Inside, I’m a danger to myself; I’m a prisoner of my own hell. I have lost the battle I wagged on myself, I need to be locked up, it all getting worse, why won’t they let me be, why won’t god make it stop?
The thoughts of a raving lunatic, fragmented, sketchy and jumbled, they spliced together like uneven atoms that created mutated compounds in her mind. Too many voices were inside her head, too many thoughts to process too much poison to be whispered into her ears. They started after that night after the night it came to her.
Emma had been quite a normal woman, normal job, normal life, normal everything. She worked in an office for middle management and minimum pay, it wasn’t glamorous but it’s where she met Regina. The blonde and brunette hit it off right away, lunches, drinks then after drinks, the two found themselves quickly in love. Doing their best to hide their discretion, they snuck in and out of alleys in the dark, leaving one at a time from work every afternoon and having to stay apart during the day but the more they tried to hide the affair the more their eyes betrayed them as well as the emails on the computer. It was a hard life, a tortured life, and a life only to be filed with pain and misery but for the few short years they shared tea on the porch, embraces under blankets and emotions in bed all before this was ripped apart from Emma the night she had been confronted by her ex Robert. Drunk beyond the point of intoxication and then some, he was stumbling around the streets with his buddies after having too much fun at the local pub. Unfortunately the girls had been out for their anniversary that night, choosing finally to be seen in public, Robert spotted them along the dark street. The next thing Emma felt was cold concrete hitting her skull, the damp freshly wet ground seeping into her clothes as she was thrust to the floor of an alleyway. The laughter and drunken hollering of the men coupled by the cries of Regina in the background as she tried to resist, tried to fight but the more hands that held her down the harder it was to keep her strength. Then the words came, the words that would haunt her for the rest of her life.
“Don’t worry dearie, I will cure you” the pain was agonising as she found herself helpless, raped over and over again, she screamed for them to stop, the bloody curdling tear stricken scream that would make any humans blood run cold. Regina struggled against two of the men; she managed to bite one hard enough that he let go only to slap her across the face. Then she witnessed something beyond her own mental comprehension. Her beautiful lover, that olive skinned face and bottomless brown eyes now lay lifeless in the alleyway, the dark pool of rich red blood spilling from her neck the man spat over her body.
“Dumb bitch wouldn’t get me off” he swore before Emma screamed even louder and more hallowed than before, then the lights went out.
The bright beam replaced the darkness, having being hauled into the police station, bloody and bruised, beaten and broken the shock of the night shook her very skin. She trembled in the chair as a policeman asked her questions is could not possibly answer. The man fed up with being patient turned her over to some “better equipped” helpers to deal with the tight tongued girl. She found herself lost, cold, hungry, sore and alone. Where was Regina? What happened to her? She asked the questions but blurred faces simply shook their heads back at her and the more she resisted the more alone she felt. There was nothing but a numbing feeling of being utterly alone in the cold world she now walked through. Without Regina’s bright light she was dead. But the angel that now sat atop that statue of the Virgin Mary outside Talebrooke’s mental asylum was not calling for her life just yet. God had plans for her.
“Want to see my pet?” a man wiggled his hips towards Emma to only send her into a screaming fit behind the orderly.
“That’s enough August!” she said grabbing a cane and hitting the deranged man across the arms he now used to shield his face as he ran off screaming down the hallway.
“Forgive him; the treatment has not yet taken its full effect.” The older woman smiled placing her arms around Emma’s shoulders. Emma shook more, the vibrations hitting her bones as she swore she heard them clattering inside her body. The kind woman walked her slowly down a white hallway, the older wooden doors were once the rooms of a church, a convent that belonged to nuns years ago but now was converted for mental patience’s, the long corridors seemed endless to Emma as she shuffled along in her paper slippers and pale blue nightgown. Her hair a tussled birds nest with all her makeup gone now, her gaunt lifeless eyes trying to process any thought but nothing would come.
“Here we are dear.” The woman helped her into the dark room, the old stained walls patchy like something had been splattered against them and cleaned off but not completely, it smelt damp and rotting, the smell of death clung to her weak bones as she heaved down onto the bed, still chewing on the non-existent nails on her hand. A crucifix hung against the bed and a small window barred with irons, let in flickers of sunlight from the afternoon. The merger empty room was more a prison cell than living quarters.
“Now take these and we will get you fixed dear, don’t worry you are in good hands now, we will cure that nasty disease the devil put inside you.”
Disease? Was that what they were calling her kind now? A disease? She felt dirty, disgusting, like the words were crawling up into her skin as she felt something rising from her stomach. The woman held out the two white cups the smaller containing her temporary peace then other, the liquid to wash it down with. She wanted the silence, wanted the temporary drug as she took the cups hesitantly and washed the two small pills own coughing as they passed her throat.
“Good girl, now the doctor will see you soon.” The woman lifted Emma legs under the scratchy starched sheets, the starkness of white hurt Emma’s blood red eyes as she began to sob again into the hard pillow. Puffy and red with so many tears she wanted to forget, forget what happened that night.
“Sleep now I’ll be in to check on you in a few hours.” The woman said before Emma reached out to her.
“What’s your name?” she didn’t bother to look at the woman’s older wrinkled face but asked the question no one the less.
“You can call me Granny” she said before slipping out of the girls grasp and exiting the room. Silence, it pressed like a weight against her ears, the loud echo of every small thing in the room, reverberating off the walls and hitting her ears like a sledge hammer. She heard everything, the screeching of the medicine trolley outside her door, the buzzing of a fly caught at her window and the haunting screams of the other patience’s trapped in the unholy nightmare she had been given.
She was frightened, she clung to the sheets crying hard against them, her wet tears pooling into the fabric as she tried to drift off but then they started, in the silence born from the darkest depths of one’s mind the voice began to crall out. The dark shadows reflected against the wall as the small cross bent, the metal making a cracking noise, it contorted on the wall scrunching into a ball, as Emma cried only harder not seeing what she was unleashing.
“Is something the matter?” the voice asked her as she sobbed only louder.
