Code Yellow by Jacob Howell

Some years ago, Code Yellow was sent to all CIA agents. Its message was simple:

They know about us. Find them.

Thousands of CIA agents received it and knew what to do. Scouring the city, they tapped every phone line and watched every citizen to find the schizophrenics. Many of the schizophrenics were eventually found and placed in institutions. Fewer escaped and ended up in hiding. Others still roam the streets, suspicious and unsure whom to trust.

"Schizophrenia" (image by Flickr user Akelei van Dam)

Frank is currently in charge of Operation: Code Yellow. He is a high ranking schizophrenic hunter because he has captured more of them than most CIA agents. He keeps a tally of all the schizophrenics he captures and reports the numbers to the government. His office is littered with pictures of the ones he has helped capture.

Frank knows what happens to them afterward. He knows that they are poisoned with medication, and that tracking devices are implanted underneath their skin to keep tabs on them, but he doesn’t like to think about it. He doesn’t deal with that side of things, only the cat and mouse game that he plays every day with them in the CIA’s intelligence room.

Inside this room is where all the spying takes place for Operation: Code Yellow. All information about the schizophrenics are sent here for further analysis by Frank and his colleagues. Today Frank discusses with the other hunters ways to capture them in his intelligence room. Computer monitors on a screen within are tracking the most knowledgeable and therefore dangerous schizophrenics. An agent warns Frank of a particularly dangerous schizophrenic.

“I’ve found a level nine schizophrenic. His name is Bill and he is hiding underneath a bridge. We are worried he knows too much about our operation.”

“Send out an agent to stop him. Implant a thought-control device in his head while he’s sleeping to wipe his memory clean.”

“We can’t wait on this one Frank; he plans on spilling the beans about our operation today.”

“All right, I’ll deal with this.”

Frank grabs his microphone and speaks directly to Bill through the microchip in Bill’s head. “Bill, can you hear me?”

Bill listens and is worried about the voice he is hearing.

“Bill, we are worried that you know too much about the CIA. I have a button here in my office that can instantly stop your heart from beating. If you ever tell anyone about us, I will press the button and kill you.”

Bill nods in agreement to Frank. He isn’t ready to die yet.

“Bill, if you ever defy me, I will kill you. Don’t get any strange ideas and spread the truth to the world. I have ways to stop you.”

Bill responds to Frank through pure thought, knowing that Frank’s technology can track his thoughts.

I will find a way to escape from you. There must be a way to deflect your mind reading and tracking devices. I will find and build devices to counter yours.

“Bill, many have tried and all have failed. I’m warning you for the last time, Bill.”

Kill me, then. I’d rather than die than be your slave.

Frank then pressed the button, knowing that thousands of miles away Bill’s heart would explode.

Something happened that day, as Bill’s death hit a special nerve in Frank’s heart. For once he actually felt sorry for a schizophrenic he had killed. He went home that night feeling guilty for the thousands of schizophrenics he had murdered, tortured and imprisoned over the years.

Some days later Frank decides to tell the world about the CIA’s operation. On that day, everyone heard a voice in their head telling them this:

People of the world, I wish to tell you that during your lifetime you have been lied to in every concievable way. All along, we at the CIA have been watching your every move and monitoring your every activity so that we may control you. You have believed yourselves to be free when in fact you are all slaves to us. My job for the past century has been to track down and destroy those who are aware of the ways of the world, so that you may remain oblivious. People of earth, I tell you this so that future generations may no longer be slaves underneath our thumb. I tell you this so that you may be free.

Soon after this message, panic and anarchy ensued on planet Earth; everyone had become a schizophrenic.


Jacob Howell’s writings predominantly explore the nature of the psychotic mind. Having been touched years ago by this beast, he paints his characters within the same paranoid delusional landscape he had suffered though. Within one can meet the persecutory monsters that haunted his mind and continue to haunt the minds of millions. His writings have appeared in several street papers and can further be read at his website, schizophrenicwriter.com.