Grandiose 14

Near the garden maze entrance, I remained frozen and stared into its never ending abyss, for it was a perfect evening to get lost. On nights like this the trees shivered and dreaded the strong winds. The garden would come to life on these strange nights even though the moon’s light was scarce.Image

The trees would whisper silently as the over-grown wet grass tickled my bare feet. Something or someone deep inside the maze called out for me and I slightly stepped forward only to move backwards again. This was the second time that my room was left unlocked. It wasn’t an oversight anymore; it was deliberate. I couldn’t for the life of me remember how I managed to make my way to this part of the grounds. I think to myself that this must be a dream.

An old owl perched on a high branch of an old oak tree on the far-far right side of the garden hoots a sad song. After it was done it blew in the wind and the wind carried it away to a new land; a happier land I like to believe. It was a cold night even though the present humidity caused my hair to frizz; a cold shiver ran through my spine.

“Elizabeth” someone called out for me again from within the maze but yet again I remained frozen in the same place. I can’t move. It is like my bones have been turned to stone and my body has become part of the garden; as if I was a flesh statue.

From the air she would resemble a dark yet alluring fortress that would easily charm and lure you to your death. Many have nicknamed it, properly so, “The Siren”, because those foolish enough to enter it have never been found nor returned.

The side of her long structured well manicured arms, stretching out like angelic wings, was the most memorable part of the labyrinth, and most of the rest of her was covered by over-grown grass and wild flowers. Only toward her head where vintage Victorian statues and man-sculpted animal shaped shrubs had much enchantment, as she pretended to be an art form worthy of exaggerated admiration, creatively disguising her evil intentions.

She called out to me once more in a somewhat ethereal voice and again I remained frozen where I stood. It was like an invisible force was keeping me there, protecting me from her. Then the patient lock-down alarm shook me from her trance, reality sinking in again. They finally discovered my absence and a wave of relief swept over me.

I heard the orderlies shout out orders from a distance, their flashlights flickering in the dark.

“Follow procedure!”

“Bring her in safe and secure!” I heard Demetrius scold. I suppose he was their master now. I imagined him as Hitler shouting orders to his minions. I didn’t try to run or escape not for lack of trying or fear. I just couldn’t move.

“I found her!” I heard a loud raspy voice yell out. As if to break me from a spell, I slowly turned around to have a bright light being shined upon my face, briefly blinding me. The orderly was about a few inches shorter than me, had bloodshot red eyes and was stronger than he looked. He grabbed my right arm and yelled back again, “I have her!”  Then the real terror began.

Two orderlies dragged me back into the main building and somehow I knew they weren’t taking me back to my room. A scary silence took over the grounds that made my heart skip a couple beats. Only her fading whispers called out to me.

“Take me back to my room” I yelled, kicking my legs. My screams and pleading proved to be futile. In a manner of minutes I found myself in a well-lit white room strapped to a cold steel table drugged with two rubbery tubes placed on each side of my head. The light hurt my eyes and my mind swarmed with thoughts of her. She was in my mind now, tormenting me from afar. I shook my head to get rid of her. Still I heard her whisper my name in her oh so otherworldly tone of voice. I tried to occupy my mind with thoughts of Henry to escape her grasp.

“Doctor is she sedated” I heard a familiar voice ask. It was Kauffman.

“Yes, she is” an unfamiliar male voice responded.

“Shall we begin” he continued.

“Ye-Yes” Kauffman stuttered. A tingling sharp pain ran from my head down to my legs. I couldn’t scream because there was a thick white stick between my teeth. My whole body shook violently. The pain continued for half an hour and I thought I would die. After an hour, I blacked out. Even in my dormant state, there was still a buzzing sound in my head. I don’t know how long they kept me in that room, but when I came to, I found myself back in my room with the top half of my body constricted into the dreaded white jacket.

My long red hair lay wet and flat against my face while my legs trembled violently. This caused me to bite down on my lower lip. I felt the warm blood trickle down to my chin; suddenly finding myself licking at it like a cat mending a wounded paw. I was unaware of Victoria and Demetrius standing right outside my door peering at me through its window.

“You think that did the trick?” Demetrius asked Victoria in his strong Russian accent still staring at Elizabeth.

“We shall see soon enough but I don’t think I have to worry about her much longer” Victoria replied with a smirk.

“As discussed, we’re right on schedule” she continued, and then they both went off separately in opposite directions. A strong lavender aroma swept into Elizabeth’s room causing her eyes to jolt wide open from their weary state.

“Victoria!” she screamed repeatedly, the aroma stimulating her ever growing frustrations and madness.

