Chapter 7: Crystal Smile
It seemed I'd forgotten that in the hospital, time would pass far too slowly, and that the pale colors would make you drowsy, and that you were alone amongst an entire building of people who had the same problem as you. So many things had come back to me after I'd gotten my stitches…and now I wasn't sure I wanted to remember any of it. Three years ago, I did kill a boy just like Eli. I did not remember it for a long time, but therapy brought it back all too suddenly. They had my wrists tied that day, after I went on an apparent rampage, just as they are tied to my bed now. I'd been in the psych ward a whole month now, and hadn't remembered a minute of it. No one had told me why I was here yet. It was so much like three years ago that…I didn't ask anymore. After all of this had happened, I didn't want to ask, and if it was as I thought, I didn't want to know, either.
It seemed that anyone I'd ever gotten close to in my life had decided to leave me at the worst time. Lewis quit my case. He was reassigned to the pediatrician's ward. The first time I'd been admitted to the hospital, my entire family had left my side. I still hadn't heard from them, three years later, even though I'd been in the same apartment, the same room number, and the same hospital for long enough now to call it home. Christmas break…though it was shortened by my return to the psych ward, and I would've come back anyway, I still didn't know why it had been shortened. I still couldn't remember a month of my life, even though I could remember the years of turmoil at that orphanage, the time I'd killed the boy I loved, and every magazine article I'd ever written.
I missed Eli. I kept wondering how he was, even though I'd been told to only worry about myself for the next long while. He kept haunting me, and it wasn't something I could bear to turn away. The way he looked had always been very permanent to my mind, but I didn't think about how hard it would be to see when he wasn't around. I'd been use to the usual routine of seeing him everyday, and now I had no idea where he was. It was threatening me, almost; the dead stare in his eyes. I felt like I could take care of him, but now where was he? If he was here…chances are, he wasn't taking care of himself. And sure, you wouldn't think that another patient would be able to take care of someone else when he couldn't bother to be balanced himself, but most of the time I seemed to do a good job of looking after him. I wanted so badly to take care of him.
The door slowly opened, and a woman with sandy blonde hair came stepping in, letting her glasses fall around her neck. She pulled a file folder from her clipboard and slipped it smoothly into the bin at the foot of my bed, sitting in a chair across from me. That was her desk. Technically, it was her room. I just happened to be a visitor, though I'd been staying in the damn place for three damn years. Her desk was even here. But now that I'd been classified as some kind of aggressive beast, it was her room. I was only a creature…a pet…a monster. Crossing her legs, she twirled her chair around to face me, and smiled weakly. What a lie she just directed right at me.
"Good morning, Christopher," she greeted me in a neutral tone, tugging her hair behind her ears and pulling the rest into a ponytail. "I'm Doctor Black, but you can call me Madison if you want. Did you sleep well last night?" she questioned, pulling out the drawer in her desk and setting some paper onto her clipboard.
"Not really," I answered honestly, wanting to turn over, but having the straps around my wrists prevent me from doing so. "It's not exactly a compromising position to be in…" I explained, sighing and rolling my head back against my pillow.
My feet were even strapped down, so I found it difficult to bend my legs without having them lock or having my ankles snap. The least or most I could do in this bed was moving my head, sadly. And my arms had been completely constricted, so sitting up was a really stupid thing to attempt.
"Well, yes, that would be pretty difficult to deal with. But tell me about your dreams, unless you'd like to tell me about yourself first. I don't want to go entirely by your record, as you seem like a nice guy so far," she explained with a bleak smile. The woman was bland, but she wasn't like every other doctor I'd come across. She was honest.
"I don't think I even dreamed of anything…" I muttered, closing my eyes. This constriction was really starting to get to me.
