“I’m sick?” I asked.
“Well…” the balding man paused. “In a sense.”
“Explain,” I demanded roughly.
He sighed like he was about to oblige, but he hesitated too long for me.
I coughed pointedly. “Come on. Just tell me what sort of whatever it is wrong with my body I’ve got so I can go.” I was being demanding again, and I’d decided a long time ago that I didn’t always
have to make sense to get my point across.
“Well, Ms. Hammond, it seems that--it seems that he is your sickness.”
I snorted. “I’ve told you fifty-two times: call me Alexii. And what do you mean, he? You shrinks need to learn to actually speak at a level your patients can understand.”
The shrink sighed again, but he spoke without hesitation this time, “I mean, that you’re sick because of him. Because of your feelings for him.”
“Who is this him you keep talking about?”
My shrink sat still and quiet for a moment, looking as though he might have been trying to think of a way to answer my question. I could tell he was trying to be careful with me. But really, was
this him’s actual identity enough to make me psychotic or crazy? Would it make me explode? Implode?
I chewed on the thought with my eyes closed, nibbling at my lip a little. Images of possible matches for ‘him’ scrolled across my mind. It halted on one, and many emotions crashed over my head--all
of them senseless.
Him had a name and a face, now.
Movie clips played in my thoughts. Liam smiling, Liam saying hello, Liam saying my name, Liam’s face turning upside down like some evil villain, Liam throwing me over his shoulder, Liam yelling at
me to just shut up already, Liam dropping me on the cold basement floor, Liam injecting sedatives into my arm, Liam saying goodnight, Liam hitting me, Liam going soft, Liam saying sorry, Liam
holding me, Liam kissing me, Liam--
I opened my eyes abruptly, cutting off the last clip. “You’re meaning Liam,” I said.
“I’m not sick.”
“I’m afraid you are, Ms. Hammond.”
“It’s Alexii. And no, I’m not.”
“Okay, Alexii--I don’t want to get into an argument over your health, but you must understand, that you are--indeed--very, very sick.”
“I’m not sick,” I said through gritted teeth.
“It’s called Stockholm Syndrome, Al--”
“I’m not sick!” I yelled, jumping up from my chair.
“A condition in which the victim of rape, abduction, or abuse shows affection towards their assailant--”
“I’m not sick!” I screamed. The scream burned all the way up my throat, over and over. “I’m not sick! I’m not sick! I’m not fucking sick!”
I saw the shrink press a white button on the wall behind his desk just before I sank to the floor, hands over my ears, screaming--without words, now. Three men dressed in white uniforms came into
the room. Two of them snatched me up from the floor, while the other conversed briefly with the shrink. The balding man handed over my yellow folder and the two men carried me away with the third
man close behind.
People in the hallways stared at me as I kicked and screamed, desperately trying to get away from the men. But they were much too strong. I didn’t have a chance. I wanted Liam, and a big piece of
my heart swelled at the thought that Liam might be wanting me, too.
I worried for my Liam, all alone in a cold prison--sleeping on a hard bed, eating bad food. Not knowing what was coming.
I wondered if he was thinking of me, and when my mind assumed yes, I calmed a little. And when I was completely calm, I felt my weight being transferred. I was only being carried by one man now. I
suppose I should have seen it as a chance and fought to get away, simply because I could have, but my mind was cozily wrapped around Liam in a futile attempt to shield him from the prison.
© Copyright 2016 Charlie Layne. All rights reserved.