"Right this way Miss Cavanaugh." The young aide said to me. I followed her down a hallway that had the words SUICIDE RISK WARD painted in large green letters on the wall. I grimaced, hoisting my book bag farther up on my shoulder, and trudged along under strict duress behind her.

As I walked along the hall, I saw some teenagers strutting down the halls, and others walking very close to the whitewash brick with their faces pulled down toward the linoleum floor. Many of these kids bore scars and bruises, cuts and likewise imperfections the rest of society frowned upon. But, of course, that is why these kids are here. Society neglected us. So we turned to an alternative way out.

Well, at least, that was my story.

Now, I'm not going to bore you with long introductions about a pair of star-cross'd lovers, but I will branch out on a Shakespeare and tell you that this inauspicious story ends in Tragedy. However, our setting is not Verona, and there is no royalty amongst these kids, and no one's cousin becomes slain. So, as I'm trying to say, this is no Shakespearean drama, and no ending shall be given away immediately, but slight introductions to the lives of the protagonists are extremely necessary.

So, without further ado, my name is Jasper Cavanaugh, I'm at the age of fifteen years old. I live in the annoyingly empty city of Haven, West Virginia. Yeah, I don't recommend it. It's anything but a haven these days. My parents died when I was younger, so I live in a foster home. Mr. and Mrs. Darren and Leanne Hager are my legal caretakers; they also took care of four other kids.

I originally hail from a village called Rathfriland, which is in Northern Ireland, formally part of the United Kingdom. I honestly prefer it there, and I hope to someday return, although leaving everyone I know here will be difficult. However, I never had friends like the ones I met on Suicide Watch. And to this day, I only ever see one of them regularly, for we go to school together, and for the sake of their privacy, I'll keep the name withdrawn.

But that is extraneous to my story. This story. The story of how my life changed forever.

We stopped outside of a room with a wooden door which bore a wearing brass 2C above a whiteboard that read: 'Bullet's getting the fresh meat!!!'

"This is your room, 2C." The aide said, in a low, bored tone, as though she had repeated this to many kids before. I didn't really care enough to listen to her; I knew most of this already from friends who had visited here before, but I wasn't about to let the humour of making her repeat it to me get away so easily. "You get one shower a day, so make it count. No longer than thirty minutes, and you will expected to show up directly after lunch to get to your alternative classes in the building next door. There's a rec room down the hall, ask your roommate, she will show you where it is. Also the cafeteria is in the main central hallway, you will report there three times a day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

"Lastly, the overseer of this ward is right down the hall, so make sure you abide by the rules; which are posted at the end of the hall. Any more questions, just ask him."

She turned on her heel and strode off down the hall. I gave her one last disgusted look and stared back at the door.

No, I was not happy to be here. I was a bitterly sarcastic, altogether despondent, "troubled" youth with anything but Suicide Watch on my "Goals to Achieve Before I Die" list. In my opinion, whoever came up with the idea to lock up a bunch of clinically depressed kids in the same building to co-mingle with one other and exchange ideas of how to off themselves is an edjit. However, a change of scenery was nice, I imagined.

I took this thought into my head, cracked my neck, inhaled deeply, and knocked on the door. There was no directly immediate answer, so I turned the knob and walked in.

The room was positively plain, the same blank white block walls as the rest of the building, with tiled ceiling and Berber carpeted floor. A lone double-pane barred window hung on one wall, seemingly no bigger than perhaps two by five, letting in a short beam of reddish-gold light from the late sunset-filled sky outside, where a light drizzle fell on the dry grass below. The room encompassed a large walnut wood chest of drawers off to a wall, a similar writing desk, a mirror, and two four poster beds in the centre, each adorning hospital-white sheets and pillows. The room carried a slight hint of bleach directly from the beds.

A girl who seemed possibly a year or so older than myself was sitting on one of beds. She had a pretty heart-shaped face, with alert eyes that seemed to light up a room bright green when she looked around. Her hair was silky and shiny; pitch black with purple highlights. Quite obviously, she wore a decent amount of makeup, for her skin had a material pale glow to it that only foundation can bring. She wore no blush, but her eyes were surrounded with a large amount of black liner and sparkly shadow that shimmered in the light. The t-shirt she wore over her thick-striped long sleeves adorned the band name "Suicide Silence."

