“Kiki? Why can't I go outside?” Catherine looked back at the boy. Bruce sat up anxiously in his cot, his eager blue eyes pleading for an answer. She gave a sigh and turned about to face him, releasing the handle of the heavy steel door. She maneuvered her way around the toys and books that littered the white linoleum. She pushed back a strand of her graying dark hair and took a seat at the foot of her patient's bed.
“Bruce, we've talked about this before,” she told him with the soft, firm voice of an exhausted, but ever-patient mother. “The doctor says that you need to stay here. You like it here, don't you?” Bruce lifted his shaggy head and glanced about the room. This little pristine, white cell was the only place Bruce had ever known. With it's smooth blank walls and cold gray floor, and the smell of cotton sheets. A few crude crayon drawings of animals he'd made hung crookedly above his steel framed cot like the grotesque portraits in a skewed fun house mirror. His gaze wandered down to his menagerie of books and toys strewn upon the floor that Catherine had brought him over the years. Stuffed animals, tinker toys, metal matchbox cars, picture books, and crayons were laid about carelessly as any child would. Many of the matchbox cars had been crushed and a few tinker toys were a bit bent from Bruce's clumsy, sausage sized fingers. Bruce didn't mind that, though, so long as they still rolled and snapped together.
He'd learned to be gentler with more delicate items, but evidence suggested that it wasn't so in previous years. Two smashed in holes the size of bowling balls were scars left in the wall above his door from two years ago. A cracked indentation in the floor in the corner was from just one year ago, after being put on new medication. Scratches in the linoleum from where the crumpled remains of an old metal table was dragged across the floor after a horrible night terror. A slight limp in the gait of Bruce's physician, Dr. Harmon, was due to an impulsive swat after the sight of a needle. Bruce shifted his gaze back to Catherine with the solemnity of a funeral goer. He hung his head in shame with a slight hoot of despair.
“I do...” Catherine's stern visage melted into concern. She shifted to be closer, sliding across the cotton sheets so she sat beside him. She placed a steady hand on his forearm and traced the dark hair that lightly dusted it.
“I'm sorry, sweetheart. I would take you outside in a heartbeat and you know that,” Catherine stroked the hair beneath the pads of her spindly fingers, calculating her words. “It's all up to Mister Grant. I've asked him before and he thinks you'll be safer in here.”
“But why, Kiki? Why is it dangerous to go outside?” Catherine thought for a moment. Her dark eyes lowered as she took one of Bruce's sinewy hands into her smaller, slimmer ones. She remembered when Bruce's hands were smaller than hers, and that had been only seven years ago. He had been much, much smaller then. Nobody thought much of him when he was little. He was just another resident of Eastern Ridge. He had been no different from the other orphaned and abandoned children that called this sanatorium home. But now... he was different. He couldn't leave for the same reason that hundreds of others couldn't leave: People in the outside world were afraid of those who were different.
“Honey, it's hard to explain..” She pet the top of his palm slowly, treading carefully. “If you were to go outside, or even upstairs, people will be afraid of you.” She saw a crack of anguish flash in Bruce's eyes momentarily. Thinking quickly, she hugged around his arm. “It's not that you are mean or bad, dear. You're just...”
“Scary?” Bruce's slightly broken voice mumbled miserably. Catherine bit her lip. She was going to deny that fact, but no matter how much she hated herself for thinking so, it was true. He wasn't stupid. He knew he was bigger and stronger than what was considered normal. Though he was only ten, he towered over even the tallest of people. His bulk was equal to, if not superior to that of a prized bull. His enormous size was intimidating enough, but his strength made him a potentially dangerous to others. Rippling muscle and sinew created the image of a lumbering hulk. His massive shoulders spanned twice the breadth of two linebackers. His whole body was thickly built and coated in a light coating of dark brown body hair. People would all too easily see him as a monster.
“Bruce, you're not-”
“I am and you know it!” the boy suddenly bellowed, drawing away from Catherine. She jumped back instinctively. She knew fully well how much raw, carnal strength Bruce stored in that powerhouse of a body. She shrank away timidly as she saw how tense Bruce had become. His pinstripe pajamas were pulled taut on his flexed form. His heavy brow sheltered his tear filled blue eyes. “I'm a big scary monster like in your stories!”
Last edited by triceraderp (1/17/2016 4:30 pm)