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Lunatic Asylum Story

Short story By: jellaroo
Historical fiction

This story is based on a collection of artwork that is depicted on the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia. The piece of writing is based on what isn't shown in the paintings, such as a lunatic asylum that was established along the Yarra.

Submitted:Sep 12, 2012    Reads: 477    Comments: 1    Likes: 2   

I was in a dark, damp cell, with nothing but the steady drip of water behind me, a barred window and a stone floor. My wrists were shackled to large chains attached to the floor - a way of thwarting any escape attempts on my behalf. There was a metal bed frame bolted to the floor with a beaten up, worn out mattress on top. The cell had a cold, creepy feel to it. This was to be my 'home' until I was deemed 'sane' again. Until then, I was to be put through various 'treatments', in order to try and cure my supposed illness.

I'd seen very little of the asylum, and yet it terrified me. The screams of other patients, accompanied with their mumbling and ranting - it was enough to scare even the most strong-hearted of men. The things I'd seen, the treatments that patients were forced to endure, were horrifying. Lobotomies, electric shock treatment and solitary confinement were a few treatments for the mentally ill. I couldn't decide which I feared most.

My doctor walked into my cell, scribbling away at his notepad. He briefly looked me over, not moving closer than the cell door, but it was enough for his face to burn into my mind. You don't forget the face of the person you fear most.

'Now then,' he announced, 'we're going to examine you, and then we'll proceed with the appropriate course of treatment.' I merely looked at him, careful to reveal no emotions on my face. I wouldn't give him the satisfaction of seeing the absolute terror I was feeling. He began asking me questions, but I wasn't listening. My mind was elsewhere - I was already planning my escape. The doctor ended his questions, and started on the course of therapy I would be made to endure. 'I believe we shall start off with electric shock treatment,' his attention turned away from me, and he faced a nurse that had just walked in. 'Nurse! Set up the electric shock therapy for this man!' I couldn't help my eyes from widening in terror. I had to escape before they forced this on me. The doctor walked out of my cell, leaving me with the nurse.

'You look terrified,' she whispered, looking straight into my eyes as she came closer. 'Don't fret; I'm here to help you.' She walked out of the cell, and brought a trolley in - I couldn't help noticing another set of shackles that was attached to the trolley. She placed one of the shackles on my left wrist, locked it, and then unlocked the shackle that was bound to the floor. She repeated this process with my right wrist, essentially binding me to the trolley. She patted the trolley, indicating that I should sit upon it. I did so, and this brought a look of relief upon the nurse's face. 'I can tell you're not the troublesome kind,' she said. I didn't respond, or even acknowledge her. I sat in silence, plotting my next move. I started tapping with my left hand, and I realised that the shackles were loose. Maybe I could use this in my escape. I immediately ceased tapping, thus preventing the nurse from noticing as well. She left the room, locking the door behind her. I assumed she was going to prepare the electro shock therapy. A period of time passed before she returned - how long I sat there in silence, I do not know. Time seemed unimportant - the only thing on my mind was formulating a plan.

Next thing I knew, I was screaming my head off, feeling the electricity course through me. The doctor and nurse were nowhere to be seen - possibly in an adjacent room. The electricity ceased, and I saw my chance. My hands pulled through the shackles, and I barely noticed the pain of the metal constricting my wrists as I pulled. My hands were free, and I ran out of the room as fast as possible. I made it out of the room, but then realised that I didn't know where to go. I ran around and around, through the building, turning this way and that, until I collapsed on the floor.

I awoke to find myself back in the electro shock therapy room, this time with a higher voltage of electricity coursing through my body - I could by the increased pain. I screamed and screamed and screamed until my throat was hoarse and I lost my voice. The voltage increased, and I could only lie there, whimpering as I felt the pain. The voltage increased yet again, and I couldn't handle the pain. Just before I blacked out again, I focused on the sky through the window. It was a perfect blue. Little did I know it would be the last thing I saw.


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