You, Me, and Her (A Short Story for Creative Writing by Nikki)

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You, Me, and Her (A Short Story for Creative Writing by Nikki)

Post  Nikki Orwell on March 4th 2011, 3:53 am

This is only a rough draft, and I haven't even gone over it obsessively yet. So, please give constructive criticism. And tell me if it sucks horribly and my hopes of being a writer are completely delusional. I feel like the ending is rushed, but I am exhausted, so I will add more later, as in over the weekend before the final copy is due. I am going to pretend I am not extremely nervous to hear all of your opinions. By the way, the final count is nineteen pages and 8597 words.

The walls of the room were covered by posters of young children playing, some with blocks, some with dolls, some with stuffed animals. Across the floor lay bright rugs red, yellow, and blue, of orange, purple, and green. In the midst of the childish splendor, at a low plastic table, their knees drawn up high, were two young women. One was clearly in charge, a woman of about twenty seven, wearing a long tiered skirt and a loose blouse. She watched the younger woman, and though a magazine open on her lap, she was clearly just skimming it. The younger woman was occupied with making a necklace. Her white sundress fell neatly to a few inches above her knees, and every now and again she’d tug it down as if it inched its way to being indecently bunched up. She was meticulous in selecting the beads needed for her necklace, holding each one up to the light to observe its colour and sheen. After a suitable inspection, if it passed, she would delicately slip it onto the string, helping it slide down until it was nestled with the other beads there.
“Elena, are you enjoying this project?” The older woman asked, eyes seemingly fixed on a picture in her magazine. However, she peered up from under her eyelashes, carefully watching Elena.
“Very much, Miss Bella!” Elena carefully held up her string so far, a small smile on her face. “The beads are very pretty. Thank you for letting me use them.”
“Oh, no bother at all dear.” She looked up at the necklace, shimmering in various shades of purple, lavender to violet to mauve to indigo. “Why’d you only choose purple? I brought so many colors for you.”
“See, yesterday Miss Linda visited, and she brought me a book all about trade in the ancient times. Did you know that purple was the most valuable dye because it came from snails, or something like that? It was incredibly rare and very very very expensive. So, I thought it would be nice to make an all purple necklace to show how far we’ve come, technologically. A way to remind myself to count my blessings. Do you think that is silly?”
Bella just shook her head. “I like the way you thought that out. I’ll bring more purple beads for projects next time I visit.” With that, the two fell silent, returning to their tasks. Elena resumed her beading, intensely scrutinizing each bead before adding it to her necklace. While most of the purple beads she finished out were accepted, every now and again one was rejected, usually for inconsistent colouring or a dull shine. The work would have taken most only a few minutes, but Elena stretched the task out. Ten minutes, then twenty passed, and beads slowly accumulated on the string.
The door to the room creaked open, the loud whine shattering the silence. Elena jumped as she turned to see who was entering, her necklace slipping out of her hand, beads flying off and scattering across the floor. It was a man, woman, a teenaged girl, and a prepubescent boy. All had visited before, in fact, as Elena could recall, they visited regularly. Bella smiled at them and waved them over, getting up to drag some more chairs over for the boy and girl.
“Mr. and Mrs. Bennett, what a treat!” She said, smiling broadly. “Elena, you remember their children, Zoe and Eli, right? They’ve visited often.” Elena nodded, watching warily as the two younger children approached, though Zoe couldn’t be more than a year younger. Zoe came to sit by her side instinctively, as if she knew Elena, as if Elena meant something to her. Discomforted, Elena shifted her chair slightly away, angling her body so part of her back faced Zoe. She bent to pick up the fallen beads, but Eli was already there, all the beads cupped in his hands, shining like polished jewels.
“Why do you visit so much?” Her voice was accusatory, almost angry. Zoe looked down and didn’t answer. Elena snatched the beads out of Eli’s hands, dumping them in the bowl Bella had somehow produced for her. “Why do you visit so much?” She spun to glare at Zoe, desperately seeking an answer. Zoe’s eyes met hers, the same shade of brown, the same shape as hers. A feeling of belonging settled in Elena’s heart for a moment before it was routed by panic. She whimpered. “You… you…” She spun to look at Eli, grabbing his chin, digging her fingers into his skin. Clear blue eyes met hers. Instead of comforting her, it just increased the agitation building in her chest. Bella had come over closer, watching the scene with keen eyes. “Why do you visit so much?” Elena was screaming now, taking quick shallow and breaths. Looking from face to face to face, she began to hyperventilate, until her vision blurred.

Plots, they are all plotting against you. The Hammer booms inside your head, devouring you in noise, until you just want to curl up and cry. You can’t make the noise stop, can’t make the echoes stop. Plots. Plots. Plots!
They want blood, they want your blood. The Awakener adds, his voice so close to you, inside your head, inside you. His soft murmur blends into the echoes left by the Hammer. Plots. Blood. Plots. Blood!
Death! The Hammer screams, speaking to you again. You scream, clasping your hands against your ears, but the noise is just as loud and you can’t make it stop. The word death reverberates inside your head, assailing your brain. You think the ragged sounds you can just make out under the echoes and voices are your own sobs, but you can’t be sure. It could be one of the voices. You can’t be sure of anything. Plots. Blood. Death!
Plots against you, plots to hurt you, to kill you, to destroy you, to take you and dominate you. The Whisperer speaks, a soft female voice that bypasses your ears and pierces your heart. Plots to take you and make you someone else. Plots to ruin you. The Whisperer reminds you, as if you could ever forget. The plots never stop, no matter where you are, no matter who is with you. They all want to get you, want to hurt you. Nowhere is safe, danger surrounds you. Plots. Blood. Death. Danger!
Kill them first! The voice rings out like a bell, feminine and yet metallic. You know that voice well. It is the Sword. Kill them first, slit their throats, claw their eyes out, destroy them before they can hurt you. The Sword is relentless in her thirst for blood, and you feel powerless to resist her logic. Killing them would work. But there are so many to kill, and so many against you. Plots. Blood. Death. Danger. Kill!
Kill yourself, a childish voice rings out, cutting through the adult voices. Kill yourself so they can’t get to you. You’ll never get all of them, never be able to kill all of them. Kill yourself and sleep forever. It scares you that a child can reason so well, and you want to listen to her, want to take up any object that will end your life. You can’t go on, not with so many plotting against you. You can never win. Plots. Blood. Death. Danger. Kill. Sleep!
Beware the doctors! They want to hurt, not heal! The Hammer screams, voice deafening you. For a moment, all is blessedly silent in your head, all sound destroyed by the boom. But it is only a moment, less than a heartbeat, before you hear the voices again. As if to make up for their absence, they speak more, words running over each other in an indecipherable mess. Plots. Blood. Death. Danger. Kill. Sleep. Beware!
Enough, silence. The Monarch speaks, her voice honeyed and mellow. She is the only voice you, the only one whose voice doesn’t hurt. She is gentle and wise, a mother. She makes your decisions for you, makes you obey what she wants. She is always right. She takes everything out of your control, and you love being safe in her decisions. Tonight, you will attack. Try to send a few of the conspirators to Hell where they belong. Drastic measures can come later. You nod in obedience. The Monarch was the smartest of all the voices you’ve heard, the wisest. You feel secure in her plan, slowly rising out of the dark clouds of confusion.


I claw at his face, my fingernails leaving three bloody furrows on his face. I scream triumphantly. Blood is good, blood keeps them away, blood protects me. And to make it even better, I am drawing the blood from Nurse Guerrero. I hate him. I hate his smug smile, the little goatee he keeps carefully trimmed, as if I couldn’t see he was evil. He is their ringleader, I am sure. I lunge at him again, sinking my teeth into his shoulder, biting down hard. But before I can draw blood, before I can taste the copper tang of it in my mouth, strong hands pull me away. I kick and flail my arms, trying to reach the man who stands behind me, but it is hopeless. Quickly my thrashing arms are shoved into the straightjacket, and I am forced into stillness. At least on the top half of my body, my legs still kicking, until straps are fit around them and pulled tight. Now my legs are motionless too and I feel too weak. I am trussed up like prey, the only movement permitted is the ability to dart my eyes back and forth, watching the faces of the advancing line. Doctor Yu stands on the very end, pen in hand and pad already scribbled with notes on my behavior. I hate her, hate the fact her eyes always smile due to their jaunty tilt. No one deserves to smile so condescendingly, especially not at me. She is just as involved in the plot to kill me. She wants me dead too. She can’t smile at me! I’ll wipe that smile off her face. I try to throw myself forward, but the strong hands keep me stationary. I know without looking that Vaughan holds me. He is the biggest and strongest. The only one able to contain me. It pleases me that it takes a man well over six feet tall to contain me. Still, I hate him too. Once he has me restrained, I am powerless. He can snap my neck in an instant. Doctor Hakim is now close, too close, she moves silently and undetectably. She can easily kill me, can easily make me scream in pain. And I am powerless to stop it. I open my mouth and scream, as loud and high as I can. I can see Guerrero wince as he wipes the blood off his face. Good riddance to rubbish. But Doctor Hakim can’t be stopped. She moves quickly and efficiently, taking my pulse, checking my eyes and reflexes, drawing a vial of blood. Her movements are professional to my eye, but my head knows better. She will be the one who would kill me, she will. Guerrero is too scared of me, I have seen to that. He is the one I always go for first, the one who I try to kill first. I know if I target him, he’ll lose his courage. Once he finishes wiping the blood off his face, I snarl at him. He jumps back in fright, and I begin to laugh. I laugh long and hard, thinking of how the Sword would have enjoyed that moment. She isn’t here right now, none of them are. I miss them. They are the only constant in my life, the only ones I can depend on to always be right, always be acting for me. They were my only friends, those voices that told me of the plots against me. I continue my struggle, making the taking of the tests as difficult as possible. Still, my struggle will never succeed, this routine has happened too many times before. One of the nameless residents advances with a shot, and I instantly recognize it as a tranquilizer. That is the only thing they inject me with. But one day, it will be poison in the needle. I know it. The Monarch told me. I scream, not breathing, not doing anything but making noise. I hate the syringe and needle and drug more than I hate any of the doctors. Vaughan still holds me upright, but I use my body as a whole to thrash around. If I move enough, if I wasn’t in one position long enough, they couldn’t inject me with it, they couldn’t force me to their will. The nameless resident continues his way forward, until he stands beside Doctor Hakim. My lungs are empty, air used up in my scream. Gasping, I inhale again, and continue to scream and thrash and flail. They’ll never get me, I won’t let them. But, my movements are not enough. They never have been. And I feel the needle slip into my neck, see their faces watch me, and I see them glance at the clock, timing how long it takes to kick in. I see, I see...

