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 10

Kauffman’session room smells like somebody smoked a hundred cigarretes. It makes me cough. Victoria opens the windows behind Kauffman’s desk and in a few minutes the room smells fresh again. Kauffman is late; he is never late. I find myself feeling worried.

Victoria didn’t handcuff me to the chair today, which has lifted my mood a bit. I feel free. My mind is empty; I have no thoughts to ponder upon. I don’t even think about Henry. I sit up straight with mother’s voice in my head telling me how good posture is important. She always instilled that upon me while growing up in London. How I missed her as I sat there looking out the window.

It was a rather warm January morning. A mockingbird chirped a song on a high branch of an oak tree right outside Kauffman’s session room. A brown rabbit searching for his morning grub lurked around the tree. I wondered if he had a family and how they waited patiently for him to come back. I hummed as the mockingbird sang it’s song and when it was done it flew away into the ocean blue sky. If only I could go outside and feel the sun on my skin. I desperately yearned to have the wind blow through my long red hair and flush my cheeks.

I suddenly hear Kauffman’s footsteps rushing towards the room. I know this by the clanking noise they make similar to a women’s pumps. They are annoying to hear but he doesn’t care what people think.

“I’m terribly sorry. I overslept.”Kauffman said breathlessly as he headed towards his desk. He did look tired; his eyes were puffy and dark. His clothes were wrinkled. Nevertheless, he managed to maintain his perfectly groomed dark brown hair, parted to the left. He always kept his hair well-groomed.

Victoria went over to him and started massaging his shoulders after he had sat down.

“There-there relax”She said to him.

“That does feel nice”Kauffman smiled with eyes closed. This angered me for some reason. Was I jealous? I quickly adverted my gaze to the window again, while Kauffman and Victoria went over notes.

I didn’t notice I had fallen into a trance; staring out the window. I was far away in my mind when I heard distant voices screaming my name. Gradually the voices grew louder; realizing it was Kauffman and Victoria announcing the start of the session. I shook myself back to the present.

“Now that we’re all back, let’s continue where we had left off the last time”Kauffman said to me.

“You were at your Uncle’s apartment” he continued.

“Yes” I replied.

“Let’s begin” Kauffman responded opening up his journal to a blank page as I began telling my story.

The next morning, Uncle Leo, had made us a big breakfast as well. That man really loved to cook. He made us French Toast, scrambled eggs, waffles and pancakes, freshly squeezed orange juice, oatmeal raisin muffins, fruit bowl with yogurt, coffee, strawberry milkshakes, bacon, sausages and grilled cheese sandwiches.

I took a bit of everything. It was so good. My jaw dropped when I saw how Victoria had stuffed her plate so high with food.

“Aren you really going to eat all of that” I asked her in total disbelief.

“Yes”she mouthed back with a mouth full of scrambled eggs and bacon. She did in fact eat it all and had herself a second helping. Uncle Leo was actually flattered by this. He urged me to eat more but I gracefully declined.

It was about 11 a.m. by the time we had left Uncle Leo’s apartment, bloated from the delicious breakfast we had just eaten. Before leaving, he had handed me a stack full of cash. At first I didn’t want to take it but I needed the money since I hadn’t found a job yet.

Outside the temperature was of Spring not of Winter at all that November morning while Victoria and I waited for our taxi. There wasn’t much people outside either. We didn’t have to wait long for the taxi; it arrived 10 minutes after we had called for it. There wasn’t much traffic so the trip home was a breeze.

Entering into our building’s main floor, we met with one of Victoria’s friends, named Alexis. She had been waiting for the elevator when we had entered. She had long blonde hair that reached her waist, wore a plum colored wool coat, black stockings and chocolate brown boots.

When she saw Victoria she smiled, “Victoria, how are you?!” she exclaimed as she rushed to give Victoria a hug.

“I’m fine, thanks. And you?”Victoria said to her. They talked for a few minutes until Alexis asked Victoria who I was.

“Where are my manners, Alexis, this is Elizabeth, my new roommate. She just moved here from England.”

“How do you do”Alexis smiled at me as she stretched out her hand for me to shake. At that moment, we heard the elevator doors open and I turned to face Henry. We smiled at each other. His ocean blue eyes glistening as the sun hit his face. I tried very hard not to blush.

“Fancy seeing you again”he said to me.

“Had an all-nighter, I see” he told me, pointing at my clothes. I tugged at my black sweater, slightly embarrased.

“Kind-of, we stayed over at my Uncle Leo’s apartment” I replied.

