Friday, April 30, 2010

week three: the monarch

In a place like this, there isn't much to do. It's the morning and the sun has just come up. I'm looking out my window and I see that Spring has come and is full. Nature is busy flourishing. The trees are at their greenest and the flowers have blossomed in every color I know. The grass is growing on the hills and sometimes I'll see a rabbit frolicking in the new-found beauty. I love the Springtime. It's quiet in my room though. They built it so I can't hear much from outside, but if I listen closely, I can hear the birds singing. Their songs are beautiful. I wonder what they sing about. And then beautiful butterfly landed outside my window. I know this kind. It's a Monarch butterfly. It's wings are orange and black, with just a touch of white. It is splendid. I put my hand on the window because I want to touch it. But I can't, because I'm not like the Monarch. I'm not like the Monarch because I'm not free.

They put me in my room when they want to and they let me out when they want to. I do what they want and not what I want. Sometimes it seems that they think I don't know the difference, but I do. I know what it means to be free. To be free is to be like the butterfly. The butterfly doesn't have to wait on breakfast time to leave his room in the morning. Someone knocked on my door and then it opened. It was the man in white. He told me to come with him. Yeah, it was breakfast time.

When I walked down to breakfast, I saw other people like me. They were coming out of their rooms too. Just like me, they weren't free either, but not like me, they don't care. I sit down at a table and I eat the eggs and the bacon and the hash browns. It tastes fine, but I don't really care. Then the man in white brings me my pills. They look like candy, but candy is fun. Pills are not fun. I tried to figure out what they do. I worked hard, but after I took them I didn't care about what they were. That's when I figured it out. Just like this place is a prison for my body, the pills are a cage for my mind. They trap me into thinking about what they want me to think about.

I don't want to take them, but the man in white is big and he scares me. So I put them in my mouth and I use my chocolate milk to make them go down my throat. Chocolate milk is my favorite thing they give me. It comes in cartons, I hate the cartons, but it's what's inside that matters. It's like this prison. The prison doesn't matter, it's who is locked up in here. And that's me. I matter, right?

Then they take me to the other tables. The mind-prison works by now. I don't think about freedom, about the ghosts, or about the monsters in my mind. No, they say I think like a normal person. Normal, normal, normal, just like everyone else. I don't want to be like everyone else, but here I am. I'm drawing dogs with crayons, making macaroni pictures, or playing Connect Four with Doris. I always win Connect Four. Doris is more broken than me. She doesn't know her lefts and rights and she can't even talk straight. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be like her. I can't be though. I'm just crazy, she's crazy and stupid.

The tricks they pull at this place are pretty good, but they don't fool me. We aren't free, but they want us to think we are. You can see outside, but the windows won't open. Even if you broke them, there are still the bars. Sometimes they tell me lies like how they make us safe. I told them that I don't want to be safe, that I want to be free. All I got was their assurance that I am free, but that's just not right. They're wrong. One day I'll be free like the Monarch and I'll show them what it means to be free.

The best part of the day is when I get to be with Robin. She's my therapist, but I like to think that she's my friend. We talk about things, sometimes happy things, sometimes sad things, sometimes angry things. She's like the birds. Robin is beautiful and she sings nice too. I asked her to sing to me once and she did, but then she wouldn't do it again. That made me sad, but I didn't tell her. She talks to me like I matter. Robin talks to me and makes me feel good. Part of me wants to love her, but another part of me tells me there's something wrong.

When they put me back in my room, I got in bed. I laid there and I thought about things. I thought about the San Diego Padres, I thought about the Queen of England, I thought about Star Trek, and then I thought about the Monarch butterfly. I want to be like the butterfly. That's when I thought of my plan.

When breakfast came and they gave me my pills, I didn't take them. I pretended to but I didn't swallow them. My mind was free, like the Monarch. Instead of drawing dogs with crayons, I drew monsters and shadows. I didn't play Connect Four with Doris, instead I read books. I didn't know how much I liked reading better than Connect Four until my mind was free. I read about a lot things. Everything seemed different, everything was scarier and I didn't feel as safe, but I knew I was free at last.

When it was time to talk to Robin, I told her about how I was feeling. I tried to not tell her about not taking the pills, but she figured it out. That's also when I figured Robin out. She wasn't trying to help me, she was just another part of the prison. She tried to do something I read about called manipulation. She made things seem one way, but they really went a different one. I was betrayed. The men in white came and they made me take my pills and then they put me in bed early to punish me. The sun was still up. It's not right!

When I woke up again, I looked out and I saw the butterfly again. It looked so happy. I felt happy for it because it was not like me. It was free. Everything outside is free and I'm stuck here on a hard bed doing everything I don't want to do. I hate it. I hate it so much. I watched the butterfly some more and then something bad happened. A bird came and the bird saw the Monarch. It flew in and then it ate the Monarch butterfly. I was angry at the bird. The bird took away the Monarch's freedom. I thought about that and I knew that Robin was more like the birds than I thought before. They were pretty and they could sing, but they took freedom from the butterflies like me.

Remember when I said that yesterday I read about things? One thing that I read was about the Monarch butterfly. I learned a lot about them. I learned how they live in North America and migrate every year. I saw lots of cool pictures of them and I think they're my favorite now. But the best thing I learned is that if you take their freedom, you'll regret it. The bird that ate the Monarch is going to die because the Monarch is poisonous.

I am the Monarch. Like the Monarch, I've been eaten. They ate my mind and my freedom so that I'm not what I'm supposed to be. I'm supposed to be flying free, but instead I'm stuck inside this dark place. People always told me that life had a meaning and that we have a purpose. There is something for all of us to do. I know what I'm supposed to do now. I am the Monarch and I have to do what Monarchs do: I have to kill the bird that takes away my freedom.


  1. Go a step further and kill the cat that thought about killing the bird that killed the Monarch. Anyway, you're the keeper of your freedom...good story. It's easy to stay in the comfortable dark places. One day these stories will make up a short story book and you'll be famous.

  2. Each time I read your stories, they get better and better. This one is incredible, and then I go back and read the other ones and they are just fantastic too.
    I feel like I am the man trapped in the institution when I read this. And the metaphor throughout adds so much meaning to the twist at the end. This was great.

  3. this story is pun intended lol

  4. Very nice twist at the end! The therapist's name was a good touch as well.

    I caught a few grammar errors though. First, do not capitilize seasons. Second, you're missing an "of" in this sentence: "I read about a lot things." (Fifth paragraph from the bottom.)

    Last comment: the protagonist's flowing thoughts were somewhat repetitious. He "thought" in a manner reminiscent of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I understand this was a stylistic choice but it can be cumbersome to read.

  5. Because of this story, I started to continue on my own... Unfinished business needs to be done...
    Not sure what in the story brought it about, but now I'm writing some more.