This story is by Melissa Bisbano Guckin and was part of our 2019 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
The Thorazine had taken my mind from me as I once knew it. All I could stand to do now was wait for my next dose, the dose that would take me back to the ether of my youth and not be the person they have made me become.
“Emerson…good morning, I see you slept in your clothes again,” smirked the morning nurse singsonging her statement in a condescending manner. I hated this nurse, more than any of the others, with her fake empathy and compassion.
“No matter,” she continued with her phony smile, “Today is your shower day, remember? You like your showers don’t you, don’t you? Yes, you do, yes, you do.”
Why is she talking to me like I’m her pet?
“….fix you right up, just what you’re wanting” I heard her drone on.
“NO, I DON’T. SHUT THE FUCK UP AND GET OUT OF HERE!” I could hear myself screaming, but she couldn’t hear me and just continued on.
“Oh yeah, you like them showers…scrub you nice and clean,” she tormented. I knew she knew about the rape, she called it ’My Affair’ she reminded me of it, made me relive it, every time she showered me. Torturous bitch would shove the loofa deep inside to “cleanse” me. I tried moving away, but the Thorazine had me sedated just enough to render me incapacitated, yet aware. As she moved closer, I attempted to shift myself away from her in protest. I felt myself screaming with every fiber of my being for her to back the fuck up and not even think of touching me, but I was soundless. My objections were left unheard by the vexing approach of this lunatic woman that calls herself a nurse.
“I’ll get that water nice and steamy hot…you like it hot, don’t you?” Sneered this hateful wench. Why she had such disdain for me I can’t be sure. Maybe this was how she treated everyone in her charge, not that I would know- I’m not allowed out of the confines of this padded hell. I’ve been in this locked ward since I killed him. It was self-defense, but they don’t seem to know that. Six weeks so far and they have me so drugged up I can’t answer the doctor’s questions. They think I’m psychotic, violent. Maybe I am – I don’t know anything anymore – except for one thing…What I did know was this lunatic was not touching me tonight.
She approached me with a grueling twisted snarl. Blood red lipstick bleeding into the lines around her mouth, she looked like a deranged vaudeville puppet, “Water’s hot now, let’s get started.”
When she reached out for me, I summoned all the strength I had and grabbed onto her bony crept paper arm. I didn’t think I had a grip on her, but as she pulled away she let out a guttural scream and vulgarities that must have been invented. Blood began to run down her arm and drip onto the floor. Pieces of her wrinkled flesh were embedded under my fingernails. I was going to pay for this, of that I was sure.
The orderlies that rushed into my personal asylum were frantically assessing the situation. What brought them here? Could they finally hear my calls for help that rang so deafening in my own ears, or was it her cries that alerted them?
“Ernaline? What’s going on in here, what’s happened, where is all this blood coming from?”
“Sedate that murderous BITCH,” I heard her wail, “She all but ripped my arm clean off, I’m lucky if I don’t bleed out.”
I heard the orderly shout out to nobody in particular, “Give her 50 mg of Haldol.”
“50!, You’re going to kill me,” I struggled to scream out but I could only open my mouth. I must look as if I am going mad with all the twitching I’m doing. A symptom of all the Thorazine they were already pumping into me. They’re overdosing me and nobody seems to know this…or they don’t care.
“No!” said a stern voice. I turned and saw a nurse who was unknown to me. “Restrain her. Can’t be taking any unnecessary chances with this one. Tie her down and continue her normal order of Thorazine. She’s due soon, and give her an extra 5mg for good measure.” She turned towards Ernaline, who was screaming something about a tourniquet. “Ernaline! Get ahold of yourself. You don’t need a Goddamned tourniquet, for Christ sake, you’re lucky if you need a few bandaids. You will need a tetanus shot, however, and some antibiotics. Get yourself to the infirmary. God knows what this one’s carrying under those fingernails of hers.”
“I’ll tell you what I’m carrying,” I thought eyeballing Ernaline, “her bloody flesh, that’s what I’m carrying.”
As Ernaline left to bring her ragged appendage to get repaired and ready to torture me later, the mystery nurse began to move toward me. What fresh hell was going to be bestowed on me now I wondered? Sometimes the evils you don’t know can be far worse than those you do. I lay helpless, restrained and unable to speak as she approached.
“Emerson? Want to tell me what that was all about?” her voice sounded soothing. Yes, I wanted to tell her – Tell her everything that had happened to me since I got in this hellhole and what happened to me that put me here. Yet, I lay there – too drugged to speak. My eyes were pleading with her to please untie me, change the order for the drugs and give me my voice back.
“Well, when you’re ready to talk to me I’m sure you will,” as she moved to leave an unusual looking smile came over her half-hidden face, “You will be here a long time, I’d like to help make your stay as comfortable as possible.”
My stay? I’m not in a Goddamn resort! I’m in HELL and I don’t belong here! A tear ran down my face and the most subtle hint of a sob escaped my throat.
I must have cried myself to sleep because I can’t remember the unfamiliar nurse leaving. She never told me her name so, I decided to name her Amunet because she is the Goddess of Mystery and that was what I thought of this nurse who was foreign to me. The first civility I encountered in my six weeks here. No sooner was the realization through my mind that I heard a loud crash and the feel of a scalding hot liquid splash across my abdomen and genitals.
“If you’re not going to accept a shower from me, perhaps a bath is more to your liking,” Ernaline cackled, “ I’ll show you who’s in charge around here,” she continued as she shoved the loofa in me harder and deeper than she ever had.
I cried out in anguish, pain, and fear that she was finally going to kill me. I almost welcomed it until I realized I could hear my own screams and not just in my head. Ernaline must have heard me too because she was quickly at my head with her hands over my mouth to silence my shrieking.
“You shut your whore mouth ‘fore I shut it for you.” snarled Ernaline. “You know I’m going to have to clean you right out. He was mine, you’ll have no part of him.”
My tears and sobs came hard and loud. I felt myself biting into her palm with unrelenting growls escaping my throat and exiting through my nostrils. Amunet, someone, PLEASE come see what she is doing here. And just like that, my pleas were answered. Amunet was in my room pulling the deranged nurse off me.
“Ernaline! It’s over, leave this girl be.”
“She bedded my husband” screamed Ernaline in a maniacally, crazed tone. “And when she was done with him, she killed him! That’s why she’s here! Murderous, whore bitch!”
“No!’ I heard my voice for the very first time in what felt like forever.
“Orderly, bring more Thorazine,” I heard Amunet yell.
“Noooo!” I sobbed again, this being all I could muster.
The orderly was entering my room and headed right for me, loaded syringe in hand.
“Not her – Ernaline,” instructed Amunet.
Surprised, the orderly turned to Ernaline who was now reduced to a sniveling pile on the floor, rocking and mumbling ‘clean him from her.’
As the orderly plunged the syringe into Ernaline, I heard Amunet say calmly, “Oh Ernaline, we can’t have you trying to kill our patients now, can we. Your husband was a rapist who got what he deserved. Looks like you have earned a place here as our newest resident.”
Turning towards me, Amunet smirked and looked back at Ernaline. “And I do believe I know just where to place you. Girls, enjoy being roommates – now play nice.” and with that, she was gone.