Ralph stood, staring out the window of his office. The air was thick and humid, the sky obscured by large, grayish-brown clouds. Besides the fact that it was mid-July, the clouds looked ready to let loose a torrential downpour at any second. The weather reminded Ralph of something, something important, something ominous; but he couldn't put his finger on what it was reminding him of, and it was starting to irritate him. Sighing, Ralph turned away from the window. His eyes caught the dull gleam of the frame that held his degree in psychology. Further over to the left was the dully reflective surface of his mahogany desk, on the front of which was the golden plaque that bore the name of the doctor who occupied this room, also the man currently standing with his back to the window, frowning.
Ralph sighed again and went to sit down at his desk with an air of resignation at the actuality of the fact that he needed to get his work done. Once seated, he reached across the large desk, grabbing the slightly thick folder containing the file on his new patient. He switched on the light to his right in order to see better in the slightly darkening office; again, Ralph was reminded of the dusk-like darkness of the sky outside. Shaking his head, he refocused on the folder, opening it to study his new case, skipping the front page containing the personal information on the patient.
Ralph's eyes scanned across each page, becoming wider with each recorded incident, every odd happening that surrounded this patient. His heart began to pound as he read
quickly in his head. 'Muttering in sleep, nightmares, insomnia. . . unreasonably frightened of the dark, refuses to turn off lights even when sleeping. . . poor anger-management, lashes out unexpectedly. . . ' The list went on, although admittedly, these things would normally just be an indicator of stress, of being over worked. However, the incidents stated in the file got progressively worse as he read on.
'Hunting every weekend. . .' Ralph didn't think that was too bad; sometimes, people like to hunt, as a. . . a hobby. However, the word "hunting" seemed to bring all of his senses to a standstill. Ralph suddenly wasn't there in his office anymore, and for a moment he wasn't anywhere, really. Then, just as suddenly, he was back on the island, watching through the eyes of his younger self. He was back with the others, the other boys. The hunters. . . the savages. He could hear the shrill, almost keen-like calls of the hunting party, feel the creepers as he ripped past them, stumbling, breathing in lung fulls of thick, smoky air. . .
The cries, suddenly nearer, made him jerk up. Ralph could see a striped savage moving hastily out of a green tangle, and coming toward the mat where he hid, a savage who carried a spear. Ralph gripped his fingers into the earth. He had to be ready, in case. Ralph fumbled to hold his spear so that it was point foremost; and now he saw that the stick was sharpened at both ends. . . The savage moved forward so that you could only see him from the waist down. That was the butt of his spear. Now you could see him from the knee down. Don't scream. . .
Ralph zoned back into the present, his ears ringing slightly, heart beating wildly. "No," he murmured to himself, remembering that terrible day on the island. "I'm here, in this office. I'm safe in England, in society, not back on that island being hunted."
He was dreading the worst, and he couldn't take it anymore. Ralph flipped to the final page of the folder, taking in the information with a sort of grim knowing.
'Carved, spear like sticks thrown about yard. . . Pig-like squeals heard by neighbors, late-night noise complaints. . . Graffiti all over house; [Kill the pig., Cut his throat. Bash him in.' Ralph's heart actually stopped beating for a full second. His breath shallow, he turned back to the first page of the folder, where the patient's name was typed in clear, precise text:
After that bombshell, Ralph was in dire need of some fresh, if somewhat humid, air. And so now he was here, walking along the bustling early evening sidewalk in mid-1950's London. He was being jostled and buffeted in the crowd, but he took no notice. He was too deep in thought. Ralph was thinking about the things that Piggy had said in his last moments, before he had been crushed by the rock that Jack and his hunters had flung down the slope of the mountain, back on the island all those years ago. The passage of time was great, over twenty years; and yet, Ralph could still hear Piggy's hysteric, shouted questions with utter clarity. . .
"Which is better," Piggy shouted, "to be a pack of painted Indians like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is? Which is better- to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill? Which is better, law and rescue, or hunting and breaking things up?"
Here, Piggy's voice faded out, only to be replaced by the clamor of traffic and the conversations of pedestrians. But really, Ralph thought, those are the real questions, aren't they? Here I am, in society; I've experienced barbarianism, and I want to say that my views weren't affected by it, but. . . When I was there, on that island, surrounded by the savages, there was a part of me that longed to kill. A part of myself that had been buried up until that point, that had been lying in wait. My primal instinct, if you will. But who's to say that everyone who lives in society likes it? And really, what are the chances of my new psychiatric patient being none other than Jack Merridew, my would-be murderer?!
At this moment, the sky chose- rather ironically- to unleash its downpour with a roll of deep thunder, followed closely by a clap of lightning that lit up the entire area. There was a collective groan all around Ralph as the commuters began to hurry to their mercifully dry destinations. Ralph stared up at the raining sky for a moment, his expression contemplative. Then he was suddenly shoved to his left, under the awning of a shop, by an angry man trying to reach the crosswalk before the light turned green. Ralph shook his head at the man's rudeness and glanced to his left before doing a swift double take.
He stared at the cheery yellow glow that was emanating from the large bay window of the bookstore. In the front, foremost on a shelf with at least a dozen copies of itself, sat a book with a green cover and picture of a boy and flies. On the top of the cover was the title and author, inscribed in bold letters: Lord of the Flies, with the name William Golding printed beneath it.
Ralph stood, his mouth agape. It took him a moment to regain his bearings and shut his jaw. He closed his eyes, taking deep, not-so-calming breaths.
Fate really was enjoying toying with him today, wasn't it?