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Slowly sitting up, head pounding and ears ringing, I took in my surroundings. I was on a beach, fringed by the deep blue of a never-ending sea. A lush jungle canopy extended above me, and I could hear the cacophony of animals and insects galore. How I got here, I have no idea. But I know it’s a heck of a lot better than Danvers. No more syringes, no more IVs, no more Psychologists, just freedom, freedom, and freedom.
A rustling in the leaves shook me from my reverie. Suddenly, a figure looking like Old Blackbeard himself stumbled out of the bushes.
“Aye, what do ya think you be doin’ way out here, laddie?”
“Enjoying the view. What does it look like? Now get out of my way and leave my alone.” What can I say? I am quite sarcastic and rude at times. It is my hubris.
“O I bet you’ll be enjoying the view with where you’re headed.” The tattered pirate grinned, a bit of insanity showing in his eyes. Suddenly, dozens of grubby pirates began appearing out of the bushes too, melting out of the shadows. Some had the traditional cutlasses and blunderbusses, but I thought I saw one particularly nasty looking dude carrying a sub-machine gun, though I couldn’t be sure. Pirates don’t carry SMGs, right?
A pirate with a tattoo of a naked mermaid crossbred with a lion on his forehead poked me in the midriff with his dagger.
“When the cap’n says get a move on, ye best be getting a move on.” He began to circle around behind me, and I noticed all the other pirates were slowly closing in.
“What is this? A bad parody of West Side Story? Are you going to start snapping and breaking into some carefully choreographed jazz routine? As if!” I shouted this last part, daring to spit at Blackbeard’s feet. I’ve never been known for my tact.
Two burly pirates with matching dragon earrings immediately jumped forward and seized my wrists. They began to drag me across the sand, towards a moored boat. How did I not notice that before? She was a hulking beast, rusted iron and partially rotted wood. On the stern were the words Nocturna Supressia.An ornate carving decorated the bow. It was a young woman, no more that fifteen or sixteen; she looked chained there, her arms bound behind her in the crude makings of a straight jacket. Her eyes were stricken wild with fear, and her mouth was stretched open in an eternal scream of pure, unadulterated, terror. A face that mirrored mine not so long ago. Well, aside from the obvious gender difference.
I was dragged up a rough, uneven gangway, through a set of double doors, and down into the hold, despite my vociferous protests. Naked-mermaid-lion man took great pleasure in slamming the great doors on me, and ramming the bolt home. I cursed at him from my place in the corner. The darkness was all encompassing. No portholes adorned the walls, and the seal between the door and wall was airtight. I slowly levered myself up, and reached to feel the seam, to make sure the door was still there. Paranoia gets me at the best of times.
I couldn’t feel a thing.
As if a secret switch had been thrown when I moved, a scuttling noise erupted from all around. Pairs of beady yellow eyes opened in the darkness from all sides. I smelled a rat, seriously.
“No. Please. Dear God, no!” I whispered to the creatures of the night. Then I felt the heat roiling off their bodies as they crept nearer and nearer. One crawled onto my foot, its tail slithering, and I punted it as far as I could. Which wasn’t far considering my aversion to anything remarkably sporty.
I don’t know how long I was there, punting rats into the darkness, but eventually they overwhelmed me. I felt the first set of tiny claws digging into my pants leg. I reached down to rip it off, but the little beast was strong. It powered up to my stomach, digging its claws into my groin as it went. But it wasn’t the only one. Waves upon waves of rats crawled up my legs, onto my torso, and the sheer weight of them forced me to the ground. Their tiny claws were a hundred burning needles, and I felt the scum and decay on their teeth as they gnawed at my flesh. A scream of pain was ripped from my throat as a chunk of my ear was chewed off and lost in the masses. Warm, sticky blood trickled down my cheek and into my mouth. I opened it to spit it out, and a rat crawled in. I felt its body crunch as I bit down, revulsion causing me to gag repeatedly. I was sure the body was completely chopped in half, but the front kept working clawing through my esophagus and out through my throat. I began coughing blood and fur, writhing in pain and terror, and…
Later, though I was not sure how much later, I woke up in an animal cage. Dusty light streamed in through a high window, and illuminated piles of rotting feces on the corner. That explained the smell. What it didn’t explain was how I got here. Unless I sifted through the excrement and tried to perform a divination ritual. Which was not going to happen under any circumstance.
I was still leaking blood, and my body was wracked with pain all over. I decided to take a quick inventory of my rat-inflicted wounds. Half of my right ear was missing, and the jagged stump proved near useless when I tested my hearing. Great. Down one sense, another four to go. The top joint of both my ring fingers, and two joints on my left index finger were gnawed to the bone, as was my entire left thumb. Make that one and a half senses down. I also began probing my throat, where the possessed rat clawed its way out. It was a gaping wound, blood trailing down like a demented waterfall. How I was still alive, I have no idea. There were also giant chunks bitten out of my arms and legs. I pulled up my shirt to reveal millions of tiny pinpricks from the rat claws. I hoped I didn’t get bubonic plague. How was that even transmitted? Why didn’t school ever teach you any facts that mattered?
