Reification

The Pills They Make you Swallow.

:: TL;DR :: The origin of Daton’s institutionalization and Tilda’s ancestor – (1920’s mental health violence and mild non-consent warning), Daton’s transition from Shadow, and explanation why he vomits creatures.

Daton sat at the meager table in his room, sketching the view from the window of the sunrise with a piece of charcoal he had secreted from one of the fireplaces on the rough toilet paper. It was the first thing he’d drawn in over two months, and the act of capturing the sunrise brought a moistness to his eye.

He had, of course, made all the preparations. He’d moved the bowl to behind the door, next to the desk, where it, and he, wouldn’t immediately be seen. Mr Smith didn’t like having to look after his patients, and Mr Green didn’t much like showing he was not able to stomach all the drugs they gave him daily.

He liked the mornings, in the morning, after he had thrown up the last of yesterday’s pills his mind was clear and calm. He woke early these days, throwing off the slovenly artist’s ways and making up his bed, making sure he was at his desk behind the door.

Which slammed open.

“Green?! Get up Mister Green, rise and shine, time for you pills or the monsters will get you!”

Mr Smith, squeezed his 6’2” 200lbs form through the door and would have thrown Daton out of bed and across the room had it not in fact been a line of pillows arranged under the blanket.

“Good morning Nurse Smith” Daton addressed the man, nodding in deference to the visitor.

“Clever fuck are we?” The comically huge nurse accused, turning on him.

“Sorry, I might not have made the bed properly. I’m not well don’t you know?”

His flippancy, and, he reflected, air of contempt for the working man, earnt him a back handed blow that rendered him dazed until he was strapped onto the table and a doctor was holding violently humming black ceramic inverted plant pots over his head.

After the most intense pain he’d ever felt, Daton lost the rest of the day, in honesty he lost the good part of several weeks.


Daton sat at the meager table in his room, sketching the view from the window of the sunrise with a piece of charcoal he had secreted from one of the fireplaces. It was the first thing he’d drawn in over two months, and the act of capturing the sunrise brought a moistness to his eye.

He had, of course, made all the preparations. He’d moved the bowl to behind the door, next to the desk, where it, and he, wouldn’t immediately be seen. Mr Smith didn’t like having to look after his patients, and Mr Green didn’t much like showing he was not able to stomach all the drugs they gave him daily.
The door opened with a click, Daton tensed so fiercely he snapped the stolen piece of charcoal.

“Mr Green?” The voice that inquired was soft and sweet, lacking the usual malice he had come to associate with his mornings, he would have checked his pocket watch had they not taken it from him, but he knew – it was a Miss Rose week, a rare treat.

The kind and friendly face of Nurse Rose peaked around the door frame, smiling to find it had been right about where Daton would be, she stepped into the room, hands clasped behind her back, uniform pristine white, hat at roguish angle on top of her mousey blonde curls. She fixed him a winning smile.

“Hello Mr Green, I have your morning medicine.”

“Without meaning to seem crass m’lady you can tip it in the nearest sink, I unless you believe like Mr Smith you can force it down my gullet?”

The young lady seemed neither offended nor disappointed by the rebuttal, but offered him a paper cup.

“This is this mornings barbiturate dose, doctors orders… “ she smiled, crushing the cup in her offered left hand, throwing it into his bed-pan. “I recommend this instead…”

Daton had actually never seen an impish grin like it, mischief and wickedness communicated by altogether angelic eyes and smile. Nurse Rose popper a white pill onto her tongue before making a show of swallowing it down.

He could hardly swear to be thinking as he took the proffered cure and dry swallowed it.

Nurse Rose combed his hair, helped him into his tweed suit when his hands shook too much, brushed down his lapels, straighten out the wrinkles that would have mortified Daton in another life. By the time they had finished a content warmth, a lightness of spirit and of thought had taken him. The daily aches of the ‘treatments’ they gave him where dulled and far away. Even his hand tremors had stilled. All the better when Nurse Rose took his hand.

They snuck out through the delivery entrance, down a ramblers path that cut through the woodland beyond the black iron gates, into the public park. The morning was warm and comfortable. Nurse rose was beautiful and charming, she had spirited out a couple of ham sandwiches in brown paper, which they ate in the warmth under the largest oak Daton ever remembered seeing. He felt happier and more contented than he had for months, Nurse Rose days were always the best, made him feel more human, why couldn’t the rest of his treatment be like this?

When the woman walked past with an open book for a head Daton was rather distracted. He might have said something, but he’d learnt very early on this kind of observation was not welcome and lead to stronger medication that turned his stomach.
The sun was setting in the park by the time they had walked their second lap, and taken in the players at the bandstand. Daton had to confess the four limbed hulk of a creature that had been resting atop the pavilion listening to the show was rather distracting but only second to the gentle touches and hand-pats of Nurse Rose as they walked, or appreciated the band. Even through the fog and the arms length distance the world was at all day, Daton smiled in all the right places and cherished the gentle company versus the Infirmary’s usual care.

As they rose to leave the clouds had darkened – pregnant with heavy rain to come – Nurse Rose suggested they head home, but remembering herself at the last moment:

“Oh, time for more medicine Daton”

He nodded and knocked back the offered white-brown pills with regimented familiarity.

On their way home, the Heavens opened.

If nothing else, Daton was mortified he couldn’t offer the shelter of a gentleman’s umbrella, his had been taken off him fairly early on. As luck would have it though, the further they walked, the less he could even feel the rain, or the cold though his soaked suit jacket. Nurse Rose seemed to find her drenched white uniform scandalous and giggled about it the entire way home, but Daton was honestly just glad to see the cloud of Zephyrs (of secrets and desires) and the one or two Faceless Faces of They that had been following them, slow fade out of focus and blend away as the comfort of the medication settled on him.

He remembered sneaking back into the asylum, it had seemed like a mighty jolly jape, but Rose had not appreciated his sniggering as they attempted to be clandestine.

By the time they were back in his room and the door was locked, the night was late, they were soaked, and his felt an ache of unnatural fatigue on his bones that he suspected was related to the grey buzz that had been his head all day.

Nurse Rose had helped him out of his wet clothes, they had wrapped themselves in big warm dry towels, she’d helped him into bed.

Daton tried to wake up, at least a half dozen times, sometimes he was on his feet but this just created vertigo, since his ears kept insisting his orientation was horizontal.

Each violent Myoclonic Jerk was an attempt to wake to The Actuality, but the Shadow kept hold, his forth made him tip forward along the Platform towards the track of the 13th station, it was his Uncle Singen catching him, strange, a moment ago he was sure it was a pretty mousy blonde woman in a white towel, her arms were bare and warm, these were pure-wool, suit sleeves.

“Easy now Daton, I’ve got you, it’s your Mother’s brother: It’s me, Singen”

“Charmed, I’m sure, I don’t think we… oh god I’m going to be..”
Daton lost the contents of his stomach onto the tracks.

He glanced down briefly at the two pills lying on the edge of the platform; “I do beg your pardon, those were given to me at the hospital!”

He looked up at his, now, what had he, said? Uncle?

“They gave you THOSE at a hospital?”

Confused, Daton looked down again at the twin cat-sized insectoids that now skittered around his ankles looking for attention. He looked up at the amber sky and the living sky-blimps drifting over head, he looked back at Singen, trying to remember warm towels and warm skin instead of madness.

“I’m sorry, where are we? I think I haven’t taken the right medication today, can you help me?”

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