My feet are tucked beneath me as I sit in the corner of the large white room, my eyes held tightly shut, but the white bleeds in beneath my eyelids and I let out a groan of frustration. I open my eyes in an attempt to confuse the white, the white remains etched up the walls, the door, the floor, the bed. I crawl forward on my hands and knees towards the hole in the corner. My fingers dig into the paint as I pull myself upwards to stare out the peephole. The hall is abandoned. The great eye that looks upon me, a beacon of color even though it is less than an inch, eludes me and so I fall back onto the ground again, my fingers on my ears.
I hate it here. I hate it here! I hate it here!
I slump forward so that my face is against the ground and I hit my head against the floor. My fingers raked into my chest and downwards. The soft tips of my fingers run across the bruise beneath my bellybutton from the needle before I was dragged in here. I groan as I continue to press my head against the floor, the endless white starting to spin behind my eyes, and I can't help but to moan out in pain. I stretch the entire length of my body against the floor as the eye, the beacon eye, looks in through the hole again, staring at me a moment before disappearing.
I reach my hand up towards the eye and whine. "Please," I mumble at it even though it has disappeared already. "Please, I'll be good. I'll pass next time, honest!" The eye doesn't return and so I scream, falling over onto my side. I don't curl my legs forward, my erection and the bruise from the needle beneath my stomach aching far to much for contact with my legs, but I don't dare touch either of them again. I'll behave. I promised I'd behave.
My fingers knot themselves into the skin of my ears as I repeat to myself that I'll pass next time. I'll past next time. I'll pass next time. The same sentence over and over and over again until what feels like hours pass and I can't say the words anymore because I know they're not true. I'm repeating them for the pleasure of the eye, the same sentence. I hope it pleases the eye. Oh god, no, no, my stomach is churning and I start crying as the door swings open to reveal a man with messy black hair and blue eyes and a chiseled chest. I know I'm not supposed to touch him but I lean forward, unable to sway myself from trying until my fingers hit the door, and I realize it's still closed. The image disappears and I scream at the top of my lungs because I shouldn't have tried to touch him. The doctors must be trying to trick me. Maybe he was my new test or maybe he was hallucination, but I can't tell, I just know he wasn't real and I failed again. I don't want the needle again!
I just keep screaming, but nobody comes except for a flash of the eye, cold and uncaring as it stares down through the hole before it disappears. I want to curl tighter into my ball but my stomach churn and twists. I look down and see it bursting from my stomach, oozing all over the ground, and I dig my hands through the mess trying to keep my stomach inside where it should be, but I collapse into the hot liquid on the ground. I think I'm going to die, I'd rather die. I want to die.
I close my eyes and reach out an ooze covered hand to clutch the flat white floor until finally the door really does open and a woman is standing there. I think for a moment she's a hallucination, too, so I reach out and touch her ankle. Are you happy eye? Did I pass? I grabbed the girl. She takes a step back, and she doesn't disappear. I get on my hands and knees and look up at her. She must not want to touch me because my stomach is falling out, and she shakes her head from side to side before smiling at me. "All right, Patient 451, time for your next session. I hope you've learned your lesson. I don't like putting you in the seclusion room." Her voice is icy cold, and she looks down before giving an annoyed sigh. "Oh. Great, it seems you've vomited. I'll have to clean you up first. Come on." She holds open the door and I force myself to stand, to obey her. I don't want the needle again, after all. I want to pass the tests.
I follow her like a puppy, and I stare at her, not wanting to look up and see the male patients in the same position as myself sprinkled about the ward. I just keep staring at her because they tell me I'm supposed to look at girls. That's what is expected of me. I make my focus her breasts, but she hardly has any, and they aren't really that interesting at all tucked beneath the cold white of her uniform even though she has it buttoned down just enough for a peek at her chest. She has a freckle; it almost makes me want to laugh but I can't bring myself to draw anymore attention. I don't want to get locked back in the room.
She turns and smiles when she notices my gaze, and I feel relieved enough that I'm inspired to continue attempting to stare before she wags a finger at me. "Now, Patient 451, sucking up won't get you anywhere." She gives a distant laugh to herself, and I force a laugh with her because I'm going to suck up anyways. She pages Nurse Horn, and I cringe. I don't like him.
