happen? he thought.

The sedative swam through his veins. He gazed blankly out of the widow incapable of knowing what was happening in the world where he had once lived. The thought of knowing what was happening in the world, both despair and joy, now comforted him.


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