Elena sat in bed, layers of blankets covering her lap. Her purple necklace hung around her neck, and her fingers ran over it as she read the book that was propped open in front of her. Miss Linda had lent it to her, told her she would love it. Elena couldn’t stop reading, absolutely immersed in the world of the characters. She didn’t even hear the knock that sounded upon her door. And when the knock came again, louder, she still didn’t process it. It wasn’t until Doctor Bellamy had opened the door, walked into the room, and tapped her on the shoulder did Elena realize that she was no longer alone.
“Oh!” She smiled up at Doctor Bellamy, a warm smile on her face. “Hello Doctor! How are you this morning?” Elena liked Doctor Bellamy. She was a good doctor, one whose fingers were gentle as they examined her body. Elena admired her, from the top of her perfectly coiffed silver hair, to the tips of her shiny black heels. Doctor Bellamy had worked her way up in medicine, until she was the head of her department.
“Fine, thank you. And yourself?” Doctor Bellamy opened her bag and began to remove her various medical instruments. Elena immediately began to sort them, lining them up in order that they would be used. It was quiet as they worked, hands and eyes working studiously. “Okay, pass me the stethoscope. Shirt off.”
Elena blushed a little. “After all these weeks, I still get embarrassed by this. Close your eyes for a moment while I put a bra on?” Doctor Bellamy acquiesced, covering her eyes with her hands and Elena stripped her shirt off, before hurriedly putting on a pale pink bra. “Okay, sorry about that. I hate sleeping in a bra.”
“I know. I don’t either. Imagine in the 1800s, women were expected to sleep in their corsets! That must have been miserable.” Doctor Bellamy placed her stethoscope on Elena’s chest carefully listening to her heart and lungs. Elena, clearly knowing the drill, took long deep breathes, nodding in agreement. After listening to her lungs from her back as well, Doctor Bellamy removed the stethoscope.
“I can’t even imagine!” Elena giggled. “Thank goodness for modern times. Have you read The Lord of the Rings? Miss Linda recommended it to me, and I am loving it. I think I have fallen madly in love with Boromir.”
“You haven’t read them before? That’s one of my favourites! I gave it to my kids to read when they turned twelve. Well, I gave them The Hobbit to read then. I didn’t give them Fellowship until they were thirteen. I can’t believe you haven’t read it.” Doctor Bellamy continued her examination, checking Elena’s eyes, nose, mouth, ears, reflexes, heart rate, and blood pressure. “Now, onto the serious stuff. Sorry, we can discuss books later, okay dear?”
“Fine,” Elena sighed, a smile still on her face. “I guess I can wait.” The two women giggled for a moment. They were close friends, despite the age difference. Elena assumed that is what happened when the same doctor took care of you for the months you had been in the hospital.
“Flex your arm for me. How does that feel?” Doctor Bellamy’s eyes focused on Elena’s arm. Elena flexed and released it, as she had been doing in physical therapy.
“I told Miss Jaime this yesterday. Totally pain free! Isn’t it exciting?” Elena was giddy. She had spent months strengthening that arm back up, and now it was better.
“Hold your horses young padawan. You still need to be careful. Now, stand up, put your shirt back on, and then touch your toes.” Elena quickly did just that, before bending over and pressing her palms to the floor. Doctor Bellamy ran her finger down Elena’s spine, checking it. “Perfect. You are recovering really well.”
“I told Miss Jaime so, and she wouldn’t believe me.” Elena sulked for a moment, before shrugging. “But Miss Jaime probably has also seen loads of people overreach themselves before they are totally healed. I’ll still be careful, I swear.”
“What do you remember from yesterday?”
“We are still doing this?”
“Yep. Tell me what you remember.”
“Miss Bella came to visit. She brought the most gorgeous beads ever! See my necklace? I made that with her. A few minutes before I was done, that family came to visit again. Why do they always visit? I don’t know them. Anyway, I was really tired after that, because I must have gone to sleep and woken up this morning. I don’t remember anything after the necklace. I can’t even remember the family leaving. I guess they snuck out on me.” Elena smiled charmingly at Doctor Bellamy. “How was that?”
“Wonderful! Do you want to get dressed and do a quick activity before breakfast? Miss Linda is here, and I am sure she’d love to hear what you think of The Lord of the Rings.” Elena scrambled to get ready, grabbing a pair of jeans from her drawers. As soon as Doctor Bellamy left, she changed out of her plaid pajama pants and into the jeans. Hurriedly, she yanked a brush through her hair, eager to discuss the book she had just discovered. As she raced out the door, she ran right into Doctor Bellamy.
“Sorry!”
“I knew you’d be excited. Let me walk you there.” Elena fell into step behind the doctor, whose white coat billowed out as they hurried towards the room where Miss Linda awaited. “Have fun! I’d love to be able to chat with you two, but alas, I have more rounds to do.” Elena waved to Doctor Bellamy before turning into the room.
In her excitement, she hadn’t noticed where they were going. Now, as she entered the room, her shoulders slumped. It was the only room she really hated. The floor was khaki, the walls were white, the furnishings plain. There were large windows in every wall, which would have been nice if the room overlooked the outside world. Instead, it was a way for doctors to observe the goings on within. As she walked over to Miss Linda, she shrunk in on herself, until her shoulders were hunched and her face hidden behind a wave of hair. She sunk into the chair next to Miss Linda at the table, slouching down.
“Elena, that was quite a mood change.” Miss Linda chuckled. Elena tried to smile at her, but she could picture the scores of doctors looking through the window and seeing it and noting it. Turning the smile either into progress or regress, taking out the emotion of it and turning into soulless science. “You looked so happy.”
“I hate this room, I hate it so much. Everyone is watching you, you can just feel the eyes all over you. Judging you, evaluating you. They take everything out of your actions, make it all part of the healing process.” She shuddered. “Can’t we go somewhere else?”
“I wish.” Miss Linda leaned in to confide to Elena, “I hate it here too.” She was older than Miss Bella by about ten years. Elena liked the difference between the two women. Bella was artsy, bohemian, hip, everything an art specialist should be. Linda was reserved, educated, mature, but no less kind. “But, I was told you are due for an observation day, and I obey. What else can I do if I want to come back?”
“You could’ve beat them over the head with that book you wanted me to read... War and Peace, that’s it! They wouldn’t have woken up for ages!” Elena muttered, glaring darkly at one of the doctors who watched her from a nearby window. “We can take them.”
“I’m no Aragorn,” Miss Linda laughed.
“Aragorn?”
“Oops! You must not be there yet! I’ll zip my lips.”
“Miss Linda, no spoilers!” Elena saw someone through one of the windows. She made eye contact with the woman who had visited yesterday. The woman started and disappeared behind one of the walls. “Who is she?”
“Who is who?” Miss Linda asked. “Aragorn is a man, you’ll meet him sooner or later in the books.”
“No!” Elena got up from the table. “Not Aragorn! The woman who was watching me! She came to visit yesterday too. With her kids. Why is she so interested in me? I don’t know her!” She stomped her foot. “What aren’t people telling me?”
“Elena, calm down.”
“Why is she watching me? I don’t know her. What does she want with me? Why can’t she just ask me? It is obviously bad if she can’t just tell me.” Elena began to panic, finger desperately rubbing her necklace. “She wants to hurt me, doesn’t she? And the doctors know. Oh god, oh god.” She began to shake.
Linda got up as well, and wrapped her arms around the young woman, who looked so much like a child, eyes wide and body trembling. “Shhh, it is all right. She is not going to hurt you, no one is going to hurt you.” Miss Linda rocked her back and forth, holding her in her arms. Elena calmed for a moment, eyes closing, resting her head on Miss Linda’s shoulder. Taking deep breaths, she opened her eyes, only to see three doctors scribbling notes. And that woman stood right behind them, eyes fixed on her. She felt as if she was pierced to the core.
“She wants my soul!” Elena shoved Linda in between her and the woman. “She wants my heart. She wants to hurt me. She wants... she wants...” Elena couldn’t finish her sentence. She was hyperventilating, quivering with fear and rage, unable to breathe or speak or move. She tried to keep her eyes open, so she could watch for the woman, but they slipped closed.

She is part of the plot! She is their ally, their cohort. Beware! The Awakener is the first to advise. She will take you and bend you to her will. She is colder than all of them. She will break you and dominate you and make you wish for death. You scream in fear. That is the worst fate you can imagine. You can deal with the doctors’ slow sadism that they hide behind goodness, but pure sadism, the true need to break terrifies you more than you can imagine.
Break you and crush you and grind you being up until you are a soulless creature who serves only her. The warning sounded even more discomforting in the childish voice. It would be better just to end it all. Better to just kill yourself. There is so much truth in those words, and you know that the End advises well. Death would just be a release for you at this point. It would bring safety and security. They can’t touch you once you are dead. It is the place you are truly safe.
No! Attack them. Attack her. They can’t hurt you if you have ripped their throats out and they are dead on the floor. The Sword interjects, her voice ringing like the clash of blades. You fear her the most, her raw aggression, her ferociousness. She is violent incarnate, she is murder, a slashed throat, a broken back. You tremble as she speaks. Kill them, gouge their eyes out, make them scream.
Plots of betrayal! The Hammer booms, louder than all the rest as always. His voice makes you ache in the marrow of your bones. He echoes in every cell, magnified by each as well. Plots to kill you, plots to hurt you. He roars, voice ripping through your being. Plots by the doctors, by the woman, by the woman and the doctors. You can’t escape his voice, though you drop to the ground, hands jammed into your ears.
Danger lies in every way. The Whisperer is so quiet you can barely hear her. The Hammer’s voice still reverberates in you veins, vibrating your tendons. The Whisperer voice should feel better to you in comparison, but there is something in the quiet that pricks like a needle. Every word, every syllable, is a tiny prick of pain, bursting across your consciousness. Danger is everywhere, and you cannoy see it. Cannot sense it. You shall be destroyed if you are not careful.
Kill them, ready to fight! The Sword cuts off whatever the Whisperer would say. You want to agree with her, want to say yes, you will fight. But in truth, you are too scared. They are all closing in around you. They can defeat you, they can destroy you. Cut them, scratch them, kill them you coward!
Just kill yourself. It would be so easy. Just wait, wait until they leave you unattended for just a minute. You hate the cold logic in this child’s voice. How can the child be so wise, so morbid. Kill yourself and the conspiracies will end. They can’t hurt you if you are dead. They can’t kill you if you are dead. If you are dead, they can’t even break you to their will. You will be free. You feel yourself giving in to the cold logic of the child, the sing-song cadence of the End. Death would be easy, simple.
Plots! The Hammer barked at you. You shrink back, pressing yourself into the floor. You curl up, cradling your head in your hands as his voice and its echoes pound at you. You need it to stop, you need the angry noise of his voice to end.
The woman is involved, she is one of the leaders. The Whisperer’s voice jabs at you, driving thousands of needles into your flesh. The woman will bring about your death.
All the voices speak in agreement to that, until the words blur together into one sounds, swelling, escaping your body to grow to the size of the universe. Everything around you is sound, everything around you is noise, is vibrations, is pain. You can’t live in a world with no matter, but you know you survive though the clamor still gains strength.
A single voice cuts through it, pushing it back. You will get up. The Monarch’s voice is disappointed, as if you have failed her. She sighs. You couldn’t even kill a single doctor. You trap yourself in this plan. Well, no longer. Do not let them stick you with tranquilizer. You will not be knocked out. You begin to scream, to protest. The doctors were stronger than you, had nurses who were twice your height and thrice your weight. If you were beaten, it wasn’t your fault. The cards were stacked against you.
The Monarch listened carefully to your irrational pleading, before blowing you over with a word. Silence. You smack your lips shut, biting them to prevent yourself from talking. You will do as I say. Have I ever failed you? You will not be tranquilized. You nod in obedience. You will serve her, you will not disappoint. The din around you has receded, and you rise through the last echoes of the noise universe into the real world.