"Mm…okay, well, that would make sense. You were on a lot of meds for your injury. Now…" she mumbled, tearing a piece of paper from her clipboard. "Do you want to know what we have planned for today?" she waited as I eagerly nodded my head. This meant something was going to happen, or she wouldn't be asking. Unless she really wanted to disappoint me that bad. "Okay…well, we're going to go over your court tapes, first of all. Then—"
"What?" I paused. "Court tapes? I did something that bad?" I questioned, my eyes following her as she stood and grabbed a pen from her pocket, marking something down. "Fucking great…"
"Don't give me mouth. I'm supposed to write it down, and it's not going to do you any good right now. I'm here to help you, so if you can handle it, you're going to have to be very good. Keep up the behavior, and you might get out of those for a while," she suggested.
"I didn't think you could do anything wrong by just lying there, but apparently…" I sighed, stopping and shaking my head.
"After the court tapes, we're going to discuss what you just saw…and then, we're going to do as many memory exercises as we can to make you remember what happened. Of course…you seem to be very sensitive to your memory, so we're going to be very cautious around you, Christopher. It tends to make you upset sometimes."
Soon, I was reaffirmed to be sitting in a high security room on a small leather couch, a TV sitting in front of me on a stand. Madison sat beside me. I was thankful for that. After whatever I'd done, I wasn't sure I wanted to be alone. I wasn't sure I ever wanted to be alone again…especially not in that room, in that bed. The tapes were put into the VCR. My arms were shaking. I held myself, rubbing my weary eyes and staring at the blank television. The screen displayed a court room…and then…me, in an orange suit, with handcuffs. It was really that bad, that they were going to send me to jail? I looked horrible. Unshaven, smoking a cigarette, bruises on my arms and a scratch over my eye. It was so typically not like me that I seemed like a completely different person. My representative didn't even look like I expected. He looked cheap. They'd obviously done the job, though, or I would've been in jail by now.
"That's me?" I asked, just to make sure as I stared uneasily at the screen and folded my arms.
"Yes, that's you, Christopher."
Ignoring the sound I'd just heard, I pinned my eyes to the screen. Madison smiled, but she was watching me very closely, I could tell. She'd already noticed something was agitating me. Fuck him, Chris. Fuck him fuck him fuck him.
"That's disgusting…" I murmured, smacking the side of my head. Madison gripped my hand, and I pulled it away, scowling at her. "What?" I asked aggressively, sighing and turning back to the screen. "Sorry. I'll be good…"
"Are you alright? We don't have to watch this yet if you're not ready." she explained as she marked over her board again.
"It's not the video! There's nothing wrong with the video, okay?" I groaned. "Give me a chance to watch it…"
"You need to go back to bed, Christopher."
"No. I don't. I would know if I needed to go back to bed, and I've had enough sleep, lady."
She glanced towards the door, and I glared at her as I was picked up from under the arms. Struggling, I wound my hand around the man's wrist. I couldn't see him, but it took one kick at his shin to catch him off guard, and I fell to the floor on my knees, gripping onto the couch. The man grabbed my wrists with ease this time and dragged me across the floor. All Madison did was fucking watch the whole thing and record it with her stupid fountain pen. I wished for it to spill all over her damn perfect fake nails. It continued. He dragged me all the way down the hospital hallway on my stomach, and I didn't even care that people were staring…I was generally pissed off. This was no way to treat a person. First of all, there was nothing wrong with the video except that she was talking, second of all, I didn't know what the hell I'd done yet, and third of all, they were going to drive me even more mad.
By the time they'd gotten me into my bed and strapped me down, I was exhausted. I'd flailed around with that guy for about an hour before he finally injected me with a relaxant. Now I could hardly move, I was drooling on myself, and I couldn't do anything about it but stare at the ceiling. Frankly, that wasn't helping.
Eventually, after a long while of lying in silence, the relaxant wore off, and Madison came around with her clipboard again. Smiling, she waved, and sat down in her chair. She asked, "Are you feeling any better?"
Shaking my head, I tightened my fists. At least I could do something, even if it wasn't worthwhile. It just felt good to be able to move at all anymore. "Well…I can understand that. It must've been quite a shock. Did you react because you remembered something, Chris?" she inquired.
"No, that's not why. And it's not because of why I'm here, either. It's because…" I paused, closing my eyes tight.
