From the Diary of Dr. Edmund Carter, Psychiatrist

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Randolph Turner told me two things, before he stabbed me in the hand with a pencil and leaped through my office window, both of which I believe. First, that despite the voices in his head that spoke to him day and night, he was quite sane. Second, that he was God.

I should be quite specific here. He didn't claim to be our God, assuming you believe in such, but the God of a universe quite separate and distinct from ours, created five years ago in a laboratory explosion. You remember that explosion at the Dinsmore High Energy Laboratory, yes? Randolph was a technician there. He recovered almost completely from his quite horrific injuries, though one curious effect remained -- he heard voices.

At first, he heard only a few scraps of monologue. As weeks passed, the number of voices increased from a dozen to dozens. By the time he came into my care, he was hearing thousands of voices at all hours of the day. In addition, he had clearly not slept more than a handful of hours since the accident. I offered him a sedative, which he refused with such a frantic cry that I nearly called in an orderly. He begged me not to sedate him at any point while he was here because the fate of a universe relied on him. He was, he said, that universe's God.

You laugh. I don't blame you. As a man of science myself I should not have given Randolph's wild claims any credence but I do not mind telling you, the more I listened to him, the more seriously I took him. He explained that scientists have devised a theory that says every decision made in this universe creates a parallel universe where another decision was taken. That is to say, instead of our universe proceeding forth in a straight line, it proceeds like a tree with an impossibly large number of branches. No one can say how many other worlds there are, of course, because we can not touch them, or so the scientists tell us. Randolph did not believe this to be entirely true, though. He believed that alternate universes are only created from momentous events that provide a great deal of energy in a very small space, and that these universes adhere to ours very particularly. He was working on that theory when the explosion occurred.

At this point he paused and cocked his head. His eyes lost focus and his lips began to move, though he uttered no sound. After a few seconds, he looked at me, smiled shyly, and told me he had just received a most urgent prayer. That's what he called the voices he heard. When I scoffed at him, for I couldn't resist, he smiled again and asked for a piece of paper and something with which to write. I gave him my pencil and pad and he wrote out twelve different prayers, all in disparate languages, three of which used a different alphabet. He told me to have them translated and come back to him when I had. At that, I had the orderly escort him back to his room and sent a text message to a friend of mine in the linguistics department at the University with a picture of the page.

It was only later I realized he, and not I, had ended the interview.

* * * * *

I brought Randolph to my office two days later. His eyes were red-rimmed, heavy, fell out of focus more often. He said he was adapting. Again, I offered him a sedative and a good night's sleep. Again, he refused. He said he had to keep his attention on his universe, keep the wave function collapsed, or chaos would end it. I believe I understood him in that moment. I had read some of the newer quantum theories since I had first seen him. I knew of the importance of observation. Did such a thing extend to an entire universe? I couldn't know. I wasn't a scientist.

But Randolph was, wasn't he?

He asked if I had his prayers translated. I said I had. At that, he smiled and told me what my linguist friend had sent me. Every word exactly, even with the poor grammar my friend had said would be almost impossible for a non-native speaker to fake. Then, he told he with absolute clarity that he was sane and he truly was god.

I made my decision.

I called for the orderly to subdue him and pulled a hypodermic from my case. He stood with a cry, his smile collapsed, betrayal in his eyes. The orderly moved in quickly, but Randolph was quicker. He snatched the pencil from my desk and jabbed it deep into my hand. I cried out, dropped the needle. He evaded the orderly and leaped out the window. The orderly made to pursue him but I feigned a more serious injury and he attended to me.

In truth, I wanted Randolph to get away. I knew if he stayed here I would eventually cure him of the voices he heard. I'd have no choice. But if he escaped...ah, well, sometimes a patient escapes and without a court order to keep him here there is little we can do. I will of course affirm he is no danger to himself or others. In time, I will say, his body will drive him to sleep and when he does rest, his mental condition will improve considerably. I know I shall not see him again. He'll be far too busy keeping his new universe in existence.

And I? What shall I do? Well, there is a patient on the third floor who also hears voices. I think I would like to speak with him. Perhaps his voices speak in many languages as well.

About the Author: 
JImmie Bise, Jr. is a writer who once presented at SXSW, was a contestant on Jeopardy!, and started a choir tour in NY in the same week. That was a pretty good week. He lives in MD with his family, whom he loves more than life.