Why was I here?
Cold, iron chains, laden with rust, wrapped around my wrists and ankles like venomous snakes. I sat down on the freezing cement floor, trying to remember anything, even a single fragment of thought. My eyes flitted about this tiny room, looking for an object that would spark some far-off memory. Why, out of all places, was I behind a wall of metal bars? It felt like a prison, in a way; dark, dreary walls surrounding me, choking out every last drop of hope, sucking my life force away ever so slowly. But my world, full of make-believe, could crumble away any second, only supported by a fragile mind with a strong imagination. Maybe this cell was another illusion...?
I crawled forward like a mangy mutt on all fours, with my sunlight blonde strands falling into my face, untrimmed and wild. Coated with grease and dirt, my hair looked almost brown. And with a hint of childlike timidness, I stretched out a hand to touch one of the door's many iron bars. My hand shot back like lightning and retreated to my body. Breathless, I collapsed onto the floor. It could have be minutes, seconds or hours that passed in the time I laid there – not that it mattered. I was still trembling and panting, the sound of my own breath so loud that I thought someone else was in this room with me. My desperate attempts at breathing slowed, and air traveled my lungs once more. Vision that was once spotty with adrenaline returned to normal, and I inspected my hand.
Laughter exploded from my mouth and did an elegant ballroom dance across the room. Though my mind was still foggy, I sensed that all the world could hear my laughter, and was laughing with me. On my hand, there was no sign of any injuries. No blistering burns, no festering wounds, no dripping snake bites topped with a double dosage of venom. I tapped the bars again, only mildly flinching, and giggled like a little girl. The realization was just too funny; I couldn't help but smile!
The metal had just been cold. No hidden electricity coursed through the bars, or fire, or magic from a fairy tale. There were no fanged serpents eagerly awaiting a small girl to attack.
Hehe, stupid me. I sat up on the floor in my usual spot and pondered my existence in silence. I still lacked any memories from before this empty room; had I even existed up until now? Scars dotted my body in various places, shining up at me in white color that contrasted even my pale skin. My chestnut eyes wandered to the surrounding floor, where formerly gray tiles were now a boring and blinding white. White – such an innocent color, symbolizing purity. It drew me in; innocence is something I've never had. I guess opposites do attract.
Yet in the next moment, something occurred that surprised me. White tiles melted into pure rainbow, drowning me in a sea of color. I could feel myself sinking through the floor like it was quick-sand and rising up again, riding on the waves. My eyes were wide with wonder – how had I ever thought the floor was white? All colors filled the room; cherry red hues mixed with deep, watery blue colors. Green, like moss and grass, was side by side with sun-like yellow. Ah, the sun. I hadn't seen it in so long... As I was caught up in my wonderland and full of longing, I didn't notice the darkness that began spreading itself across the room.
My wide Cheshire Cat grin and awe-filled gaze disappeared with the colors that had caused them. Black and gray shadows replaced the beautiful colors, like cobwebs spun by black widows. My body had aged backwards, and I was back to being a young girl. I had been so lively and so happy at that age, but at the moment, the only thing I felt was horror. The scenery had changed into a room full of candles, dripping with red wax. My previously long, blonde hair was now shoulder-length. I couldn't remember where I was, but it was still terrifying. Memories popped to the surface, like blood under a blade – but where was I?
Suddenly, I remembered, and I curled up into a ball. So this is where I was. This is the bad place. I have to get out, I have to get out, before they -
I didn't let myself finish that thought before tucking myself into a corner, trying to be as small as possible. The memories wouldn't let me go, dragging me down into the pit of despair, making my tiny heart race. Why, why? Why can't I just be invisible? I was just a small child again. I couldn't defend myself. The thought of what was going to happen to me made me shiver with fear. I looked at the ropes around my wrists and ankles – where did the chains go?
A door at the far end of the room opened, and blinding light filtered in. Yet the light disappeared as soon as it had appeared, and people in robes walked into the room. I couldn't see their faces, but knew who they were. The world had stopped for me that day. All I could hear in that moment was my own pounding heartbeat. The darkness that filled my vision couldn't be shut out, no matter how tightly my eyes were sealed shut. Crimson blood, like the petals of a rose, froze in my veins like fresh snow. When I opened my eyes, I was on the table that marked the center of the room. The robed people were around me, whispering. I could only pick up snippets: Exorcism. Demon. Save the girl. Sacrifice. I opened my eyes. The world had not disappeared. Go away, world!
Memories flashed into my mind once more. I couldn't chase them away this time, not with willpower, not with insanity. This was the bad place. I needed to get out, before someone got hurt. I hadn't ever taken a true faith in God, but I was praying desperately. A knife was raised. “We do this before our God, in hopes that future generations will be saved from this cursed demon. This is our sacrifice.” A robed man prepared to plunge the blade into my chest, and my mind was reeling. Please. No. I'm not possessed.
The scenery changed and shifted around me, placing me back behind those horrid iron bars. Part of me agreed that I deserved to be there; I could recall it now. The life before this room. I could remember why I was here now. The terror still filled me inside, and I wished that I could forget. I didn't want to remember anymore. It was too painful. The images that flashed through my mind, making me sweat like I was having a nightmare; blood, darkness, something inhuman. I didn't die in the bad place, though right now I wish that I had. That knife never even made it into my chest.
I was a monster.
I screamed at the top of my lungs, in pain and sadness. The shriek echoed throughout the walls and dissolved into bubbles of laughter. My chains rattled as I laid on the floor, giggling and trembling. Truly pathetic, I was. Yet I couldn't stop myself from rolling around and pounding my fists, chuckling. Tears streamed down my face and plopped on the floor. It was just too funny!
I was sure everyone else in the asylum could hear me laughing, too.