Chapter 25

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One week. It had been exactly one week since Ms. Hellman had taken away my label of sanity and thrown me into the corners of a dark cell in which I did not belong. I was now considered mentally unstable to those who didn’t know any better. And hey, maybe I was. But sure as hell not enough to be locked up here. This place was even more awful when you were on the inside. What was most infuriating about this was the fact that I wasn’t even in here for a reason. I hadn’t done one thing that proved me to be either dangerous or crazy. But I was here anyway. And if I were to shout things like, “I’m not crazy!” it would just make me seem even more so. Any visitors or reporters wouldn’t think twice about my sanity. I was in quick sand, any way I move just sinking me further. The only way out was by help of Kelsey or Lori, but they might be too afraid of falling in themselves. Either way, the word escape was the only thought that kept replaying in my mind.

Just trying to come up with an escape plan was difficult, though. The security was tight and we were constantly accompanied by a guard wherever we went. There’s no way of doing anything even remotely suspicious without being caught; I had learned that the hard way, when it had ended in seeing Harry’s bloodied, ripped skin. So for now we were stuck here until either of us thought of something useful. Stuck here eating awful food and sleeping in springy beds and sitting with psychopaths.

But like in every situation, there was a bright side; and in this one it was Harry. It wasn’t even the fact that I was with him, but it was the fact that he was no longer alone. There were now two rational people here who had been wrongly accused. We could talk and play clue and find a way out with each other. He had me and I had him. Even if being trapped in this place ate our minds alive, then at least we would be driven mad together. Neither of us would have to go through this alone.

And eventually, the both of us would escape. We had to. I had promised Harry time and time again that we would. That was the only way I could bear this, if I told myself it wouldn’t last; if I hoped that we would find a way out. And I had to keep hoping, because hope was all I had left.

On the outside I didn’t have much, either. Just myself and the things in my apartment. But at least I had freedom and choices and opportunities. Here I didn’t have any of that. What I did have, though, was a much clearer understanding of Wickendale. Instead of it being just my workplace, it was now my home. And spending a week here had opened my eyes to a lot of things I usually wouldn’t notice. Now, when I went to one of the daily activities set up for patients to “get better,” I passed by the lobby. Going in through the side door as an employee I didn’t see this room much. But now, noticing it each day, I thought about it a lot. There were children, mothers, and fathers alike waiting to be treated. Their sanity was slipping away and they actually wanted admittance for either themselves or their loved ones. I wished so badly that I could tell them that this wasn’t the place that they thought it was. Either that or beg them to help me out of here. But again, begging to be released would only hurt me rather than help me. Those people would probably look at me as if they were scared and wait for a guard to take me away. It's a funny thing, really, how much the label of insanity can change things. When people saw me pass by the archway between the lobby and the rest of the institution, fear stormed through their eyes and they looked away as if afraid to meet my gaze. They weren’t even aware of what I was in here for, but they assumed that I was insane and that scared them. If only they knew . . .

I had also noticed that there were way more doctors and psychologists crawling around this place than I thought. Usually I would get to work, do my job, and then leave without talking to many people outside of Kelsey, Lori, and Harry. But being here for a total of 168 hours so far, I had seen many more people in white coats and nice suits. Going down hallways I normally wouldn’t, I saw many people I hadn’t priorly interacted with. There seemed to be a therapist and doctor/nurse for every hallway and it was just that I hadn’t been down down most of them. Not to mention the many employees in Ward C.

The thought of an abundance of employees should have been comforting. Employees should be like Lori or Kelsey and should only provide as extra help. But in my time here so far I had learned that they shoved, pushed, and treated you with hostility. Some were decent, but a lot of them were quite the opposite. Especially if one of those employees was James.

Just the name that used to be that of a friend gave me chills. He hadn’t made a single move yet; but he had been watching. Whenever I entered the cafeteria and sat with Harry he watched. If he ever happened to be across the hall or passing me and my personal guard who’s name I did not know, he watched; lurking like a snake with the slightest of smirks on his face. Staring. Thinking. About what, I didn’t know, and I didn’t think I wanted to. But I knew he was up to something, and I was terrified as to what that might be. Harry was terrified too, but his fear was released in the form of anger. I had been able to keep him from tearing James’ head off but that still didn’t do anything to ease his fury. If James so much as spoke a word to either of us I knew that Harry would explode. And I dreaded that day, because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stop Harry, and I knew that the consequences would be even greater than a whipping. But it didn’t seem as if that day would come anytime soon.

