Tails This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

September 8, 2016

Tails was no more than a babe when his parents dropped him off at Old LeMoore Institute for Mentally Insane. It was one of those stormy nights, the wind was howling and just about every nurse had found themselves in the lounge room watching the big movie stars on the T.V. A lot of the patients were still awake that night. The storm upset most of them, the ones more close to sane found themselves trying to make right what the nurses did wrong by calming half the ward. Those guys were called the “norms”, they slept in the other halls and were the nurses favorite since they could be given the cleaning tasks the nurses didn’t want to do. Maybe about five percent of the place was filled with “norms”, I wouldn’t know. I was what they called the “loons”. I was from the bunch that would find ourselves prancing up and down the halls in nothing but socks screaming profanities till one of the nurses came about and tied us down in the rolley tables with the straps.
Now Tails was probably left out there for about an hour and then one of the “loons” opened the door due to the babe finally crying. Most of us really thought we were going crazy since the noise was so faint due to the heavy rain, one of us was at least smart enough to check where it was coming from.
Tails was brought into the care of the “norms” since most of them were stable enough to not try and shake the thing when it wouldn’t stop fussing. The nurses loved Tails, I think we all did, even the doctors. The nurses and doctors took to naming him Henry LeMoore, none of us liked the name but they gave us a chance to name him but most of us couldn’t scream anything but weird made up names. By the time he was three he gained the name Tails. He always had a coin on him and would play heads or tails with us patients when we got into arguments. On one such occasion I got into an argument with a “norm” called Fidget, both of us bickering back and forth on what color our clothes were. Fidget was a poor little fool because he was colorblind, which is part of the reason why he was here he got so mad that it drove him to the nut house. I ended up winning the argument and Fidget finally accepted that he was colorblind since Tails could tell him that they were a “sicky blue” as he called it.
When it came to Tails we all calmed down a bit since we all cared for the little bug. A lot of us got better, even Fidget. Not long after our argument, maybe about a month or two, he was let out a new man. Tails did a lot for us, more than he knew he could.
Tails was a smart kid when he really started talking. Two nurses took to teaching him when he was four and since they were smart women it didn’t take long till he was teaching most of the illiterate “norms” and “loons” how to read Grapes of Wrath. We taught him a few things too, like why we all called each other by nicknames and such. “So, why you called Gray, Arnie?” he asked me one day. “It’s cause I’m old.” I told him. “You’re not that old. Nurse Russ says you are twenty-five,” he said while counting his fingers then looking back up at me smiling and continued, “that makes you twenty-one years older than me.” I patted his head and sat him on my knee, “Smart little Tails, aren’t we?” I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was because I was sicker than the rest of the people in LeMoore.
Tails ended up being a good kid too. He never got into any trouble in fact when the two nurses were done teaching him they let him go out and play so they could do their “nurse” work. None of the other nurses seemed to notice Tails, in fact if he walked into the nurses’ lounge when all of them were there they’d simply say, “Hello Henry.” and continue on with their chatter. Tails also took care of all of us, making a lot of the elder folks in here feel young again. I remember a time when one of the “norms” drew on the wall and Tails cleaned up the mess he made before the nurses saw. Not like that “norm” would’ve gotten into trouble, stuff like that happened all the time.
He ended up helping us out mentally a lot, bout half the patients were gone by the time Tails was thirteen. Of course more came along as the years went on since it was only natural. But, The doctors were amazed at how well he was with us, even better than they were. A lot of them didn’t like it and many were jealous. The oldest doctor there, Dr. Fenrir was maybe about forty-nine. He had a lot of wrinkles on his face and slicked back white hair. The “loons” loved him since he was a lot like Tails, good to us. But Dr. Fenrir didn’t see any problem with Tails helping us out. He’d say to a lot of doctors there, “Our job is to help the patients not make them worse.” He knew a lot of the new doctors were using the dangerous methods that “tried” to make us better. Not a lot of us “loons” knew about this methods or how they worked since the methods were used mostly on the “norms”, but even they weren’t so sure of the methods themselves since the ones that came out were, even crazier than before.
Tails grew up fine in LeMoore, not the best place for him to start out, but he ended up good, it’s hard to blame a kid that just did everything for the wellbeing of the patients. He even helped a couple of the “norms” escape when he was in his late-teens. I remember how he even got old Gent out.
