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The IV monitor crept into the hallway, guided by a vein-traced hand covered in wrinkled skin. With half his face protruding beyond the edge of the door, he waited. He had one chance, one opportunity to end his imprisonment. Soon he wouldn't be able to fight back, resist the pain. They would win and he would be nothing but a shell.
His white gown twitched with nervous tension. The opened back exposed sagging flesh and drawn butt muscles. Then it came again, the terrible drilling in his head. He pushed crooked fingers deep into his temples, until the uncut nails broke the skin. "Not now, please, just a few more minutes, and I'll be free."
He pressed against the wall and inched along the passageway. He ignored the cold metal bumper guard chilling his bare rump; all his energy focused on escape. He pushed away the hammering in his skull, fought back against the rush of burning needles charging down his spine. He whispered to no one he could see. "No more. I won't let you use me anymore."
In answer to his rebellion, the dull pain exploded, like a hot steel rod penetrating his forehead. The old man grimaced in pain and moaned. "Oh God, please make it stop. Please, I beg you."
His plea alerted the orderly fifteen feet to his right. "Christ, Mr. Cunningham. Not again." He hurried down the hallway. "I'm sorry but you have to return to your room. I promise; I'll up your dosage to kill the pain."
The old man summoned what strength was left in his worn out body. "No. I won't go back. You don't care what they do, the gnawing in my head. No one wants to believe the truth."
The orderly reached out to grab the skinny arm, but
Cunningham was ready and slammed hisweapon down hard on the young man's hand. The orderly screamed and fell back across the chair seated against the wall. He removed the plastic fork and stretched upward toward the old man, but it was too late.
With the last spark of life, the emaciated figure bent down, picked up the steel frame, and ran toward the hall window. Like a charging knight with his lance pointing toward his opponent, the base of the frame shattered the window's glass and wooden partitions, until the frame was clear of glass. He climbed up his escape route, and did something he hadn't done for many years. With his eyes blinking uncontrollably, he smiled and reclaimed his freedom. "It's over, you lose, I win. You ugly bastards, go to hell."
The orderly pressed on his wound as blood dripped on the linoleum tiles. He leaned out the window, peered down at the body sprawled across the fountain at the entrance of the hospital, and shook his head. "Crazy old man. Hope you got what you wanted."