I was always normal; plain, I never stepped out of line, always did as I was told. That’s why everyone was so surprised. Maybe I was always crazy but just hid it deep down inside and after all the years of doing what people told me and not being able to escape it couldn’t be contained any longer. It wanted to be free to take out all the years of frustration on my jailers. The crazy was so well contained that even I didn’t know it was there until one day, a completely normal day same as always, it took over. But that’s just a theory.
The housekeeper, a frumpy old woman whose name I could never remember, walked in on me sitting down for tea next to the hideously mutilated bodies of my parents and grandmother. I had a meat cleaver sitting in my lap and was covered in gore but my expression was completely calm. I didn’t look as if I cared that I was sitting next to a bunch of dead bodies. And I certainly showed no signs of guilt at having just murdered my family for no apparent reason. So they carted me off to some asylum without a single question. Throughout the whole affair I never showed a single sign of emotion, my face was a blank canvass that should have been painted with rosy cheeks and pink lips. The warden of the place didn’t spare a single glance at me, as if 16 year old ladies from a well brought up family came here all the time for murdering people. They shoved me in a room filled to the brim with other inmates of the female sex. It was a gloomy dark room with a single barred window. There wasn’t much room to do anything since girls and woman of all ages were curled up on the floor.
This place was the equivalence of a prison but I didn’t really care. I didn’t feel anything but numbness and the truth was I had no idea why I chopped up my family. I just did it, like I might just drink my tea with one spoonful of sugar or always sleep on the left side of my bed. It wasn’t that big of a deal in my brain, I didn’t feel a loss just a small bit of relief.
I eventually found a spot against the wall where I sat down. There must have been about 50 or so woman in here so it was loud with sobbing and screaming. People here talked to themselves allot. I mostly just stared down at the blood smeared on my dress. It had been an expensive dress, one of my mother’s favorites, with little lace flowers decorating the bright yellow skirt. The bodice had frills at the top so that my figure was disguised and looked girlish. My mother always told me yellow was my best color. She was wrong. Red suites my coloring much better. I suddenly didn’t feel like wearing it so I started tearing at the back and ripped it off. Much better I thought to myself. I couldn’t seem to care that now I was only in my chemise and corset. I was supposed to feel ashamed but I felt like a weight had been lifted off me. I took the pins out of my hair and sighed as the long dark waves fell past my shoulders. I don’t know how long I sat there counting bricks but eventually I fell asleep curled in a tight ball like everyone else. Days there dragged on uneventfully. A guy would sometimes come by and open the door to throw in some food which everyone fought over and the warden would come by occasionally and everyone would cower against the walls shaking. He would look around and when he spotted a pretty young thing he would take her out and then a few hours later shove her back in crying with clothes in shreds. Somebody eventually snagged the dress I had thrown in a crumpled heap and I was glad to be rid of it. And then the day came when he chose me. I was usually in the far corner where he never ventured but he spotted me and pointed.
“Such a pretty little thing. Come and ill give u a treat. Come on” he coaxed. I knew I didn’t want his “treat” but I walked towards him anyways. This seemed to surprise him; he was used to having to drag his prey out by their hair. “My my, such an obedient creature aren’t you? It’s quite refreshing and you’re not crying either. What a strange girl you are. I shall relish you.” He put his hand around my wrist tightly and led me to the door. “Don’t you run now, it won’t help you.” He grinned showing black teeth. This man was a slime ball. He was even sicker than his patients.
I remained silent as he led me down a long hallway and as we passed I could see through the barred window in the doors where the men were kept. A boy who couldn’t have been a day older than twenty caught my eye as we passed, he didn’t appear to be crazy at first glance but then again neither do I. his eyes held mine for a few seconds and I saw sympathy there. It gave me the oddest feeling, why should this stranger who knew nothing about me feel sorry for me? He didn’t know what I had done. He didn’t know I deserved this. I looked away and concentrated on the slime balls heavy breathing, he didn’t appear to be very healthy. I wondered exactly what he was going to do to me, I mean I got the main idea but wondered about the details. “Not very talkative are we?” he leered “most of them are screaming and begging me to let them go, but you. You don’t seem to care at all, I rather like you” he wrapped his arm around my waist and leaned close. He smelled foul. I looked away and my eyes fell on the door where the boy stood still staring. Why did he keep staring? Didn’t girls pass his door everyday screaming, why isn’t he used to it? It seemed to take forever until we reached a door with no window; I turned from the boy a second time. We entered the room and the slimball slid a bolt shut as he closed the door trapping us inside.
