Thursday, December

"To my dearest friend Jonathan, I'm sure by now you've heard from someone about my commitment. I don't know what story is being spread around about why I'm here, but I wanted to give you my own account of the events of those two days. I don't know if even you would believe me. I wouldn't believe me either. Perhaps, I do belong here. It was Thursday, December 17th. The year is 1761, at least in my mind. Perhaps I'm the only one still existing in that year. The doctors here have told me greatly of how distorted my sense of time is. Perhaps it was not Thursday at all. But I remember it was Thursday, December 17th, 1761 and that is where I will begin my story. That morning, I went to see my father. The snow was above my ankles. I'd taken Adora out with me. She's always loved trotting about in the snow and I don't have to worry over losing sight of her. Her black fur always shines so beautifully against the pure white of winter. I arrived at my father's home around eight in the morning. He had my younger brothers out giving orders to everyone else on the property, as always. Not that it mattered. None of them would come to my defense. Each of them waits patiently for my father's demise in hopes they may keep all he has hoarded to themselves. Father's getting on in age, yet I know in my heart he will somehow outlive them. His desire to hoard things will float him through those long years as he bides his time hoping to give nothing. A pharaoh, he sees himself as, set to be buried with all he can amass. And that was why he sent for me to visit him. He wanted me to sell my property to him and move in with the family after I expressed no desire to remarry. I suspect if I had remarried by now, or if Beth were still with us, he would be demanding this of me by this time anyway. I have acquired things and not handed them over to him, and so I have committed evil against him. This was the fifth time he has called for me to visit and brought up these demands. This time, he brought new accusations against me. He claimed I avoided marrying again because of hidden, taboo desires. I do have taboo desires, I cannot deny, but those desires are far more forbidden than what he accused me of. You may laugh. He suggested you and I were engaging in such things. There is only one I wish to see in my bed, and she is no longer here. I laughed off his accusations and was nearly about to leave when Mary persuaded me to have some tea before I left. I have no care for tea these days, but Mary was always like a sister to me. We are the same age. Quite strange to think my once childhood playmate is now my mother-in-law, but Father's wives never seem to live long. I didn't want to upset her. I fear a grim spectre may already be looming over her. She is so pale these days. She told me it was the baby making her ill. I suppose I won't be there to meet my half-sibling when the child is born in two months. Mary and I sat together at the dining table for a while. She looked nervous about something. She wouldn't say what was bothering her. I had two cups of tea and a bowl of soup before heading out. Mary had nothing, which I thought odd. When I asked her about that, she said the baby was making her stomach weak. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but looking back, I suspect there may have been a cruel reason behind her abstaining from consuming anything at the table with me. About a week ago, I heard Father has been spending weeks at the library researching plants. My father has never had any interest in plants beyond ones he can sell. While my heart's trembling fear tells me what I saw that night was nothing of this world, I have considered that he may have used Mary to poison me with something that would sent me into temporary madness. If not that, he may have begun to plan my murder. Sending me here is quite convenient for him. He won't need to worry about getting rid of me any longer. I may as well be dead. When I left, I found Adora a little ways down the road. One of my brothers had untied her. She didn't wander far. She's quite used to this prank of theirs and knows to stay close. In anger, I left hastily after that. I stopped by the cemetery before going towards the house. December 17th was our anniversary. If Beth were still here, this would have been our third year together and the baby's first winter. I left some holly on their shared grave. The snow had mostly covered it. Adora slept beside me while I was at the grave. It was odd. I worried she might be sick. She wouldn't normally lie down in such a place, but she seemed well after we left. I went into town for a bit to get some things. Purchasing anything for the home has been such a chore these days. I hardly see the point. There is no one there but me. Earlier that morning, before I arrived at my father's house, as I knew why he was calling me there, I considered letting him have everything and staying alone in some distant part of the property. But I don't want to give up the home made for the family I had planned on having a long future with in spite of there being no chance of any of my dreams ever coming to pass. I wandered that home like a ghost, hoping to see other spirits come sit at the table with me when the sun sets. Some days, you were kind enough to stop by and eat with me, but most days the house was silent. Every now and then, I'd hear one of the animals carrying