The man clicked on the recording, “Hello, this is Dr. Chris Hullinsworth here with patient 1005, a patient diagnosed with paranoia and schizophrenia,” he set the recorder down and clamped his hands and together, resting them on his desk, “How are you Ms....Leigh, isn’t it?”
“Yes....” A small voice belonging to a small red headed girl squeaked.
“Excellent! My memory is still in top condition!” Dr. Hullinsworth joked, then let out a forced laugh. This was his signature ice breaker for new patients, it usually received a dry chuckle from the patient. However, this girl gave no reaction. Her eyes staring distantly at a spot on Dr.Hullinsworth’s desk. He cleared his throat uncomfortably then continued, “So, your older sister told doctors that you were not having these...um...visions a couple of years ago. Do you know when it started?” He said in a practiced, soothing voice. The little redhead girl stayed quiet. Even though this doctors long grayish beard and tall slender physique reminded her of Santa Clause if he had lost the jolly that made him round, her little seven year old imagination could not use this funny image to ease the void left inside her from that frightful night two years ago. Her stormy grey eyes and cute smile years ago were now replaced with a distant stare and a worried pout. “Sweetheart, we can’t make you better if you don’t tell us anything.”
He sighed in defeat and clicked off the recorder, “Okay you can go, I guess....” Dr. Hullinsworth said beat by the shutoff, little girl’s mental absence.
She hopped down from the chair and exited the door, never lifting her eyes off the wooden floor. Once she reached the other side, a tall African American man and a dark haired, fair skinned woman met her. They were both dressed in lab coats and khaki pants. They led her down the hall towards her room.
“You hungry Avita?” The fair woman asked her with a heavy British accent.
“No ma’am,” Avita replied sweetly.
“You want some water? Or juice?” The man asked.
“No, I just wanna go lay down...” Avita said at almost a whisper.
“Okay....” He said. The rest of the short walk no one said a word. Once they reached the door, the woman opened it. Before Avita went in the man knelt beside her. “Alright Avita, if you need anything....?”
“Just press the button,” She finished giving him a weak smile.
“That’s my girl,” he said giving her a warm smile and pat on the back. With that, she went inside and both the adults gave her one more look over before closing the door.
“I’m really worried about her, Michelle,” He said with a sigh.
“David, you know she’s a schizophrenic and a ’noid. Plus, she’s seven, she doesn’t know what’s happening right now,” Michelle replied, “Besides, she’s a strong girl.”
“I don’t know, Michelle. She seems so traumatized.....” David said.
“You would be too! I mean, she sees things for God’s sake! Of course she’s traumatized,” Michelle replied, “You know, rumor has it she killed her parents. So that might be why she won’t say much. Maybe she feels guilty?”
“I know, I’ve heard what they say, but look at her. She couldn’t harm a fly,” David stated. He let out a big sigh, then checked his watch and added, “I think we should head back and see if Chris learned anything today.”
“I doubt it, this little girl is a clam,” Michelle said with a weak laugh starting to head back to Dr.Hullinsworth’s office.
When they reached his doorway, David peeked in. Dr.Hullinsworth was sitting at his desk hunched over pulling at his graying brown hair.
“Chris?” David greeted softly, “You okay?”
“This case will be the death of me,” Chris mumbled.
“So I’m guessing the first day of examination didn’t go so hot?” Michelle joked.
Chris shook his head violently, “We have barely any information on her and she is mute. How do they expect me to do anything with this?”
“I’m seriously thinking it’s something more than a slight case of Schizophrenia Doctor,” David stated.
Michelle’s head snapped around to look at David, a look of surprise. Chris slowly raised his head off his desk, looking at David with sudden interest, “What would make you say that?”
“I’m saying something seems different about her than our other Schizophrenia patients.”
“Well we can’t just conclude anything, based on action, this is a mental asylum after all. If we are gonna make assumptions, we have to get some information outta her.”
“Well, what if me and Michelle could probe and get information,” David started.
“How do you propose you do that?” Chris was sitting upright, staring intently at David.
“Well, right now, she’s a young girl, who has obviously seen some tough things, she has no parents, and she is in a new place with people she doesn’t know trying to make her relive an obviously scary time for her,” David imputed, “When she came to us, she was the talk of the Floradian Islands. She was known as the five year old girl who murdered her parents. But I don’t think that’s the case. She’s a small, tiny little girl who doesn’t seem to be able to kill a mosquito. But whether she did or not, that moment has left her with a case of PTSD. If we want to get any information about that or the visions she has we have to get her out of her shell through trust.”
