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The voices. They were everywhere. They talked to her. Talk, talk, talk. They whispered things, rude things, cruel and harsh and evil things. No one else could hear them. The voices told her to do things; unthinkable things. No one else could hear them. The voices told her to do things; unthinkable things. But they thought of them. And they put them in her mind.
Alice, they called, Alice… come with us. We're here… do what we say… Now! A shiver ran through her entire body. She wanted to scream. But nothing would come out.
She never, ever screamed.
Because then they would know.
They would know her thoughts.
They would know that she hated them.
That she wanted them to go away.
And then they would never go away.
Sunlight. Warm and orange, behind her eyelids, with a hint of red. She let the color stray, staring at it through her eyelids like film. A voice reached her. One that reached her ears. From outside of her head. And she opened her eyes.
In the front seat, her mother. Pale, wearing red.
Alice detested the color red.
It was everywhere; behind her eyelids when the sun hit her; on her mother's clothes; in people's eyes when they glared upon her; in her dreams when the voices put those thoughts, those evil, evil thoughts into her mind.
Another voice reached her. In her ears. Away from her mind. She liked this.
Time. What a funny thing, time. Sometimes when the voices were bad, there was too much time. Too much time they spent, spouting evil things into her heart, jabbing and stabbing and making red with their words over the longest of times.
And then there wasn't enough time. Not nearly enough time. Not enough time before her mother said it. Not enough time before it was out in the open, and everyone knew.
Of the voices in her head.
Of the evil things they said.
She tried to ignore them.
Not enough time.
Another voice, the same before, the better one.
"Are you alright?" Her mother. Still pale. Straw-hair pulled into a bun, while Alice's own ran down her back. Her eyes blue, light blue, not red. But inside, black. Darkness. Where the voices wanted to drag her. Down, down, down. To the red.
"I am fine." A different voice. It took a moment for her to recognize it as her own. A nod from her mother.
"Let's go, then." Click, tap-tap, clunk! Both out of the car, onto pavement. The sun red, burning down upon them. Alice felt as if sometimes it watched her, looked for her secrets, so it could tell the voices what she thought, what they didn't already know.
"Come on, Alice, this way." She followed her oh-so pale, almost fading mother towards the building that reached up to the sky on it's tippy-toes but couldn't quite reach. It was white, and the door was white, and it was all so pure-pure, white, white.
The door slid open, and they walked into the building. Up to the desk, the ink-and-laundry-and-metallic-smelling desk with the receptionist with the big teeth, big buck teeth when she smiled, and the white-white name-tag that read 'Josephine'.
"Hello, there." A sickly-sweet voice, a different voice, a not-very-pleasant-but-not-so-bad voice. Her pale-pale mother smiles, her lips thin, so thin, the line will disappear.
"Hi, I'm Reine Lidelle. I'm here to drop off my daughter, Alice." Click, click-ity-click-click. The woman taps into the computer, humming to herself. Ho, hum, hum. Alice looks around the oh-so-white, blaring white room. Click-clack-ity-clack. Click-clack. Hum ho hum. A girl sits in a chair, her legs swinging. A bright red bow in her hair. Thunk, thunk, thunk. Click-clack-ity-clack. Hum ho hum-he-hum. A final hum, and Alice looks back at the horse-mouth lady and her pale-pale mother. The horse smiles.
"Alright then, you can just head on down the hall to your left and look for room 207. Try not to let her go into other rooms. Dr. Pillar will see you and her soon, alright?" Her mother smiles, her lips disappear, no line.
"Thank you very much." Like a dog, Alice follows, glancing back at horse-mouth. She cannot go into any other rooms. They do not want her to tell, for others to know of the voices. She is like a dog; kept on a leash all the time; can't go where she wants. Always, always. Thap-thap-thap. Her mother's flip-flops slap against her heels as she walks. Other than that it is silent and they walk down the sick-smelling hall, the carpet below them shifting and swirling and hissing at her.
This has happened before.
Alice ignores it.
From the other end of the hall she sees a blob. It splits into two blobs as they get closer and one melds into a tall oh-scary man and the other into a boy with oh-so curly light hair, not as light as hers, a light brown. His eyes are darker and stare at her a minute, and then he bursts into the laughter. It sounds throughout the silent-silent hallway and for a second pauses the thap-thap-thap. The tall oh-so-scary looking man looks down at the boy; his eyes are red.
Red. Alice detests red.