“Why?” Emma cried out putting her hands over her eyes. A long cold hand placed itself over her warm alive ones on her face.
“Don’t worry you are not sick my dear, you are perfectly fine the way you are.” The poisons, charming poisons were already making its way to the girl’s heart as she twitched on the bed.
“God make it stop.” Emma chanted rocking into herself throwing back the thin sheets.
“They want to change you, make you like them, they want to take that away from you, take everything away from you, and they took Regina away from you.”
“Shut Up!” Emma roared up out of the bed but stupidly found herself alone in the room, she panted out hard swallowing the sicking taste in her throat. Her bright green eyes alarmed as she flopped back down to the bed. Twisting and turning she was unable to sleep the nightmares a comfort in their terror, dreams of the knife glinting with her blood, dreams of the men laughing around her, dreams of the cure she was trying to be offered as she battled against her fears. Nothing was working, she felt hot, too hot, she felt burning, felt like she was on fire as she cried out in agony. Was this hell? Had she stepped into Dante’s Inferno only to re-live the agonising pain of her loss over and over again?
Sleep did not come, even with the pills, the voices never stopped they hummed inside her head, whispered, words Regina had said to her, words the cop had interrogated her with, her own voice mixed in trying to fight as she rocked once more, the tiny wooden framed cot squeaking beneath her. In this asylum this is where she would stay, they said she was sick, that she needed help, how was shaving her head almost to the skull help? How was a physical with a male doctor stripping her down to her birthday suit any help? How was this silent room and some mystery drugs help? The questions racked her mind as she felt stubble in place of where her golden locks once glistened in the sun light. The smile that accompanied her face now flushed from her skin, the white dead flesh clung to her protruding cheeks as she wished not to see herself in a mirror for fear of the person she would see staring back at her. The noises grew, creaking noises coming from under the door, the door to the closet and the room to the entrance. Both noises different but the same, squeezed out into the silence, it sounded like someone was scratching at the doors, someone was behind them, wanting to come in, the shadows under the entrance danced. Emma’s eyes widened, someone was there, someone wanted to come into her room.
“Granny?” She chocked out hoping it was the orderly coming back to check on her, just doing her rounds, an oddly comforting face but no reply followed her call.
“Granny?” the urgency in her voice making her breath stifle in her lungs, as she heard the noises again.
“They just want to say hello.”
“Are you afraid of the bogey man? What’s in the closet? What’s in the door, what’s coming for you?”
“SHUTUP!” Emma screamed the voices stronger in the room, she hated how alone how pressing the walls felt, the scratching increased.
“It’s a rat or something just a stupid animal.” she tried to convince herself as she huddled into the corner of her bed, her eyes flickering between the wooden openings as she panted, her breathing was harsh and deep. She was petrified as she hauled her knees to her chest. The noise louder than ever as Emma covered her ears flooded over the noise of the cupboard door creaking open, a hand, a different hand coiled its white fingers around the rich wood, bugs covering the rotting flesh, dipping in and out playfully though the holes of skin, the whites of Emma’s eyes protruding as her fixated gaze stared at the enchanted creature now climbing, broken limbs first out of the cupboard in jiggered movements. Emma’s cry wrung out through the cell block as Granny bolted down thrusting the locked door open only to find Emma curled up in a ball, blood pouring from her nose, her mouth and eyes. The streaked mess of a girl was frightened stark white as she couldn’t tear her eyes away from the creature’s hollowed eyes staring, looking straight into her soul.
“Child, that’s enough we’re here now.” the nurse pulled out a large needle from her apron, tapping the syringe she let the air bubbles out and plunged the cold rod of steal into Emma arm. The new liquid flowed into her veins, caught in her blood stream it took seconds to hit her system and cause her to pass out against the bed.
The straps were tight, they hurt cutting into her wrists. The untreated leather and steal bit down into her already fragile skin as red rings appeared against her wrists and ankles. She felt groggy, dizzy and the room spun. There was a voice, a man’s voice, it was saying something but Emma wasn’t sure if it was to her or to someone else, her eyes were blurred, her vision was only half way there as she saw blobs hovering above her head.
“We need to cure her” was the hushed resonant tone that spoke over her.
“She has the disease, homosexuality.” That was Granny’s voice, the older shaper tongue she was already used to as she groaned in the bed.
“She’s coming around good, good, usually I don’t see fits of hysteria from these types of patient’s but I guess seeing the death of her lover sent her into madness.” The man spoke his voice like a clear drum, each word beating into her already throbbing brain as she attempted to open her eyes once more, squinting up to see who this man was.
“Doctor do you think you can reach her?” Granny’s voice was shaken with concern as she strained to focus in on the middle aged man with his white cloak on. His tie sat pressed neatly against his white shirt, he wore thick glasses which made him look older than he was as he bent over and flashed a light into her eyes. Her struggle instinct wanting to put her hand up to her face only jerked her chains across the bedspread. The shock of being bound down was enough to instil panic upon her face.
“Shhh, dear you had to be restrained for your down good see?” Sure enough there was a large white bandage across her arms, she had not felt the pain from the wound yet but as she looked down she could hardly believe what she had done.
“I did…” she shook her head furiously unable to believe she would hurt herself like that.
“It’s alright, thankfully Granny caught you in time and we were able to help you out. I’m Doctor Victor; I will be looking after your treatment here at Talebrooke. Hopefully we can work together to help make you can become a better person.” He smiled cheerfully down at her as Emma felt her breath hitch in her throat. What was this place? These strange people treating her like she was sick? That thing haunting her in the closest? The sounds engulfing her ears until they would bleed? Emma started to believe she was in hell as she looked up to the man who was taking her pulse.
“I’m not sick.” She tried to say without affliction.
“Oh, well then why are you here?” he asked calmly jotting down the number.
“They sent me here when...” the memory was even too hard to say as he nodded.
“It’s alright, we know all about what happened to you and your friend, the police thought that given your state this was the best course of action.”
“Course of action? But I’m not sick!” she tried to fight again before Granny reached into her apron pocket.
