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October 1st 188∞ Part 1 of 4

The Murgam Asylum was quiet.

It was not so quiet that there was implied danger lurking inside every dark corner. But silence had been alien to the facility since Canergak’s first ‘specimen’ arrived.

The first floor was typically somber and contemplative.  Potted plants and blue wallpaper was meant to bring comfort to patients. People checked themselves in when they needed an escape or protection.  Those on the first floor had free access to the garden where nothing ever grew. Despite this there was a calming effect to being outside the building for a time.  Sometimes the sound of a flute carried over the walls and into the garden bringing a sense of peace to those who chose to stay here.  At least, his doctors assured him this was the case.

The second floor was dedicated to those who were threats to themselves over others.  The sad cases: Persons that anyone with a soul might still have pity for their plight.  Cushioned walls and floors.  No sharp edges.  No furniture.  Deeper blue wallpaper outside the cell. It was for their own safety and yet many were simply victims robbed of their freedoms for their own well being.

The specimen on the third floor deserved no sympathy.  At least, not most of them.  The original six were mad men and women who survived their own executions. Two healed within a few hours of hanging.  Another was found in the last place they went to sleep, and returned to their murderous ways.  Mary had poisoned her entire family and herself, convinced they were all transforming into rats.  

The ‘Kindly Ones’ had their hands on Mary at one point, but the others had chosen their course.  They couldn’t die?  They were born again each day or healed from any injury? What was to be the fate of these eternal drains upon society?

Canergak provided the solution.  Those whom society had condemned to death but would not die made excellent specimens.  The professor and doctors were given free reign to study the effects of their psychotherapy.  He bid them to experiment without remorse upon these specimens.  Testing what might drive a person more insane, or less, and finding cures to things thought irreversible.

Cruel?  No less than eternity in a cell forgotten and going mad.  Why waste their potential when they could expand the field of therapy without fear for the subject’s recovery?

There were no threats or screams from the third floor now.  There was no cries of despair or rage. The specimen and the few patients kept there were gone.

Many would regret the facility closing down and moving to a new location.  Not all, but some.  Save for the massacre caused by Cortman the facility had a good record. The facility helped people in times of great need. Many of their first and second floor patients had been released with therapy.  The third story even had some success, except for the specimen and that Bucket Heed fellow.  

That figure had been a sore point between him and Dr. Thaddeus Solson.  The Assistant mayor’s request for discretion was clear, but the letter had to be read to him… 

His mechanical eyes didn’t perceive the Mundus, so the good doctor read him all incoming missives.  Mr. Underby wanted assistance with a fellow who had caused him grief. He needed it done legal and with great discretion, but the words made Canergak himself question the motivation.

Doctor Solson did not hesitate however, “A messy business, sir, but one I am familiar with.  I assure you that we will put the man on the third floor where he can be forgotten.”  

“You have not even evaluated the subject in question.” Canergak frowned at the doctor.  He rarely frowned but something about this situation seemed off.  “We have heard little about this individual except putting him away must be legal.”

Dr. Solsen took a deep breath.  He was probably trying to take a patient and kind expression that Canergak would never see.  “Sir, I am more experienced with running an asylum than you are…and Mr. Underby is a very important man who could make our lives very miserable if he desired.”  The doctor explained with calm familiarity and authority, but Canergak saw his chord was subdued.  Resignated, perhaps, “Or, we could have him need the facility to stay open for his own needs.  I doubt we will see an inspector for years, though our conditions are better than most.  Your projects in the basement though…”

Canergak snorted. “Let their inspectors come.  What will they do?  Shut the facility down and unleash the specimens to destroy people’s lives again?  Gun them down?  That would not be regrettable if bullets would kill the monsters.  Most would survive such onslaughts.”

Solsen let his surprise show.  “Sir, this is…unpleasant but this is how it works…judges and politicians need their wives and children to behave in ways that do not embarrass them.  The asylum, any asylum, needs a little freedom from oversight.  This is just the way things operate smoothly.  We put away the problems of the powerful and they don’t look too closely in return…” 

The Doctor seemed sick to admit it aloud, but deep in Canergaks underground office they would be unheard.  Canergak stared at the psychiatrist and growled, “You will evaluate the man before condemning him. Write back to explain the necessary legalities to the Assistant Mayor.  It will be done right or not at all.”

“I assure you that I will evaluate the man fairly.”  Solsen promised with the fatherly voice that disarmed others. Doctor Solsens face and voice may have sounded sincere, but Canergak could see the lie in his very chord.  He left the doctor to pen his response.

The director put the memory from his mind.  At the time he had been angry, but now it just disappointed him.  Canergak had left himself without the power to discharge or charge anyone into the facility.  Bucket Heed would spend the rest of his life in a secure facility. 

There would be no need for clandestine deals where they were going. After ten years there was just one last task for this structure before it changed hands.

Canergak waited in the lobby, standing with his cane to one side, and his first defense upon his shoulder.  He did not wait long before the front door opened and inside came Wright, followed by a woman on a stretcher pushed by a familiar figure from his youth.

For now he only cared for the woman on the stretcher who was there but he could not see.  The woman who had fought beside him the day he lost his eyes.  He reached out for her and put a hand where it seemed she must be and caught her feet.  He fumbled a moment trying to find her hand.  

“Are you feeling okay, sir?” Wright asked.  

Canergak shook his head slowly.  He should feel sad, or even hopeful, but he was as emotionless as ever.  “Her chord was broken.  She has no presence in the Aether.  Take Murgam….take my wife to the third floor.”

He ignored Wright’s shock as he made his way upstairs. Perhaps the professor’s experiments on the specimen had finally paid off.

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