September 9, 2006
I think that I died and no one remembered to tell me.
I am dead and this, this is hell. This ‘institution’, with its crumbling walls, broken tiled floors, destroyed wings, and heavy stench of death. This place, with its ghost-faced nurses, the ones who only appear every few hours to deliver the multi-colored pills that they have placed in small white cups and a gray substance that they claim is food.
This place is hell and I am stuck here for all eternity.
There are others here but they are dead as well. Their skin might go flush at the notice of some unwanted staring and their hearts might skip a beat or two when the entry doors open, but there are no real signs of life inside of them.
They are hollowed out shells out the people they used to be, shuffling the halls aimlessly until someone turns them in a different direction.
Not everyone here is ready to accept the fact that they are no longer among the living, clinging to the last shred of light that dares to remain inside of them. They claw and scratch at whatever they can get their hands on, doing whatever they can to fight against the afterlife. They scream out, cursing a deity that I no longer believe exists. They slice at their skin, screeching when the nurses come to clean them up.
They do what they can to feel alive.
The guards might be the only living thing here but they are certainly not human. They move too quickly, talk too softly, and stand too still. They keep their faces covered with thick black masks, large guns slung across their shoulders as they stand watch by the heavy metal doors because there is absolutely no escape from hell.
At night, once everyone has been rounded up and given their nightly shot, they trap up inside of our rooms; thick metal locks slide into place to confirm that there is no leaving until they allow it.
I refer to it as my room but, in all actuality, it is nothing more than a small closet with a bed in the corner, a small window on the right, and paper thin walls.
I can hear everything in this place and, sometimes, I think about asking the other dead if they can hear it too. Can they hear the footsteps of the guards as they walk the halls? Can they hear the water rushing through the pipes? Can they hear the mice as they chew their way through the electrical system? Can the hear the frantic heartbeats of everyone in this place?
Asking them would serve no purpose because they would never respond, talking is forbidden here.
Life around here is different at night because there are no rules. At night, the halls come to life with stories of what the others have heard about what is going on outside, stories of an uprising like no other.
The stories all start the same, back during a time when natural disasters plagued every corner of the world. Hurricanes, floods, and fires all wreaked havoc on everything they could.
A time where entire cities were shaken off the map by the sheer force of the earthquakes that raged under them.
They say that’s when the angels fell, their massive bodies hitting the ground with such speed that it shook everything around them. Supposedly, by the time that the last one fell, the world had gone all peaceful and the chaos had finally stopped, leading everyone to believe that they had been sent here to save them.
They say that, from the moment they fell, they hated us. The angels that the whispers speak of are nothing like the old books that can be found lying around the institution, the ones that speak of glorious creatures with white wings, shining halos, and cherub-like faces.
No, the whispers speak of malicious creatures with fiery red eyes, muscled bodies, super speed, and an unrelenting urge to kill any human they cross paths with.
The stories tell of how our numbers dwindled under their reign, dropping the world’s population from over seven billion to under three hundred thousand by the end of the first year.
Now I say ‘the stories’, ‘the whispers’, and ‘they say’ because, as it has been told, all of this occurred six years before I was born. Well, six years before I was born if the date I was given as my birthday is actually correct. The whole thing would just be one well thought out story, brought to life by the slow decline of a dead person’s brain.
I sometimes catch myself wondering if these stories are true or if there is something more going on outside of these walls.
I suffer from amnesia, or at least that is what I have been told. I could have an entire chunk of my brain missing and be none of the wiser.
The first real memory I have is of waking up in the hospital, my body covered in wires and tubes. The heart monitor next to my bed went crazy and, seconds later, the room was full of white coat wearing medical professionals who stood there, staring down at me in complete shock.
The doctor who stepped forward to speak to me informed me that I was going to be considered a ‘medical miracle’, but I am sure that he would be more than happy to take that back if you asked him now. He also told me I had been involved in a car accident, found only a few feet away from the destroyed vehicle, half dead and covered in blood.
