The piano groans under the curled fingers of the girl hunched over the keys. Her hair hangs long, dark and matted around her shoulders: she is young, but traces of grey are coming through the roots of her hair. She looks cool to the touch, of course she will be cold, it’s always cold in here. I don’t know her just her name Hales.
Walking down the long corridor of this place, sneakers squeak on the lino floor. Lights flicker above, reflecting on the blue gleam of the hallway. Reminding me of the horror movies I watched from beneath the covers as a kid. I wonder what secrets hides within the walls of the asylum? What causes the smell of decay mixed with the sterile medical aroma?
A buzz sounds in the distance like those that open jail cells, the metal gate they call a door opens with a groan. Who is getting a visit today? Which patient in their hospital gown and dirty hair will look into the eyes of their pained parents, who are unsure on how their weekends have come to this; visiting their child and looking into their blank eyes. Sitting stiffly in the icy common room, reeking of discomfort, watching humans, no rag dolls. Physically these patients are here, but in reality they a gone from this world. Their soul stolen long ago by the devil. Their child not remembering them or the world outside the brass iron gates.
I remember everything. I’m not crazy. I don’t deserve to be here. I really did see a body in the woods. There was no need to take the helmet of the boy to see his face. I knew who it was. The tattoo highlighted on his back. The black ink as powerful as the day he got it; a metaphor, for how he changed his life and got free of the demons within his family. As meaningful as the day he told me he loved me. There was no need for me to see the face. I knew who it was. My feet stinging as the rocks and debris on the ground cut my bare feet, the hem of my once golden dress shredded, caked in mud and clay. Wet leaves stick to my skin, damp with perspiration dripping down my face, the salt burning my already tear stuck eyes. Fear! I was scared. The fast thumping of my heart echoes through my head, thump thump, thump thump.
Images of him lying on the floor of the woods, his hands lying limp, but still, his hands. Screams pierced the night air, were they really mine? Those screams filled with so much pain, a pain that I wonder if I could survive? Hot tears continued to fall down my face. Makeup smudged. I remember reaching the road. Police were there talking to me, the red and blue lights flashing around the night reflecting against the low hanging moon; still and watching over what was happening in the world below. Questions were being fired at me, asking me my name. I couldn’t remember my name, who was I? Ambulance, hospital, here the nut house. I’m not crazy. I really did see a body. I don’t care what they told me that night. “There was nobody in the woods Miss.” Thoughts frantically rush through my mind, yes, there was just keep looking, why aren’t you looking? Why do you not believe me? Why am I here? I’m not crazy. There really was a body!
Ouch! Uncurling my hands there are spots of red on my pale skin, my broken nails smudged in the same blood. Black spots eclipse my vision as I return back to the present. Nobody notices I left the room. They’re too preoccupied trying to remember the person visiting them. My parents don’t visit they can’t risk it. Can’t risk any of our friends or neighbors knowing the truth.
“Their ‘perfect’ daughter is crazy? How did we let them around our precious Jamie?” They’d think to themselves, while being perfectly polite to my parents saying in a slightly pretentious tone, “Oh Amanda Hun, what can we do for you? How can we help? I know I’ll go cook you some meals to put in the freezer.” Like the fact I’m in here would mean mum couldn’t cook for herself. Oh no, this was not an option, nobody could know. They couldn’t possibly risk visiting. They’d much rather not see me than potentially become the latest gossip on the street. Instead, they’d be sitting on the marble courtyard near the pool, on their perfect suburban street in Charlotte.They’d say,
“She is great, travelling doing an exchange in England for a year or so. Oh my, she loves it, it is a great experience. Jamie Hun, have you ever thought of doing an exchange? Oh, you absolutely must consider it, she just loves it.” Yes, its, a much better option for them to lie than telling the truth.
The girl at the piano repetitively playing the same key. From here I can see the dirt under her fingers red like rust. Her grey hospital gown hangs off her, resembling a girl swimming naked in the ocean. Bones protrude out of her body; a gust of wind and she would snap. Everyone here knows to stay away from her. She is one of the clinically insane. Rumor has it she is here after murdering her boyfriend in the woods, and her parents at their family home.
Through the window behind her I see an unkindness of ravens flying, their dark figures in the dusk comparable to the twilight sky. They represent the evil among us. I want to get closer and watch them. Walking towards the window, seeing my reflection, hair hanging long, dark and mattered around my shoulders. Young, yet traces of grey are coming through my roots, my skin looks cold, lifeless. Wearing a grey hospital gown, I see the bones protruding from my body. I hear my name being called in the distance.
I turn around, my eyes looking at the ground, slowly looking up to face him. A sick smile spreading across my face as a laugh escapes my lips. I did him proud, I did everything he needed me to do.