"I know, it's alright," she told me. "It's a lot to take in…but that's why I got you out of there. We can't handle your mood swings, and I knew if we got you back to your room, you would at least calm down."
She was right, and she knew what she was doing, so I kept my mouth shut. There was no need to thank her for tying me up like that, even if I was acting completely reckless. I was a human. There wasn't anything wrong with me. The only reason I cared that I had psychosis was because it got me an escape from jail, from what I'd seen. Otherwise, it seemed to be ruining my life.
"Time for your meds," a nurse said from the door. I turned my head to her and frowned at the brunette as she approached me with two tablets and a cup of water.
As she held them out to me, I stared for a moment, and knocked the water from her hand, facing the other way. She sighed in disgust as she bent down and picked up the cup, handing the tablets to Madison. The nurse folded her arms and watched as Madison cautiously approached me with the tablets at hand.
"Christopher, are you going to swallow these without water?" she asked, outstretching her fingers to the pills in her palm.
I shook my head. "Well, then. Are you going to swallow them at all?"
If you want everything to go away…take as many as you want.
"What? Who are you to be encouraging me of something like that? It's no wonder we're all crazy…" I muttered, pursing my lips shut. "You heard her, too, didn't you? Shouldn't you report her or something?"
The nurse stared in awe, her eyes moving towards Madison's. It was suggested that she leave the room, and she headed out, closing the door behind her. Hazel eyes passed over me, and Madison slowly approached my side again, bending down to my level.
"I don't know what you're trying to say, Christopher, but I don't think what you heard was what I said," she explained.
"But it was your voice – I heard it clearly!" I shouted, rolling my eyes.
Making her way to the phone on her desk, she dialed a simple number and nodded her head as it rang, tapping her fingers against the desk's surface. I gritted my teeth and shook my head. "Yes," she muttered, "I'm going to need a tongue depressor and some gloves, please."
"I'm not gonna take those fucking meds! If you fucking touch me, woman, I'll –"
Relaxant. Oh fucking great. I winced and lifted my eyes to the ceiling, drool falling from my mouth again. I couldn't even create expression as tears fell across my face, though I pained to, and my cheeks twitched. This is what they do to a monster to calm it down. But they will never…ever…kill it. They will not kill a monster, because they think they can heal him. Don't you know that you can't tame a beast like this…? Three years…and everything goes completely down the drain. Three fucking years, going mad, going even madder, all for nothing. All for one chance back into society that you just happened to fuck up. And now what? Until you're cured – which, of course, you won't be – you'll have to stay here and go insane some more.
Nurse enters. Hands Madison tongue depressor and latex gloves. Madison puts on gloves. Madison opens my mouth wide, and wipes the drool from the side of my face. She doesn't dry my tears, but she does notice them before she places the depressor against my tongue and throws a pill in my mouth. I gag a few times before swallowing, and close my eyes.
I get lost in a wave of far off voices. I didn't want to be there. I wanted to go back to Christmas, when I was…outside. Eli's soft, wavy hair, and his smile, and maybe if I'm lucky, magic will happen and let me rewind everything and start over. I didn't make any mistakes…so maybe it's not my fault. Maybe that's why I'm not in jail. I can't go back without a mistake. Snow will keep falling outside, I'll keep staring at it from the art therapy room, and the cafeteria, and the lobby when everyone else leaves for Christmas. But I won't have anyone to leave for…because at the beginning of that tape, a certain judge once said,
"We are here today in court for trial against Christopher James, with one count of manslaughter to Elijah Lynn."
Of course I remembered. I couldn't forget that look on his face when I set him free. He was smiling.
I'm seriously in denial that this story is over, so I apologize, but I'm not going to say much. All I can say is that the time I've used up writing this story was definitely well spent, and I thank you all for your support and reviews, though I admit I did majorly fuck up when it comes to psych ward conduct. I guess I can be thankful that it's fiction. So...sincerely, I hope you all enjoyed reading this story, and I apologize if you hate me for ending it, but at least I kept writing it, hm?
Thanks again, tons. Love you all.