Grandiose 16

“Elizabeth, what are you doing?!” Barbara screams at me. I keep my eyes closed, shivering, as she vigorously dries me off with a white towel. It feels like sand paper against my skin and I cringe at the touch of it.

            “It seems she needs more help than I thought,” I hear Kauffman say with a sigh. I pretend not to have heard him. I have been pretending many of things lately. Sometimes I imagine myself back in London helping mum with dinner while we laugh about silly things. Other times I think about Henry locked in that room strapped to a wheelchair. Nevertheless, reality creeps in like a cold breeze on a summer day and I find myself in my padded white room, alone.Image

Barbara quickly helps me put on my institution issued blue patient uniform. As she guides me out of the room, I slip a weak smile at Kauffman. He doesn’t smile back rather just nods his head. That’s when I notice Victoria and Demetrius walking about the grounds from the open window right behind Kauffman. They are holding hands.

This makes me angry but I act calm as to not upset Kauffman much further. I wonder what they are up to all the way back to my room. Dinner wouldn’t be ready for a couple hours, so I was stuck in there for a while.

I sprawl myself on the floor just staring at the ceiling lights. At first I’m slightly blinded but my eyes gradually adjust to them. I felt like I lay there for hours and thought dinner would not come soon enough. As time went by, I found myself in a trance. The lights danced in front of my eyes but I was oblivious to them. I was on a high induced by the erratic thoughts that now occupied my mind.

They consisted of Victoria and Demetrius. My suspicions about him were not without merit, after all. I now knew he could not be trusted since he was obviously in cahoots with Victoria. I reckon they’ve been planning their evil deeds against me since the beginning. It wasn’t enough that she drove me insane and ruined my life but now she wanted to hurt me even more.

I closed my eyes and let the darkness sink in. I heard and felt nothing. I was dead to the world and so it had gone on without me. Time has and continues to pass me by while I remain frozen in place. Then like an unexpected wave, an orchestra of 300 violins starts to play. They play so vehemently in my mind; growing louder and louder as smooth and beautiful as the calming sea.

Back home, the Elders would say that if you heard violins play in your sleep something magnificent was going to happen. It could either be something terrible yet magnificent or something great and magnificent. I wondered if the latter was true for me.

The symphony kept on playing even though my mind simultaneously transported me back to various flashbacks. Many from my past in England and a few from my time in New York like a really fast picture book. Then I heard the door open and the music stopped. I kept my eyes closed.

            “Time for Dinner” Demetrius barked at me. He was not in a good mood. I quickly pulled myself off the cold padded floor and followed Demetrius out of the room. He walked ahead of me while I stayed closely behind him in silence.

As I walked behind him, I could help but notice his broad shoulders and tattooed muscular arms. He twitched his neck to expose another tattoo on the right side of his neck. It was of a red dragon that ran down to the nape of his neck. I imagined he had about fifty tattoos over his entire body but couldn’t be too sure.

            “What are you looking at?” Demetrius scolds, startling me. I freeze.

            “Nothing” I respond with a gulp, my body starting to shake. He grabs my arms and pushes me against the glass wall. I feel the vibration against my back. I close my eyes.

            “Open your eyes!” He yells. I slowly open them and look into his green eyes. They are not warm but cold. He is cold. He squeezes my wrists but I do not cry out in pain. I pretend he is not hurting me.

            “Say something” He tells me with an evil grin. I don’t respond. He lets go of me.

            “Walk faster!” He says to me as he points towards the end of the hall. I slip past him and start walking ever so quickly towards the cafeteria. My body still trembles and my heart is pounding so fast that I fear I will drop of a heart attack. I could hear my heart pound as if a mad drummer had taken refuge in my soul.

            “Pace yourself” I suddenly hear my mum’s caring voice say to me. I take a deep breath at the thought of her. I try to fight the tears but they come down anyway. Then I really start to cry and fall to my knees, distraught. I don’t even notice the two orderlies coming from the right. They immediately assume I have gone mad and haul me off to the shock room. Demetrius never says a word nor raises a finger.

I scream at them to let me go but it doesn’t seem to help my case at all. They strap me to the cold steel slab, stick a rubber white stick between my teeth, and place a tube on each side of my head. The attending doctor then proceeds to shock me with fifty volts of electricity. My whole body shakes violently and I pass out within minutes. The violins start to play again. At first I can barely hear them but they grow louder and faster with each passing second.

            “Are you happy now?” Mum asks me as she brushes my hair. I smell her Chanel perfume and it makes me smile.

            “No, mum” I cry as I reach for her hand but she disappears. 

