by RC Wilcox
Inspired by (and incuding many allusions to) Emilie Autumn.
| The keepers dragged me by my arms to my cell. A sickly rat scuttled across the floor with a menacing expression upon its whiskered face, although the caretakers either didn’t notice or didn’t care. This was my new home. I sat upon the grubby floor and looked at the gruesome details of the cell. Every inch was filthy, and the details of this I was unwilling to explore. The room itself was fairly small, and I knew that I would soon be packed in with twenty-nine other girls, which explained the excessive grime that covered nearly everything.
I could hardly endure being in the room, and I knew that the conditions would worsen once the others returned- for the moment, they were being… ‘treated’. I had heard rumors of these supposed treatments back home, but no one had truly believed the extremity to which the surgeons allegedly operated. Sitting in the dark now, hearing the patients’ screams, I knew the rumors had not been misleading- and I was sure to never leave the asylum alive.
I was awakened by the doctors at 4 o’clock for the day’s torture, along with my new roommates. I was given no notice by the other girls- who, although had walked into the asylum sane but under false pretenses like myself, were now either insane or scared senseless. Having been excused from the operations on the day before, out of sheer mercy I presume, I had no idea what lay ahead.
I was soon strapped to a table, where the illiterate doctor proceeded to maim and torture every inch of my body, on the pretense of mental treatment. No form of anesthesia had been given to me prior to the operation, and I surely would have fainted from pain, except that pain was the very thing that kept me from doing so. In this condition, I felt every scrape, poke, jab, and slice that was performed with the rusty and unsterilized instruments. I now understood fully the anguish which had led to the other patients’ loss of sanity, although at this point I had little reason to contemplate it.
At some point, the surgeon stopped what he was doing, and I prayed that it was over, but after a short time there was a phlebotomist standing over me, fully equipped with a jar of leeches for purging. I could feel every ounce of blood as it was being sucked from my body by the hideous creatures. I began to feel light-headed and weak from the blood loss, and I was finally blessed with unconsciousness.
Back in the cell, I became acutely aware of each patient and the wounds they had received. I recognized the points where the leeches had been placed and the jagged edges of wounds inflicted with blunt scalpels. I noticed the rotting corpses of plague rats in the corners, which no one had bothered to move or dispose of, and knew that this was how I would probably end up. These thoughts sickened me, and I tried to escape them with sleep, but I found myself haunted by the echoes of screams.
This same process occurred every single day for months on end. The other patients were beyond communication, and I soon began to realize how very alone I was in this dreadful place. “Perhaps death is the only way to escape…” I thought aloud.
“Perhaps. But perhaps you really belong here, Mad Girl.” A chill ran up my spine as I looked around for the owner of the voice. But, of course it was impossible that it was a patient- the voice was distinctly male.
“The one that belongs here must be you,” I mused, “For only the Mad would bother with a woman’s thoughts.” I continued to scrutinize the dark room and hoped that I had distracted him enough to find where he was. But he sounded so close…
“You won’t find me, Lucy,” here the voice chuckled mockingly “You were very close in your guess, however. I am not mad, but Madness itself.”
What an impetuous and arrogant voice- what a rude voice! “Do not taunt me, egotistical man.” Surely no one but the patients were in the room- I had looked everywhere! There was no way in or out besides the locked door… the Voice must have been telling the truth- Madness, in my head… I drifted off to sleep.
With my new friend, Madness, by my side, the days went by in a blur. One day however, the surgeons and doctors were in a flurry of excitement over their new toy- an electric shock machine, and naturally, they couldn’t wait to test it out on their captive patients. I was one of the first to experience it- and because they did not know how to use it yet, the turned the voltage on the lowest, most slow and torturous level.
I sat with that mechanism on my pressure points and head for three straight hours. This procedure in itself was maddening, but what pushed me over the edge was the fact that the doctors, surgeons, and keepers hovered around me, laughing at my suffering- but once again, unconsciousness rescued me.
As usual, I awoke in the cell, and this time it was simply impossible for me to sleep. I heard a loud and monotonous buzz inside my skull, and I realized that I was shrieking. Any possible form of respite evaded me, Madness was nowhere to be found, and I remained conscious and screaming throughout the night.
The next morning came against my will and the doctors soon dragged me off, away from the others. I was again strapped to a table, but this time it was in a real operating room. “Hello again, Mad Girl.” The familiar voice was anything but comforting at that moment. No, it’s his fault I’m here- his fault I am who I am. I ignored him and tried to hear what the doctors were saying through the drone which remained in my head, and I soon discovered what the fuss was about- frontal lobotomy. They were planning on making me placid and worthless- this was no doubt a decision made due to the screeches I had been making the previous night.
This thought in itself had me feeling lightheaded, and I knew that I could not let myself fall into an incompetent state- I would never escape. I attempted to pull at the straps but they were cinched tightly- I looked around for a tool I might use and finally set my eyes on a scalpel that was on a counter near the operating table. The instrument was only a few inches from my grasp- tantalizingly close- and I stretched my arm to its full extent. It was barely an inch out of reach- I continued to stretch, and finally, I got my fingers around it. I spun it around so the sharper end was near the straps, and I started sawing at my restraints.
I was soon free, and I looked for the most advantageous exit. I was still a bit woozy from being so close to life-long emptiness, so I stumbled over to the closest door. There was a bizarre odor emanating from behind it, but I knew that this was my only chance. I swung the door open and saw that it was a cellar- every inch of which was filled with rotting corpses. I gagged and felt acid rise in my throat, but still I searched for an exit. I saw a few of my roommates, but this didn’t surprise me. How could the asylum possibly continue to torture and murder women if dead bodies kept turning up? Of course they had to be kept… I still looked for an exit, but then, in the corner, I saw my own body- a maimed corpse, putrid and terrifying.