Horn is taller than I am, and his hair is cut short enough that it sticks out in odd angles even though it's clear he tries to glue it down. There's a bump in his nose from a really bad break, and he almost always has a five o'clock shadow it seems. His hair is a light brown color and his eyes are dark blue, and in all honesty, he's handsome in a rugged way if it wasn't for the fact that he's a psychiatric nurse. Horn stares at me and rolls his eyes when he notices the vomit before looking at the other nurse. "He has an appointment with the good doctor, but he needs to be cleaned first. If you wouldn't mind, I – "
"I'm trying to show around a new patient," he says in a rather deep voice. He motions with an arm and the female nurse follows the motion of his arm to a man that is pulling at the color of the loose white uniforms we're all put in the same time we're stripped of our names like we're in jail. We can wear our usual, normal clothes if we pass a test, but less than half of the men pass their tests. I've never passed, but I've tried!
The new patient isn't comfortable in the scratchy wool uniform which is all white except identification numbers on the front, big and black. His reads 356. The uniform's design covers up the neck and the shirts are so long they reach knees. The arms of the shirts hand so barely fingertips are visible, and the pants cover half of the feet leaving mostly faces to be looked at, one of the few distinguishing things amongst most patients who weren't good the previous day. The new patient is going to need his hair cut since its past his ears and is dyed a dark auburn color. The doctors don't like the patients having too long of hair.
I notice that I'm staring at the new patient, so I look down fast and keep my eyes on the floor. My stomach churns, and I slump forward a little as it feels like its pulsing. My hand goes to lift up my shirt and play with the bruise but just as soon as my hand reaches the hem, Nurse Horn grabs my wrist hard. I look up at his stern expression, and his eyes make me shiver before he releases my hand. "Let's go get you cleaned up," he says before motioning his head at 356. "Nurse Vinter, take care of him."
The female nurse smiles at the new patient and asks him to follow her, and I'm stuck with Nurse Horn. He takes me into the showers and directs me to strip off my shirt and nothing else. I hand it to him and he drops it on the ground before turning on the shower, directing me to lean over and stick just my top half into the water. I do as he says only to find that the water is ice cold. It stings like nails digging into my flesh, and I shake as I try to scrub myself but Nurse Horn doesn't give me a bar of soap or a dishrag. I wash off as hard as I can for only about a minute until he snaps the water off and directs me to follow him again. The water slides down my chest and soaks the line were the pants meet my hips, and though I want to make the pants not suction so uncomfortably against me I dare not touch the hem of them incase Nurse Horn notices because he'd have me punished for it. None of the patients in this ward are allowed to remove the lower half of our clothes around another male, and I'm positive that counts around Nurse Horn but nobody has actually ever tried.
Nurse Horn throws my shirt into the laundry bin and he unlocks the hall to my bedroom that I didn't get to sleep in last night. I've been in seclusion so long I can't tell how long it's actually been since I've slept in my own bed, in any bed at all except the wire framed one in the corner. The windows in the bedroom make me shield my eyes as Nurse Horn rummages through my closet. He throws a shirt at me and I put it on. It's larger on me than my other shirt because it's from when I was first admitted into this ward, and I've lost a lot of weight since then on the steady diet of medications that throw me into illness. This shirt falls a little at the neck unlike how it's supposed to, and it sags enough that my throat must be visible because I reach up a hand, not used to having no wool rubbing underneath my chin.
"Let's go," the nurse instructs in a tone I know better than to oppose. I sprint after him with my eyes fixated on the floor. I have to go back for a session with the doctor now. The doctor scares me. He tells the nurses to give me the shots that make me cringe and makes me feel like I'm going to die. He has me thrown into seclusion. He tests me and shocks me and I can't stand it here. I can't stand it because it makes me feel so bad. I want to be how they want me to. I want to be normal. I want to just be somebody again, to have a name, to have an identity, to not be sick. I'd give anything for a day of being like everybody else, but I'm disgusting. I have to change. That's why I was sent here.
I follow the heels of the nurse down the hall until we reach the white wooden door with a tiny wired window. He opens the door and instructs me into the room I've come to hate. A black chair with metal for legs and belts on tilts back in what is meant to be a comfortable position but, after all my times sitting in it, has left me sitting crooked. The bed in the seclusion room hasn't helped me with bad posture. The ache in my spine at times when I'm locked that in that white room waiting for the eye, my spine means nothing. In times like now, when I'm being sat down into the black chair with my arms and legs strapped, it means nothing. The doctor informs me that we're going to be going through the usual test, and that he'd like me to turn my eyes to the TV. I don't even have to actually turn before Nurse Horn has turned the chair. I can't see the doctor. He'd across the room, and I was told to look directly at the TV, which is exactly what I do because I'm bound and determined to pass the test.