I lunge at the doctors closest to me, but I can’t get to them. The straightjacket is tied to the wall, and I can’t break free. I want to sink my nails into their flesh; I want to wrap my hands around their necks and squeeze the life out of them. I want to watch the life leave their eyes, watch their plans to destroy me, to obliterate me, turn to dust. I want to make them suffer the same way they make me suffer. But they won’t let me. They keep me restrained, they won’t let me move. I can flail and thrash and flounder around. But I am powerless, defenseless. They aren’t doing an examination today. I have less time then before the injection. I won’t be able to avoid it if I stay trussed up like this. I ball my hands and pull against the restraints. Nothing. The straightjacket keeps my arms against my chest and stomach. I inhale deeply and flex my muscles, searching for any weak point in the fabric. I feel a slight give above my right elbow, so slight I doubt I can break free. I try to raise my arms, try to find some slack in the jacket there. It is impossible. I cannot break free. And the woman and the doctors will kill me, will pump my body full of drugs until I can’t tell up from down or unconsciousness from consciousness. They’ll make me into a helpless creature, a kitten in a burlap bag weighted with stones. I throw my head back and scream, pulling as hard as I can on the jacket and the ties. I feel a slight pop, and the straps holding me to the wall stretch. I scream louder and pull again. My shoulders ache with the pain of fighting the tough fabric, but I must continue. I need to see blood, smell blood. I need my enemies to bleed, to suffer, to die in agony. I want to kill them, to eliminate the threat they present. The doctors no watch me with worry. Clenching my jaw, I give one final heave. I feel one of the straps pop open, and my arms slip free. Quickly, I slide my arms out, pulling at the heavy cloth until I am free. I rotate my shoulders, loosening the muscle, before cracking my knuckles. The doctors and nurses watch in horror. They sent away Vaughan, they thought they had me in checkmate. I laugh, before running at them. They scatter, each calling frantically into their walkie-talkies and pagers. Setting my sights on Guerrero, I charge. He tries to run, but I am too fast. I tackle him from behind, landing on his back. I hear a crunch as he hits the ground. He rolls over and his nose is crooked. Blood trickles down from it. The sight of the bright red sets me into frantic violence. I begin to scratch at him, to slap him, to beat him. He is screaming, hand trying to protect his large body. He is mine, my sacrifice to the voices. I continue to hit him, to draw blood from him, until I see Vaughan enter the room. How did he get here so fast? They sent him away! I push off Guerrero, kicking him, before darting away. Vaughan circles me warily, but I am fast and nimble. He is just big. I’ll get away. I can see Doctor Hakim readying a vial of sedatives for injection. I give a shriek, before tossing my discarded straightjacket at her. She ducks it, just in the nick of time, but the drug spills onto the floor. She bellows for everyone to clear the room. The doctors scramble out. I try to go after one, I can’t let my prey escape, but Vaughan dances in, too close for comfort, and I retreat. He looks at the straightjacket on the floor, tranquilizer stains on it and comes to a decision. He grabs Doctor Hakim and bolts for the door. I follow, but I am too slow. They are out, and the lights are off. I see the last strip of light disappear as the door closes. I throw myself against the door, hoping for some give, but nothing works. I desperately try the handle, but it won’t turn. They have locked me in. I scream and yell, but nothing changes. I am stuck here, in the pitch black. I sink to the floor, shaking. They have never left me in the dark before. I don’t like it here. I can’t see anything, not even my hand in front of my face, just touching my nose. I can’t see anything. They could sneak up on me in this blackness and kill me, and I wouldn’t even know until I was dead. I try to remember if there was a second door, but my mind won’t work. The hope of blood is gone, and that is the only thing that distracts me from the never-ending plots against me. They have time now to regroup, to make new strategies. I won’t escape so easily next time, I won’t get to inflict as much blood and pain. And for all I know, they are in the room, surrounding me, creeping closer until I am dead. I choke down a sob, the sound breaking the eerie silence of the room. My heart begins to speed up. Between the darkness and the silence, it feels as if two alien entities are in the room with me. Both terrify me. The darkness hides plots, not letting me see any potential dangers. I begin to tremble in fear. How dare they leave me so defenseless! The silence reminds me of how alone I am. There is nothing here to help me. I am alone. I can’t defend myself against these forces. They bear down on me, force me to look at this life. The constant fear, the constant rage, the need to inflict pain to save myself. I sob, and I don’t know why. I can’t breathe. The darkness is swallowing my oxygen. It is killing me. Or is it the silence? One of them is killing me. That is why they left me here. They knew it would kill me. I can’t die. I can’t lose to them. I try to inhale, but my sobs just come harder. I feel the tears wash down my face. I am weak here. I am just as weak as when I am in a straightjacket. I hate weakness. I hate the doctors. I cry harder. My head grows fuzzy. I want to stay awake, to stay aware, but it leeches from me. The darkness presses in tighter, harder...

Elena woke up, surprised by how damp her pillow was against her cheek. Sitting up, she touched her cheeks, and realized they were wet as well. Stumbling over to her mirror, she noticed her eyes were red and swollen. She stared at her reflection and tried to remember what had just happened. Nothing came up. A knock sounded on her door, and she absent-mindedly called, “Come in.” She looked up when Doctor Bellamy came to stand before her.
“You look a mess.” Elena ran a finger over the mirror, tracing the outline of her mussed brown hair, down to circle her tearstained cheeks, to a few scratches on her hands.
“I think I had a nightmare.”
“Think?”
“I can’t remember!” Elena burst out, frustrated. “I woke up crying, and I don’t know why. I forgot the dream. It had to have been a dream. People don’t just cry in their sleep.” She sighed. “Why doesn’t my head heal? You said it was only a concussion.”
“I said it was a bad concussion. Us doctors don’t understand the brain well, so we can’t always figure out what exactly goes wrong and what the repercussion will be when it is injured.” She touched Elena’s shoulder. “I know this is difficult and painful, but you need to stay calm. Let’s talk about the rest of your body.”
“Fine.” Elena sat down on the bed, pulling her shirt off. “I don’t even care I’m not wearing a bra. Just listen to my insides.”
“Elena, don’t be angry. I know it is difficult when we doctor have to muddle along, botching things up. But that concussion was dangerous. We don’t know if the memory loss is amnesia or a psychological thing to repress memories about the crash.” She picked up her stethoscope and began to listen. “You heart rate is up, deep breaths to calm down.” Elena inhaled deeply through her nose, letting the air hiss out from her mouth. Slowly, she felt a calm invade her limbs.
“Sorry, Doctor Bellamy. I just wish I knew what was wrong. I can’t remember the car crash, but I know it happened. You told yourself about how the ambulance crew had to cut me out of the car. I don’t remember anything from before that either. Everything is from here. I know there has to be more to my life. I know more has happened to me that physical therapy and rehabilitation and observation. But I don’t remember!” Elena looked at the doctor, meeting her eyes. There was a terrible look in her eyes, as if she had lost everything in the world.
“How do you feel in observation? You know most of the volunteers from rehab, so that isn’t too major of a transition.”
“I am so much more tired. I find that I have been sleeping more. And I get so tired, I can’t remember the end of events. Like I don’t remember leaving that horrid room with Miss Linda, but I woke up here. I think I liked rehab better. I wasn’t as out of it there.” Elena shrugged. “I guess it might be the newer visitors, that family that keeps coming. I saw the woman yesterday when I was in observation. What does she want with me? I don’t know her!”
“They like trying to help people,” was Doctor Bellamy’s simple response. She ran her fingers over Elena’s arm. “Your muscles are very tight. I thought I told you not to do anything strenuous.” She frowned at the teen. “I told you it could set your healing back.”
“I didn’t do anything! Maybe I was clenching my muscles during my nightmares or something. Are you done checking my torso? I am getting cold.” Doctor Bellamy gestured for her to put a shirt on. Elena rummaged through her drawers, going through the few clothes the hospital had in her size. She finally decided on a pale pink top, and quickly grabbed her bra and put it on. The top went on over it. “See, ready for the day now. Well, once I wash my face. People won’t mind if I wear these pajama pants, will they?” She tugged on the deep burgundy plaid pants.
“Not at all. Wear whatever you like.” The rest of the examination went quickly. Doctor Bellamy pronounced Elena to be in good health, except for the unusual muscle tenseness in her right arm, the one that had been broken in the crash. Her two broken ribs were healing fine and on schedule, so the oddness of her arm was overlooked.
“Ready for the morning’s activity? Bella is back. She brought you more beads.” Doctor Bellamy escorted Elena from the room. Elena clapped her hands in excitement, feeling a slight strain in her shoulder.
“I want to make a bracelet to match my necklace. Can I make you a necklace? A green one. It would look nice on you.” Elena looked hopefully up at her doctor and friend. “Please? I really want to!”
“Of course you may. Make yourself the bracelet first though, okay?”
“I will. I want to work with purple first. I love purple. It is just rich and comforting and beautiful. Green is nature and spring and activity. It can be too awake for me at times.” Elena stopped outside the door to the children’s lounge. “See you later! Have nice and easy rounds.” Elena skipped into the room, dancing over the multicolored rugs to sit down on the low plastic chair next to Miss Bella.
“Morning there Elena, aren’t you in a good mood?” Bella laughed, passing her the beads. Today, she had five more purples. Elena immediately began to pick out beads, inspecting them just as carefully.
“I woke up in a bad mood, but I love making jewelry, so I am in a good mood now.” She explained as she worked, fingers sorting the purples into color shades from the massive bag of shimmering purple beads. “And Doctor Bellamy is letting me make her a necklace, once I finish my bracelet. It is going to be green. Won’t that look nice on her, against he hair and pale skin?”
“That sounds lovely. Did I tell you we have guests again today? Mr. and Mrs. Bennett, plus their kids, are coming again today.”
“Again? I am touched they like helping and volunteering so much. But they don’t need to visit so much. I feel like I am stealing and wasting their time.” Elena hid her unease at them visiting. Something was off whenever she saw them, something that she ought to know, but she couldn’t quite figure it out.
“Oh, it is winter break, and both parents are teachers. They aren’t busy. They won’t be here as often once school starts.” Bella replied, stretching her legs out in front of her. “Don’t feel guilty. They like doing this sort of thing. It means a lot to them.”
The door eased open, not squeaking this time. In walked the Bennett family. Elena turned and waved, smiling at the boy and girl. When she looked at the girl, she felt as if she should remember something. Something important. But she couldn’t figure out what she was missing. It was troubling.
“Hi! Your name is Zoe right? Come sit down. Want to bead? I am going to be using the purple and green beads, but you can use the others.” She smiled warmly at the girl. “You should use red. It would look really nice, especially since you have such nice dark hair. It is a lot like mine, I just noticed that.”
Zoe and Eli exchanged a look, one Elena couldn’t fathom. It made her feel like she was on the outside, like she was looking in on some secret world.
“Thanks, I love art projects!” Zoe sat down next to her, and reached for the red beads. Her sleeve rode up a bit, exposing a bruise on her arm.
“That looks like a nasty bruise.” Elena reached out, rolling the sleeve up to get a better look. “I have this gel in my room, arnica gel. It helps bruises fade.” She turned to look at Miss Bella. “I’m not allowed to go places by myself, so could you run to my room and grab it?”
“Sure! I want some coffee too. I’ll kill two birds with one stone.” Bella laughed, and walked out of the room. Elena rolled up Zoe’s sleeve carefully, surprised by how big the bruise was.
“What on earth happened?” She started to see a shape in the bruise, and rolled the sleeve back faster. When the entire bruise was exposed, her stomach clenched. It was the shape of a hand. “Who did this to you?” A rush of déjà vu swept her.
“Just some kids at school causing trouble.”
“This isn’t trouble! This is abuse.” The sleeve slipped down, so Elena rolled it up a little further, exposing words written on the younger girl’s skin. Fags aren’t people. She felt a wave of revulsion hit her and the sense of this happening before increased. “How could they? How dare they?”
“Elena, calm down, they are just ignorant. It doesn’t matter, I’m used to it.” Zoe froze as the words spilled out of her mouth.
“Zoe. Oh god, Zoe.” Elena began to throw up, as the memory worked its way to the surface. She clenched the sides of the table, trying to stop the memory from exploding in her mind. But, it rose, like a foul monster from a swamp, to devour her consciousness.

