Author: Syrai
Fandom: Original Anguish Series
Rating: PG-13 for now
Genre: Fantasy Supernatural
Status: Work in Progress
Summary: One day Callie wakes up in a place she has never seen before; with memories of life she knows isn't hers. After being labelled as mentally unbalanced, it's left for Callie herself to find out what is it that happened to her and reveal the big secret.

Disclaimer: This is mine, from beginning to the very unfinished ending. Yes.

A/N: Third part of Anguish Series - You don't need to read the first two parts to understand this story, but it probably would help. Thankies for F, for being a source of inspiration, as usual.

Shadows Call

Prologue

The walls speak to me. Be quiet, they say, be quiet and don't make a sound. Please, be a good girl and don't speak; not even a word. Don't let them know what you know; don't let them hear what you've been told or see what you've seen.

What have you seen?

What have I seen?

Are you sure?

Can you be sure?

Can I?

The walls, they speak to me. Tell me little stories of how things used to be. What happened to that time?

They're my friends, with them I can share my secrets; every one of them. Those secrets which I can tell no one other. No one. These walls around me are the only ones I know aren't lying to me like everyone else I've met. They just listen to me and my words not trying to change me; turn me into something I'm not... into something I don't want to be. The walls care about me. Care about me as I am.

Okay, I don't deny the fact there's something seriously wrong with me. I'm just saying I ain't insane.

What can you expect? Last month I woke up here. Or maybe the one before. When you're here you can't be sure. Days go by fast, really fast. Too fast even. Time loses its meaning. I'm not sure where 'here' is but wherever it is, it's far from where I'd want to be. From where I belong. Not that I'd really know where I belong, all I have is this feeling eating me from inside and those flashes I keep seeing. Flashes of another place and time, of another me. Maybe they're my dreams, maybe they're what I want to see, but I doubt it.

How did I end up here? How? Why? When? Can I go back to from where I came? And where is it? Those are the kind of questions I keep asking in my mind but can't answer myself. All I know is what they've told me and I'm not exactly sure how well I can trust their words, if at all. Why should I? The walls tell me not to, but they could be wrong I suppose.

My name is Callie, I think. At first they kept calling me Ruth, not Callie. Ruth. Over and over again. Not Ruth, I'm Callie! Ruth. Ruth. I tried to tell them that it's not my name, but I don't think they understood. Or if they did, they just didn't believe. They smiled at me as if I was a child and not to be taken seriously. That kind of behavior angers me, makes me want to scream. They have no rights to ignore me like that – none whatsoever. Some of them gave up, some of them didn't.

Most of the time everything's spinning, floating, changing. Transparent. I can see the air as if it was some kind of thick layer in front of my eyes; it looks like water. When I see it, figures around me have lost their shape. I see their shadows, but there's nothing there. Just skeletons and sometimes not even those. Just borders of their bodies. Darkness. Sometimes I'm all alone and I can't even see their shadows. Or then I see numbers. Numbers forming pictures like some kind of strange code. It worries me; not knowing what's going on and why it's happening to me. That's when the walls speak and tell me to calm down. And that's what I do. Calm down. I don't know what's wrong with me or who or what is causing this. Why? Why me? I don't know if they know either or if they're behind this.

They are people, at least I think so. They walk around this place in their white little coats and tell us to take our medication so that we would continue feeling good. Sane. But I don't feel good or more sane after I take those pills. I feel better when I don't. I told them that I don't want to take my medication, it makes me sick, but there was nothing I could do. I had to take it. Take it or we'll make sure you do. So I took it. I couldn't hide it under my tongue because they checked and I couldn't throw it up afterwards either, because for the following hour one of the younger girls' was made to accompany me; to keep an eye on me. I didn't mind though. Sometimes I like to talk with them just to find out more information of the world outside this place.

I know there is a place, it's just that I'm not sure what it's like.

This is not my home.

This is not where I want to be, but it's the only place I have for now. I need a plan before I can free myself. I need to know what's waiting for me outside these walls so that I'm prepared no matter what happens. I can't come back, I won't. Maybe that's my excuse, maybe... I don't want to leave these walls just yet. I'm safe here. Plus, I need to tell all my secrets to the walls so that they can share them with the next stranger that comes here. With the next person that doesn't know where she is and why. Or who she is. Outsider, just like me.

I don't know. After few weeks you get used to it. Not knowing who you are, that is. At first you question everything, but then you give up. You stop asking yourself if you hate this and that taste, if you like this and that music... if coffee is better than tea. Because it doesn't matter. You'll know. You don't have to ask, because when the time is right your body, your mind - they'll tell you. They'll guide you. All of these people act like they'd know me. They bring me things saying it's my favourite, but I don't think so. It was all they could get for me.

