|Insanity is Only the Beginning- Draft Sample
There is a shadow that follows me, a mirror image of who I could be, of who I am. It always has a hold on me but I can't let it take me. It is always in my brain, in my mind, in my soul.
This other part of me can't distinguish between light and dark, night and day, dreams and reality, memory and nightmare. It's all the same here. Its all the same...
White rooms and white hallways, doctors or demons, whats the difference? Injections, Drugs, Pills… They numb me but they never truly take away the voice that I hear. It's my voice, It's part of me.
It brings back memories of dreams, or dreams of memories. Often, I can't tell the difference.
Sometimes I remember my childhood, when my father used to beat me. Bad memories like that I try to erase but my dark side always brings them back. I do remember good things though, like my girlfriend. She was a beautiful woman, even her name was beautiful. Leila had been her name, yes, that was it. She had blonde hair and green eyes. Her skin was soft and warm, beautiful. People used to say we shouldn't be together, her parents never liked me. I was just the troubled little man to them; they never saw who I really was, or who I used to be. Maybe all along they had known I would turn out this way.
Last year I received a letter from my brother. I had been excited; us patients didn't get letters very often so it was a real treat. I was full of joy, until I opened it and read its contents. My brother told me that Leila had gotten married to another man. He never said who but I was pretty sure it must have been Pete.
Pete was a big strong guy who worked at our local car repair place…He was big and tough and had black hair like mine. Leila always went for guys with dark hair and dark personalities. Unfortunately I was a bit too dark for her.
Here in the psychiatric hospital I don't know what is up or down, dark or light, empty or full, Me or someone else…
Of course, the nurses come and go and the doctors give their pills but they never speak much to me. And if they do it's always a command.
"Drink this." They say.
"Don't do that." They say that one a lot.
Its always in the same monotone voice too. At least they could change up their tone to keep things interesting.
Yes, sometimes they give me things to do, or let me play with the other patients, or should I say prisoners. Yes, that's what we are. Prisoners in this mad house. Killers and thieves that haven't killed yet, in this prison of endless white halls and chainlink fences.
The world outside means nothing anymore, just an imaginary place we dream of at night. Sometimes our captors let us go into the yard or have visitors but I think they're always afraid we'll get loose. Get loose and murder or steal or die. But what does it matter to them, we mean nothing to the nurses and doctors. We might as well be animals. Mindless swine running around getting our noses into everything, that's what we are. Yes, pigs with pink noses and bristly skin.
I shiver, thinking of these things.Curled in my bed with the white sheets and white pillows in my room with white walls and no possible way of escaping, I shiver.
This is my life, or the end thereof… but insanity is only the beginning.
-- Chapter 1--
The lights in the rooms had come back on over 20 minutes ago and I'd been laying on by bed awake ever since. The faint sound of my door unlocking snapped me out of my thoughtless concentration.
The nurse that walked in was a beautiful blonde woman. For a moment my deranged mind confused her with Leila but her voice betrayed her to be someone else entirely. "Good morning Thomas!" She said in a cheerful but monotone voice, nothing like Leila's voice had been at all.
I nodded in acknowledgment. "Hi."
My Darkside lurked in the back of my head, cursing this young woman for not being who he had thought. I was 27 but she looked younger than me and much more innocent. The scrubs she wore were pale pink, child like almost, her hair was drawn back in a ponytail somehow adding to the childish look.
She cleared her throat and I realized I'd been staring at her for longer than I'd intended. "Um…I've brought you some things." She held up my toothbrush, hairbrush and washcloth. It was against the rules to keep anything potentially dangerous in our rooms. I didn't really understand how those simple objects could be dangerous. My Darkside understood though. 'You could shove the tooth brush down your throat.' A dark laugh sounded in my head. 'That would be funny' It rasped.
"Thank you." I said, trying to seem as pleasant as possible, ignoring the voice. I wasn't going to let it win today.
She smiled a fake yet pleasant smile as she set my things down by the small sink in the corner of my room. "I also brought you a present, I know it's a little late but better late than never." She shuffled closer and handed me a box wrapped in plain blue paper. I'd forgotten about my birthday, it had only been a few weeks ago at the most.
I smiled in acknowledgement. "What's in it?" I asked as I held up the box for examination, tracing the odd folds in the paper. It had been so long since I'd received a present I didn't know what to do.
