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The Boy Who Read Too Much
Jordan loved reading. He read so much that he read in bed, outside, even while riding a horse, which didn’t end well. In that way he discovered horse manure did not taste good. He liked the stories of action and adventure and mystery. He read pretty much every day. The second he picked up the novel, horrors were unleashed onto Jordan. No turning back for this bookworm.
In the home of the Smiths, Jordan sat in his room reading Oliver Twist, which came from the library. He read and read it all day, skipping breakfast and lunch.
“Jordan! Stop reading your stupid book and come eat!” Martin, Jordan’s dad, shouted.
“It’s not stupid! It’s a classic!” Jordan yelled.
“Well, I don’t care! Come eat what your mother made for you!”
“Fine!” Jordan exclaimed, rolling his big, brown eyes. He stomped down the stairs.
“About time,” Martin mumbled. Jordan proceeded to eat his bread and butter. The Smith family faced poverty ever since Martin got fired from his roofing job for working drunk. While he worked on the roof, someone told everyone that Martin loved beer more than his his wife. That did not end well. He drank a six pack of beer a day and drank wine every weekend. 7 years ago, Martin broke into the Massachusetts Institute Of Technology just to cause a ruckus. That’s why Martin James Smith scared everyone in Danvers, Massachusetts, and Jordan, of all kids, had to be his son.
After dinner, Jordan bolted up to his room, for he had 17 chapters to read. As he began first sentence, the doorbell rang. He rushed to his door to eavesdrop.
“What do you want?” The tough voice of Martin.
“Is your son, Jordan, here?” A low, quiet voice that Jordan couldn’t recognize.
“Yeah. He’s upstairs. Reading.”
“Is it a novel?”
“I think so...why?”
“Has he read many books like the one he’s reading now?”
“I don’t know! He’s reading something called Oliver Wist or something - hey!” Jordan heard a thump, a groan, and quick footsteps on the stairs. A woman in a nurse’s uniform and a surgical mask rushed into his room.
“Are you Jordan?” She asked, who also donned elbow-length, powder-blue, hypoallergenic gloves
“Have you been reading a novel called Oliver Twist and others like it?”
“Come with me,” From her tone Jordan surmised she did not kid around. As he followed her down the stairs, Jordan imagined a great escape plan, until he laid his eyes on Martin. He lay on the floor unconscious, bleeding from his forehead. The woman gripped her blood-covered knife as she stepped over Martin. Jordan didn’t figure out what to do or say, so he just mumbled. The woman snapped, “Stay quiet and you won’t get hurt.”
Jordan wondered, Why would I get hurt? Why did she hurt Martin? Jordan felt something like a burning fire in his brain from thinking, so he just followed the woman outside.
Everything happened so fast for Jordan. A shove, and then a bag over his head. He felt rough rope entwine around his wrists and tighten. “Let go of me! Stop it!” He yelled, but the bag covered the noise up.
“Stay quiet and you won’t get hurt,” Jordan didn’t want to get hurt, so he started walking with her. “Step up into the carriage,” He did just that.
“Why?” Jordan questioned them.
“We’re taking you someplace safe,” The woman assured.
“But why?” He asked.
“You don’t know?”
“Well, it hasn’t been obvious.”
“It’s your brain, Jordan. It’s been disfigured from reading too many...novels.”
Jordan stopped and took in the woman’s answer. Novels? Jordan thought. This has all been because of novels? Raised by his mom to read, Jordan thought it helped with education, or at least, that’s what his mom thought. The Danvers State Insane Asylum, however, had a different view. They thought that reading created craziness, and all novel-readers should go to a “mental hospital”.
“Get out,” The woman instructed as the carriage slowed to a halt. Jordan recognized the hate of his librarian as he stepped onto the cracked concrete. Every time Jordan went to the library to read a book, she would rush over to him every 5 minutes to see if the book was okay. Otherwise, the ancient library remained quiet except for rustling pages.The silence creeped Jordan out, but when he opened a book, he created his own little world. The librarian worked hard to know Jordan’s every move. The librarian even shot dirty looks at him every time he turned in a book late. Then one day she told him to try a novel, Oliver Twist. She then lied and told him it remained as the last one of its kind at that library. Jordan didn’t think it would come to this. He climbed the ten dry, cracked steps with dread, hoping that he would be free again.