I thought this while waiting for my guard to take me to Kelsey’s office. He hopefully would get here soon, because the thought of James and his plans was starting to make me sick. To get my mind off of the psychopath, I could do nothing but stare at the ceiling while I lied in bed, hair sprawled out around my head in tangled waves. Boredom struck for about the tenth time this week as I began to hum to fill the time. It was a melody from memory and I couldn’t pinpoint the exact song, but I liked the tune. If I were to walk by this cell as an employee I would think that I belonged here, too; a girl humming and staring at the ceiling somehow seemed to fit the description of crazy.

But I stopped abruptly when the burly man that accompanied me to most places approached, using a key to unlock the door. It was funny how they spent all of this money to make them automatic - a luxury hardly any building had - only to see their flaw and use keys anyway after the power-out.

Once I walked toward him he roughly pulled me out by my arm, dragging me down the hall. Then through another hall, eventually reaching Kelsey’s office for my “therapy session.” It was my first time seeing her since being admitted into Wickendale apart from passing by her in the hallway once. She didn’t say anything but instead looked at me with one of the most bewildered looks I had ever seen upon a person’s face.

I opened the wooden door and closed it shut it behind me, leaving the intimidating guard out in the hallway.

“Rose!” Kelsey demanded before I could even turn around. “What the fuck happened to you?” Well, it was obvious that we wouldn't be talking psychology or revealing my deepest thoughts.

She was standing while I took a seat before her desk, her hair pulled back to reveal her tanned face. I sighed before once again relived the tale, telling her of Ms. Hellman’s wrongdoing and the reason behind it.

“Holy shit,” she said when I was finished. “This is crazy, Rose! You don’t belong here! I mean I at least tolerated Ms. Hellman before, but this time she crossed the line.” Kelsey’s energy was still there but her usual smile had faded, and she was as serious as Kelsey could be.

“I know,” I agreed. I had been well-aware of that fact for seven days now. “Is there any way we can prove that I don’t belong? Like go to court or something? She can’t get away with this.”

Kelsey sighed, shaking her head as she sat down. For a while she didn’t speak, taking it all in and collecting her thoughts. When she finally answered her voice was calmer. “I have no idea. I mean her side of the story is pretty convincing, not to burst your bubble or anything.”

“What’s “her side?”” I wondered.

Kelsey sighed again. “She has this . . .” Her forefinger came up to her face, tracing a line across her cheek as if to demonstrate what she was about to say. “This scratch across her face. Rumor has it that she’s saying you gave it to her. You apparently went insane and attacked her.”

“That’s such a lie!” I shouted in exasperation. I couldn’t believe this. Tears started to swell in my eyes, but I rapidly blinked them away. I had cried more this week than I had in my entire life, and that was a lot. But I had promised myself no more. I was locked up in a mental institution, and although troubling, I had to accept the fact and get over it.

“I know,” Kelsey said. “But people seem to believe her. I mean I know some of the guards thought it was weird how you were always hanging around Harry. They assumed you were kind of weird from the start, so it’s not that big of a surprise to some people. No offense.”

“Shit,” I exhaled under my breath. “Well doesn’t a psychologist or witness have to agree to it, that I’m insane? Doesn’t there have to be someone other than Ms. Hellman who can judge whether or not I belong here?”

Kelsey shrugged. “I don’t know who else. I mean she is the Warden, and her dad practically built the place. Her word is usually trusted. If this were a different time where there were actually rules and laws on whether or not a person belongs in a mental institution, there’s no way you’d stay. But right now, people don’t seem to care that much. The scratch on her face is probably reason enough for any reporters or police officers. I mean I’ve heard of husbands throwing their wives in mental institutions just to get rid of them, so the admittance list isn’t exactly limited.”

“Wow, wait to boost my confidence,” I said, a little of Harry’s sarcasm rubbing off on me. “How am I going to get out of here then?”

“I don’t know what to tell you, Rose. I mean damn, this really sucks.”

I nodded in agreement. I wasn’t sure what else to say, afraid that any further questions would get me answers I didn’t want to hear. Except for one question that I had been pondering for quite a while. “Will you help me escape?” My voice was quiet just in case anyone other than us two could possibly hear.

Her mouth opened slightly as if she were about to speak but no words came out.

“I know it’s a lot to ask, but Harry and I can’t do this alone.”

“You’re escaping with him?” She asked to clarify.

“Of course. He’s innocent, too.”

Kelsey let out another long sigh. “Rose, that’s insanely risky for me.”

“I know, I know, but there’s no other way. This isn’t right and you know it. I can’t stay here, I can’t do this everyday, I-” my voice cracked mid-sentence, tears threatening to fall onto my cheeks.

