Chapter 3: "Your nightmare is only beginning."
I was sat at a table with a fork in hand and a plate of what they labeled ‘food.’ I’m guessing it was supposed to be spaghetti and meatballs, but the spaghetti was hard as a rock and the meatballs were still frozen in the middle. I rolled the meatballs around my plate with my fork as I waited for the dinner hour to finish up. I was alone at my table which didn’t shock me; I was the new patient in the institution, who would want to socialize with me?
Derek left me to talk it up with the other guards near the exit. Derek was laughing and smiling with the other guards which was a weird sight for me. He was so serious with me today and seeing him actually happy took me back a bit. I don’t know if I’ll be able to make Derek laugh and be happy the way he is with the other guards. I mean, I’m a patient that already got onto his final nerve without knowing me for three days.
I looked over to see two patients who seemed to be in their late 50’s. The man had an arch in his back and was fairly tall. The woman was shorter and a perfect posture. Both were making their way to my table, yet no eye contact was made as they walked closer to me. I looked back down to the plate of the garbage and continued to push the filth on my plate.
Both patients sat in front of me and waited for me to make eye contact. When I glanced up, they were both staring straight at me. “May I help you?” I asked, hoping it didn’t come out as rude as I thought it did.
The man and woman looked over to each other as if they were asking who should speak first. Finally, they turned back to me and the woman opened her mouth.
“We heard you’re in Katrina Williams’ old room. Y’know, the room where the exorcism happened,”
I was confused to how they knew this history of the room I’m assigned to. I slowly nodded my head with a puzzled look. “How do you both know about that? I just found out about it before I was dragged here,”
Both of them looked at each other before continuing the conversation. The older man took in a deep, long sigh. “Katrina Williams’ story is what gave Mills Mental Institution its bad reputation. People are afraid of this place, but they have no idea it’s worse inside the institution than outside. Anyone who stays in Katrina Williams’ room is at risk of getting bad cases of schizophrenia, emotional breakdowns, physical scarring, and even death. We came to warn you before you got caught up in any of those risk factors.”
Here we go again with the story telling. Do the people here really believe I’d fall for the traps set for me? I was done with these fictional stories that were floating around this institution. Not only was I told I won’t be mentally stable, but now the person who died in my room left some curse for any staying patients.
“You’ve got to me kidding me,” I mumbled.
“We’re not crazy. We swear we’re telling the truth.” The man quickly added.
An alarm went off, signaling dinner was over and it was now time to be sent back to our rooms. I stood from my seat and grabbed my tray. “If you’re not crazy, then tell me why you’re locked up in this nut house?” I spat before leaving the table. I tossed out the remaining food on my paper plate and walked with Derek back to my room.
I was fed up with Mills Mental Institution. No one was going to scare me into thinking these stories are real. This place was full of insane people who are spoon feeding me the cheap stories of this institution.
Derek unlocked my door and allowed me in. He closed and locked the door behind me without saying a word.
I looked through the small caged window to check if anyone was coming. Luckily, there wasn’t a person in sight. I quickly sat in front of the small night table and yanked the door open. I pulled out the medicine bottles, clipboards, and needles to grab the drawing pad. I flipped through the pages I already looked over. I came across a page where there was a person crying and had their eyes burned out along with cuts around their mouth. The message above the drawing read ’I’m dead inside.’
I flipped to the next page. There was a picture of a boy and girl holding hands, yet the boy was crossed out. The couple was smiling and had hearts around them. That didn’t take away the fact that the boy had a huge, red X over him. The artist of the drawing wrote ‘He left me to die’ over and over again. Following that, the next page red ‘I’m tired of hurting people. I’m tired of being the reason for fear. I’m tired of life.’
The only question that rang through my head was who drew these and what exactly was going through their mind. Also, how old are these?
I glanced at the clock behind me. 8:45PM. It was beginning to get late in the night and I still had a good amount of the drawing pad to go through. I placed everything back into the night table and pulled the drawing pad onto the bed with me.
Time passed by as I continued to look and read each drawing and message. It was 10:05 PM when I came across the final paper in the pad. The paper had a teddy bear missing an eye and a stitched shut mouth. The paper read ’You’re not safe from them.’ Who was ‘them?’
I shrugged off the thought and closed the pad. I slid it into the night table to make it seem as if I never touched it since Derek lectured me about it. I spread myself on the bed and shut my eyes to get a long, needed rest.
I was sat in a dark, cold room that had little to no light source. There were multiple razors, pills, needles, and knives set on a metal tray before me. My hands were tied behind the chair with a rope suffocating my wrists. My waist was also tied to the chair and the rope was beginning to hurt. I was frantically looking around to see if anyone would cut these restraints and let me free.
“Hello? Is anyone here?” I screamed.
I heard a door click a few feet away from me. A guy with long, dirty blonde locks that swept over the top of his brow entered the room. He stared at me dead in the eyes as he took steps closer to me. I was watching with dear on my face as he approached me. The guy picked up one of the razors and held it up to the light. It was as if he was inspecting the razor as a taunt to me. I only sat and watched this boy, not saying anything.
“Ryder,” he spoke softly as he brought the razor down, “Your nightmare is only beginning.”
His eyes met mine once more. A devilish smirk played across his lips. He tossed the razor back into the tray and slowly circled me. “Ryder, are you naturally not scared?” He spoke softly as he rounded me. I hesitantly nodded yes. There was no point in lying; I wasn’t scared easily.
The mysterious teen stopped in front of me and bent down so we were face to face. The smirk was still planted on his lips. “Everyone’s scared of something. There’s no way not a single thing in this big, bad world can scare you to the point you’re screaming bloody murder,” he whispered. He stood back up and looked at the tray again.
His fingers played over the razors and needles. He picked up the medicine bottle and read the label, smirking at it. I watched as he played the bottle back on the tray and picked up the sharpest knife out of the pile. He held the knife to the light, watching the light reflect off the shiny blade. He brought the blade close to my face. I tried to back myself from the blade as far as I could but he continued to bring the blade closer to me.
Without giving me a second to think, he brought the knife to my cheek and created a slit. I screamed in pain as blood dripped down my cheek. He then took the knife and made small cuts in my upper arm. I was screaming to the point where my ears were beginning to ring. He didn’t care though -- he continued to create more wounds in my skin.
The boy threw the knife onto the floor and grabbed a needle along with a liquid. He uncapped the liquid and poured it into the empty needle. He became frustrated with my crying and screaming. He turned to me with the needle and his face that had anger written all over it. “Not afraid of anything? Are you really not afraid of anything?” His voice raised with every word spoke. Tears continued to pour out of my eyes as I slowly shook my head.
“I thought you weren’t afraid of anything!” He screamed into my face.
He took the needle and stabbed it into one of the open gashes in my arm. My surroundings became fuzzy and my eyelids were growing tired. My sobs and screams were dying down the more my body fell into a weak state.
“You’re afraid of everything Ryder! You’re a lying, terrified brat!” he shouted at me. My eyes shut within seconds after he spat at me once more.Everything around me fell to a black abyss.
I shot up in my bed screaming. I looked around me and felt my arms, cheeks, and lets. I noticed I was in my bed and there wasn’t a single cut to be found. I glanced up to the clock. 2:28AM.
I ran my fingers through my hair as I collected myself. Who was that boy in my dream? That question continued to run through my mind as the dream played over in my head. There was one quote the boy said that was glued to the back of my mind.
“Your nightmare is only beginning.”