Broken Mind

Submitted into Contest #10 in response to: Write a story about someone who is unexpectedly wise.... view prompt



When we first met him sitting by an old oak tree, we understood something different was taking place in his brain. No matter what we say or do distract this man for looking for certain spots around him.

My friend Alexis and had arrived a year ago to America, this wealthy and overwhelming place where madness is part of the daily northern landscape.

- Hello Mr. Peterson, how are you, sir?

  • My name is Rodrigo, and this is my colleague Alexis, we traveled a long way just to meet you in person.

Autumn was almost embarrassing every creature around the beautiful park, where we kept standing waiting for a minimum response by this enigmatic character sitting under the shadow of an old oak.

Man and tree were joined by coordinated movements, as his arms and branches above him tried to drove away invisible enemies from a distant time.

  Wearing only tatters and worn boots, Mr. Peterson seems the kind of man that still could rip out the heart of a beast in seconds. No wonder my friend and I stood as far as possible, waiting to make eye contact or hear a single word that proves that this man was still part of this world.

–Hi! Sir my name is Alexis, and this is my friend Rodrigo, could we have a word with you? we traveled a long time, just to meet your person, Sir.

Mr. Peterson remained silent, sitting with his legs entwined as his arms kept on moving, but this time pointing at different directions on the horizon. Several people were coming out of and an old church, several children running toward us, escaping from the boring speech of redemption and looking for the joyful renewal in their playful minds.

-Look there is that crazy nut again, shouted a little boy from the distance.

-Yes! and now he has new friends, no wonder why he will never leave our favorite old oak, yelled loudly a curly blonded girl.

Rodrigo took out and old notebook, with several notes in Spanish and drawings showing complex sketches of the human brain. Alberto started moving towards the man, both with excitement and fear, trying to catch his attention. But everything seems useless, as Mr. Peterson could only keep pointing to invisible points in the cloudy sky. 

Children started gathering around the old big oak, first, a few then a bunch of little heads surrounded the three men. Giving a quick glance to the two strangers whom they have never seen before. As Mr. Peterson was so familiar to them as the dropping dead leaves beneath their feet, some of them started singing, holding hands and going around the extremely thick trunk

  • Amok, amok under the old oak, the clock has to stroke your head, and now your thoughts are made of smoke.

Spinning faster and faster, some felt down but laughing they remained, singing and adding words to their well-known song.

  • Amok, amok under the old oak, come and get us all, before your thoughts are only smoke.

The youngest tried to mimic the older kids, but it was quite difficult for them to pronounce the lyrics, so they started losing interest and preferred to stare at Mr. Peterson’s uniques draw out face.

Slowly and crawling towards this forgotten soldier, toddlers approach to Mr. Peterson and started to throw acorns to the man’s awry mouth. A five-year-old boy came as closest as his little fat arm could reach and introduce the nut into Mr. Peterson’s mouth, trembling both with fear and curiosity.

  • Please eat ugly wild thing, we don’t want you to starve.

Alexis and Rodrigo began to push away the many children gathered around the oak, trying to scare them away but a the same time aware of the slight reaction in Mr. Peterson's behavior.

  • Common Alexis, please write down again the exact location and time where this is taken place, we cannot be wrong, this must be him! Please take my notebook and write down everything!

He almost fell down when handing the old notebook to Alexis, as the children were not happy seeing these two strangers in their town, looking at their favorite old oak, and their favorite loose pet. They started to pounce the intruders, mainly the bigger boys, so they could leave for once and for good.

Suddenly Mr. Peterson brown and rounded big eyes began to focus on the nuts scattered all over his clothes and grass, and with rhythmic and paused movements began to pick up branches and once again started moving them along with his long and strong arms, as directing a silence symphony only he could hear.

Nor the men or the mad man made the children disappear but were the furious rain that made them all go away. Some stood a little longer just to whisper final words before they left.

Alexis protected the old notebook, writing quickly Maryland 5 45 local time.

  • There is no way we can be wrong Mike, Alpha, Romeo, Yankee, Lima, Alpha, November, Delta is the place, the time is accurate and the date is October 11th , 2034.

  • Yes, I know must be him, no doubt about it!

The rain was getting stronger but Rodrigo remained to stare at his friend pointing out Mr. Peterson.

  • Please check the man’s clothes, and look for the gold oak leave medal attached to them. Alexis did as was told, trying to grab the man without getting hurt by his dancing arms. Exhausted but with a big smile of satisfaction finally, he found the longed item, and within a smaller device containing a short poem.

My blood and that of my brothers served the pettiest desires.

Our dreams of freedom have created a homeland of slaves.

Today I don't want to fight, but to find myself.

All they told me was a lie and I wanted to accept it.

Today I have decided to love and defend something that really has value.

Today I am the guardian of one of the last ‘beings that in their entrails hide the secret of our existence.

I could not care anymore if they think I am crazy for doing so.

                             CDR Samuel Peterson

October 11, 2019 07:42

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