Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock. The clock; it moves so slowly. Of course I know time is always passing, but to me the clock seems to purposely stretch it, making it longer and longer. The more I look at the clock, the slower it gets. The clock knows this and teases me, mocks me.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. All I want it to do is move more quickly, but it never gives me that slight favor. The longer I sit in this white, empty room I have the unfortunate situation to live in, the more I watch the clock, the only item permitted in this God-forsaken place (besides the cameras), and it drags on and on. Tick…..Tock….Tick……….Tock. It is a cruel game the timepiece plays, never once giving me a break.
I am locked inside this room, if you could call it that, and am not allowed out without “supervision.” It doesn’t matter, though, because the only places I can go are within the building’s limits. That basically means the toilets and showers. This is supposed to be my “home.” But I know what a home is, and no matter how unpleasant my old home was, this is certainly not one.
They keep me here, like a caged animal, giving me bland and sometimes expired meals, if you could even call them that, two times a day. I am allowed no cutlery; it could be used in “an unsafe manner.”
Tick-Tock. Great. It’s almost time for my “supervision” to arrive. I almost change my mind and wish that the clock to would turn back time. Then I think that it would not matter – those cameras would still watch me. Every few hours they turn up and let me use the bathroom. I am permitted to shower once a week. They watch me the whole time. I am not considered “safe” and can therefore not have one moment of privacy. I don’t even remember what privacy is like.
I hear the locks of my secure, three-foot thick door click. There are about ten different kinds, locked from the outside, of course. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Tick-Tock.
Then it slowly opens. Not all the way, obviously. They think I’ll try to escape, which I have tried on several occasions. That’s why they bound my hands across my torso in an uncomfortable style. Comfort is something us trapped are not privileged with. Only a gap wide enough for two bodies to squeeze through is made. Even if I were able to run past the two “helpers”, I know that at least two strong men that could easily take me down and insert the syringe filled with a knockout drug guard the door outside.
“Well, look who’s calmer today? Had a bit of rest, have you, Sweetheart?”
That’s Darren. Not only is he cynical and insensitive, his voice makes my skin crawl. It’s high pitched and screechy, just like a dying dog. He’s tall, thin and smells of gin. I hate him, just like I hate the clock, just like I hate the room, and just like I hate my insignificant, torturous life.
“Shut up. Unbind me,” I say, glaring at him with the tinge of crazy in my eyes I can master so well.
I loathe him and I never forget to let him know that.
“Well, Little Miss Sunshine, maybe you should learn some manners. You do realize we could just skip your toilet, shower and meal privileges for the day. We would be more than delighted to-”
“Don’t get so excited, Darren. It’s against protocol to threaten the…um…residents. Hold your tongue.”
And that’s Julie. I like her slightly more than Darren. At least she bathes. We all know why she struggled for the right word. We are not residents; we are ensnared, lost souls.
“You, 127,” she says to me. “You know that we do not unbind anyone until they are safely secured in the washrooms. Please stand up now.”
It’s an order, no matter if she says “please” or not. 127 is my room number. All "residents" here are called by their room numbers, I'm guessing. Nobody cares about actual names. If I do not obey her order, I am punished. I stand; my face pointed towards the ground. They each yank one of my arms and hold on firmly, and quite painfully. I swear Darren is trying to hurt me, because he enjoys bringing me pain.
They tug me through the heavy door and I am brought into the filthy, brightly lit hallway. It is long, with wide, metal doors on each side leading to where the other “residents’” are kept. I have never seen any of them, though. They are all kept carefully insides their cells, like me. I have heard a few on occasion, crying and screaming. I’m sure they’ve heard me, as well. Crazy. We all are.
The two bulky men watching my door nod at Darren and Julie – their faces stern. I’m the only one in the hallway being so heavily secured. There are two or three other guards patrolling the area, but I am the most “dangerous” and therefore need to be under high control.
As we walk, I can hear our feet echo in the silent corridor. I have only seen this hall of the “institution,” apart from my arrival, but from what I gather, it is supposed to be very large. Who knew there were so many people who lost their minds?
We reach the disgusting room with the toilets and showers. The walls, that were meant to be white, were now a gray-green color. Excretion occupies parts of the walls where other prisoners have smeared it in bursts of frantic lunacy. The corners of the room were not lit, but I know there are countless dead, and probably living, insects lurking in the shadows. Mold grows through the cracks in the tiles, and dirty water drips from ceiling to the ground. The sinks, toilets and showers are the worst, being that they are never cleaned.
Darren and Julie slowly unbind me. When I first arrived to this nightmare, I tried to take over both of them when I was unbound, hysterically flinging my fists to make contact with their bodies and trying to escape. These actions never succeeded, like I had already known. I just had to try. Now, however, a calming solution is always syringed into me so I do not “lose myself”. It’s not like I would pull stunts like that anymore anyway. I have given up hope and surrendered.
There is one moldy mirror in the room. Despite me not caring about appearances – such little, insignificant parts of life – I take a look at myself. I try and find my true self. My clumped – up brown, straight hair, my lost gray eyes and my unhealthily pale skin. I didn’t used to look like this, I know that, but I forgot what I looked like as a little girl. That was a long time ago. I don’t know my age exactly. I was brought here when I was ten or eleven and have been living in here for about five years. I’m probably sixteen. I don’t care. Years, months, and days – they are all the same to me.
The shower is cold – nobody would bother spending extra time and money on getting heated water for us – and the feeble stream drizzling from the showerhead is murky brown. I use the cheap, rough bar of soap I receive once every 6 months. Technically it’s mine (I use it, after all), but my “helpers” keep it for me. Nothing is allowed in my room.
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