Dr. Stroffelnburg's hands shook and trembled as his next patient was wheeled in. Blasted nerves, showing such blatant disregard for logic and common sense. As much as he protested against such ridiculousness, there was simply no escaping it. Every precaution had already been taken, and yet his hands still shook. Drugs had been administered, orderlies were standing by on both ends of the room, and every inch of the next subject had been bound and secured behind thick leather bindings, a la Hannibal Lecter. None of that did anything to quell the instinctive fear, the irksome dread rattling the good doctor at his very core. Dr. Stroffelnburg was afraid of Patient 413, wholeheartedly terrified by the man, and he absolutely despised himself for it.
"Good evening, Patient 413. This is our...third interview, yes? Since your arrival upon the island. As per our usual arrangement, your muzzle is being removed, and you are free to speak of absolutely anything that might be on your mind."
Silence, the usual response from Patient 413. Brown, beady little eyes glared at the good doctor, cutting into him with icy spears of contempt. The most hateful stare Patient 413 could throw at Doctor Stroffelnburg, because literally stabbing at the old man just wasn't an option right now. You didn't need to ask, you could tell just from looking into those eyes what Patient 413 wanted to do.
Just as well, of course, because Patient 413 would never speak. You see, whereas most men with the Nexus sickness thought themselves dragons, cyborgs, wizards, or the like, Patient 413 had an especially bizarre self-image. Though there had been a great many strange cases in these white halls, never once had Stroffelnburg encountered one quite like this. The kind of mind it must take to convince oneself that they are a mute, pumpkin-headed magical murder golem in an expensive Italian three-piece suit...Patient 413, or 'What Pumpkin,' as they called him back in the Nexus, was absolutely the most delusional and psychotic individual Dr. Stroffelnburg had ever met.
"It may interest you to know we ran a few tests during the periods you've been under sedation, Patient 413. Minor health examinations, nothing more. Your bloodtype, B Negative. Height is five foot and seven inches, our ophthalmologist confirms that your vision is a perfect 20/20, and your shoe size is a nine point five. Weight is slightly below where it should be though we've been working to help you with that, and...oh, there's one more thing I'm forgetting, what could it-oh yes, YOU ARE NOT A ****ING PUMPKIN!"
It wasn't often that Dr. Stroffelnburg raised his voice when speaking to a patient, but it wasn't very often he'd go this long without making any progress on a patient, either. His therapeutic skills were unrivaled in these parts of the world, and even should those fail him, the drugs administered both orally and via injection should have been more than enough to make What Pumpkin more open to suggestion.
"Your vocal cords are fine, lungs are as healthy as can be according to the X-rays, and I know you can understand me, because every time we've allowed you a notepad, you-"
Stroffelnburg finally catches himself. He stops, notices he'd risen out of his chair at some point during that impassioned scolding, and promptly falls back into his seat with a sigh. The subject just continues to glare with those beady brown eyes, expression as rigid as stone. As a pumpkin, Stroffelnburg thinks to himself, before chiding himself for entertaining such childish fantasies. For a moment, the two men know nothing but the blackest of hate for one another, before our doctor remembers his mission.
"Mister What, or Mister Pumpkin, or...or whatever your real name actually is, we can help you. But we can only do that if you're willing to work with us. I know you're scared, after killing as many people as you have I'm sure anyone would fear for their soul. But we can help rehabilitate you. If only you speak up, we can guarantee that you don't spend the rest of your days in a padded cell. I firmly believe anyone, Patient 413, that anyone can be cured of their Nexus madness with enough time and effort, but to start on that road, you need to take the first step. You have to admit you are wrong about these pumpkin things, and speak."
Silence again. Of course, Stroffelnburg hadn't really expected anything else. He'd hoped, sure, and prayed, certainly, for this unrepentant mass-murderer to see the light. For now, however, it seemed that day would never come. With a heavy heart, the good doctor clears his throat, preparing to command the orderlies to take Patient 413 away. His lips part for only a moment, dancing just on the edge of that first syllable, when something strange happens.
"Hate," says Patient 413, in a voice barely above a whisper. And then again, louder, with more bile and animosity in it than even the worst of his glares.