Chapter 32

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CHAPTER 32

HARRY’S POV

Sight. Sound. Touch. Taste. Smell. The common and accepted five senses. All of them experienced throughout each day of your life. I had learned very quickly, though, that these were not all that there was. There was another sense, the sense to feel. And it was not like the sense of touch, to feel a fabric or a smooth surface. It wasn’t that kind of feeling, but rather something inside of you. The five senses include the experience of many things, but not pain. Not love. Not fear. And that sixth sense, the sense to feel, was the worst one of all, because it was the only one that existed in my nightmares.

I do not remember touch when I wake up. I do not remember seeing anything to induce fear. I do not remember any horrible sounds, terrible tastes, or bad smells. I only remember feeling. What I had felt I couldn’t be sure of but it was something horrible. Maybe it was the pain of being whipped until the skin of my back was nothing but a mess of bloody deep cuts. Maybe it was the horrendous torture of feeling every single nerve, muscle, and bone in my body surging with piercing electric spasms. Or maybe it was the deeper pain of the loss of loved ones that made the nightmares so terrifying.


The one that I had tonight was the worst of them so far. My body shot up so suddenly it hurt, as a course, booming scream tore through my throat. The only thing to be heard was that hoarse shout of insanity echoing throughout the dark halls in the middle of the night. My chest heaved and my body was drenched in my own sweat, hot with sleep-induced adrenaline pumping through my veins. For a moment I was paralyzed with fear and my eyes were wide as they searched for a glimpse of light. I couldn’t see and all ideas of where I might be were absent. But then I remembered. Wickendale. Yes, that’s where I was. In my cell. It was just a nightmare. The silhouetted horrors that ceased to be remembered weren't real. Or maybe they were, but they weren't present right now. Right now, I was okay. “Fuck,” I breathed.

And along with a wave - no, a fucking tsunami - of relief, the senses returned. I could just make out the brickwork of the close walls and barely see my white sheets. I could see my uniform strewn across the floor, stripping down to my boxers during the seemingly hot night with the building being extra heated. Underneath me I could feel the springs in the mattress and the trickle of the sweat on my forehead. I could taste my stale breath and I could hear my own gasps for air. I could smell the must of the dirty place. And, best of all, I felt no pain. It was the first time I was actually happy to be lying in that cell rather than somewhere else.

It would be much better if I had Rose beside me, to calm my vague fears and bring me fully back to reality. But she was a whole corridor away. I wondered what she was doing right now. Did she have the nightmares too? Did she wake up wishing that I was next to her? Or had she been lucky enough to find sleep? There was no way to find out, so all I could do was lean back against the cold wall, sheets clenched in my fists as I tried my best to stay awake.







ROSE'S POV

The word often used for this current state of mine and Harry's was this; cluelessness. Seeming to be plentiful in this word we radiated it. Not only were we at a loss of knowledge in love but also in evasion.

In the more intimate layers of reality where presence was demanded, love was what needed tending to. I had never been rendered enchanted by this mystical spell, and Harry had all but once. But considering that this time he was under differing circumstances, we were both strangers to the feeling. And, despite what everyone says, love had thus far been beautifully easy.

This fact of love should have calmed me, as most would accept it and use it to infuse happiness. But there was another layer of reality.

And this was the certainty that escape was vital. We needed to elude this hell and we needed to do it as quickly as possible. But much like with love, we weren't exactly experts. Neither of us had escaped a mental institution before. And the happy breeze of our fondness for one another did little to disguise the weight of the task at hand. If anything, it only made it heavier. All that we had were vague ghosts of ideas, thoughts that were hardly even thoughts on how to get out of here. We would first need a map, or maybe just a simple drawing of Wickendale, to find a possible exit.

But that was the only place I could think to start. That, and talking to the other patients that resigned here to help. They could serve as distractions or maybe give us ideas, cover for us, help us obtain whatever we might need. I was not as cynical as Harry on this subject so I would probably do most of the talking. Plus, I already knew a majority of these people. They seemed to like me, for the most part, so hopefully it wouldn't be too hard.

I think one of our main problems, which was being perfectly orchestrated at this very moment, was that we didn't feel the urgency to act. I would see him and he would see me and our worries would evaporate as we sat adjacent to one another in those plastic chairs. We would laugh and talk, but not about escape. And what was tugging at me was the fact that it wouldn't last. When I took a step back, I realized that we needed to get out before something ruined all of it. Sure, there was no death threats or scheduled lobotomies hanging over our heads to infuse the urgent fear, but that could easily change. And it was better to get out before it did.

But until then I was able to smile at the familiar sight of Harry walking into the vast room, which was overcrowded with tables and chairs and the bodies of the insane. His eyes met mine and he smiled. I waited as he walked toward me, pressing a quick peck to my temple before he sat down. "Hi," I grinned.