Chris didn’t reply for a really long time. He finally said, “You have a point,” He ran a hand through his hair thinking some more, “You want the case? You got it, she seems more comfortable around you guys anyway.”
“Why do you say that?” David asked.
Chris again paused then sighed, “Do you want to know why I actually have overseers?” Michelle and David looked at each other in confusion then back to Chris, “Because there’s a ton of patients and you don’t have time to care for them yourself?” Michelle answered.
“If that were the case I’d hire other doctors,” Chris answered bluntly, “I’ll admit though, it can be overwhelming being a single doctor at such a big institution. But, I love children and want to help the mentally ill kids. I take this job seriously and would rather have it done slow and right, rather than fast and sloppy. I don’t want them to have to live their whole lives inside of a dingy mental asylum. I do everything myself and try to help them gain a somewhat normal life,” Chris paused momentarily, thinking of how to continue, “But, being dubbed a doctor, you instantly become a phobia to them. They see you as some kind of monster with syringes for fingers or something. That is why I hire overseers, which are like protectors to them from the ‘big bad doctor’. You guys care for them, feed them, take them places, they naturally love you guys and see you guys as heroes,” He smiled to himself in thought, then looked at Michelle then David sighing, “Any-who, I’m giving you two a week to find out any sort of pertinent information.”
“A week?” David interrupted, his voice exasperated.
“Let me finish,” Chris stated causing David to immediately shut up. He continued, “If you guys can find any new information that could help, then I’ll fully hand the case over you. If not I’ll continue to be on the case, and you two will return to just being overseers,” he checked his watch, “Now get out of my office and go do your job,” Chris said as he jokingly waved them off, they turned to leave, “I do want regular updates, I’m still on the case. Just now I’m more like the supervisor instead of the lead investigator,” He laughed at his clever comparison.
David turned back, “Wait, Avita’s napping.”
“Ohhh, well in that case.....”
A loud beeping sound emitted from David’s belt stopping Chris from speaking immediately. Everyone turned to David’s belt, watching a red light flash rapidly, “Avita....” David muttered. He turned immediately and swung open the door. He took off down the hallway, Michelle right on his tail. They pushed past other overseers and patients walking along the hallways, “Move! Move! Emergency!” They took turns screaming, alerting everyone to move out the way or get trampled.
Once they reached Avita’s room, David pulled the key card out of his pocket and waved it in front of the sensor. He threw open the door and gasped.
The room was beyond dark, the only light source was flooding in from the hall, creating a path of light in the center of the room. Little glass shards twinkled on the floor, the busted light bulb the shards came from still in the socket above. David scanned the room, for Avita. He found her hiding in the corner, tucked in the fetal position. She appeared to be sobbing, but when David and Michelle entered, her head shot up. Her face was drenched in sweat and tears. Cuts, aligned her arm and legs, they assumed from the glass. As David and Michelle made their way quickly over to her, they couldn’t stop their eyes from being drawn to the drawings all over the wall. Twisted and ominous were the only ways to describe them.
“Avita! Are you okay sweetheart?” David reached to touch the girl, but she flinched away, tucking her left arm behind her legs.
She didn’t speak, her eyes red from crying. She just looked at him, analyzing his face it appeared.
“Avita, you pressed the button didn’t you?”
“Why, what’s wrong?” Michelle asked, she stood behind David. For the first time she was genuinely worried about her.
“He scared me.....” She finally spoke, her voice soft and weak.
“Who? Who scared you?”
She didn’t reply this time.
“Did someone come in here?”
Still no answer, instead her eyes drifted past the overseers, to the furthest corner of the room.
David’s head snapped around, following her gaze. Nothing was there. His eyes then drifted back to the drawings. He exchanged a glance with Michelle, their expressions mirrored. Both a mixture of confusion and worry. David sighed and stood, “You stay here, I’ll examine the room.”
Michelle knelt next to Avita, pulling out bandages and beginning to tend to Avita’s cuts.
As David walked the room, he began to feel an unease develop inside him. The drawings along the wall were dark, and had an aura of evil. They held within them a story, a story that no girl her age should be able to capture inside of a drawing. There was a drawing of a pig head, but instead of it just being a pig head, it appeared decapitated, its severed spine and organs dangling. Or a crowd of people running from a beast, some shadowed figure. These were two among a plethora of others, “Interesting drawings Avita....” David started, his voice barely able to leave his lips.