“No please not that again.” She winced knowing that the enormous needle was waiting to pierce her skin again. The man waved the woman off before sighing and looking down to Emma.
“I know your kind; I’m the best after all, the best at treating your illness. That’s why they brought you here. Emma I will help you I promise.” The smug smile and the fake words pricked Emma’s eyes with tears, she felt herself weeping again as her body and her heart struggled to contain her emotions.
“We will keep you sedated and strapped down for the rest of the night, just to let that wound heal and in the morning you will be right as rain. You can meet the other patients here and we can begin your treatment. I look forward to working with you Emma, I think we are going to have great success!” he said patting her head as if she were a simple child in a school yard playground. Her vision distorted as he left the room and she cried, she cried so much harder, cried and cried until the tears refused to fall anymore and she was left to herself in that room, in the dark in the middle of the night. That was the first time the grim reaper emanated. The black shadow behind the door in the corner of the room, it’s pricing yellow eyes glowing in the moon light, the only shard of light splaying across her room as Emma struggled against the shackles that held her down. The gaunt looking visage in the back of the room just stood there, head slightly askew to the right it stared, that burning stare that penetrated the very essence of your soul. Not that this was the first time that death had seen Emma, oh no, this angel was charged to watch her day and night. The universal anomaly that bent the rules and defied death, now living on borrowed time, the girl could drop at any moment, technically she was dead already and her soul was the only that the devil begged for. Emma did not see the creature at first, too focused and fixated on the previous events on the day and her painful arm, until it walked from the shadows out into the light, the naked, skinny person walked towards the bed, it looked female to Emma as her eyes widened thinking this was another trick, another drug but as the genderless bodied figure looked down upon her the black wings that spread from its back made her realise that the angels from heaven had not come for her but the angels of hell.
“Are you here to take me away?” she asked the sweet creature who shook its head.
“Not yet, he still has a plan for you.” The ageless voice answered with a sickly seductive tone that dripped down into her lungs filling her body with the sticky tar each time it spoke.
“Just take me please” Emma begged, she had nothing to lose, she was confronting death and still it denied her peace, whatever it was anything would be better than where she was now. It shook its head again brushed an ice hand over her cheek, the coldness stung her skin like a winters snow storm, Emma wanted to recoil away from it but strapped down she could barely wiggle let alone get away.
“There is more yet, more to endure before your task is complete.” And with a blink of an eye the creature was gone; with stark skin a hollowing imagine her eyes still creating the reprint in the dark as a few lingering black feathers dusted to the ground. Had it all been just a dream? Another nightmare? She wanted to look down, wanted to see if the feathers were still there but the more she struggled the more the leather dug into her raw skin. The stunt back to reality threw her down as the room began to ebb and flow. The sand man had wrapped her into his embrace and was taking her along for the nightly roller coaster ride into her dreams.
The sun was bright, too bright; it hurt her eyes as the morning poured though the uncovered musty window pane. She had lost sense of all time, was it noon already? Or perhaps earlier? She felt numb as the restraints still placed upon her body but hurt less now from not moving so much during the night. Giant red welts hand sprung up under the tanned hide as she wished for nothing more than a hot bath and a meal to soothe her jangled nerves from the night before, but her wishes went unanswered as she heard the heavy lock clink in the door frame.
“Good morning dear” the older woman’s voice called out, the metallic cart she trolleyed in, ringing against the silence in her ears as Emma groaned trying to focus on the nurse maid.
“Oh don’t be like that you start your treatment today! If I were you, I would be very excited.” She chirped going for the first restraint.
“I don’t need treatment there’s nothing wrong with me” Emma forced out as she was more than thankful that the tight grip on her wrists was being realised. With her arms free, she rubbed and the bruised skin in a feeble attempt to soothe the raw wounds. She also sat up watching Granny unstrap her ankles; it felt good to be able to move again. She had been so stiff and for once in this miserable asylum she felt slightly free. The loose pale blue garment flapped around her as she attempted to stand feeling the numbing cold tiles on the floor hit her feet.
“Easy you have had a hard night.” The nurse wasn’t a bad person, just following orders, a useful pawn in the chessboard; she did as she was taught, as she helped Emma back to the bed. Emma attempted to push the woman down and away but found herself far too weak to succeed the older woman surprisingly having a great deal of strength in her aging frame.
“I thought you might try to do that” she said opening the bottom shelf on her trolley and pulling out the white cloth.
“No no no no no!” Emma screamed out seeing the buckles wrap around her body, her momentarily freed arms now strapped down once more as the scratchy white fabric sealed her up against herself. The straight jacket was buckled up as the look of defeat washed over Emma’s pale eyes, now they had no shine, lifeless and empty.
“I told you not to struggle, come on dear it’s for your own protection.” She seemed to blurt out; it was the same spiel she had said so many times dealing with new patients.
“What’s going on?” Emma said almost breaking into a sob.
“You will get better, you’ll see, I have seen this so many times before dear.” The older woman patronized as she pated Emma’s spikey head.
“I’m in hell, I’m going through hell.” She whispered to herself as she felt the tug of being lifted up by the back strap.
“Up you go, now let’s get you to see Doctor Victor and after that you can have a nice breakfast in the common room and maybe some free time.” He treated Emma like a child, a stupid, slow child as the woman without dignity walked her from the room. The first stop was the bathrooms, being escorted in and watched over was humiliating, only adding to the torture she felt inside her. The caving numbness poured into her heart as she was shoved through the tilted halls, other patients vacant blank stares looking back to her own. She saw a window sill, a ledge; she wanted to jump so badly as she passed the now clouded sky. The nurse moved her along, her bare feet slapping with each step she took on the road to her mock salvation. She had no prayers to say, no one would hear her last words but she marched on comforted by the fact that if she got out of this place she would burn it to the ground.
The half hollowed frosted glass door loomed ahead; the name in black printed writing across the glass was his name. She sighed looking down as Granny swung the door open for her.
