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.

//
//

Grandiose 9

Kauffman came into my room briefly this morning with Demetrius and a new orderly.  They dragged me to the seclusion room on the third floor. I screamed all the way there. It was not a great place to be, well for me that is. I hated being in the dark. I dreaded going there again.

The third floor had dimmer lights than the rest of the building; that’s where they kept the psychopaths-the morbidly deranged. I heard them scream in madness all those dark souls and for a moment I thought I would join them. I refused to succumb to their madness. Image

            “Hey little girl, come back and play!” a convicted serial killer laughed. Demetrius and the new orderly forced me to walk faster. We reach the steel door that requires 6 gold plated bolts to keep it secure.  It was a small dark room with black walls and one light bulb that flickered all the time. The walls were covered with disturbing art from the other patients who had been exiled there. There were even stories of patients dying there and ghosts haunting the room.  I beg Kauffman to reconsider but he ignores me. I cry hysterically.

Demetrius and the new orderly try to pull me in but I hang on to the door like a 5 year old.

            “No!” I scream. They are pulling me from my legs now and I’m holding on to the side of the door for my dear life. Kauffman begins to pry my fingers off the door and I am pulled into the room, defeated. I curl into a fetal position at the back left corner of the room and shiver.

            “This is not a punishment. I am really trying to help you” I hear Kauffman say but am too busy crying to even acknowledge him. Kauffman leaves a few blank white pages and a box of crayons on an old wood student desk in the middle of the room. He tells me he wants me to draw something and heads out the room with Demetrius and the new orderly. The closing of the door as the bolts clank in place makes me even more delirious. The fact that he didn’t tell me how long I would be in there causes me to hyperventilate.

The only light bulb in the room starts to flicker, elevating my forthcoming panic attack. I remain in the corner not moving one bit. Somehow I fall asleep for a while; don’t know how long, though. There are no windows in this room or a clock, so I am oblivious to time here as well.

Before Kauffman had left, he had placed an old tape player on the student desk to play both Beethoven and Mozart. I suppose the music calmed me down. After waking up the first time, I began to cry again, realizing it was not a dream. I was actually in that room in the dark with just a glimmer of light from the incessantly flickering bulb in the middle of the room. I cried and cried for hours, begging for someone to let me out. No one came.  All that crying made me sleepy again. I went back to sleep for a second time. I don’t know for how long I slept that time either.

When I awoke, I begrudgingly crawled my way to the student desk and pulled myself onto the chair. It creaked and rocked from my weight. I considered my options. Perhaps Kauffman was watching me through a camera in the room and if I didn’t do what he said I would stay in here forever. I stared at the art on the wall in front of me created by past patients, most of which depicted suicide and other disturbing images. The ones who used a lot of the black and red crayons were the broken souls on this floor. There were a few rainbows and happy faces but only a few.

I think about what to draw, scratching my head with a blue crayon. I decide to look at the art on the wall instead as I slip out of the chair and make my way towards them. So much pain on these walls, I think to myself. Like I said beforehand, many of these cried out their suicidal tendencies. The more deranged ones drew dark images of a homicidal nature. Then there were the ones who just wanted to go home, like a patient named Emily, who drew a picture of her family.

It was the typical family picture a kindergartener would draw; a house with a white picket fence with the whole family lined up in front, smiling. There was also a dog there too. She even wrote the words, “I want to go home” in the green grass in black crayon. Emily had a personality disorder. She had murdered her whole family with a machete seven years ago on Christmas Eve. They never figured out why.

Tears streamed down my face as I slipped my hand through all the artwork, feeling all their pain. I went back to the chair and sat there, just staring at the blank pages on the table. I thought about Henry and what Demetrius had said. He had seen him too.

“That’s it!” I exclaimed.  I decided to draw a portrait of Henry so I could show it to Demetrius and confirm my story to Kauffman. Then he would see that I wasn’t crazy. A few minutes into the sketch, I hear the door unbolt and in comes a tall skinny blonde hair nurse with my lunch. It’s only lunch! I thought I had been in there for hours. The nurse smiles at me and places the tray of food to my right side. I smile at her for not covering my drawing with the tray. I guess some people still have manners.

