It's hard to return. To have been gone long enough that things have moved on without you. It'd only been three years and so much was different. His building, once the standard of architecture on its block, was now a run down hovel even the homeless avoided. There was an air to the place that made all that passed it look away. A chill slithered over his skin. The hair on his arms and neck stood on end. With each step a vice was tightened on his head. A feeling he'd noticed more and more in cities.
To house the lost, the building's walls remained standing. It was something he'd never considered before, but it made sense. Where else where they supposed to go? It had been his job to help free people from their unwanted emotions. More often than not he succeeded, but he never considered where the homeless emotions then went. At least not in any serious way.
He looked across the street. He caught the eye of a homeless man wearing rags and a bag for a hat. The man jerked his gaze towards the ground and shambled away. There'd been something in that look. What was it? Pity? Concern? He scanned the broken walls, the peeling paint, the shattered windows. So much anger directed at this building. Did the perpetrators understand why they felt such animosity towards an inanimate object? Unlikely.
Inside, it was hard to breath. Inside everything was more...heavy. Lifting his eyelids to blink required twice the typical effort, moving his foot took concentration and force of will. It seemed even his heart would stop if not consciously considered. This place did not want him. It didn't want anyone.
He worked his way up the stairs, towards his old office. Gravity grew with each step and threatened to bury him. His gaze locked onto the door he knew so well. How many times had he entered it? Seen patients cross the threshold and tell him their deepest inner secrets. Those secrets, once released, filled the area--never handled in a professional manner. Like a mad librarian tearing books from shelves, leaving a mess in his wake. Now it was time to pick up the pieces.
By the time he reached the door he was on all fours. He slapped his hand against the wood frame. He worked his hand up towards the handle, inch by inch. The closer he got, the more difficult it became to get there. He pushed the door open and crawled into the center of the barren room. A gentle wind blew in through the broken window. He wanted to get to a seated position, but it seemed impossible. The feeling of oppression was more powerful than anything he'd ever experienced.