Given the nap hour silence of the high afternoon, every single sound echoed in the deserted hallway, even the sound of inserting the key in the keyhole and twisting it. Miss Yumi as quietly as possible entered the room only to find a lady shaking in her sleep. The lady was around her mother’s age as was evident from her grey black hair, neatly weaved in a braid, courtesy of Miss Yumi. The caretaker reached for the lady and caressed her sweaty forehead to calm her down.
She is having a nightmare again. Miss Yumi sighed.
With a soothing tone of a mother Miss Yumi called for the lady as she gently shook her “Martha! Martha, wake up dear”. The lady abruptly opened her eyes before she sat up and pulled Miss Yumi in a tight hug burying her face in the younger’s chest. Her breathing was erratic.
“It’s okay Martha, it’s ok” Miss Yumi said in assurance as she generously caressed the elder lady as if a baby.
The lady let go off the hug as tears flooded her eyes. “I can’t do this doctor, I can’t do this. I-I t-think I was better b-before when I felt nothing, when I was just a breathing corpse” the lady said sobbing in despair.
“No Martha, don’t give up. I know you can do it otherwise I wouldn’t have been here with you. Freedom is never so easy to achieve, Martha, especially from your inner demons because they reside in you. You can’t help but keep them inside you though in a defeated state”.
“What I do then? What I do?” the lady broke down even more.
“Fight Martha, just fight. In this world only fighting can keep you from drowning. You have to fight your trauma and trust me a morning will soon come when you will wake up all fresh and energetic, free from the torment of your nightmares.” Miss Yumi said a bit assuring a bit encouraging.
“Now you won’t give up, will you Martha?”
“No Doctor” the lady replied a bit smiling and a bit nodding like an obedient child.
“I know you love a lot of things to do. And I promise you once you will be healthy we will do them together. So get well soon! Now take your medicine and rest” Miss Yumi said as she passed the tablet and a glass of water to the lady.
Leaving the lady now all comfortable, Miss Yumi proceeded to tend to her other patients in the room. The woman surely stood true to her mentor’s expectations since this room which used to appear like a zoo for all the noise the inmates used to make in here, was restored to being a silent hospital room with every one of the inmates cooperating with their doctor cum caretaker.
The development obviously didn’t go unnoticed by Charin whose eyes were quietly following the newbie around. She was sitting in one of her typical postures, a slightly tilted neck, body leaned back a bit supported by her hands on her either side as her legs dangled down from the bed.
Have I noticed it today or Miss Yumi Chan was always this pretty? I am surprised how I have taken a liking for you, darling. May be because I have to see you daily. Your hair, your wild bush like hair, so excessively curly that having a bald head would be a better option. You made them look so seductive, the way they pop out of your hair bun here and there, what a sight! Your big brown eyes! Your chocolate skin! Your curvy figure wrapped in a white uniform making you look like an angel, my angel! So luring! So enticing!
Charin was so lost in her thoughts that her eyes couldn’t detect the nearing figure of the newbie.
“You can’t get your eyes off me today” the newbie teased Charin imitating the latter’s style of talking as she finally sat beside her bed. The tease broke the trance Charin was in.
“You are learning, I am impressed” Charin remarked amused, still riding a bit on her trance.
“So what’s on your mind, Charin?”
“Just wondering how a human came to care about us?” Charin replied now fully paying attention to the newbie.
“What do you mean by ‘you human’? Are you an animal?” the newbie said jokingly as she settled down in front of Charin.
“Being an animal is better than being a human. And in my case, I am surely not one of those disgusting bipedal creatures roaming outside”
“Then what are you?” the newbie asked amused.
“Anything but human” Charin said as if the word human itself sounds disgusting to her.
Knowing from where the hate for fellow humans was coming, the newbie asserted whispering “Not all humans are the same, Charin”
“Can you blame me for thinking like that?” Charin resented and then gave her a sarcastic smile.
“But I am also a human, do you hate me as well then?”
“No and that’s what surprises me. How you are so different from your race?” Charin stated confused as if posing some scientific question while her eyes scrutinized the newbie’s face in wonder as if she was some unknown organism. And then overcoming her curiosity, Charin leaned back and started staring into the space.
“Sometimes I wonder how it would be like to be loved, to be cherished, to be safe and protected” Charin started again speaking to nobody in the air.
Charin is not behaving like her usual self today. Did something happen? Is she missing something or someone? Is she tired of pretending to be strong, to be fine? Whom am I kidding, who can be fine in an asylum? The newbie thought, her eyes softening at the sight of the girl in front of her. Today she was looking like a kid, an innocent kid sitting in a garden alone dreaming about her future and contemplating her present. The kid was sad but calm as if she knew that the good old days will return and she will be her cheerful self again.
“Do you miss your orphanage times?” the newbie asked breaking the silence.
“No, I don’t even remember its name. I strangely don’t remember anything” Charin replied still staring into the space.
Because you lied about it, that’s why. The newbie thought.
“It’s like as if it happened in my previous birth. The memories only appear as flashes in my dreams. But whenever I think about that place and those times, something in me tells me that they were good.” Charin continued with a faint smile on her face as if reliving those good old days.
“Miss Yumi can you do me a favor?” Charin asked suddenly now making an eye contact with the newbie.
“I want you”
“What?” the newbie asked in confusion.
“I want you” Charin repeated.
“Forrrrrrr, for smuggling in a deck of cards in here” Charin said finally revealing her demand.
“I am going to use them to break out from here!” Charin said in sarcasm. “Of course I want to play with them. Sometimes it becomes boring in here and since I can’t keep you here 24X7, I thought of playing cards by myself”
“Is this the part of condition I was supposed to fulfill as a part of our deal?” the newbie asked reminding the girl of the condition which the latter laid down in return for telling about her past.
“No, it isn’t. You still own me. You can’t repay me with this petty favor” Charin said while sounding playfully offended.
How can you? After all, the task I will give you will ensure that I am in control of my destiny once again.