Travis continued to learn about the world around him the next day, remembering everything he had been taught the days before. He was taught how to brush his teeth and Lipkin made sure he knew how to dress and undress and taught him how to bathe himself, washing both his body and hair thoroughly. He then taught him how to dry off and brush his hair.
Lipkin was going to give the boy a haircut, but Travis completely freaked out at that point and wouldn’t calm down until the scissors were put away. Lipkin decided that his father or whoever ended up with the boy–if the state didn’t award custody to Wolf–could get him a haircut.
Travis was still scowling even after the scissors were put away. “Bad scissors. No cut.”
Lipkin nodded. “Alright, Travis. Calm down now. No cut today.”
Travis nodded in approval but then stormed off toward the playground. “Play.”
Lipkin hurried after him. “We have more to learn Travis.”
Travis shook his head. “No! Play.”
Lipkin sighed but decided to teach him words outside rather than have a struggle and he so followed him out and pointed to the various toys–swing, slide, jungle gym and so on. Travis learned such words as “window, door, floor, ceiling, wall” that day as well, and his eating manners were still being worked on but he was improving immensely.
And then Travis discovered television. Lipkin for the first time brought him in with the other mentally disturbed children into the Recreation Room. Travis wandered around looking at the other kids, most of whom were on heavy medication and one even in a straightjacket.
Travis circled that one, peering at the jacket and pointed to it. “What’s that, Doctor?”
Lipkin came over. “This is called a straightjacket, Travis. Straightjacket. This boy has to wear it because he can get very violent and hurt himself or others. It’s to keep him safe and others safe.”
Travis frowned only understanding a bit of what the doctor was saying; not liking the device. He could tell the boy didn’t like it either by how he was yanking and pulling.
Lipkin looked at the boy and chastised him. “Adam, stop struggling. You know you have to wear that and getting angry won’t help any.”
Adam’s eyes shot up at the doctor and he suddenly ran at him, trying to head butt him but an orderly rushed up and pulled him away before he made contact and roughly brought him to a chair and pushed him in it, holding him down by his shoulders until he calmed down.
Travis watched the boy, feeling sorry for him, but then his attention turned to the television and Lipkin explained what it was and showed him how to work the remote. Travis smiled and took a seat on the floor in front of the device and pushed the buttons on the remote, enjoying that aspect immensely. From time to time, he stopped to watch the pictures, sometimes pointing to something which he didn’t know what it was, and Lipkin would tell him and he’d move on again.
After a bit, Lipkin left Travis to his own devices in the recreation room under the care of the orderlies. Travis was learning that he had to obey them too and they were much rougher than the doctor if not listened to.
Growing bored of the television after hours of it, Travis went and sat by Adam who was sitting on the floor now as he had calmed down. The kid was sitting with his head down, not looking at anyone. Travis stared at him a moment. “Hi.”
Adam looked up at him, his face angry and he didn’t speak.
Travis looked around the room and pointed at the jacket and whispered. “Out?” Adam’s eyes lit up with hope and he nodded. Travis looked over at the orderly who was spacing out on the television show that someone had turned to. There was only one orderly in there at the moment for the group of eight children. Normally there were two, but the other had left for a break.
Travis scooted around back of Adam using the boy’s body to hide what he was doing. He bit his lip and fidgeted with the straps and buckles, but finally managed to get the boy’s arms loose. He then began working the remainder of the attachments
Adam quickly was out of the jacket and moved behind the side of the couch where the orderly couldn’t see him. He looked back at Travis and whispered, “Thanks, Travis.”
Travis nodded and shoved the jacket under the couch to hide it. Adam rubbed his arms while Travis got up and grabbed a box of Legos from a toy shelf and brought them over and set them in front of Adam. He pointed at them. “Legos. Play.”
Adam smiled and pulled the lid off the box. The boy was about ten-year-old, younger than Travis, but Travis didn’t know the difference. So, together they began to build with the blocks.