I barely touch the food because all I want is to finish my perfect portrait of Henry. I make sure to accurately emphasize on his deep blue warm eyes, blonde hair, strong jaw and full lips. When I am done, I trace my fingers on his lips, pretending he is there with me. More hours pass by and I fall asleep once more. The door opens a few hours later, jolting me up from my sleep to see Kauffman walk in.

He doesn’t talk to me as he grabs for my sketch of Henry. He looks at it for a few seconds with a stern look upon his face, and then calls for Demetrius who is told to take me to the cafeteria for dinner. Kauffman was being cold to me and I didn’t know why. Then the strangest thing happened, Demetrius smiled at me. I was taken aback by this because he never smiled. I found this rather peculiar.

I didn’t feel much like eating. Knowing my chances were slim, I asked Demetrius if he could let me hang out in the community room instead. He of course, said no at first. It was forbidden to miss a meal because they gave us our medication with it. A few moments later, Demetrius, to my surprise, changed route whispering the following into my ear.

            “Only this time” he said as we made our way to the other side of the building back down stairs to the main floor. We walked through the long empty hallways in silence. I stared at the floor as I walked. I wasn’t particularly happy after spending most of the day locked up in a dark room.

About 20 minutes later, we reached the dark green doors of the community room. It was empty with the exception of the attending nurse who was enclosed in an office with glass walls. She looked at Demetrius who gave her a non-verbal sign which she acknowledged in agreement by nodding her head.

The community room was filled with vintage chairs, sofas and TV’s. The walls were covered in an out-dated floral wallpaper. It was like you were being transported back to the 70s. I made my way to a leprechaun green sofa that faced the largest of the four TV’s in the room. I didn’t bother to turn it on, I just stared at the dark screen. Demetrius went over to chat up the nurse, always having a watchful eye on me, though. I curled up on the sofa, my eyes growing heavy and falling asleep once again.

During my short nap, I had a nightmare or maybe it was a flashback. I couldn’t really be sure. I was holding a knife and was covered in blood. I heard water running and police sirens in the distant. There is a man dead on the floor but can’t make out his face. At that moment I lose the image as Demetrius furiously shakes me, waking me up. He is now dragging me back to my room. There has been a murder. One of the dangerous patients has stabbed a nurse and they are ordering a lockdown.

Hurrying back to my room, I can’t help but wonder if what I dreamt was a memory or just a nightmare. Nothing is clear. I have to figure things out soon because I don’t have much time. Kauffman is growing weary of me; I fear he will give up on me. I fear being exiled back onto the third floor. I’ll die there. Third floor residents don’t last long; they always die of mysterious causes or go missing after a few years. Nobody ever knows what happens to them. Two nurses rush past us, looking scared. I knew who they were afraid of. I knew who stabbed that poor nurse. And I also knew he would disappear sometime soon. 

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.

Grandiose (5)

I’m back in the dark room again but this time I am no longer restrained by the white jacket, yet I am handcuffed to the cold steel chair. Kauffman is sitting behind his desk and I see the woman who calls herself, Marissa, even though she has a striking resemblance to Victoria, leaning over him. Her nurse’s dress has the top two buttons unbuttoned revealing an inappropriate amount of flesh. Kauffman, however, seems unwaivered by this as he pours over his notes.

“I’m so excited to assist you today with Elizabeth’s session” I hear Victoria say to Kauffman in an over exaggerated tone.

“Does she require any other preparations besides the sedative?” She continues to ask.

“No, just make sure she stays calm and bring in her lunch in about two hours” Kauffman tells Victoria, still looking over his notes. I twisted and turned in my chair causing the handcuffs to dig into my wrists.