"Fitting shirt, considering what we all did to get here." I laughed, my Northern Irish accent lacing my words languidly.

She looked up at me and her pretty face cracked into a smile, accentuating her lip-gloss slicked mouth, and I noticed, for the first time, the glint of the silver ring hanging in the left side of her nose.

"Hell yeah!" Sliding cat-like off of her bed, she stood up to greet me. "So, are you new here?"

"Yep." I said calmly, retaining my cool. "Just arrived a moment ago."

"That accent," She said sharply. "North Ireland... County Monaghan?"

"County Down." I laughed.

She punched the air. "Dammit! So close."

These accents were not really close at all, but I wouldn't let her think I was an asshole so soon.

"So anyway, what did you to get here?" She continued.

"I em..." It wasn't tricky talking about this; it just kind of caught me ill-equipped. "I took like twelve Xanax."

The girl laughed. "Xanax? That's pretty beast. That'll be your name here, by the way. We don't go on a first name basis here; we don't want you getting attached."

I grinned. "Right."

"Anyway, call me Bullet."

I nodded. "Cheers, Bullet. So I guess this one is mine?" I inclined my head toward the bed opposite the one she had been lying on.

"Yup." She said cheerfully. "Used to belong to a girl named Lynch. But, I guess she's got no use for it now."

Her eyes glinted mischievously, hinting in my mind that Lynch had finally wrought the noose properly.

Bullet turned away from me, back to her bed. She picked up the book, marked her place, and laid it on her night table. "Well, Xanax, let's get rolling."

"To where?" I inquired, puzzled.

"Why to the rec room, of course! Now come on, put your stuff down, and let's go!"

I set my suitcase of clothes and my book bag of personal effects down on the twin poster and headed out the door behind Bullet.

For some reason, I felt strangely contented, rather incongruously accepted in this place already. It hadn't crossed my mind that the people here would be normal, for lack of a better word, and I really had not expected much of this place.

But so far Bullet was...cool. I didn't know how else to describe this peculiar and assertive youth. But she was the opposite of the kind of person I expected to meet on Haven Hospital's Suicide Watch. She was the kind of girl anyone would have wanted to hang around.

But, in a perplexing daze, I followed Bullet down a long corridor toward the rec room, my sneakers making no sound at all. Or perhaps they were, I couldn't tell. Bullet was just shouting too loud at someone at the end of the hallway to allow me to hear anything whatsoever.

"Dammit, Edge, I swear to God, if you say one thing I'm going to wring your filthy little-" She vaulted irately at a dark-haired boy.

"What, Bullet? What are you going to do about it? Huh? Nothing. That's right!" He barked back at her.

Bullet grit her teeth and broke into a run toward him, her hair flying backward. For a moment I figured that she was going to hit him, but what happened next struck me with utter confusion.

She tackled him and laughed genially, and so did he. Within a quick moment, they both merely stood up and cheerfully embraced each other like long friends.

I walked amiably down the corridor, where Bullet still laughed with the boy, Edge.

Edge was a dark, greasy-haired kid, with a lanky build and broad shoulders. His black hair fell about his forehead and cheekbones, parted in the middle, surrounding his stormy grey eyes that danced with the laughter belting through his vocal cords. His jaw slanted into his pointed chin and his pale lips adorned silver spider bite rings, and his face was gaunt and sunken; a look of a malnourished prisoner or a neglected child. He adorned a "Killswitch Engage" t-shirt and sagging black pants with chains that fell around his torn Vans.

"So who is this?" He laughed, glancing inquisitively at me.

"Xanax." Bullet said ecstatically before I could answer. "The fresh meat."

"Nice to meet you, Xanax. They call me Edge." He winked.

Edge followed us down to the rec room, a loud, noisy room with a foosball and air hockey table in the centre, a television shoved off in view of a torn leather couch, and a bookshelf crammed with volumes lining the back wall. There were about twenty or so kids in there, each playing a game, talking animatedly to his neighbour, or watching television.