Grandiose 11

You dreamt about me?” Kauffman asks from across the table. We are having breakfast in the cafeteria. We both ordered scrambled eggs with toast and a cup of coffee.  As I grabbed for the hot sauce so did he and our fingers touched. I tried not to blush. He chuckled a bit.

He looked like his normal self again. His eyes glistening as the sun hit them. I was glad he was being nice to me again and when I had told him about my dream he didn’t laugh; he was surprised.

“I never had a patient dream about me before” He smiled.

“There’s always a first time for anything” I said, blushing. Was I flirting? I became upset because I was confused by my emotions.

“Don’t get upset. It’s okay” Kauffman told me as he cupped my hands between his. I looked him and he leaned forward and smiled. I smiled back.

“Now, I have a surprise for you. You’re going to love this” he said as he led me out the cafeteria. He had me by my right hand and we ran to the main hallway with the glass walls overlooking the garden.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” Kauffman asked, breathlessly.

“It certainly is” I responded. Then he dragged me out through the exit door into the garden.  It was a warm day and the snow had melted away a few weeks ago.  I raised my hands to the sky taking in the sun, twirling myself around with glee. I was outside for the first time in three years.  I let myself fall onto the wet grass smelling fresh honeydew as Kauffman lands right beside me. We stare up at the sky and watch the birds fly by.

Lying there, Kauffman opens up to me about how he had lost his parents when he was young and had to take care of his younger brothers. He had to grow up fast at thirteen years old. I slid my hand into his as to comfort him.  For a while, after he had confiding in me about his past, we just laid there in silence. I didn’t think about anything really; was too happy to be outside.

I wanted to milk this newfound freedom until I had exhausted the day for all its worth. Abruptly making my way up, I made my way around the garden in total awe of the new born flowers.  Kauffman followed and watched me from afar. While sliding my hands through a shrub, I pricked a finger on a sharp twig that had been poking out.

“Ouch!” I yelped. Kauffman rushed over to me, pulled a handkerchief from his jean pocket and wrapped it around my finger.

“I think it’s time to go back inside; you’re going to need a band-aid.” He told me looking at my bloody finger. I didn’t protest as he led me back inside. He had a nurse attend to my finger in the session room.  She was quick and a bit rude, but my mind was preoccupied with other pressing matters.

The whole day I had the feeling that I was being watched even though you were always being watched here.  In the garden I thought I saw a man watching us from the extended garden, but when I had looked back he had disappeared. I couldn’t shake the feeling.

A strong lavender aroma from Victoria’s newly washed hair blended with the freshly brewed Columbian coffee from the cafeteria that alarmed everyone that lunch was ready. She placed the red food tray on my desk and smiled.

“They made peach cobbler, your favorite” Victoria told me, pointing at the peach cobbler. I never told her I loved peach cobbler. Only Victoria knew this. I didn’t say anything back because I knew how the discussion would end. I ate my lunch in silence leaving Victoria and Kauffman to chat over their lunch.

Again, I had that uneasy feeling that someone was watching me. I turned my head to the door but no one was there. Kauffman and Victoria were immersed in discussion about the poor care of the third floor patients. Many of them weren’t being fed because the nurses were scared of them.

Some were even being mistreated by the orderlies who took pleasure in beating them.  Six third floor patients died last week of alleged unknown causes. Corruption roamed free here and those who talked were never seen again.

I had overheard Demetrius talking to another Russian orderly, named Marcus, who was known to have the tendency to act violently against patients brag about molesting a second floor patient. It was common for orderlies to molest or even rape female patients. I was one of the lucky few that had not been subjected to such indignities.

For the most part, I was grateful for Demetrius. He always kept a watchful eye on me and protected me but I always wondered why. Why is he so nice to me? He treats everyone else like sewage rats but I’m the exception. I’ve always been skeptical of him; you always have to trust your gut. Sometimes I feel like he is just fattening me up like a pig for slaughter; not to sound morbid or cynical, though.

Savoring every single bite of the peach cobbler as the sweet and pungent flavors electrified my taste buds; as I finished my lunch. I tried not to think about the harsh reality seemingly construed like a blockbuster horror story.

Then a shrilling scream rounded the lively souls silent and my heart pounded like a mad man playing the drums. It had come from the third floor and soon I heard the pounding footsteps of orderlies and nurses running towards the screams.

“Stay here!” Kauffman yelled at me as he rushed out with Victoria. I locked the door behind them, just to be safe.  The officials will not like this or perhaps they are not aware of the increasing deaths and disappearances. I make my way to a corner and hide away from view. I have to get out of here. I fear the worst and I will not stand around and wait to be caught by the killer.