“Stop, Elizabeth” Victoria shouts at me as she rushes to me. She holds my face in her hands and I’m nose is over-powered by the strong scent of cigar smoke exuding from her hair. Victoria always did love her smokes.

“Victoria” I whisper to her.

“No, my name is Marissa” she says to me like I am mentally challenged with a wink. She slowly lingers two fingers upon my lips as she slides them downward, over my chin and down my neck.

“Stop” I tell her. She chuckles and blows me a kiss.Image

“Is everything alright?” Kauffman chimes in as he walks towards us. Victoria steps to the side so Kauffman could look at me.

“Are you ready to begin?”

“Do you remember where you left off?” he asks me. I nod rather awkwardly, wobbling my head like a wobble-head. I had to force myself to stop.

Victoria snorts a bit and Kauffman glares at her. She heads off to the far right of the room and slides into a metal school chair. You know the ones that have the table attached to them and starts reading a book. I can’t tell what the cover says because my hair is obscuring my view. From time to time, I catch her in my periphery, staring at me.

“Now, let’s begin” Kauffman announces the beginning of the session as he sits across from me. I close my eyes and take in the scent of his after-shave; letting the words pour out of me as the images swarm my mind.

When I got back into my room, I placed my cup of tea unto a sturdy espresso colored dresser, reaching into my right back pocket for my cell phone. I immediately called Uncle Leo. The phone rang a couple times before he answered.

“Hello” I heard a raspy voice answer. It had been a while since I heard his voice.

“Uncle Leo, it’s me, Elizabeth” I cheered.

“Darling, how are you?” he gushed.

“I’m fine, thank you” I lied.

“How’s Victoria treating you?” he asked.

“Victoria, she’s a character” I said hesitantly.

“Yes, she can be a bit over-bearing but she’s a doll” Uncle Leo said in efforts to comfort me.

“Over-bearing is an understatement, she’s a real jerk” I said, feeling a bit ashamed for whining like a child.

“Oh, she’s not so bad, tell you what, why don’t you two come over for dinner?” he tells me.

“A home cooked meal sounds good right now” I reply with a sigh.

“Brilliant! I made my famous meatloaf.” Uncle Leo exclaims. I smile at this.

“Come ‘round 7:30, okay” he says to me.

“Okay” I reply. He goes on to tell me that Victoria is a great girl and that I should give her a chance. I tell him I would try to get along with her and reconfirm our dinner plans; taking note of his address.

My new room had the same maroon carpeting as the outside floor hallway but it was fluffier. I lay down on it and stare at the ocean blue ceiling. I don’t know how long it was, but I lay there emotionless for some time. I might have fallen asleep but can’t really be sure. A few hours later, I hear the door open and see Victoria towering over me.

“What would you like for dinner?” she asks.

“We can go out if you like?” she continues.

“What time is it?” I finally respond.

“It’s 6:30” she says.

“Uncle Leo invited us for dinner” I reply as I make my way up off the floor.

“Nice” Victoria yelps.

“Did he say what time?” she asks.

“Seven-thirty” I tell her.

“We should get going, traffic is a killer at this time” Victoria urges.

“I’ll call us a taxi” she yells out as she rushes out the room. I decide to change my clothes. While re-dressing, Victoria hollers that she would be heading downstairs to meet the taxi and again advises me to hurry up. It was close to seven by the time I was done.

In my rush to get downstairs, I bump into somebody coming out the elevator. He had been carrying a pack of manila folders that go flying into the air and rain down upon us, spilling all their contents.

“I am so sorry” I cried, beyond embarrassed.

“I can be such a bloody klutz sometimes” I blabber on.

“That’s alright, we all have our flaws” he jokes as we both bend down to pick up the disarrayed manila folders. Then as I hand him what I could put together of the mess, we have that epic moment where we look into each other’s eyes and smile in unison. It was just like that, magic.

“Hi, my name’s Henry” he says to me as he stretches out his right hand.

