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THE CHILD PATIENT

by Devin Thorpe about a year ago in fiction
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THEORY OF THE CASE - CHAPTER FOUR

THE FIRST EXCERPT FROM DR. JAGEN'S BLACK JOURNAL:

Today was my first assessment of the child patient.

Have I grabbed a black journal prematurely?

Can I trust my initial gut reaction?

There is evil in his eyes, of that I am sure.

An unwordly evil, one I've never before seen.

Twenty years in this field, and my weathered eyes have never seen anything like him.

I will be scolded by my peers for assigning the child a black book.

I can hear their jests already.

"Not even an expert such as yourself can confidently jump to assigning Morally Irredeemable to a child after only one interaction."

"You are only trying to embellish your career."

"You are just trying to make the news."

"You are a jaded old man, a child cannot be black-level."

"The world-renowned Claudius Jagen has been bested by a mere child! Perhaps he is not the legend they've made him out to be."

And maybe they will all be right.

For my own sake, I hope they are.

For their own sake, I hope they are.

Perhaps I've only jumped to record in a black journal preemptively.

I've heard it said that if you live long enough, you can see the same eyes in different people. Sad eyes. Tired eyes. Eyes filled with determination. Eyes rimmed with despair.

I've gazed into a lot of eyes in the past twenty years.

Twenty years, and I've only learned one certainty:

It's better to overestimate the evil a human is capable of than to underestimate.

They would be right to say my soul is jaded.

I have been doing this for far too long.

Too long to not reach for a black journal after the interaction I just had.

A child's eyes should not look like that.

A child's demeanor should not raise the hairs on my neck like that.

I will not let news of this leave this place.

Not yet.

Not until I know for sure.

But I'll be damned if I underdiagnose this patient.

I'll be damned if I let society's sensitivty prevent me from doing my job.

We'll all be damned if I am prevented here from doing my job.

I will begin my full assessment of the child during our next session.

I was caught off guard too much to trust my internal thoughts.

They are tainted with subjective fear.

But next time I will be ready.

I will not allow the child's demonic presence to disturb me.

Superstition will play no role in this case.

The child deserves that.

The child's future is predicated upon it.

They did not send it here so I could explain away the malignant spirit with supernatural jargon.

They have already taken it to a priest.

That got them nowhere.

The parents seek a scientific explanation.

They are owed a logical reason for the evil that possesses their child.

That is what I will give them.

I must remain undeterred by the child.

Can't let it get to me—like it has gotten to the previous professionals it has seen.

A trail of death rides this child's coattails, and I will be next if I'm not careful.

A scientific answer.

There must be some scientific answer here.

But deep down I know.

Deep down I know that there exists nothing in the realm of science to explain what I've just seen.

I saw something in the child's shadow.

Damn this infernal superstition that has sank its fangs into my mind.

But I know what I saw.

And unlike my patients, I am not crazy.

I know what I saw.

I grabbed this black journal, because I know what I saw.

And we will all be damned if we pretend this child is anything less than Morally Irredeemable.

-Dr. Jagen

fiction

About the author

Devin Thorpe

I am a 22-year-old recent graduate from Mars Hill University. I have a double major in Criminal Justice and Religion & Philosophy. I also played collegiate lacrosse! In my free time you can find me writing fiction and hiking with my dog.

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