The first thing I noticed was the shackles, then the chair with straps, then the straight jacket. I didn’t bother to look too closely at the rest of the objects. The slime ball turned to me grinning with anticipation as he pushed me down on the small cot in the corner. I don’t remember much of what happened. I just closed my eyes and pictured the boy from behind the doors face. I looked into his eyes and he looked back. The one thing I couldn’t banish from my memory was the touch of the slim balls hands. They had been slimy and hot and everywhere. Throughout the whole thing I didn’t make a sound. I was losing my words. It was like I was mute. The boy had gotten me through it even though he would never know that. There was something about him and I didn’t know what it was. It was weird how much my life had changed and I didn’t care. My life had no meaning now… no ever. It never had a meaning which is why I didn’t care. The slimball composed himself and stood up stretching.
“Well that was fun; you really are different from the others. I think I’ll pick you again,” his hand rested on my thigh. He never took the same person; it was always a different helpless girl who ended up crying like the last. “But sadly for you it’s time to go back” he moved over to the door and with difficulty slid the bolt back. I gingerly stood up and slowly made for the exit. He grabbed my elbow this time but it didn’t hurt any less than my wrist had. We made our way back through the hallway but this time I was lagging behind and as we neared the boys sell I couldn’t stop myself from looking up and meeting his gaze. Furry hung around him like a cloud and I somehow new it wasn’t directed at me but at the warden. I passed close to the door and he reached his hand out to pat my head. It was an odd comforting gesture to receive from a stranger. And it made a sad smile come to my lips. The slime ball didn’t notice any of this interaction and soon we were passed the door and he was shoving me back in the cell with the other woman. Someone had taken my spot by the wall so I had to sit under the window.
More time passed and every few days the slimeball would be back, sometimes he would pick another girl but he always came back to me. Each time I passed his cell we locked eyes and he would smile at me and reach out a hand to pat my head and I would smile back and think about him to escape from the warden. The warden seemed completely blind or just didn’t care about me and the boy from behind the door. His soft smile gave me courage I didn’t know I needed. The warden had told me it was his mission to make me cry like the others but I never did and this aggravated him. My tears had dried up and disappeared the day I murdered my family. Life dragged on mundanely, and it wasn’t much of a life. I wasn’t sure about the exact number of day’s id been here but I guessed two months at least.
Then there was the day we passed the boys cell and he wasn’t there. It worried me a lot and it worried me that his absence worried me. When I was being dragged back by the slimeball I saw him. His arms were held by two random workers and his feet dragged on the floor behind him. There were welts across his ankles and his head lolled, blood dripping down the side of his face. I must have gasped because he lifted his head enough to look at me and grin. His grin was cracked and bloody and I felt what little heart I had left ache. He was thrown back into his cell and I was thrown back into mine. I knew about the torture that went on here but seeing it happen to him was…unsettling. He was like a pillar of courage and seeing him so week made me feel hopeless. I hoped he was okay and that was the first time I ever hoped for something in the asylum. I lay curled up in a ball for awhile trying to get to sleep but I was plagued by nightmares.
In my dreams I was chased by my family. I was wearing the stupid yellow dress and as they chopped me up into little bits the fabric turned blood red. I then put myself together again and ran in the now red dress until I fell into the arms of the warden. He twirled me around in a complicated waltz I couldn’t keep up with and everyone around us was wearing beautifully complicated masks. The masquerade was taking place in the asylum and patients were chained to the wall while elegantly dressed ladies and gentleman laughed and poked then with knifes not caring they were getting blood splattered on their clothes. There was laughter surrounding me, choking me. I broke free and ran while masked faces leered at me, they didn’t even look human. I made it to a wall where the boy from behind the door was chained up. He was crying tears of blood. I ran to him and tore at the shackles bloodying my hands until the chains snapped and he was free. He grabbed my hand and we ran. The door out of the asylum was in sight when suddenly a fire sprung up around us. There was nowhere to run, the flames circled us and the heat licked at our ankles. We sank to the floor choking and laughter reverberated from the walls. The boy looked into my eyes and I noticed for the first time that his were the color of pewter. He put his hands on either side of my face leaned closer. I touched a bloody hand to his jaw and it smeared blending in with his tears. His lips touched mine softly and sweetly nothing like the warden. We hugged each other tight as the flames engulfed us. I had this dream repeatedly but instead of feeling frightened by dying I felt happy.
Ever since id met him id started to feel again, little by little. And now I felt that if I stayed in this place any longer my soul would die. I stood up and looked out the window at the starry night sky. I wanted to be out there. I wanted to live again even though I didn’t deserve it.
