“What’s going on, mommy?” my four-year-old self asked. It was close to two o’ clock in the morning, in the sleepy town of Hawking. I had awoken because I had heard shuffling going on in my parent’s bedroom. Curiosity got the better of me, and I had slid from between my floral-printed sheets, to investigate what the sound was. My father was still sleeping, his breathing even, as my mother dashed around the room, collecting clothes, pictures, anything that looked as though it would fit in the small duffle bag that sat on her side of the bed, which was still made, as if she had never thought about getting into it.
“Are you leaving?” I felt fully awake, as I rubbed the sleep of my eyes; the notion of letting myself sleep was a foreign concept to my toddler brain.
My mother crouched in front of me, her black hair falling into her face, slightly. I saw unshed tears in her eyes, as she tried to hold back emotion that was clearly there.
“For a little while,” she said, in a voice coated in tears, that wavered slightly, she enveloped me in a tight hug, “Because I need to protect you guys.” My mother’s body shook, and I knew she was sobbing.
Somewhere, in the distance, a clock chimed; signaling the beginning of a new hour. My mother’s head shot up, and I saw tear streaks along the length of her face, before she turned her face towards the window and froze, as if she was listening to something that I couldn’t hear.
Slowly, she moved towards her bedroom window; something gleamed in the moonlight, as she pulled it out of the back of her pants.
I moved up beside her, looking out of the window too, seeing if I could see that same thing that my mother was looking at.
“What is that?” I asked, as I saw a small, black cyclone starting to build, in front of our house.
“Nothing good,” my mother whispered, and, looking at her, I saw a blade that she held in her hand.
“Now that, is the smartest thing you’ve ever said,” A deep voice said. Both my mother and I turned, to see a man, dressed in a black tailored suit. His skin was slightly tanned, his black hair neatly combed and styled, and a stubble peppered his jaw and upper lip.
My mother pulled me behind her, as though to protect him from this man—my four-year-old brain was trying to register what I was seeing. I looked over and saw that my father was still asleep, blissfully unaware that there was an uninvited person inside the house, only feet away from his bed.
“Stay back!” My mother said, brandishing the blade in front of her. The man just chuckled, as though he found her movements amusing.
“Stupid woman,” he sneered, as he inched closer, “You know that that blade can not kill me.”
“I said, stay back!” she screamed. I had never heard terror in her voice; she had always been calm, and careful, and, even when she was angry, she spoke softly, and low. I had to admit that it was a tad scarier than yelling, but it worked all the same.
“Well, well, well, whom do we have here?” the man said, seeing me as I peered around my mother’s slender frame. The man flicked his wrist, and my mother seemed to go flying into the wall opposite where we stood. I looked over to see her pinned to the wall; although the man stood in front of me, and my mother was pressed against the wall, about five feet away, she was sputtering, as though someone was choking her.
I felt myself shake, as the man approached me, his hand raised, as though he was about to pat my head.
“Don’t touch her!” my mother sputtered, as she continued to hang on the wall, almost by magic.
At that point, my father awoke, looking wide-eyed at the man before me and then, as he swiveled his head towards where my mother hung, his jaw dropped.
“Who are you?” he asked, and, though his voice remained steady, I could sense the fear that was there. Much like me, he had no idea what was going on. I was trying to grasp the fact that my mother knew, exactly, what was going on, but she couldn’t—or wouldn’t—divulge the information.
“None of your concern,” the man sneered, his eyes turning a fiery red. My father started towards me. But the man dressed in black shook his head, mockingly, lifted his hand and flicked his wrist. With a resounding crack, my father’s head turned a one-eighty, and his body fell to the floor, limp and unmoving.
I couldn’t move my eyes from the form that was my father.
“No!” my mother called out, her choked sob echoed throughout the room. The man walked to my father’s body.
“Stupid man,” he muttered, kicking the my father’s side, “Useless meatbag.”
“Don’t!” I screamed, finally finding my voice. The tears strangled it, as they fell down my face. My vision was blurry, as I stared at the unmoving form of my father. Finding my strength, I pulled myself away from the corner, which my mother had pushed me into, and ran to my father’s side. I kneeled down next to his form, and looked at his face. Brown eyes were wide and glassy, expression vacant; my father was dead.
