They took me when I was sleeping. which was something, I must admit, I hadn’t taken into consideration. As far as I knew, my location was secure, with this I had taken distinct precautions. But they seem to have all been for nothing.
I took a silent pride in being the center of a media circus displayed on every screen and bilboard. There was no newspaper printed that didn’t bare some bloody pseudonym assumed for me and no one left their homes without the stories of the things I’d done playing about their heads.
Of course it was all unnecessary, I was not a bad man, though, I must admit taking some liberties with the definition of “a bad man” The people believed they were being stalked by me when in reality they were only living alongside me.
This is a point I must stress, I never stalked anyone, I wouldn’t take myself to such lows. I was indiscriminate, and perhaps that was the reason why I was so feared. People felt as if they were being stalked because being paranoid was the only safe thing to do, and I can’t begin to describe how right they were. I suppose if there was one thing that connected my victims, it was that none of them were mindful of my presence.
The first I can’t hold at fault, I was, after all an unknown. A simple man, working a simple job and driving a simple car.
Who would take that as a sign of anything suspiscious? Certainly not me and I was the one up to no good.
He wasn’t a very strong man. scrawny. Not an ounce in weight and all too easy to overpower. I had taken him by surprise, for no better reason than a sudden urge to do so. He didn’t fight very hard, but then again how could he?
Before he even knew what was going on, I’d cracked his head against the wall and in his confusion I’d taken him to the ground then, using the weapons nature provided, finished him off.
He was a terrible sight to see after I’d finished. Weak bones shattered and fair skin pierced. I had to take that in, what I’d done. I forgot about that simple job and that simple car, and the simple man I was simply vanished, draining away in a clotted pool of blood and dirt.
I’d stared at the lad, taken in his features, everything about that scene, it all stuck and clung, a miasma of filth that polluted my brain, though I didn’t want it gone. I felt as if my simplicity was a lie and this young man before me was a symbol of truth.
I only killed twice more after him, another man completely different to the first in all aspects, different race, class, etc and a woman, though I don’t remember much about the second man. Perhaps it was this and the mere compulsion that drove me to murder that got me thrown here. I’d found the woman on the street one night. She’d had too much to drink and was vomiting into a bush, her friends who saw her in this state laughed and walked back to their party.
I then did something I’d never done before, which was to hold back her hair. Makes me sound quite the gentleman doesn’t it?
There was something about its feint softness, however, that awoke in me again that simple urge.
It was in much the same fashion as the first that I’d disposed of her, knocking her to the ground and allowing my fists to send her on. She didn’t thrill me as much as the first, she flailed too much and I found that irritating. I’d left her there, not bothering to observe the scene.
I didn’t kill again and it was during this period that the police hunted for me relentlessly and news of a murderer was broadcast. It wasn’t a conscious decision to stay low at first, but when the urges took me again, I forced myself to repress them, fearing that another murder would provide the police what clues they needed to find me. These urges soon become increasingly frequent and I was on the verge of giving in when I was taken.
I was not given a trial, or, at least, I was given one I wasn’t present for or perhaps one that I’d erased from memory. Either way, dwelling upon it won’t do me any good in here. I was told later that the trial had ended with my being found guilty but mentally ill and I would be spending my sentence in a secure psychiatric facility. Sounded a damn sight more interesting than prison.
I arrived wrapped in a white straight jacket and was hauled into the building by two young men with more muscles than brains. they were barely self aware enough to be kept from being thrown in here with me.
At first I noticed two expressions commonly carried through those halls. Dumbfoundedness was the first one, a result, I assume of the medication though Indifference was the main one, carried by the staff. A blank expression with the eyes held somewhere above the head so as to avoid contact. This look came my way quite often, However, I knew that would fade, the doctors would soon have other things to worry themselves about than me. As for the patients, well they would tend to be dumbfounded somewhere else.
A third, scrawnier man then lead us through the wards of slow inmates until we came to where they kept the distinctly more interesting people. Oh how I would’ve loved to sit and speak deeply with just one of those inmates, it exited me to think that behind each one of those locked doors was a man with as much to say as myself, though I suppose it’s logical to keep us separate, if they say a prison is a college of crime, then I can only imagine what they must say about an asylum.
I was escorted to my ward, if that was the correct word for it, a simple iron wrought bed set in one corner of four white walls and an equally simple bedside table. Next came a long lecture from the scrawnier man with regards to my “situation” and treatment, detailing the events which led me here with a disdainfully bored expression and an almost misted over look to his eyes.
“To be honest,” I remember myself snapping, “I know exactly why I’m in here and what you’re going to do to cure me, so you may as well f**k off and leave me alone.”
I was expecting this to take him by surprise, hoping for him to become a flustered mess. instead, he stared at me impassively, scribbled a few notes on a clipboard and waited for me to sit down.
