"Myrnin, I want you to take this. Please," Amelie said, holding up the little container of drugs and using a voice that one would use on someone very old and sick.

"No," he said angrily.

"You have no decision in the matter, Myrnin. Take it. Before I have no choice but to force you."

"I haven't a decision in anything. All I am to you is someone to make your machines." He sounded like a child: straight to the point, and fed up with rules.

"You know that isn't true," Amelie said slowly. "You're my oldest and dearest friend."

"I have no friends. I have only myself. Only me. I'm all I've ever been able to rely on." Suddenly, the ticking bomb that was Myrnin exploded and he screamed. It was a noise full of loneliness and self-loathing and disappointment. He didn't jump onto Claire as she thought he would. Instead, he fell to his knees with tears in his eyes and wrapped his arms around himself. "Fessi. Ita defessus," he whimpered. Tears slipped down his face and onto the floor as he added, "And lonely."

Claire looked to Amelie for guidance as to what to do and saw a wounded look on her face. Like what someone looks like when they come across a homeless puppy they can't afford to take care of on the street. But worse. Helpless was what it seemed to be. Amelie looked helpless, and it was killing her to be.

Amelie turned to Claire. "Leave us," she said. "Go to the back rooms."

Claire nodded and walked behind the curtain quickly and into the room that was Myrnin's prison. She stopped once she saw the state the iron cell was in.

The bars had been twisted away from the lock and kicked open, but the result of it looked more like it was the doing of a small bomb rather than the impact of a foot.

Claire walked further into the room and stared at it, wondering what it was like to be Myrnin. She stepped into the cell and instantly knew the dehumanizing effect it would have on anyone who was shut in here for prolonged periods of time, especially for someone who was mad.

She sat on the little bed and picked up one of the many books Myrnin had left lying open on the floor of the confinement.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Claire opened it and found the pages all dog-eared. She flipped through the book and found a specific passage that had been underlined twice and circled.

'No theory of life seemed to him to be of any importance compared to life itself.'

Claire frowned softly and put the book down. She saw Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales lying somewhere near to where she'd set down Wilde. To Kill a Mockingbird was a few feet to her left. Myrnin may not have any sanity, but he did have taste.

But an old piece of paper a foot away that had Myrnin's thin handwriting on it caught Claire's eye. She took it in her hands, sat down on the bed, and read it.

I have been experiencing lucidity for the past hour, so I supposed I should just record what I recall in case I forget later. The job Amelie wants me doing is useless to try and work on now; I'll either destroy it when I fall back into the arms of deliration or have a sudden burst of inspiration, return to insanity, and forget where I had been going. That always happens, and it's quite maddening.

Not too long ago (fifteen minutes, perhaps), I came back from a hunt and killed two children, a boy and a girl. I expect to feel the regret and shame in that decision in about half an hour. But for now, I am Myrnin the savage. The Myrnin who has no regard for life or sentimentality.

It displeases me to know this about myself, but I come to terms with it in times like these. It is only in my misery that I become filled to the brim with feelings I cannot handle. And it is only then, when I feel the lasting blow of emotions, that I am truly broken.

Claire stared at the bottom of the page for a long time before she realized it was the end as thoughts raced through her mind. How could one man feel so many things so intensely, with one right after another? How could he write about himself as if he were nothing but a test subject?

Myrnin was like a puzzle whose pieces were mismatched and from different sets. But if mashed together forcefully enough, would fit.

Someone cleared their throat and Claire looked up, realizing she was crying.

Myrnin was standing in the doorway looking lamentable. She dropped the paper, trying to be nonchalant about it, but she was sure he'd noticed. Claire got out of the cage and stood looking at him from a safe distance.

"I have taken the drugs, Claire, and I am well—for now. But I came to apologize for the way I have treated you today." He was unable to meet her eyes as he said he was sorry, which broke Claire's heart all over again.

Claire's watery eyes focused on the man who was made of material she'd not yet had the chance to come by. "You're strange," she said, "almost as if you accept the fact that you're dying every second you continue to exist, but there's always a part of you that resists that knowledge. Like a fight that takes place in your mind, but I don't understand it yet—not completely." She took in a deep breath. "What are you?" she asked sadly, because she couldn't seem to put a single word on it herself.

Myrnin stared at the ground as a tear slid down his cheek. He was silent for a moment, and then he met her gaze. "I'm…" He paused, thinking of a word. "Complicated." He nodded, as if in agreement with himself. "Yes, that's what I am—I'm complicated."

And Claire knew that was it. That was the word she had been looking for.


Thanks for reading. I hope you all leave reviews on your way out. Feel free to also subscribe, because I have a story idea I want to try out and then publish. -FP