Nurse Horn puts a salve on my arm and sticks a pad onto it. He pulls down my pants and with a popsicle stick does the same to my penis before apply a pad. I try not to squirm to much as he applies the salve, but its cold and feels nice even though I know what the pad that comes with it is for. The doctor talks from the side of the room as I stare forward at the TV, refusing to turn away. "Patient 451, I hear that you've been making quiet the fuss in the seclusion room this morning. Are you sure that you can handle this therapy today?"
"I'll pass next time, I promise," I mumble, and the doctor turns on the TV. He presses a button and a picture of a woman appears on the screen completely nude, her legs spread open and her head thrown back. I stare at it like I'm supposed to, and I look at every inch of her, but as much as I'm willing my penis to come to life for her, it doesn't. The doctor makes a "mhm" noise and presses play only to spring the image into life. The girl is sliding her hand down her chest and stomach, inching closer between her thighs, and when it does, she lets out a moan, but I feel nothing.
When he gets no reaction from me, he changes the picture to that of a man bent over, ass in the air behind him, and a pink blush on his cheek. I tear my eyes away from the image as it starts to play and a moaning overtakes the room, this time the sound of two men, and I can't help but feel something but I'm so scared nothing happens between my thighs that I'm aware of. "Please look back at the screen." I hesitantly do which is asked of me and then the shock starts. They start it in my arm, steady like a pulse, and my teeth grind down together as the muscles in my arm constrict so tight I think it'll fall off. I try to keep my eyes on the screen but I have to tear my face away, my chin up in the air. I'm directed to look back at the screen again, and I obey only to have the shock subsided. My arm looks smaller from the constricted muscles and it aches as a different image, another of two males is splayed across the screen.
Since they stop the shocks, Nurse Horn tilts the chair so I'm forced to watch as the two men ruthlessly fuck. The shocks stop completely and Nurse Horn the chair so that he can emphasize that I have to watch the screen even though I don't want to. I close my eyes and they increase the volume, but, with my eyes closed, my brain replaces my thoughts of resistance with just specks of other things, more pleasant things, my ex-boyfriend and I tangled together in the backyard of the nice house we'd bought together. His hand sliding down my…. No!
I scream and start to shake as the machinery makes a hum and it courses through my dick in a steady set of waves, off and on. My eyes pop open and I feel like they're going to burst from my head before the shock stops and a woman is on the screen again being pleasured by a man who is hardly noticeable with the close up being upon her. I'm trying to catch my breath, and I want to fight them, but I watch it, not a single volt of electricity sent into me. At least the smell of singing hair doesn't meet my nose, there isn't really much else to singe anymore. I always hated that thick, choking scent that was an example to everyone of how badly I'd failed.
The doctor has other methods, too. The shots and the shock are fine. There's chemical castration and metal bands they wrap around some men like chastity belts. Other's get something meant to swell up your penis so much it hurts unbearably, stuck in a type of tube while you look at the porn, not able to concentrate on it all from the pain even though they want you to.
I only get shocked one more time before I scream that I give up, that I can't win. I can't win. I can't like her, but I swear it, I'm trying! I don't want a worse punishment than what I've got. The doctor gives a sigh and I can finally see him as Nurse Horn removes the patches and pulls up my pants, unbuckling me only after he removes his gloves. The doctor stares at me and then he says words I hate, that another shot is in order and if I can't even handle the beginning of the tests I'm still not ready to visit the other patients.
I claw at the white walls with one finger so rough that what little nail I have chips off harshly and blood starts to bubble at the tip of my finger. I keep scratching the wall though, tracing red lines and enjoying painting upon the white that bleaches into my mind. I try to write something but the red runs out after the first stroke is made nice and thick and vertical. I stare at the red streak and laugh at it as I let my face collapse against the broken metal bed.
The eye, the eye, the eye….
I wish the paint would tell me I win this mean game. The eye screams that I lose.
"Hi," says 356. I look at him as I take a bite of the hamburger placed before me. It's dinner time, visiting time. We're all sitting out in a big lounge with metal grates all around us. This is a room meant for smoking. Some of the men smoke. Some of the men look washed out. 356 hasn't been broken in yet, but his hair is a mess and wet. They probably just cut it.
"Hi." I don't answer fast, but I try to sound like I'm not interested in talking to him. I watch him out of the corner of my eye, feeling threatened by him. This is a test, isn't it? He's smiling at me like this is a test.