"Hey," he replied, then kissed me on the lips swiftly. And before I could kiss back he pressed his lips to my forehead, then nose, then cheek, darting kisses all over my face. I giggled and Harry widely grinned, draping an arm on the back of my chair. His hair was in its normal cute bed-head style, his lips as plump and cherry red as ever. But even still something about him looked slightly . . . off. Maybe it was the unusual dark circles under his eyes. "How'd you sleep?" I asked.

"Fine," he told me, although his eyes darted away from mine and his smile faded slightly, as if he weren't telling the truth. "You?" He asked. I didn't want to push him, and it was inevitable that we wouldn't sleep soundly some nights, so I didn't ask but only answered.

"Okay, I guess. Its kind of hard to actually fall asleep, though. I wish you were there next to me."

"Trust me," he replied. "So do I." He was pulling a cigarette from his pocket before he even finished the sentence, and I still caught myself in fascination of the way it looked between his lips. He leaned his head against my shoulder, exhaled into the air in front of us, and closed his eyes. "I fucking hate it here," he sighed. Despite the casualness of his gesture, it still unleashed butterflies throughout my stomach. You would never be able to guess by his hard surface and snarky, sarcastic comments, but he was actually quite a cuddly person.

"Me too," I agreed. Besides the fact that I got to see Harry each day, I could not think of a more terrible place to be. This was a miserable and sad building.

Then Harry quietly asked the question I had been wondering for a long time.

"So what do we do about it?"

"I don't have a clue,” I said hopelessly. “We could start by talking to the patients I guess."

"You really think that will help?" He asked not cynically, but as if he were just curious.

I shrugged. "It's better than what we’re doing now. We have to at least do something, and this might gain us some allies. They could cover for us or distract guards, I don't know. Some of them are worth talking to."

Harry sat up, removing his head from its comfortable and warm place on my shoulder, taking the cigarette from his mouth. "I guess," he shrugged. "But you're doing all of the talking." His eyes pursued the room, looking through his options.

"Her," he eventually said, pointing to a frail woman sitting by herself. "Jane."

"What about her?" I asked.

"Let's talk to her first. I started to speak to her a couple weeks ago while we were baking those cookies and she's not all that bad. She's really fucking weird and quiet, but not that bad."

“Okay,” I nodded. Why not?

Just before we got up, though, the double doors swung open. A horrible woman with an unmistakable scratch across her features entered and I automatically boiled with rage. Ms. Hellman.

Of course, Harry hated her beyond belief, and I hated James more than anything. But like Harry with James, Ms. Hellman and I shared a sort of unique hatred, one that lurked deep within us like a monster just itching to be unleashed from its cage. Harry and I seemed to feel the most hatred toward the ones that had caused more pain to our loved one rathe than to us. So of course Harry looked in anger at the woman walking across the cement floor, but I could assure that my anger was greater. And I wasn’t as much of a hating person as Harry was, so I did not shake and clench my fists to refrain from attacking her like he would from the man standing right there at the back wall, but it did take everything for me not to rip every piece of her thin blonde hair out of her head.

She was here to see her son, that was clear as she began to walk in his direction. But that meant going past Harry and I, which none of us wanted. “Harry, she’s walking toward us,” I whispered, not really for any reason except to warn him, seeing that his arm was still resting on the back of my chair.

“Let her,” he replied and drew me even closer. An act of defiance. Her gaze was on us, me more specifically, as she trailed past, a small condescending smirk set in her mouth. Her posture was near perfect and her hands were placed behind her back, chin tilted up slightly to give off the aura of authority.

Harry breathed in the poison of his cigarette and then exhaled slowly, holding his gaze with her as the ghastly white trailed off in her direction. Her eyes darted to his arm around me, and she made a “humph,” sound, as if such a romance at a place like this was comical. And then she looked away, all while walking towards her bandaged, bruised, still hardly recognizable son.

But before her eyes tore from us there was a glimpse so small I didn’t know if I had seen it correctly. It was underlying the hardness in her features, something beneath those piercing blue/grey eyes. The only word I could think to use for it was this; defeat. Maybe I had seen it wrong, but maybe, just maybe, I was correct.

Her plan during that electroshock therapy to break us, to stop us from causing “trouble,” was unsuccessful. Because here we were, memories and all. And we had each other and we had love, which was probably something she’s never had. She tried her best to break us but she had failed; and maybe that worried her.

“Did you see that?” Harry asked, a hint of humor and minor excitement in his voice. “She’s so pissed.”