Although this other man had never raised a hand to either of my parents, he had managed to sudue my mother and murder my father.
“What are you?” I asked, a hardened edge to my voice. Whatever this man was, I knew, for a fact that it wasn’t human.
The man just looked at me his eyes—whites, iris and pupil—were turned the fiery red color again. His smile was predatory, as me moved towards me, slinking, like a big cat that has just caught sight of its next meal.
“Do you believe in demons, little girl?” his voice was low and soft, but that didn’t do anything to dissipate the fear that gripped me.
“Leave her alone!” my mother screamed from her spot on the wall.
“Good night Victoria,” the man—the demon—whispered, his eyes still trained on me. Another sickening crack e hoed throughout the quiet room, followed by a thump. I didn’t need to look to see that my mother had fallen to the floor, neck snapped, and now dead.
All of a sudden, smoke was curling in my lungs, as the room burst into flames. Coughing and sputtering, I saw no sign of the demon, as I backed out of the room, and down the hallway.
The smoke alarm blared, as I made my way down the hallway; my older brother, Dylan, came stumbling out of his room, his light brown hair standing on end and his Power Ranger pajamas wrinkled.
“Come on Camille!” he shouted, as he choked on the smoky air. Nodding as I choked, I put my hand on my brother’s arm, and followed him, as we stumbled out the front door of our one-story house.
The two of us, two lone children, stumbled out on the front lawn, just as the fire trucks and ambulances showed up.
Dylan and I laid on the plush green lawn, taking in gulps of air. The night sky seemed even darker, as the bright flames reached it.
“Mom, Dad?” Dylan said, looking around for our parents. I shook my head.
“The demon killed them,” I said. My brother’s eyebrows shot into his hairline, and, before he could say anything else, I was whisked away by an EMTs, as they checked me out.
I wasn’t physically harmed, no bruises or cuts to be seen, physically. Emotionally scarred, terrified, these were words that came to mind when I thought about the kind of hurt I was in. My injuries were far more than superficial.
My voice left me, when we lowered two empty caskets, empty caskets filled with memories, side by side, in Hawking cemetery. Dylan and I stood, side by side, dressed in black, and looked down at the freshly dug holes. My parents’ demise playing over and over again, in my head, like a song stuck on repeat. The thump as my mother’s body hit the wall, the fiery color of the demon’s eyes, as they seemed to turn from the red, to black and back again, the resounding crack of my father’s neck, and then the thump as his body hit the ground. My mother’s choked sobs, and the quiet tone of the demon, right before he broke my mother’s neck
My little hands clenched, into fists, at my side. None of my tears were shed; I was all cried out. After all that I’d seen, some might think that I was a basket case—or a four-year-old with a way overactive imagination; it wasn’t a freak fire that killed my parents, it was a demon, and I hadn’t been dreaming.
After the funeral, my brother and I had been placed in the custody of our grandparents—our father’s parents.
Our Grandparents moved to Hawking to take care of us; since our home was nothing more than a pile of ash, we moved to a newer house, within a block of the school.
After the death of our parents, even though I was four-years-old, I put up walls, so that people wouldn’t see who I was.
At the age of five, a letter was sent home, by the school, telling my grandparents that I wasn’t participating in class. My grandmother approached me, asking me if everything was okay; a robotic answer of “fine" left my lips. I saw the concern in her eyes, the same sorrow that I’d been feeling for the past month. She lost her son, and lost my father—we mourned the same man, and we were dealing with it in different ways.
Two weeks later, my grandparents sent me to a childhood psychologist. The woman had black hair cut in a bob, fair skin, and round glasses that covered brown eyes, that seemed to see into my soul.
She sat in sat leather armchair, and I sat on the matching couch, my hands clutched into my lap.
“Hello Miss Anderson, I’m Doctor Thyne,” she had said, kindly, “I’m here to talk to you about your parents. Can you tell me about them?”
So I said what any kid would say: I talked about how fun they had been; how mom used to cook our meals and help out with school stuff, and how Dad would always build forts with us, barbecue on the weekends, tuck us in and tell us stories at night.
“Can you tell me about the night of the fire?” she had asked. I told her the truth.