“our chief medical officer believes that in cases like yours, therapeutic writing along with a series of medications can provide satisfying results” He mumbled and placed the cheap notebook in which I now write on the bed. He then got up and left me in peace.
For the first few days, I only used this journal for simple doodling. It was taken from me each night and returned to me in the morning, usually hand delivered by a pretty young nurse. She alone is kind. A welcoming grace, I’d say. She looks me in the eyes and she smiles which, alone, is an experience I haven’t felt since, well a long time ago.
I find myself anticipating her arrival. Each morning, I take my pills calmly and we chat. The subjects vary from vague to what I consider to be, quite personal. I know she lives with her family not far from here, where exactly she wouldn’t say and this is her first “real job” other than that, I have no other factual details about her, though she certainly has a better bedside manner than most of the dim staff I’m forced to deal with. Ah No matter, my nurse tends to me.
Today, I was allowed to visit our very humble library. It appears that the good doctor also believes in therapeutic reading; which is apparent at a glance. I spent all afternoon stalking the book shelves and came out with nothing more exciting than a book on the care of exotic carp. I fail to see the good doctor’s logic. He lets a man as exciting as myself write down every fleeting thought and yet the books in his library are as exciting as watching an old woman knit.
This place gives me a headache. I may as well just re read my journal, I find I can be an incredibly interesting person when there is nothing better to hand.
I was then quite surprised by a visit from the good doctor himself. It was the second time I had actually laid eyes on the man and, having not been prepared for his sudden arrival, I gawked at him and, without meaning to, made it look as though I belonged in here. He then informally sat on my bed and laid a slim folder next to him. He had a kind face, that was something I hadn’t observed before. Rather boyish in its way with the slightest hint of a smile ever present.
He shuffled through a few papers and then he told me how happy he was. Allegedly I was, what he referred to as a “model patient” I was spoken of with high regards by my nurse and the staff who had the good fortune of meeting me were impressed, albeit somewhat surprised, by my co operation. He then requested to look over my journal, though I could tell this was for show. The ‘mm’s and ‘aah’s attempting to hide a rather poor display of a man pretending to read. Of course, he’d seen its content before, there was no real need to appear to read it in front of me except for to comment on how little I’ve written and that he’d like me to do it more often. There was then some talk about my medication as there generally is whenever doctors are involved and then he left with a courteous handshake.
I was visited again by my nurse who seems to grow prettier with each passing night. She carried with her a usual tray along with its assortment of pills, including two newer, harder to swallow ones. We then got to our usual chatting which lasted until she realised there was somewhere, as she put it, not better but where she was needed more; then she too curtly left me to my own devices.
Unbelievable. Apparently my dear, young nurse is not as attentive as she made out. Or maybe it is the hospital itself that refuses to let her see me.
The day after my last entry, I was awoken by some fat gorilla of a woman who ripped the sheets from my bed and forced me into a lukewarm bath where I was scrubbed down like a filthy dog.
“Where is my nurse?” my own voice was a whimper, a surprisingly pathetic side effect, I presume, of her presence.
“I’m your nurse now, quit your whimpering” she spoke in a grunt befitting of her piggy face. The hulking wench dragged me back to my cell and, there, I was left without so much as a sympathetic word. For a while, I just stared at the door.
The memory of her touch made me cringe and retch. Who was this woman? And why was she bathing me? I’d never had to be bathed in my entire time here, I was always co operative. Why did it feel like punishment? And the question that burned itself most in my mind, where was my nurse?
‘Perhaps the fat pig ate her.’ I remember thinking and laughing at myself, but not in malice, I felt some kind of childish glee , the thought of a giant pig in a nurses uniform made me cackle, made me cry until my lungs burned through lack of breath and my ribs ached. My childish glee, I’m sad to say, was brutally interrupted by a spiteful adult realisation. This was something I shouldn’t find funny, comical, perhaps, but not, on my knees gasping through bursts of cackling funny.
Had I perhaps regressed? Retained a child’s sense of humour? Not being a psychological expert, I could only presume that lack of worthwhile stimulation could take a toll on my mental well being. I heard the fat nurse’s voice from behind my door, complaining to some mumbled voice about bringing me my medicine. Once again, realisation dawned upon me. Why would I, a perfectly healthy man require medicating? The only possibility had to be that is was to addle the brain, stir what they believed an unfocussed mass of thoughts and radical emotions into something more controllable, ultimately simpler. But my mind had focus, they had nearly robbed me of it, but now I shall covet my sanity in this insane place. My mind will remain ever my own.
The door was unlocked.
I gasped as She fumbled in.
