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Behind Closed Doors
The Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) is one of the best schools for deaf students around the state of Texas. For deaf students it is recommended to live on campus at the school where you are surrounded by teachers and workers that know American Sign Language (ASL). When visiting the school it seems like a safe place where you can be yourself without any communication barriers, but I wish it was really like the school everyone imagines it to be. My name is Jimmy Howard and I have been at TSD since I was in kindergarten.
Every few years a student or two at this school dies or goes missing. Dr. Heim has been at TSD for as long as I remember and is a renowned scientist and doctor known nationwide. He is known for allowing students to participate in experimental studies and research he does. It is told that the experiments are for the students to learn more about their deafness.
Every month we have selection days. Selection days are when Dr. Heim picks students that will take place in his next experiment. Students are told that it is an honor to be chosen to partake in these experiments because of how great Dr. Heim is. Students come back after these experiments and studies saying that it was great, but when my best friend Alex got selected three years ago I didn’t know it would be the last time I would see him. When other students came back from the experiment but Alex didn’t, I started to worry about who Dr. Heim really was.
As I researched more about Dr. Heim and his past I started to realize that he had an odd interest in the appalling Nazi human experiments that occurred during World War ll and the Holocaust. He grew up in a household with a deaf brother and sister which is the reason he came to help children just like his siblings at TSD. I seemed to think maybe if he didn’t get along with his brother and sister he might have a grudge over deaf children.
I knew that if I went directly to Dr. Heim I would get no answers about any of the experiments especially if he knew that I was suspecting anything bad about his research. That’s when I thought of volunteering to be an intern at his office just to see what happens behind the closed doors. The next day I decided to go to Dr. Heim’s office and talk to him. I spoke to him directly asking him when I could be a part of the next experiment.
“The next experiment will begin tomorrow afternoon and I would be glad to have an extra set of hands around here. I have been meaning to put something out to the students about an internship here at the office,” signed Dr. Heim.
I had a plan on how to figure out what was really happening during the so called experiments I just needed to gain Dr. Heim’s trust first. When the next experiment started I was stuck doing paperwork or making phone calls which I had expected until I accidently came across a paper Dr. Heim had written. The paper was from a few years back around the time that Alex had been selected. The content of the paper had notes and information about past experiments and even the deaf children that were selected for those specific experiments. I also found papers about his siblings and things he had written about them. Dr. Heim talked about his siblings, envying them for taking all of their families time and making their parents forget about him. He talked about how he always wanted someone to talk to but his parents were always busy taking care of his brother and sister. This made me wonder that if he didn’t like his deaf siblings maybe he could be harming other deaf children due to his past experiences.
I searched and searched for any clue of Alex in Dr. Heim’s paperwork and found not one trace of my best friend. I didn’t want to give my hopes up but if there wasn’t any trace of Alex being dead maybe just maybe I could find him alive. I never knew for sure if Alex was still alive but I had a feeling deep down that wherever he was he needed my help. Day in and day out I had sat in the office digging for whatever clues I could find.
Dr. Heim and his nurse, Getta are the only ones with keys to the office. Each day they put their sets on the same rack on the same wall. Getta signed one day about how there was a spare set and how it was in the safe in the basement because she had lost her original at her home. All employees at the office are supposed to know the combination to the safe however I was only an intern. I eventually found the combination to the safe and went down to the basement. There was something about the basement that just didn’t feel right to me so I decided I would come back later that night when everyone was gone to look for clues of any missing children, specifically Alex.
When I went back that night it looked like there was nothing in the basement but the safe and a bookcase. I went to look through the bookcase and while looking through it had noticed that there was a door behind it. I pushed the bookcase to the side to find the door that was once covered. I took a deep breath and walked through the door, what I saw was unbelievable. From the looks of it there were around five cells on each of the sides of the long walkway, something that you would imagine to find in a prison. On one of the first cells I found Alex, my best friend that I thought was dead for three years, I had found. Alex was barely recognizable and had bruises and scars all around his ears and face.
“Alex! Alex, it’s me Jimmy. Come on let's go,” I signed as I flashed my light at him.
I knew I had to find a way to help the others too. Alex and I made a run for it up the stairs and outside where we found the emergency alarm to press that would automatically call the police.
Epilogue: Once the police arrived an interpreter helped explain what had happened and what had been happening these past few years. Dr. Heim eventually got put into jail and children that were found alive were taken to actual hospitals where they would be treated. No matter how many times I was told I was crazy for believing something like this would happen, I was right and I saved my best friend which is all that matters.