“A demon killed my parents.”
After that first session, my grandparents were called in. I had sat outside the office, reading some book, while the good doctor talked about me.
She told them that I had been disassociating myself, since the fire. That the loss of both of my parents had been too much to bear, so I had made up a story that had made sense to me: that a supernatural being had been my parents downfall. Her solution had been to have my grandparents get me involved with other kids my age.
At the age of eight, attending school at Hawking Elementary wasn’t a challenge academically; socially, it was an unbelievable nightmare. Since Hawking was a small town, everybody knew about Dylan, me, the fire. They looked at me, and even eight-year-old whispered to one another and cast weary glances my way. I had ended up taking to reading, to tune out everybody around me.
Unlike me, Dylan, being twelve years old now, had no problems being social. He had friends, he was in middle school sports, he had as much of a life as one could have at the tender age of twelve.
At eight-years-old, my grandparents had trusted me enough to start letting me walk to and from school on my own, seeing as we lived a block away and everybody knew everybody in Hawking.
Walking home, I always had the feeling that someone—or maybe something—was watching me, following me, keeping tabs on me.
When I got home, I had “borrowed” one of my brother’s knives, that he had taken to collecting. The next day, I slipped it into my boot, and went to school. Thankfully, being the town that Hawking was, they didn’t feel the need to check students when they entered the school.
On the way home, that same feeling prickled at the back of my neck. I slowed my pace, and stooped down, as if to check my shoe, and I saw something out of the corner of my eye. Dipping my hand in my boot, I grasped the handle of the knife. I heard footsteps behind me and, carefully, pulling my arm up the sleeve of my sweatshirt, I spun around.
My heartbeat slowed, when I realized that there was no one there. Feeling foolish, I slipped the knife back into my boot, and resumed my way home.
When I was ten, and my brother being fourteen, our grandfather’s health took a toll on him. His blood pressure was off the charts, high. He was told to keep the stress down, and cut back on greasy and salty foods. My grandmother made sure that he stuck to his diet, but the stress was a whole other story. I was still going to therapy, and my grandparents were worried that it wasn’t working, because I was still distant. My brother finally came to talk to me about it, one night.
“Camille, you have to snap out of this,” he said, as he leaned against the doorway to my bedroom.
“What are you talking about?” I had asked, looking up from my homework, “Snap out of what?” with everything that I had endured, I had gained a short temper. So, my instinct was to snap at my brother. We were close when we were kids, but since our parents, and the fire, we had distanced ourselves from each other.
“This—this—thing you’ve been going through, since mom and dad died,” he said, coming in and sitting on my bed, even though I never told him that he had permission to come into my space.
“Mom and dad didn’t just die,” I said, feeling frustrated, “They were murdered by—”
“I know, I know, a demon,” Dylan said, rolling his eyes. I had to breathe through my nose to keep from pushing him off my bed, “That’s what you need to snap out of. There was a gas leak and the house went up in flames. Demons aren’t real. You’re old enough to know that. I’m saying, just tell that to the doctor, let her give grandma and grandpa some good news, so they’ll stop worrying about you.” With that, he stood up, and walked out of my room.
Two days later, at my next therapy session, I told the doctor that I remembered that it was a gas leak. That I had been saying “demon” because I was just a little girl who didn’t know any better. The session was extended, and then she brought my grandparents in. She was happy to tell them that I had finally come to terms with what had happened that night, and, even though some might recommend it, Dr. Thyne didn’t see any reason for the sessions to continue.
Six months later, our grandfather passed, peacefully, in his sleep. My grandmother was distraught, and I didn’t know how to help her, really, so I did chores around the house—cook dinner and do laundry—so she wouldn’t have to worry about it.
Three years later, my grandmother was admitted to an assisted living facility, because dementia was starting to rear its ugly head. Dylan had come home for lunch, and found grandma standing in the middle of the back yard, wondering where she was. Knowing that he couldn’t be home all the time, and thinking that I couldn’t handle it, Dylan took the initiative and put her in the home.
After grandma was in the facility, Dylan and I were moved into the care of my dad’s sister, Joanne. She was a single mother, and had a daughter, who was a year older than me; they lived in Waverly. Like Dylan and I, Giselle and I used to be close, but, somewhere along the line, we lost our friendship and became enemies.
