Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2153133-The-Mad-House
by Hazel
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Dark · #2153133
The diary of a patient in an asylum.
The Mad House

January 17, 1897

My mother sent me here. She thought I was crazy. The only things she gave me when she left was a notebook, a quill, some ink, and a farewell hug. I might as well tell you who I am, as you’re going to be hearing so much from me the next few months. The name’s Ruta. Ruta Heap. A strange name, a perfect name for someone in a cage. This cage that I will consider home for maybe the rest of my life. I’ve always loved reading, but I will have to give up that career if I shall be spending a long time here. I don’t think I can be cured. I think sending me to this asylum has just made things worse. I think the turning point when my mother finally decided I needed to come here was when I threw her grandmother’s china doll at the wall. The head broke off and I told her that made me happy. I might as well go to bed and dream about how I’m going to survive the next few, or many, months.

January 19, 1897

The bars in front of me seem to be staring me down. It is very dark in this cage. They call it an asylum, but in my mind, it is a cage. Some people even call it a hospital. I don’t know why I’m in here. I’m not insane. I just have, well, I wouldn’t even call them problems. They’re not. I have voices inside my head that tell me things I shouldn’t do. But no matter how many times I shut those voices out, they come back. It’s a constant battle between me and my mind.

I see someone dressed all in orange being handcuffed and walked forward into a cage across from mine. Another patient, probably. Another person who will spend the rest of their life in bars for something they can’t control. I want to yell. This makes me furious. But with her, I can tell she’s mad. Her bloodshot eyes and slightly sly smile give it all away. I feel bad for her.

January 23, 1897

The so-called doctor took my quill and ink away in fear of self-harm and replaced it with an old ballpoint pen that seems to be low on ink. I don’t know why he took my quill away because I wouldn't have hurt myself. I want to make it out of here alive.

January 24, 1897

I have only been here a week and I can already feel the madness settling in. If they really wanted to cure me, they would’ve at least put me in a larger room, and in a perfect world, with some light. But I have pretty high doubts that their goal is to cure me.

January 27, 1897

The girl across from me has only been here 8 days and her screams already keep me up at night. Even when she is asleep, she says something over and over again. The only words I can make out are; will not live. It freaks me out a little, but in some sick way, it makes me feel better. Probably I’m just happy that I’m not like her just yet. I still have a little while.

January 30, 1897

I remember reading a book once about an asylum. I remember thinking what horrible things they must’ve done to deserve being in a place like that. Now I understand. They didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, they’re innocent. They have just been believed to be crazy and put in a place to cure them for something they didn’t do. It all makes sense now.

February 1, 1897

Okay, I don’t really have much to write anymore. It is so boring in here. I miss sleeping on my familiar rickety bed instead of a cold, stone floor. I miss mom’s homemade meat lasagna with fresh rosemary from our garden instead of the cold porridge for every meal. I even miss my crazy little sister, who called me rutabaga. I laughed a tiny laugh for the first time thinking about that. I want to go home. And I will.

February 3, 1897

I spend most of my time in my cell ( that’s right, I’m no longer calling it a cage,) thinking about how I could escape this place without being noticed. Of course, the cells are built so no one can get out, in case they really are insane. They are made of brick, with a tiny window that’s up really high. I have nothing to climb on to reach that window. I keep thinking about the girl across from my cell. If I escape, I decided, I will bring her and everyone else with me.

February 5, 1897

The weirdest thing happened last night. I woke up in the middle of the night to a ringing sound. Then I realized for the first time that there was a phone in the cell. Not a cell phone, but a telephone. And it was ringing. I had the weirdest sensation that it was the girl across the hall. Of course, I picked it up, and it was her. This is basically how our conversation went:

Me: Hello. Who is this?
Her: The girl across the hall.
Me: Why are calling at this hour?
Her: I heard you were planning to escape.
Me: Where’d you hear that?
Her: You.
Me: But I never told you.
Her: I know.
Me: So...
Her: I’m a mind reader.
Me: If you’re a mind reader, how am I planning to escape?
Her: Through the highest window.
Me: Why are you calling, if I may ask again?
Her: I can help.
Me: Call me again, same time tomorrow night.
Her: Okay.
Me: We’re going to escape.
Her: *Hung Up*

This was one of the weirdest conversations I’ve ever had over the phone. Obviously, I was glad I would have someone to help me escape this dark prison, but I had a sinking feeling that there was something off about that girl.

February 7, 1897

Turns out I was right for once. I snuck into her cell last night. I saw something peculiar written all over the walls in blood-red ink (or was it ink?): Die, Die, Die. Her bloodshot eyes were open, but she seemed to be asleep. She sat up in her sleep and her lips mouthed: Ruta will not escape. Ruta will die. She didn’t seem to move, but I felt my airways close and my head hit the concrete floor of the cell as I breathed my final breath.

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