One boy caught my interest; he sat alone in a chair, buried intently in a leather-bound book, seemingly unmindful to the noise around him. He had a slightly grey shined blonde hair, which fell around his face, pushed off to the left side, hiding his eyes from view. His chin and nose were pointed and pale, and his eyelids clung to his slightly gaunt eyes. I noticed he had two black rings in his lips; my vice in piercings, snakebites.

His body was slender and wrapped in black; his jacket had two white stripes going down the outside of his arms, with metal rings hanging through them at his wrists. His blue jeans wrapped tightly around his thin legs and he rested his head on his fist as he read.

"Hey, Bullet," I said, tapping her arm. "Who is that blonde kid in the corner?"

Bullet searched the crowd for a moment, and then caught sight of the boy. She shrugged. "Beats me. I haven't talked to him a day before in my life."

"Hrmm..." I considered walking over and finding out just who this boy was for myself, but at that moment, Bullet dragged me over to meet their friends, Razor, a seventeen year old blonde boy with short cropped blonde hair and an Abercrombie-and-Fitch smile, Noose, a shy brunette who had tried to take her life by the rope but had merely succeeded in silencing herself for good, and "Swimmer" a twitchy young boy who had tried to drown himself.

We sat there talking over games of foosball for a little while when Razor spoke up, "Anyone else want to grab a smoke?"

"Woah!" I interjected, "Right here!"

Razor grinned at me and I followed him and Edge out the door.

"So where are we going?" I asked, jogging slightly in order to walk between them.

"Out back." Razor said simply, looking around the corridor for any sign of authority figures.

The boys led me to a vacated door in the west wing of the institution, a wooden plank with a chipped sliver doorknob. It would have simply seemed like a janitor's closet to anyone else; the kind of door you simply never enquired about, for it had no seeming purpose except to fill up a wall space that served no separate cause other than to trap the patients of Haven Juvenile Psychiatric Centre in an unwelcoming place where they neither felt nor needed to feel like a place of belonging. But beyond this stretch of wall mazed with a peeling walnut finished door was a small fallow courtyard.

This courtyard was expressly diminutive and had the feel of being long forgotten. It had a small fountain that sprayed greenish tinted water in a misty fashion, and white cobblestone paths that winded around it with moss and grass creeping up amongst the divots in the stones. The red brick walls stretched up to the third story, sporting the same mossy attire as the cobblestones. A small amount of light creeped in through the opening at the top, allowing us to see what we were doing, but also causing us to take a minute for our pupils to contract into a state more suitable than to the rather bright incandescent lighting in the hospital.

There was a bay window hanging precariously over the door from the third story, however, from where I sat down beside Razor, the only way we would get caught by someone looking out of the bay window is if they opened the pane, stuck their head out, and peered straight down.

Razor handed me a Marlboro Light, and I put it carelessly between my lips as he flicked his lighter into life. I felt the smoke enter my lungs in deathly satisfaction. Edge sat down on the side of the fountain opposite us and pulled out his own Salem out of his pockets and lit it up.

"So, Xanax," He said in a muffled tone, keeping his cigarette balanced precariously from his lips whilst stowing his pack and lighter away in his pocket. "Why are you here?"

I shrugged, taking a drag. "Same reason everyone else is." I said contentedly, blowing out smoke. "I tried to off myself."

"Why though?" Razor asked, fixing his brilliant blue eyes on me as he lit up his cigarette.

Again, I just shrugged, "I lost my parents when I was young, I hate my foster family, and my teenage angst got the better of me one night. Simple as that."

Razor smiled that angel's smile. "You don't have to worry about being judged around here, you know. You're in S.W.; we're all in the same boat as you."

I returned his smile and saw his sincerity reflected out of his twin sky-blue irises.

"Me, for instance," He continued, "I did it for the stupidest possible reason ever." Holding his cigarette between his teeth, he pulled his arms away from his sides and showed me the long stitched-up lines running down his wrists to his elbows. "My girlfriend of three years left me on a night that I was higher than a kite, so I overreacted and did this to myself. I've been here for what... two weeks?"

Edge nodded. "Something like that. I've been here for two months."

My brow furrowed. "Two months? Can they do that?"

