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 12

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The screams seemed to go on forever as I rocked myself in the corner with my hands covering my ears. I wanted them to stop screaming. And so I yelled, “Stop!” at the top of my lungs and just like that the screams died away. At first, the screams echoed out then slowly faded. The walls shivered.

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I like to think it was my outburst that brought upon the much wanted silence but then again it can’t always be all about me. I was curious to see whatever had caused the commotion but was too scared to move. What if the killer lurked right outside the door? I wasn’t trained in self-defense but I could bite him or scratch him or kick him. I didn’t want to chance it. It was wiser to stay hidden in the session room and wait for Kauffman to return.

I felt like I could stay in the room forever, slowly dying of madness. Then it started to rain. It was more like a monsoon. It hadn’t rained in weeks and I welcomed it with open arms. I quickly ran to the window and opened it; letting the cold air shock my skin. It felt great. I could smell the wet grass, tobacco and coffee. I extended my hands out so I could feel the rain, it was cold.

Once again, I let myself lose control. I forget that I imprisoned and imagine myself in England with my family and Henry. We are sitting at the dinner table eating mum’s home-cooked meal and laughing. I am happy. For happiness is just a moment. I wanted a chance to have those moments again. I wanted to figure out what happened to me and prove my innocence.

Enjoying the cold air blow my hair, I barely noticed when Kauffman came in. He just watched me for a while and I pretended not to notice him. I wondered what he was thinking and forced myself not to smile. I don’t know how long he just stood there watching me but it felt like forever. I wanted to break the silence but resisted. I would wait patiently until he was ready. There was no need to rush anything; we had all the time in the world. Time? How much time did I really have?

I never thought about time. Time was oblivious to me. I knew it was there but it was forbidden. They told me when to eat, bathe, walk, run, and dance. I had no control of myself or life here. I was a prisoner and my only escape was my vivid imagination. Time? For them it didn’t matter but for me, it was a reason to live and fight. I needed to fight back. I couldn’t succumb to the madness or darkness. I didn’t want to end up on the third floor again or worse. I wanted to get out of here as soon as possible. All of this made me hyperventilate. I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, feeling myself relax.

“Close call but no cigar,” Kauffman finally said. I made sure to turn around slowly.

“Oh, you’re back” I said, oh so nonchalantly.

“What happened?” I continued to ask.

“A nurse got stabbed and bitten but she’s okay, now” Kauffman replied, quickly.

“By who?” I asked.

“A very mentally ill third floor patient but let’s not talk about that anymore, though” he replied.

“We needed the rain. Maybe it will wash away this day” he continued to say. He was covered in blood and looked really tired.

“Come and watch the rain fall with me” the words flew out of my mouth so fast that I couldn’t believe I actually blurted them out.

“Sure” he replied, adding more to my surprise. The closer he got to me; I could smell the dried blood, sweat and slowly fading after-shave exuding from him. His hair was a mess, his eyes were dark and puffy and he desperately needed to take a bath. I pretended not to notice.

We watched the rain fall, barely speaking to each other. There was sadness on his face that made him look so much older than he was. Even with my own sadness, our sorrow magnetized in the room, bringing the dark clouds inside and tears to my eyes which I wiped away before he could see them.

“You deserve to be happy. You don’t deserve this,” Kauffman suddenly said. I didn’t get a chance to respond because Victoria had come rushing in and interrupted us.

“What a day?!” she exclaimed.

“Oh, look at the time! It’s dinner time already!” she continued.

“I’m starving,” Kauffman said heading to the door.

“We’ll eat in here. I’ll bring you your dinner, Elizabeth” he continued as he left the room with Victoria. I smiled as I watched them leave; alone again in his session room.

I couldn’t help but wonder why he said what he said. Did he know something? I racked my brain trying to solve the puzzle. When they finally came back with dinner, I was sprawled on the floor staring at the ceiling. I had thought about many things while they were gone. Thoughts of Henry, my old life, my new life, Kauffman, and plans to put my life back together.

“I see you’re enjoying this view better” Kauffman laughed, while hovering over me. I chuckled at this.

“Are you hungry?” he asked.

“Of course, she’s hungry” Victoria chimed, placing the food trays on Kauffman’s eating table. She wore her curly black hair down with a purple flower pin tucked behind her right ear. She had buttoned her white nurse dress all the way to the top today, which I found odd. She loved to show off her bosom. Never took her for being conservative.

“Yes” I smiled at Kauffman, ignoring Victoria. They let me sit with them for dinner. We actually talked and laughed. Victoria wasn’t too happy about it but she put up appearances for Kauffman. For a moment, it felt like the rain had actually washed away the sorrow of our past and for a moment we were happy. Whatever happy was, that is. Even if it was all a lie.

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