Michelle continued to clean and cover her wounds, but even without looking she felt the fear inside of David’s voice.
Avita hesitated before deciding to speak, “Thank you....” She squeaked.
David continued to examine everything, near Avita’s bed, scratched dementedly into the wall was “HA HA HA HA HA HA”. As David read this, he felt that could faintly hear the mad cackle. It sounded absolutely horrid, even in its low, barely audible tone, unnerving him.
“David!” Michelle yelled, snapping him out of his short trance. He snapped around and saw Michelle holding Avita’s left arm. It was the one she had tucked away from David. It was bleeding profusely, blood dripping down her arm and into the dress she was wearing. Avita’s eyes had drooped slightly, her gaze dazed and unable to focus, she’s lost a lot of blood.
David quickly ran over to the young girl and scooped her up in his arms, “Lead and clear the way, Michelle,” David ordered as he held the girl, “Don’t worry, Avita.”
Michelle nodded and sprinted out the door, turning left opposite of where Chris’ office was located as she exited. David was right behind her, cradling Avita tightly against him. Michelle cleared the way pushing some out the way as nicely as she could and yelling at others. By now, Avita was unconscious, her limp body bouncing as David sprinted, blood dripping from her arm creating a crimson trail behind them. David looked down at her, grief pumping throughout him, mixed with adrenaline. They rounded a corner, the speed at which they were going almost sent them both flying into the wall, but they managed.
“Almost there. Almost there,” David repeated, hoping that subconsciously Avita would hear him. He looked at her, a barely noticeable space in between her upper and lower eyelid. Her mouth hung open, tiny lips parted but still downturned unhappily. If she died now, she wouldn’t be at peace.
They continued to charge down the hallways for what felt like ages before they finally burst into the medical center. The two nurses inside turned from the ill patient that lay on the thin hospital bed. They looked at the worry stricken faces of the overseers, then the blood red arm of the young girl they carried.
“Oh God....” The shorter nurse trailed.
“You continue dealing with him,” The taller ordered the shorter, who grimaced slightly before returning to the ill patient, “You two, place her on the bed over there.” He pointed to an open bed that was on the wall opposite of the one with the patient on it.
“Can you hurry she’s lost a lot of blood already,” David pleaded as he set Avita down gently on the bed.
“I’ll do what I can,” he replied, pulling off the gloves he had been using. He slid on another pair and briskly walked over to them. He used a wet cloth to clean the blood off of her arm, revealing a massive gash.
Michelle squealed and ducked her head into David. David put an arm around Michelle comfortingly, but on the inside, he was the one that needed to be comforted.
“You two might want to sit down, this might take a bit,” The nurse stated while he examined the wound. He then walked over to the counter that aligned the back wall and pulled out a drawer. He reached in and began to pick through the various tools he had inside it.
“Will she make it?” Michelle questioned.
No reply came for awhile, “It’s a possibility she will, but her pulse is weak. So it’s hard to tell right now.”
David’s heart ached but he remained quiet.
The nurse finally closed the drawer, “We are gonna try to close up that gash and get some fluids inside her and go from there. Now it’ll be best if you sat down for awhile or went to get something to eat.”
“How long should this take?” Michelle asked.
“Around thirty minutes to an hour,” With that he lifted his surgical mask over his face and turned to Avita.
David and Michelle lingered for awhile. They didn’t want to leave her here, but at the same time they didn’t want to watch him work on her, no matter how tame an operation it was. David decided he couldn’t watch and went outside, Michelle followed. David rubbed his short black Afro in worry.
“Hey don’t worry Dave......it’ll be alright,” Michelle tried unconvincingly.
“If this is how things are gonna go, my goatee is going to end up looking like Chris’s beard,” David muttered.
Michelle laughed weakly.
David rubbed his muscular arms anxiously, the faint cackle he heard earlier returned causing a chill to shoot down his spine.
Michelle looked at David worryingly, however she didn’t know what to say. She wasn’t good with comforting people like David was. All the times he had managed to make her smile when she was down, and she never could return the favor.
David could tell she was concerned, he was extremely skilled at reading people. But he could easily read her every emotion better than he could anyone else, that’s how well he knew her. He could notice a slight alteration in the way she carried her short, tan figure and easily tell if she was upset or not. He felt like he would notice if her long, straight brunette hair that was now reaching midway down her back was even a millimeter shorter. He remembered back when she used to move around self consciously because she was unhappy with her not super chubby but not super skinny body size. That was back when she wore makeup too, now she doesn’t and has a lot more confidence in her appearance.
