Chapter 21

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Dark circles had drawn themselves under tired eyes, and long hair was intertwined in tangles as it hung carelessly. Lips were trembling along with shaking hands. Tears threatened to spill out onto rosy cheeks. Delicate features absorbed an expression of fear and sorrow. And then the tears finally trickled down in thin streams as I turned from the mirror, my image being teared away. The employee and visitor bathrooms were well-kept as well were the other public areas of the institution. They did a decent job of giving off the impression that this building was treated well as were its patients. But behind closed doors the horrors were divulged to those brave enough to seek them.

And wether I wanted to or not, I had seen the truth of Wickendale. I had seen what this place can do to you and I had seen what it had done to Harry. Ms. Hellman had split his skin open with a whip, and James had taken away almost two people he cared about. I should've gone to the police right away about James, then maybe both him and Ms. Hellman would have been at a police station right now being questioned rather than inflicting more pain on people who didn't deserve it. I guess I had been reluctant because I was afraid. Afraid that James would go to greater lengths to kill me than what he previously had if he found out I went to the police. He would get rid of me quickly so that I couldn't tell any more tales. But I didn't care anymore. He needed to be locked up rather than given time to erase his tracks.

Tomorrow. I would go to the police after work tomorrow; I wasn't up for an interrogation today. And as for Ms. Hellman, I had no idea what to do about her. If she had been involved in James' crimes in any way that would make her an accomplice. But if not, I still wanted her locked up. Not so much for the whipping itself since I was well aware that this punishment was used among many institutions. But it was the fact that she had done it to Harry. Because, somehow, I knew she was aware of his innocence. She was always aware. It wasn't like her to miss things of so much importance. But she was evil just like her son. Each move she made seemed to be executed with cynical superiority, as if she wanted to undermine anyone who wasn't her. She was as cold as her icy blue eyes.

And now Harry was left alone with her and Rosemary to suffer. No matter how hard I tried to preoccupy myself with thoughts of what to do next, I couldn't disperse of the memory of Harry's bloody back and hoarse screams. And that image was only the first of what was being done to him. I shouldn't have let him take the blame for what happened. I should've been smart and withheld from kissing him and maybe we wouldn't be in this mess. But I had, and now he was being whipped again and again as the marks on his back grew. The thought made me sick to my stomach.

That term had never been so literal as I barged through the nearest stall, puking into the toilet. I could recall myself being in a similar position a few weeks ago. Ugh, orking here was ruining me, I knew it was. I needed to quit. But I had to get Harry out of here first. It would be unfair if I left without freeing him, leaving him to suffer here forever. I was the only one who knew his story, and was probably the only one at Wickendale who would believe it.

I flushed the toilet and stood from my crouched position, straightening out my uniform. Now that I had had my little breakdown, the question was what to do next. I had already tried beating on the doors of Ms. Hellman's office after the guards had kicked me out, but that hadn't proved my composure nor my sanity, so I thought it best to discontinue. The other option would be just to go to Lori's office and act as usual; as if nothing happened. I mean, I guess that was the only thing I could do. After rinsing my mouth and splashing my face with water, twisting my hair up into a ponytail, I left the restroom.

The walk to the nurse's office was much too long as time seemed to warp into slow motion. Left with me was only time and my thoughts. Of course, I thought mostly of Harry. I hoped he would be okay. It was so sweet and gallant of him to take the blame for what happened. Really, though, it was my fault. I should've been more careful. But I wasn't, and now here I was. Dragging my feet along the cold floor, worried sick about Harry who was being whipped while I could do nothing.

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