I looked to Harry’s gleaming eyes, nodded, and laughed. Despite the damage that’s been done to the both of us, I couldn’t help but feel invincible in that moment. I don’t know what she expected, but surely it wasn’t to see us together and somewhat happy just a week later. She was out of punishments, and there was nothing left to punish us for. So what choice did she have, really, other than to let us be for once?

“She’s saying that you gave that scratch to her?” Harry asked.

“Yeah,” I nodded. “I didn’t though.” Then, looking at her falsely smug face from across the room, I added, “But I wish I would have.”

And then we both laughed, and I hoped that she could hear it. 







HARRY’S POV

For the first five minutes, Jane just sat there without uttering a word. The only response we received were darts of her alert, startled eyes. Rose tried things like “hi,” and “how are you?” and “you’re name’s Jane, right?” None of which Jane responded to. And I was as silent as she was.

But after those five minutes of meaningless questions Rose had run out of things to say. I mean she really tried, talking as delicate and sweetly as possible, but got nothing. She looked to me in desperation, although she probably knew as well as I did that I wouldn’t be of much help. “Harry,” she whispered too quiet for Jane to her, gesturing with her eyes that it was my turn to try. Here goes nothing.

“Jane?” I asked. She looked up at me from her position hunched over the table, beyond her frizzy, straw-like hair, but said nothing. “Jane, do you remember me? I talked to you a few weeks ago when we were baking cookies?”

She pondered my words for a moment but then slowly nodded, which was more than any of us expected. I looked to Rose for help but she was just looking at Jane. What the hell am I supposed to say now? “Do you remember my name?”

She nodded again, a few quick, choppy movements of her head. I was about to say something else, but then in a small whispery voice she spoke. “Harry.”

Rose turned to me in surprise and nodded in encouragement to keep going. “Right,” I smiled. “So, uh . . . how’d your cookies turn out?” It was a really fucking stupid question but a simple one, one that she might be able to answer.

“Good,” she said. Damn, this girl was quiet. I had to strain just to catch a glimpse of her ghosty voice.

“How’d they taste? Nobody ever gave me mine back, so I didn’t even get to eat them.” This was maybe the stupidest conversation I’ve had, and for some reason I felt the need to talk to her like she was seven. But I kept thinking, just keep her talking. Rose will jump in in a second, but for now I just have to keep her talking.

“Good,” she replied again. “They were sweet.”

“That’s good,” I nodded. I have no idea what to fucking say. There was nothing left to speak about other than the questions Rose had already asked. So I made a move that was rather risky, and it would either get Jane talking her shut her up very quickly.

“Um . . .” I started, gathering up the words to form the question. “That day, do you remember what we talked about?”

The day that Rose had teased and taunted me, looking so fucking sexy even in the atrocious blue uniform, the day I beat the shit out of James and the day that I got punished in such a way I can’t even think about it, had yet another mystery in itself. Because that was when I had called Jane by her name and she stared at me with wild eyes. She had demanded who told me her name with a strange fear. I still didn’t know why, and the fear she had obtained while speaking of the subject made me curious.

Jane looked slightly puzzled at my words, so I went on. “I knew your name just from hearing it around the building. I knew it before you told me.”

Her eyes grew wider but she still held my gaze. “You asked me how I knew it, and you seemed worried.”

“Yes,” she replied, nodding. “I was afraid that he told you. Because he did, didn’t he?”

“Who?” I asked. She didn’t reply and only looked around the room nervously. Her petite body grew tense and on edge. “Jane, who did?”

I got no reply again and she cowered back into herself in fear. After viscously shaking her head with huge eyes, she looked back down at her lap in silence. It was obvious that she would not be answering any more questions.

I looked to Rose for her reaction, for her guidance, but she had not been attentive to the conversation. She was turned in her chair, looking at the front of the cafeteria. And suddenly I realized why she hadn’t spoken in so long.

I had seen a lot of evil walk through those two doors, a lot of bad men and women. But of the most unexpected, one man had just walked in, even worse than Ms. Hellman and her charade of trained monkeys in cop uniforms. No, this man was in a patients uniform. He was huge and beefy, with an unmistakable snake tattoo near his left eye. He had only been merely a distant memory, a worry so low on the list he was invisible. I was
shocked, really, to be seeing him in front of us at this very moment. Because I had put him into a coma. That night the power went out and I found him groping Rose’s petite, helpless body with his chubby fingers. I remember the feeling of bashing his head into the wall, but apparently I hadn’t done it hard enough.

And now he was back, awake from his coma. This time, though, Rose was not an employee that could just go home or call for help if he confronted her. This time she was a patient. And while I was with her a lot of the time, there were hours that I was not there, there were hours that I would not be able to protect her.

So now Norman, the huge bald-headed man that had tried to rape the only person I cared about, was back. Add him to the list of mine and Rose’s never-ending worries at Wickendale.

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