“Ahh Granny, you brought the newest little sleep in our flock in.” he said looking up from the large mahogany desk, the room not filled with much of anything was cold and shadowless. Stark brightness flashed her again, yet Emma’s head did not move, she had stopped struggling for now; all she could think about was getting this little chat over and then being free to eat. It had been more than 24 hours since her last feed and her lips were ravished. She stood there waiting for the instructions as Granny manoeuvred her into the steal chair on the other side of the large desk, no choice but to face the monster that was administering her injections of agony.
“Will that be all Doctor? I can have security stand outside if you like?”
The older man shook his head with a smile.
“There is no need, this is only session one, she will be back out into your care before you know it, the two hours will fly by.” The woman nodded and left the room hastily, possibly to attend to her other tasks she was now late for, leaving Emma alone in the minimalistic room with him.
The man did nothing; he clasped his hands together resting his elbows on the table and simply looked at her or what felt like looking through her. His head turned to the side exposing more of the window behind him; he was studying her, like an assassin would its kill. Emma looked up trying not to let her eyes meet his glasses trimmed gaze as she caught a flash of something in the window. For a second it looked as if someone had been sitting right out on the ledge but as the black feather scattered down she shook her head.
“A bird” she whispered to herself stupidly as the man’s ears pricked up.
“You think of yourself as a bird?” he asked her now intrigued by the reaction. Most patients would have insulted him or by now tried to escape but this was unexpected.
“No I saw one at the window” she answered him looking back down at her trussed up arms.
“I see then.” He looked back with a small glare then focused his attention to her once more. “So Emma, may I call you Emma? Do you know why you are here?” he asked with another slight hand gesture.
“I’m here because pieces of shit like you don’t understand anything.” She said. If the venom in her voice spilled out onto the floor it would have been a rich, thick black waterfall. He sighed taking off his steal glasses pinching the ridge of his nose gently.
“What if I could give you genetic normalisation? Would you change who you are if you could? I can make it clean, quick; I could change your life. Your heart still beats with a common human blood under all that pride. We are here to help you, make you better, and make you like everyone else.”
She wanted to throw up at the sound of his words; they were disgusting to the point where her skin began to crawl to the echo of them lingering in her mind. She shifted, the twitching inside her had already begun as she wanted nothing more to reach over the table and knock the man out. Though her happy thoughts were broken as she snapped back to the sound of a drawer closing.
“I’d like to try something with you, it’s a new type of treatment very common in the bigger city institutes, it’s had a great deal of success and I think that it could help you.” The man held out a large envelope with a devilish smile. “The treatment is called aversion therapy; it’s designed to help change your brain patterns. When you see an image that you find arousing we inject you with a low dose of emetic drugs, this will cause you to feel repulsed by the images the more you look at them thus changing your visual stimulation to it. If that doesn’t work I do have …other methods, minor electroshock has also managed to redirect negative thoughts from the body.”
“Negative thoughts? I’m not some 14 year old boy here! I made my choice!” she shouted at the man, Emma could hardly believe that he was suggesting such things to her, they were barbaric and medieval treatments that were supposed to have been phased out long ago but for some reason still at the top of his remedy list.
“Now, now, no need to shout Emma; these are perfectly successful ways of dealing with your kind.” My kind? she felt like an animal, she struggling against the chains and buckles needing to be free of them as she snarled towards the good doctor.
“You won’t do this to me.” Was the furious hurt, upset, scared voice, every emotion now snowballing into her body. She needed to get away from this man and needed to do it now.
“It would seem that you dislike my idea, well that’s alright,” he pulled a bag with a needle attached from his drawer. “I’m sure a demonstration will change your mind, I happen to have everything already set up for you.”
Her eyes widened with panic, her breath became hitched as she struggled to get out the rasps of words, he was already laying out the equipment, getting up and reaching over for the drip holder as she wrestled against the fabric of the straight jacket.
“Please god no.”
“God wants this for you.” The man coldly said as he tested the needle for air bubbles. He then shut the blinds quickly, before grabbing the back of her chair dragging the steal legs across the floor with a hard screeching scrape into a position that faced the wall. The dim blankness made her panic even more and the fact that the front doors frosted glass was out of viewing range made her anxiety heighten and the moment she opened her mouth to start screaming he started to laugh, obviously he had dealt with girls such as she before and screaming in that place was not an uncommon occurrence. Emma shook, she never wanted this, how did everything come to this as she watched him circle her, the vulture to her dead carcass he unbuckled one of her arms. She felt the tight grip being held onto her wrist as she attempted to writhe against him, but she found herself powerless as he dug a finger into a sensitive nerve forcing her hand to splay itself out and with a not so clean stab, the doctor injected the needle into her palm.
“Now that wasn’t so hard?” he spoke softly patting her head again as he turned the juice up watching it drip down into her system.
“Why are you doing this?” Emma pleaded only to get another patronizing pat to her head.
“Ok Emma please watch the wall closely the drug will start to take effect quickly.” He pulled out a small remote setting up the projector a side flashed up onto the wall. Emma breath stopped, it was of a beautiful girl, long brown hair and a slender frame, she was smiling at the camera. With each photo that shot up they became more racey, more pornographic, more erotic to her. With the third photo Emma felt the drug hit her stomach as she was forced to throw up into the bucket Doctor Victor had placed at her feet. It was a sickening feeling; being forced to expel everything just for looking at something beautiful.
“Keep watching this is good.” He said clicking to another slide.
“How long is this going to last?” she barely got out before heaving up another load of bile.
“It will last until it needs too.” He chirped as more photos went up, the more that were revealed the more she wanted to die, girls touching themselves, girls with other girls, things she had once loved to do herself now were being perverted for her amusement. Each time she couldn’t contain herself as he upped the dosage.
“Pl…ease….st…op” she finally managed to spit out. The man looked down at the almost full bucket and stopped the machine.
“Well it is your first session,” he said looking at her “but perhaps… perhaps for now that went how it should have.” He nodded to himself before jotting down a few notes at his desk. He opened the blinds again flicking off the machine before moving back towards her and pulling the needle out of her hand, a small speck of blood pressed itself into the giant elongated sleeve of the straight jacket as he wound it back up against her. Emma was too weak to fight now; she just tried to swallow hard as she looked up at him.