I was fourteen, living in a house with my cousin who, for some unknown reason, resented me, but she was okay with my brother.
In high school, I had taken to tuning everybody out with either music or books; if I didn’t have my nose in a book, I had headphones, and I was in my own world. Dylan had moved out and opted to go to the community college in Waverly, and he would study medicine. He moved to the dorm, but we stayed in touch, and he kept a close eye on me.
I was working on a report for English, with my headphones on, when Giselle sauntered into the kitchen, her friend—fancy word for lackey—trailing behind her. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Giselle’s friend, Erica, lean forward and say something to my cousin, as they looked at me.
“Got something to say?” I asked, moving the headphones from my head, and setting them next to the CD player.
“She was just asking about you,” Giselle said, motioning towards her friend, “Just asking if you were the same crazy girl that watched her house burn.” I didn’t have a comeback for that. No comeback, no witty retort, I had nothing to say to that.
With jerky motions, I put my things away, and went up to my room. I didn’t know what to do. I threw my bag on my bed, fell face first, into my pillow, screaming and allowing the softness to muffle them it.
Something inside me snapped; I found an empty back pack in my closet, and started throwing my clothes and anything else that would fit. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t find any money. Letting out a frustrated groan, I zipped up the backpack, put it over one shoulder. I walked over to the window, struggling for a minute, with the latches; when it finally came free, I threw my leg over the sill, my foot coming to rest on a small part of roof that jutted out just beneath my window. I walked to the end of it, throwing my leg down and stepping on the decorative trellis that stood there.
Holding my backpack in the crook of my arm, it was, surprisingly, easy to scale and I jumped down, the green grass squelching under my shoes.
Taking a minute to look up at the sky, I wasn’t surprised that it was twilight. I knew my aunt would be home soon, and Giselle would create some story, which would get me grounded for a week or more. That’s the way it’s been, since she was a teenager: Giselle could do no wrong in the eyes of her mother.
So I turned, and walked down the long drive way, out of the quaint neighborhood, and along the sidewalk.
Due to the hour, though it wasn’t that late, there were hardly any cars in the little residential area. I kept walking until the lights of the stores, gas stations, and fast food restaurants came into view. I walked through town, noting the people that walked along the sidewalk, as they pushed past me. Waverly was bigger than Hawking, by a few hundred people, but it was still a small-ish town.
I sunk down on a bus bench, setting my bag beside me. I let out a breath, thinking about my current predicament; I was a fourteen-year-old girl, a runaway with no money, and I had nowhere to go. Then it hit me.
“Excuse me,” I looked up as a man exited the small convenience store next to the bus bench, “Do you know how far Waverly college is, from here?”
An hour and a half later, I was walking across the moonlit campus. A feeling of foreboding entered me, as I walked to a dark brown building, which looked like it housed the dormitories. I quickened my pace, as I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and the sense of foreboding grew stronger.
Before I could, completely reach the doors, a figure appeared in front of me—out of a cloud of black smoke, no less.
My gaze hardened, as I recognized the man dressed in the black suit—from his slight stubble, to his wing-tipped loafers. It was the demon that killed my parents ten years ago. I pulled the switchblade from my pocket, flicked the blade out, and held it out in front of me, hoping he’d get the message and leave me alone.
The demon’s mouth pulled into a mocking smile, and, just like that night, his eyes glowed the same fiery red, before they went back to full black.
“You know that blade can’t kill me,” he sneered, as he circled around me, much like a hawk or a vulture would circle their prey before they attacked, “That’s the same fateful mistake that your mother made that fateful night.”
“Don’t talk about her!” I yelled, my voice echoed through the empty space. Despite how terrified I was, my voice and hand remained steady, as I turned in a circle, keeping him in my eyesight.
“Okay, this will be quick then.” With that, he pounced, and I was knocked backwards, my head bouncing off the pavement. I blinked, seeing stars in front of my eyes, as I attempted to get up. I wasn’t quick enough, for the demon stepped on my back with his wing-tipped show, and forcing me back to the ground, knocking all the air out of my lungs. He kicked me in the side a few times, I guessed, for good measure.
