The wind slapped against my skin as I sprinted away from the man with the knife. “SOMEONE HELP ME!!!! AHHHH!!!” I rounded the corner as the man started getting closer to me. My speed started decreasing as I went further. Suddenly I felt a tug on my hoodie as I jerked back.
"MAISIE! There's no way you can escape now, can you little girl?!" The familiar voice whispered harshly in my ear.
"D-Dad?" I whispered. "Please. No, I'm sorry. Don't."
I felt him take out the knife as I realized what he was about to do. "AAAAHHHHH-"
"Maisie! Maisie! Wake up, it's going to be okay!" I heard my best friend Delilah say to me as I jolted awake.
"What.... But h-he was coming for me. Why am I still here? Why are you here?"
"Honey, it's okay it was just a dream. What's wrong with you? This was the fifth one this week. Come on, let's go for a walk and talk about it."
I hesitantly got out of bed before I followed Delilah out the door. My mind wandered off to my nightmare. Why do I still keep getting these dreams? I try to forget my past life as much as I can. I hardly give them a second thought throughout the day. I wonder what happened to them. When I was little, I was always abused by both my mom and my dad. My sibling were treated like royalty as on the other hand, I was treated like someone picked from the trash.
"Maisie, what are you thinking?" Delilah asked me softly.
"Oh, umm... It's just, do you ever wonder about your life before you came here? My mind always wanders off to my parents and how they abused me. I wish I could just be happy sometimes."
"What do you mean?"
"Maybe I could go to the Happiness Clinic, to make me a happier and better person."
"Maisie! You can't go there! I already think of you as a good friend. You don't need to go to a Clinic to make you a better person!"
"But you don't understand! You don't know what I've been through! You've never been abused by your parents. How would you feel if that happened to you? You'll never know because you've had a perfect life!"
"That's all you ever talk about! I'm tired of being your babysitter. I want a best friend. I'm out of here."
"Whatever," I muttered. I didn't give her a second glance as she stomped her way back to the dorm room. I made up my mind and decided that I would go to the Happiness Clinic. I can't live like this anymore. I can’t keep thinking about my past and think about what my parents did . It will take my life away from me. As I entered the clinic, I saw a man in a white suit sitting behind a desk, staring at a computer screen. “Hello, I would like to make an appointment”
“What’s your name?”
“Okay, have seat, we’ll have the doctor in with you in a few minutes.”
I waited patiently for about 10 minutes until a dark haired man with glasses came out, wearing a lab coat.
“Hello, you must be Maisie Haven. My name is Dr. Peters. Come right this way, while I make some observations.”
I followed him quietly as he led me to a dark room filled with computers and wires. There was a simple seat in the middle of the room just like those in the dentist’s office. One single computer was next to it.
“Okay, First off Maisie, I need to know why you came to the Happiness Clinic and why you want these happy memories.”
“Well, I came here obviously because I’ve had a rough childhood. As a child, I was abused by my parents constantly, almost every single day. And I don’t live with them anymore, but I frequently wake up during the night because of my nightmares of them.”
“Alright, I can see why you want to gain some happy memories. Let’s get started with the process. Take a seat while I prepare the computers and the wires.
I reluctantly take a seat while the doctor prepares everything. After a while, he comes up to me and the last thing I feel is a needle plunging into my neck before I drift off to sleep.
All images of my parents start to erase from my mind as I start seeing people who care for me and...I see a woman with a kind face coming towards me with 2 children. She comes over to me and starts to take something out. I think it’s some sort of gift or something. But it’s not; she takes something out and it reflects in the light. A knife. I wake up with a jolt. I thought these were supposed to be happy memories, but for me it was the opposite. Why did this happen? I thought the Happiness clinic was supposed to give people happy memories. I mean, at the beginning of the process, I saw happy stuff, but then it got bad. I looked around me and noticed that there were no one around me. Dr. Peters wasn’t there. That’s weird. I thought the doctor was supposed to stay with you during this to make sure nothing goes wrong. I looked at the window next to me and pushed away the curtain. I noticed a man was sitting there in the chair, under the process. Since I didn’t know what to do next, I got out of the room and went to look for the doctor since I woke up during the process. As I walked down the long endless hallway, I heard voices talking in hushed tones.
“Dr. Peters, have we gotten any new people yet to capture the happy memories from? We understand that as these patients are increasing, the number of “happy” people are also decreasing. If this keeps occurring, then we will have to shut down the clinic,” a woman explained.
What? Capture? I didn’t know they capture memories from people.
“Yes, we have a couple people. Don’t worry, I have developed a new serum to make the patients who come here, to gain happy memories. Then, they eventually start wearing off so they come here again to buy other happy memories,” Dr. Peters exclaimed.
What are they talking about? What do they mean by the happy memories wearing off? Is this just a computer generated lie. Where are they getting all those happy memories from? What do they mean by number of happy people decreasing? I had so many questions that I didn’t have answers to.
“Maisie? What are you doing here?”
“D-Dr. Peters. Um, I actually woke up during the procedure. A-and I came out here to look for you.” Suddenly, I felt like I had to confront him about the things he was just talking about. I needed answers. This was definitely suspicious. “ Dr, I don’t mean to intrude, but I heard you talking to someone when I was waiting for you. You said something about the number of happy people decreasing? I was wondering, where are all these happy memories coming from?”
The doctor's eyes became hard and cold when I said that. "Maisie, that is something that we do not share with anyone. Now, if you come with me, we can get this situation settled."
As I followed him to the room, he started rummaging through a few things before he left saying he would come back in a minute. I wonder what's wrong. Why did he get defensive so easily when I asked him a simple question? He came back two minutes later with a short woman with a crooked nose and blond hair behind him.
"Maisie, this is Tessley McAndrews. Now, if you follow her, she will lead you to a room to get this whole thing settled."
I followed Tessley into a dark room. She told me that I can't go through the process until later tonight, so I had to stay in the room. I wandered around a little bit until I found a door. I tried opening it, but it was locked. Being the curious person I am, I found a stone on the floor and started breaking the lock. Yes! I got it open. Opening the door, I gasped as I saw what I have discovered. Dead corpses lay around everywhere. I quickly closed the door as I wanted to get away from there as quickly as possible. Why were they there? Whose bodies were those? Has this clinic been killing people to capture their happy memories? I ran out of the room and towards the exit. But a bloodcurdling scream stopped me in the middle of my tracks. I ran towards the scream and found Delilah tied up on the floor.
"DELILAH!! Get away from her!" I screamed to Dr. Peters as he was about to plunge a needle in her throat.
"Ah, Maisie, looks like you have found your little friend.
"Stop doing this. I found out your dirty little secret. You kidnap people and steal their happy memories. Then you kill them."
"Well, you're a smart young girl, aren't you. You seemed so vulnerable and helpless when you first came here."
"You won't get away with this Peters. I won't let you," I screamed.
"You know, it's a shame your father didn't get to see me do this. He was a really good friend of mine," he said as he took out a gun.
The last thing I heard was Delilah's scream and the loud sound of the gunshot.