Gent was an elderly fellow who suffered from dementia, although his case wasn’t as bad as Tank’s was. Half the time Tank wasn’t even sure if Tails was a real person in fact he thought half of LeMoore’s people are a part of hallucinations. It didn’t stop Tails from talking to him and reassuring him that everything was very real. Most of us messed with Tank, one of the common ways was pretending a person wasn’t there when Tank saw them and spoke with them. It was funny till one day Tank picked up a chair and threw it at one of the “norms” that we were pretending not to be there. After that, Tank had to be restrained when he was allowed out of his room. Tails often kept Tank company when he wasn’t studying.
Tails stuck to his studies most of the times when he wasn’t keeping company with everyone else. Only when something important in his books came up would he stay in Dr. Fenrir’s office. Dr. Fenrir’s office was a huge room. I had only been in there once, but still remember it. The whole room was filled with books all organized by what they were and what genre it was. Anything from medical books to books on all the mythologies of the world, those were Tails favorite. Tails read from those books to us. He once asked me, “Arnie, if you could be a god, who would you be?” To that I laughingly replied, “Apollo.” He looked at me as if I’d given him a wrong answer to which I asked, “Who do you think I’d be?” “That’s easy,” he replied, “Hephaestus.” I patted his shoulder and smiled. I had felt as if he had kind of insulted me a bit with that, but at least I would have been useful. If Tails was a god, he would have been Baldur, from the Norse myths, the much loved god.
The first time Tails ever went outside of LeMoore, he went to the town. It was only a short distance, but it seemed like it took forever for him to come back. The nurses were all in a jumbled mess when they got back, all of them adoring his little picture with old Saint Nick. They had the picture taped on the wall for all the patients to see. Poor little Tails probably didn’t know what to think of the old fat man, but from my understanding he gave the jolly fellow a laugh and a grin. Tails and the nurses would go out every year to see him so we had a picture of Tails as a little present from the nurses to all of us. All the pictures were taped to the wall and eventually made a small Christmas tree to stay stuck on the walls permanently.
By his university years Tails was nervous to finally leave and not know when he was coming back. He wrote to us a lot and even visited when he could. He described the place as very big and you could even get lost there, we all wondered how he didn’t. He sent us a picture maybe four years into his university life. He went to one of the well-known and prestigious places, all he wanted to be was a doctor and stay at LeMoore with everyone like he always had. It took him about eight or so years to finally become that and just as expected all the doctors prepped him his own office, right next to Dr. Fenrir’s.
We had a big party when he finally came back, all the “norms” and “loons” got together and rejoiced. Tails passed around his diploma and everyone, even the ones who could hardly understand a thing, smiled and grinned just staring at that piece of paper. It was more than some of us could do in our lives.
Dr. Fenrir and Tails worked side by side with many cheering them on. Many more patients became better because of Tails and his hard work just trying to make us better. It wasn’t until a few years after his employment at LeMoore, that he had come to understand a lot of the reasoning behind some of the “loons” and even a couple of “norms” being here. He found my personal file once and snuck it to me, telling me my condition wasn’t as bad as everyone made it out to be. I was old and tired at this time, it took throwing a rock at me to make me move, but I smiled at Tails. “You don’t know half of what that file should actually be about.” to that I went to sleep leaving him to just look at me dumbfounded. Tails did more digging around into everyone’s files, not everyone was as crazy as they were made out to be.  Gent, the old man that was able to escape with Tails help was actually more stable and able than compared to how Tank was. Even Fidget wasn’t as bad as he seemed, although by then he had already been free and out in the world after he was cured.
One by one Tails let out half the “norms” in the facility, without the knowledge of the other doctors. Everyone never really bothered with them though, the main focus was us “loons”. Dr. Fenrir though, he was concerned. He didn’t like how his patients were leaving without his permission. He nearly caught Tails once, but that didn’t stop Tails and after that Dr. Fenrir became suspicious of Tails.
Dr. Fenrir was a smart old man and he didn’t like to be fooled or for any of the other doctors to go releasing patients behind his back, but Tails did it. Dr. Fenrir was a very secretive man, he had a lot of safes under his desk where he supposedly kept the fundings. Any “norms” turned “loons” knew better, they were afraid of his office and especially that desk. No one suspected such a thing with Dr. Fenrir though. “Norms” going crazier then what they were was expected. As the suspicion with Tails grew, Tails grew suspicious of Dr. Fenrir.