She chuckled but the joy never touched her eyes. "You'll just have to open it and see." She turned around to leave. "I'll be back soon to escort you to breakfast. "
I nodded as she walked out the door then unwrapped the box. I peered inside cautiously to find a pair of converse sneakers. A strange feeling crept across my face, it took me a moment to place the feeling but eventually I figured out that I was grinning.
A few weeks before my birthday my therapist asked me what I wanted, then I'd asked him for a pair of sneakers. The slippers that they made us wear were so hideous and boring. I grinned even wider as I slid the sneakers on. Even though they didn't have laces, since laces were definitely a hazard to the mentally deranged, I loved them. 'You are so childish.' My Darkside hissed. 'well,' I thought back angrily, 'You and me are the same person so I wouldn't start with that shit,'. My darkside growled in reply.
I shuffled over to the small sink with my new shoes and looked in the mirror. The mirror was locked behind a sheet of clear thick plastic so it couldn't be broken. Everything in this hell hole was suicide proof, even the toilets. Suicide was the biggest worry around here, but it wasn't hard to guess why. I could see how someone would want to leave this world, especially when we were caged in like this.
I sighed, all shreds of happiness disappeared for the moment as I gazed at the man in the mirror. His hair was pitch black and his skin was white. The only color came from the pail greenish eyes that stared back at me. The green eyes were sunken into deep dark circles caused by weeks of sleepless nights. I rubbed my face and the man in the mirror did the same.
My Darkside laughed maniacally 'You look rough.' He said with a growl that was almost animalistic. I often thought of my other self as a hungry wolf or grizzly bear, devouring me slowly piece by piece. No matter how much it wanted to consume me, I would never let it devour me completely.
I brushed my hair and teeth quickly paying little attention to detail. There was no hope for my unruly hair. I couldn't even remember the last time I had a haircut.
The door opened behind me and I glanced in the mirror to see the blonde nurse in the reflection. "All done, Thomas?" She asked.
'No one, calls us Thomas.' My Darkside hissed but I ignored it. "Yup." I said simply, I still ignored my inner voice. But it was true. The only person who ever called me Thomas was my father. My darkside rumbled at the thought of my Dad so I quickly pushed it away.
"Okay, come with me please." She said in the usual monotone nurse voice that I despised.
I picked up my things and shuffled over to her to hand them over. "Here."
"Alright, lets get your medication then go to breakfast. You have a meeting with your therapist after you eat." She then looked down at my feet and smiled. "How do you like your new shoes?"
I smiled back, at least this nurse was nice. "I like them a lot."
She tucked a beautiful wisp of elusive hair behind her ear only to have it pop back up again. I resisted the urge to fix it for her. It had been so long since I had touched another person, even in such a simple way. "Good, now come on." She said, breaking me from my trance.
The nurse led me down the hall glancing back at me every once in a while to make sure I hadn't run off somewhere. We passed by hundreds of white doors with small barred windows and I tried not to glance inside, chances were that there were still patients inside and I really did not want to see them.
Each patient here had their own unique disorders and their own unique personalities and some of them were a little more insane than others. Some were so insane that they were all drugged up and sedated so they wouldn't do anything, well, crazy. I was glad that I wasn't that crazy, at least I didn't think I was that crazy but I was crazy enough not to know exactly how insane I had become in the nuthouse they called a hospital.
We passed a few more doors before turning off down a long white corridor. Everything was so white, if a stranger tried to find their way around this place they would surely have gotten lost in the vast labyrinth of halls and doors. Everything looked the same. Even all the people had the same blank expressions.
The nurse escorted me to the table with all the patients that lived down my hall. That's how the orderlies kept us all in order, everyone was organized by hall number and everyone had a wristband with their room number and patient number stamped on it. I always thought of us much like cattle, you know, how farmers put those ear tags in the cows ears so they can tell them apart. Who's to say that eventually the doctors wouldn't slaughter us just like those tagged beef cattle. Eventually we would all die, the side affect to everything is always death.
I sat down at the end of the table as far away from everyone as I could get, ever since my insanity I never much liked to be by people. They made me sort of nervous and my Darkside always got the better of me when I was nervous. It always found the little holes in my confident fašade and seemed to seep through them like water through a dam.