//
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Grandiose 7

I’m watching the snow fall. My face is pressed against the left glass wall of the main floor, overlooking the garden which is now completely covered in a beautiful white blanket of snow. Sometimes they let me walk around if I’ve been good but always under the watchful eye of Demetrius. Demetrius was a steroid pumping, six foot four orderly from Russia, covered in tattoos. He was known for abusing his authority and had a really bad temper. He loved to physically abuse patients if they didn’t adhere to his way of doing things. He never hurt me though, but I didn’t receive special treatment either. Through my periphery, I saw him take out a cigarette and light it. The hall was empty; everyone else was at lunch or in their rooms. I had eaten my lunch in my room and he had come to surprise me. He knew I liked looking outside. Image

I yearn to go out and feel the cold on my skin and throw myself onto the ground and make snow angels. They rarely let me go outside; not since the attempted suicide incident when I was first emitted. It was my first Spring here, and they had taken me out to the garden. While walking around, I noticed a sharp rock by an old oak tree and picked it up without anyone noticing. I attempted to cut my wrists but was stopped by two nurses. I was more deranged then.

After that they never let me out, even now I am restricted to these walls. It is maddening really to watch those who can go outside in the Spring and Summer. I envy them. I always plead with them to let me go out but it is futile. This of course drives me into screaming spells which results with me being drugged and locked up in my room.  I cringed at the thought of it.

“Time to go back Lizzie” Demetrius says to me in a strong Russian accent. I didn’t like people calling me Lizzie but I wasn’t going to tell him that. I didn’t want to see what happens when you talk back to him. I was very comfortable with our arrangement. He grabbed my right arm a bit too hard as he led me back to my room. When we got there, he shoved me in and slammed my door shut. I stayed in there until it was time for dinner. This time it was Janice who got me and took me to the cafeteria.

Janice was obnoxious and loud. I towered over her but she was a big woman with very strong arms.  It was around 6:30 p.m. when I got my last meal for the day. I decided to sit at the far right corner of the cafeteria. I was one of the few patients that actually got to eat outside of their rooms. Most patients were fed in their rooms; some were too dangerous to let out. When I was first emitted, I was one of those dangerous patients who reside on the third floor. My tray was slid through an opening in the door and sometimes the orderly would be cruel and shove it in. It would spill the contents on the floor and I would have to eat it.

Then one day, Molly, a shy, petite nurse, came into my room with my lunch. She wasn’t afraid of me. She was nice to me and sat with me as I ate. I took a liking to her right away. The Director was impressed at how Molly had tamed me, that I was given cafeteria privileges. Come my fourth evaluation by the former psychiatrist (which I don’t recall ever meeting) I was moved to the first floor.

Now I sit in the far right corner of the cafeteria, staring at my food tray. It consists of macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, chicken breast, fruit bowl and a box of orange juice. I’m not hungry. I think about throwing it out but pick up the plastic white spoon instead and shove it into the mashed potatoes, putting a good heap of it into my mouth.

I eat everything in record speed even the juice is gulped down in less than a ten seconds. I sense someone watching me and turn my head slightly to the left to see Kauffman staring at me. When he sees me looking back, he smiles at me. I quickly turn my head back to look at my now empty food tray and blush a little, glad that my long red hair covers my face.

“Sweet Elizabeth” I hear a familiar distant voice say.

“Henry!” I yelp as I jolt myself off my seat and look around for him. Everyone turns to look at me. I see him across the room and rush to meet him but am stopped by three big orderlies. I fight them screaming for Henry but when I look back to where I had seen him, he was no longer there. He had slipped away once again. I see a nurse inject a needle into my right arm and soon I start to feel sleepy. I am carried off back to my room, locked in for the remainder of the day.

Kauffman comes into my room a few hours later, looking rather frazzled. He hadn’t been sleeping much with my sudden drawback and his ever growing patient list. Despite his lack of sleep and stress, he still managed to keep a smile on his face. Behind him was Victoria or as she called herself now, Marissa.

“How are you?” Kauffman said to me with a smile.

“What happened with you tonight?” He continued to ask.

“I swear he was there!” I exclaimed. I went on to tell him of how I heard Henry call out to me and how I had seen him across the cafeteria by the far left exit door.

“I see…” Kauffman said in a low voice.

“We’ll talk about this further tomorrow morning” he went on to tell me as he turned to exit my room.

“Who is this Henry she speaks of?” Victoria whispered to Kauffman when they were out of Elizabeth’s earshot.

“Henry Betzel, but the thing is there is no record of him. I’ve done my research on her story. He doesn’t exist” Kauffman said to her with a sigh.

“He doesn’t exist?” Victoria replied, chuckling a bit.

“No” Kauffman responded with a yawn. I sat in my room, knees tucked in, shivering. I saw Henry with my own eyes. I wasn’t crazy or maybe I was. If only they had let me reach him. I didn’t sleep that night. I couldn’t.