I was told that, in the condition in which I had arrived, I shouldn’t have made it through the night, let alone the medically induced coma I spent the following three months in. I had surpassed all of their expectations, waking up to find myself covered in a series of oddly shaped bruises but no longer suffering from life-threatening injuries.
A series of questions later it became apparent to them that I would be of no help when it came to finding out how I ended up on the side of that road because, as luck would have it, I couldn’t remember anything before I opened my eyes. My brain was a clean slate, wiped clear of anything that might have marked it once.
After a while they stopped asking me questions, choosing to focus more on some rumor about ‘growing numbers’, but I was never able to hear more than a few snippets of their conversations.
According to the doctor, I had one item on me when I was brought in: a small identification card given out by some state fair I must have attended at some point in my life. Despite the fact that the card was quite old, it provided the hospital staff with my name and let them know that I was thirteen years old at the time of the accident.
Once again, I am going strictly off the information I have been given. I am yet to see that ID card or my medical records.
The quickness in which I healed should have been the hospital staff’s first hint that there was more to me than meets the eye. Seriously, who heals six times faster than the average person? What kind of person is able to be ejected from a car, bounce several feet down the road from said car, and then wake up three months later like the whole thing never happened?
Me, that’s who.
I guess they were just so happy to see someone survive for a change that they didn’t feel the need to stop and question how it happened.
I bet they’re regretting that now.
I don’t remember the events leading up to it but I will never forget the look in that nurse’s eye the first time electricity sprang to life on my skin. She didn’t even have time to cry out in pain before the bolts jolted into her, her eyes rolling into the back of her skull before her body hit the ground with a sickening thud.
That is the last thing I remember of the hospital and, I’ll be damned if I am wrong, but I am certain that they killed me for what I did to her because, when I reopened my eyes, I was in this place.
I was in hell.
You may think that I am being unnecessarily dramatic but you would be wrong. If anything, I am not being dramatic enough. This place is literally hell.
Every morning I am ripped from my bed by some protective suit wearing guard, dragged down long hallways, and then experimented on for hours on end. It has been three years since I arrived in hell and, almost every day, they have found a new way to punish me for the sins I committed when I was alive.
I have been pumped full of adrenaline and then thrown into a tank full of freezing water, observed as it triggered my electricity. I was observed as my own bolts turned against me, giving me an all too realistic example of how that poor nurse felt.
I have been hooked up to a generator, exhausted to the point of blacking out just so that some woman could see how long I could power certain types of machinery.
I have had so many vials of blood drawn in one day that I was too weak to move the following day.
As of lately, they have been testing my healing. They have been testing me, checking to see how much damage I can take and how long it takes me to heal from it.
I tie another knot in my bedsheet, tugging at it to check its strength. I am not sure how much I weigh now, being that mirrors are banned from hell, but I need to be certain that this thing holds up.
I don’t need it tearing before I run out of oxygen.
Someone in a room down the hall lets out another earsplitting scream and I jump, my eyes jerking towards the small window in my room. There is still no sign of light outside but that doesn’t mean that morning isn’t approaching, that doesn’t mean they won’t come for us soon.
Sometimes they start our days well before the sun ever rises and I don’t need my plans ruined simply because I keep getting lost inside my own head.
After hours of deep thought, I have decided to kill myself.
Or at least attempt to.
I have been considering it for quite some time now, wondering whether someone can die twice, and I have decided that it is worth a try. I would rather test my body to see if it can come back from oxygen deprivation than spend another day in this place.
The walls around me begin to tremble, small bits of concrete falling to the ground as I skitter back into the closest corner. The wall to my left explodes, raining down large chunks of debris across my skin.
I close my eyes, breathing heavily as footsteps approach my horrible hiding spot.
Is this actually happening or am I seeing things again?
Hallucinations are a long-term side effect of being trapped in Hell.
The footsteps stop and I open my eyes, glancing up at the shadowed figure now looming over me. I spot the large weapon strapped to their back and let out a relieved sigh.
Their ocean blue eyes meet mine and my heart skips exactly two beats, silently thankful for whatever sent this lovely eyed creature to kill me.
They extend their hand to me and I smile, slipping mine into theirs without a moment of hesitation