It finally happened one day, Dr. Fenrir finally got the crook. He wasn’t surprised. Tails didn’t look guilty, I think he was happy to get caught, he knew there would be a change after that. The supposedly good doctor wouldn’t have it though. A loud bang went through the halls of the “norms” and no one could do a thing, all the doors were locked. Another bang rang out and everyone then assumed that the only witness wasn’t able to speak anymore. The day after Dr. Fenrir played it off as if one of the patients got loose and shot Tails and the good doctor shot the “norm” in return as self-defense.
The nurses believed him, and they held a little private burial for Tails with Dr. Fenrir there as well. All the “norms” and “loons” knew better, we all did, but there wasn’t a thing we could do to confess the wrongs that happened that night. After all, who believes a crazy person? A lot of those that had been cured mentally came to the little funeral. Fidget graced me with a hug and an introduction to the small little family he started when he stopped by LeMoore for a visit. “It’s funny,” he said, “Tails was basically born here and he died here too. Kind of poetic in a sense.” “Poetic my foot, you don’t even know half the reason you were here.” I grumbled to him. “What you mean Gray?” he questioned. I told him how Tails went looking through everyone’s files and how Tails had found one about him. “Nothing added up Fidget. You got mad and were suddenly put here, how is that fair.” I whispered to him. He sat in front of me and just stared, questioning everything that I had just told him. He gathered up his wife who was outside the guest area chatting with a few nurses about her due date, and left. I got a phone call from him about a month later; he had paid a lot just to see his files and a little extra. Dr. Fenrir had a little bit more to do with Fidget being at LeMoore than he did himself. We had someone on the outside now, questioning the tragic death of our poor Tails.
A year had gone by and Dr. Fenrir was near his retirement. No one would see him again and none were sad about it. But I wouldn’t have it. The good doctor had done Tails wrong and with Fidget on the outside paying detectives to look further into the doctor’s past I knew it was only a matter of time till everything was about to be turned right.
I caught the doctor in his office the night before his retirement. He had favored me the most and let me run around a bit longer than anyone else. I was prepared that night, maybe for my own death or maybe even put into one of the worst mental healing methods to ever be created. I was allowed into the kitchen that night, before I went to see him. The nurses kept a lot of things they shouldn’t have in there, and after months of watching them put in there little passcode for the safe they kept it in, I learned it. What would a weapon have been needed for in the kitchen? Especially to be taken out so often, but then again I guess they had to make sure it was somewhere no one would think to look and checking it as they did was a precaution to make sure it was still there.
I walked into the doctor’s office, playing things off as if I wanted a little conversation with him before he left. “Doc,” I said to him, “I’m sure Tails would have loved to read some of these new myth books if he were here.” He chuckled, “I’m sure he would. I can just imagine the look on his face when he finally read them.” I laughed a bit too at the thought of Tails just staying in here reading away. I walked up to Dr. Fenrir’s desk and asked him what he was going to do with everything in here, to which he replied that he would give it all away. Except the mythology books, he’d leave those here for the patients. “That’s awfully nice of you Doc.” I grinned. “Say Doc,” I started, “tell me a little bit about the file on me. Tell me why I’m here.” He looked at me and laughed, “You know, that whole seeing things sort of deal Arnie, you scared yourself so much your head went gray.” “I don’t think you even know the half of it Doc.” I said as I pulled a pistol on the Dr. Fenrir’s head. “This place may have been the only thing keeping me from doing this again. You know it’s not completely through. You’re making up stuff to keep me here and you know it.”
No one heard the gunfire go off that night, no one knew I was there either. Dr. Fenrir had kept some anti-depressants in one of the many safes under his desk; the others held some weird sort of drug that would drive a man mad. Dr. Fenrir had used it on the “norms” and people questioned the doctors intentions, even so far as saying his death was an escape from a quilt filled life he lead. Fidget was the only one that knew what had really happened and with Dr. Fenrir’s death some “norms” and “loons” was let go and those of us that weren’t were sent to better places to keep them off the streets and away from people. I went to a place called The Institute of Hope and Health, where my file was finally finished.
My hair was gray all through my years; I was even put further on a list of those that were more insane than how I was described at LeMoore. Dr. Fenrir wasn’t my first, nope. I think it was the neighbor’s cat and I gradually got more as the years went on, something about wanting to see blue blood. I don’t really remember, I didn’t do to Dr. Fenrir what I had done to the others even if he deserved it. I won’t be free anytime in this life and Tails is probably waiting on me at the golden gates above only to have his hopes shattered the way I did when I first came to LeMoore.

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