on about something. They noticed her absence, I can tell, but it doesn't bother them much. So long as I come to feed them, they are content. That first night after losing Beth, Adora acted strange then too. Horrid as it was to see her distressed, I took some sad comfort in knowing I was not the only one in agony. Yet, within a week or so, she was back to her old self and I remained broken. Jonathan, I don't know how you do this. How you are able to live on your own like this, a happy bachelor who shares his home with none. I know you have always had many guests, but where do your thoughts go when all have left your side? I know you are not the most pious of men, but there are certain virtues you seem to hold more closely than some of the preachers I've met. Or am I mistaken and I've missed something? Is that the secret you keep to stave off the loneliness? Is your home never empty for long, even in the darkest hours before sunrise? Forgive me, I am saying strange things. My loneliness is making me act like him. What strange things indeed. I've never see you keep a lady within your home without an appropriate escort at her side and never past an inappropriate time. Forgive me for my words. When we were not quite children anymore, not quite men, and all the other boys were busy seeking things they ought not, you and I were out being foolish in our own way. Do you remember the nights when we would watch the sunrise from deep in the forest? We did that a few times as men too. How childish we can be to roam under the stars when tomorrow's work should be on our minds. Though those long nights had stopped after my marriage, I still treasure them. We asked the stars so many questions on those nights, and time itself seemed to bend underneath our backs as we rested on the cold earth. It was on one of those nights I first told you of my intentions to marrying Beth. You were the first person to bless us with approval. Father never did, but her father had no qualms against our union. Sometimes, I think on that and wonder if by some wicked magic, Father has cursed me with the same cruel fate that he endures. His wives never live long after the marriage. If I remarried now, would my new wife be dead in three years? For Father, it matters not. Women exist to make sons for him, sons he can use to extract more things to hoard. Returning me to his home to take my things in a way is hoarding his children. When my younger brothers are old enough to marry, I wonder, will he set to take from them what they gain after marriage and imprison them back at home? Mary told me I think too much on things like this. After all, it is not strange for many generations to live within a man's home, but this is the new world. The land is vast and the opportunities many. For what I have acquired, why must I then pass it on to him and be under his domain forever? Am I not a man, or am I a boy? What reason was there for us to have journeyed here if nothing changed? The trip here lost him his second wife, my aunt. He never speaks of her nor my mother. They were both so many wives ago. I was only seven when we came here, but I remember them both. I remember how Miriam grew so cold on the ship. She was like ice the morning I woke and found she had passed on. Buried at sea is what they say, but from my child's eyes, it seemed more as though they had tossed her over board with the rest of the waste they discarded every day. He is so good at discarding people when they don't serve him anymore. It is so different from the way he holds tightly to broken objects. When we were thirteen and staying out during the night, I told you I thought if I cracked a little, he would throw me away. Now, I know that isn't the case. For people, they can be broken in every inch of their soul and he will hold them close, in strangulation dressed as love. No, people are only discarded by him when they can no longer serve him in any way. Then, as I feared as a child, it is all cut away. He's left me here. I'm sure he'd sold my home now after rummaging through my things to steal for his own pile. He would surely tell me we're all thieves in this land. Who am I to bemoan the loss of something I went out to snatch up for myself? And he would be right, but I can't help but feel to steal from one's own children is the highest degree of shame. I suppose that doesn't matter. In the eyes of the public, I have shamed him more by being here. It doesn't matter that he put me here. He is pitiable and just for doing that. For my mind belongs to the moon now, to the realm of demons and sorcery, and to all the darkness of the deepest forest. Perhaps they're right. I think I might be quite mad after all. Was it the wandering that evening that brought this upon me, or was I always doomed to wander, I wonder. I've been quite lost since I was a child. We were never good at keeping our promises to be back from the creek by church. I'd become engrossed in flecks of sunlight pouring down on us and calls of creatures out of sight. We chased after what our eyes couldn't see for so long back then. Have I been possessed by some evil since birth? If iron wasn't clasped around my wrists at the moment, I would suspect some winged beast had left me and snatched the real Thomas Linwood to feast on under a hill. Whatever the reason for my strangeness, that evening was not like any wandering I had done before. After leaving town, I