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Protect 2

I feel heavy. So heavy. My eyes hurt. I have to fight to get my eyelids open, and the lights hurt my eyes.
"It's ok, honey. Wake up slow," someone says. "I'll turn the lights off for ya."
When it's darker, I open my eyes again. I'm laying in bed, but my ankles and wrists are bound. "Wha'appen?" I slur.
I see that it's Michelle, and she's moving down to undo my bindings. "It's ok, sweetheart. We just wanted to make sure you didn't hurt yourself."
"What happened, though?" I ask.
"Unfortunately, one of the other patients got out of his room...and he had a psychotic break and slammed his head against your window," she tells me, finally getting my wrists undone.
"Did he...Did he kill himself?"
She nods her head somberly. "Yes, baby, he did. But don't worry, honey. It wasn't your fault at all."
I blink and try to remember, but all I can see is hazy memories of me screaming and red. I look over at the door and see that it's clean, not even a crack on the glass.
"They cleaned it up, sweetie," Michelle tells me. "And they replaced the window while you were sleeping."
I just nod my head, wincing after a second. "My stomach doesn't feel good," I frown.
"Oh, I'm sorry, honey. Yeah, that's a side effect of the sedative we gave you. You were hysterical when we got inside, so one of the doctors gave you something to help you calm down," Michelle says. "But don't worry. I brought some Pepto to help. And the oatmeal today is less sticky."
She helps me sit up, steadying me and then grabbing a bucket when I make a sick face. But thankfully, I don't throw up. I hate throwing up, but I hate the unnerving nausea even more. Michelle stays with me while I take the Pepto and eat my oatmeal. She tells me that doctors are going to keep a closer eye on me now, in case I have PTSD or something. I don't think that's a bad thing, given how I apparently reacted last night. She also tells me that the police are going to interview me even though it was suicide and not a murder. They just wanna make sure they have all their ends tied up, which I understand.
Michelle stays with me while the police ask me questions about what I saw, if William ever said anything to me, and what he did in my own words. I tell them everything I can remember, and then they leave. Michelle rubs my shoulder, assuring me that she'll be back later to tuck me in for my nap.
I colour and let the TV play my usual cartoons, honestly trying to forget that a man killed himself right outside my door...with my door.
I do go out after a little while, and everyone stares at me and starts whispering...well, some do.
"He chose her."
"She's cursed."
"He liked her from the moment he saw her. I knew it."
I keep my eyes on the floor, moving over to my usual spot by the window. I guess I'll never make friends here now. After a few minutes, George doesn't show up, so I guess he's scared of me, too. I have no one. I'm a stain. I wasn't even involved in this guy's suicide, but I'm being held responsible by my fellow patients. The police told me that no one blames me, especially since I had no real connection with the psycho. I was just his new obsession and he decided to kill himself in front of me. The asshole. What did I ever to him? I never even looked at him! I had no idea who he was! He should've had no idea who I was! I've only been here a few days!
I jump when someone taps my shoulder. I whip my head around to see one of the police from earlier. He holds up his hands and takes a step back. "Sorry, hun. Didn't mean to scare you."
I swallow down what little breakfast I ate, my stomach rolling at what more he wants with me. "It's ok. What is it?"
He folds his hands in front of him. "Just...making sure you're ok," he says almost shyly. I realize that he's young, probably fresh out of academy or something. He's tall and lean, though, with shaggy, brown locks and dark green eyes. He even took off his hat for me.
"I...could be better," I eventually say.
He clears his throat and nods his head. "Is it ok if I...sit with you?" I nod and wave my hand, looking out the window at the bright sun as he sits beside me. "That must have been terriyfing, huh? Did you know anything about him?"
I shrug my shoulder. "Just that...he was in here 'cause he tried to castrate himself."
"Do you know why?" When I shake my head, he leans forward on his knees. "He was...abused as a kid. His mom would beat him and put cigarettes out on him, saying how she always wished he'd been born a girl. He couldn't hold down a job, couldn't get a girlfriend. One of his past co-workers even said it was like he was constantly staring at women in a really creepy way."
"Sounds like he definitely belonged in a psych ward," I deadpan. "So, did he try to castrate himself because he was fucked up from his mom wanting him to be a girl?"
He nods his head, looking outside, too. "His mom died a few years ago, so...that must have been the trigger."
"He was in here since then?" I ask.
He nods again. "And he...kept to himself apparently. Didn't talk to anyone and didn't interact with anyone. His doctors say he was practically catatonic, even when they were giving him shock therapy."
I wince at that. "He was given shock therapy? Does that even really work? I've never heard studies about that actually working."
He shrugs his shoulders, looking sideways at me. He smiles a little, then lifts his hand to place his hat on my head. My face flushes. No one's ever put their hat on me before. "Whether it works or not, it was scary that he never changed his face. According to a couple guards here, it was only when you arrived that he started...behaving differently."
I pull the hat down so it fits better on my head. "I never even saw his face until...last night."
"Well, looks like he stared a lot at yours," he says grimly. "I...probably shouldn't tell you this, but...when we looked at his room, he had...drawings all over the place. And they were all of you."
I squeeze my eyes shut, swearing that I won't cry. Not in front of him. The bastard had been drawing me? What the fuck gave him the right? "Why me?"
He sighs, shaking his head. "We're still trying to figure that out. Maybe something in his drawings will give us an answer."
"Brock!" We both turn to see his partner, an older man with a bushy mustache, with his hands on his thick hips. "We've got dozens of pictures t' go through. Let's go!"
Brock looks back to me with an apologetic smile. "Guess I'll see you later, miss."
I take off his hat and hand it back to him. "Guess so."
He takes his hat and puts it back on, then pulls out a small, white card from his pocket, holding it out to me. "Here. In case anything else happens, call me, ok?"
I nod my head, taking the card from him. "Let me know if you find anything, ok?"
"Yes, ma'am," he smiles, tipping his hat like he's an old-fashioned gentleman.
I watch as he walks over to his partner, both of them leaving with one last look at me. I look down at the card, seeing his full name, "Brock Jones". Definitely sounds like a kid who wanted to grow up to be a cop. Well, good for him. He achieved his dream.