It was late September. Zoe had come out to her over the summer, when they were at the beach. Despite the conservative attitude of the town, she had insisted on coming out in school too. A few days went by with no reaction, and Elena’s worry dissipated. Maybe her town was better than she had expected. She never would have imagined her sister wouldn’t get bullied at all.
And then one day, Zoe didn’t come home at the right time. Elena began to pace in the family room, waiting to see her walk down the street. An hour passed, and then another. There was no call from her to say where she was. Elena could feel her anxiety rising. Where was her sister? She should be home by now. Elena felt that inner part of her stirring, began to hear voices on the fringes of her mind, one of the signs she could experience an episode soon. Taking deep breaths, she calmed herself down and resumed her pacing. As darkness was beginning to fall, she saw a figure dragging themselves down the street. Whoever it was looked hurt. She rushed outside to help. And it was her sister, her baby sister. Her arm was broken, and so was her nose. She had bruises all along her body. Across her face, in blue sharpie, the words ‘God hates fags’ was written. Elena, forced her anger down, gently picking her sister up and carrying her into the house.
“Who did this to you?”
“Just some kids causing trouble at school.”
The episode came without warning, triggered by her anger at those would dare torment her sister for being open about her sexuality, for being brave. She felt herself falling, could hear the voices screaming at her about plots. Plots against her family, plots against her. She always called it going down the rabbit hole. And suddenly, there was her sister before her again.
“This isn’t trouble! This is abuse!” Elena’s other self screamed. “I’ll kill them for doing this to you. Tell me, who did it?” Zoe just shook her head.
“Elena, calm down, this is just one of your episodes. Doing anything right now would be dangerous.” Zoe weakly grabbed at Elena’s arm.
“Zoe, they’ll kill you if you don’t stand up to them. And if you won’t, I will. It is my duty as your sister. Besides, I like fighting.”
“Elena, listen to me, this isn’t you. They are just ignorant and blind, they can’t help it. I should’ve known better than to come out here.”
“Tell me who it was.” This time the words were issued as a gravelly command, as Elena fell deeper into her violent alter-ego. “Tell me who or I’ll beat up every kid in your grade.”
Zoe sighed in defeat. “Alexis Harper started it.”
“I’ll kill her.” Elena left Zoe on the couch and rushed to the car. She couldn’t believe that girl had the nerve to attack her sister. Rage grew into a scarlet mist, until she could no longer see the road. She kept driving though, hoping that if she drove fast enough, she would magically appear before Alexis. Suddenly her world exploded in pain.
Pain ripping through her body, voices screaming, voices talking to her, oh it hurt, it hurt...


Elena came to in the arms of Doctor Bellamy. “Elena, can you hear me?” She nodded weakly, before squirming around.
“Where’s Zoe? I need to help her, I need to protect her!” Elena screamed, feeling the rage building up inside, stronger than the feeling of hate when she saw her mother the other day and thought the woman was plotting to kill her. No, the woman was plotting to kill me, she wanted to hurt me to rip my throat out, to spill my blood. Elena shook her head desperately. She couldn’t fall into her alter ego, couldn’t be swallowed by rage and paranoia. She needed to be quick so she could help her sister. But everywhere there were plots, tightening around me, waiting for the moment to activate and kill me. “No! I am not going over!” Elena screamed, shaking. But I was too angry to not come out, too angry at those who hurt my little sister. They were the enemies, not the doctors. Elena grabbed her head and held it in her hands. The episodes had gotten worse, ever since the accident. The voices had never been so persuasive before. She could already hear them starting, talking to her, talking to me. I could hear them loud and clear, telling me to attack everyone, that they wanted to kill me. But Elena was too close to the surface and she wouldn’t let me launch myself at the girl who watched with wide and fearful eyes.
I needed blood, needed to see that beautiful red liquid well up from skin. The doctor, the enemy, the friend, what was she I am so confused! The doctor eased the other people out of the room, leaving herself though. Elena knew Doctor Bellamy only stayed so she could make sure she was safe. But it was a foolish act. Elena couldn’t force her alter ego down, feeling the shift. She refused to give up, refused to disappear. But I was now angrier than ever. No blood and people hurting my family? How could I fail so badly? And the voices were urging me on, telling me that I needed to kill everyone, that everyone was trying to get me, that everyone was out to hurt me. I dug my nails into the tender skin of my forearm, watching transfixed as blood bubbled up. Elena wouldn’t let me, herself, me, herself lunge at the doctor, but she fell under again. The blood on my arms upped my frenzy, and I scratched at my forearms, watching more and more blood well up, watched in fall to the floor, watched the color overtake my sight. Nothing existed but for my blood. I couldn’t escape the traps that the other doctors laid, I couldn’t avenge my sister’s pain, I must be useless and worthless. I dug my nails deeper, feeling rather than seeing more blood gush out. I didn’t even notice that the doctor, the good doctor, stuck a needle in my neck until I felt it slide out.

Elena woke up in a hospital bed the next day, bandages wrapped around her arms. Doctor Bellamy stood above her, watching her worriedly. Elena felt this gap in her memory. She looked at the calendar near the bed. It was a day later, and she couldn’t remember any of yesterday. Smiling at Doctor Bellamy, who she hoped had some answers, she said, “Good morning doctor! How’d I end up here?”
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Nikki Orwell
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Re: You, Me, and Her (A Short Story for Creative Writing by Nikki)

Post  Draco Malfoy on March 4th 2011, 4:08 am

WOW! I loved it! I think it's really cleverly written though you might get sent to a counselor for it XD but that just means that as a writer you convinced us that it was all real.

AMAZING! A+++

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Re: You, Me, and Her (A Short Story for Creative Writing by Nikki)

Post  Angelina Johnson on March 4th 2011, 9:44 am

That is really awesome. Like, seriously. There were a few little things I picked up, but they're just tiny typos, really, nothing serious. It's really well written, and a fantastic idea. I haven't ever read anything like it! You will be a writer one day, I'm sure of it. -nods-

These are my little things...
She is the only voice you, the only one whose voice doesn’t hurt.
Is there a word missing (after 'you')?

The doctors no watch me with worry.
I'm assuming that 'no' should be 'now'...

Won’t that look nice on her, against he hair and pale skin?
And I'm also guessing that 'he' should be 'her'.
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Re: You, Me, and Her (A Short Story for Creative Writing by Nikki)

Post  Nikki Orwell on March 4th 2011, 1:04 pm

Thanks so much you two!!!