was struck by a sudden bout of melancholy. The beautiful snow became empty to me. How the white sparkled in the sun's dying light would always take my breath away, but not then. The sparkling specks were more like dying embers. I could only see melting candles in my mind, and how the wax pools outwards into a thin, indescribable shape near its end. With the sun at my back, I moved sluggishly toward my home, my spacious coffin. Night would be on me soon. I knew I should hurry. Light is precious in the dead of winter. But I lingered. My eyes kept bringing me to different places. I would be drawn by some rustling sound off the road, go close, then head on. I kept at that for a while until a certain sound drew me in past the road. Adora didn't want to follow my commands. She became so distraught I had to tie her to a tree and leave her near the road. I told her I would be back shortly, as if she understood me. I've been doing that more lately, speaking to the animals in that way. They don't respond, of course, but my mind ignores that part. I intended on keeping my promise, silly as it was to promise a horse, to Adora and return quickly after discovering the source of the sound. The sound was not quite like a bird call, not quite like a wolf, and not quite like a woman's voice. It was closest to a scream or a threat, but at the time, it seemed enchanting. I followed the sound across a small stream. I don't know how long I followed it for. I could not hear Adora when I crossed the stream. Then, I crossed another. And another. In total, I am certain I crossed seven streams. That is what I remember seeing, I am sure of it. Thinking back, that doesn't make any sense. When I crossed the seventh stream, the air became much colder. The path behind me was now pitch black. Where the sound echoed, the light remained. But the light in the woods didn't seem as if it was coming from the sun. The light seemed to be coming from the snow, or something down below it. I followed the light more than the sound now. Eventually, I came to a clearing in the middle of the woods and she was there. A beautiful woman, hair black as night and eyes that matched. She was fair skinned, with not a blemish on her. Her lips were as red as the deepest rose. How she looked so much like my beloved, I thought. It was almost as if she had come back to me. The woman's face so was similar, but the closer I looked at her individual features, the more they seemed dissimilar, as if her face was ever shifting before my eyes to something almost real. Her figure was slender and tall, much like the birch trees that surrounded us. She wore a dress as white as the snow. I thought at the time Beth had worn a dress like that once, but I couldn't recall when or why. I called out to her and asked her name. She said nothing, but she came to me. I don't remember her walking over, but soon she was there in front of me. Her arms were around me, mine around her, and we were all alone there. I longed for a warm embrace, convinced myself there was one there in that space, but as much as I told myself I could feel the heat, my body became colder. I was so cold I started to become warm again. The snow began to fall around then, and soon it was up to my legs. I didn't care so long as she was there with me. Against my virtues, I pulled her down into that snow. My mind could think of nothing else. We seemed to sink beneath everything, deeper and deeper until it was July again. Yes, it was July for me then. Tuesday, July 7th, the early morning hours. I was with Beth again, but her belly wasn't round as it should have been. She was as slim there as the day we married. I didn't care of what was missing, or what should have been coming that day. My eyes stopped focusing on her features and called her Beth. We spent so many days together in the summer heat, or so it felt. Not once did it ever pass July 7th. It was always morning. Once it was time for noon, we woke in bed again to begin the day at sunrise. This went on for what felt like months. When they found me in the woods, it was winter again, Friday, December 18th. Adora had gotten herself loose and brought people over to where my body was buried under the snow. But it really was months in that place. My home was a home again. Beth and I spent our time always in each other's arms, in warmth that felt like ice. Then I made a mistake. I started to look into her eyes more. I wanted to see myself reflecting in them. When I looked, I noticed again how they shifted, how they were never quite right. In her eyes, I wasn't smiling or holding close to her. My eyes were dull and lifeless inside of hers. I saw no summer, only the snow resting on top of me. My face was covered in dirt. When I touched my face to confirm it, I felt it there, but I could not see anything on my hands. I started to return to my senses. This could not be Beth. Beth had left me. Beth never owned a white dress, I realized. She was never quite that thin. She shouldn't have been thin in July at all. Death came for my family the seventh of that month and took everything from me at one in the afternoon, one hour after she went into labor. When I remembered all of that, the summer broke away and returned to winter. I couldn't breathe. I was standing in the snow, and lying in the snow. I was here and there, unable to move anywhere. And there she was, screaming again. She called me a murderer. And