The Commitment

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
A girl finds herself yearning to return home after spending time in a mysterious place.

Submitted: July 09, 2010

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Submitted: July 09, 2010

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Mistakes were made. The extent of the mistakes were debatable, but the fact that they had been made was irrefutable. The room in which she found herself now was a testament to that very fact. Her first room in the building hadn’t been nearly so dreary. It had been fairly comfortable room: clean, brightly lit, with a nice soft bed. And she couldn’t argue with the room service: they brought three meals a day, gave her baths, cleaned her clothes, and they didn’t even expect a tip. If it weren’t for her inability to sleep anywhere other than her own bed, she wouldn’t have objected to staying there all the time.
The most depressing thing about the room was her inability to visit her old house, her old dog, her old friends, her parents. All had been lost when she had been committed to that room. When one of the men in white would silently enter to her room, trying to avoid her attention, she would question them:
“When may I return home? When may I see my family again?”
Startled, the men would often look at her, wide eyed and terrified, before stumbling clumsily out of the room. The women who lived in her building were often a bit more understanding.
“You’re crazy,” they’d say. “You can never return home.”
So it went. She’d ask and doctors, nurses, patients, all would respond by telling her that she was crazy, that it would never happen. Occasionally the other women would speak of their families, they’d get mail from them, they would even get visits. Every day when their visitors came, she would sit by the window, anxiously looking outside for a familiar face: someone who might want to say hi to her, might have news from the outside. She would wonder how her paintings were selling, how her dogs were doing, if her sister had ever married that boy she was seeing. But every day there was no one to greet her, even the people who visited the other women would avoid her eyes, occasionally glancing over with fear in their eyes before hurriedly returning their attention to whoever they happened to be speaking to. It was a lonely existence she led, but it had not always been that way and she was sure it would not always be.
On day 21 of her stay at approximately 12:37am she looked up from her book and out her window. Through the bars she had seen movement, she was sure of it. Careful to not wake her sleeping roommate, she put her book down and found her way to the window. On the ground three stories below her she saw a brief flash of something large running into the trees. It was too dark to make out what it was. She struggled to open her window: it was locked. They locked it every night, though she didn’t know why. Suddenly and inexplicably desperate to get nearer to the thing on the ground, whatever it was, she searched blindly around her room for anything heavy enough to break the window. Books, shoes, hangers, all found their way to the window and all fell to the ground with a dull thud, making no impact on the glass.
‘The chair’ she thought, grabbing the small armless chair she had been sitting in. Though by no means heavy, when it finally made contact with the window the glass shattered and she rushed forward, cutting her arms on the shards as she made contact with the bars on the other side. Her roommate was awake and screaming now and from somewhere within the building an alarm sounded. Within seconds she felt strong arms wrap themselves around her waist, legs, and shoulders as she thrashed violently, doing anything necessary to get through the window. There was the prick of a needle, the burn of medicine being injected, and then nothing. Blackness.
But now she was in the big white room: the big room with the padded walls where she was left to think of nothing but her mistakes. Why had she ever thought there was something wrong with her? Why had she agreed to be locked in such a wretched place? Why did none of her loved ones contact her? And why, for god’s sake, could she not sleep? Thus confronted by such thoughts, she soon found herself in a corner crying. When she felt she surely had no more water at all in her, her head reluctantly dropped and she shut her eyes.
“My darling daughter.”
The warmth in the man’s voice seemed to echo through his body, inviting her to embrace the arms which he eagerly extended.
 Standing, the girl took in her surroundings with disbelief. The sun shone brightly on the ocean of waving prairie grass that had until recently been but a distant memory. All around her stood those she had once lost. Her mother, her friends, her father, sister, dog: all there to greet her, hug her, fill her in on the latest news. After 21 days away, she was finally there. She was home.


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