“But you know, you shouldn’t worry about me,” he said and gave her a smile.
She concentrated on him, she was no mind-reading-prodigy, but she tried her best. Even though she had known David for years, he was an emotional rock. She would observe his tall, muscular physique and get nothing. She would turn to his face, his goatee that made his cheeks appear fuller than they actually were, his dark eyes and full lips. They all told the same blank paged story.
“Fine, if you say so” She said finally in frustrated worry. She checked her watch and sighed.
“How long has it been?” David asked.
“About ten minutes.”
He let out his own sigh before letting himself fall to the ground, leaning against the wall. Michelle sat down next to him, resting her head on his shoulder. They sat in silence, patiently awaiting the outcome.
Avita watched as the door began to close. Her overseers slowly left out of view. Their warm smiles before her, turning into half smiles and then nothing but a steel door in their place. She sat there for a moment, staring at the door. Then she slowly began to wander her room. She’s called this place home now for almost four months, yet she still hasn’t felt “at home” in it. She finally made it to her bed and hopped on it and laid down. She stared at the blank ceiling and her mind began to wander. She began to think about dogs, cats, unicorns, castles, kingdoms, then.....to the outside world. Will her sister ever get her out of this awful place? It’s only been four months, but it’s felt like forever. The worst part is she’s never allowed to go outside, the only outside she can see is the clear room. They haven’t deemed her “situation” dangerous enough to cut her off from that at least. “Why am I even here?” She began to wonder, “Why do they keep saying I have schiza....sch....whatever they call it, what does it mean?”
Her thoughts were interrupted by a whisper, “Avita?”
“What Oriah?” She responded looking around for her friend.
“Do you wanna play?”
“I’m not in the mood,”
“Awww, but I’m bored.....”
Avita sighed then rolled out of bed, “What do you wanna do then?”
There was a long pause. Avita began to wonder if she had run off her only friend by her lack of enthusiasm and was alone again, “Aha, how about we draw something?” Oriah finally replied. Avita got up and began to wander around her room looking for some markers, or crayons, or even a piece of chalk.
“What are we gonna use?” Avita questioned.
She continued to walk around, ending up in the middle of her room, “Oriah?” Avita called. She received her answer when the light bulb above her burst, the light around her disappearing instantly. Darkness filled the space just as quickly. Avita squealed, her skin being cut in the darkness by falling glass. “Oriah! Why did you do that?” she scolded.
Tears of pain started flowing from her eyes as her arms, legs, and forehead began to feel the sting of the cuts, blood trickling down her skin. As she began to rub her cuts in a desperate attempt to soothe the pain.
In the darkness, the silhouette of a figure could just be made out as it began to crawl out of the farthest corner.
Avita sniffled as she turned to look at it, “Why did you burst my light bulb?” She questioned, squinting to see the dark figure.
“I’m sorry friend,” it hissed bending, picking up a shard of glass as it began to stand up. It slowly wandered to one of the walls, and began to etch something onto the wall, the sound of glass scratching against concrete filled the air.
Avita walked over to her bed and turned on her nightlight. She then walked over to her friend and watched in wonder as he began to etch ominous pictures of dark woods and the night sky amongst words like darkness and help me on the wall. She stared as his pictures gradually became more elaborate and dark. His writings turning into barely legible scratches, his drawings barely being able to be called drawings but rather a two year old’s demented scribbles. He began to breath heavy and whimper. She quickly walked up grabbed his arm, “Oriah, it’s okay!” She said as she tried to comfort him.
He let his hand fall to his side and stood motionless.
She squeezed his arm, “It’s okay,” she said soothingly.
He snapped around quickly, his arm with the glass shard swing into her arm. The glass digging into her skin and slashing open a line in her forearm. She screamed, the stinging sensation spreading throughout her arm. She looked down at her arm, her eyes wide, filling with tears as she watched the blood pour from the slash. She peered up at him through blurry eyes and saw his head creepily tilted to the side. He watched her for a moment, unmoving. He was entranced at the dark red color flowing from her olive skin. In the back of her head, she could hear demented cackling. The cackles were psychotic and echoed loudly off the wall, drowning out the soft whimpering of her pained cries.
