This story by Ester Salgado won the Readers’ Choice Award in our Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the Winter Writing Contest stories here.
Ester is an aspiring Christian Author from Victorville, California. She wrote her first short story when she was seven years old and went on to write poetry at eighteen. In 2014, her poem “Close Your Eyes” was published in Across The Way: Mountains by Eber & Wein. Her other passions are playing the keyboard and fashion.
She wanted a life of her own. A normal life that couldn’t be compared to anything anyone could imagine. A world where she could feel the ray of sunshine on her face with peace of mind. What happened to her? Why was she in this place of distress and torment? She used to be full of joy and wild dreams now she was an outcast forced into this world. Trapped with no way out.
Her mind raced to a time where she had it all figured out.
“Day dreaming again?”
She snapped out of her trance and looked up at a tall slender woman who could probably use less makeup.
“I was just thinking of how great it would be to fly.”
The women gave her a disapproving look.
“Now you know that it’s a waste of time to think of impossible things. I want you to pay attention to the lesson, no more day dreaming of ridiculous things.”
Caroline gave her a scowl.
No one understood her. She wanted to run far away and maybe she would get her chance soon enough.
“The medicine is wearing off doctor. Should I give her another dose?”
Her mind screamed.
“No, don’t do it!”
“Whatever I did wrong I won’t do it again, just don’t give me another shot!”
No words came out of her mouth. She tried to move, but her body felt heavy.
The pain of the last dose still lingered throughout her body. Whatever the nurse gave her was more pain than she had ever felt in her life. What were they doing to her? Why couldn’t she remember anything?
“No, let’s see how this test did before we give her another. Let’s wake her up.”
A strong smell filled her nose that smelled like pepper mixed with rotten cheese. She groaned as her eyes flew open. In her horror she saw grotesque faces before her.
The nurses’ eyes were where her forehead should have been with a long pointed nose. Her eyes were blood shot red with a side ways mouth. The doctor had black piercing eyes with a face of an Ogre.
She let out bone chilling scream and started to frantically try to release herself from all the wires connected to her.
“Caroline calm down!”
“Don’t touch me!”
“Let me go!”
Three nurses ran into the room to restrain her. The doctor and the red-eyed nurse pinned her body down and the rest strapped her down.
“Now Caroline, you need to calm down.”
She tried to move, but the restraints on her arms and legs were too strong.
“Don’t eat me!”
She heard laughter erupt as if she was the craziest one in the room.
“Why would we eat you?”
Which ironically came from one of the nurses whose face looked like a boar. She decided that she was dreaming. All her day dreaming of being in a far away land had brought her to one in her dreams. Not one she had in mind, but here she was.
The doctor spoke to her, but she couldn’t handle looking at his face.
“We are here to help you.”
She concentrated on the ceiling, because it was too much.
“Yes. We’re afraid that we have to proceed with more extreme measures to help your delusions.”
She surprised herself by letting out a chuckle.
“Everyone in this room is a delusion. A reality that I somehow created.”
She heard the doctor sigh and in the corner of her eye she saw the nurses move forward. Caroline closed her eyes and tried to relax.
After a pause the boar spoke first.
“I thought we were making progress with her”
A new voice chimed in.
“Yes, so did I.”
“I did to, but now we are going to have proceed with this progress and by the end if it doesn’t work…”
The Doctor fell silent.
Her eyes flew open turning her head towards the doctor. All eyes were on her.
If she was in this dream she might as well understand it.
“We’ve been over this.”
“Tell me again.”
“You were sent here by your parents one month ago, because you had a break down. You are suffering from these delusions.”
“We are going through a process of helping you discern what is your reality and what is in your mind.”
“Is that why you all look disfigured?”
The doctor looked at her with a look of disappointment and concern.
“What’s in my head is appearing in my dream all at once. All my fear, fantasies and dreams. I’ve always wanted to go to a new world filled with stories and wonderment. A world where I would belong with adventure and love. Is that why I created this world? So that others would be less real so that I could feel that I am?”
“We are losing her again.”
“Let’s start the process.”
Her heart started to beat faster. She needed to wake up from this dream.
The nurse’s came towards her with a huge needle
“It hurts more when you struggle.”
Her words fell silent as the pain of the medicine hit her like a freight train.
Caroline woke up painless and alert. The restraints were gone, as was the cold metal walls of the room she was last in. She was back in her room relieved that her nightmare was over. The excitement of no longer being held captive by those creatures made her jump out of bed.
The smell of bacon and eggs filled her room. She smiled at the thought of her parents being downstairs waiting for her. Stepping into the bathroom ready to start the day she let out a scream.
Her face was stuff of nightmares.
Red blood shot eyes with thin black hair that ran over her shoulders with pale skin. The scream made her notice that her teeth were bigger than normal with the top four being as sharp as a knife.
“Do you think the treatments worked doctor?”
“I’m sure of it!”
“Your daughter will be back to her normal self in no time. This treatment showed great progress and in time she will realize that reality is nothing more than wishful thinking.”