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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 13: Room 217

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My feet tickled at the touch of the cold marble floor. I chuckled at this. The moon dances in my eyes while gingerly walking down the second floor hallway. There are glass walls up here too but just on the right side. It is past my bed time and it seems they forgot to lock my door tonight.

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It was a most fortunate night. My long red hair was behaving and I was discovering the second floor for the first time. Mind you, it was only a matter of time before they made the nightly rounds. I had to make this adventure short and sweet. I glimpsed into each room I passed, fancying myself a normal person. Most of the patients were asleep or appearing to be. A few of them were being naughty like me and walked about their rooms.

Gliding my fingers on the wall, I twirled with each step. My red hair shines like fire, caressing my olive skin. I run my hands through my hair and touch my face. My hands are cold.

“Elizabeth” a whisper came from down the hall. I stopped and waited for the voice to speak again. I was starting to think it was all in my head after a few minutes had passed, but then I heard it again.

“Elizabeth” a voice whispered again loudly from the end of the hall. I slowly walked down stopping once or twice debating if it was a good idea to do so. Perhaps at that moment, my brain was intoxicated by the thrill and new-found adventure, that I let myself be lured by a strange yet familiar voice.

The voice grew louder once I turned into the left, entering the B ward. My heart was racing with every step I took. Then the voice stopped once I reached the middle of the hall. To my left was a dimly lit room with just one light bulb that constantly flickered, Room 217. I could barely make out the silhouette of a man in a wheelchair with his head down. He wasn’t sleeping just staring at the floor, murmuring.

 

From what I could see, he had medium length blonde curly hair and chiseled features. I drew closer to his door to peer at him. I wanted to see his face; he looked so familiar.

“Elizabeth” I heard the voice whisper and quickly jerked my head around but saw no one.

“Who’s there?” I asked in a low voice but no one responded. When I looked into the room, I gasped. He was staring right at me.

“Henry” I murmured, feeling my heart skip a beat. A shiver ran down my spine and then I really lost it. I started screaming his name but he was hanging his head down again. The madness had really sunk in by now as I found myself trying to pry a door open that was bolted shut.

“Henry!” I bellowed, slamming my fists against the door, oblivious to the orderlies closing in on me. I kept screaming after Demetrius had slammed me to the floor. I suppose I had developed new strengths because Demetrius couldn’t keep me down. Three other orderlies had to pin me down with him for Nurse Janice to inject me with the tranquilizer. Even then, I was still kicking and screaming.

    “Let’s take her down!”

“She needs to be strapped down!” I heard Janice yell over my screams. Demetrius picked me up and flung me over his right shoulder. I was still yelling out for Henry. All that screaming gave me a headache. I guess that’s why I didn’t notice how we just kept going down. They were taking me to the dungeon.

The dungeon was where the undesirables were executed. It smelled like sewage and infested with monstrous rats that were not shy about biting you. The strong odors of decay, chemicals and filthy water caused your eyes to water. You could see the broken nails on the floor from patients being dragged to their deaths.  Death was never coy here; if it wanted you it would have you but today wasn’t my day.

We reached a room with old medical equipment and a vintage metal slab with brown leather straps running down both sides. Demetrius with the help of the other three orderlies laid me down upon it and strapped me in. Janice injected something into my right arm and slowly my eyes grew heavy. I could see her and Demetrius’ faces looking down at me.

“Who forgot to lock her in tonight?” I heard a male voice ask.

“Whoever it was is in big trouble” another male voice responded in an old Texas drawl.

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“She must never know” an unfamiliar female voice whispered.

“Henry” I said groggily, twisting my head slowly, side to side.

“There-there, rest now” Janice says to me as she pats my head. I begrudgingly obliged.

The next thing I knew, I was in Kauffman’s session room the next morning strapped into the white jacket. My hair was lying flat over my face so I shook my head to create space for my eyes to see.

“Oh, Elizabeth, you never learn do you?” Victoria laughed as she twirled her hair around her finer while popping her purple gum.

“Victoria” I say angrily.

“Don’t be upset, it ages your face dear” she responded coldly.

“You did this to me!” I screamed. She was now face to face with me; a smirk on her face.

“Prove it” she said, blowing me a kiss. I screamed.

“What’s going on?!” I hear Kauffman yell out running into the room towards me. I ignore him as I strain myself, trying to get out of the jacket.

“Give her a sedative” he yells at Victoria who just stares and smiles at me.

“Call Demetrius” Kauffman continues to yell.

“She’s Victoria!” I scream at Kauffman, but he ignores me.

“Help me” I cry but to no avail, he just walks away from me. This makes me cry. I had no real proof and all I would ever be was crazy without it.

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