Have you ever heard the story about the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dam? That's how I felt sometimes, always trying to fill the holes and the empty places in my soul. Trying to fill in the missing parts of myself but always getting drenched in the water on the other side. Always endlessly swimming in my own selflessness and loss with no life boat in sight and no hope of rescue.
Unlike many other hospitals instead of us patients going up the counter with trays to get our food the orderlies brought food to us. I figured it was because they didn't want us to get in any fights over food.
I sat in silence as I always did and ignored anyone who tried to speak to me. Talking with crazy people was never my cup of tea. The orderlies brought out our trays of food and I stared at it in disgust. There was something that resembled scrambled eggs and sausage patties that smelled like meatloaf. I ran my fork over the sausage then picked it to watch a large drop of grease slide off. Shoving my tray away I clutched my cup of orange juice and looked around hoping that the nurses wouldn't make me eat the nasty food.
Observing the room seemed to be the thing I always did during meals, I almost never ate and so observing was the only logical thing left to do. I found myself watching the people's faces. Most of them were much like mine, pale from lack of sun and expressionless. Some people looked down as they ate; some looked up at the ceiling as if waiting for a bomb to fall on their head. Then here were some that looked from side to side and up and down as if they were about to be attacked from everywhere at once. These people around me were animals that had no shreds of civilization left, machines that had lost a valuable part of their hardrives and I was one of them.
Almost everyone finished their food which was a surprise and the orderlies began to take away our trays signaling that it was time for our medications. The directed us into a long line that passed the medication window so we could get our pills. I watched as they checked each person's mouth to make sure they swallowed the medication. I was sure some people found a way around them and sold or their medications to the other patients but I wasn't one of those people. I preferred to take my pills because sometimes they worked; of course their effectiveness was questionable. I was still insane wasn't I?
I got my pills and looked in the little paper cup cautiously to make sure they were the right colors and shapes then shoved them all in my mouth and swallowed. The nurse at the end of the line told me to open my mouth and I did. Without even a second look she let me pass.
I remembered that the nurse had said I had a meeting with my therapist after breakfast. Since she wasn't here to escort me I figured I better just head over there by myself. I looked around one last time to see if I could find the blonde nurse but I didn't see her anywhere.
I mentally shrugged and headed down the hall, no one stopped me so I figured it was okay, in fact no one even seemed to see me. I scurried down another white hall and knocked on the therapist's door, I'd been here many times I could have probably gotten there with my eyes closed.
There was no answer but some shuffling sounds inside like shifting papers then some muffled voices. I knocked again this time harder.
"Just a moment!!!" Came a distressed male voice which I knew to be the therapist then some more whispering.
I waited for a few more seconds and just as I was about to open the door it swung revealing a blonde nurse. Not the nice one who had escorted me this morning, an older one with darker skin. She looked somewhat distressed at my presence and her hair was in slight disarray. I stared at her then at my therapist who was sitting behind his disorderly desk then back at her once more and it was obvious that something had been going on between the two before I had interrupted.
He cleared his throat and my attention was immediately back on him. "I'm sorry Thomas, the nurse and I were discussing some…erm…medications and I forgot about you appointment, please come in."
Ducking my head I edged past the nurse and sat in the chair in front of the therapist's desk. The nurse nodded her head in our direction then left without a word, obviously embarrassed but of course not saying anything about it even though I was very aware of what was going on.
I intently watched as my therapist obsessively put his desk back in order. Dust marked the spots where the objects had previously been before everything was thrown aside. Even the place where his coffee mug had a faint ring of dust around it as if he always placed it in that exact spot. Even though I couldn't remember his name, I knew him well enough to realize that he had extreme OCD. Even a mentally unstable maniac could recognize the signs.
He carefully picked up a picture that had fallen to the side, the glass cracked. It took me a moment to realize that it was a wedding picture of him and his wife on their wedding day. I frowned and wondered what his wife would think if she knew he was cheating on her with one of the nurses
After he had organized his desk he straightened out his tie. The whole time he did this he never once looked at me.
He cleared his throat awkwardly once more and rummaged around in his drawer to find his clipboard. He then reached out and grasped a pen from a pencil holder that read, '#1 Dad' on the front. I nearly laughed. The guy had kids that loved him and a beautiful wife and yet he was fooling around with another woman. My Dark self silently glared at the stupid little man for cheating on his wife. Even my darkside wouldn't be cold hearted enough to do such a thing.