In her hands was a small bag filled with pills. The door shut behind her. She seemed tall, taller than I remembered, her arms thicker, more muscled. My heart raced. It beat loudly in my ears and with each slow step this nurse took towards me, it seemed to beat louder, and quicker. She threw the bag of medicine at me.
“Take your meds!”
Each word was a cannon blast in my ears that subsided to a numb ringing. My eyes watered. I saw the nurse’s disgusted face through blurred eyes. I remember her saying something spiteful and then something snapped. I rushed her, knocking her to the floor and, before I knew what I was doing, I had sunken my teeth into her flesh. I must confess I had not focussed as much on the details as I would have preferred, but I can not describe what satisfaction came from her piggy squeals; nor, for that matter, what it’s like to lose oneself completely in another’s suffering. I was liberated, empowered, the confines of my cell were at last my domain and I was myself again. I only came to my senses when I was dragged away from this nurse. There was time enough to savour the taste of her blood before I was drugged and a dark fog clouded my vision.
Finally, I have been returned to my ward and my journal has, at long last, been returned. It seemed a quaint gesture at first but, being apart from it for so long has proven its use as a therapeutic tool. I had to humiliate myself and beg to have it back. I felt like a dog doing tricks for treats.
As I came into this place, my mind was sharp and my thoughts organised, though my actions may have contradicted the fact; but this place drives me further and further towards the barbarism of the man they perceived.
Convinced that the medication is designed to make me slow, I have been refusing to take it which, in itself, is challenging enough to occupy my mind. At first, I decided that there were two ways in which this could be accomplished: silent or blatant refusal. Having pondered it for no significant amount of time, I came to the conclusion that I was not the sort to sneak about and that blatant refusal was more my cup of tea. I took large amounts of satisfaction at the sight of those strange nurses trying to pry my mouth open and it was only under threat of lobotomy from the good doctor himself did I give in.
I feel the medication continues to take its toll on me. There is now a tremble in my left hand that I am convinced was not there before, though every member of staff I’ve interrogated tells me my hands have trembled for as long as they’ve known me. Nothing but b******t.
Too many times now, I have caught myself laughing or weeping over nothing giving rise to vast anger at this realisation. It is not helped by the fact that my nurse has still not visited me and after I was certain she would come when she heard of my recent…misgivings. It was, I’ll admit, something to focus on; her returning. Though certainly no God fearing man, I can’t help but feel that praying for her return would be the best thing to do. Well, it certainly seems to be the only thing left to me. Not one staff member has given me a decent response as to her whereabouts and when asked to relay a message, they simply say “she thinks it’s cute you miss her” Needless to say, this pisses me off. But it’s an anger I’m willing to swallow. I know that no hissy fit will bring her back and, though it is equally true that good behaviour will prove just as effective, anything conceived as bad behaviour would only lead to further punishments. Perhaps if she doesn’t return soon, I will act out again. Oh but that would be very petty of me indeed.
There has been yet another space of time between this entry and the last. I’ve been moping I’m told. The air in here grows stale and I’m growing tired of my own company and even more so of the constant interruptions.
The good doctor keeps visiting me, each time he looks over my journal and smiles. Every time my dose is increased and has now gotten to the point that they’ve started making me ill.
A few times when he’s visited, he’s been unable to read my journal as I have only screamed and cried at him, clutching it to my chest like a baby.
On the odd occasion the door was left open and I ran. I only made it as far as the hall but compared to the cramped cell I’d been living in, it felt so open. I felt like I could breathe. I stretched my arms out wide and cackled when I saw the wall was more than a few steps away.
of course I was taken back to my cell, the good doctor smiling and taking me by my hand. I didn’t want to go back but there was something in his voice that I felt I couldn’t disagree with and I let him lead me. That night I slumped into my bed and with the memory of the hall, I happily went to sleep.
At last there is news of my nurse. I could barely contain myself on hearing and even now I tremble with excitement. As it happens my nurse was unnoticeably pregnant, which in and of itself came as rather a surprise for she’d never cared to mention a lover to me. Though through what unfortunate circumstance, I was not informed; I learned that she lost her baby. She took a leave of absence for the sake of her health, understandably and is now to return in a few days.
Since she left, the days have blended into one, but now I have been promised her return I feel every heavy second cruise by. I am too exited to write anymore today. it’s been otherwise uneventful.
For the first time in as far as I can remember, I Feel remorse. A sickening combination of regret and sadness on another’s behalf. Today I did a very bad thing. Once again I had to beg for my journal’s return, this time, however, I feel its confiscation was justified. I have to sit still, every movement causes my ribs to flare with pain. I’ve done a very bad thing.
Once again, countless weeks have passed since last I wrote in this journal and once again, I was left to think upon what I did. I had taken my pills that morning and I can remember that in lieu of the usual heavy sadness that I had come to associate with my medication I experienced overwhelming happiness and I was set into uncontrollable fits of childish laughter.