I rolled over and coughed, surprised to find that I still had the switchblade in my hand. The demon came and kneeled beside my head.
“Learned your lesson, little girl?” he whispered, sardonically.
“Not even close,” I sneered and, using all my strength, I brought the switchblade up, and dug it into his throat. He gurgled and screamed in agony, his arms flailing, and while he was doing that, I used what little strength I had left to scoot away. I had turned and used the wall behind me, for support, as I pushed myself up. Though I failed to realize that the demon wasn’t screaming anymore, and, before I could turn to look behind me, I heard his low voice, and warm breath on the back of my neck.
“Now, that wasn’t very nice,” he had whispered, and, before I could completely register what was happening, I felt the unmistakable tug of fingers in my hair, and then my head was brought back, before it was pushed forward into the brick wall, a sicking crunch sounded in my head, and I felt blood gushing from my nose into my mouth.
I was turned around, and I felt the air being crushed from my lungs, as invisible hands squeezed my neck. I gasped and sputtered, remembering my mom doing the same all those years ago, in the exact same position. My vision was turning black around the edges, and I felt myself slipping away.
I felt the pressure on my windpipe cease, and I fell to my knees, gasping for air, and I was overcome with a coughing fit.
Opening my eyes, I realized that the demon was nowhere in sight. I scrambled to my feet the best I could, and started using the wall to support myself, as I climbed up the steps, pulled the door opened, and then proceeded to the second floor, vaguely remembering Dylan telling Aunt Jo that his room was number 218.
I hobbled along the hallway, looking to the right side, where all the even numbered room, knowing that it had to be somewhere along here. I held my middle as I walked, each breath I huffed out felt like I was being stabbed; my ribs were definitely broken. My nose and head throbbed, and I knew that I probably looked like a gigantic mess.
I finally found my brother’s dorm room; the numbers 218 set in a dark color, against the beige wall. I leaned against the wall beside the door, and using the last of my strength, I curled my hand into a weak fist, and rapped on the door, which caused me to cough, and inadvertently wince at the pain in my ribs. After a few minutes, he still hadn’t answered, and, hugging my ribs, I sunk down the wall, until I was sitting on the floor, with my knees pulled up.
Across the hall, Room 219 opened, and a girl came out. Upon seeing me, her eyes widened, and she rushed over to me. She kneeled down next to me, looking at me with her wide eyes.
“Don’t worry, I’m going to call and get you some help,” she said, and I heard a beeping of a number being dialed, before I started drifting off.
Sometime later, I opened my eyes to a sterile white room. Rythmic beeping sounded from somewhere next to me, and I looked over to see that I was attached to a heart monitor, and, beside the heart monitor, was an I.V. Not too far from the I.V, but still beside my bed, Dylan sat in a chair, bent over, loosely holding my hand. His head was turned to the side, and his eyes were closed, his breathing deep as he slept. Dylan’s light brown hair fell forward and obscured his right eye.
I groaned, as I tried to breathe in, and my brother’s eye popped open. He sat straight up, and blinked several times.
“Cam, are you up?” he asked, his voice rough from sleep.
“Yep,” the one syllable word was all I could muster; my throat felt scratchy and sore. He stood up, and walked backwards, towards the door, but didn’t leave, but stuck his head out, and called for a nurse.
Soon enough, a man I green scrubs came in, and started looking me over; he took my vitals, checked the I.V, and shined a light into my eyes.
“The doctor will be in to see you, in just a minute,” he told us, as he checked something off on a clipboard.
Dylan thanked the nurse, and then it was just the two of us again. My brother had gotten up and was standing by the window that seemed to face outside. He was running his fingers through his hair, making it stand on end. I turned my head as little as possible, tracking his movements with my eyes.
“What were you thinking, Camille?” Dylan asked, sounding wary.
“I was thinking that I wanted to get out of that house, before Giselle could get me kicked out,” I ground out, “I should have been more prepared, but how could I have been prepared for this?”
“Cam, you ran away,” Dylan said, emphasizing the last two words, as though I needed reminding of what I had done, “I’m glad you came to find me but...you got mugged, you got the crap beat out of you...” he sighed, and ran a hand over his face. “Did you see who did this to you?”