He shook his head. "It wasn't my initial sentence here. I was only supposed to be here for a week, but I like it here so much that I find new ways to make them renew my time." He laughed. "It's not that bad here."

"So why do they call you Edge?" I asked.

Edge grinned, and stood up on the fountain. He flung out both arms, his cigarette smoking from between his fingers, and fell gracefully down, catching himself before he actually hit the ground.

"You jumped?" I asked.

He nodded pleasantly. "I broke my leg and two ribs. I wasn't high enough up, and my body was too relaxed." He took a drag off his cigarette. "I did it because I hated my life. My mother who didn't care about us, my idiot father who thought he was better than the world, and my moron brother, stupid enough to believe him. I was sick of it, so one day, when I was sitting out of my roof, I just jumped."

"Damn, dude." Razor said.

There was an awkward silence while we all just sat there and smoked. Edge lay back on the stone of the fountain and looked up at the sky while. I watched his thin chest rise and fall as he breathed. As intently as I watched him, I found it curious that all three of us had just revealed excruciatingly personal information to strangers; we didn't even know each other's names. Perhaps it was the small benefactor that we would most likely never see each other again that gave us the confidence to share our personal tragedies to one another.

But there was something comforting in being around people who understood my want to leave this world. They didn't judge here. It was almost easy to understand Edge's want to stay here. He spoke very bitterly about his family. If they were truly as bad as he related, then it was no wonder why he wanted to get away from that, to a place where it was apparent no one really minded who you really were.

I had always been afraid to allow people close to me for the fear that they would find out who I was underneath, and think differently of me. I would honestly prefer people to come out and say what they thought of me then to see it in their eyes as they looked on me with pity. Pity was the one thing I couldn't stand.

I sighed; smoke cascading out of my nose, as I looked up at the sky. Razor looked at me.

"What's the matter, Xan?" He asked benevolently.

"Nothing." I responded automatically.

He chuckled. "Sure." He took a hard drag and smiled at me unceremoniously. "Now really tell me what it is."

I grinned at his cogent inquisitiveness. "I don't know. It's just... I don't even know you guys. But this shit... It's easy. Talking to you about these personal affairs. It's so easy to just open up in this situation. I don't know." I repeated absent-mindedly, taking another drag from my cigarette.

Edge laughed. "Well, just think of it this way: while you're here, in Haven, and while I'm Edge and he's Razor and you're Xanax, we're best friends. Here for you through anything." He smiled compassionately. "And trust me; the friends you make in here will be better than any little backstabbing pricks at your high school."

I chuckled. "I guess so." I looked Edge dead in the eyes and smiled benevolently. "Thanks."

He grinned brashly. "Don't thank me, Xan. I mean it."

"Being here isn't as bad as you might think it is." Razor said thoughtfully. "It's actually kind of nice. You can get away from all of the hardships at home and just be with people who you can relate to. Sure, you get those crazy-ass spastic motherfuckers once in a while, but it's still totally worth it."

He smirked at me and I laughed. "So is there anyone I need to keep note of and stay away from?"

"Edge." Razor said seriously.

"Razor." Edge said at precisely the same time, making me laugh again.

Razor took one final drag and then extinguished his cigarette on the ground. I followed suit as Edge flicked his into the fountain. We all stood up and wordlessly walked back into the building.

Edge took the corridor away from ours, back to his dorm in the east wing (Long-Term Patients Ward) while Razor and I creeped back toward our own rooms.

"So you're Bullet's new roomie?" He asked me casually.

"Mmhmm." I said nonchalantly.

He laughed slightly. "That's pretty cool. 2C, right?"

"That's the one."

"I'm in 6C, so you should come down there tomorrow; I have an Xbox. We can play some Call of Duty!" He grinned at me.

I met his sidelong glance and grinned back. "Alright, I'll take you up on that. But you will lose."

"Oh, will I now?" He laughed.

"Definitely!" I said congenially.

He chuckled jovially. "Alright, then, I'll see you there tomorrow?"

"Indeed you will!" I grinned.

"Awesome." Razor returned the smile as we stopped outside of my room. "Well. Good night."

He hugged me tightly and then, with a brief smile, released me and left.

I watched his slender figure disappear into 6C, and thoughtfully opened my door and fell into bed.