“Hi, there,” I greeted with the best smile I could manage.

“What do you want?” The words were intermixed with a sigh. The night outside the cell was intrusive, silent.

“I’m just going around visiting patients for a project, to know about the…their…um.”

“Madness,” he said turning towards me. The springy bed didn’t make any sound as he turned, doing its bit to make the room dingier.

“Yes. Well, I wanted to talk to you about…your, um…”

“Madness,” he repeated. I sighed. A mouse scampered past me, squeaking as it stopped by him. While I fumbled with words, he mumbled incoherently. He took a deep breath and uttered a long sigh. “My only sin was falling in love.” His eyes convinced me of the sincerity of his words and the lack of paucity of the emotion spoken of. His suffering was more palpable than the gloom floating in the room.

“Well, we’ve all been there. The world is a madhouse then!”

“It was with an owl.” A seasoned orator couldn’t have delivered the punch line with more emphasis. It was my cue to click my pen open.

“How did you…I mean…”

“I can talk to animals,” he said, his words cutting through my sentence easier than a sharpened knife through warm butter. My sceptical gaze triggered a manic eruption.

“Oh you don’t understand how alluring and mesmerizing her eyes are! I’m a sucker for big eyes, but hers are magical. The only trouble is she knows that better than anyone! She knows just when to enlarge or narrow them, preceding it with a hooting replete with entrancing staccatos and legatos. To top it all, she speaks in the most glorious verses. God himself couldn’t top them! Tell me, how then can one refuse her demand of turning someone’s head over and killing them? Even the way she rotates her head is like a classical dancer’s!” The eruption released a magma of emotions that conflagrated his insides.

The mouse returned and squeaked.

“Oh shut up you heartless bastard!” he wailed. The mouse scurried away, snickering. The outburst made dogs outside the asylum bark. It might have been because of the full moon. I’m not sure. He copied them and barked, abusing them, I believe. I copied the mouse and scuttled out the door.

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