Readers, please welcome Walter Perch to the blog. It sounds as if he needs cheering up and maybe you can help. Walter Perch has come from the pages of Dortmund Hibernate by C.J. Sutton, which will be published by Crooked Cat Books in July 2018.
My name is Walter Perch. I am a guard up at Dortmund Asylum. You’ve never been to Dortmund. No, it’s not the popular German location. You’ve probably never even heard of this place; a small rural town known only for the crazies on the hill and the animals in our zoo. People get these two institutions confused, and it’s not hard to see why. The nine inmates (and believe me, they’re inmates) would kill you for a hot meal, no two ways about it. I try to avoid their stares, to drown out their voices with earphones blasting rock music, and to limit my inhale to the excretions tossed about their cells. But I am not alone.
Brian, Shirley and Carter are the other full-time guards up here. They look to me, I think, to lead them in some capacity. Carter has been here the longest, but his age (and solid drinking) has started to impact his work. The other day he couldn’t remember if he locked a cell that contained a man your children would tell horror stories about. Lucky for us, he had. Lucky for Dortmund, only two Scotch-coffee cocktails had been consumed that morning.
I don’t much like Dortmund. I’ve lived here most of my life. In the beginning it was a peaceful bubble hours away from the Big City. Now, the only interruptions to my solitude are the faces behind the bars and the sly drinkers at the pub. Maybe I’ll leave soon. I wouldn’t know where to start in the Big City. What does a man like me do in such a place?
We have a new doctor arriving next week. ‘Dr Magnus Paul’. He sounds fancy, a young hot-shot psychologist who brought someone back from looney town. He’ll have no such luck here. Nobody can save the nine. They’ll live within these dank walls until the skin rots from their bones. And I’ll probably still be walking the corridors, checking in to make sure they’re contained.
I’m writing this, dear reader, because I don’t get to talk much. People are either waiting for a command or asking about one of the nine. Every conversation is business, and the business is death. Humour me, if you will, and read this last paragraph:
What is it like, to attend a football match with family and friends? How does it feel to move in the swell of a crowd, surrounded by concrete buildings pushing through the clouds? When cheers erupt at such a volume, does the ground shake? I watch these games on TV and marvel at the scenes. I picture myself in the midst of it all, just watching normal people chant wildly for those on the field. For those who mean no harm.
Do not pity me, dear reader, for I do not seek your help. I merely ask for words not concerned with nine condemned souls. For when Magnus arrives, it all starts again.
Write me, if you will. Address it to Dortmund Asylum. Nobody else here receives mail, and I would find it quite amusing to see the postman drive up this hill for the first time in years.
You see, he doesn’t ask for much – just a letter. I’m sure we can all manage that. You know what? I’ll make it easier for you. Write your missives to Walter in the comments and I’ll forward them.
About Dortmund Hibernate
Psychologist Dr Magnus Paul is tasked with the patients of Dortmund Asylum; nine criminally insane individuals hidden from the world due to the extremity of their cases. Magnus has six weeks to prove them sane for transfer to a maximum-security prison, or label them as incurable and recommend a death sentence under a new government act. The small rural town of Dortmund and its inhabitants are the backdrop to the mayhem on the hill. As Magnus delves into the darkness of the incarcerated minds, his own sanity is challenged. Secrets squeeze through the cracks of the Asylum, blurring the line between reality and nightmare. And the most notorious man of all is strapped to the floor of his cell, urging Magnus towards a new life of desire…
About C.J. Sutton
C.J. Sutton is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia. He holds a Postgraduate Degree in journalism and creative writing, and supports the value of study through correspondence. His fictional writing delves into the unpredictability of the human mind and the fears that drive us. As a professional writer C.J. Sutton has worked within the hustle and bustle of newsrooms, the competitive offices of advertising and the trenches of marketing. But his interest in creating new characters and worlds has seen a move into fiction, which has always pleaded for complete attention. Dortmund Hibernate is his debut novel.