I was still here though. Physically, I was slaughtered, almost literally shredded to pieces. But I was fine mentally. This was so much more action that I had seen before in my seventeen years, and I was finally out of that dreaded whitewashed room. At least the pain was a constant. My whole life, I’ve lived with pain and suffering as my companions. It’s rather ironic but I’m actually calmer when under the influence of pain, because I am forced to focus. I was coasting pretty high at this point.
I decided to rip off the bottom of my shirt and stuff it in the wound in my neck. The doctors would fix it when I got back, if I got back that is. I looked around the barren room outside the cage. It was quite similar to the ship’s hold, though free of satanic rodents. At least there was light. Two high windows placed on opposite sides of the room let in a steady, pale glow. My cage was pushed completely against the wall. Directly across from me was a rusted iron door. I decided that, to occupy myself, I would practice my telekinesis. I would stare at the door and open it, with my mind.
I must have stared at the door for a good twenty minutes when it slowly opened inward. Hubba whaaaaa? I thought to myself. I really am telekinetic! I proceeded to crouch and do an odd little happy dance in the corner of my cage, when I realized there was something opening the door besides my brain. And here was where the real nightmare began. Send in the clowns.
There is one thing I hate in this world more than anything else on earth. By far. By my own reasoning, it is a totally rational and justified phobia. It is: Coulrophobia: A fear of clowns. I’m also deeply afraid of chainsaws, but that’s more common sense than an actual phobia. But what do you guess was standing right inside the door? The stuff of nightmares alright: a clown...wielding a chainsaw. Or, to be more specific, a harlequin clown with a giant chainsaw in place of its right forearm.
It flopped toward me, a smile of pure evil forming under the flour-like makeup. With its left hand, it pulled the ripcord on the chainsaw, and the metal beast roared to life. The clown then reached up and honked its over-sized nose twice, which creeped me out the most. Flop, Flop, Flop. The clown came nearer and nearer to my cage, size twenty shoes slapping the linoleum while a thin stream of water shot out of a polka-dot bow tie, the liquid arcing towards my cage. It splattered the bars and I realized it wasn’t water; it was acid. Acid? Just great. A maniacal, chainsaw-wielding clown spraying acid. Perfect.
The bars melted into a puddle of liquid metal at my feet. Acidic liquid metal. Which I learned when some slopped onto my converse, and it melted right there, along with part of my toes. The clown honked its nose again and revved the chainsaw as it leaned through the jagged hole. I moved back as far as I could when, Plop. Of course. I stepped in feces. Between a rock and a hard place, acid or crap.
The clown was now three feet away, maximum. I cannot describe what I was thinking when I ripped off my filthy sneaker and threw it at the clown’s leering face. If fear makes me calmer, total mind numbing, soul-encompassing terror kind of does the opposite. At least at that moment, my aim was solid. The shoe hit the clown smack on the nose, and he leaned back, startled, before he squeezed his damn bow tie. Acid shot onto my chin and chest. It was as if Apollo, the sun god himself, had grabbed my face and was pushing the two sides together, never letting go. I mean, I had never been a looker in the first place but I was doomed now.
The clown revved his chainsaw once again, and I dove to the side just as he swung. Call it reflexes, call it pure luck, but when I landed, my head was still firmly attached to my head, gaping neck wound aside. However, the rest of me wasn’t so lucky.
Searing pain flashed across my leg, just below the knee followed by… emptiness. Suddenly, I couldn’t feel a thing. I could sense where my leg should be, but it wasn’t there. And the part that really scared me was that I was suddenly numb, everywhere. All my pain was just, gone. I deduced that I was in shock. And that I would die shortly, due to the fact the clown looked seriously depressed that he had missed and was coming in again. I giggled at the thought of a sad clown. That’s when I realized I had gone off the deep end. No turning back for me. I was doomed to die at the hands of a clown while covered in acid and feces. My funeral would definitely be of the closed casket variety. A veil of blackness began to close over my vision. I’m dead, I thought. Truly dead.
I woke up. Oh god, not this again. Let me die already! I opened my eyes, utterly peeved at the thought of awakening with half a face and no leg. Oh and I had no idea where the heck i was! Minor detail. Dreading what I would see, but knowing there was no alternative, I opened my eyes. To my real living nightmare.
It was a laboratory. An actual, laboratory, though cross bred with the dentist’s office. A large chair was in the center of the room, and I was sitting in it. Pain was in the back of my mind as pure fear was foremost when I looked at the white walls around me.