After dinner, I'm back in my room, watching late night crime dramas and trying to colour. I keep flicking my eyes over to the window, like I'm expecting to see a smiling, bloody face staring back at me. But there is nothing ever there, and each time, I take a deep breath and just try to relax. I'm barely paying attention to the TV show while I colour. But I know it's a commercial when I hear tapping. Tap tap tap. Tap tap tap. I immediately look over at the door, but find nothing there. Maybe I'm just super-paranoid. Wouldn't surprise me.
Tap tap tap. Tap tap tap. I turn up the TV, hoping it'll drown out my senses. It happens a couple more times, then stops, and I turn the TV to my shopping channel to fall asleep to. I put my colouring book and crayons away, pulling my blanket up and wrapping myself up, clutching my Koko and yawning. I don't dream.

The next day, I wake up quickly. I don't usually wake up right away, but I guess it's just one of those days. I sit up and rub my eyes, sneezing after a second. I finally get to blink my eyes open and do my usual morning look-around. The clock on my bedside table says I still shouldn't be up for another hour, but I can't just go back to sleep now. I turn the TV to cartoons, curling up with Koko and just enjoying my cartoons.
There's a knock on my door, and a young nurse I've finally remembered is Joy steps inside with my breakfast. The day goes rather normally; I go out and finally get to talk with George again. He apologizes to me about everything I had to go through, and he urges to me to talk to him if I ever need to vent. He really is a good guy. I'm grateful that he's such a good friend. He even apologizes for not seeing me yesterday, saying he was having his psycho-analysis during that time.
We eat lunch together, and spend time talking about old toys, until dinner. After we eat, we separate, promising to meet tomorrow. In a very good mood, I head to my room and turn on the TV. I curl up in my bed and pull a book into my lap. I really do like background noise, and since I don't have my iPod or phone yet, I guess the TV will have to do.
I'm relaxing and lost in my book when the TV changes channels on me. What the hell? I grab the remote and change it back. A few minutes later, it changes channels again. God, is the TV broken? This is a pretty upscale psych ward, though, with really nice TVs. I change the channel back. Before I even set the remote back down, it changes channels AGAIN! I wonder if I should call someone? I change it back, and I wait a few minutes. When it doens't change, I set the remote back down and go back to my book.
Then the channel changes once more, and I sigh in frustration and just turn it off. In the black of the screen, there's a dark figure standing just beside my bed. I scream and turn the TV back on, looking all around my room, but finding no one there. My heart is pounding and thudding in my ears. There's no one in here. There's no one in here. Maybe I just saw something. Maybe I really am suffering from PTSD and I'm hallucinating. Maybe I'm finally giving into my true insanity.
The phone on the bedside table rings, and I jump and try to breathe for a second before I pick it up. "Hello?" I ask breathlessly.
"Luna? Are you all right? We heard screaming from your room," a doctor asks.
"Y-Yeah, I'm all right," I stammer. "My TV was acting up, so I turned it off, but I swear I saw someone standing my bed and I just...freaked out. Sorry."
"There's no need to apologize, Luna. Do you want something to help you sleep?"
"Yes, please. I can't...I can't calm down now."
"All right, hang tight. I'll be there in a few minutes."
"Thank you."
I hang up and pull my knees up, looking all around my room and searching for anything out of the ordinary. What was that? Was I just freaking out over nothing? Was I just screwed up because of what happened? Maybe I really need to stop with scary movies and stuff. I mean, I've been watching nothing but cartoons since I got here, but I watched a LOT of scary movies before I got here. It's no wonder that I think there's someone in my room.
A doctor finally shows up with a syringe. I willingly roll to my side so he can give me the sedative. He stays and makes sure the TV is working while the medication takes effect. When he sees me start to fall asleep, he pulls the blanket up around me and tells me he'll check on me in the morning. I just lazily nod my head and let myself go out.
part two!!
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Submitted on
July 23, 2016
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