THE SANITARIUM HUMANITARIAN
Dr. Francis Mandrake licked his fingers clean after a very satisfying meal. His dinner guest for the evening didn’t have much to say because he had no tongue. He also had only one cheek, a skeletal left arm from the elbow down to the wrist, no big toes and only a right buttock, but he seemed to be in good spirits. Dr. Mandrake had graciously supplied his guest, Jamie Nardell, with a generous dosage of Novacaine followed up with a continuous flow of Nitrous Oxide to keep the smile on his half face. The delirious fellow couldn’t stop giggling at his fleshless forearm, tightly bound with a tourniquet above the elbow, while the whole time, the good doctor cooked and dined on his body parts.
Mr. Nardell had been admitted to Billingswood Sanatorium one month previously for habitual self-harm. The man was a masochist who suffered with schizophrenia and manic depression. Dr. Mandrake had been seeing him for daily rehabilitation sessions with very poor results. The man was a lost cause, the doctor determined, so after much intensive therapy and numerous episodes of minor mutilations whilst left unattended, Dr. Mandrake had him confined to the ‘safe room’ where he could monitor him personally.
As you have gathered by now, Dr. Francis Mandrake was a cannibal. What you are about to become aware of, is that Jamie Nardell was not his first victim. Dr. Mandrake’s ‘safe room’ was in the otherwise unused right wing of the sanatorium, to which Dr. Mandrake held the only key. He could be reached via an intercom should he be needed but besides that, nobody but the Doctor was allowed access to the wing. There, he was free to conduct all manner of sadistic experiments on some of the more troublesome residents, most of whom were never seen again by any of the other staff. Every once in a while, Mandrake would diminish the dosage of Novacaine and Nitrous Oxide in order to study how individuals taste under varying levels of stress, pain and fear. He would file bogus reports on the patients’ progress and upon their untimely deaths, Dr. Mandrake would proclaim them ‘healed’ and sign a release form under the pretence of sending them back out into the world. In reality, the only way they would be sent back out into the world was via Dr. Francis Mandrake’s private toilet.
As it were, the good doctor never joined his colleagues in the cafeteria come meal time. He had his own living smorgasbord clandestinely tucked away in right wing. It was a rare occasion where his meals became scarce. He made certain that there would be at least three patients confined to right wing at any given time. Every once in a while, however rare the case may be, his victims might die a little too prematurely, leading Dr. Mandrake to seek out a suitable resident or two to deem ‘unmanageable’ and have them signed in to the safe room. The hospital was large - the largest sanatorium in the state, and it housed hundreds of residents already, with a steady influx of at least six new residents a month. The world outside seemed to be going to Hell, but Dr. Mandrake spent all his time at the sanatorium. He had his secure quarters set up in Right Wing and there was no shortage of food supply for the good doctor. He was quite happy with his lot overall.
Dr. Mandrake took a sip of chardonnay, swilled it around in his mouth momentarily and swallowed, eyes closed and with a satisfied smile. He liked a glass of wine with his meal. He found it to be the perfect complement to a fine human cuisine, and Jamie Nardell had provided him with an adequate meal indeed. The doctor patted his full stomach and released a loud belch.
“Ooh! Pardon me, Jamie, but you certainly went down a treat!” he said, his face breaking out in a generous smile. Jamie Nardell gawked slack-jawed at the doctor and laughed hysterically. Dr. Mandrake stood and collected his plate, took it over to the sink, scrubbed and rinsed it under some hot water, and stacked it on the dish rack before returning to the table. He looked over at the dribbling Nardell and gave him a warm smile.
“Let’s get you cleaned up and dressed, shall we? We don’t want any infection to occur. You will be joining me for breakfast in the morning, yes?” Jamie just stared half-wittedly at the doctor, a steady stream of saliva drooling from his slack lip. His facial musculature was distorted due to the missing cheek and absent tongue, and the obscene amount of Nitrous Oxide in his system made his eye twitch uncontrollably as he failed to make sense of the doctor’s unintelligible gibberish. Dr. Mandrake walked around the table to where Jamie was sitting and wheeled him, giggling like a loon, out of the room.
The long corridor echoed with the steady, even pace of the doctor’s footsteps on the vinyl tiled floor, the incessant squeak of the chair’s right front wheel, the sporadic loud grunts and prolonged moans from the mostly docile patient. Mr. Nardell wasn’t laughing at his fleshless forearm anymore. He was now slumped in his straps, bound to his chair and being wheeled down an endless white tunnel, with only the strength and presence of mind to cock his left eyebrow a few moments at a time to be able to somewhat peer ahead. The glimpses he caught filled him with a conflicting peace and longing. The white walls and floor and ceiling all appeared to blend into infinity, and everything was so incredibly bright. He was on a journey into the infinity of light. He was surrounded by it, cocooned in it, but he knew his journey was still in progress and he yearned for it to reach its end so he could be at peace in the light. That was what Jamie saw.
What Dr. Francis Mandrake saw was a corridor which was unnecessarily long and beginning to fall into disrepair. He saw tomorrow’s breakfast, lunch and dinner slumped and twitching in the chair he was steadily pushing along – if he played his cards right and Jamie Nardell lived through the night and the next day. Dr. Francis Mandrake didn’t consider himself a necro-cannibal. He liked to carve his flesh fresh from the bone and straight into the oven and/or the fry-pan. First, Mandrake would sedate them and feed them the Nitrous so they would be nicely relaxed and comfortably numb – the flesh tastes much sweeter untainted by fear. Then he would either strap them to the chair or tie them down on the table, depending on which body parts the doctor was selecting for his meal.
His patients didn’t often make it through more than three sittings at Dr. Mandrake’s dinner table before dying. The ones who happened to pass away, the doctor would swiftly carve them open and retrieve their organs for immediate preparation. He would finish his meal there and his next meal would consist of giblets while he decided on who will be his following dinner guest. And the guest list, it was ever-growing and endless. He was confident he would be having Jamie over for breakfast. Perhaps Mr. Nardell will supply him with delicious organs – the heart, liver, lungs and stomach, intestines, kidneys; hollow him out. Dr. Mandrake picked up his pace marginally as he approached the doors at the end of the corridor, a whistle playing on his smiling lips.