“What are you doing now? Want to grab coffee?” he asked.

“We just had a big breakfast at my Uncle’s, I don’t think I could fit anything anymore. Can I take a raincheck?” I laughed.

“Definitely, maybe later we can go out?” He smiled at me.

“Yes, maybe later”I smiled back.

“Here’s looking at you kid” He said to me as he hugged me goodbye. I watched him walk out the building and take a left down the street.

“Are you two a thing now?” Victoria said walking up behind me into the elevator.

“No, I just met him” I responded.

“It looks like he likes you” Victoria snorted.

“I don’t know…maybe” I replied.

“I can’t focus on that now, I have too many things to do” I continued.

“So serious” Victoria laughed. I didn’t bother to respond. Arriving at our apartment, I quickly headed towards my room remaining in there while I finished unpacking the rest of my luggage. It was well past four when I had finished unpacking and organizing my things.

Victoria didn’t know how to cook and I was too tired to do so-so we ended up ordering a pizza. We ate it while watching a movie in the living room with a bottle of red wine. We didn’t really talk much during the movie and after it was done, Victoria went to her room and stayed there the rest of the evening. I cleaned up and watched TV until midnight then went to bed.

I had hoped Henry would have come over but felt silly thinking about him. I didn’t know much about him and already had taken a shine to him.

“Did you ever go on a date with him? Kauffman asked suddenly, breaking my train of thought.

“Yes, but that’s later in the story” I said not looking at him.

“Have you remembered anything about the murder?” he asked me. This took me off guard and caused me to midly hyperventalate.

“No!”I yelled, starting to cry.

“I see…”he said, then called for Victoria to bring me my lunch. I wasn’t too sure about telling him the two visions I had been having where in one I hold a bloody bat and in the other a bloody knife while an unidentified man lays on the floor, dead. I couldn’t be sure that those visions or dreams were actual flashbacks.

I eat my lunch slowly, not wanting to talk with Kauffman anymore. He has been hostile to me for a few weeks now and I don’t like it at all. Victoria seems to be enjoying his sudden change in attitude towards me. I recoil in dismay. To my surprise, kauffman decides to end the session early and am left in the community room with a few other patients. I don’t talk to them. I sit on a brown sofa near a large glass window facing the grounds.

I stare out the window, thinking about how tired looking Kauffman had been. I was worried about him. He wasn’t himself these days. Now I find myself watching the other patients go about the community room but lose interest quickly.

“Junior,” a fifth year patient, waves to me from a chess table across the room.We called him “Junior” because he is a second generation patient. His father had been emitted here many years ago. He plays by himself. I smile at him. He sports a shaved head, an over-sized black t-shirt and blue asylum issued pajama pants. He wore no shoes.

In my periphery, I see Molly walking towards me.

“You can go back to your room until we come get you for dinner” she says to me. I slowly make my way to my room. As I make a right turn towards the hallway that leads to my room, I see him. Henry. He is by the exit doors that lead down to the basement. He smiles at me then disappears through the exit doors. I run after him. I make my way down to the basement screaming for Henry. He is nowhere to be found in the dimly lit maze.

I soon realize that I am lost and start to cry. Then I feel strong warm hands grab at my shoulders and turn me around to face Kauffman. He holds me tight to his chest and I let myself be soothed by his embrace. He is kind and gentle as he leads me to his office for a cup of hot Chamomile tea.

I tell him what happened and he just nods. He walks over to his disc player and soon it starts to play an old American Swing song. He comes over to where I am sitting and pulls me up by my hands to dance. He twirls me around and I laugh like a school girl. Then he pulls me close and kisses me on my forehead. He traces his fingers on my lips and I pull away.

I open my eyes and find myself in my room on the floor, shivering. It was just a dream.

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.

Grandiose (2)

I had just moved to the city, it was in early November of 2000. My parents had my uncle, Leo; find me an apartment in New York but it was to be shared with his friend’s daughter, Victoria Quinn. I didn’t know it then but Victoria would be the death of me. She seemed nice at first, but I soon learned it was only a disguise to her true nature.  I should have trusted my instincts the first time I met her but I had dismissed them due to my need for friendship in a new city. It was a long and scary flight from England to New York, and I wanted things to start off good, well as good as I dreamed it would be. For the most part, everything was going well, I didn’t get lost. I hate getting lost, it’s my worst fear.

