“So, I take the queen two steps ahead and check mate!”, exclaimed David as he finished off the game with his Dad. “You have become better with time. You play just like Nana”, said his Dad proudly. “Oh Dad! You hardly moved your pieces. I played just like Nana?”, asked the boy, flushing crimson and looking up at his dad with bright, ecstatic eyes. “Yes. You two are similar in a lot of ways. Remember Dr. Whitaker said the same thing the last time he visited us?”. The mention of Dr. Whitaker brought mixed emotions on David’s face. The soft spoken, charismatic Dr. Whitaker was loved by all, but David was scared of him ever since he and his team took Nana away.
“He won’t take me away from you all, would he dad?”. His dad simply nodded, reassuring him that nothing like this would happen. “Guys, lunch is ready”, David’s mom shouted from the kitchen. The three spent hours during lunch time talking about each and everything that happened in their lives everyday. David always did most of the talking. He went on and on. “And then in the movie, Batman -“, the doorbell cutting his speech short. “I’ll go answer the door”, said David as he ran to greet the visitor.
It was Dr. Whitaker with his assistant. “Hey David, how have you been?” David ran back to the kitchen, scared, breathing heavily to hide behind his dad. Dr. Whitaker and his assistant made their way through the living room towards the kitchen. “It has become worse. We need to take him”, said the doctor as they entered the kitchen to find David hiding. “Common David, don’t make it tough for us. It will be just a matter of days until your treatment is over and then you can come back here.”
“No! Dad! Mom! Tell them I’m all right. Please”, David cried. His parents seemed helpless as Dr. Whitaker’s assistant pulled David to take him with them. “Dad! Do something”, he shouted on top of his voice. His dad simply looked down as his son was dragged by the assistant across the living room. “Dad, you are just like Thomas Wayne”, he shouted as they took him outside.
“How did you know it had become worse?” asked the assistant. “Didn’t you see the chess board? The black pieces never moved. His hallucinations are getting stronger by the day.” “I’m not hallucinating! For god’s sake, leave me!”
The next day, Dr. Whitaker sat in office, thinking deeply, holding a newspaper in his hand. His assistant read out from behind, “David Christ, 15, a schizophrenic, dead after being run over by a vehicle.” “Oh God! We were going to visit him yesterday, right?”, asked his assistant. “Yes, but I had to cancel the visit because of a conference. Perhaps he just hallucinated that we were there, to take him way from his family. Poor soul. Just like I used to.”, said Dr. Whitaker, David’s Nana, as a tear rolled down his cheek. “Doctor, you need to take care of yourself”, said his assistant handing him his medicines. “How long do I have to stay with this guy who just can’t stop hallucinating!”, murmured his assistant as he left the room.
– Aadesh M Bagmar