Recommended Age Range: 12 and up
Approx. Length: 2,668 Words
What terrible event turned a young woman’s hair white in a matter of minutes, and why is she spending Christmas Eve under observation in the Psychiatric Ward of a hospital? Learn the answers in “The Object”, a humorous dark-fantasy tale by Lori R. Lopez from her upcoming speculative collection Thirteen Months. Download the free P.D.F.!
He was frankly curious. And troubled. What did she suffer that shocked her so?
~ from The Object
Doctor Grist adjusted wire-rimmed spectacles and peered through reinforced glass at the Patient. A woman of thirty-four clad in a white paisley Hospital Gown hugged her knees like a child, rocking on the floor in a corner of the small padded holding-room. The Psychiatrist hated to call it a cell. At this stage the individual’s condition had not been determined. Cells were for inmates, and patients who posed a threat or would be charged with a crime. The female he currently examined through a large window was an odd case — Semi-Catatonic; long hair transformed to white due to a recent traumatic event. She hardly seemed dangerous. It was his job to classify and cure her if necessary, not act as Judge and Jury. What she experienced remained a mystery. Those who accompanied her for the emergency consultation hinted at an unnatural, even supernatural, occurrence.
The skeptic shook his head. He discarded fanciful notions, relying on evidence. Giving her file a final cursory inspection, he cleared his throat and opened the door.