I'm thirsty. Not hungry, I'm rarely hungry, but I could drink water for all eternity. Water. Just water. Water is the basic element of all life. You need water to survive. I need water to survive. The door makes a sound as it opens but I don't bother to look up to see who it is that interrupted my silence. It's not needed for me to know.

"Callie, what are you doing here?"

Here. Define here. In this universe, in this world, in this country, in this state, in this city, in this house, in this room, in here? Where?

"What?"

"What are you doing here, sitting in the dark in our room. You sick, honey?" She repeats her question, but this time it's not that vague. Now I can actually answer it. Later. In a minute. Not right now.

Emily Carter. I recognized her voice immediately. She's a young, beautiful girl with blonde hair and blue eyes; the whole angelic look you need to charm any male with working eyes. Age? Not more than 20 years old. At least she doesn't look to be. I don't know how old I am. Probably under 30, but definitely over 20. They haven't told me and I haven't asked. It doesn't matter. I don't know why I'm here, but I know why Emily is here. She tried to kill herself. Three times. After the third time her parents were finally ready to admit that their precious little daughter isn't perfect and that she needed help. That she wasn't ok like they wanted her to be. So, the problem had to be solved and it was. Sending her here was the only thing they could think of doing to make her better without every one in their little town knowing about it. Reputation is everything nowadays. So here she is. Trapped just like me, but she doesn't see it like I do. To her it's freedom to be away from her parents.

"I needed to think. Sort out my thoughts. I needed silence", I answer glancing up to see if she's still there. Yeah, she's standing in the doorway of our shared room, watching me with this weird pensive look on her face head tilted to one side. I'm sitting on the floor next to my bed, arms around my knees and back against the wall. This is my favourite place. My usual spot… my hideaway.

"What are you thinking?" She asks after a moment and walks to me. Without asking for my permission - not that I'd mind - she sits down next to me and looks at me with those big blue eyes tilting her head, again. She always does that when she's puzzled by something. "Thinking bad stuff, are you?" Her voice sounds like child's - even the way she speaks is somewhat child-alike. She's insane, I have no doubts about that one, but she's also sweet and kind as no one else. After all, you have to be insane to survive in this world.

I shake my head and smile back at her. "No Em, just stuff."

"You always think bad stuff. You think how you're going to go away. Leave me. When is the right time and who's going to help you. Stuff like that." She's right, of course but I neither deny nor admit it. "But don't worry", she continues stroking my arm gently, "I won't tell them. They won't find out. Not from me."

I can blame no one else but myself; I told her I'm going to leave even though I wasn't sure if that was such a smart thing to do. But still, I told her because I figured she'd probably just forget I ever said anything. I don't know why she is like that, but she is. Some of the things I tell her she completely forgets or ignores to begin with. It's like I never said anything. What she doesn't want to hear, she doesn't hear - it's as simple as that. Some of the things I've told her she remembers even when I've already forgotten. I guess I'll never understand how her mind works and it's not necessary for me to do so anyway.

"I know, Emily, I know", I say dropping my hand on her thigh. "I wish I could take you with me, but I can't." I really do wish she'd be ok or at least in such a good shape it would be justified for me to take her away from this place. But the simple truth is that she isn't.

"Why not?" She questions. Fair enough, I guess it's the only question to ask even though she knows it. For real, Emily is the only person here that knows the answer. The only reason she asked me to say it, is because she wants to hear it from me. And so, I give her what she wants. "Because you need to stay here to get better. But me - I don't belong here."

Instead of arguing, she just chuckles rolling her eyes. "That's what they all say", she says and continues chuckling. I can't help but smile at her. "But you know what, they're always wrong." Now she seems more serious somehow and the chuckling has stopped. "They say they don't belong here; that they shouldn't be here but the day they get out, they want to come back. They need to come back. They hurt themselves. Cause pain. Can't live in the big bad world because they're afraid of it. Afraid of themselves."

…Afraid to open the door and step into the world outside their imagination. "Why?" I really didn't want to ask that question, because her answers rarely make sense but even then, I don't mind. Usually I like to listen to her ramblings for they calm me down. Even when they don't make sense, there's something wise about them. Like she'd be a lot older than she really is. An old soul, goddess of ancient time that knows all the secrets there is to know but hides the answers into her sentences so well that you really need to pay attention before you catch them. I don't know why she's like that - I don't know if the walls speak to her too. Maybe that's how she seems to know everything that's going on in my mind. The walls are betraying me?