“Shut up,” Oriah shouted and the cackling died down. He stepped towards her and knelt so he was eye level with her, “Does it hurt? Does it sting? I hope it does, because this feeling right now is how you’re gonna feel soon if you keep pandering to these actors here, thinking they actually care about you. By locking you up like some sort of zoo animal, you think they are helping you, curing you?” He paused till he felt his question had registered in the young child’s mind. “These people think you’re crazy, insane, dangerous. They think you seeing me is just some disease, that I’m not your real friend. But just a creation of some sort of false diagnosis, they don’t understand that, I’m more real than any of them out here. They think they know you, they think they know what’s best for you, they want nothing more than to steal you away from me...from us,” He then grabbed the young girl by her shoulders and pulled her towards where his mouth would’ve been,“I won’t let that happen, we won’t let that happen,” he then let her go. Avita was scared. She backed away a few more steps. Oriah stood up straight. “You will not disclose any information, do you understand!?” Avita nodded. She began to sweat from fear. Oriah turned around facing the wall again. He stared at his work for a moment and didn’t say a word. He slowly bent down and picked up another piece of glass and began to again work on his drawings.
“You know.....D...David and Michelle aren’t that bad,” she whispered. Oriah clenched his fist and all you could hear was glass crunching. It was completely silent, except the dripping of blood from Oriah’s now cut fist. He sat there motionless for a moment. Avita quickly realize her mistake, twitching slightly.
Oriah giggled,“Ah the male and the female, huh? Is that their names?” he asked still facing the wall.
“No!” She said looking away.
He quickly snapped around once again. She tried to run but he was too fast. He gripped her by the arm, blood staining the remaining clean skin,“Don’t lie to me, friends don’t lie to each other do they?”
She shook her head, wincing from the pain of the cuts and his vice grip.
“So tell me! Is it or isn’t it there names?” He growled.
“Yes that’s their names!” She whined.
He quickly released his grip and giggled. “Thank you,” He said and turned to his drawings and nodded. Avita fell to the ground holding her arm, her face full of sweat, blood, and tears. She could barely see now for the salt from her tears and sweat. She wiped her face on her pink shirt trying to clear her vision, but her vision was still blurry from blood loss. She searched her room, looking for her friend, but Oriah had already left. She scooted herself to the corner with her good arm and began to cry. She was alone again, but this time it was worse.
“David….” A distant voice called, “David!” It repeated louder.
David slowly peered upward and saw the nurse standing over him, “Is…..is she alright?” David quickly rose to his feet, his voice exasperated.
He nodded, crossing his arms and leaning his shoulder against the wall, “Michelle’s already inside with her. He pointed over his shoulder with his thumb.
David quickly brushed past the nurse and entered the small hospital room, “Avita? Avita? I’m here honey,” David’s eyes drifted around the room in a panic. His eyes scanned around then locked when they saw the young girl on the hospital bed, her arm wrapped in a white bandage from her wrist to her elbow like a cast. Above her, Michelle was running her hands through her red curls soothingly. Michelle looked awkward, she didn’t know what to say as she looked down at the young girl.
As Avita, heard the voice call for her, she blinked and looked around looking for the source of it. As she saw David briskly walking to her side, she smiled weakly to acknowledge she heard him.
David looked back worryingly at her, “How you feeling?” He silently cringed at the cliché question.
She shrugged gently.
“Are you hungry? We can go and get some food from the cafeteria if you’d like,” Michelle asked.
“I’m sorry, she can’t leave the room for at least a day, she’s to weak to walk on her own and I’d feel better if she just remained here,” The nurse interrupted.
“Can we go fetch her something to eat and bring it back?” David interjected.
The nurse nodded.
“We’ll be back, Avita,” David said, hating to leave the girl so soon.
“Okay,” Avita muttered and closed her eyes, shifting into a more comfortable position.
David and Michelle lingered for a moment, watching the young child drift into what they hoped was a peaceful slumber before they began to head out.
“I’m glad she’s okay,” Michelle started.
“She’s not really okay, Michelle. I don’t think anyone would be in such a predicament,” he replied dryly.
“You know what I meant,” she stated, “I’m just glad she’s alive.”
“Me too,” he agreed, “We’re lucky we found her before she bled out.”
“Yeah, I wonder why she was hiding her arm though.”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t think she tried to kill herself do you?” She asked, “You know from guilt or something.”
David’s eyes snapped toward her, glaring daggers into hers. His stare scolded her without the need of words
Michelle immediately crawled into a proverbial shell, her lips sealing themselves as she looked away from his knife like gaze.
