Beryl waited patiently for his next visitor and tried to ignore the banshee-like shrieks that came from outside his cold cell. He could still see through a small opening thanks to Dr. Solsen, but he did not approach his connection to the outside again. He had still not eaten and was beginning to feel thinner.
It seemed as if days passed before he heard very soft footsteps approaching and a shadow appeared at the door. It was Professor Rance, one of the few he had not seen in the crowd before. “Hello, old friend.” The Professor smiled, if sadly, as he spoke with a soft voice. “I am sorry that I do not have any good news for you.”
Old friend? Beryl wondered briefly at the Professors sentiment as the mans scent filled the cell. A strange scent that reminded Beryl of straw. “Though it is your own doing that you are here now, I blame myself in part for what has happened to you. I should have recognized your cries for help as you cut yourself off from the world. Quitting your jobs, abandoning your friends one after another. Now it is almost too late.”
“Everyone believes you are a hard worker who could make valuable contributions to society, but you are too erratic and dangerous to yourself and others. That is why it was decided that it may be in everyones best interest, including your own, if we performed a rather-” The Professor paused a moment, seemingly reluctant to continue, but he finished, “An unconventional lobotomy designed to make you safe.”
Beryl had felt cold in the dark cell before, but now it felt as if the light had dimmed and icy wind had blown into the room as he shivered.
“You would no longer be able to perform duties as a nurse, but Canergak believes you could work as others have in the nearby factories with minimal trouble.”
Beryl’s claws scratched at the cold metal of the cell beneath him. The thought of Canergak robbing him of his awareness and setting him to work in a factory felt like death. All his struggles to find himself would be for nothing if he allowed this to happen.
“At this moment,” Professor Rance continued, “I am all that stands between you and something that no one wants.”
“Then why do it?” Beryl asked. “I am worth more to anyone as I am, and worth nothing without.”
Rance sighed very deeply and patiently replied, “We know what happened in Germany, old friend.”
Beryl cringed inwardly at the Professor’s proclamation and knew that there was nothing more to be said if that was the truth. “What do we do now then?”
“If you swear that you will work with me, I will postpone the operation and I will strive to help you in other ways,” The Professor said, “Now…will you agree to help me, to help yourself? Even if the journey is hard and long?”
Beryl simply nodded in agreement, and Rance gave a satisfied nod as he turned and left the small hatch to the outside world open. Beryl tucked his feet under himself again miserably and hoped this nightmare would soon end.