“I’m Elizabeth” I muster the courage to say as I shake his hand. I couldn’t help but stare at his eyes; they were blue, grey and green. I was in awe of them. We stood back up and I realized he was really tall; about 6’4. He had brown wispy hair, symmetrical face features and a strong jaw. He wore a chestnut brown blazer with a light blue white pinstripe shirt, blue jeans and dark brown loafers that looked really expensive. He also carried a brown cross-body briefcase with him.

“Are you new here? I’ve never seen you before” he said, breaking the silence.

“Yes, just moved in” I responded with a nervous smile, realizing I was still holding onto his hand. I quickly slid my hand out of his. Then my phone rang and I jumped. It was Victoria reminding me to get downstairs because the taxi driver was getting impatient.

“Sorry, but I must go”

“It was lovely to meet you, Henry” I said to Henry.

“Nice to meet you too” He smiled.

“Be careful now, don’t go bumping into more strangers” he joked, giving me a wink as I headed to the elevator.

“I’ll try not to” I laughed.

In the elevator, I couldn’t stop smiling. I kept on thinking about how great he smelled and how gentle and soft his hands were. But most of all, I was captivated by his eyes and how they glistened even in the dim hallway light. I finally knew what people meant when they said, “It was love at first sight”, stepping out into the cold November night.

Grandiose (3)

 

“Interesting,” Kauffman interrupted as he wrote on his worn brown leather pad. I watched him as he rapidly took notes and found myself a bit annoyed that he had interrupted me. Nevertheless, I decided to forgive him for the poor manners and waited until he was finished. It seemed like he could go on forever, scratching his ginger beard as he poured his thoughts onto those pages.

Seemingly, he was unaware of the sudden sharp pain that ran from the back of my neck to the left side of my head. It was like I was under an electric shock from an eel. I twisted and turned in pain, but he was oblivious to me now; as he was deep in thought. The pain intensified and I screamed. I screamed like I was being murdered by a serial killer; you know that chilling scream made famous by all the great horror movies.

Everything after that seemed like a blur; I have a lot of blurs. I vaguely remember, Kauffman rushing to my side trying to calm me but to no avail. Then a bulky nurse rushing in and injecting something into my left arm. I remember chuckling a bit because she had the body of a quarterback and a pig’s nose.

“What happened?!,” I heard the nurse ask with shortness of breath.

“I don’t know.”

“I was taking notes and she just went ballistic.”Image

“Put her down!” Kauffman yelled. That’s all I remember. Now I’m back in the padded white room that smells like mint, has no windows, and has lights that are too bright. I tell them it hurts my eyes but they don’t care. They say they are good for me.  I call them liars.

The asylum was quiet that cold October afternoon, every patient had been neutralized and all slept in their beds with the exception of Elizabeth. The front desk nurses were gossiping about the patients as usual.

“Monty peed the bed again and they had the slow janitor, Bob, clean it up!” A porky nurse named Janice bursted with laughter.

“Oh, Janice, you’re so bad,” a shy skinny nurse named Molly pleaded. Suddenly the front doors opened and in with the cold brought in a devilishly beautiful woman of a petite stature with wild curly black hair. It was Victoria but she was going by another name now. A friend at the asylum had warned her that Elizabeth was slowly regaining her memory and Victoria could not let that happen. She walked right up to the help-desk and gave her signature sinister smile to Molly. Molly could tell that this woman was far from nice and she gulped.

“May I help you?” Molly asked, trying to sound confident.

“Why, yes dear.”

“I’m Marissa.”

“Marissa Croon.”

“I’m here about the nurse assistant position for Mr. Kauffman.” Victoria boasted.

“Oh, yes, I was told to direct you straight to him.”

“Follow me please” Molly directed Victoria. Kauffman’s office was in the basement, so they took the elevator down. They didn’t talk much on the way down just gave each other nervous smiles here and there. When they reached the ground floor, Molly felt a shiver run down her back as she headed out the elevator.

“You can get lost down here, it’s a bit of a maze” Molly nervously laughed, trying to shake the bad feeling that had come over her like ice.