The next time the slimball tried a new tactic. He took out a knife and sliced my wrist. It wasn’t that bad of a wound but blood spilled over and fell on the floor twinkling like red tears. I gasped and tried to apply pressure to it but blood was still flowing from it.
“Still you won’t cry and scream?!” the warden demanded. I shook my head and that made him angrier. He raised his hand and smacked me in the face. My cheek started to sting but I couldn’t put my hand to it because I was trying to stop the blood from my wrist. He yanked me up and pulled me out the door not caring that I tripped and stumbled and had to practically crawl while he continued to drag me back to my cell. I left a trail of blood behind me and when we got to the boys cell I could only glance up briefly before I was dragged away. He stared at the blood on my wrist and looked furious as the warden threw me in my cell.
I had to kick off a lady who came at me saying she wanted my blood. I crawled to my wall to bandage my wrist with a scrap from my chemise. One of the woman started tearing at another and I tried to tune them out until a worker came to break them up. I could feel the bruise rising on my cheek and tried to take my mind off it by thinking of the boy. I wanted to escape and take him with me. Which was stupid because that wasn’t possible and I didn’t even know him. Just seeing someone through a window and never saying a word to them isn’t like knowing someone. In reality he was a complete stranger and I didn’t even know why he was in here. Maybe it was for charming girls enough to get close to them so he could murder them. I found that even if that was true I still felt the same about him. He could even murder me and my feelings wouldn’t change. It was a strange bond we had, one that seemed to defy all the laws of society. I wondered if he thought about me as much as I thought about him. I fell asleep mulling over that question.
When the slimball came the next time id decided that i'd had enough. He dragged me to the room a little more roughly than usual and as we passed the boys door I reached out my hand and our fingers closed around each other briefly before I was pulled forward. His hand was still reached toward me and he looked desperate, like if he tried hard enough the door would disappear and he could reach me. I think he knew something was up.
When I was pushed down on the bed I refused to stay. I stood up and faced the warden. He growled and reached forward ripping the scrap of cloth off my wrist. The blood had clotted and it was and angry almost black color. His smile grew wide as he reached out a finger and dug it into the ridged flesh ripping open the wound again. I croaked out a strangled cry and flew at him. I hit and bit and scratched. My nails had gotten pretty long in the time id been here and acted like claws. He threw me against the wall hard. My head hit and the thud reverberated through my scull making everything look fuzzy. I felt something hot trickle down my ear. The slimeball put his hand to the bleeding scratches running from his forehead to the bottom of his left eye. They looked deep and this made me grin. I blanked out a little and the next thing I knew two burley men were putting me in a straightjacket. It was more gray than white and there were some blood stains on it. They hoisted me up and each took hold of one of my elbows. The jacket was snug in a way, like being wrapped in a blanket and it made me feel safe. Everything was still fuzzy but I distinctly remember the look in the boy’s eyes as we passed hunger. He sniffed the air then turned away. I couldn’t be sure if I imagined it or not but it confused me. I think I was carted down a few stairs but I couldn’t be sure, I was out of it and I woke up in a small cell by myself. I gathered my bearings and noticed my ankle was shackled to the wall. This room was standard grey brick with moisture leaking from the ceiling. It didn’t have a window which made it stuffy. In fact it didn’t really have anything but the shackle and door. I preferred the overcrowded room to this and I didn’t think I would be able to see the boy again. I tried not to think about it and counted bricks instead. I got to 256 before I fell asleep.
I was strapped down to a table and I felt something wiggling in my wrist. I lifted my head to look and saw a mass of wiggling worms trying to push past all the meat and blood of my cut to borrow themselves in my arm. I heard the wet squish and felt my stomach lurch. I could feel them under my skin and I screamed. It was the most noise id made for months. I couldn’t stop; I screamed and screamed struggling to get free of the binds keeping me tightly in place. The worms started to eat through a nerve and all the muscles in my body flexed and I screamed even louder. My skin was being rubbed into a bloody raw mess from struggling against the straps.
“That’s right. Now cry, your tears are the only thing that will free you.” A voice I recognized whispered into my ear. I tried and you’d think that in this kind of situation it would be easy to cry but I just couldn’t. My eyes stayed dry and no matter how hard I tried tears wouldn’t come. Then suddenly I was on top of the warden and the worms were gone. I stuck my fingers into his neck and used my nails and his skin parted after a second of hesitation. Blood splurted everywhere but I continued to dig into his flesh and ripped of tendons and small chunks of meet and ripped them to shreds with my teeth relishing the warm goo that was sliding down my throat. I was feeding off his energy and felt stronger and fuller of life than I had in a long time.