As I rode in the Taxi from Newark Airport, I didn’t really think much, just observed the scenery as we entered New York City. As any newcomer, I was excited to see the lights in Times Square; my eyes were wide with glee. I was finally here; I was going to be an actress.  Or so I thought, the thing is some people get their dreams, others not so much. 

When the taxi dropped me off at my new home, 761 Park Ave, I was surprised at how beautiful the architecture was. It was of the Victorian era and the details on the windows were breathtaking. It was a beautiful building; I smiled to myself as I grabbed my luggage and headed to the front door. I rang the buzzer.Image

“Yes,” a girl answered.

“Hi, this is Elizabeth Hodges, I’m moving into apartment 9.”

“So you are…do please come in,” the girl replied in a morbid tone, that somewhat put me off.  I heard the click, signaling that the doors were unlocked and proceeded to enter the building. It smelled of tobacco, lavender and Chinese food; an interesting concoction of smells, I thought to myself feeling hungry, suddenly. The elevator seemed to take forever to come down and I was getting rather impatient. After about 10 minutes, it finally came down and I was slightly frustrated by the wait but happy to be on my way to my new apartment. It was a quick lift to the 5th floor.  Briskly descending onto the 5th floor hallway, I was instantly in awe of how exquisitely it portrayed the vintage Victorian theme.  I took time to admire the single chandelier in the middle of the hall, the contemporary art hanging on the maroon and white walls, as well as, the very expensive looking maroon carpeting. For some reason, I had the craziest urge to take of my shoes and run my toes through the carpet but I decided otherwise to just find my new apartment and meet my new roommate.

 I thought I would get lost but it was easy to find. It’s like she knew because before I knocked on the door, it hang flung open and there she was-the sadistic evil witch that would drive me out of my mind, but of course, I did not know it then or maybe I did.

“Hi! I’m Victoria. Victoria Quinn,” this petite pear-shaped wide-eyed girl with wild curly golden brown hair exclaimed.

“Hello,” I nervously smiled.

“You must be Elizabeth,” she crooned. I got a bad vibe from her; she just kept staring right at me with that weird smile on her face. It made me uncomfortable but I dismissed my instincts because I was new in town and needed to start off on a good foot with this girl that was going to be my roommate for some time.  She was blocking my entrance into the apartment.

“I’m terribly tired from the flight, may I come in?” I asked, chuckling a bit, as it was my apartment as well, but the nervous laugh didn’t really help in disguising my fear. Victoria stared at me even more for a while, her eyes piercing into mine like daggers.

“Yes, of course, do come in.”

“This is your apartment too….for a while” she murmured.

“What?” I asked.

“Nothing dear, let me show you to your room.” She smiled as she helped me bring my luggage to my room.

“Your uncle tells me you want to be an actor,” Victoria blurted out as she helped me situate my luggage in my new room.

“Yes, but do you mind terribly if I could get a cup of tea, I’m awfully thirsty” I said.

“The Brits and their tea, can’t go a day without it, huh?” Victoria smirked. I ignored her sarcasm and just said, “Yes, tea would be great. May you direct me to the kitchen?”

“Sure, right this way, sweety” she replied in a somewhat condescending tone. As I followed her to the kitchen, I could not help but notice the countless books on biology, psychology and crime-related mystery novels in the living room. The kitchen was just as beautiful as the rest of the apartment and I took a seat on one of the steel stools by the long marble counter. As Victoria prepared the tea, she made another attempt in small talk, mostly trying to bond with me as she too wanted to be an actress.

“You have such lovely hair,” she told me.

“Thank you” I smiled.

“How do you get it to be so silk like” she asked.

“My mom is a hairstylist back in London, so as you know, she was keen on having all her children have good hair.” I replied. She kept on complimenting me and asking me a lot of questions, digging into my personal life. I was getting uncomfortable.

“I see you’re interested in Biology and Psychology,” I suddenly asked, as a way to divert her attention from asking me anymore personal questions.

“Oh, yes, they’re just hobbies”

“Do you have any hobbies or do you just focus on acting?” She sneered.

“Of course, I do” I remarked trying to hide my embarrassment.

“Oh, I didn’t mean to sound condescending” she cooed at me, trying to sound sincere. I was so appalled but didn’t know what to say. She was deliberately undermining me and I couldn’t even muster the courage to put her in her place. I was ashamed.

“I think I’ll start unpacking and take a short nap afterwards. But first, I’ll call my uncle and parents, to let them know that I’m okay.” I finally decided to say as I grabbed my cup of tea and headed back to my room, feeling like a ton of bricks just crushed my chest.