Prologue

If you had no prior reason to go there, you would probably not even know about the Care cure clinic in Vereeniging: it’s hidden behind the Medi-clinic medical centre in Joubert Street, Less than a block away from the Friendly grocer; and just next to the Imperial select second hand car sales shop. A small ‘hospital like’ clinic with 25 beds and 12 wards or rooms, or whatever you want to call it! Also a few nurse’s offices and storerooms, 3 observation rooms, a procedure room, a nice average sized lounge, a big lecture room and of coarse a little kitchen right next to the staff room. The nurses are all very pleasant and friendly, almost too much so. As Jacob walked in the front door of the slightly cool Monday morning, he put down his bag in the lobby and approached the woman sitting in front of the big oak desk. It looks a lot like a doctor’s consultation-room-reception if you ask me, he thought to himself. The nurse greeted in a friendly voice, really sounding sincere and happy to be here where people wait to die. Jacob booked himself in and was shown to his bed: nr 22 in room 11, right opposite the lounge and staff room. Bed 22 was hidden in a corner of the room, with the bathroom to the left, (the door being outside the room) two beds opposite this one and windows to the right. There is a little medication cabinet on the left of the bed, just above shoulder height. I hope that I don’t bang my head on there too often…The window to the right looked out onto the little terrace. Between the windows of bed 22 and 21, which are situated directly opposite each other, there are two build-in cupboards. The floor of the entire clinic is laid out in polished tiles and the walls are painted the same beige color that every other hospital is painted. In the middle of the walls, there’s a wooden edge painted in a dark maroon color, edged in round strips. No class even… could at least have used Mahogany for these instead of painting them! Jacob packed out the contents of his bag, placed them all inside the built-in cabinet and went out to explore the place. As he walked past the front desk, he almost whispered to the nurse: where’s the best place to have a smoke? She pointed him out the front door and turning right to get to the terrace visible from his bed. A rather nice spot for reviving yourself: one round concrete table with two typical concrete seats. On the wall opposite the main building’s windows there’s an amazing portrait painted with scenery of a valley leading toward the woods with a river… On a little rock wall there’s a black cat staring into the valley: So peaceful out here! Only then do you notice that there’s another set of concrete seats hidden away in a corner behind a pot plant… the perfect place to wail in your own sorrows and feel sorry for yourself – what a waste! After having his first cigarette, in what is supposed to be his saving grace from the previous way of life, Jacob went browsing around the main building, familiarizing himself with everything that there is… Where can I find coffee? I need something to replace the urgent need for copious amounts of cocaine… Entering through the main door, turning right at the reception desk (opposite way of his room) he wandered aimlessly, just taking in the surroundings… past the procedure room on the left, the lecture room on the left and… ah… a coffee station on my left – I can use this a lot better than the useless water station just before this!

Getting a cup of strong Nestlé coffee and two espressos, Jacob figured that he might have added enough caffeine to keep him going for some time. Now it is time to try and figure out whom else is around in this hell hole of depression and dying souls. I would not allow my soul do die such an awful death as those who has been here before me! This place reeks of souls drifting to nowhere and people being broken down to think that the way they were doing things is not worth it! Walking through the hallway, assessing all the other wards, merely peering in for a quick view, Jacob has noticed that there are not many people of his own age in the clinic. As a young man of 21 years, there shouldn’t really be anybody of his own age in this place. Or at least so he thought… As the sun came peering in through the window, Jacob realized that morning has broken and obviously it’s about time for Janine, his psychiatrist, to come around for a quick visit. She was indeed the one who helped him get past the fact that he has to do something about his, now falling apart, life and get something to work for him! As expected, he was barely out of bed, having a cigarette outside to try and wake up, Jacob noticed the wave of blonde hair drifting graciously in the front door. There was no way that she could’ve noticed him sitting there as the terrace was a little hidden away by walls joining up to the blood-donation centre right next to the main clinic building… between them merely a terrace and the small, paved parking area making them uniform with the consulting rooms opposite the ‘blood centre’… A sudden knock on the window behind him made Jacob turn around with a look of utmost disgust and annoyance. It was Janine in his room, right by his bedside… with a big grin he stood up, put out his cigarette in the big coffee tin, that was supposed to be an ashtray, and he made his way inside. “So how was your first evening in the clinic?” Janine asked with a smile on her face and an extremely positive attitude toward the awaited answer “Was ok, I guess. Not much happening in here anyway… maybe I’d get to a verdict once the walls wake up and start entertaining me” was the facetious comment with a wink from him. Now Janine was not your average psychiatrist, she was more of a friend to her patients than anything else. With a tall, slender body and a smile inviting to anyone, she could probably have been a model should she chose to. Her amazing confidence and positive attitude on life was most likely what allowed Jacob to open up to her and let her into her mind. As she was the first one to really enter the ‘forbidden area’ as he’d like to call it. After a nice long chat, explaining to Jacob how things will work in here and why she has chosen this clinic as a rehabilitation centre, Jacob figured it was all going to end rather well. As soon as she left, he went for a shower and made himself look like a teenager out on the hunt for new friends… “Gorgeous, as you should be mate!” he stated to the mirror, admiring his own handiwork and then, almost a whisper: “Time to find a victim… We do need some entertainment!”