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In Short Story Issue Nine by Aunya May

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“Wakie-wakie, time to get up sunshine.” A husky voice is present in the room.
A door slams shut. The sound waves vibrate through the entire room making the inside of my head spin. Keys jingle as they thud against something firm; getting closer the jingle suddenly stops very near to me. There’s a tapping above my head. It gets persistently louder. Every sound is like a needle to my eardrum. Please just make the tapping stop. And as soon as I think the thought, the sound stops. Thank you. Once the ringing in my ears dies down, I become more aware of the rest of my body. I am aching everywhere. I try to wipe the sweat that is on my forehead only to find that my left hand is tethered to the bed. What the heck? I test my right hand, and it too is shackled in place.
My eyes shoot open frantically sweeping from side to side to assess my situation, but the haze hasn’t lifted quiet just yet. Impatiently, I flutter my eyelids trying to clear the fog from my brain. I start to make out figures. Finally. Before me are the white painted metal bars at the foot of my bed, a wooden chair in the corner of the tightly spaced room. My eyes dart to my wrists, which are now turning red since I’ve been tugging at the restraints. After inhaling and exhaling a few times, I am aware of the stench of cool onion breath lightly panting on my face. I look up.
Betty is written in black Arial font on the name tag that is mushed into my face. Betty is leaning over me adjusting my I-V, and now that I have seen the clear tube attached to my arm, I am aware of the soreness coming from my bruised arm. Clear blue eyes stare back at me, but there is no trace of warmth in them. Her mouth is set in a firm line that makes her thin lips that much thinner. The black hair on top of her lip decorates her face as well as the red blotches that speckle her skin. Betty was in desperate need of a deep conditioning because her brown hair is dull and matted to her scalp.
Reaching into her apron, Betty pulls out a pen and begins to scribble on the clipboard she has clutched between her fingers. After a moment of intense concentration, she turns to set the clipboard on the wheeled cart behind her. When she turns back to me, she has two small paper cups in her hands. I can see the silhouette of the contents within, so I know that one cup is full of water and another holds two solid ovals. Pills.
“Open up.” She takes a step toward me.
Instinctively, I clutch my back molars tight together. My heartbeat starts to speed up.
Letting out a deep sigh, “look pumpkin, we can do this the easy way or the hard way.” Again, she moves closer to me, and I scoot as far away from her as the restraints will let me.
“Mike,” she grunts over her shoulder.
Within seconds, two heavyset men dressed in white step into the room. One closes the door behind him, and the other quickly approaches me. Mike is nearest to me and he grabs my arms. My legs flutter on command, and the one who shut the door pins my legs down.
“You chose the hard way.” Betty has a smug look on her face. “Open wide.”
My mouth is forced open as the sides of my cheeks are squeezed together. Two acidic pills are thrown onto my aching mouth along with the splash of water that was in the cup. Betty’s firm hand traps the contents behind my lips so I don’t spit them up. After a few minutes, I finally swallow the pills. Once the hand is removed from my face, I gasp for air. Mike and Samuel—the other henchman—begin to unshackle me from the bed. Just as I am about to kick the snot out of the unlucky receiver, my leg begins to tingle. My body goes numb, and my brain begins to lag.
As Tweedledee and Tweedledum help me out of the bed, I am grateful for their bulbous bodies. My feet touch the ground, and my legs buckle beneath me. Just before my face can touch the tile, Samuel catches me. The pair hoist me up together, and Betty instructs them to take me to the bathroom because she isn’t in the mood to change bed pans today. They do as they are told and drag my half-limp body out of the door and down the hallway. Incoherent screams fill the hallway sending shivers up my spine. All around me are people dressed in the same garment as me. Patients? Where am I?
A blonde girl sits at a coffee table smashing four game pieces together and screams when they do not fit in the chamber. An old man with a receding hairline sits on the floor tearing his gown to shreds and then tying the pieces into knots. Another girl sits weeping on the floor in the fetal position. Her eyes are bloodshot and her hands are covered by oven mitts that are duck taped in place to keep her from scratching at her eyes. Chaos engulfs the room, yet all of the staff are content at doing nothing.
How did I end up here? We turn the corner that leads to the bathroom and my human crutches release me and head back to the main room. The wall acts as my new means of support keeping me in an upright position. My personal bodyguard nods in the direction of the closed door.
“Come on now, we don’t have all day.”
Betty sucks her teeth and pushes the creaky door open revealing a small room that has a rusted sink and a white toilet that is stained with a variety of bodily secretions. The stench that greets me is enough to cause my noise to bleed. Clutching my nose in one hand, and grazing the other on the wall to help steady myself, I make my way into the disgrace these people call a bathroom.
“Well go on darlin’, your porcelain throne awaits.” Betty lets out a low bellowed chuckle and slams the door behind me. As she walks away from the door, I can faintly make out the words she says to whoever is on the other side of the door. “Tell Frank Ms. Warner is in the latrine and will be prepped for her procedure at once.”
The room starts to spin, and against my better judgement, I clutch onto the sink to catch my breath. Five deep inhales and exhales later I turn on the faucet and splash the gray water onto my face. My nose stops bleeding, and when I look up, I flinch and back up into the wall. A set of piercing hazel eyes are staring at me. I’m not alone. A familiar woman with chestnut skin stands across from me. Her head is shaved exposing a nasty scar just below her ear. A black and blue bruise around her eye enhances the glimmer in her irises and her lip is split open. The rim of her nose has blood smeared around it. All up and down her arms are fading yellow bruises and red rings around her wrists. She too had been shackled. She looks terrified.
I lift my hand to my face suddenly aware of an irritating soreness by my eye and caress my cheek at the same time the other woman does. I take a step closer, and so does she. This is freaky. I attempt to ask her if she is okay only to stop in my tracks when her mouth mimics mine. I raise my left hand and proceed to touch her. My finger taps the mirror. A mirror? The hazel eyes staring back at me are mine only they do not belong to me. The face staring back at me is the face of the most infamous female serial killer: Tiffany Warner.

About the Author

Aunya May

Aunya May is a freelance writer in South Florida, interested in the relationship between lyrical voice performance and the written word.