Basis for this story: my English teacher was discussing mental illness with us, and she became increasingly more offensive until it was clear that her solution to the problem would be locking up and killing anyone not deemed "sane" by society. This was my response.
My fingers danced nervously on my knees as he asked the last few questions. I stammered through my answers, trying to be as honest as possible. They knew when you were lying.
The man pushed his horn-rimmed glasses up his nose and squinted at the notes on his desk, scribbling in the margins with black pen. We sat there in tense silence for several minutes while he analyzed, and I began to grow very, very bored. A song with a strong rhythm came into my head during the wait, and my dancing fingers became drums.
He quickly grew irritated and let out a loud cough, glaring at me to stop. He capped his black pen and pulled a red from his pen holder. All of my muscles froze. This was bad.
I couldn't make out the word that he wrote, but I already knew what it was. "Hospital." This was the sentence for the bizarre, the children who disappeared after their therapy session, leaving forever to be "cured." This had happened to two friends of mine, one disappearing after his seven year appointment, and the other after her ten year. I was lucky; I had made it to my fifteen year- my last session until adulthood. I had been certain that I would make it.
The man forced a smile, calmly stating that he had noticed some symptoms that would be cared for once I was "in capable hands." I knew, somewhere, that this was very wrong. I stared through his eyes; saw what was really behind his words. My vision blurred; the barrier between my inside and outside breaking down.
Everything is as it should not be and I may never see anyone ever again what will they do to me why am I leaving what is wrong with me I am perfectly fine they cannot do this they have no right I will not go I am fine please calm down no I cannot save me save me I want to not disappear like those others they will talk about me now everyone will hate me I cannot do this save me save me save me save-
A loud ringing filled my ears and my head snapped to the side, letting out a painful crack. A tall, blonde woman opened the doors behind me quietly and crept to my side. She spoke calmly, but I didn't understand her words. She helped me out of my chair gently, though my skin stung where she touched me.
Clutching the woman's arm, I walked to a school bus parked outside of the building. Several other children my age and younger were being escorted inside as well. My feet carried me, despite my brain's frantic cries to stop… to run… to leave this place!
I stepped on the bus, noticing how ordinary it was- two rows of leather-lined seats, the smell of sweat hanging in the air, a bored looking bus driver, and two armed guards standing in the front and back of the aisle. The blonde woman who had walked me out quietly slipped away, and more children entered the bus. I counted thirty.
Several of us were looking around across the backs of their seats, though many of the youngest could barely peek over the edge. Other children were crying, and some just stared ahead blankly. One girl, who looked ten, was laughing hysterically in the very last seat. The guard nearby kicked her and she shrank into silence, whimpering softly.
The boy closest to me saw something, dropping his jaw in terror. I followed his gaze and realized that the guards didn't carry the customary handguns for school trips. These were heavy guns, made for killing. I fell into my seat-
They're going to kill us oh god oh god we're all going to die I don't want to die why are we doing this why are they doing this why are there so many people here people people all going to die this is what happened to my friends oh god they're all dead everyone will die why do we have to go so early what did I do why do we deserve this oh god oh god oh-
The ringing returned, and I tore at my ears, begging for it to stop. I forced myself to breathe. Slowly, I slid my eyes open. This was a mistake. As soon as I could see clearly, I noticed the guards moving in, pulling sets of gleaming hooks from their belts. Handcuffs. We were their prisoners now.
The bus started moving, and the two guards walked to the children closest to them. They held the squirming bodies down, clamping metal jaws around their small wrists. They moved quickly, and before I could react there was a guard on top of me, snapping the cuffs on. Cold, sharp metal, telling me that the promised "cure" in my future was no such thing.
The guards began walking up and down the aisle, slapping any child who made noise. I focused on breathing, the only thing I knew how to do any more, and gazed out my dusty window. I don't know how long we drove, but I saw the grey of the city gradually turn to the brown of the country. I had been there once with my family. I hadn't liked it.
My family my family sister brother father mother mother miss you where did you go why did I leave why are you doing this to me this is your fault why did you let them take me take me kilI me kill me why why-
Ringing. I jerked back into alertness, jamming my wrists against the cuffs in my convulsing. I must have been loud, because the guard returned, connecting his fist with my ribs. It hurt, but not as badly as the wrists
Pain pain oh why pain more pain than my whole life end pain end life no no live end pain live calm must calm no more pain more calm calm calm please calm
The bus came to a halt, slamming my against the wall.
The guards began escorting us through the aisle, down the stairs. They ran a long, heavy chain through all of our cuffs, forcing us together should anyone try to escape. I looked around, searching hopelessly for the hospital. There was none. Only a large hole dug in the earth, and a flimsy white tent behind it. A guard pulled the end of the chain, dragging us all behind.
We lined up along the pit, and I saw it for what it was- a grave. The thirty of us were about to be killed here, buried, and never seen or heard from again. I didn't understand why. What had we done?
The boy from the bus was standing beside me. He also recognized the pit, and stepped back. The chain tightened and I stepped with him. I felt the chain on my other side tighten then, and saw that the girl connected to me had stepped forward. She had the body of one of the seven year olds, tiny and emaciated, but her face was one of fifteen. She peered over the edge, gave a sad smile, and began grinding her skin against the sharp metal of the cuffs. She grimaced as blood trickled from her wrists. I looked away.
The guards tied the chain to metal posts in the ground. They walked to the other side of the grave, turning to face us. A woman stepped out from the tent. She was tall, with brown hair and a cruel, toothy smile. I could see this from across the pit-
The pit I would die here the guns they would kill us all that girl her blood the poor children why are we here why will no one save us oh god oh god
The boy pulled the chains, shaking me out of my panic.
The woman cleared her throat, pulling a stack of cards from her pocket. She began to speak.
"Many of you may know why you are here. You have been sentenced to the hospital, to be cured. You need to be cured because there is something very wrong with each and every one of you. We have taken you here because you are a danger to yourselves, and to our peaceful world. Your minds are sick, twisted, weak, and you do not deserve the privilege of living like a human. This is because you are not a human. Your distorted brains have taught you to hurt, to kill, to live in suffering, and we will not have you contaminating the rest of us with your illness."
"Please stop speaking miss, you are making me uncomfortable," a ten year old boy interrupted. Immediately the first guard lifted his gun. I heard a shot, and then the thud of his body crumpling to the floor- twenty nine of us.
A girl began to cry, and the guard fired a warning shot into the boy's corpse. She silenced.
"Now," the woman continued, "you all understand what will happen to you soon. This is because you do not deserve to live. You are the only thing cursing yourselves, really,"
The girl at the very end of the line began laughing again. "What's so funny?" the woman yelled.
"It's just, you're the sick one," she gasped for air, laughing again, "you're the one killing children, talking about how we're ruining your existence." She started giggling uncontrollably.
"I'm done with you lot. Just kill them," the woman ordered.
The guards opened fire.
What did you think? About the writing, dealing with the mentally ill… I would love to hear any opinions you have. Maybe we could even start a discussion? I look forward to hearing from you!