Dr Van Helsing’s bulletin on health of Jonah author

The distinguished Dutch psychiatrist, Dr Van Helsing, has kindly just sent us this bulletin on the health of our dear colleague, the author of the saga of Jonah and Anna-Belle, who has been returned to the secure NHS facility in Whitby, following a two-day absence, after absconding from those premises. Some readers may recall that he was found only last night in the vicinity of Bromley South railway station.

In the interests of forensic science we have refrained from sub-editing the good doctor’s English for fear that we might reduce the powerful impact of this woeful narrative:


Whitby secure NHS facility, Saturday 29 August 2015

window bars
Exterior view of window bars

So I go pay visit to the patient in his room, and he is pale and thin and his green eyes are drawn and he is sit on the corner of his bed closest to window. He don’t react when I enter his room and so I stand in silence and I observe his mannerism. First he count the fingers of the left hand “One, two, three, four, five.” He stare at the fingers and say: “Nothing changes.” Then he repeat the exercise with his right hand, like so: “One, two three, four, five.” And again he say “Nothing changes.” This procedure he repeat a number of times as if never going to stop.

And now I step forward and I ask him, “My dear boy, what never change?” Here he look at me with those deep sorrow filled eyes of his and he say: “Nothing. Nothing changes.” And he turn and look away out the window. “Who is Jonah?” I ask him. He answer without look me in the eye. “Jonah is a sailor.” “And Anna-Belle,” I ask. “Who is Anna-Belle?” He pause, he turn now to look me again in the eye and he say. “Why Anna-Belle is the girl of Jonah’s dreams, of course.” “Yes, yes, my dear boy. But do these people really exist? This Jonah and this Anna-Belle, are they not mere figleafs of your fertile, dare I say febrile imagination?” Now he look at me hard and enquiring, from head to toe he look at me, and then he say: “Of course they are real. I created them, and they are real and I hate to see either one of them suffer.”

I am truly amaze and baffle, I never see a case like. So dysfunctioning, so severe! He appear not to distinguish between reality and the stuffing and nonsense of fiction, so it is as though this Anna-Belle and this Jonah are living and breathing humane beings. Most astonishing for a man of his quite obvious sensitiveness and intellect. Most concerning.

So I say to him, thinking to go along with his delusion in order observe the path it lead, I say to him, “Tell me about this Jonah and this Madame Anna-Belle. Why you so worry about them, why you absconded from this place? What you hope to achieve?” Now he smile at me and open up, and relax spread wide upon his gentle features and he take deep breath and he talk: “Jonah and Anna-Belle were old friends from their childhood days. They grew up more or less side by side in two families that were very close. But life separated them and for years and years they never saw one another nor heard a word. Until one day they meet again and discover that neither of them is currently married. And Jonah sees that Anna-Belle is just as pretty and lively and feisty as ever she was in their youth and he feels the old spark reignite and he falls for her. They have this great common history, and as the days pass, the banter between them when they converse is electric and it is as though they were never apart, and it feels too that they should never have parted and that now they have rediscovered each other they should be together for ever and ever, and part no more. Nevertheless, there is a fly in this ointment, an imbalance, if you like: despite the deep deep feelings that Jonah professes to her, Anna-Belle does not fully reciprocate, and she insists on dating someone else and fails to respond to Jonah’s heartfelt pleas.”

Here this delicate over-sensitized soul pause to wipe a tear from his left eye, and I take advantage of the moment to jump in and I say to him, “But my dear boy. This is the stuffing of fairy stories, the stuffing of Hollywood. You surely cannot believe this ‘happily ever after’ finale crap, it is like the believing in the Santa Klaus or the Teeth Fairy, or the little leprechauns at the end of the Irish gardens.

Suddenly he grow tense, his fists clench. He lift his little green eyes and point them dagger-like right into mine and he say: “Dr Van Helsing. If you are not going to take me seriously, I will not say another word to you. Ever. EVER!”

At this point my face redden slightly and a cold sweat come upon me and I realise I push too hard: a mark has been stepped across and it better to press no further in my elucidations. And so I say to him in my best bedside, “Yes yes, now you should get some rest, my dear boy, and not overexert your mental facilities. We can continue our conversation in another time.” And so diploma-like I withdraw, but as I so do I perceive that his eyes have once again swung round to focus upon the window, and upon whatever else he see beneath the blue sky way beyond the bars. Such a sad sad situation! Where will it end?

Signed Dr Van Helsing, M.D.

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