They walked in silence for awhile before Michelle tried again, they were only a few hallways away from the cafeteria at this point.
“What do you think she’ll want to eat?” No response from David, “What if she turns out to be vegan or something?” She chuckled to herself but didn’t get even a blink from him, “David, come on I didn’t mean it earlier…..”
“We’ll pick out something on the inside, and she’s not vegan Michelle, she ate eggs this morning.”
“I meant vegetarian.”
“She also had bacon, she loves bacon, Michelle. You’d know that if you came to eat with us in the mornings or even at lunch.”
“You know I don’t like the cafeteria food.”
“You could bring some food into the cafeteria…” he muttered.
“Why are you being like this?”
“You claimed that she tried to kill herself.”
“I apologized for that already, I didn’t really mean it but we have to face the possibilities.”
“It’s like you don’t even know the girl!” David found himself screaming and paused, “Actually, you don’t know the girl…..at all. Because you don’t care!” He was once again yelling.
“That’s a lie and you know it.”
“What’s her favorite ice cream flavor?”
“No, cookie dough. What’s her favorite color?”
“Pink. What’s her favorite animal?”
“Easy, a brown bear just like her stuffed bear teddy.”
“False, it’s actually the unicorn.”
“A unicorn isn’t even a real animal!”
David scoffed, speeding up his walk slightly. Michelle reached out and grabbed his wrist, and he turned around, “You know, sometimes I worry about why you even took this job as an overseer because it’s like you don’t even care about the children.”
“That’s not true David….”
“Sometimes I think it would have been better for you to just continue your studies in college and take the job of a psychiatric doctor here or even one of the ones for the health facility.”
Michelle felt nothing but pain as his words cut her down. David looked over for only a moment before he tightened his lips and turned away, speeding up his walk again.
Once they reached the cafeteria, they walked straight up to the register and looked over the choices before settling on chicken nuggets and apple slices. As they waited, Michelle tried to talk to him again but received a cold shoulder. When the food came out, David flashed Avita’s patient card and grabbed it, leaving the cafeteria. When they reached the hallway, they stayed silent for the duration of the walk.
When they reached the medical center doorway, the door was mysteriously closed. David hesitated before placing a hand on the handle, but a man called out to him, “Don’t go in there!”
David turned, “Why not?”
He just shook his head, his eyes showing blatant anxiety. He made his way towards the door, closing the gap between them.
David shook his head, before opening the door. Michelle screamed, David instinctively wrapped his arms around her in comfort.
The nurse slid a hand over his balding head, letting out a sigh, “I tried to warn you.”
On the floor, blood was splattered everywhere, small crimson droplets turning into puddles the closer you got to the source. The smell of iron radiated strongly inside of the small room, causing the duo to wrinkle their noses. David put a hand over his nose to block out the smell, peering inside to look for Avita. She laid in the small bed, sound asleep, her head turned towards the wall. There was no blood on her or the white sheets she covered herself with. Across the room from the sound child, the corpse of her nurse sat, head down against his chest. Blood poured down from his neck, drenching his white lab coat from a large slash across his neck. His eyes were droopped shut, his mouth danglingg open eternally.
“Y-you, did you do this?” David asked accusingly.
“Me? No are you insane?” The shorter nurse asked.
“Then how do you explain that?” David gestured inside the room.
“I haven’t the slightest clue, I just left to give the other patient to his overseers with some medication and I returned to this. I just returned from notifying Chris,” he claimed, but his eyes told a different story as they watched the young girl sleep.
David followed his eyes then snapped back to the nurse, “I hope you aren’t thinking what I think you are.”
The nurse lowered his voice to a small whisper, “You have heard the rumors haven’t you? I assume you have, being her overseers.”
“They aren’t true!” David shouted causing Avita to stir. She rolled over to see the man covered in blood across the room. She whimpered softly, pushing herself to the opposite wall with her strong arm.
“Don’t be naive,” The duo heard the nurse call as they quickly went over to comfort the young girl who had her face buried into the wall, tears of fear falling down her cheeks, “Ehhhh, whatever, I’m gonna go get the guards to come check this out.”
David attempted to wrap his arms around Avita but she swiped him away and continued to cry. He then gently pressed his hand on her back and rubbed softly, “Don’t worry, don’t worry. We’re here,” he soothed.
The girl continued to shake gently as she cried, the two never saying a word, just watching her cry. She never looked at the two, but stared into the shadows against the wall. Her red hair blocked out her face, her heart beating with horrid memories.