I woke up startled breathing raptly. I didn’t feel any worms in my arm and I was still in the straightjacket. I released a shaky breath and wiped my face on my shoulder. The straightjacket came away smeared with red. I realized my mouth tasted salty. I leaned over and retched blood and what appeared to be a chunk of skin. Trying not to think about it I moved over to the other wall and curled up closing my eyes. I couldn’t sleep so I just laid there with my eyes closed until I heard the door swing open with a clunk. A man came forward and unlocked my shackle then grabbed me by the arm and pulled me back down another hallway into a room occupied by 3 other men. I didn’t get a good look of the room except for the giant tiled tub of ice water.
“We aren’t supposed to get any info out off this one, just to do the job” the man holding me said. The others nodded and moved forward to grab me. I almost tripped when they dragged me forward and it felt weird not being able to put my arms out in front of me to stop myself from falling. I didn’t have much time to think as they shoved my head over the edge and into the ice water. They held me down as I flailed and I couldn’t do much with my arms strapped down in the jacket. The coldness set my skin and lungs were on fire and I had to try really hard to resist the urge to breath in. just before I thought my lungs would burst they pulled me up. Dripping with water and hair blinding me I gasped. I heard them chuckle and realized they must enjoy this. They repeated this until it got boring. I contemplated taking the water into my lungs so I would escape this place but I couldn’t do it. I was still hoping I would see the boy again and that we could escape. I tried to picture his eyes but found I couldn’t remember what color they were. The men seemed amused that I hadn’t cried and begged the same way the warden had been amused. They would soon grow tired of it just like him. I least I had gotten cleaned by the water and felt a little less gross.
They dumped me back in my cell and I shivered and tried to warm myself up. They were nice enough to remove the straightjacket but it just made me colder. I glanced at the spot where I had retched earlier but it wasn’t there anymore. I couldn’t decide if this was a good think or a bad one. I fell asleep still trying to get warm and when I awoke there was a bowl of gruel on the floor. I reached for it hungrily and devoured it with my hands. I had grown skinnier since I came here; lack of food does that to you. But I had enough meet on my bones before so now I just looked really really skinny not sickly death skinny. My hair had grown longer to, it now reached my thighs. Before I knew what I was doing I had tightened my corset and was combing my hair with my fingers. I stopped myself thinking how ridiculous it was to worry about my appearance in a place like this. I was still damp and cold but there was nothing I could do about it. I resumed counting the bricks on the wall.
The men came again and I wondered what had happened to the slimeball. I tried not to think of my dream. This time they strapped me down to a table very similar to the one from sed dream. I quickly looked away from the number of miscellaneous tools lying near my foot. One of the men, the biggest ugliest one, came forward holding one of the “instruments”. I blinked, and blinked again. No that couldn’t be right. There was defiantly something wrong the man seemed to be sporting millions of eyeballs all over his body. Every expanse of his skin was covered in them, they were staring at me. They were oozing blood to making the airy blue of the irises stand out. I realized with a sickening jolt that they were my eyes. Hundreds and hundreds of my eyes weeping blood and staring at me, condemning me. The man was still advancing and I started screaming. I closed my eyes to escape from the judgment of the eyes but I could still see them through my eyelids. There was no escaping them but I had to, I had to get away from their piercing glare. I kept screaming as I pulled and fought against my binds, the men were shouting at each other now trying to hold me down. I freed one hand and started tearing at the other straps; I racked my nails across one of the men’s arm and he swore and opened the door calling for something.
My screaming was getting horse but I kept it up, I had to escape, had to run from the eyes. I freed another arm and fought against the men trying to hold them down. Someone came in holding a syringe; I struggled even as they slid it into the exposed flesh of my arm. My struggling got weaker and weaker as the drug flowed through my veins. My muscles wouldn’t respond and my vision grew blurry. My screaming died away as I slowly slipped unconscious.
“About time.” I heard someone say before I was completely lost. In my dreams those eyes followed me, even though I used to look into the same eyes when I faced a mirror I couldn’t feel at ease. They were judging me, blaming me and no matter how fast I ran they still followed. I eventually collapsed and cowered with my arms over my head. I could still feel them looking and they whispered to me. They asked why I did it over and over again. I whimpered and couldn’t answer. My body started cracking and falling away in pieces. Each piece flew away and scattered, I wouldn’t be able to put myself back together I thought. The one shard that was my heart landed back in the asylum. I was suddenly aware of coldness in my bones and I opened my eyes to my cell. The dreams were getting worse and I couldn’t tell what was real anymore. I rubbed my arm where the needle had gone in, the wound was still there. A tiny pinprick that made my sanity shatter.