The secretary sat, looking bored. He couldn’t do anything but look at the list of ways of admission to Danvers State Insane Asylum. Egotism, Epileptic Fits, Excessive Sexual Abuse, Excitement As Officer, Exposure And Hereditary, Exposure And Quackery, and Exposure In Army, the reasons he remembered so far. He prepared to start in the D’s when Jordan walked into the room.
“Name?” The secretary mumbled.
“Jordan Smith,” The kid answered quietly.
“Reason for admission?”
“Reading a stupid novel.”
“Watch your mouth. You will be in cell 16.”
“Follow me,” The woman as she walked down the left hall.
“Next!” The secretary hollered as Jordan walked into the crazy realm, where almost no one returns. As Jordan walked behind the woman, probably the superintendent of the asylum, he looked at the cells that housed the “insane” people. One wrote on the wall over and over again, “You can’t hide,” Jordan glanced at the peeling red walls and the creepy sentences scribbled on them. Broken glass littered the floor, and the occasional scraping of metal chilled Jordan to the bone.
Jordan asked carefully, “How much longer to my cell?”
“Just a couple of minutes,” The woman whispered, holding up a knife slowly. Deafening quietness filled the room. Suddenly, Jordan heard the loudest ruckus ever made. The insane people screamed, yelled, and hollered as loud as they could to greet the newbie. As a sort of a routine when a new crazy came, they would make so much noise that they made the victim even more nuts.
Jordan didn’t mind. His father’s yelling, which he got used to after awhile, he stopped listening to. The people screaming their heads off didn’t affect Jordan.
“Are you scared, Jordan?” The woman asked, as always, to activate the fears of even the toughest people. Jordan’s case did not include fear.
“No ma’am,” Jordan tried to say politely, looking straight forward. After a few minutes the screaming died down. He trudged into cell 16. “It took a while to get here,” Jordan pointed out, gripping the bars of the cell.
“Of course. We went the long way,” The superintendent answered, without turning back, and walked the way whence they came, “Everyone knows not to pass cell f-i-v-e,” She spelled it out, strangely enough.
“Cell 5?” Jordan uttered. A piercing scream that couldn’t come from a human shook the hall. Then quietness returned.
“That’s why,” The woman added, walking away. Jordan shivered, even though the summer rays shone from the barred window.
Due to horrors out of my control, I cannot explain what happened at Danvers State Insane Asylum while Jordan Smith attended. A summary instead will be provided. He viewed all the “treatments” on patients, including wooden cages, head dunking, a beating for not working, and getting flogged in a straitjacket. Jordan didn’t want to experience any of those, but this story ends somewhere. He actually met a friend there, William Anderson. He got into the asylum because of excessive laziness, and he suffered the Danvers State Insane Asylum for 261 days. Jordan, being amazed, and stayed with William because of his experience. Sadly, William beat up a worker on the account of a short temper. The death penalty, imposed on William that day, left Jordan alone for thirteen days and seven hours. Then where the story resumes, Jordan sits alone in his cell.
Boredom overcame Jordan, so he pulled out Oliver Twist. Little did he know that a guard patrolling walked past cell 38 at that moment. 1 minute and 26 seconds later, the guard noticed Jordan reading the novel.
“Hey!” The guard barked “What are you doin’? Readin’ got you in here! Get out and follow me!” He beckoned Jordan to come with him as soon as he opened the cell door. Jordan did not want to get into much trouble, so he followed. Him and the guard passed the gadgets that “helped” people with their “problems”. He thought, what will happen to me? Jordan and the guard stopped at a metal door. This started Jordan Smith’s gruesome death. Nobody dares state the details. Today, the souls of the dead haunt Danvers State Insane Asylum. Ever since an apartment complex replaced it, people complain about mysterious things there. Don’t go there, living or dead.