"So how have you been lately?" His voice cut off the angry ramblings in my mind and I snapped to attention.
I held back laughter as his question sunk in. 'What an awful thing to say.' my Darkside chimed in, but I tuned it out. "Fine." Is the only answer I gave. I was afraid that if I said more my entire mouth would begin to flow with all the anger I felt towards this man.
Nervously, he looked at me. I could see the tiny beads of sweat forming on his brow. I was making him anxious and my Darkside was loving every second of it. " Have you noticed any different side effects from your medication?" He asked swiftly.
They must have changed my medication without me noticing it, otherwise he wouldn't have asked me that question. "Nope."
Nodding, he made a few notes on his paper. "I see you got the shoes."
The sudden change in subject threw me for a loop. "Yeah. They're pretty cool. I wish they had some laces though." My darkside chuckled 'So I could strangle you.' he added. I wasn't sure if the darker me was suggesting I strangle myself or the therapist. Both options were equally appealing.
He looked at me seriously. "Now Thomas, you know I can't authorize shoe laces." I did my best to nod good naturedly. It must have fooled him because he continued. "Is there anything else you would like to discuss with me? I know this meeting is short but I have other business to attend to."
I had been teetering on the edge of my anger ever since I walked in on him and the nurse but that last statement really sent me reeling. I wasn't so stupid that I didn't know what other business he would be attending to after I left. It wouldn't upset me as much if I didn't know that he was married but I did and that fact changed everything. A married man shouldn't have been off flouncing around with another woman while his wife was at home caring for his children. 'Finish him.' My Darker self pleaded in my ear. 'Just do it. No one will hear his screams until its too late.'
I tried to ignore the angry whisper but it grew ever louder until it was yelling at me to hit him. I could feel my few mental restraints snapping and my hand curled into a fist. 'YES YES! THATS IT!' My inner demon rumbled. 'Hit him square in the jaw. Knock his teeth out. Do it. Remember your dad. Yeah. Doesn't this guy remind you of your father. The lying, cheating, drunk son of a bitch that cheated on your mom. Kill him.' It told me. 'Kill him like you should have killed your father. Fulfill what you should have done.'
I stared at my therapist for a few moments.
One more second of deliberation and my deranged mind was set. With the ever taunting voice of my darkside urging me on, I stood.
I laughed as the little man crumbled behind his desk. I saw the fear in his eyes but I was too far gone now to care. I coiled my right arm back as I grabbed for his neck with my left. Once I had a secure grip on his shirt color I released the spring in my upper arm. My fist came down hard just under his chin and I heard the sickening crack of teeth being crushed.
His entire body went limp for a second as he leaned back in his chair. Before he could respond I crawled onto his desk knocking all of his carefully placed objects out of my way as I went.
Just as he was about to scream both of my hands wrapped around his pale neck and squeezed. His flesh gave way under my grip and I could feel his racing pulse under my fingertips.
I was practically on top of him and our combined weight forced the chair backwards. We fell in slow motion and I saw the terror and fear flash in his eyes right before his skull collided with the floor.
I straddled his writhing body and leaned forward on my arms to apply more pressure to his neck. I could feel the life beginning to drain out of him as well as hear it. The gurgling sound of death in his throat, very apparent in the small silent room.
My hands wrapped even tighter as his trachea closed. His eyes bugged out of his head as his body searched for the air.
My arms began to shake with the effort but I could tell it wouldn't be much longer. The life was draining from his body at an alarming rate and my darkside was drinking up every second of it.
Suddenly my vision turned black and for a few small moments I felt nothing. Then I opened my eyes to see that I was still sitting down and so was my therapist. I realized that he was still waiting for a response. I mentally shook myself. My attack on him had only been a day dream. It was a fictional event that my mind had tricked me with. I sat in silence as my brain caught up. It hadn't been real. My darkside laughed, relishing in the fact that it had just tricked me.
I sighed, " There is nothing else to discuss."
"Good." He shoved his clipboard back in the drawer, closing it with a very final sounding thud. He returned his pen to the pencil holder on his desk then stood. I stood as well and stepped around my chair so I could put it back in place. "Let me know if there is ever anything you would like to tell me. You know how to get here on your own." He said a bit sarcastically, but I ignored the sarcasm.