“Monster.” She weakly said before he helped her up and towards the door.
“No my dear the monster in society is you, that’s why you are here and I am working to save you.” He rang a small bell and Granny came bursting around the corner, her grey hair in a bun bobbing as she bustled towards Emma.
“Oh good just in time for breakfast.” Emma wanted to throw up again as she was lead away from the man, at least she was thankful to be getting away from him. It was a small blessing to be handed back off to the woman who now walked her down the hall into the big common room. Other patient’s stammered around, smashing heads on walls, twitching, walking around in a circle because they were so drugged up, nothing made sense in this nuthouse. Was she truly the only sane person in this asylum?
Granny led her in and down into a musty smelling chair, she helped her off with the jacket allowing Emma to have movement at least. She could have cried she missed being free to do simple things like scratch her nose. She felt disgusting tasting of vomit and sweat as she curled up into a small ball and sighed looking up at the nurse. Her blank eyes looked up blurry with watery tear as the nurse felt an old twinge of pain to her heart strings.
“I’m sorry love,” she whispered before putting some antiseptic on the small track wound from the drip.
“Could…could I have something to wipe my face with please?” Emma begged as she rubbed at the sore red wrists. She felt terrible, violated and dirty; she wanted to be sick with herself but as her eyes closed and opened again slowly the nauseating feeling of being in bad nightmare washed over her. Granny came back with a wet towel and a small basin.
“Here,” she said cleaning the dishevelled girls face gently. The woman’s kindness was a shift in the vertigo of the asylum but Emma didn’t fight her she simply was thankful that the awful smell now dissipated from her nose. Her head flopped back as the dust particles flew up into the streaming beans of sunlight. She heard the shuffling of slippered feet, the crazy mumblings of another patient and the thudding sounds of head hitting brick. This place truly was the hell of the dammed as a bus cart trundled up to her.
“Eggs and toast or oatmeal?” Granny asked putting the basin away from Emma.
“Oatmeal.” She weakly responded, the notion of eggs already making her gag again.
The bowl was slopped down into her lap, the over watered greyish lumps started back up at her, the meal not even fit for a gutter dog was now all she had to survive on. A plate of dry toast was also put with the mush as she looked down seeing her salvation in the white porcelain as it hit the wood table. Granny turned her back for a second as Emma sent the plate sliding off the table and shattering to the cold concrete floor forcing shards everywhere as she scrambled to help pick them up. Screams and laughter from the other patient’s as some found the display horrific others amusing in their dull prison.
“Oh I’m so sorry I’m still shaky” Emma lied as she took a long thin shard from the floor. As much as the pain in her screamed against it, she took the shard shoving it up into her arm wound with the grit of her teeth using the towel from before to cover the small drips of blood under her hospital gown.
“It’s alright love” the woman’s spoke cleaning most of it up. “I’ll have Billy come sweep the rest up for you.” Suddenly another voice boomed from behind them.
“What the hell is going on here?” Killian, the man who ran that pit of a cesspool punched though the bi-fold doors, his Italian shoes clicking on the floor as he strutted towards the trouble maker.
“Nothing Sir the new girl here just broke a plate.” Granny tried to put it gently but the man’s gruff face had a different response.
“So trying to cause trouble then are we?” he grabbed Emma by the spikes on her head, the ripping sensation shooting through her skull as she was lifted from her seat.
“No..I…I..” she struggled to say wanting to claw at the hands that held her.
“I think it’s time you went back to your room.”
She panicked, she wanted to stay out here, she didn’t want to go back to her room, she wanted to eat, she wanted the background noise, and she wanted to sleep in the musty chair in the warm sun.
“No, please no,” she pleaded coming face to face with the youngish man, his short dark hair, and dark eyes starting at her, with the small facial stubble he hadn’t bothered to shave he could have easily passed for a pirate.
“Everyone!” he announced “I would like you to meet Emma, she’s knew here and hasn’t seemed to learn the rules as yet, we all know what happens to people who don’t follow the rules.” He smiled at her before his hand squeezed, the grip tightening making her cry out in pain.
“Back to your room” he said throwing her at the frightened nurse who quickly bundled her up hobbling her away.
“And don’t let her out until she learns how to behave!”
She was trembling; the fear in her eyes as she started at the floor was seen by every face she passed on the hallway back to her room.
“He seems to be in a mood.” Granny said leading her back into her room. “Looks like you will spend the day here.”
“Please, please take me back I don’t… I don’t want to be here anymore.” Emma wanted to cry, she wanted to let the tears wash everything away but nothing fell, her tears had dried up now and all that was left was the pain in her heart.
“I will bring something for you to eat soon.” The old woman said coldly as she slammed the door shut not bothering to look back at the girl.
“Please! Dear god please don’t leave me in here!” Emma banged at the door with her good arm, till she beat her hand raw. She slumped down at the bottom of the door trying still to cry feeling the ache ravage her down to her bones. She was cold, the bitter cold of death touching her once again as he saw the feather flying about the room.
“Go away.” She called out but nothing responded, it had not come for her yet but it was close. She knew she wouldn’t last in this place, she wasn’t strong enough, she had nothing to pull her though, she was playing out the scenes of a nightmare opera for the devil himself and she was the star of the show. The room seemed the creak, even in the daylight it felt odd, like it wasn’t supposed to be here, like it was opposing the forces in the universe for existing. Emma shut her eyes huddling her arms in a ball on the groaning cot before she remembered the shard, the shard in her arm, it was still there. Suicide. It was the only way out, only way out of this hallucination, only why out of this asylum. She unwrapped the blood soaked towel no one seemed to notice as the top of the shard stuck out of her skin. The foreign object gleaming at her, her body wishing to expel it as she traced the puffy red stained edges of her skin around it, wincing with the touches as they shot through her nervous system.
“Is this it?” she asked to the sterile room. But her prayers were not answer by any angel, no, they were answered by the devil himself. The door suddenly clicked, the lock on the other side coming undone, the door cracked open only to have a nervous looking doctor jump into her room and shut the door behind him.