then, piece by piece, she fell apart into the snow in a mass of red. I looked out at her, hearing her screaming as she died in the white blanket of the forest and saw visions in my head. I saw myself in my bedroom at home in summer, my body covered in blood and Beth hacked to pieces. I saw myself burying her in our garden with the roses, tucked away in our white sheets as her coffin. And the earth, I piled so much earth on top of her body. But that wasn't real. Beth died in childbirth. I told myself that again and again, but the more I thought it, the closer I came to be where that woman's screaming body was. At the end of it, my face was pressed against hers as she wailed at me. Her icy blood painted my skin. I was screaming with her then, struggling to breathe and think. Then I was in the hospital. When I came to, I told my father and the doctors what I saw. Father looked the happiest I have ever seen him in years. Within an hour, I was sent to another part of the hospital. Father finally got his chance. No one would object to a family selling their lunatic relative's property after being committed. I don't expect you to believe me about any of this. I don't know myself if it was real. But it felt so real. I felt as if I lived months in that Heaven and hours in that Hell. I haven't seen anything so frightening since I've been here. The doctor's seem to think it might have been a temporary madness. I don't know what my father is telling them about my past. I wish I could see you. I'd really like to talk to you about something, but there are some things best not put to paper. I understand if you don't want to see me, or write a reply. Your silence, I will accept. If I must live with Beth's silence, I suppose I can come to live with yours as well. But I do wish I could see you once more. I doubt anyone else will visit me here. Best wishes, Your foolish and a bit mad friend, Thomas Linwood" The doctor put the paper down. "That's the entire contents of the letter. This Jonathan seems quite close to your son. I'd like to speak with him to get a better understanding of the patient." "That's not possible." An old man sat across from the doctor. "What do you mean?" The doctor asked. "He doesn't have any friends named Jonathan." The man said. "Seems in his current madness, he's invented a lot of things. My son is a friendless bachelor. When he became of age, I gifted him a bit of money and he bought himself some land to put a little cabin on in the woods near town. He's been acting strange since then." "Then his wife...?" The doctor peered down at Mr. Linwood, pulling his glasses down slightly. "There was never a wife." Mr. Linwood said. "I've attempted to find a suitable woman for him, but he's scared them all away with his unusual behavior. Beth...we had a cat named Beth once. That must be where he came up with the name." "I see." The doctor wrote some notes on paper. Mr. Linwood was a very poised man. The ones who came with mostly well patients often were, he thought. "What of the land sale?" "That part was true, but I'm sure you can understand my reasons. I saw my son was losing his grip on reality. I thought to sell the land for the time being and keep the money saved for him until he was well again. That was why I wanted him home." Mr. Linwood explained himself. "You've travelled quite the distance to come here. I'm surprised you arrived so quickly." "I had considered sending him here before this happened. He is my son. I don't want him locked in a jail cell somewhere, rotting away. No hospital in the colonies has a better reputation for treatment of the insane. If we were coming from Georgia, I would have found a way to get him here quickly. Fortunate that Pennsylvania Hospital is only a two hour trip from our town." Mr. Linwood said. The doctor noted his attempts at flattery. He was used to such displays from patients and their family. "Yes, humane treatment of those kinds of patients is a top priority of ours. Your son will be well cared for, regardless of whether his condition improves or worsens. Now, back to what we were discussing...Your son, Thomas, he was never married. What about your marriage life? He mentioned multiple marriages. Was this another invention of his mind?" "That was mostly true. I have, sadly, lost six wives to various things. Illnesses, accidents, childbirth. Thomas's mother, Anne, died when he was very young. His aunt had recently lost her husband around the time. We remarried to each other shortly after. Miriam was a good wife, but she did die at sea when we came to the colonies, as did one of her daughters from her first marriage. I adopted her children by her first husband. Some of them still live with me." Mr. Linwood rested back against the old wooden chair in the office. "After Miriam, I married a young woman I met in Virginia. She died of a sickness within a year. The next one was childbirth, as was the one after that. The sixth one, she was run over by a wagon, poor dear. I don't know why God has taken so many wives from me. Perhaps their souls were too pure to stay in this world for long." "I am sorry for your loss. The lord works in mysterious ways." The doctor said. His tone was insincere. "We cannot know his reasons, but I'm sure there is one. After the sixth one...did you marry again? This Mary girl? Is she real?" "Mary, yes, I married her. She is about Thomas's age, isn't she? That should be