The Asylum

Angelique Robinson, Web Editor

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In the Year 2235, Joe Smith woke up, the same way he had every day before, exhausted and uninterested in the day to come. Joe got out of bed, wondering when Annabelle, the woman who loved him would visit. Joe follows his routines every day, he puts no effort into it, he doesn’t have an obsessive reason, it just happens.

On non-workdays Joe brushes his teeth, shaves, washes his face, puts on tan cotton pants and a white t shirt, then goes downstairs to eat oatmeal, then drinks orange juice. Once he is ready for the day Joe goes to his study. He spends five minutes meditating to improve his soul and to keep him calm. He gets up then enters his Memory Museum. In 2197, scientists discovered a way for humans to extract memories and keep them on disks to replay like movies. They had existed since before he was born.

Every morning, even before work Joe visits a specific memory.

On March 6, 2219 Joe was 18. It started the same as every other day. He followed his routine before school perfectly. When he got to school, he began walking to his locker as usual but upon arriving at his locker, standing there is a handsome boy trying to open it.

“I don’t know you and that’s my locker.”

“Oh sorry, I’m new. My name’s Hugh, Hugh Collins.” Something was going on with Joe, he felt warm, it was something he had never felt before.

“Well, I know you now, but that’s still my locker.”

“Oops, sorry. Mine is next to it, I didn’t read the numbers carefully. First day anxiety. It never goes away.” Hugh slides right to the next to Joe’s. Joe takes this as the end of their conversation, so he opens his locker. He exchanges for binders and books for his first two classes. “Most people would introduce themselves.” Hugh says from his locker.

“I’m Joe Smith.”

“That must be a common name.”

“I guess. See you around Hugh.” Joe had never felt many emotions around his family but in the brief interaction with Hugh he had wanted to crack a smile.

“Wait Joe! Could you show me around? No one offered to show me around in the office.”

“Figures, sure, I’ll give you the tour.” Joe takes Hugh around the school showing him the different buildings and where his classes were. Hugh managed to get a laugh from Joe as he made creative ways to remember unique things about each building.

“The Mystery Mischievous Masterpiece Building. Would be the art hallway where secretive, salacious activities occur.”

“Moving Along. You’re really passionate about your creativity huh?”

“They make life more interesting.” Joe just gave a small smile then walked back to the patio, where most students hung out before school.

“Well, this is where I leave you.”

“I’ll see you later.”

“If you can find me, you can sit with me at lunch.” To give Hugh’s creative mind a challenge, Joe neglected to mention that they had the same class for lunch.

Joe left for his first period which was on the opposite side of campus. He decided he would share Hugh’s way of going through life. Hugh seemed far happier than Joe, so Joe assumed whatever Hugh was doing was right. Throughout the first three periods there was a noticeable difference in Joe’s mood. Many of his assumed he was on something.

 In English he was thinking creatively for the first time. He smiled for the first time in History. In Spanish he spoke for the first time. This change delighted the teachers and confused the students. When it came time for fourth period Physics, Joe was exited, which confused him because it was the first time, he could remember, feeling this much in one day.

When Joe made it to Physics Hugh was sitting in the seat nest to his, where no one usually sat. Hugh was shocked to see Joe enter the room. Hugh smiled in greeting but did not say anything which was weird to Joe, but he was too introverted to start a conversation.

After giving the class their reading assignment for the day, their teacher called roll because he was terrible with learning names. He went through the entire roster but never called Hugh Collins. Joe looked over at Hugh with curiosity

“Don’t worry about it.” Hugh whispered so that only Joe could hear.

“Are you sure?”

“Of course.” Joe trusted Hugh’s nonchalant behavior. The girl sitting in front of Joe was very confused as to what was going on behind her. She went up to the teacher and told him what was going on. The teacher thanked her for the concern and dismissed her to complete her assignment. The teacher became serious, glanced at Joe who took no notice as he was whispering to Hugh. The teacher then began to write a note.

“John, could you deliver this note to the nurse. Wait there for a response.” Everyone knew who he meant.

“Okay sir, but what about the assignment?”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll have someone fill you in.” Joe glanced at Hugh, then walked up to the desk to get the note.

Joe quickly walked to the office to deliver the note. He went straight to the nurse’s office. No one was being treated so the nurse was just behind her computer.

“Hello Joe, what can I do for you?”

“I’m here to give you this note and wait for a response.” He placed the note on her desk. She picked up the note then glanced up at Joe.

“I’ll be right back with your response.” She walks out then the memory fades to black.

Joe has wondered for the last 16 years what that note said, what happened to him and most importantly what happened to Hugh. Every day this was replayed for Joe, yet he could not remember what happened after he blacked out that day.

“Joe!”

“In the museum Anna!”

“Of course, you are, I should have come here first. Are you ready?”

“I’m always ready.”

“So, did anything from that day comeback?” She rubs a wipe on his arm.

“No, still nothing.” She injects him with the same serum she has for the last sixteen years.

“It’ll all be okay.” He falls asleep forgetting about the last few hours.