“Dylan, I know that you think that I’m crazy, but believe me when I say this,” I said, taking a deep breath, and giving my voice a few seconds to rest before I spoke again, “It was the demon. The same demon that killed mom and dad.”
I watched as Dylan shook his head. “No, Cam,” he said running his fingers through his hair and pulling at it, “I’m not going to believe it, because I thought you were done with that story.”
“It’s not a story,” I rasped, feeling aggravated. Why didn’t he believe me? They all didn’t believe me.
Before Dylan could reply, the doctor came in.
She was small with black hair pulled into a severe twist, her white lab coat over her maroon scrubs.
“Miss Andrews?” she asked, snagging my chart off the end of my bed, and taking a look at it, “You were admitted with two broken ribs, a fractured nose, and a minor head laceration. We have bandaged your ribs, and taken care of your nose; we have also stitched up your head laceration, and I am advising you to take it easy, and allow your ribs to heal. We will have to keep you a few days for observation.”
I nodded, unable to think about what I wanted to say—if I could say anything. I looked down at my lap, twisting my fingers together.
“Ok, I’m going to go call Jo, and let her know what’s happening,” Dylan said.
“She doesn’t know?” I croaked. I thought that Dylan would’ve called our Aunt already.
“No, I didn’t want to worry her more than she already was, so I held off on calling her,” he told me, as he stood up, “I was out looking for you, when Heather called me and told me that there was a girl beside my dorm, and she looked really hurt.”
“Heather?” I asked, and raised an eyebrow at my brother.
“Yeah, she was the one who found you. She in the waiting room,” he said, and I thought I saw a little smile come to his lips, but it was gone as quickly as it appeared. He excused himself and walked out of the room, the door closed behind him, and I was alone, the only sound in the quiet room being the beeping of the heart monitor.
The door opened in the next minute, and a face peeked around the side. I vaguely recognized her as the girl who had helped me. She came through the door, fully, and I noticed that she had light brown hair, and she was thin—she looked liked she might be a runner or on some sort of athletic team. Her skin was sun-kissed, and her smile was kind. In her hands, she carried a vase full of yellow daffodils.
“Camille?” she questioned, her kind smile never leaving her face. I nodded, and she moved across the room and put the vase on the window sill.
“Thank you,” I said, as I looked at the flowers and then back at her face, “They’re beautiful.” No one had gotten me flowers before, not for anything. I had stopped celebrating my birthday long ago, it was too heart-wrenching without my parents there, and I hadn’t graduated or anything...yet this girl, who I don’t even know, got me flowers when I’m in the hospital.
“Your welcome, I’m just glad I was there to be able to get you help,” she said, shrugging, “I’m Heather, by the way, Heather Marks.”
“I’m Camille Andrews,” I responded.
“Dylan’s sister,” she said, nodding, “He came back just as they were loading you into the ambulance.”
That explained how he knew I was in the hospital. “Apparently, he was out trying to look for you, because you had run away.”
“Something like that,” I croaked. It was quiet, for a second, and, for some reason, I felt my eyes droop, and, as much as I wanted to keep them open, the battle for sleep won out, and, before I knew it, I had drifted off.
Flashes of fire, red-eyed men, and my parents lifeless bodies, flashed in my head. I watched from, the corner of the room, unable to do anything to help, as the demon, with his sickening smile on his face, broke both of my parents necks...and then came after me.
“No!” I screamed out, but I couldn’t move.
“Say goodbye,” The demon leered down at me, as he grabbed me by my throat and started squeezing.
“Stop, please,” I begged, as I pulled on the arm, but to no avail.
“Camille,” a voice from far off reached me, and I knew that I had to get out of the demon’s hold, if I was going to get to wherever the voice was coming from. I started flailing my arms, hoping to shake off the demon, but he still held tight.
“Camille!” the voice sounded again, this time louder, and I realized that it was Dylan’s voice. I tried fighting again, but the demon squeezed tighter. I could feel as my body shut down.
“Camille! Open your eyes!” Dylan’s concerned voice finally reached me, and I forced my eyes open, the traces of the memories from past and present still lingered, but I wasn’t back in the house on that night.