The oh-so-red-and-scary man grabs the boy's collar and pulls him down the hall, the boy's laughter ringing in her ears as he passes and still resonating even when it fades into the distance.
Thap-thap-th-thap-thap. Her mother is walking faster and Alice speeds up also, though her footsteps are silent and they make no thap-thap-thapping sounds. Her mother shakes her head and Alice wonders if she were to turn around, if her pale-pale mother's eyes were to be red.
"203…204…205…" Muttering, muttering, muttering. Like the voices in her head, yet not quite, but too close. Her mother mutters, the thap-thap-thap-thap growing faster.
"206…" One, two, three, one two, three… Like a dance, with the thap-thap-thap. Alice almost giggles. The beat stops as does the thapping and her mother stares, so Alice looks too. Before them, a door with a silver plaque that reads 207.
"Here it is," her mother mutters. A try at sounding cheerful dies not before reaching Alice's ears and she nods at receiving the information. A response she would give to anything but the voices. Click-click, scrrrk, click, thap-thap-thap-thap. In they walk to a room. The smell is more in here, more sick and ink-y and metallic. A bed growls at her from the corner, a couple of flowers in a vase on the bedside table whisper to each other about her. Already the room is alive, whispers and voices new and old coming out of the walls.
A sigh in her ear.
Away from her mind.
The way she liked it.
"Well, this is it." Her mother's pale-pale face turns to her and her blue eyes frown at her as the line of her mouth disappears.
"I hope you're not too angry with me, Alice. I just didn't know what to do." The whispers quiet down and Alice stares at the pale-pale and blue and thin of her mother's face and another voice reaches her ears as her own lips move.
"It's alright. I understand." Of course she understood. Her mother couldn't take care of her; she didn't hear the voices. And Alice didn't want her to. There were too many things they hinted, whispered, evil-evil things they planted in her mind. Her mother's lips vanished again and her eyes lifted.
"Good. Well, set your things down and I'll go see if there's anyone I can ask about where Dr. Pillar's office is." Thap-thap-thapping follows as her mother leaves her with the murmuring walls and hissing flowers. Walking across the room, Alice drops her bag on the bed, which gave a groan and a hiss and a glare. She didn't dare sit down, nor did she want to remain standing lest the walls decide to squeeze in and push her. How long had it been since she had taken those pills? A few minutes? Hours? Daysweeksmonthsyears—Too long. Too much time. There had been too much time and now there was not enough time. Time-time-ity-time. Thap-thap-thap. The pale-pale of her ghostly pale mother was back, her lips just barely visible as the corners of her mouth made bent lines.
"Alright, I found out where his office is. Are you ready?" A nod is given, to the voice of her mother and not the ones in her head, and she follows the thap-thap-thap-thapping fading blue of her mother out of the murmuring room.
Down, down, down the smell-of-ink-and-metal-and-sick hall with the thap-thap-thap.
This time there is no laughing boy and they reach an angry-looking door and a knock-knock-knock later they're inside. Oh, so loud! The cacophony of voices burst in her ears like a million drums all pounding a different beat. She flinches and Alice sees her mother glance at her with that light blue in her eyes and her pale-pale face without the lips. At another desk, and angry-almost-red desk sits a scary-man with a dark blue suit and sharp eyes.
They are motioned to sit and Alice sees the red in the man's eyes even though the blue is on his body and the walls are still screaming and Alice lets out a whimper but she doesn't shout, she'll never shout and the walls keep yelping and they're oh-so-angry—
"Is she all right?" A voice breaks the fray and the voices calm down a little, though they still jeer and stab like an army of bees, stinging and burning. Her mother frowns and glances at her again, her eyes still blue, her face pale-pale.
"Well, she seemed fine earlier…" Another different voice enters from the scary-man at the angry desk.
"Has she taken her prescription medication today?" Again her mother's lips disappear and appear those curvy lines.
"I thought she did… Alice, dear? Did you remember to take your medication today?" Alice shakes her head, but can't open her mouth because the voices have started yelling and screaming again and she can't call out, she refuses to yell back.
"I'll call someone to bring in her medication. It's best if she goes and gets her rest. Meanwhile, you and I can discuss…" The rest of the words are drowned out in the screaming and everything is blurring and spinning and she's falling and suddenly something is being shoved into her mouth and it's round and small and then there's something cold and wet; she gags, but something blacks it and her head is back and her neck hurts and the colors are everywhere and everything is still spinning and someone takes her numb arms and she's on her feet and everything-everything