And AJ, you are a goddess for pointing out the typos. My fingers were going quickly and I am a bad typer to begin with!!
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Re: You, Me, and Her (A Short Story for Creative Writing by Nikki)

Post  Angelina Johnson on March 4th 2011, 1:39 pm

Any time!
Besides, reading your story gave me something to do at work... >.>
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Re: You, Me, and Her (A Short Story for Creative Writing by Nikki)

Post  Krasimir Svetkova on March 8th 2011, 2:32 am

*just finished reading this*

*huggles*
Amaaaazing. I love it.
*goes off to read it again*
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Re: You, Me, and Her (A Short Story for Creative Writing by Nikki)

Post  Nikki Orwell on March 8th 2011, 2:44 am

AHHH! Really?
I am about to start my third draft... two series of edits after this. I'll post the final version when I finish it.
I AM SO GLAD YOU LIKE IT! THAT MAKES ME ALL WARM AND FUZZY.
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Re: You, Me, and Her (A Short Story for Creative Writing by Nikki)

Post  Krasimir Svetkova on March 8th 2011, 3:22 am

Yay! I can't wait to read it all finished and edited. It'll be perfect. And if you don't get the highest grade possible on it then I'm going to have to sic Wolfy after your teacher. Yep yep. Cause you deserve it and this is really good work. *huggles*
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Re: You, Me, and Her (A Short Story for Creative Writing by Nikki)

Post  Nikki Orwell on March 8th 2011, 3:34 am

-flails- I am so glad you think so!
I might not get the highest grade possible because it is nineteen pages and he only asked us to write five to ten.
Anditis1.5spacedinsteadofdoublespaced...
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Re: You, Me, and Her (A Short Story for Creative Writing by Nikki)

Post  Krasimir Svetkova on March 8th 2011, 4:28 am

*thinks you should get an even better grade then because you did more than was asked and it's brilliant*
:3

That's like the time in high school when we had to write a creative short story and it was only supposed to be 3-5 pages and I wrote 11 and it still wasn't finished...but I had to turn it in. <.< I got 104/105 for it though and had to promise the teacher I'd give her the rest of it when it was finished. I kind of came up with a crappy ending just to get it over with. *is lazy sometimes*
<.<
>.>
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Re: You, Me, and Her (A Short Story for Creative Writing by Nikki)

Post  Nikki Orwell on March 8th 2011, 2:08 pm

FINAL VERSION OF MY STORY!
So this is what I am handing in for a grade.
Hope you guys think I improved it!!!


You, Me, and Her

The white walls of the room were covered by posters that showed young children at play, some with blocks, some with dolls, some with stuffed animals. Over the white linoleum of the floor lay brightly colored rugs. The posters and rugs brought a lightness and cheer to the otherwise dreary hospital room. In the midst of the childish splendor, at a low plastic table with their knees drawn up high, were two young women. Bella was clearly in charge. She was about twenty seven, and wore a long yellow skirt and a loose white blouse. She watched Elena closely, while a magazine lay open on her lap. Elena was occupied with making a necklace. Her dress fell to a few inches below her knees, but it inched up slowly as she shifted in her seat. Every so often, she put down the necklace and tugged her dress down to keep the amount of leg the dress showed from indecency. She was meticulous in her selection of the beads needed for her necklace, as if the choice was a matter of life or death. She held each bead up to the light as she observed its color and sheen. After the inspection, she delicately slipped it onto the string. She carefully helped the bead down until it was nestled against the other beads.
“Elena, you having fun?” Bella asked. She lowered her gaze so she could look at Elena from under her eyelashes. However, from where Elena sat, it looked like Bella’s attention was focused on her magazine.
“Very much, Miss Bella!” Elena carefully held up her string so far, a small smile on her face. “The beads are very pretty. Thank you for letting me use them.”
“Oh, no worries!” Bella looked up at the necklace, which shimmered in various shades of purple, from lavender to violet. “Why’d you only choose purple? I brought so many colors for you!”
“See, yesterday Miss Linda visited, and she brought me a book all about trade in ancient times. Did you know that purple was the most valuable dye because it came from snails, or something like that? It was incredibly rare and very very very expensive. So, I thought it would be nice to make an all purple necklace to show how far we’ve come, technologically. A way to remind myself to count my blessings. Do you think that’s silly?”
Bella shook her head. “I like the way you thought that out. I’ll bring more purple for projects the next time I visit.” With that, the two fell silent and returned to their tasks. Elena resumed her beading. Her intense scrutiny of each bead continued. She accepted most of the beads she picked up, but sometimes she rejected a bead for its inconsistent color or dull shine. The work would have taken most only a few minutes, but Elena stretched the task out. Ten minutes, then twenty passed, and beads slowly accumulated on the string.
The door to the room creaked open, the silence shattered by a loud whine. Elena jumped as she turned to see who entered. Her necklace slipped out of her hands and the beads flew off and scattered across the floor. It was the Bennett family, a man and woman with their teenage daughter Zoe and pre-pubescent son Eli. They had visited Elena regularly ever since she got out of rehabilitation. Bella smiled at them and waved them over. She got up to drag some more chairs over for Eli and Zoe.
“Mr. and Mrs. Bennett, what a treat!” she said. “Elena, you remember their children, Zoe and Eli, right? They’ve visited often.” Elena nodded, as she warily watched Zoe and Eli approach. She was about a year older than Zoe, and about four years older than Eli. Zoe sat by Elena’s side. She faced Elena, leaned forward slightly, and smiled widely. Elena shifted her chair slightly and simultaneously turned her body so part of her back was towards Zoe. She bent to pick up the fallen beads, but Eli was already there, all the beads cupped in his hands.
“Why do you visit so much?” Her voice was accusatory, almost angry. Zoe looked down and didn’t answer. Elena snatched the beads out of Eli’s hands and dumped them in the bowl Bella had given her earlier. “Why do you visit so much?” She spun to glare at Zoe. Elena stared into Zoe’s eyes, the same shade of brown, the same shape as her own. Elena felt like she belonged for a second, felt like she knew Zoe, before her calm was routed by panic. She whimpered. “You… you…” She spun to look at Eli, grabbed his chin and dug her fingers into his skin a little too hard. Clear blue eyes met hers. Elena wasn’t comforted, instead it served to further her agitation. Bella came over closer and watched the scene with keen eyes. “Why do you visit so much?” Elena screamed. She took quick shallow breaths. Eyes flickering from face to face to face, she began to hyperventilate, until her vision blurred.

Plots, plotting against you. The Hammer booms inside your head, destroying you in noise, until you want to curl up and cry. You can’t make the noise stop, can’t make the echoes stop. Plots!
They want to hurt you, they want your blood. The Awakener adds, his voice so close to you, inside your head, inside you. His soft murmur blends into the echoes left by the Hammer. Blood! Plots.
Plots and death! The Hammer screams, speaking to you again. You whimper while clasping your hands over your ears, but the noise is just as loud and you can’t make it stop. The word reverberates inside your head, assailing your brain. Under all the noise, you can hear a soft noise. It could be your sobs. It could be one of the voices. You can’t be sure of anything. Death! Blood. Plots.
Plots against you, danger all around you. Be wary, so wary. A soft female voice that bypasses your ears and pierces your heart speaks. Plots to take you and make you someone else. Plots to ruin you. The Whisperer reminds you, as if you could ever forget. The plots never stop, no matter where you are, no matter who is with you. They all want to get you, want to hurt you. Nowhere is safe, danger surrounds you. Danger! Death. Blood. Plots.
Kill them first! The familiar voice rings out like a bell, feminine and yet metallic. It is the Sword. Kill them first, slit their throats, claw their eyes out, destroy them before they can hurt you. The Sword is relentless in her thirst for blood, and you feel powerless against her logic. Killing them would work. But there are so many to kill, so many against you. And there is only you, no help, no allies. Kill! Danger. Death. Blood. Plots.
Kill yourself, the childish voice rings out, cutting through the adult voices. Kill yourself so they can’t get to you. You’ll never get all of them, never be able to kill all of them. Kill yourself and sleep forever. It scares you that a child can reason so well, and you want to listen. You want to grab anything that will end your life and use it. You can’t go on, not with so many plotting against you. You can never win. Sleep! Kill. Danger. Death. Blood. Plots.
Plots by the doctors! They want to hurt, not heal! The Hammer screams, his voice deafening you. For a moment, all is blessedly silent in your head, all sound destroyed by the boom. But it is only a moment, less than a heartbeat, before you hear the voices again. As if to make up for their absence, they speak more, words running over each other in an indecipherable mess. Doctors! Sleep. Kill. Danger. Death. Blood. Plots.
Enough, silence. The Monarch speaks, her voice smooth and mellow. Her voice makes the pain caused by all the others lessen, until it is only a hollow drumming on your consciousness. She is gentle and wise. She makes your decisions for you, makes you obey what she wants. She is always right. She makes decisions, good ones. You eagerly await her pronouncement, ready to obey. Tonight, you will attack. Try to send a few of the conspirators to Hell where they belong. Drastic measures can come later. You nod in obedience. You feel secure in her plan, slowly rising out of the dark clouds of confusion.


I claw at his face, my fingernails leaving four bloody furrows on his face. I scream triumphantly. Blood is good, blood keeps them away, blood protects me. And to make it even better, the blood is from Nurse Guerrero. I hate him. I hate his smug smile, the little goatee he keeps carefully trimmed. He is their ringleader, I’m sure. I lunge at him again, sinking my teeth into his shoulder, biting down hard. But before I can draw blood, before I can taste the metallic tang of it, strong hands pull me away. I kick and flail my arms, trying to reach the man who stands behind me, but it is hopeless. The straightjacket envelops my thrashing arms, preventing movement in the top half of my body. Straps are fit around my kicking, restraining them. All I can do it watch the advancing line of doctors and nurses, my eyes darting from doctor to nurse to doctor down the line. Doctor Yu stands on the very end of the line, pen in hand and pad already scribbled over with notes on my behavior. I hate her, hate the fact that her eyes always smile due to their slant. No one deserves to smile so condescendingly, especially not at me. She is a member of the plot to kill me. She wants me dead too. She can’t smile at me! I’ll wipe that smile off her face. I try to throw myself forward, but the strong hands keep me stationary. I know without looking that Nurse Vaughan holds me, has been the one holding and restraining me. He is the biggest and strongest. I hate him too. Once he has me restrained, I am powerless. He can snap my neck in an instant. Doctor Hakim is now close, too close, she moves silently and undetectably. She can easily kill me, can easily make me shriek in pain. And I am powerless to stop it. I open my mouth and scream, as loud and high as I can. I can see Guerrero wince as he wipes the blood off his face. Good riddance to rubbish. But Doctor Hakim won’t stop advancing. She moves quickly and efficiently, taking my pulse, checking my eyes and reflexes, drawing a vial of blood. Her movements are professional, but I know better. She will be the one who will kill me, she will. Guerrero is too scared of me, I have seen to that. He is the one I always go for first, the one who I try to kill first. I know if I target him, he’ll lose his courage. Once he finishes wiping the blood off his face, I snarl at him. He jumps back in fright, and I begin to laugh. I continue my struggle, making the taking of the tests as difficult as possible. Still, I know my struggle will never succeed, this routine has happened too many times before. One of the nameless residents advances with a shot, and I instantly recognize it as a tranquilizer. That is the only thing they inject me with here. But one day, it will be poison in the needle. I know it. I scream, not breathing, not doing anything but making noise. I hate the syringe and needle and drug more than I hate anything. Vaughan still holds me upright, but I thrash around, entire body flailing. If I move enough, if I wasn’t in one position long enough, they couldn’t inject me, they couldn’t force me to their will. The nameless resident continues his way forward, until he stands beside Doctor Hakim. My lungs are empty, air used up in my scream. Gasping, I inhale again, and continue to scream and thrash and flail. I can’t let them get me. But, my movements are not enough. They never will be. And I feel the needle slip into my neck, see their faces watch me, and I see them glance at the clock, timing how long it takes to kick in. I see, I see...

