Pat. Pat. Pat. Pit. Pat. Pat.
A lean, young blond man ran for his life with a small child cocooned tightly in his arms. The rain was pouring down heavily, and every panicked step made a squelching sound against the grassed ground beneath him. The confused introverted child held on to his 'mother's' neck tightly, ignoring the shallow cut on the other’s neck. The mansion, their once-home, was behind them as they ran through the backyard straight into a maze trimmed out of bushes.
‘Jason and his tastes…’ The blond thought to himself, wishing he had practiced going through the maze on a regular day. ‘Well, too late for regrets…’ He swallowed thickly and charged forward, hoping he would make it out on the other end before he got caught. He ran as far as he could, minutes dragging into hours and the path before him expanding perceptually.
“Set it all on fire.” A voice calmly commanded, somewhere far from the foot of the garden by the mansion.
The young blond turned a corner to be met with blazing flames that were spreading uncontrollably around him. He held the back of his child’s head tightly and terrifyingly as an ominous feeling bled in his gut. The man quickly picked up the pace, unaware of the multiple guards closing in on him from different directions. Smoke fumes and spikes of orange danced in his sight as he barely missed the exit until he felt an intense pain at the back of his skull, followed by a ‘thawack’ sound after. He couldn’t hold on much longer, and his vision began to blur before it dimmed out altogether.
The next time he opened his eyes, he was looking up at a tall, lavender-grey-haired figure holding his child with a laid-back expression. It was late into the night, but the man was still dressed in his work attire—dress pants and a tucked-in white shirt. He then noticed the two bodyguards flanking his own sides. The men weren’t restraining him until he saw his son and charged forward towards the other man. The men in suits caged both his arms, holding him back. The man before him simply smiled—something close to a confident smirk.
“Let go of me!” The blond cried. “Give me back my child!”
The lilac-haired man stopped smiling and raised a confused brow. “That's heartbreaking to hear. You mean our child?”
“... you don't deserve him...” The blond barely choked out.
“It’s alright, because he’ll be staying with me for the time being anyway.”
“While you have time to recover yourself,"
“Don’t worry, it won’t be for long. That is, as long as you don’t make it.” The taller man’s grin was back.
“No! Where are you taking him? You can't-!” The panic was rising in the blond’s voice.
“I'm not taking him anywhere. You'll just be out of contact for a bit.” The man patted the young child’s back once. He was hugging his neck and resting his head on his shoulder silently.
“What? Where? Why are you doing this?!”
“Babe, I'm looking out for you. You’re unstable; you need some time off.”
“Are you serious?! How can you say all this?! I’m not! You’re the one who’s unstable! Jason—please! Stop!” The blond pleaded. “Let go of me!” He thrashed and struggled, but the men were twice his size and strength. “…Jason…please…I’m begging you…” His eyes softened with glistening tears in the corners as he looked directly at him. Jason, the lavender-haired man eyed the guards once, who released their hold.
The blond ran towards him and clutched him tightly. “Jason please don't do this…don't take him away. You know how much I love him. I won't do it again—please.”
“I know, I know, Maxie.” Jason pretended to calm him down, placing a hand on the back of the other’s skull and kissing his hair. “But you said the same thing last time. This is hard for me too; you'll only be gone for a couple months.” A sob ripped through the blond’s throat. “Take him.”
Max knew there was no winning once he felt the large hands on him again. He watched miserably as Jason slowly turned around while a pinching sensation pierced his neck. Soon enough, he lost consciousness and descended into darkness again. One of the bodyguards hoisted his limp body up. “And would you do me a favor and twist one of his ankles. He’s lucky I love him too much to break a knee cap just for even attempting to run away from me.” Jason darkly ordered.
Max opened his eyes to an unfamiliar ceiling. He sat up feeling weak, with bandages wrapped around his lean neck and a sharp pain shooting through his ankle, which was also wrapped. ‘When did this happen…? Maybe when I tripped?’ He surveyed his surroundings, and it appeared to be an infirmary.
There was a knock on the door, and a nurse walked in. “Good morning. How are you feeling?”
“I’ve…been better. Where am I?” Max croaked.
“You’re at the Community Mental Hospital. You’ve been admitted since yesterday. After the doctor performs a physical on you, I’ll take you to your room, where you’ll be staying.”
“What?!” ‘A mental hospital? Me? Jason has absolutely gone crazy. Does he realize what he’s doing?! And why?’ “I need to speak to someone!” The blond urged.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not allowed to make those decisions. Also, your guardian has strictly advised us not to allow you outside or any contact with anyone.”
“Are you sure this isn’t a prison?”
“We were told you have been very unstable and are not fully aware of your actions.”
“I’m not! How can you believe everything?!”
“Sir, please calm down.” His behavior was only convincing the nurse even more. Dammit. The doctor soon entered the room and quickly examined Max’s vitals and ankle. He gave the blond a crutch and allowed the nurse to guide him to his room.
“Welcome again, this is where you’ll be staying.” She pointed in front of a door. She also briefly went over their sleep and wake-up times and the mandatory orientation in the afternoon. He opened the door, and there was already a patient inside. Big guy, built, taller than him, and bald, staring into space blankly. “This is Anthen, your roommate. Though he doesn’t respond very much, make yourself comfortable.” She dropped his bag on one of the single beds in the blank white room.
‘This is great.’ He was stuck in a mental hospital with a vegetable of a person who continued to stare out in space with blank, unblinking eyes. The blond sighed and took a seat on the bed, with the patient seated solidly on the floor of the same bed. As soon as the door closed shut, the man whipped his head towards him and smiled, scaring the living daylights out of the blond.
“Hello there.” The bald man, Anthen greeted in the most natural way. “Newcomer? You don’t look that abnormal to me.”
“What the? What about you—y-you’re normal?” Max stuttered.
“Of course. Some of us just do it to be left alone.” The man smiled.
“Haha, don’t worry, I’ll show you the ropes; just follow me.”
“Thanks at least..." The blond thanked.
“Papa.” The small child from before, with ultraviolet hair and dull green eyes sought out.
“Yes, my little Leon.” Jason was walking past him, home from work, but halted for a brief moment to flash him a wide smile.
“Mom will be back soon; don’t worry. Do you want to play with Henna?” Jason referred to one of the main maids who was in charge of looking after Leon. Jason left his son in the living room with the caretaker and his toys while he retreated to his room. After a nice shower, he climbed into bed, passing a glance at the family frame of the three of them on their nightstand. The three of them were bunched together in the snapshot; he was taking the selfie while Max was to his right, grinning with his eyes closed, and Leon blankly stared at the camera, all the way to the right. He had several pictures of them throughout the house and even a few frames on his office desk.
Later that night, Max was laying in his bed, unable to sleep and missing Leon, hoping the kid was doing okay. But then again, no matter how psychotic Jason was, he was still the only person in the world he’d trust their child with. Jason loved his son too much. His thoughts were interrupted by a snore from his roommate, which evoked a sigh. He struggled to shun them out.
At one point, he may have fallen asleep because he awoke to a loud banging on their room door. There was an announcement for breakfast, and he was not in the slightest mood to get up. He barely slept the night before. The time was barely 7 A.M.
“Better get up unless you want to miss breakfast, those lines can be long.” His roommate was already up and getting dressed. It looks like there was no other way.