right. It was a favor to her father." "A favor?" "Mary was originally engaged to a young man in England. Her and his families intended to cross the seas together many years ago, but the young man became very ill. His physician advised him against travelling such a long distance. The families kept up the engagement, but the young man stayed ill for years." Mr. Linwood lowered his voice. He leaned in. "One day, her father caught her in the barn with an Indian slave and protect her honor, he asked me if I would marry her in case she might be pregnant. I agreed, in exchange for three of his best slaves. It goes without saying, he had that slave killed. To this day, he won't purchase any slaves that come from the Caribbean. Only from Africa now, he always says." "Was there a child, if you don't mind me asking?" The doctor asked him. He kept his negative thoughts about Mr. Linwood's dealings in slavery to himself. "No, no. There was no child. Her first child was mine. A handsome boy with blue eyes like his mother." The doctor scanned over the letter. "The December 17th or July 7th hold any special meaning to your son?" Mr. Linwood shook his head. "Not that I can think of, no." "I see." The doctor did not look up from the paper. "What about staying out when he was younger? Was this a problem in his adolescence? Were there children he stayed out with?" "He did have this issue as a boy, but there were no others. My son has never had any friends. He would wander off into the forest in the dead of night. Summer or winter, it didn't matter. He'd go there night after night. That's why he's like this. Something in the woods has always played with his mind. I don't know what he was really doing out in those woods, but it can't be anything good." Mr. Linwood said. "Nothing good comes from lingering in the forest. The devil is quick to descend upon you." "You think some wicked force has been luring him to the woods for many years now?" "Yes, I most certainly do. I am a devout man." Mr. Linwood said. "Are you, Doctor?" "Of course. I never miss a service." The doctor changed the subject. "Is there anything else you'd like to tell me about your son?" "Well, I suppose you've already got the gist of it. How many years do you think he should stay for? Should he stay for the remainder of his life?" The doctor looked up at Mr. Linwood. "His life? I hope not. I can't give you an answer on that yet. I'll need to evaluate him longer to see the true extent of his condition, but he does not seem as bad off as many others who have been admitted here." "Are you sure? I don't think you've seen enough yet then. His mind leads him to false realities. I am certain a devil lurks in him." "A devil? Perhaps, perhaps not." The doctor jotted down a few more notes. "We will physically examine him to rule out any causes in the body, then monitor his behavior from there. If he needs care indefinitely, you will be informed. As he is now, though his story was quite bizarre, he appears stable and confused. My personal opinion at the moment is he had a lapse in sanity that was already quite weak. We will work on that. Those are all the questions I have for you, Mr. Linwood. You may go and see your son before leaving, if you'd like." "No, I think I'll head home. Wonder as this hospital is, I hate to see him like this in this sort of place. It breaks my heart." Mr. Linwood put his hand over his chest. "I understand." The doctor said coldly. "We will be in touch. Best of luck on your journey home." Mr. Linwood left the hospital shortly after. The doctor looked over his notes. In the morning, he would send for someone to visit the town the Linwood family resided in and search for any others who knew Thomas Linwood personally. Though a man of medicine, the doctor was quite spiritual. His upbringings taught him to consider Thomas Linwood had indeed seen something horrifying and monstrous in the forest, but that same spiritual upbringing taught him that there could be other reasons. Thomas, the doctor presumed, most likely had a break with reality itself due to some sort of stress or horrible event in his life. He likely only need a quiet place to recover. The shackles the staff had placed him in were probably not necessary, but the doctor wanted to keep them on for the time being in case he was wrong. Some of their patients who were calm sometimes had violent, unpredictable outbursts. He wished for a better way, but this was what he had at his disposal in the hospital. He would see to it that Thomas would only stay as long as he needed. As with those who came in with broken arms, it was his goal that those with broken spirits would leave them in time too. " friends...or a father who seeks to steal and lies to get what he wants? What is the truth, Mr. Linwood?" The doctor wondered aloud. He didn't need to think on it for as long as he expected. An hour after Mr. Linwood left, Jonathan Pierce arrived looking for Thomas. Thomas Linwood was dismissed from the hospital three weeks later, after working with the staff to regain his grasp on reality. Once out of his confusion, he asked the doctor to visit the grave again with him of his wife and child. At the grave, Thomas made a startling confession to the doctor. "I remember everything clearly now." Thomas said. "I'd worked so hard to convince myself of the lies that I had begun to believe them and created false memories of what happened that day to