Elena sat in bed, covered by layers of blankets. She played with her purple necklace absentmindedly as she read her new book. Miss Linda had lent it to her, had told her she would love it. Elena read with book with delight, absolutely immersed in the world of the characters. She didn’t hear the knock that sounded upon her door. And when the knock came again, louder, she still didn’t process it. It wasn’t until Doctor Bellamy had opened the door, walked into the room, and tapped her on the shoulder did Elena realize that she was no longer alone.
“Oh!” She smiled up at Doctor Bellamy, a warm smile on her face. “Hello Doctor! How are you this morning?”
“Fine, thank you. And yourself?” Doctor Bellamy opened her bag and began to remove her various medical instruments. Elena immediately began to line up the instruments in the order they would be used. It was quiet as they worked. “Okay dear, pass me the stethoscope. Shirt off.”
Elena blushed a little. “After all these weeks, I still get embarrassed by this. Close your eyes for a moment while I put a bra on?” Doctor Bellamy covered her eyes with her hands as Elena stripped her shirt off. She hurriedly put on a pale pink bra. “Okay, sorry about that. I hate sleeping in a bra.”
“I know. I don’t either. Imagine in the 1800s, women were expected to sleep in their corsets! That must have been miserable.” Doctor Bellamy placed her stethoscope on Elena’s chest. She carefully listened to Elena’s heart and lungs. Elena knew the drill and breathed deeply. She nodded in agreement to Doctor Bellamy’s opinion.
“I can’t even imagine!” Elena giggled. “Thank goodness for modern times. Speaking of older times, have you read The Lord of the Rings? Miss Linda recommended it to me, and I am loving it. I think I have fallen madly in love with Frodo.”
“You haven’t read them before? That’s one of my favorites! I gave it to my kids to read when they turned twelve. Well, I gave them The Hobbit to read then. I didn’t give them Fellowship until they were thirteen. I can’t bElieve you haven’t read it.” Doctor Bellamy checked Elena’s eyes, nose, mouth, ears, reflexes, heart rate, and blood pressure easily. “Now, onto the serious stuff. Sorry, we can discuss books later, okay dear?”
“Fine,” Elena sighed, a smile still on her face. “I guess I can wait.” The two giggled for a moment.
“Flex your arm for me. How does that feel?” Doctor Bellamy’s eyes focused on Elena’s arm. Elena flexed and released it, as she had been doing in physical therapy.
“I told Miss Jaime this yesterday. Totally pain free! Isn’t it exciting?” Elena was giddy. She had spent weeks in physical therapy where she strengthened her arm, now it was back to normal.
“Hold your horses young padawan. You still need to be careful. Now, stand up, put your shirt back on, and then touch your toes.” Elena quickly slid her shirt on. She stood up and stretched down until she lay her palms flat on the floor. Doctor Bellamy ran her finger down Elena’s spine gently, checking it. “Perfect. You are recovering well.”
“I told Miss Jaime so, and she wouldn’t believe me.” Elena sulked for a moment, then shrugged. “But Miss Jaime probably has also seen loads of people overreach themselves before they are totally healed. I’ll still be careful, I swear.”
“What do you remember from yesterday?”
“We are still doing this?”
“Yep. Tell me what you remember.”
“Miss Bella came to visit. She brought the most gorgeous beads ever! See my necklace? I made that with her. A few minutes before I was done, that family came to visit again. Why do they always visit? I don’t know them. Anyway, I was really tired after that, because I must have gone to sleep and woken up this morning. I don’t remember anything after the necklace. I can’t even remember the family leaving. I guess they snuck out on me.” Elena smiled charmingly at Doctor Bellamy. “How was that?”
“Wonderful!” Doctor Bellamy made a note on her clipboard. “Do you want to get dressed and do a quick activity before breakfast? Miss Linda is here, and I am sure she’d love to hear what you think of The Lord of the Rings.” Elena scrambled to get ready. She grabbed a pair of jeans out of her drawer. As soon as Doctor Bellamy left, she changed out of her plaid pajama pants and into the jeans. Hurriedly, she yanked a brush through her hair, eager to discuss the book she had just discovered. As she raced out the door, she ran right into Doctor Bellamy.
“Sorry!”
“I knew you’d be excited. Where’d you think I’d be? You know you aren’t allowed by to wander around by yourself, it’s a regulation dear. Come on, let’s go.” Elena fell into step behind Doctor Bellamy, whose white coat billowed out as they hurried towards the room where Miss Linda awaited. “Have fun! I’d love to be able to chat with you two, but alas, I have more rounds to do.” Elena waved to Doctor Bellamy before turning into the room.
In her excitement, she hadn’t really noticed where they were going. Now, as she entered the room, her shoulders slumped. It was the only room she really hated. The floor was khaki, the walls were white, the furnishings plain. There were large windows in every wall, through which doctors observed their patients. As she walked over to Linda, she shrunk in on herself, until her shoulders were hunched and her face hidden behind a wave of hair. She thudded into the chair next to Linda at the table, shoulders hunched over.
“Elena, that was quite a mood change.” Miss Linda chuckled. Elena tried to smile at her. She knew even that simple action would be warped by the doctors, would be written down as a note. The other doctors sucked the emotion out of her actions, turned it into soulless science. Elena liked Doctor Bellamy because she wasn’t like that. Doctor Bellamy had shown that in the weeks she spent with Elena as she healed. She had chatted with Elena, gotten to know Elena. Elena had met some other doctors. They weren’t as kind or friendly as Doctor Bellamy. They never made an effort to get to know her. “You looked so happy.”
“I hate this room, I hate it so much. Everyone is watching you, you can just feel the eyes all over you. Judging you, evaluating you. They take everything out of your actions, make it all part of the healing process.” She shuddered. “Can’t we go somewhere else?”
“I wish.” Linda leaned in and confided to Elena, “I hate it here too.” She was older than Bella by about ten years. Bella was artsy, bohemian, hip, everything an art specialist should be. Linda was reserved, educated, mature, a literature geek through and through. “But, I was told you are due for an observation day, and I obey. What else can I do if I want to come back?”
“You could’ve beat them over the head with that book you wanted me to read... War and Peace, that’s it! They wouldn’t have woken up for ages!” Elena muttered. She glared darkly at one of the doctors who watched her from a nearby window. “We can take them.”
“I’m no Aragorn,” Linda laughed.
“Aragorn?”
“Oops! You must not be there yet! I’ll zip my lips.”
“Miss Linda, no spoilers!” Elena saw someone through one of the windows. She made eye contact with the woman who had visited yesterday. The woman started and disappeared behind one of the walls. “Who is she?”
“Who is who?” Miss Linda asked. “Aragorn is a man, you’ll meet him sooner or later in the books.”
“No!” Elena got up from the table. “Not Aragorn! The woman who was watching me! She came to visit yesterday too. With her kids. Why is she so interested in me? She isn’t a doctor and I don’t know her!” She stomped her foot.
“Elena, calm down.”
“Why is she watching me? I don’t know her. What does she want? Why does this even scare me?” Elena began to panic. Her fingers rubbed her necklace desperately. She felt so afraid. Not as if her life was in danger, but as if she had missed something important, something vital.
Linda got up as well and wrapped her arms around Elena. “Shhh, it is all right.” Miss Linda rocked Elena back and forth as she held Elena in her arms. Elena calmed for a moment, and let her eyes flutter closed, as she rested her head on Miss Linda’s shoulder. She took deep breaths and opened her eyes, only to see three doctors scribbling notes. And that woman stood right behind them, eyes fixed on her. She felt as if she was pierced to the core.
“She knows me!” Elena shoved Linda in between her and the woman. “How does she know me? What don’t I know? What... how...” Elena couldn’t finish her sentence. She hyperventilated and quivered with fear and confusion. She tried to keep her eyes open, wanted to look out for the woman, but her eyes slipped closed.