The nurse soon returned, two short, chubby men dressed in black security suits on either side of him, “We are gonna need to ask you guys to leave the premise. This is now a crime scene,” one of the two guards claimed, his tone was bored and uninterested.
The nurse checked his watch, “It’s time for you two to head home anyways.”
David peered at them, then back at Avita. She was finally calming down, but tears still developed in the corners of her eyes, “Come on, Avita,” David spoke softly, “We need to go.”
Avita turned her head slowly, her eyes shut tight.
“Here, you can put your face against the side of my jacket so you won’t have to see,” He suggested.
She hesitated, not moving from what had become her safe haven in this hell.
“Here I’ll be your eyes don’t worry. You don’t have to look,” He slid his hand around her wrist and guided her off of the bed. She used her other arm and grabbed onto the sleeve of his coat. He let go of her wrist and let her pull his arm over her eyes and the trio walked out of the little room, sliding past the nurse who watched them leave.
As they rounded a corner at the end of that hall, Avita finally removed David’s arm, peering at the bland walls around her. No posters, no pictures, no patterns. Only beige paint down to fake wooden baseboards.
David looked down at her, a lack of emotion across her young face. A sort of extreme apathy had replaced the flowing emotion she had previously had. Now they were once again suppressed.
The three rounded a few more corners in silence until they were were outside her room. She waited for David to open the door but he lingered, “I’m sorry we have to leave you again.”
She gave a weak smile.
“We’ll be back first thing in the morning.”
He let out a sigh before opening the door. She began to walk inside, disappearing into the darkness before Michelle stopped her.
“Your food,” she said and held out the bag of food they had gotten her.
“I’m not hungry….” She trailed and turned to head inside.
They peered inside and saw her silhouette getting smaller inside the room before sitting on her bed. It appeared she was staring at the small light that seeped onto her floor from the door.
David lingered a moment before he closed the door letting her disappear. He paused and stared at the door before him when he felt a hand on his shoulder, “David, we need to go see Chris.”
He turned and looked at her, stress across his face. He nodded and they turned to head to his office.
Once they reached Dr.Hullinsworth’s office, David knocked softly. He peered and saw them through the glass and waved them in.
“You’ve really started off with a bang haven’t you?” He greeted.
“Avita did not kill that man,” David stated defensively.
“I don’t think she did,” Chris stated.
David’s eyes involuntarily squinted.
“What do you think happened then?” Michelle questioned.
“I believe Owens did it.”
“The shorter nurse?” She asked.
“Yes he’s been having trouble with his colleagues ego and was upset that I wouldn’t transfer him to another floor,” Chris stated. He didn’t sound at all worried or surprised.
“So what now?” David asked.
“I’ll have to let him go,” His tone was flat, “It’s too bad, they were both good nurses.”
The two stared at him, his lax tone and body language unsettled them.
He fell back in his chair and let his hands fall in his lap. He looked at them through his glasses and let out a dramatically heavy sigh before checking his watch, “Well you two better be heading home before traffic backs up.”
“Uhhh, okay,” David began, “Well, night Chris.”
“Yeah, night Chris,” Michelle said.
“Night you two,” Chris then stopped them, “Hey! I want you two here early tomorrow, okay?”
They both nodded as they exited.
When they left the room and made sure the door was closed they began to walk down to the elevator.
“Well that was…odd,” Michelle said.
“None of today has made any sense,” David said.
“Well, yeah. But I expected Chris to be a little more upset over the death of an employee….” Michelle stated.
“Yeah, I mean yeah, at the least be upset over the potential lawsuit,” he stated.
“Exactly, but no he’s just talking about letting him go which is outrageous because if what he thinks is true, he’ll be a lot more than ‘let go’,” her voice was involuntarily raising.
David stayed quiet for a long time before he said what they both were thinking, “And what if he didn’t do what Chris thinks he did….”
“Then who could?”
“Don’t say it….”
“David, I don’t believe it either, but it’s a possibility that they will think so.”
“Then we just have to prove that she didn’t do that,” he pointed behind them, “or kill her parents.”
They reached the elevator and pressed the button to the garage, “How?” Michelle questioned.
“By simply doing what we said we were earlier,” he gave her a hard look, “We are gonna help this girl get out of here and live a normal life.”
A smile slowly developed across Michelle’s smooth cheeks as she saw the determination flash in David’s eyes.