"The food here is good," he says, taking a bite of his own hamburger. I don't like that he's trying to make small talk. I haven't had to make small talk in a long time. I don't want to start trying. "So what's your name?"
"That's you're number."
"Exactly," I say as I take another bite. He keeps staring at me, and I can feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up before I finally turn to look at him. "What do you want?" I snap.
"I was just saying hi," he says, sighing. "My name is George," he whispers into my ear, and I can feel his breath ring deep into my head. I jerk away from him.
I'm going to pass this test. I grab my tray and I stand up. "Nice to meet you, 356," I say distantly before walking across the room and sitting down next to a man with a cigarette and a burnt out expression from all the medications. He won't get close to me. I hear he'll be leaving soon.
My mother came to see me. She told me she loves me and that I should remember to keep God in my heart because he's sent Jesus to help me through these hard times.
I don't know how to tell her this is just for her.
I've been allowed to go to group therapy today. There are more men here than I thought. I scan around and noticed 356 sitting, rubbing his arm from over the cloth. There aren't many seats left, and I end up sitting next to him. He smiles at me and winks, and I just stare at him. The therapy seems intrigued.
"Now, 356, that kind of behavior is not allowed in this ward," she says.
"I wasn't flirting," he says, trying to stand up for himself.
"That sounds like a guilty conscience. I didn't once say flirting, 356," she says, and I feel a little bad for him because he's just trapped himself here.
"How did his winking make you feel, 451?" she says, looking at me. I don't spare at look over at 356. I just stare straight at her as I answer that it didn't make me feel anything. She smiles, and the meeting continues to go on about flirting.
The next meal, 356 is next to me again. I'm poking at a chicken dumpling as he gives me a wide grin. "Well, I guess our secret is out." He nudges me, but I jerk away from him and move my seat a little further away from the empty chair next to me. He frowns and sits down, and I glare at the legs of his chair as if the chair was the one invading my space.
"Listen," I tell him, turning full body to give him a sharp glare. "I don't get out of the seclusion room for meals very often, and I don't want some freak like you around me!" His expression drops before he gives a sigh.
"I didn't think anybody actually wanted to behave here," he says, rolling his eyes. "I was court ordered to be committed. The other hospital said I had homosexual tendencies, I was sent here after they worked the borderline out of me, or so they say."
"You seem too social," I remark, and he laughs before stealing some of my chicken. I steal some back from him, but he catches my and smiles at me. I feel like I've been sent into shock as he brings up my hand and stares intently at it. The fork I'm holding drops to the ground as he kisses the finger of mine with the crusted blood. He kisses it again and I feel my legs start to shake. I'm too stunned to take it away.
"You seem to like me now," he whispers. He drops my hand, and Nurse Vinter walks over.
Her eyes narrow, locking onto those of 356, and she clears her throat. "Excuse me, Patient 356, if you cannot behave in a proper fashion you will be sent to seclusion for the rest of your meal." He looks sad and nods his head before he goes back to eating, and she turns to me. "Report him if he does something like this again, 451!"
I nod my head and finish the rest of the noodles before 356 smiles up at me. Nurse Horn comes to take me to another session afterwards. I still can't pass.
356 grabs me as I'm making my way down the hall. He wraps his arms around me and presses me against the wall just around the corner from where I was before. He must have been excused to go to the bathroom if he's in this hall at all. He presses his lips hard against mine, and I gasp because it's been so long since I've had anyone do that. He smiles at me. "Going to report me?" he says. I sober up and realize what he's done, and I nod just as his eyes narrow and he presses me harder against the wall. His lips suck on my neck, and his hand slides up my shirt until it finds the hem of my pants and the bruises from all the needles. His hand slides down beneath my pants and I moan when he pushes them down. "Then we better have as much fun as we can if I'm going to get in trouble anyways!"
Nurse Vinter finds us there in the hall with my dick shoved down his throat, my fingers knotting into what hair he has left on his head. She sedates both of us, and when I wake up, I'm stuck back into the seclusion room.
The doctor says that he thought I had progressed further than what I had let happen. He tells me my punishment needs to be increased. He sighs. "We would like to issue chemical castration." I can argue against him, but he wins. He informs me of how much I need it, how much I need to be punished, that I came here for help and he's offering me the best he can.
I take the pills once a week, and 356 has disappeared. I wonder if he knows about the eye.