Everything went just fine until the second orderly returned and asked where Travis and Adam were. The other snapped out of his tv-daze and looked around. He was blocking the door, so he knew they hadn’t left. Finally, he saw a foot on the other side of the couch and pointed. The other nodded and went over to check and just stared in shock for a moment when he saw Adam had no straight jacket on, before saying his name with quite some force. “Adam!”
Adam jumped, dropping his Legos at the angry shout.
Travis bit his lip, looking up at the angry orderly and then Adam, wondering if Adam were going to get hit. Sometimes they hit the kids there. Travis had seen it and he had even gotten paddled himself by Lipkin the day before for trying to bite him when he was brushing a snarl out of his hair as it had hurt.
The orderly continued to speak angrily. “Where is your jacket and how did you get out?” His eyes went to Travis. It was pretty apparent the wild boy had let him out. Finally, the orderly saw a bit of the jacket sticking out from under the couch. Travis’ eyes went over to it too and he kicked at it with a foot to shove it under more, but the orderly pushed him aside and pulled it out. He gestured to Adam. “Up. You have to wear the jacket, Adam. You know that.”
Adam started crying and threw himself back in a temper tantrum. “No!”
Travis shouted at the orderly, “No! Bad jacket! Hurts Adam!”
The orderly ignored Travis and reached down to pull Adam to his feet. The other in the meantime had called the doctor and another orderly or two to come help, just in case, while he kept a watch over the door.
Travis leaped up and tackled the orderly away from Adam. “Run, Adam!”
Adam was on his feet and running around the room trying to escape the orderlies. There were tears running down but he had a look of determination on his face. Though he couldn’t get out the door because one orderly kept that blocked with his body.
Lipkin came in and shouted. “What is going on in here?”
The orderly Travis tackled was on his back with Travis on top, raising a fist for another blow. He had already punched the man in the face twice–hard.
Lipkin shouted. “Travis. NO! Bad boy!”
Travis looked over and cowered away, allowing the orderly up. The orderly was instantly on his feet and had Travis by the back of his neck, pinching tightly. Travis was wincing from the pain but he didn’t fight anymore, while Adam was finally caught and forced back into his jacket and left rolling and freaking out on the floor, wanting out.
Lipkin looked at the orderlies for an explanation. The one who had been alone answered, “They went behind the couch and Travis let Adam out of his jacket, apparently.”
The other orderly on duty nodded in agreement. “They were playing with Legos when I came around to see and had the jacket shoved under the couch.”
Lipkin looked at Adam. “He was playing quietly?”
The orderly nodded.
Lipkin rubbed his chin. “Hmm. Maybe his medication is starting to work after all. I suppose we can try some short experiments with him out of the jacket. Once he calms down, of course. We’ll only put it on if he gets violent.”
The orderlies nodded in understanding, and then Lipkin’s eyes looked over at Travis and he shook his finger at him. “Bad boy, Travis! Paddle.”
Travis whimpered. “No, good boy.”
Dr. Lipkin shook his head in disagreement and walked out with the orderly pushing Travis along with his hand still having a firm grip of his neck. “No, Travis. Letting Adam out of his jacket was bad and hitting the orderly was bad. You’re going to be paddled.”
Travis cried as he was pushed along, not wanting a paddling. Lipkin led the orderly and Travis to his office and the orderly pushed Travis down across the desk and pulled his pants down and then took the paddle the doctor handed to him.
Normally Lipkin administered the paddling himself but he knew this orderly, and if he didn’t get some sort of vindication for Travis punching him, he’d turn abusive with the boy. This way he’d get his anger out and Travis was disciplined at the same time.
Travis winced at the first stinging blow and was bawling by the time the orderly was done with him, leaving his bottom bright red and sore. Of course, the redness would go in a few moments, but the pain would continue much longer; apparently the pain nerves, not getting the message that the injury was healed right off.
Now that Travis had passed through puberty and had made his full transition to a werewolf, his regeneration was very fast but the pain lingered regardless. And pain could be cumulative, so the soreness from the day before was added into the mix of this recent paddling.
Travis sobbed as he was straightened up but he pulled up his pants when the doctor told him to. “Be good, Travis. No more taking Adam’s jacket off and no more hitting. Is that clear?”
