O.G. Knight: Between The Sacred and The Profane (Chapter One)

Presenting original in-universe fiction from Damion Gonzales' T.A.S.K. and written by Thaddeus Howze. This series focuses on the magically empowered street vigilante O.G. Knight.

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"Take the mask off before you go." The two orderlies looked at the doctor sitting behind his large oaken desk and hesitated. His eyes, hidden behind thick glasses, flashed menace before he whispered, "Did I stutter?"

"No sir. But this patient is known to spit." The orderly despite his size, seemed quite afraid of the tiny man behind the desk.

"They'll be none of that now will there, Mr. Gaultis?" The masked man shook his head in the negative and the orderlies complied by removing the mask and checking his bindings before disappearing.

"I am Dr. Renault. I have been tasked with seeing to your suitability to stand trial. Until recently, you had been a model prisoner, aware of the rules, skirting them as it suited you and you could get away with. Then something changed. Why don't you begin wherever you feel most comfortable."

The doctor looked across the room wondering if the rig they brought the inmate on was going to damage his new Persian rug. His newest patient was strapped into a psychiatric hazard rig complete with facemask. He was directed here after his complaints of psychological distress led to him attack inmates and guards alike.

"I was doing a stretch for five to ten for grand larceny. I started out in gen-pop. I knew San Ramirez. I wasn't worried about nobody in there. I'd even been there for a couple of short hops so I knew my way around the place. I figured: Wasn't my first time in the box. I paid the right people, beat the right asses and then my time was going to be cake. I could be out in five and some change. It was prison as usual. The days kinda just run together. A shanking here, a beatdown there. It was pretty smooth sailing until the dreams came."

"Dreams? Nightmares? Aren't you a little old for nightmares?"

"Easy for you to say, Doc. I haven't slept for three weeks because every time I dream, someone gets hurt." Despite the tough talk bravado, there was genuine emotion in his voice.

The doctor scratched some more in his notepad in the margins, recommending Thorazine. "Please continue Mr. Gaultis."

The doctor couldn't see his face. He didn't want to. He preferred to light himself but kept the patients cloaked in shadow. There was something about listening to their voices. Sociopaths can use their faces to lie. Their voices however, revealed everything.

But his eyes glistened like lightning.

He was agitated. Confused. While talking about knifing a man his voice barely cracked. Mention these dreams and he started fracturing. The sound of the restraining bay stretching and the straight jacket straining also revealed the powerful and terrifying specimen trapped within.

"Don't look at me like that. We aren't talking bout some bitch ass dreams. This was some real shit. Man, I'd never seen anything like it."

"Do go on." Hesitation. Breathing changed.

"Each dream starts the same way. I am doing something, shopping, buying something, or in a good one, I might be dealing and taking some preppy's money. Doesn't matter, cause each time I am there, this thing attacks me. Sometimes it talks, but I never understand it. All I know is I'm frozen. As it gets closer, I can't even run. Once it starts attacking me, I can't do a damn thing. It's so goddamn fast. I can barely see it. Sometimes there's fire, and blood. So much blood, a goddamn ocean of it…"

The straight jackets and anodized aluminum creaked, indicating their distress in containing him. His face is dripped sweat and phlegm flew across the room landing on the doctor's fine jacket. He was in the grip of sheer terror. Whatever had him when he dreamt was more terrible than incarceration in a poorly monitored maximum security prison where any number of atrocities took place on a regular basis. It was as if he expected to see it appearing right here. "Mr. Gaultis, Malachi. There's no one here but you and I. Please continue."

"Goddamn doc, when its happening, it seems so real. In the dreams I shit myself I'm so scared. It's like they're in three-dee with stereo-fucking-sound on acid. Everything's loud, bright and all I can smell is the blood…Always the blood. I wake up covered in shit and piss, my head covered in scrapes and cuts from banging it against the floor. My fingers or hands are sometimes broken. Then I go back to sleep and when I wake up my hands are fine."

"Is there anything else you want to share with me?" He was calming down, even talking about it caused a physiological change.

"I got moved to solitary, and they started strapping me in at night. That would have been enough, or so they thought until one morning I broke the bed, straps and all. I beat the next sixteen screws within an inch of their lives. That's how I ended up here in this rig, wearing a face-mask and two straight jackets. What can you do for me, doctor?"

"Tell me something about your case, Mr. Gaultis. How is it you came to be testifying against a crime boss such as Lucien Marks. Could it be you are simply feeling the fear of a man who is not long for this world?"

"Yeah, that could be it, but I've never been afraid of anything in my entire life. Until I met Marks. The things I did when I worked for him were bad. Real bad. You didn't see those addicts when he was done with them. The man was like a plague. He didn't tell me what he planned to do. If I knew I never would have agreed to it."

"Yes, you would. You have a strong sense of self-preservation. I understand Mr. Marks is not one to refuse, is he?"

"Did your homework, eh Doc? Means you already think I'm a dead man, don't you? Don't matter. I've made it my business to see he gets the check. He's gonna pay."

"I want to increase the capacity of your sleep medication. The prison doesn't have access to what you need. If I can make it possible for you to sleep, would you return so we can talk about your fears and how they are consuming your personal life, such as it is. I am certain we will be able to come to the bottom of your psychosis so you can return to your incarceration, free from any emotional guilt caused by your lifestyle aside from your impending court-mandated deathwish."

"Doc, I liked it better when I was just a bit crazy. It sounds dirty when you say it."

"I'll see you next week, Mr. Gaultis."

The doctor waited until the two orderlies removed the inmate before checking on the state of his Persian rug. Running his hand across the warp, he was surprised to find it was wet. He smelled the urine, decompressing its secrets, its hidden language of fear.

Tapping his earpiece his secretary's voice filled the room. "Yes, Dr. Renault?"

"Get someone in here to clean my carpeting and remember to put down plastic next week for Mr. Gaultis. He appears to not be completely housebroken."

Unqualified terror. How delicious.

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