“There’s the smile!” he exclaimed giving one back as the elevator stopped on the ground floor. The doors slid open revealing the parking garage. Around them cars filled every spot, it was Friday, every overseer worked late on Fridays, stressfully working, trying to make it so they could go home earlier on Saturday. That is everyone but David and Michelle who actually didn’t mind and even enjoyed being at work.
“Well me and “the smile” are going to head home now,” Michelle joked weakly and pointed at her mouth, “See you in the morning, and drive safe.”
“I always do,” David said waving to Michelle before turning the opposite direction and heading to his car.
Michelle watched him walk for awhile before heading to her car. On the way to his apartment, David rode in his old, beat-up car with the windows rolled down letting the cool night breeze circulate through the car. He had the radio blasting new pop songs as he sped down the surprisingly empty rode, “Must be a full moon!” David joked to himself, trying to clear his head from the day. He looked above him at the completely black sky in search of the invisible orb, “Hmmm must be a new moon,” he shrugged, “Time for a new lunar cycle.”
Michelle was ever so slightly unnerved by the completely nonexistent Friday night traffic. It usually takes her close to an hour to arrive home on Fridays, but tonight she hit every green light and managed to get home in a little over thirty minutes. As she pulled into her parents driveway, she turned off the car, and made her way to the door. She tried the knob and easily twisted the door open. She shook her head and łet out a frustrated sigh, “Guys, you really need to stop leaving the door unlocked.”
There was no reply.
A feeling of fear set over her. She quickly set her keys on a key hook right next to the door and stormed up the staircase right in front of the door to the second floor where the bedrooms where. She made her way to her parents bedroom and flung open the door. The door flew open banging into the wall as it swung.
Her father, a chubby man, basically flew out the bed, his flabby arms swinging in every direction like something out of a Chinese martial arts movie. As he did so, he tried futilely to stand up, but he instead caught his foot on the bed sheet and tumbled out of bed kicking his wife with his free foot in the process. His wife immediately shot up, grunting in pain. She observed the unusual situation holding her side. She saw her husband, half naked in his underwear, rolling on the ground holding his back. She then looked up and saw her daughter, standing in the doorway, frantic and confused.
“Mum? Dad?” Michelle started slowly, embarrassed for being so drastic with her actions.
“Michelle? Have you lost your mind?” Her mom questioned in a British accent similar to her own.
“You better have some grand story to explain you busting in our room at God-knows-what-time like that,” Her dad added stumbling to his feet, he had a gruff voice with a heavy British accent as well.
“You left the door unlocked and when I called your names you didn’t answer,” Michelle defended.
“Well as you can see we were obviously sound asleep before you woke us up by busting in our room like an officer on a drug bust.”
Michelle tried to think of something to comeback with, but the more she thought the more she began to see how ridiculous her actions were.
“Now Michelle, we are glad you’re worried about us,” Her mother started.
“Speak for yourself,” Her father interrupted.
Her mother ignored the statement and continued, “-but you can’t bust in our room like that, Love. You really need to stop being so paranoid,” Her mother said.
“I mean you can’t even live on your own as a twenty two year old,” her father muttered. Her mother reached over and put her hand on her husbands shoulder, slightly digging her nails into his skin. He winced and gritted his teeth.
“What your father is trying to say is, we love having you here. And you can live with us as long as you want, you just need to stop being so paranoid all the time. We can’t have you busting in here like one of your patients who’s just escaped and is on the run, you could give us a heart attack,” she gave Michelle a smile.
“Or a visit to the chiropractor,” Her father interjected stretching his back and letting out a grunt.
Her mother rolled her eyes, “Dinner is already made in the refrigerator, warm it up and let us get back to sleep.”
Michelle’s cheeks were burning red and she still couldn’t speak. There was nothing to say, she just busted inside of her parents room in a panic and injured both her mother and her father in the process. This further validated her father’s belief that if she ever tried to be independent she’d never make it. She silently nodded and slowly exited, closing the door gently behind her.
She heard her father make an unintelligible noise before finally gathering something to say in something just above a whisper, “There’s a dent in the wall too! This child...”
David pulled up to his apartment complex and parked in front of his apartment. He turned his car off and hesitated, he usually had to park further back in the lot. However, tonight the parking lot was empty except for a sparse number of cars here and there. He shrugged it off, not putting too much thought in it and proceeded up the staircase to his room. As he entered his bedroom, he made his nightly call to his parents back in America and boiled himself some noodles for dinner. Afterward he changed into his pajamas and fell asleep into an eerily quiet slumber.