It was only when I remembered this feeling from the day I assaulted the piggish nurse that I recalled my earlier suspicions. I was stupid for letting them go unchecked and weak for allowing the doctors to coerce me into taking them. Instantly, a combination of nervousness and stress raked my gut and twisted until I felt sick. I rung myself ragged at that point, pacing my ward for hours feeling a constant blend of worry and excitement followed by the irrational euphoric laughter.
I didn’t want to hurt my nurse; yet with every dragging second, I could feel my hold over my own actions slipping as another fought for control. I knew she would be here soon and once again my heart beat loudly in my ears as I sat and waited for her.
At last, voices approached my door and it was as if time stiffened. There came footsteps that echoed like steady cannon fire and a morbid rattling of chains that cut through my skull as the key was turned and clunked in its lock.
Though I know that in reality, the door was flung open and my nurse burst into the room expecting me to welcome her, in my eyes I saw the door slowly creak open and my nurse stalk into the room.
There was a pulsing sensation behind my eyes and it was as if someone rapidly flicked the lights on and off. One moment I saw my nurse and the room was as white and glaring as ever and the next I saw some haggard crone bent over and extending a gnarled claw of a hand towards me. The flashes began to pulse quicker. I could not discern reality from hallucination.
I bit down upon my lips and blood flowed freely into my mouth. I looked up to see the gnarled talon above me and I cried out. The crone’s arms enshrouded me and I allowed the straight thinking part of my brain to slip and my body to lash out wildly. I recall my fist catching her jaw with some force, knocking her to the ground. In my intoxicated state I leaped on top of her and like some savage I began to cause her as much harm as I could.
It was not like last time, where I’d only sunken my teeth into flesh, this time I hammered blows upon her jaw until it cracked and clawed at her face until it shred. I ripped her hair from her scalp and I tried to gauge her eyes from her head. Still reality and halucination were blurred into one indiscernible mess and incredible waves of euphoria clenched at my guts.
The blood on my hands recalled memories of when I was a free man and the sheer sense of once again living awoke me to how dead my life had become. I felt no shame as the guards ripped me off her; only a numb satisfaction as their boots broke my ribs.
For punishment, there was nothing they could do save for confiscate my journal and once again confine me to solitary. It was the good doctor himself who returned my journal to me, though I was certain they would deem it unwise to give me anything as pointy as a pencil.
It would be an exaggeration to say that the guards received harsher punishments than I did as expected, with no family to sue them and having no real connection to the outside world; it is a wonder that I’m not forgotten.
They now accompany every nurse that enters my room and the cocky arrogance they now carry is one that is impossible to miss. From time to time, I see my nurse walking the halls, her face now artistically scarred though she doesn’t visit me any more. She refuses to even look at my door. Each time she passes, however; I find myself crying and I whisper,
softly as she passes. It’s not enough I know but it’s the only thing I can do.
After that incident, the routine returned to normal, as it always does.
The staff continue to try to take my journal to read; however, I’ve decided to be difficult and now place it instead in a hole in the mattress I managed to make by prying open a smaller hole worn in by use. I then flip the mattress over so as to cover my hiding place.
It’s disappearance has them stumped, the mattress would be an obvious hiding place but the condition of my ribs removes it from all logical thought. Successfully hiding it is a small victory but a victory nonetheless. The guards now randomly search my room, hoping to catch me writing though I am able to easily work around their thick headed tactics. At one point it began to frustrate them and upon my daring request for a new pencil, they damaged my ribs still further. Again they received little to no punishment.
Even as I write, my ribs flare and my breathing is harsh, no doctor has been sent for me. Perhaps they don’t realise my condition but I will not allow them to see it, I will not give them the satisfaction of knowing they have physically broken me. For as long as I hide my pain, the satisfaction is mine. I am in control of how they perceive me and in that control, I’ll take my freedom.
My chest grows tight. It has hurt since they first broke my ribs and the act of breathing that at one point in time was easy, is now a great effort. My hand that was once steady has dimmed and weakened causing my writing to fade from its usual scribbles to barely legible lines.
I am tired.
I don’t remember how long I’ve been here and that makes me feel so incredibly small. As to whether or not that is a testament to my weakness or a sign of their strength, I’m unsure. Either way they’ve succeeded.
My body is ruined and even now I am still coughing blood. The only thing in this place that I came close to loving, I was forced to destroy.
Perhaps, then, this will be my last entry. I would return this book to its hiding place but I’m afraid the effort of moving the mattress is beyond me. As I sit here, my vision fades and my breath grows short. With blood running from my lips and staining my clothes, I feel it would be best if I just went to sleep.