The cat flap on the door was pushed open by a gnarled hand
holding an off-white plastic bowl. The bowl was dropped
ungraciously and the flap swung shut. The girl listened to the
fading sound of brisk footsteps.
The girl paused, sighed, and swung her legs over the edge of the
bed. She wrinkled her nose at the sight of the thick soup.
'Again,' she muttered. She stumbled towards the door, wiping
sleep from her eyes, and picked up the bowl. She walked to the
window, and stuck the bowl through a gap in the bars. The
majority of the soup spilled on the window ledge, but she flung
it into the distance anyway. The bowl landed in a dilapidated
fountain and she watched in satisfaction as the colours ran
through the water.
A balding man of short stature appeared around the corner of the
building, and stopped at the sight of the fountain. He glanced up
at the window to see the outline of the girl, watching him. He
shuddered. Something about the girl with the bright shock of red
hair and piercing grey eyes always seemed to be wrong, but he
couldn't quite put his finger on it. He turned on the spot, in
the direction of the building's entrance.
Just minutes later, the girl listened to the rattling of the door
handle. An inhuman shriek came from the other side of the door.
The girl smirked at the sight of the chair tucked under the
handle, but the grin didn't quite reach her empty eyes. She
sprawled on her bed and listened to the fruitless attempts of the
intruder. Perhaps at last I can get some peace, she thought as
she closed her eyes.
The girl could hear a shrill, piercing voice, screaming
profanities and threats.
"I told you she needs to be in a high-security room! We might as
well chain her furniture to the damn floor!"
The door burst open, and the girl was greeted by the sight of a
short, plump woman with a face as red as beetroot, dry black hair
hanging out of its usual orderly bun in strands. Behind the woman
she could see the balding man with a crowbar in hand and a scowl
fixed on his face.
The woman stormed towards the girl, grabbed a fistful of her red
hair and dragged her towards the door, pushing the man out of the
way. The ironically named Ms Young remembered the day she found
Ms Young appeared at the end of the corridor, and froze at
the sight before her. The girl was a mess. Her face was streaked
with tears, and she was leaning against a row of lockers, with
her knees pulled up to her chest. The girl's eyes were fixed on
the unconscious petite blonde girl lying still in front of her.
Tears rolled down the redhead's face, but she remained
Ms Young blinked, and shook her head. She limped towards the
shell of a girl and said monotonously, 'Get up.' The girl showed
no response. Ms Young repeated her words, to no avail. She
muttered under her breath, tired of the problems her job
presented. She reached for the girl's hand to pull her up, and
started at the feeling of unease that spread through her at the
girl's touch. This child was different.
The woman tried to pull back her hand, but the girl wouldn't
release it. She wouldn't tear her eyes from the blonde girl,
either. The woman placed herself in the girl's line of sight, and
saw a flicker in the girl's eyes. At first the woman feared a
reaction, but the girl simply pursed her lips and closed her
eyes. The woman tugged the girl's hand again and led her down the
hallway. She didn't understand this ominous feeling rapidly
spreading through her, but she
To that day the feeling of unease lingered whenever Ms Young
looked at the girl. She averted her eyes and tried to pull the
girl through the doorway. The girl collapsed limply to the floor.
Ms Young sighed, grabbed the girl's arm and dragged her through
the hallway to room C17.
The girl's visits to room C17 were the few occasions during which
she displayed any fear. At the sight of the door she whimpered
and pulled weakly in the other direction, but the older woman's
grip on her arm was firm. The woman yanked the door open with her
free hand and tossed the girl in.
The girl gritted her teeth, and waited for the numbness to set