“What happened?” I asked, groggily, my voice still feeling scratchy and raw. I noticed that Dylan’s hands were braced on my forearms.
“My guess is, you were having a nightmare,” Dylan said, looking as concerned as he sounded.
“Must be,” I muttered, as I watched him walk back to the cot that was stationed beside the bed that I was sleeping in. He didn’t lay back down, but sat on the side; he put his head in his hands and then let out a big breath.
“Do you know what time it is?” I asked. Dylan slipped his hand into the front pocket of his jeans, and pulled out his new flip phone. He flipped it open, and looked at the time.
“It’s two in the morning,” he replied.
“Can I get some water, please?” I croaked. Dylan stood up and stretched, before he came and took the pink plastic cup, and filled it with water from the plastic pitcher. He put a straw in it, and handed it to me. I took a sip, and let the cool water coat my throat.
“I’m going to go to the nurse and see if they can give you something to help you sleep,” Dylan told me, and before I could respond, he was out of the room.
A few minutes later, Dylan came back in, with a nurse on his heels. He resumed his spot on the cot, and the nurse injected the I.V with what she said was a mild sedative.
“It should start working, soon,” she said, and nodded to both Dylan and me, before she left.
“Do you think that will help?” Dylan asked me.
“It’ll only help if it can take my dreams from me,” I said, as I scooted down and pulled the crisp sheets up to my chin. Within minutes, or so it seemed, my eyes drooped, and I was unconscious once again.
Two days later, I was discharged. As I was packing up my things, the doctor had pulled my brother out into the hall to have a word with him. Heather, who had become a constant part of both mine and my brother’s day, stayed with me to help me pack. Over the days, Heather had brought me changes of clothes, real food from town, and anything else she thought that I might need from my Aunt’s house.
Like she is with everyone else, Aunt Joanne had been immediately suspicious of Heather, once she stepped onto the doorstep.
From what Heather had told me, Joanne had followed her, as she had gone to my room, to get my things. Joanne had kept a scrutinizing gaze on Heather, and seemed to make sure everything was right, when she left.
All I could do was shake my head.
When Dylan came back in, he had a forced smile on his face. “Are you ready to go?” he asked, and I nodded. With help from both Heather and Dylan, I made it into to the car, and into the back seat.
By car, it took only ten minutes to get to Aunt Joanne’s house, so, when it had been ten minutes, and we still hadn’t pulled into the driveway, I was confused.
“Hey, Dylan, where...?” my question trailed off when I saw a big red brick building with the word Rosling in gray letters, over the wide stone steps that led to the front of the building. It dawned on me what was happening, as he pulled into the circular drive. “No, no. I’m not crazy.” I tried to open the door, but the child lock was secured.
Rosling was Waverly’s residential psychiatric facility. Everybody who went in there was had real problems.
“Cam,” Dylan said, stopping, and turning to look at me, “You’ve been rambling about demons, and screaming from nightmares since you were four. Maybe it’s PTSD, or something that I can’t even think about, right now, but I do know that you need to get help.”
“No, no Dylan, please,” I said, as I scrambled to find a way out. Dylan shook his head, not saying a word and exited the car. I turned to Heather, who hadn’t said a word, since we got in the car, “Please, don’t let him do this to me. Dylan respects you, he listens to you, please.”
Just as I said it, two burly men opened the door of the car, and hauled me out.
“No!” I screamed, as they dragged me, literally kicking and screaming, into the building. As I went, I watched my brother, watching me, concern and war in his eyes. He wanted to believe that he did the right thing for me, but, as he watched me being dragged away, screaming obscenities at the top of my lungs, he didn’t look convinced that it was the best at all.
I was put in a white room, with brick walls, a white wooden desk with a metal chair in one corner, and a metal bed frame adjacent to that, the bed made up with sterile white sheets.
“Let me out!” I screamed, as I beat on the door with my closed fists, my voice echoing around the room. It was only a few minutes, before I stopped. Leaning my forehead against the heavy door, breathing heavily. The heavy breaths were taxing on my healing ribs, and I turned, leaning my back against the wall, and sinking down to the cold linoleum floor.
I was all cried out.
I didn’t feel sad.
Irritation was what I felt. Irritation, anger, rage, distrust.
I was dead inside.