It was a modern torture chamber.
I was in a modern torture chamber.
I was strapped into the chair that would allow others to torture me while in the modern torture chamber.
I was scared out of my wits. The stuff with the pirates and the clown had been playtime compared to this. For my deepest fear, as you can understand, was being used as a test subject in a laboratory. And not being able to do a single thing about it.
I decided not to panic, and just take a nice, slow look around. I was hoping that I had been mistaken. That it was just a harmless dentist’s office, and that I was just here for a six-month cleaning. That somehow there had been a big misunderstanding, and I was alive and well, unharmed and whole. But I knew this was not true. I had probably died quietly in my sleep a little while ago, and this whole shebang was just hell. Was I dead? Was I alive? This place was so… real. The pain was too intense. The colors and sights too bright and vivid. No Satan, no matter how sadistic, would think of horrors such as these. Besides, where were all the other bad people if I was truly in hell?
Pushing that string of thought away, I looked at what items of torture I might be forced to endure. One wall was completely covered with needles, of all shapes and sizes. One was most definitely a pipe, or a very thick lance. A workbench lined the room, and the array in front of the needle wall (which was artfully arranged by size and length, might I add) would put an alchemist in heaven. It was covered with battery of chemicals and test tubes. There was poison enough to kill me in less time than it takes to finish this sentence. But the worst were the tranquilizers, because they would allow me to feel everything but not move or yell to make them stop.
I gulped, like a cartoon character, as it was getting harder and harder to breathe through my constricted throat. I looked at a different wall to distract myself, only this one wasn’t much better. Scalpels and saws so tightly packed it glittered like an extremely deadly fish. I saw laser cutters and medieval hacksaws side by side. The work bench in front was littered with drills and screws, sharpened to a point so thin it was barely visible. Everything was organized with military precision. I was in deep s***. These were professionals.
I glanced up at the ceiling in despair and… I saw myself. It was mirrored. So that people could see themselves being tortured. Bile rose in my throat and I leaned over the side of my chair and vomited blood. Well that can’t be good. I thought to myself. I wiped my mouth, and realized it was increasingly difficult to move my arms. Did they, whoever “they” may be, sedate me already? I drew a shaky breathe, and turned to look at the third wall, which was covered in an array of colorful jars filled with who-knows-what. Then the door, which strangely enough, I had not noticed before opened and a pretty blond nurse walked in.
Alright. I take it back. Maybe I’m ok with staying here, I think, until the memory of my melted face dissipates all hope like smoke. Perhaps I had been wrong, and this was a really harmless place after all. How can someone who looked so sweet be evil? I attempted a smile, and the nurse smiled back. See! I told no one in particular, except my imaginary friends. She smiled! She has to be nice. Maybe they put me in here because they ran out of room in the waiting area. It’s just a harmless little check-up. Don’t be a baby. There is nothing to be afraid of! Oh how wrong I was.
The nurse smiled and walked closer. She was of average height and build, on the thin side, with curly blond hair and sparkly blue eyes. She smiled a third time, and I knew this was the dentist’s office, despite the sinister surroundings. How else could her teeth be so white?
“Why hello there!” She said, her voice dripping with sweetness and good intentions. “It seems you’re here for some tests.”
“Tests?” I replied. “But I’m not sick! Well, except for the whole melted face-missing leg-jagged hole in throat thing. Other than that I’m just peachy!” I smiled again and glanced up in the mirror. Yeesh. It was worse that I had thought. The entire bottom half of my jaw had stretched down and shifted to the left. I looked like a candle, as my face had literally melted. My voice had also come out gurgling and wet, and fresh blood coated my shirt from my throat wound, which flowed freely while I talked.
“Of course you’re not sick, silly! We just need to look inside your brain a teensy bit!” The nurse giggled and walked over to the wall-o-needles.
“Hubba whaaaaa?” I said for the second time that day. I realized I may have been a bit to quick to judge her on her ever-present smile.
“Hee hee! We’re going to have some fun now, you and me!” She pulled a medium sized needle off the wall, reconsidered, and grabbed the pipe/lance.
“And you feel the need to rhyme because? Look lady, I change my mind. I am sick. Really, really sick. Way too sick to get a bunch of tests done!” I coughed for dramatic effect and a black clump of blood fell from my throat into my lap, only emphasizing my point further.
“Healthy, sick, it doesn’t matter. We run the tests anyways! You won’t be around to feel the after affects.” She put back the lance and grabbed a thin, but long needle, with a razor sharp tip. She also selected a medieval drill too, which I was pretty sure was used for boring holes in wood. Expertly, she plucked out the drill bit, and fitted the needle in. She rotated it a few times, and was obviously pleased with its performance. She smiled and giggled once again.
