She sat with her back against the wall, her pale, bony legs drawn up towards her chest. Her forehead rested on top of her knees, allowing long, black hair to spill over her face, covering it completely. She was rocking back and forth and her hands covered her ears, desperately trying to keep out the voice that echoed throughout her mind, seemingly repeating itself over and over again.
'You're such a screw-up.'
"Shut up! I am not a screw-up!" she yelled angrily, clutching her head.
'Screw-up, screw-up!" it taunted. "You're such a screw-up.'
"Shut the fuck up!" she screamed.
"What did I do to deserve this?" she asked loudly, still holding her hands against her ears, trying to block the sound out of her head.
But instead of answering, the voice simply repeated its mantra. 'You're such a screw-up.'
"Just shut up! Please. Just shut up," she pleaded, her voice ending up in what could only be described as a whimper.
For a precious few seconds, there was only silence.
She sighed with relief.
'You're such a fucking screw-up.'
She gritted her teeth. "I am not a screw-up," she said, trying not to scream.
She heard a creaking noise as the door to my room opened, and she turned around to see who it was. For a split second, she thought that maybe it could be her dad, coming to visit her, but instead she saw only an elderly lady wearing a white dress and a younger man dressed in blue scrubs standing behind her. She recognized the lady, though. She was the Head Shrink. However, the man was simply an aide and, therefore, not worthy of any more attention.
"Hello, Michelle. The aides told me you were yelling. Is something wrong?" the nurse asked calmly.
"I thought I saw a mouse," Michelle lied. She knew that if she told them the truth, they would inject another sedative into her arm.
"Now, Michelle, do you honestly expect me to believe that?" she asked, with the same, level voice she had used before.
Michelle simply stared at her, defiance in my eyes. "Yes."
She sighed. "You're thirteen, not three. You're smarter than that. I know you are." She paused for a few seconds, and then continued. "I just wish you would tell me the truth so I could help you."
She glared at her. "Why should I? So you can sedate me again?"
"I only do that when I think you might hurt yourself. You know that."
'You're just a big screw-up.'
Michelle winced as the acrid sound of the voice once again filled her head.
"What is it, Michelle? Are you hearing the voice again?" she asked, crouching down next to me, so that her eyes were almost level to my own.
She closed her eyes and slowly nodded.
"What does the voice say?" she asked.
"That I'm a screw-up," Michelle whispered, not looking at her.
"Do you recognize the voice?" the Head Shrink gently inquired.
She stayed silent, refusing to answer the question.
"Michelle, look at me," she demanded.
She turned my head and looked at her, but stared at her forehead, still refusing to look her in the eyes.
"Michelle, do you recognize the voice?" the Head Shrink asked, this time more firmly.
"Yes," Michelle said, so softly that it was barely audible.
"Whose voice is it?"
She hesitated, unsure if she should tell her. Michelle took in a deep breath and decided that she could trust her.
"Why would he call you a screw-up?" the shrink asked.
Michelle simply stayed silent.
"Michelle, tell me. Why would he call you a screw-up?"
She shook her head vehemently. "No."
"Michelle, you can trust me. I promise. Just tell me, please."
"No," Michelle said, closing her eyes again and turning her head away from the shrink.
She sighed. "Well, I think we did some good work here, today. I'm glad you told me a little bit about the voice. However, I think I am going to sedate you, just in case the voice comes back, okay?"
Michelle nodded. Normally, she didn't like being sedated...but, if it would keep the voice at bay, then she didn't mind.
The aide stepped forward with a syringe and asked Michelle to hold out her arm. She did as she was asked and waited for the slight sting of the needle entering her pale arm. After he finished, she crawled on her hands and knees over to her bed and dragged herself up into bed.
"Well, Michelle, I'll see you tomorrow, okay?" the shrink said softly.
Michelle nodded, blinking drowsily.
She closed her eyes, waiting for sleep to overcome her. She heard the door creak shut and sighed with relief.
'You're such a screw-up.'
"Oh, shut up," she muttered groggily, right before she fell asleep....
And then she was running through her house, stumbling over toys strewn all over the floor.
"Please, don't hurt me! Please, Daddy! I didn't mean to!" she yelled, running towards the door. If she could just get out the door, he couldn't hurt her...
Suddenly, she felt two hands grab her by the shoulders and hurl her across the room.
Michelle slammed into the entertainment system, causing several records to shower down upon her.
"Please, Daddy! I didn't mean to!" she sobbed, holding her arms in front of her face, to protect her.
"I don't care if you meant to or not, you little screw-up. You just broke my favorite record. Do you know how much that thing meant to me? Do you?!" he screamed, wrenching my arms away from my face.
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" she cried out, scared out of her mind.
"I don't care," he growled, hitting her across the face.
"You. Little. Screw. Up," he said, emphasizing each word by smacking her across the face. "Don't ever mess with my records again."
After that, he got up and walked away.
She sat there for a few minutes, a crying, bloody mess. Finally she got the strength to get up and go into the kitchen for some band-aids. As Michelle bandaged her face wounds, she quietly plotted revenge.
Later that night, she walked into his room, holding a sharp butcher's knife in her small, seven year-old hands. She walked over to his bed and stared at him as he slept...
...and then plunged the knife into his heart, screaming at the top of her lungs, "I am NOT a screw-up!"
His eyes opened wide and he choked out a strangled gasp. Michelle took an involuntary step backwards as he struggled to sit up in bed. Then, seeing that it would take a few minutes for him to die, she resolutely took a pillow off the floor and put it on top of his face. Hands shaking, she then leaned on it with all of her might, ignoring his feeble attempts to save himself. After a few minutes filled with his muted cries, he went limp as the combined effects of blood loss, heart puncture, and suffocation finally sent that demon back to hell, where he belonged.
Michelle discarded the bloody pillow on the floor, and then took another step back to look at what she had done. She studied the horrified look on his corpse's face.