She is part of the plot! She is their ally, their cohort. Beware!
She will take you and bend you to her will. She is colder than all of them. She will break you and dominate you and make you wish for death. You scream with fear. That is the worst fate you can imagine. You can deal with the doctors’ slow sadism that they hide behind goodness, but pure sadism, the true need to break terrifies you more than you can imagine. Break! Beware.
Break you and crush you and grind you being up until you are a soulless creature who serves only her. The warning sounded even more discomforting in the childish voice. It would be better just to end it all. Better to just kill yourself. There is so much truth in those words. Death would just be a release for you at this point. It would bring safety and security. They can’t touch you once you are dead. It is the place you are truly safe. End! Break. Beware.
No! Attack them. Attack her. They can’t hurt you if you have ripped their throats out and they are dead on the floor. The Sword interjects, her voice ringing like the clash of blades. Kill them, gouge their eyes out, make them scream. Kill your enemies. Attack! End. Break. Beware.
Plots of death! The Hammer booms, louder than all the rest as always. His voice makes you ache in the marrow of your bones. He echoes in every cell, magnified by each as well. Plots to kill you, plots! He roars, voice ripping through your being. Plots by the doctors, by the woman, by the woman and the doctors. You can’t escape his voice, though you drop to the ground, hands jammed into your ears. Plots! Attack. End. Break. Beware.
Danger lies in every way. The Whisperer is so quiet you can barely hear her. The Hammer’s voice still reverberates in you veins, vibrating your tendons. The Whisperer’s voice should feel better to you in comparison, but there is something in the quiet that pricks like a needle. Every word, every syllable, is a tiny prick of pain, bursting across your consciousness. Danger is everywhere, and you cannot see it. Cannot sense it. You shall be destroyed if you are not careful. Danger! Plots. Attack. End. Break. Beware.
Kill them, be ready to fight! The Sword cuts off whatever the Whisperer would say. You want to agree with her, want to say yes, you will fight. But you are too scared. They are all closing in around you. They can defeat you, they can destroy you. Cut them, scratch them, kill them you coward! Fight! Danger. Plots. Attack. End. Break. Beware.
Just kill yourself. It would be so easy. Just wait, wait until they leave you unattended for just a minute. You love and hate the cold logic in this child’s voice. Kill yourself and the conspiracies will end. They can’t hurt you if you are dead. They can’t kill you if you are dead. If you are dead, they can’t even break you to their will. You will be free. You feel yourself giving in to the child, the sing-song cadence of the voice. Death would be easy, simple. Death! Fight. Danger. Plots. Attack. End. Break. Beware.
Plots! They are always plotting to hurt you! The Awakener barked at you. They will make you scream in agony, they want you to. Agony! Death. Fight. Danger. Plots. Attack. End. Break. Beware.
The woman is involved, she is one of the leaders, she is a danger. The Whisperer’s voice jabs at you, driving thousands of needles into your flesh. The woman will bring about your death. Constant danger swirling around you. Woman! Agony. Death. Fight. Danger. Plots. Attack. End. Break. Beware.
All the voices speak in agreement to that, until the words blur together into one sound, swelling, escaping your body to grow to the size of the universe. Everything around you is sound, everything around you is noise, is vibrations, is pain. You can’t live in a world with no matter, but you know you survive though the clamor still gains strength. Sound! Woman. Agony. Death. Fight. Danger. Plots. Attack. End. Break. Beware.
A single voice cuts through it, pushing it back. You will get up. The Monarch’s voice is disappointed, as if you have failed her. You couldn’t even kill a single doctor. You trap yourself in this plan. Do not let them stick you with tranquilizer. You begin to scream, to protest. The doctors were stronger than you, had nurses who were twice your height and thrice your weight. If you were beaten, it wasn’t your fault. The cards were stacked against you. The Monarch listened carefully to your irrational pleading, before blowing you over with a word. Silence. You smack your lips shut, biting them to prevent yourself from talking. You will do as I say. Have I ever failed you? You will not be tranquilized. You nod in obedience. You will serve her, you will not disappoint. The din around you has receded, and you rise through the last echoes of the noise into the real world.


I lunge at the doctors closest to me, but I can’t get to them. The straightjacket is tied to the wall, and I can’t break free. I want to sink my nails into their flesh; I want to wrap my hands around their necks and squeeze the life out of them. I want to watch the life leave their eyes, want to watch their plans to destroy me, to obliterate me, turn to dust. I want to make them suffer the same way they make me suffer. But they won’t let me. They keep me restrained, they won’t let me move. I can flail and thrash and flounder around. But I am powerless, defenseless. They aren’t doing an examination today. I have less time before the injection then. I won’t be able to avoid it if I stay trussed up like this. I ball my hands and pull against the restraints. Nothing. The straightjacket keeps my arms against my chest and stomach. I inhale deeply and flex my muscles, searching for any weak point in the fabric. I feel a slight give above my right elbow, so slight I know I can’t exploit it to break free. I try to raise my arms, try to find some slack in the jacket there. It is impossible. I can’t break free. And the woman and the doctors will kill me, will pump my body full of drugs until I can’t tell up from down or unconsciousness from consciousness. They’ll make me into a helpless creature, a kitten in a burlap bag weighted with stones, ready to be thrown into the water. I throw my head back and scream, pulling as hard as I can on the jacket and the ties. The straps that attach me to the wall strain a little. I feel a slight pop, and then the straps holding me to the wall stretch. I scream louder and pull again. My shoulders ache with the pain of fighting the tough fabric, but I must continue. I need to see blood, smell blood. I need my enemies to bleed, to suffer, to die in agony. I want to kill them, to Eliminate the threat they present. The doctors now watch me with worry. Clenching my jaw, I give one final heave, putting all my strength and weight into it. I feel one of the straps pop open, and my arms slip free. Quickly, I slide my arms out, pulling at the heavy cloth until I am out. I rotate my shoulders, loosening the muscle, before cracking my knuckles. The doctors and nurses watch in horror. They sent away Vaughan, they thought they had me in checkmate. I laugh before running at them. They scatter, each calling frantically into their walkie-talkies and pagers. Setting my sights on Guerrero, I charge. He tries to run, but I am too fast. I tackle him from behind, landing on his back. I hear a crunch as he hits the ground. He rolls over and his nose is crooked. Blood trickles down from it. The sight of the blood sends me into a frantic violence. I begin to scratch at him, to slap him, to beat him. He is screaming, hand trying to protect his large body. He is mine, my sacrifice to the voices. I continue to hit him, to draw blood from him, until I see Vaughan enter the room. How did he get here so fast? They sent him away! I push off Guerrero, kicking him, before darting away. Vaughan circles me warily, but I am fast and nimble. He is just big. I’ll get away. I can see Doctor Hakim readying a vial of sedatives for injection. I give a shriek, and rush for the straightjacket, before tossing it at her. She ducks it, just in the nick of time, fabric sailing over her head, but the drug spills onto the floor. She bellows for everyone to clear the room, says I am dangerous. She wants me in isolation. The doctors scramble out. I try to go after one of them, I can’t let my prey escape, but Vaughan dances in, too close for comfort, and I retreat. He looks at the straightjacket on the floor, tranquilizer stains on it and comes to a decision. He nods at Doctor Hakim and bolts for the door with her. I follow, but I am too slow now, worn out by my struggles and attacks. As they leave the room, they turn the lights off. I see the last strip of light disappear as the door closes. I throw myself against the door, hoping for some give, but nothing works. I desperately try the handle, but it won’t turn. They’ve locked me in. I scream and yell, but nothing changes. I am stuck here, in the pitch black. I sink to the floor, shaking. They have never left me in the dark before. I don’t like it here. I can’t see anything, not even my hand in front of my face, just touching my nose. I can’t see anything. They could sneak up on me in this blackness and kill me, and I wouldn’t even know until I was dead. I try to remember if there was a second door, but my mind won’t work The blackness has invaded it. The hope of blood is gone, and that is the only thing that distracts me from the never-ending plots against me. They have time to regroup now, to make new strategies. I won’t escape so easily next time, I won’t get to inflict as much blood and pain. And for all I know, they are in the room, surrounding me, noiselessly creeping closer until I’m dead. I choke down a sob, the sound breaking the eerie silence of the room. My heart begins to speed up. Between the darkness and the silence, it feels as if two alien entities are in the room with me. Both terrify me. The darkness hides plots, not letting me see any potential dangers. I surrender to the sobs. How dare they leave me so defenseless! The silence reminds me of how alone I am. There is nothing here to help me. I am alone. I can’t defend myself against these forces. They bear down on me, force me to look at this life. The constant fear, the constant rage, the need to inflict pain to save myself. I am sobbing, and I don’t know why. I can’t breathe. The darkness is swallowing my oxygen. It is killing me. Or is it the silence? One of them is killing me. That is why they left me here. They knew it would kill me. I can’t die. I can’t lose to them. I try to inhale, but my sobs just come harder. I feel the tears wash down my face. I am weak here. I am just as weak as when I am in the straightjacket. I hate weakness. I hate the doctors. I cry harder. My head grows fuzzy. I want to stay awake, to stay aware, but it leeches from me. The darkness presses in tighter, harder...