“What do you mean? Are you going to kill me? I’ll have you know my father is very rich and he will sue you!” I was grasping at straws at this point, mangling words in my desperation. If I had a rich father, I wouldn’t even be in this mess. I’d probably be riding my horse made of money on the beaches of my private island, also made of money. Or something along those lines.
“Do you think I’m an idiot?” The nurse replied, instantly flying into a rage, her voice turning husky and her blue eyes flashing dangerously. “We know all about you, Patient #103756. Why do you think we picked you as our test subject? Your star personality? Your stable mental status? Your bravery in the face of adversity? Don’t make me laugh. Now shut up so I can...proceed,” she ended in an eerily calm manner, waving the drill threateningly.
Meanwhile I was having a panic attack in the chair. How did she know about the hospital? Did she know my specific, uhm, issues? That was confidential! But that made me think, was this another episode? The doctor said they were getting worse. But they’ve never been so vivid! I’ve never experienced pain in one! What was happening to me?
“Done bluffing now, are we? Wondering how I know about Danvers, eh? Thinking this is another episode? Well this is going to be like no episode you’ve ever experienced. Just watch yourself on the ceiling. You’re going to like this.” She took a menacing step forward, drill in hand.
I tried to move my arm up, to fend her off, but I had no control. I couldn’t even get it from behind my back! Wait, when did I put my arm there?
“Poor boy,” The nurse commented dryly. “Unable to move. Unable to speak. Unable to do anything except sit there, and watch. Maybe he won’t feel this.” She mused aloud. “ But I’m sure he will.” She grinned sadistically and began to crank the drill, the needle sending spinning light onto the surrounding tools.
Oh my god, I really can’t speak! I thought to myself. When I tried, only pitiful mewing sounds and a rush of blood escaped my mouth. My arms were in that all-too-familiar position, and fear took over completely. My eyes roved around wildly, looking for something, anything, to help me. It was useless. I could only watch as the drill was lowered towards my face, emanating a slight whirring sound.
A piercing pain filled me from within as the needle pierced my eye, right in the pupil. All my muscles strained to break free, and as I opened my mouth in a silent scream of pain a torrent of black blood rushed out, staining everything around me. The heady metallic smell filled the air but the only thing I could focus on was the whirring in my brain.
The nurse slowly pushed the needle in, inch by inch. My eyelids fluttered and my remaining eye was rolling back into my skull so forcefully I was sure it would pop out. Every muscle in my body spasmed at the same exact moment, and I knew she had reached my brain. I had one final thought before I blacked out:
This is a true living nightmare.
The doctors stared down at the young boy stretched across the bed. His arms were bound in a straight jacket behind him, and several syringes empty of tranquilizer rested on the nightstand. He was barely recognizable, even to those who had been his caretakers his whole life. One leg was completely gone just below the knee, the bleeding stump already showing early signs of gangrene. His other foot was melted together, the toes forming one single extremity jutting out from the ankle. Great chunks were torn out of his legs and stomach, and everything was bleeding freely. A melee of scratches coated his chest and arms, and he was missing about half his fingers. A jagged hole was torn in his neck, and black bile was oozing out of it. The lower half of his face was completely melted away. It looked like it was still dripping. He was also missing half of his right ear. But the worst was his eye. The empty socket was leaking brain matter, and a thick clear substance coated his cheek. Various monitors hooked up to him were silent.
The doctors shook their heads in pity.
“Poor boy. He had a rough life.” One doctor commented, while smoothing back dark locks from a bruised and battered forehead.
“I have never seen such severe psychosis in all my years working here....locked in a psychotic break for three days. That is completely absurd! And to see the destruction he wrecked upon himself! To watch a young boy rip his own throat out was the most repulsive and horrifying sight. That must have been one hell of a nightmare, to drive someone to such extremes.” He trailed off into the distance.The other doctor was silently crying, perched on the edge of the boy’s bed.
“What do we do now?” She asked, looking up at her colleague “Nothing we can do. He’s gone. No significant brain activity what so ever. How can one person as young as he conjure up such horrors inside his own mind?” The doctor replied, still pondering in a horror-stricken fashion.
“Man is his own worst enemy.” The woman said, staring at the boy’s wrecked face.
“Take him down to the basement. For testing. I want to know what caused this degree of lunacy so that it never happens again. Ever.” Mindful of the tubes, the man eased the boy out of the straight jacket, and slipped him into a pair of pajamas, embroidered with the words: Danvers, Massachusetts State Lunatic Asylum. “There we go. All better.” The man crooned, arranging the boy’s arms across his chest in traditional funeral style.
“I guess we take him down now then.” The women replied, holding open the doors as the boy’s bed was wielded through the doors. Both were quiet as they proceeded down a short corridor to the elevator which took them down to the basement.
The monitors may have said otherwise, but Patient #103756 opened his mouth as wide as it would go and silently screamed as he was wheeled through the doors to the testing facility.