“Emma,” he breathed out looking at her huddled frame on the bed; she quickly hid her cargo carrying arm and sat up.
“D…d….do…Doctor Victor” she said stuttering to get out his name, she didn’t like him in her room, but at least this time she had a fighting chance without the straight jacket.
“I ... I came to tell you something important.” He said looking at her, that intense gaze fixated on her on the bed. “I have reviewed your file again this morning and I found a flaw as to why my treatment didn’t take very well.” He moved, inched closer towards her, the white of his coat stark in the dim sunlight.
“W…wh….why is that?” she didn’t want to ask, she didn’t want to know as she slipped the sheets up over her.
“Well I read you have been like this since you were in your early teens, troubled, in and out of foster homes, a runaway, falling in with the wrong people.” He was now looming over her, his tall frame and shadowed eyes looking though her thin sheets towards her. “I think you need more…. Hands on…treatment.” He said callously as he tilted his head. His face flashed, flashed to one of those creatures, the long teeth replaced his mouth, the decayed flesh rotting around the holes in his face and the hollowed out eye sockets torn into her soul. The contorted body reached for her as she screamed jutting back the visage of the male doctor before her.
“It’s alright I think screaming is good, helps release everything but I am here to help.” The white lab coat was now dripping from his shoulders as his pressed pale shirt exposed itself, the medical cuff links and all.
“You ..you stay away from me you thing!” Emma squirmed, huddling up into the corner of the room she guarded her hunched up body with her arms.
“Come now this is going to help you.” The creep began to unbutton the shirt exposing a rather sun deficient lagged body, as Emma felt for the stone press of the walls. She dug her short nails in wishing to climb the bare surface if she could as she shook her head.
“Please no, god please no.” she tried to beg again through her quivering lips watching the man’s pants unbuckle and fall to the floor, now standing in the unflattering white underwear he hoped up onto the bed crawling towards her as if his animalistic side would not listen to human reason.
“It will be fine, I’m a professional trust me, the more you become used to the feeling them more you will learn to enjoy the feeling.”
The incurable shudder ran across her spine into the fibres of her skin, it crawled around like a forging bug under her as the words echoed in her mind. It was going to happen again, she was going to get raped and this time there was nothing she could do and no one to help her, alone in that sanatorium ward. She saw the face of a dull man, the image shifting changing from creature back to human until he had pushed her down to the sheets she couldn’t tell the difference between the creature that now hovered above her, he removed the holster that was keeping him bond down between his legs as Emma closed her eyes, she held her arms above her face unable to bare the atrocity that was about to happen when she felt the shard still embedded deep into her arm. Her eyes shot open as he grabbed the small white end ripping it from her flesh with a bloody cry as she swung hard and true. It rammed into the doctors neck, the weapon finding its mark as it planted deeply into a large vein. Blood splattered everywhere against the wall, sprayed, a now pale face speckled with the dripping red liquid she screamed again pushing the doctor off her as his wreathing body dropped to the bed. Gurgling noises escaped Doctor Victor’s lips as he convulsed watching Emma steal his keys from his discarded pants, almost naked with half an erection he wasn’t in any state to fight her, but the man was not what Emma saw lying in her cot. That thing, spitting up a green slime it was crying out at her, the hollow eyes shrieking at her to come back. She shut her own and made for the door fumbling with the key she turned the lock open and scrambled out without a second glance.
“That’s it run! Run!” the voices called to her as she bolted for the common room. The dark angel sat at the far end, the androgynous form of perched watching her once more, watching the massacre unfold. Pandemonium hit the common room as the shaved blood stained girl reached in. Red foot prints leaving a trail to where she had come from as nurses rushed to her side, everyone’s faces were dead, the devil’s beasts now present everywhere she looked. The gnawing, gaunt decaying faces coming towards her she cried out for help. The scratching noise as they crawled backwards across the floor in twisted piles of skin and bones, they picked at her arms, at her head, at her legs, she struggled to push them off.
“It’s alright love” the nurses in real time tried to comfort but all Emma heard was the inaudible screeching of these things upon her. She felt their dripping skin fuse with her own as she frantically wished to cut lose from their grotesque grip. She grabbed the milk crate makeshift seat and cracked it over one of the orderly’s heads, the monster went crashing to the floor, more blood, more shed at her hand as she swung again and again, each time something hit the concrete at her feet. The angel smiled, it watched as she slaughtered anyone and anything in her path, blood lust had taken over as the back wings wrapped around the inhuman body. But once again God had a plan for her yet. So as Emma unforgivingly killed the staff and patient’s in the room, 6 more meeting their fate at the hands of her weapons being sent to the pearly gates for roaring fires of heaven and hell.
“She is insane I tell you! Incurable!” the faint yelling struck her head. The same groggy feeling washed over her body once more as the stench of drying blood wafted up past her small nose. It smelt metallic, salty and sweet all at the same time as she began to open her eyes. She felt the restraints upon her body once more as she struggled to turn her head.
“Wh…whe….” She tried to form the words but her lips just flapped against each other like sheets in the breeze. Three people stood over her as she finally regained her eyesight after seeing the faces she wished she hadn’t. Doctor Victor with a gigantic bandage upon his throat glared down at her along with the honourable Killian head of the wondrous institute of hell and her Granny now covered in her own portion of her comrades blood was looking down at her with disgust.
“I agree but what should we do? Without anyone to sign off she is, well, nothing.” Killian spoke to the doctor as they discussed her fate.
“Be quite” Granny said with the undertone of anger very obvious in her words. What would they do to the girl who went on a murderous rampage in fear of her own paranoia?
“We have no choice left but to lobotomize her.” The doctor’s judgement reached was unanimous decision as Emma’s eyes widened upon hear the words. She wanted to talk, wanted to protest but the needle was already fully back in her hand, pumping the amber liquid sedative drug into her blood stream as her torn up arm was neatly patched even though the blood still flowed.