save my mind." "What day is that, Thomas?" The doctor asked. "Tuesday, July 7th. The day my wife and child were murdered." Thomas held tightly to the reigns of Adora, the only horse Jonathan was able to repurchase of the horses Thomas's father had sold. "My wife was due to give birth any day then. We were certain it was going to be that day. Her stomach was so big. Her water broke as I was leaving the house. I went straight into town to call the midwife over. When we returned, we found the yard...everywhere..." "Did you do it?" The doctor asked. Thomas shook his head. "No, I would never. We found tracks...likely left by a man bigger than me. My ax was missing. The midwife and I went around the property searching for any clues to who may have done it, but we found nothing else aside from the footprints and the ax missing. I wrapped her up in our sheets. She was collected up and put into the ground not long after that. After the funeral...I don't know what I did for weeks. It's a haze. I died that day. When people asked where my wife was, I started to lie. I told them she and the child died in childbirth. It was too painful to say anything else." "And you kept saying it until even you believed it." "Yes...I would picture it in my mind and tell myself 'this is how it really happened' any time my mind thought about the truth." Thomas turned away from the doctor. "There was something else...I couldn't say...I don't want to say." "What is it, Thomas? What pains you so?" The doctor put his hand on Thomas's shoulder. "I found my ax one day, that day...that morning..." Thomas put his hand to his mouth. His eyes watered. "That December morning when I went to see my father, when I was leaving...I saw my ax. One of my younger brothers was using it to chop some fire wood. I asked him where he'd gotten the ax from. He said Father had bought it in the summer." "You think he killed her?" "I don't...I don't want to say it...I know why he would...I was so happy then, happy and away from him. He needed a reason to trap me again. I needed to be broken down more." Thomas's hands shook. "When I saw that ax, my mind remembered the truth no matter how many times I told myself the lie. It all returned, flooding back, loud and ferocious. I'd close my eyes and I'd see it. I had to get out of there. I got on my horse and started lying to myself again. It wasn't my ax. I didn't see an ax. I was going about my day. Nothing happened. My wife died in childbirth. Lie, lie, lie. But I was beginning to believe those new lies already. I didn't cry or scream or rage. I really did try to go on about my day calmly, as if nothing bad had ever happened to me. But I couldn't..." "The weight of it finally cracked the shell you'd protected yourself in." The doctor said. Thomas nodded. "I don't know if I called over something evil with my disturbed thoughts, or if my disturbed thoughts created something evil before me...but I broke." "What will you do now that you remember? I don't think it would be right to forget your wife's real reason for dying." "I know I shouldn't...I'll have to live with that all my life. Trying to hide it all away, I can't anymore. If I kept on like that for longer...I'm sure I would've needed to stay here for the rest of my life." Thomas sighed. "But I can't have my father arrested. I don't have enough evidence he did it. If I took matters into my own hands, I'd hang or be sent back here. So, I'm moving with Jonathan next month. We're going north, far from my father's reach. I know I should want justice for my wife's murder, but I don't care if he hangs or not. I never want to be near him again for even a moment. I have to leave." Thomas's confidence faltered. "Do you think that's the right thing to do?" "Follow your heart and do what you think is right." The doctor said. Then, he asked, "Do you still see the images in your mind?" "Not as often as I used to." Thomas petted his horse. "That's good." "So, you don't think I need to be kept again?" Thomas asked. "No, you should be out here. And you won't be alone. You will be with a trusted friend on your journey away from the man who hurt you so. I think this will help you recover." The doctor said. "I hope so." Thomas said. "Thank you for coming out here with me. I was afraid to return here alone." "When you are in town, you can always send for me. I'll come to you as quickly as I can." "Thank you again, for everything." Thomas mounted his horse. "I'll be going now. Goodbye, Doctor." "Farewell, Thomas. May your soul's light protect you on the road. Don't stray anymore." The doctor said to him. "I won't." Thomas rode off from the cemetery. The doctor returned to the hospital shortly after. When he arrived, the staff were panicking about something they heard from someone in town. Mr. Linwood, Thomas's father, was found dead behind his home with an ax through the chest. The doctor thought about finding Thomas before he was completely out of town and letting him know what happened to his father, but the doctor realized that was a rather pointless endeavor. After all, more than anyone, Thomas and Jonathan would've already been aware of the truth. In all his years at the hospital, the doctor never saw Thomas again, but he did occasionally receive letters from him at some new, ever rotating, address. As for Thomas, he didn't see those horrifying images as often anymore. He rarely thought back to the past at all.