They speak of a young girl that wonders the halls. Something terrifying they claim. With her dirty off white gown dropping to her translucent knees and her straight brown hair hiding most of her face flowing down her ribs. The echo of her cries fill the halls but she never says a word. They tell me that death follows her every step and the smell of rot would burn in my nose. I was told of horrific deaths that befell those in her presence and how their blood fed the asylum. It’s stories like these that assure me that they truly belong here. They are the crazy ones. Not I. No, I don’t believe in such horrific things. I don’t belong here in this high security asylum. My reality is sound, not full of things you might find in books. Fantasy has always been just that, fantasy. As I lay here in my used rusty bed that groans and protests with each creaking spring. My roommate is squatting in the corner on her bed mumbling nonsense as she glares at me then the door. I initially thought she was waiting for someone to enter, but that long past as she continued her subtle eye shift between myself and the door. I could still feel her eyes on me in the darkness. Maybe that’s what made me crazy. I could always feel people looking at me, or about to touch me.
I couldn’t sleep this way. Not with her muttering, and not with the heavily abused springs poking at my side. I couldn’t sleep with the dusty, musty pillow supporting my head. Nor could I ignore the faint odor of something foul slipping in from under the door. I tried to hide my nose under the covers, but the vague smell of urine mixed with cheap dryer sheet scent made me toss it to the floor in disgust. Now I just lay here rather uncomfortably, on my side with y right hand over my right ear and the other over my nose while my knees beg for space on the small bed near my chest.
My roommate continued to babble and not even my hand could block her out. I nearly passed out from exhaustion until I noticed the lack of mumbling behind me. Her breathing started coming in gasps but no frantic mumbling. I turned to look at her, forgetting the dark. They don’t give us switches in our room for lights. To make us sleep, they claim. My eyes won’t adjust, there just isn’t a single ray of illumination to allow for even poor vision. Her breathing stops, but starts again in heavy gasping. I feared she might be having adverse reactions too the meds they forced down her throat earlier. There is no telling what they gave her. They told me mine will be here tomorrow but wouldn’t tell me what it was.
The smell from the hall grew in its intensity nearly making me gag. Stomach acid made its way up my throat but I forced it back down. Crying echoed through the room in chilling waves. Pulling myself to my feet, I walked to the barren bathroom. If it could even be considered a bathroom with just a toilet and no bathtub. Not even a mirror occupied the wall. I switched on the light. It was so far up, fixed to the ridiculously high ceiling that the dim light only illuminated enough to see shadows in the room. So many shadows were shifting around that I’d swear the light was swinging to and fro.
“Are you okay?” I asked tentatively to my crazy roommate. Cries continued to echo through the room and the putrid stench of rot grew stronger. The air was thick with the horrid smell making it exceedingly difficult to draw a breath. The air became frigid and my gagging turned into full on vomiting. I slammed the door shut and hugged the grimy toilet. The filth made me vomit harder until I cold only dry heave a minute amount of stomach acid.
I awoke, not realizing I’d fallen asleep on the dirty floor with my face near the urine coated toilet base. Scrambling to my feet clumsily, I fight my way out the room trying three times before I could turn the knob. What greeted me on the other side made me wish that I’d stayed in the bathroom. The light shinning through the only barred window showed a most horrendous sight. My roommate lay on the floor, face deep in her own blood. Her bowls were stretched out as if they’d been played with by a child. A scream locked in my throat, building pressure. When at last I was able to let loose, the sound pierced my ears, scratched my throat raw, and caused my lungs to burn in protest of their lost oxygen.
The slamming of feet across tile and voices shouting found little purchase in my ears. A flurry of movement entered the room and the last thing I felt was the pinch of a needle then a burn race up my arm before darkness consumed me.