"Because they don't know how to handle the things outside."

I do know what she means by that. But she's wrong; wrong about me. I'm not one of those that needs to be here. How can I be so sure of that? I just am.

"I would never hurt myself like that, Em, you know that." Does she? How much have these walls told her about me? It's the truth though, I'd never deliberately hurt myself cause I can't bare the thought of feeling pain. I can handle it if I have to, but I can't handle causing it, not to myself. There's a difference.

"I'm not so sure", she whispers examining my face and cuts me out of my thoughts. There is a thin line between sanity and insanity, isn't there? Honestly, sometimes I'm not sure on which side she is. On which I am. "They all say that."

"Em, I'm serious, I'm not supposed to be here... " I swallow before I can continue, "I have a life… something waiting for me."

Now she snorts tossing a lock of hair over her shoulder. All the gesture needs is a roll of eyes, really. "As do I", she points out matter-of-factly, "But it doesn't change the fact I am here or that you are." Giving me a knowing smile, she adds; "You need to be here now… to understand the future."

To that I don't know what to say. In order for one to understand the future, doesn't she first need to know her past? What defines my future, how it'll turn out? The past or the present? What difference does it make? Present is past only in the matter of few seconds anyway. So in a way, past and present are the same thing with two different names. Present can only last for so long.

Silence. She doesn't say anything else, just hums some old TV-show tune we've seen on TV while withdrawing her mind back into her head… into that little world of hers where everything is as she wants them to be whereas I stare the empty bed in front of me wondering if things will ever change. If only I could figure out what's happened to me and why I'm here.

I'm not sure if they are real or if they're creations of my imagination. Maybe they're aliens, who knows? That wouldn't really surprise me if they were. The way they run around the place like they'd know everything about everything annoys me. If they know so much, why can't they tell me what's wrong with me? The only reasonable conclusion for me to make is that they're doing it. Lying to me. It could be paranoia, of course, but somehow I think if it was about that, I wouldn't be aware of it. Or how should I know? I'm not a doctor… I think. Besides, if they did it to me, then they'd probably do it to others too and I know it's not like that; these people are really sick and it comes from inside them, it's not something someone made up to cover up the truth.

The word I'm looking for is probably confusion. Yeah, I'm confused alright.

"Ruth?" A pause. "Callie?" A voice calls out to me from the hallway and I look up to see a figure appear on the doorway. I sigh. It's one thing for Emily to come and find me, I care about her, but this is someone I don't even want to talk to. Nurse McPhee in all her glory – you can't call this forty-something years old lady unpleasant persona, but you can't call her likeable either. She's neutral. Also very scary at times.

"You're late from your appointment already", she says making it sound as if I was a little kid late from school. Well, I'm obviously late from something but I can't bring myself to remember from what. I've been like this for as long as I've been here; forgetting things, spacing out… A symptom of something. What appointment?

"I am?"

The look she casts to my direction clearly tells me she's not satisfied. It's when Emily comes back to life again and her head suddenly turns to me. "Bennington wants to see you, remember?" she reminds me quickly sounding different… like an adult again. "It's your every-week meeting with the main devil, Cal." Then she turns to nurse McPhee with this strange deadly glare in her green eyes. "No wonder she's late when none of you wankers came to pick her up. She's crazy, fine, but she can't walk through doors."

She does have a point there.

"Emily…" McPhee clicks her tongue few times to let Emily know she's saying something she's not allowed to, but it only makes the girl throw her head back and laugh out loud. Rules mean nothing to her, no borders, no boundaries. Life is what it is and no one else but herself can force her to do anything. The only reason she's still here, alive, is because she wants to be. Not because she'd think it's important for her to get better so that she can have the life she deserves but because she just wants to see what it is that the future has planned for her. Em, she's a free spirit and not even this cage can change that.

"Come on Callie, let's go."

I get up from the floor, but before I can take a step forward over Emily's legs she grabs my hand gently. I look down to her, once, and receive an assuring smile relished with a nod. I return the nod before looking up again and walk to the nurse McPhee letting Emily's hand slide down along my own till the gap between us is too big for her to reach me anymore. She doesn't say anything, but it gives me the kind of comfort I needed to get.