The world seemed distant now, Emma looked up into the emptiness of the blank ceiling as she called out for a saviour, she whispered the dark name as she lay there listening to the educated murderers decide her fate. In such a short time so much had gone wrong, in the span of a day she had already been sodomised, almost raped, murdered several people, injured more and committed to this netherworld. How quickly her life had changed from the happier times when she would bow to no one and lived the way she pleased. Now she was trapped and chained, doped up and made silent as she gasped for anything beyond the air which she struggled to breathe.
“Must we take such measures?” the female voice attempted a feeble protest but the men shook their heads before turning up the dosage. Emma opened her lips, the dry cracked skin parting painfully as she wanted to speak, she wanted to say something, anything in her defence but it felt like she was caught in slow motion. The men cleared out the room while Granny began to wheel the bed out the door, they were not even risking the wait, the procedure was going ahead immediately. Emma felt tears prick her eyes as she slowly lifted her shackled arm, it was as if her bones were made from iron, her skin concrete and the air’s gravity a hundred times what I should have been.
“Don’t worry love we will have this over with, if it makes you feel any better you won’t remember the pain.” The woman said distantly as she wheeled the bed towards what Emma thought was the end of the hall. All time, space, and judgement had left her, she was petrified stiff on the trolley as her mode of transport pushed through another door, the single bright halogen light above a large leather armchair and a metal table was the only things beside the two men in the room. This room was not like the rest of the institute, there was something old about it, something haunted, the victims of those before her, trapped and weeping out from the mould stained walls. It felt as if she had stepped into a different world as the needle was removed from her hand with a short yank. She gritted her teeth but the effects of the drug made the blood that dripped from the hole seem to solidify into tiny blobs and float up around her. She was living in a dream, it was but wasn’t reality anymore as Granny moved her towards the chair.
“Thankyou Granny” the doctor scolded watching her stand away. “You may leave now.” He ordered much to her shock.
“But I,” she stepped forwards until Killian placed a hand between her and Emma’s drug drowned body.
“We do not need the presence of a woman during this procedure. You may leave” Granny wanted to protest, she opened her mouth again as the man simply shooed her out the door.
“How dare y” and the door was slammed shut in her face. Emma could hear the muffled banging and yelling from the other side of the metal frame work as the nurse had instantly regretted her card played but Emma was too ill to judge anything, only the terror rising inside her.
“Thi….this….. this is illegal” she weakly disputed as she was hoisted up into the chair, the leather creaking away as she was strapped down by the grinning devils before her.
“Not in this state, its still one of the most effective ways to cure a person with your condition.” They pulled the straps as her lip began to wobble.
“God please” she begged looking at the men who had so many evil ideas planned inside the darkness of their minds. Her heart now pounded, it raced beyond the normal rate but in fact it was slowing down. Everything was topsy tervy as the light swam around her. She heard the voices, heard the sound of those who were coming for her, maybe they could bring her autonomy at least but it was no peace to where she was headed.
“Do we have the right tools?” Killian asked the coughing man as he grunted tightening the straps beyond what they should have been, there was a faint sound as he let go, the bones in Emma’s body creaking under the pressure but she felt nothing of it. What was now coming for her she had longed for the very moment Regina slipped from this earth, death. The wondrous beast now stood in front of her, the men becoming a blur as they made sure everything was in order but the angel with its black stained wings remained clear to her vision. The beast let out a hand extending it over her tied down body as the warm tears finally streamed down Emma’s gritty cheeks.
“You have come for me” she whispered as the creature nodded slowly.
“No, I came to watch your soul be killed.” Its slivery voice made her heart snag.
“Why? why won’t you take me?” she sobbed everything that she felt finally now evaporating out of her very pores.
“It’s not your time, go back; they still have work to do.” It smiled at her. Suddenly the rooms light flickered, the walls turned dark into shadows into the void of limbo as she resisted, scared white when the angel retracted his claw like hand away from her, his grin ever present as the creatures now returned at his bidding.
“After this you won’t feel anything anymore, you will be perfectly attuned to societies standards.” The ring master Killian spoke handing over the sharp Orbitoclast. Its long smooth metal spike shape glistening against the rays of the halogen hum, a second one now picked up more larger and shorter in shape was held back for the second phase of the procedure.
“First I will go in through the eye for a Transorbital lobotomy, that should cure her of the sociological issues, further more I will do a second produce to each of her temples adjusting the animalistic nature of the behaviour in society.” For the first time the icy man looked down at the heavy weapon he now held as the doctor inspected his brand new shinny toy.
“Is that really necessary I thought you only needed the one?”
“Well if you have the degree in neuroscience please show me the paper.” The pale doctor snapped at him picking up the small polished hammer.
“No, all I’m saying is I think the one is enough. Anymore and she will be, she will be”
“What Killian? A vegetable? Do you have so little faith in my work that I cannot do a simple lobotomy?”
The man shook his head at him.
“Besides don’t you want the spoils afterward? Remember our deal.” The men looked at each other, something silent passed between them as the metallic skewer was placed at the dead centre of Emma’s pupil. But Emma never saw it. All she saw was a laughing devil and his horde climbing towards her, touching her, laughing at her, she had gone numb, her soul not in her body anymore as it was carried away by the creatures. She watched the pale screaming ghost like figure being hauled off, the cracking limbs jutting in and out as the horde dissolved into the darkness and outstretched hand the last image to disappear. The angel now standing in front of her, it wondered at her dull body but it did not smile this time.
“At least this peace I give to you.” It floated by, hovering over the dull body before reaching down to kiss the pale ripped lips.
“My kiss, the kiss of death will take you soon enough and bring you back into my arms, your soul is for the devil but your body will be mine, the one who was everybody’s fool.”
And metal hit metal, the spike slammed into her eyes, nerves in her front lob shattering, the neurons unable to fire, shot off electric sparks frying the sensitive tissues of her brain. The sharp instrument of death slid out of her eye ball and was exchanged for the larger metallic instrument. Tink, tink, tink. 3 taps to the left, 3 taps to the right, the small drizzle of blood from a cracked skull, trickled down her head as the doctor pulled away. Through the look on his face was not as pleased as he had hoped with his work. There she lay alone now with a single black feather on her chest, her eyes pointing towards each other, Emma was now a bumbling mess of tissue. No words were to be formed, just gurgles and mummers like an infant, she didn’t look at either of the men.