Travis nodded, his face streaked with tears and his body wracked with ragged sobs. Lipkin nodded satisfied and looked at the orderly. “Bring him back to the Rec Room, Bryan. And everything’s even, now right?”
Bryan nodded, feeling vindicated though as he led Travis back to the Rec Room he was still pushing him along roughly ahead of him.
Travis sobbed all the more because it hurt to walk, let alone be shoved along quickly. So, once in the Rec Room and released, he quickly found a corner and curled into a ball facing the wall.
Adam had calmed down finally and one of the orderlies had taken his straight-jacket off, as the doctor had ordered, explaining that as long as he remained calm he could have it off. The orderly had made that very clear to him and the jacket was tossed over the back of a straight-backed chair that the orderlies used to sit near the door, as a visual reminder.
Adam would look over at it from time to time as he played with the Legos again, but when Travis came in, Adam rushed over to him and sat nearby. He knew Travis had been paddled. He had heard Lipkin and he knew it hurt, as he had suffered the punishment on more than one occasion himself. “Don’t cry, Travis.”
Travis sniffled and looked over his shoulder at Adam and smiled when he saw him out of his straight jacket but then looked nervously at the orderly. But seeing the jacket right there near him, he realized that it was okay now.
Adam smiled. “I can stay out of the jacket if I stay calm. They took it off when I calmed down. Thanks for getting me out, Travis. I’m sorry you got paddled for it.”
Travis didn’t get all of that but he understood a few words here and there. Still, he wasn’t up to sitting up just yet, but he did finally roll over to face Adam. He swiped at the tears on his face and Adam went and got the Legos, shoving them all back into the box and brought them over within reach of Travis. “Here, let’s play. You can lay on your side and play. It’ll hurt to sit for a while. Believe me, I know.” Adam gave him a knowing look, born of experience.
Lipkin checked in on the children after a while and saw Adam playing calmly with Travis and nodded in approval. He asked of the orderly, “He been quiet all this time?”
The orderly nodded. “Yep. Seems to have struck up a friendship with Travis.”
Lipkin continued to nod in approval but then called out to the group. “Dinner time.” Many of the kids got up and got in line for the door but the orderlies had to help a few who were heavily drugged.
Adam leaped up, leaving Travis to shove the Legos back in the box. Travis stood as well, though not as quickly. He was still hurting and he wasn’t looking forward to having to sit on his bottom in the cafeteria.
Travis didn’t look at Lipkin as he passed but kept his head down. Lipkin sighed but knew the boy would get over it. Lipkin was careful that the children weren’t abused at this facility, though they did use physical discipline when it was called for. Usually only if a child got violent with others. Still, overall, he felt Travis was doing well and he appeared to have made a friend which was one concern Lipkin had had, whether he could socialize with others. Travis appeared to be an intelligent boy, just uneducated, having been living in the wilds for so long. He couldn’t imagine how a four-year-old had survived such an ordeal, but apparently, he had; unscathed.
Lipkin talked quietly to Bryan as the kids ate their dinner. He had been surprised that Travis had taken the large man down as he had, let alone have been able to keep him down.
Bryan shook his head with an expression of surprise himself. “He’s strong as an ox, Sir. He had my arms held to my side with his knees as he straddled me and I swear I couldn’t get them loose and he punches hard too. Bryan tentatively touched one of the bruises on his face.
Lipkin looked over at Travis. “Well, he is well muscled I noticed–active lifestyle in the wild–so, I suppose it’s not surprising he’s very strong. He’d have to be to have survived on his own for so long. He’s fast too, but hunting his own food he must have had to push himself harder to catch prey and kill it. It’s really quite incredible. One could make a case study of the boy.”
Bryan nodded in agreement. He wasn’t mad at Travis anymore since he had been duly punished. This was a mental hospital–maximum security section–and the kids sometimes did get violent. So, bruises, bites, and injuries were not unheard of for orderlies. Though of course, they tried to avoid that whenever possible.
Travis whimpered as he ate, the hard bench hurting his sore bottom and he couldn’t have been happier than when he finally was put to bed. He knew he’d still be a little sore the next day but most of the pain would be gone by then.