No food was brought to me this time but I wouldn’t have been able to eat it anyways. I felt sick to my stomach. I really did belong in this place. I hugged my knees to my chest and rocked back and forth.
I heard a shout and large thud. Curious I stood up and made my way to the door dragging my shackles chain behind me. I couldn’t reach the door all the way so I had to have one leg stretched back as I leaned to look out the tiny barred window. I couldn’t believe it. Running down the hall towards my cell was the boy from behind the door. He spotted me and grinned in triumph. I fell back as the door was torn from its hinges. He stood in the opening and I gaped at him.
He was taller than I thought he’d be and I realized I never looked at him closely. I never noticed the shaggy shoulder length black hair and the fact that even though he was skinny he was quite handsome. My eyes slowly moved up until I met his gaze. His eyes were silver like my dream. I blinked, nope still silver. He kneeled down beside me and I shrunk away, he either didn’t notice or didn’t care. He reached for my ankle slowly and deliberately. I stared as he snapped the metal apart. He then stood and held his hand out to me, quite the proper gentleman, helping a lady to her feet. Except I was no lady and doubted he was still considered a gentleman after living in an asylum. Putting all that aside I reached out a shaky hand and he grasped it. He helped me up like he had all the time in the world. I wondered how he got out of his cell.
“Nathaniel at your service.” He said. His voice was gentle and soothing and I thought it must be the nicest voice I ever heard. I couldn’t recall the last time someone spoke to be without venom in their voice. Nathaniel’s hand still held mine.
“Louisa” my voice cracked out. It sounded foreign, alien. I forgot the sound of my own voice I realized. I hadn’t said an actual word since I had gotten to this place. He smiled and it lit up the room. I wondered how anyone could find a reason to smile in this place.
“Will you escape with me?” he asked as if the response wasn’t obvious.
“And go where?” I whispered in that alien voice.
“Does it matter?”Nathaniel questioned. I didn’t have to think before I shook my head. He still gripped my hand as we made our way down the corridor. Our pace wasn’t very fast but I still stumbled not used to walking without someone dragging me. He shifted his position so that he had a hand around my waist stabilizing me but the other still held mine. His touch was delicate and nothing like the roughness id grown used to. Everything seemed surreal as we walked to the great big doors that led out of the asylum. They were made of wood and had thick bolts that must take 10 men to close. The doors opened for us and we passed through without so much as a glance. We were greeted by a brisk autumn wind. I inhaled deeply breathing in the scent of freedom. I glanced at Nathaniel and his eyes were wide and he had a smile blooming at his lips. He turned to me with tears in his eyes.
“It’s beautiful.” He said softly. I nodded a ghost of a smile at my lips. I was growing colder even with his arms around me. I shivered and my teeth chattered uncontrollably. He looked sad. I looked into his eyes and saw myself reflected there. I was pale and my lips were blue. I brought a hand to them and noticed my fingers were the same blue. I dropped them and looked up at him. He was crying.
“How were we able to escape?” I asked quietly. He grasped both of my hands and held them to his chest. “Tell me!” I demanded. He dropped my hands and looked away.
“We didn’t……….our bodies are still in there.” his tears hit the ground with a splat.
“What do you mean?!” I frantically looked around for something but stopped when I realized I didn’t know what I was looking for. The cold had settled in my bones.
“Louisa” he took my hands again. The hands with blue fingertips. “You’re dead.” He choked out.
“Then…then how am I here?”I begged for him to be wrong, for this to be one of my sick dreams. “How are you here?”
He hesitated before replying “I died some time ago but I waited. I waited for you so that I could free your soul.”
There was a flash of light and I saw my crumpled body being hoisted into a body bag. My limbs were blue from hypothermia and I had a sick smile on my face. The empty eyes stared at me. Another flash and I was back in front of Nathaniel. I felt tears sliding down my face. The tears that had dried up when I had murdered my family. I had died alone in a cell shackled to a wall after being tortured for the last months of my life. I hadn’t ever wanted to die that way. Nathaniel put his arms around me.
“But don’t you understand? Now we’re free and can be together forever. I love you. Thinking of you was the only thing that helped me live for as long as I did.” He sounded desperate and I saw that in his eyes it was the truth. And hadn’t thoughts of him helped me live as well? Being with him in the afterlife would be better than any of my past life. I grabbed his hand and smiled. He leaned forward and kissed me. Looking at each other with stars in our eyes we moved forward to spend all of eternity walking the earth together.
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