"Be a good girl Emily, alright?" The commanding words are spoken by nurse McPhee just before she separates me from Emily's closeness by closing the door behind me. Her hand on my back, she guides me down the hallway, across the lounge and through yet another hallway towards a net-fence at the other end. It can only be opened by a guard on the other side who's sitting in that small little room with all the security monitors and such. It's his job to make sure none of us 'nutcases' runs around the house without being monitored. We reach the first fence and after McPhee has changed few words with the fine-looking guard, the fence-door slides open. Right after it closes, the other door few meters farther opens letting us enter the official side of the institution. This is where all the offices and such are; it could be defined as the better half. You see, from where we came, there are only the patients and their quarters; the lounge, dinner hall, treatment "facilities" and all the other places that aren't meant for strangers' eyes.

It's where the real action takes place. This is the set-up.

The first thing you see after those two fence-doors is a simple white wall and a door and that's it. But if you listen carefully, you can hear the voices coming through the door telling there's a whole different world waiting for you. The one that labelled you as insane and separated you from the rest of the world. I follow McPhee through the door without saying anything. The actual wing we're in has been divided into two smaller wings and both of them have more than one floor both above and below. I have no idea what's on the other floors, all I've seen is this one. It's the one where Sandy Bennington, the main therapist of the house, has her office. At the end of that same hallway there's the front doors of the whole institution. A way out. Of course, if I did decide to start running towards it, the security would stop me in no time. Even if I got out of those doors, I've heard the institution has a yard larger than the one you can possibly imagine. Surrounded by tall fences and cameras…Whoever put me here made sure it's a place with very good reputation and obviously rich council. Definitely not your every-day recovery institute for poor people.

Who's paying them? I haven't had a single visitor so far and I doubt the government would pay for something as fancy as this.

Nurse McPhee knocks the door and waits by my side till she hears doctor Bennington's voice telling me to enter the room. As so many times before, I'm being pushed into the room and left alone in the lion's cave. Well, as alone as you can be with a therapist who's just waiting to get to poke your brain around with her theories. She smiles behind her desk, but there's something faked about it. She's bored with her job, bored with trying to help people when nothing's ever changing. All the long workdays she feels aren't worth anything. I can see it if I try, but the walls originally told it to me so that I wouldn't have to.

"Please sit down, Ruth."

"Callie", I correct taking a seat opposite of her. The sunlight coming from the big window behind her hits my eyes and forces me to look down. Immediately she gets up and the white curtains get pulled to protect me from the brightness. "So, Callie", she sits down again, joining the tips of her fingers together and leans back on the big, comfy leather chair. "How are you feeling?"

Why? Do you really need to pretend that you care so that I'd open up to you when we both know you don't. I could be wrong; the walls could honestly have made a mistake… maybe you are interested. Maybe you were bored with your old labrats and needed a new one to play with, huh? And I'm here, the perfect choice with what to toy.

"I'm fine." Cold tone makes the line of her mouth get thinner, but only for a second. The smile comes back to hide her dissatisfaction as if it never left her lips and I try not to smile for that would only give out my own satisfaction. "That's really good to hear. I must admit, I was a bit worried there when it seemed like you weren't settling down at all."

Right. I wonder how quickly you'd settle down if you were me. Imagine waking up in here. Imagine the first thing you see is a white masked face above your face, cold grey eyes staring at you and the first thing you feel is a pair of hands grabbing you by the shoulders, forcing you to stay down. How would you feel if someone stuck a needle into your arm and put you back to sleep now that you feel more alive than ever? You fall into the darkness and only one thought can follow you there. Am I going to wake up?

Depends. Will they let you?

"Things are different now." It's a lie, but hopefully she doesn't spot that. For someone who's been trained to read people, she's either very poorly skilled in what she does, or then she's just one hell of an actress. In that case, she knows I'm lying but doesn't want to show that… somehow I doubt it's like that. She's just stupid, that's all. Or maybe she's just trying to earn my trust?

"How?"

"I feel different", I keep knitting the web of lies only to make the situation easier for myself and a little bit harder for her. Why complicate things when a little white lie can get you closer to the truth? Of course I realise that maybe her truth and mine aren't the same, but the more I find out about her and this place, the easier it'll be to finally escape.

"You still want to be called Callie", she states rather questioningly. Well, yeah of course. What did you think? That I'd want to be called Sarah just because I seem to like the name? No honey. "I still am Callie."

Bennington doesn't argue with that though I know she disagrees. I'm Ruth to everyone else. Even when they call me Callie I can hear the mockery in their voices and see it in their eyes. Yes, we can call you Callie to keep you happy, but we all know Callie isn't your name dear. "I see. You haven't gotten your memory back, that's quite obvious. What I'd like to know is why."

Sure you would. Unless it's you that's behind this. So tell me, Sandy, is it because of you that I'm here? That I've forgotten myself? I try to smile, but the smile is millions of miles away from sincere. "That's why I'm here, isn't it?"