“I don’t mind getting lost. I love adventure.” Victoria replied in a monotone. They took a few left and right turns, until they finally reached Kauffman’s office.  It was closed. The worn wood door was in desperate need of a new finish or perhaps needed to be replaced. Molly softly knocked on the door and called out for Mr. Kauffman.

“Mr. Kauffman, are you there?” Molly called out.

“Yes, just a minute” Kauffman replied.

“He’s always so busy reading you know,” Molly smiled at Victoria. Victoria didn’t say anything back. She just smiled. The door flew open and Kauffman greeted both ladies.

“Good evening” Kauffman smiled. He was taken aback by Victoria’s beauty. He could barely stop himself from staring.

“This is Marissa Croon, the new nurse assistant you requested.” Molly told Kauffman.

“Yes, yes, how do you do?” Kauffman greeted Victoria once again.

“Well, I’ll leave you two to it then” Molly said as she headed back to the main floor.

“We’ll go up with you; I want to show Miss Croon the patient she would be helping me with.” Kauffman cried out to Molly. On the way back up to the main floor, Kauffman slightly grilled Victoria on her work history and education. Victoria seemed to have all the right answers and Kauffman was growing more intrigued by her. She was very intelligent.

“Elizabeth,” a soft voice speaks to me. I have my head between my legs and my long curly red hair covers my face. I slowly lift my head and look around but nobody is there. For a moment, I fantasize that the voice is Henry’s. It sounded like him.

I crawl into a fetal position at the back right corner of the room as a sleep catches my eyes. Time is unknown to me and I am unsure if it’s actually time for bed. Bedtime has been called out yet, so I guess not. Sorrowfully, I shed a tear for my Henry as I close my eyes.

I don’t dream anymore. My thoughts consist of bits and pieces of images I can’t be sure to be true or not. They tell me I did terrible things; they say I killed people, men. I don’t remember the last two years of my life or what happened that brought me here. Everything is a blur. The padded white floor is cold and I hold myself tighter.

“Elizabeth,” I hear that song angelic voice again calling my name. Abruptly lifting my head to see the owner of the voice, I am left perplexed by the handsome man with blue eyes I had loved many years ago kneeling right in front of me. Henry.

“Henry!,” I cry out excitedly.

“Hush my love” Henry smiles at me as he places two fingers upon my badly chapped lips. I kiss them.

“I missed you so much” I gasped as I rushed into his embrace. He kisses me and I let him take me. It is like a new dawn after a monstrous storm; our bodies explode with love. It feels great. We hold each other and as my head lies on his left shoulder, I can’t help but smell the tobacco and lavender exuding from him.

“I missed you too,” he whispers. I smile like a little school girl. Suddenly, I got the feeling that someone was watching us.

“Who is she talking to?” Victoria asked Kauffman as they looked at Elizabeth through her door window.

“I don’t have the slightest idea” Kauffman replied.

“Does she talk to herself a lot?” Victoria asked.

“This is the first time I see her do this” Kauffman replied in a concerned tone. They watched Elizabeth for a bit longer.

“Oh look, Henry, its Mr. Kauffman”

“He’s nice to me” Elizabeth pointed a finger to Kauffman. Kauffman smiled at Elizabeth.

“I must go now my love” Henry told Elizabeth.

“No!”

“Don’t go, stay and meet Mr. Kauffman” Elizabeth pleaded but Henry was gone. She started to cry.

“Why is she crying?” Victoria asked trying to hide her amusement. Elizabeth looked back to where Kauffman and Victoria stared at her from her room door and when she noticed Victoria she stopped crying.

“I know her. She looks so familiar” Elizabeth thought to herself.

“So…that’s Elizabeth” Victoria said coolly to Kauffman as they headed to the cafeteria. Kauffman was already under her spell and it didn’t seem like Elizabeth remembered her. But Victoria couldn’t take that chance; she had to get rid of Elizabeth for good this time. No loose ends.