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21 chapter one- Raven's Asylum

Screams.

They push and hold me down, and after a long fight I give in and slump back into the chair. I cry and shout at them for putting me through all of this. The doctor laughs silently, walks over to my chair, picks up a needle, and stabs my arm. I kick violently, hands clinching into fists, my eyes wide and lips quivering madly. Bright lights disguise surrounding objects and shadows begin to surround me, watching as I slowly fall into unconsciousness. Once I close my eyes, I feel them picking me up and heading out the door. Some struggle but manage to carry me to my dorm. Soft voices in the background, shuffles moving around my bed. Hands touching my wrist to check my pulse, seeing if I still managed to be alive, then leaving me to slumber in this deadly dark room.






******

Dr. Freeman never believed the things I saw in my room. He said it was impossible, that there was no way a man stood in the corner and watched as I screamed and pleaded for help. He thought I was imagining it all.






But I wasn't. I remember all those nights perfectly, like they were the back of my hand. Laying down in my bed silently, in the dark, my eyes drawn to the far right corner, getting tired and droopy. Clinging to my covers as the man emerged from the darkness, staring at my stiff body, whispering words I could not fathom, disappearing and reappearing to watch me.






My thoughts were a jumble. I experienced my life in blinding flashes and small fragments. But even in my hysterical state and obnoxious screams, I could sense the mysterious man's state of confusion. His fear of making me upset was odd, and though I whimpered and cried for help, I felt it in my heart that he wanted to tell me something.






After endless, throat throbbing hours, the man vanished into the dark looming corner - of what was my room now, when he was here, he never came near my bed as I screamed and backed into the wall. Just stood there, in the protection of the shadows, whispering soft words, frowning when I whimpered. He held his finger out sometimes and pressed it to his lips, shaking his head. I stared dumbfounded as he pointed to the door leading to the hallway. Then, still in shock, I begin to hyperventilate, tears streaming down my face. In the dark, eerie night, Dr. Atkins heard my obnoxious screeches and investigated. The aging woman rushed in, seeing me pointing at the now empty corner and struggling in the covers. Me crying in the arms of the only woman who actually cared about me.






"If you have seen him so much, surely you would remember his appearance," Dr. Freeman usually talked down to me. "This... man of yours must have an identity."






But if the man did have an identity, he never gave me a clear look at it. Always wore a hood over his head. I don't know where he came from either, or why he feels the need to watch me as I struggle to fall asleep every night. I can remember every day of my life but I know nothing about him, where he came from, or what makes him stay close to me. These are mysteries that I will, sadly, never figure out...






******

I often sink back into my past., seeking for help, pleading for forgiveness for what I've done. I search back to my first day here often, Dr. Freeman and Dr. Atkins waiting at the entrance with nurses giving me the fakest smiles possible, the strong security around me deciding whether or not I was dangerous. Dr. Atkins holding my hand to her chest, telling them I was of no harm to myself or others; that I just needed love. Some of the nurses were weary, suspicious of me, but Lady Atkins reassured them that with a little help I would be back to normal again. In the end, I got to stay, despite the numerous complaints.






Growing into the habit of the Raven's Asylum's routines. Everybody else has a job and a way of life outside of this place, but a patient is always stuck within the walls with only a room to call their own. Lying on the warm white bed. Staring at the Polaroid photos across the room, which I took myself during our routine outings. Conversing with nurses and patients who were sometimes nice, sometimes not. Hearing voices behind my walls as the big people spoke about us little ones, but never sure what they really talked about. Not understanding their intense vocabulary.






Laying down in a testing room, getting shots filling me with God knows what, the roaming around "freely". Growing less vulnerable in body and mind. Getting better by the day, fitting my past together like a puzzle, searching for reasons why I snapped; why I killed. Finding my old name to be Melanie Skye. And my new name - Skye 20, the number standing for the level a harm one can possibly do, 20 being the highest. In some extreme cases a 21 is issued. (It's only happened once though). Dr. Atkins gave me my new name reluctantly. She wanted the number erased and my first name back so that I still had something to call my own in this place besides a room. Something they couldn't take away.






As the years went by, Dr. Atkins cared for me, making sure I was okay. I was timid around others, since I could remember every time someone came near me, shouting curses about my blood. Of course I never acted afraid out in the open. But being in my state I was highly vulnerable at night, in the dark, among the shadows, beneath flickering lights, and behind closed doors. I was never going to get rid of this feeling. Even from all this therapy I've had - or so they call it. I doubted I could ever get better, but Dr. Freeman wants to prove me wrong and Dr. Atkins said I would improve. As long as I worked hard enough...






I discovered early that I would never leave this place. The doctors were weary around patients; especially me. I am a "20" after all. The nurses, who made it known they didn't like me, warned the doctors not to come near me, in case I turned and attacked them or brutally murdered them. I was upset because it made them cower and lock me up again at night. I asked Dr. Atkins if the fear in the doctors' eyes would ever go away, if I would ever be safe to their standards and remove the branding on my right arm and be free.






"Patients never leave this place", she answered plainly. "You are to be observed so they can learn how your mind is different from others'. But they will never trust you. They don't want to be your friend unless they need you for tests... You better get used to it, Melanie. You're forever theirs."






******

But life wasn't so bad. There was always outings to major sights around the world, an idea doctors had to relieve us and them from constant containment. Not all of us could go though. Only ranks 1 through 15. Me being one of two exceptions, thanks to Lady Atkins. And there were plenty of games to choose from in the rec center. The bigger ones always wondered how us little ones were coping in that room. They wondered whether we were concocting a plan to attack them. Atkins always laughed when she heard that - she said they were saying those things to have a reason for converting it into another test lab. But it would never work.






Besides Dr. Atkins, a few treated me normally, like Harris 18. Harris 18 was another patient in my quad, her true name being Emma Harris. She didn't care that I was dangerous to the institute's standards, or that she didn't know my past like Dr. Atkins did. I was simple a friend to her. She even snuck into my room at night, when I wasn't under lock-down, and tell me stories about her life. She took pictures with me going on those "vacations" we went out on, walking around as the others roamed aimlessly on the sidewalks, sulking about the kind of food we would have to go back to. All the doctors loved Harris 18, or rather her personality. She was very open and cheerful whereas I was not.






Those days when I was almost free and with Harris 18 were the best. Feeling normal and welcome among the others, despite my stubbornness and lack of understanding. Routine tests every morning. Forgetting about the man in the corner - those thoughts replaced with promises of being normal again. I wasn't supposed to be able to roam freely among the quarters, but if I was persistent enough and Dr. Atkins was by my side, they usually let me as long as it was during the day. Some of the nurses even became friends with me. They wouldn't admit it to the other hard-headed nurses, but when no one was around, they would listen to my worries and give me advice and gifts for my dorm. Traveling the ruins; studying my brain; growing used to the atmosphere of Raven's Asylum. They were beautiful times. Simple, worry-free world in here. Life going on as if I had no fears and a place I could call my own and fit into.








Then the man in the shadows came back.



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