Elena woke up, surprised by how damp her pillow was against her cheek. She sat up and touched her cheeks in confusion. She noticed they were wet as well. She stumbled over to her mirror. As she looked at her face, she saw her eyes were red and swollen. She stared at her reflection and tried to remember what had just happened. Nothing came up. A knock sounded on her door, and she absent-mindedly called, “Come in.” She looked up when Doctor Bellamy came to stand behind her.
“You look a mess.” Elena ran a finger over her reflection in the mirror. She traced the outline of her mussed brown hair, moved downwards to circle her tearstained cheeks. With her right hand, she touched the few scratches on her left hand.
“I think I had a nightmare.”
“Think?”
“I can’t remember!” Elena burst out, frustrated. “I woke up crying, and I don’t know why. I forgot the dream. It had to have been a dream. People don’t just cry in their sleep.” She sighed. “Why doesn’t my head heal? You said it was only a concussion.”
“I said it was a bad concussion. Us doctors don’t understand the brain that well, so we can’t always figure out what exactly goes wrong and what the repercussions will be when it is injured.” She touched Elena’s shoulder. “I know this is difficult and painful dear, but you need to stay calm. Let’s talk about the rest of your body.”
“Fine.” Elena sat down on the bed, yanked her shirt off. “I don’t even care I’m not wearing a bra. Just listen to my insides.”
“Elena, don’t be angry. I know it is difficult when we doctor have to muddle along, botching things up. But that concussion was dangerous. We don’t know if the memory loss is amnesia or a psychological thing to repress memories about the crash.” She picked up her stethoscope and began to listen. “You heart rate is up, deep breaths to calm down.” Elena inhaled deeply through her nose, out from her mouth. She began to feel calmer.
“Sorry, Doctor Bellamy. I just wish I knew what was wrong. I can’t remember the car crash, but I know it happened. You told me yourself about how the ambulance crew had to cut me out of the car. I don’t remember anything from before that either. Everything is from here. I know there has to be more to my life. I know more has happened to me, besides surgery and rehabilitation and observation. But I don’t remember!” Elena looked at Doctor Bellamy, meeting her eyes.
“How do you feel in observation? You know most of the volunteers from rehab, so that isn’t too major of a transition.”
“I’m more tired. I have been sleeping more. And I get so tired, I can’t even remember the end of events. Like I don’t remember leaving that horrid room with Miss Linda, but I woke up here. I think I liked rehab better. I wasn’t as out of it there.” Elena shrugged. “I guess it might be the newer visitors, that family that keeps coming. I saw the woman yesterday when I was in observation. What does she want with me? I don’t know her!”
“They just like trying to help people,” Doctor Bellamy said. She ran her fingers over Elena’s arm. “Your muscles are very tight. I thought I told you not to overdo it.” She frowned at Elena. “I told you it could set your healing back.”
“I didn’t do anything! Maybe I was clenching my muscles during my nightmares or something. Are you done checking my torso? I’m getting cold.” Doctor Bellamy gestured for her to put a shirt on. Elena rummaged through her drawers. The hospital only had a few tops in her size, so she easily decided on a pink top. Quickly, she grabbed her bra and put it on, then put on the shirt. “See, ready for the day now. Well, once I wash my face. People won’t mind if I wear these pajama pants, will they?” She tugged on the burgundy plaid pants.
“Not at all. Wear whatever you like.” The rest of the examination went quickly. Doctor Bellamy pronounced Elena to be in good health, except for the unusual muscle tenseness in her right arm, the arm that had been broken in the crash. Elena’s broken ribs were in the right phase of healing, so the oddness of her arm was overlooked but for a mall note on the clipboard.
“Ready for the morning’s activity? Bella is back. She brought you more beads.” Doctor Bellamy escorted Elena from the room. Elena clapped her hands in excitement, feeling a slight strain in her shoulders. She didn’t say anything to Doctor Bellamy though.
“I want to make a bracelet to match my necklace. Can I make you a necklace? A green one. It would look nice on you.” Elena looked hopefully up at Doctor Bellamy. “Please? I really want to!”
“Of course you may. Make yourself the bracelet first though, okay?”
“I will. I want to work with purple first. I love purple. It is just rich and comforting and beautiful. Green is nature and spring and activity. It can be too awake for me at times.” Elena stopped outside the door to the children’s lounge. “See you later! Have nice and easy rounds.” Elena skipped into the room, dancing over the multicolored rugs to sit down on the low plastic chair next to Bella.
“Morning there Elena, aren’t you in a good mood?” Bella laughed, passing her the beads. Today, she had five more shades of purple. Elena immediately began to pick out beads. She inspected each just as carefully as before.
“I woke up in a bad mood, but I love making jewelry, so I am in a good mood now.” She explained as she worked to organize the purple beads by hue. “And Doctor Bellamy is letting me make her a necklace, once I finish my bracelet. It is going to be green. Won’t that look nice on her, against her hair and pale skin?”
“That sounds awesome. Did I tell you we have guests today? Mr. and Mrs. Bennett, plus their kids, are coming again.”
“Again? I am touched they like helping and volunteering so much. But they don’t need to visit so much. I feel like I am stealing and wasting their time.” Elena hid her growing unease about their visit.
“Oh, it is winter break, and both parents are teachers. They aren’t busy. They won’t be here as often once school starts.” Bella said. She stretched her legs out in front of her. “Don’t feel guilty. They like doing this sort of thing. It means a lot to them.”
The door eased open silently as the Bennett family entered the room. Elena turned and waved. She forced out a smile at Zoe and Eli. When she looked at Zoe, Elena felt as if she had just forgotten something. Something important, something big. But she couldn’t figure out what she had lost. It troubled her.
“Hi! Your name is Zoe right? Come sit down. Want to bead? I am going to be using the purple and green beads, but you can use the others.” She hoped her smile was warm. “You should use red. It would look really nice, especially since you have such nice dark hair. It is a lot like mine, I just noticed that.”
Zoe and Eli exchanged a look, one Elena couldn’t fathom. It made her feel like she was on the outside, like she looked in on some secret world.
“Thanks, I love art projects!” Zoe sat down next to her, and reached for the red beads. Her sleeve rode up a bit, which exposed a bruise on her arm.
“That looks like a nasty bruise.” Elena reached out. She rolled up Zoe’s sleeve to get a better look. She didn’t even think that she could be invading the other girl’s personal space. “I have this gel in my room, arnica gel. It helps bruises fade.” She turned to look at Bella. “I’m not allowed to go places by myself, so could you run to my room and grab it?”
“Sure! I want some coffee too. It’ll kill two birds with one stone.” Bella laughed and walked out of the room. Elena rolled up Zoe’s sleeve carefully, surprised by how big the bruise was.
“What on earth happened?” She started to see a shape in the bruise, and rolled the sleeve back faster. When the entire bruise was exposed, her stomach clenched. It was the shape of a hand. “Who did this to you?” A rush of déjà vu swept her.
“Just some kids at school causing trouble.”
“This isn’t trouble! This is abuse.” The sleeve slipped down, so Elena rolled it up a little further to expose words written on Zoe’s skin. Fags aren’t people. She felt a wave of revulsion hit her and the sense of déjà vu increased. “How could they? How dare they?”
“Elena, calm down, they are just ignorant. It doesn’t matter, I’m used to it by now.” Zoe froze as the words spilled out of her mouth.
“Zoe. Oh god, Zoe.” Elena retched, as the memory worked its way to the surface. She clenched the sides of the table as she tried to stop the memory from exploding in her mind. But, it rose, like a foul monster from a swamp, to devour her consciousness.

It was late September. Zoe had come out to her over the summer, when they were at the beach. Despite the conservative attitude of their town, she had insisted on coming out in school too. A few days went by with no reaction, and Elena’s worry dissipated. Maybe her town was better than she had expected. She never would have imagined her sister wouldn’t get bullied at all.
And then one day, Zoe didn’t come home at the right time. Elena paced in the family room, as she waited to see Zoe walk down the street. An hour passed, and then another. There was no call from her to say where she was. Elena felt her anxiety rise. Where was her sister? She should be home by now. Elena’s alter ego stirred, and she heard voices on the fringes of her mind. These were the signs that foretold an episode. Elena tried to calm down. Her episodes were triggered by rage or fear. Taking deep breaths, she soothed herself and paced some more. As darkness fell, she saw a figure stumble down the street, clearly in pain. She rushed outside to help. It was her sister, her baby sister. Her nose was broken. She had bruises all along her body. Across her face, written in blue sharpie, were the words ‘God hates fags’. Elena forced her anger down, as she gently picked her sister up and carried her into the house.
“Who did this to you?”
“Just some kids causing trouble at school.”
The episode exploded across her mind. Elena struggled as she tried to retain control. Though she tried to gain awareness and partial power, she succumbed to the roaring anger. She felt as if she fell down a bottomless hole, she heard the voices screaming at her about plots. Plots against her family, plots against her. She always called it going down the rabbit hole. And suddenly, there was her sister before her again.
“This isn’t trouble! This is abuse!” Elena and her alter ego screamed. “I’ll kill them for doing this to you. Tell me, who did it?” Zoe just shook her head. Elena fell even deeper as her anger seared through her.
“Elena, calm down, this is just one of your episodes. Doing anything right now would be dangerous.” Zoe weakly grabbed at Elena’s arm.
“Zoe, they’ll kill you if you don’t stand up to them. And if you won’t, I will. It is my duty as your sister. Besides, I like fighting.” A savage grin split Elena’s face. No one would hurt Zoe again. She would kill anyone who tried.
“Elena, listen to me, this isn’t you. They are just ignorant and blind, they can’t help it. I should’ve known better than to come out here.”
“Tell me who it was.” This time the words were issued as a gravelly command, as Elena submerged herself in her violent alter ego. “Tell me who or I’ll kill every kid in your grade.”
Zoe sighed in defeat. “Alexis Harper started it.”
“I’ll kill her.” Elena and her alter ego left Zoe on the couch and rushed to the car and drove off. She couldn’t believe that girl had the nerve to attack her sister. Rage grew into a scarlet mist, until she could no longer see the road. She kept driving though, hoping that if she drove fast enough, she would magically appear before Alexis. Suddenly her world exploded in pain.
Pain ripped through her body, voices screamed, voices spoke to her, it hurt, it hurt...


Elena regained consciousness Doctor Bellamy’s arms. “Elena, can you hear me?” Elena nodded, before she tried to sit up. She needed to find Zoe.
“Where’s Zoe? I need to help her, I need to protect her!” Elena said. She felt the rage as it built up inside. The fear she felt when she saw her mother the other day was nothing compared to this. No, the woman is plotting to kill me, she wants to hurt me, to rip my throat out, to spill my blood. Elena shook her head desperately. She couldn’t fall into her alter ego, couldn’t be swallowed by rage and paranoia. She needed to be quick so she could help her sister, who she noticed was close by her side. But there were plots everywhere, tightening around me, waiting for the moment to activate and kill me. “No! I am not going over!” Elena screamed, shaking. But I am too angry, too angry at those who dare to hurt my little sister. They were the enemies, not the doctors. Elena grabbed her head and held it in her hands. The episodes had gotten worse, ever since the accident. The voices had never been so persuasive before. She could already hear them starting, talking to her, talking to me. I can hear them loud and clear, telling me to attack everyone, that everyone wanted to kill me. But Elena was too close to the surface and she wouldn’t let me launch myself at the girl who watched by my side with wide and fearful eyes.
I need blood, need to see that beautiful red liquid well up from skin. The doctor, the enemy, the friend, what is she? I am so confused! The doctor urges the other people out of the room, though she remains behind. Elena knew Doctor Bellamy only stayed so she could make sure Elena was safe. But it was foolish. Elena knew she couldn’t force her alter ego down, as she felt herself lose control and spiral downwards. She refused to give up, refused to disappear. But I am even angrier now. No blood and I let people hurt my family? How have I let myself be locked up for so long? And the voices were urge me on, as they tell me that I need to kill everyone, that everyone was trying to get me, that everyone was out to hurt me. I dig my nails into the tender skin of my forearm, watching as blood bubbled up. Elena refused to let me, herself, me, herself lunge at the doctor, but she fell under again. The blood on my arms increases my frenzy, and I scratch at my forearms, watching more and more blood well up, watch it fall to the floor, watch the color overtake my sight. Nothing exists but my blood. I can’t escape the traps that the other doctors lay, I can’t avenge my sister’s pain, I am useless and worthless. I dig my nails deeper, feeling rather than seeing more blood gush out. A childish voice shrieks with glee as the blood pours out and my head grows light. I don’t even notice the doctor, don’t notice her stick a needle in my neck until I feel it slide out.

Elena woke up in a hospital bed the next day, bandages wrapped around her arms. Doctor Bellamy stood above her, a worried expression on her face. Elena felt as if she forgot something. She looked at the calendar near the bed. It was a day later than she remembered, and she couldn’t remember any of the previous day. Smiling at Doctor Bellamy, who she hoped had some answers, Elena said, “Good morning doctor! How’d I end up here?”
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Nikki Orwell
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Re: You, Me, and Her (A Short Story for Creative Writing by Nikki)

Post  Draco Malfoy on March 8th 2011, 6:55 pm

LOVE. IT.
And I didn't see anything I would change at all <3
CONGRATS DARLING!

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Re: You, Me, and Her (A Short Story for Creative Writing by Nikki)

Post  Angelina Johnson on March 9th 2011, 1:49 am

It's beautiful.
I'm sure you'll get an amazing grade!
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Re: You, Me, and Her (A Short Story for Creative Writing by Nikki)

Post  Nikki Orwell on March 9th 2011, 2:54 am

SO MANY COMPLIMENTS.
-head swells-
THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH! IT MEANS A LOT.
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