“Right now,” the doctor lifted her head to the light as she swallowed hard, she may have been alive but nothing was left between the cranial space in her head. She had finally escaped into her own world, her mind was all but gone.
“It will take some time but in the next few weeks with some basic memory training she will regain her motor skilled and be moulded into the ideal woman this society demands.”
Killian had never seen a lobotomy performed before and now wished he never had. The once arrogant man now stood speechless; finally looking over the limp girl he had had a hand in destroying.
“Did….did this work? She looks catatonic!” he said raising his voice to the doctor.
“Don’t be stupid this is just the first shock, she will be fine but the point is she won’t remember anything so, if you want your 10 minutes now is your chance.” He said giving the master of the house a sly look from over his white lab coated shoulder, cleaning off his instruments of torture.
Unfortunately the thing about most men is that with an excuse, any excuse, they will take their chance to take what they can get. Emma could not see the door being locked, she could not hear the rustle of blinds being pulled around them, she could not feel the bare skin that now pressed against her legs. Lost in her paper flower fields her imagination thankfully at ease, her body jerked, still warm to the touch but dead to the eyes, the man sat on her lap in the chair, pressing down against her, he didn’t bother with sweet kisses or foreplay, the doctor turned a blind eye as the man took what he wanted. No risk, no screams, no one to fight him off, he rapped the poor girl, he had the pleasure of breaking her further, taking what little she had left as the chair squeaked under his heaving groans. The doctor didn’t seem to mind as he packed up knowing he would have his chance next and they would take it in turns until each had had their fill for who could stop them? Who would testify? A girl who could barely string two words together he thought as he smirked watching the man finally get off against her, the moans filling the tiled echoing hallways of the death house they called the Talebrooke.
There was no struggle this time as the girl was brought back to her cell. She was smiling, complacent and childlike in her innocence. Granny helped her into the cot once more; tucking her in as the dismissive girl only lay there staring at the wall.
“Maybe it’s a good thing they did the surgery first.” She whispered to Emma, her own tears falling softly on the pressed new sheets. There was nothing she could do now, the deed was done and Emma was supposedly in a better place. She watched over the girl for a while, though she never moved an inch before leaving to make her usual nightly rounds. It had been chaos out in the main halls and with several nurses injured or dead she had to pick up the slack. The moon light shone through the window, the room was silent, and Emma was more than content to stare at the solid grey wall in front of her.
“I needed you broken.” The strange voice spoke to her from the darkness. “I can save you from the dark, I can wake you up inside again.” The heavily winged angel walked towards the bed and placed a hand upon her head, the fresh wounds healed upon its touch as Emma’s eyes fluttered, her vision returned as she shot up in the bed.
“I remember…..” she gasped looking up at the angel. “I remember what happened all of it, am I dead then?” she looked at her hands trembling as she fought to even touch her own body, tainted and broken she unable to tell if this was real anymore.
“Not yet dear but in order for this to work you have to be.”
“For what to work? Return me to my dreams I beg you, my fields of paper flowers and my sunlight skies.” She begged reaching out to the swaying creatures now a bluish hue in the moon light.
“Perhaps, but what do I get in return?” It questioned her.
“Anything just take me away you already have my soul I saw it go with those monsters.” Her weepy eyes not wanting to be a part of this world, she had nothing left inside or out, she would even make the deal with the devil just to escape.
“That was your payment for her.” The monster said bluntly.
“Yes, your lover, the price for her to enter the promised lands beyond the borders of the dark realms that was your soul. I heard it cry out for her and her release so I took the payment and gave her an eternity of freedom from the devils servitude now your soul stands in her stead.”
The comforting words finally gave Emma hope, if this was right Regina was now in heaven, at peace and could spend the rest of her afterlife the way she wished. She felt her heart fill with joy as she almost wanted to hug the beast but stayed fixed to her bed.
“Thank you.” The sullen whisper escaped her as she smiled as herself for the very last time.
“But now to free yourself, you must die yourself. But I regret to inform you there is no light for you, not happiness in this afterlife you have but two choices.” The strange angel pushed off the floor crossing its legs in mid-air as if it was sitting on an invisible table.
“Go back to being the inanimate play toy for the asylums males and be rehabilitated to a state in which you will go on, marry a man, be his household slave and die serving your family or you can come with me.” It said with a flick of its inhuman tongue.
“Why me? What do you want with me?” she asked narrowing her red blotted eyes up at the figure.
“Simply because I enjoy misery, I feed on it, live off it and you my dear have a wonderful amount inside you, the choice is yours, die tonight or die for the next 30 years in a dead body, but one thing I can promise you is that your fields are waiting if you come with me.” She had nothing to lose, as the sharp toothed grin started down towards her with a seductive growl Emma ran a hand over her prickly head. The hair felt sharp, something felt wrong about her skin as she rubbed her heavy face. It she felt cold and too smooth for someone who had not eaten in almost 36 hours.
“I’ll take death since it’s the only option I have.” She weakly admitted as she reached out for the hand of the angel in front of her. The clawed finger wrapping around her one shook back.
“Then do what you must, die for me tonight so you can be reborn by my side.” The girl nodded looking around for something.
“I have nothing” she shook her head.
“You have but one weapon left in your arsenal. Your mind.” The angel touched her head again but this time nothing was fixed. The crack once more appeared the red puffy scab worse than before as Emma began to shake, her body convulsing, the ravenousness twisted primal side of the her brain all that was left as she snarled out to the figure.
“Do it, you are thirsty, you are hungry, why let such good food go to waste.”
The animal looked at her arms, it smelt the fresh blood as it torn open the bandages, white teeth sunk into her skin as she began to tear away. Her lifeless eyes unable to fixate on her blood she was drinking, her own wrists she was gnawing at, as the old nurse rushed into the room, it was too late. Granny held the girl in her arms screaming for someone to call the do
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