“Okay,” she said, although she seemed reluctant to do so. “Fine. I’ll see what I can do.”

“Thank you so much! Kelsey, you have no idea how grateful I am. We don’t have any sort of plan yet, but it’s good to know your on our side.”

She nodded and I smiled in appreciation. I just prayed that when the time came, she would keep her word.


James fucking Hellman. He was the epitome of disgusting, the definition of a psychotic prick. He just stood there in his little corner with his little fucking guard friends while he stared at us. Well right now just me, Rose hadn't arrived yet. If he was trying to intimidate me it sure as shit wasn’t working. He had taken the life of someone I cared about and had almost taken a second. He may have been violent but he didn’t feel what I felt. He wasn’t hungry for revenge, he hadn’t been hurt beyond repair. Maybe he was good in a fight, but he didn’t have something to fight for. I sure as hell did, though, and I knew that my drive from what he had done would overpower his strength any day. I couldn't be scared of him even if I wanted to be.

Anger swelled up in me just by looking at him, and it took me everything not to crush his skull right this second. I didn’t even care if I got punished, but I knew Rose did. I knew that she would grieve and cry if she saw me hurt again. And I hated to see her like that, I hated to see her cry. So I refrained. But if he laid a single finger on her I knew that I wouldn’t be able to hold myself back.

He was still looking at me, so I shot back an icy glare that was teeming with spite and hatred. But out of the corner of my eye I saw the cafeteria doors ease open as a familiar small figure entered the room. I broke my harsh gaze and felt my face immediately soften as I looked at her. Her eyes warily moved through the crowd, each day her nerves not seeming to fade. It wasn’t until they looked to mine that she seemed to relax a little. She had been thrown in here when she didn’t deserve it and everything that’s happened at Wickendale has been shit, but at least this was the same. Everyday we sat together during lunch, and that hadn’t changed. This was still our table.

“How are you doing?” I asked her when she slid into the chair beside me.

“I’m okay,” she replied with a small smile. She obviously wasn’t okay.

“Rose, if you’re not you have to tell me.”

“No, no. I am. It’s just that this is still taking some getting used to.”

I nodded, knowing exactly how she felt. Without even thinking I placed my hand on her lower back - where it was for the most part out of sight - and rubbed small circles with my thumb in attempts to comfort her. I knew this whole thing was more intense for her than it had been for me, more shocking and more unnerving.

We sat like that for a while, Rose deep in thought while I thought of nothing but her.

“How are we going to get out of here, Harry?” her gaze was fixed somewhere distant when she spoke, her voice sounding quiet and slightly defeated. “There’s no way we could get weapons or keys or anything with both of us being patients, and there are guards everywhere.”

“Are there security cameras?” I asked, looking for anything that might help us. Because defeat I would not accept.

Rose looked up at my question, her eyebrows coming together in thought. “Actually, I don’t think so. But why would they have automatic doors and not security cameras? I mean both are new and expensive, but you would think that security cameras would be more improtant.”

“Maybe there are some things at Wickendale that they don’t want people to see.” I said. I think Rose and I both knew that there were things going on in this place that Ms. Hellman wouldn’t want being recorded. “But we can use that to our advantage.”

She nodded in agreement. “We also need help from other people, I don’t think we can do this alone. I mean we don’t even know where to start, so we might as well find someone who does.”

“Yeah, but who can we go to other than Lori and Kelsey?”

Rose looked around the room, as if trying to suggest something through her eyes. I followed her gaze as she scanned through the tables full of crazed patients. And then I understood.

“Oh, hell no.”

“Harry, we have to,” she said.

“No, I don’t want to talk to these psychos. Some of them I’ve already met before, and let me tell you, Rose, you don’t want to meet them either.”

“I know most of these patients too,” she replied. “I've cleaned their cuts and tended to their injuries. They trust me. If we talk to them into helping us we could ask them to be a distraction for the guards, get a key for us, I don’t know, just anything. And we need all the help we can get.”

I sighed and shook my head. “You can talk to them, Rose, but I'm not. I -”

“Do you want to get out of here or not?” she interrupted. “Please Harry, don’t make me do this alone.”

Her voice sounded desperate. I looked over at her full lips which were slightly pouted and her pleading eyes, and I just couldn’t say no. “Alright, alright. Fine,” I sighed. Looking through our options, I saw an old woman with greasy, tangly hair in a wheelchair in the corner of the room who was talking to a window. Across from her was a man who wouldn't stop touching himself. And next to him, a woman who was very creepily smiling at me, and next to her was a thin man that looked as if he were either asleep or dead. What fun.

“Let’s go make some friends.”

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