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“Why won't you tell me where we are going?” I ask my mom as we are driving in the car. I have been repeating this question many times, but every time I ask, my mother replies, “You will go wherever I take you” in a tone that is growing with frustration. I look out the car window and watch cars speed past us on the highway. We have been in the car for about an hour and I have no idea where we are going. Finally, we turn on an exit that takes us into the city.
When we get there my heart stops when I read the sign. The letters are in a beautiful cursive font: Harwood Correctional Facility. “Why are we here?” I ask in a weary voice. This can't be happening, I think as we are driving into the unit. My mom remains silent as we pull up to a tall red brick building.
“Ok, let's go in,” my mom prompts in a soft, almost sympathetic tone.
“No, there is nothing wrong with me,” I respond in a firm strong voice.
“You are sick and I am just trying to help you.”
“No, I'm not, and I am not going to go in there.”
“You have to. I am your mother and you are not eighteen yet,” she says coldly.
She mumbles to herself, after this there will be no more complaining.
There is nowhere for me to run and I have no choice but to obey my mother. We walk up to the entrance of the building and my mom tries to open the door. To both of our surprise the door is locked.
“This place seems really sketchy,” I tell say with skepticism.
“Dont worry. I have done my research. They are the best in the business,” she replies confidently.
“What exactly do they do here?”
Before my mother gets a chance to answer the question a tall lady in blue scrubs opens the door and explains. “Sorry to keep you waiting, we keep all of the doors locked for the safety of our patients.” I cannot help but be taken aback by this statement. A sudden urge to run as far as possible from this odd place comes through me. Instead of following my instincts I tell myself that my mom and these people have my best interests at heart.
The nurse hurries us through the tall wooden doors. “This is where we do assessments to determine the treatments that each patient needs,” the nurse says calmly. I feel a bit offended that my mother brought me here. There is nothing wrong with me and there is no need for me to be in a mental hospital. I am confident that the doctors will take a look at me and see that nothing is wrong with me. If anything, I am healthier than the average person. “Please take a seat in our waiting area.” The nurse directs us to a small white room with soft black chairs lining the walls. My mother and I take a seat and the nurse hands my mother a stack of papers and a pen while whispering something to her. My mother starts working her way through the stack of papers. Her pen makes little clicks with each word she writes. I put my elbows on my knees and my head in my hands. Why did she take me here? I feel like I am in a dream.
The nurse comes back into the waiting room and reads my name off of a clip board. “Kylie, please come back with me.” Her voice is cold and monotone. I follow her down a long white hallway and as we walk past a room with an open door and see a girl and her father. The girl is very thin and pale and she looks almost lifeless, but the father is smiling and he thanks the nurse as we pass. “Thank you so much for fixing my daughter. Our lives will be so much better now!” he says with a pleased grin on his face.
I cannot believe what they must have done to this girl. It looks as if they sucked all of the life out of her. While I walk past her she looks directly at me with a blank expression on her face. I stop suddenly and she says, “Don’t worry. Everything will be just fine.” Her voice is just as lifeless as her body.
“What did you do to that girl?” I ask the nurse as we are approaching an exam room.
“We helped her,” she replies. The nurse opens the brown wooden door. “You will see the doctor now.” She gestures for me to go inside. I hesitate for a moment then the nurse says in a strong tone, “Go in.” Feeling as if I have no choice I enter the room. There is a lady wearing a white lab coat sitting at a desk with a small journal and a pen. Her bob cut is so perfect it looks as if she is wearing a wig. There is a metal tray by her left hand, but I cannot see what’s on it because it is covered with a white cloth.
“Let's get started,” she says in a serious voice.
“Nothing is wrong with me. I don't need to be here,” I quickly state.
“I am just going to start with a simple test.” She stands up and takes out a set of keys. She walks over to the door and I hear the bolt slide as she locks it. She takes the cloth off of the metal tray, revealing many multicolored needles. My heart races. All of my life I have hated the sight of blood and needles. I start shaking my legs nervously. She writes something down in her notebook.
She slides the tray of needles over to me with her perfectly manicured hands. “Pick up the yellow needle and stick it in your arm. Don’t worry, you should not feel anything.” This doctor is insane. Why does she expect me to inject myself with an unknown substance? I think back to the girl in the hallway. What if this shot did something to her? “Go ahead,” she prompts in a gentle voice.
“What if I don’t want to?”
“Then I will have to give it to you.” I shuffle my chair forward a bit. I see the keys on the table. All I have to do it take them, unlock the door and run back to the waiting room to tell my mom about this insanity. Adrenaline starts to rush through my veins as I jump up from my chair and grab the keys. I run to the door, but my hands are shaking and I drop the keys. I feel a hand on my shoulder and I turn around. The doctor is staring at me with a blue needle in her hand. “I told you it would not hurt.” I scream as she forcefully stabs the outside of my arm with a needle. Everything goes black.
I wake up in a room that smells strongly of bleach and iron. I am lying on a cold hard bed. Everything around me is white. I have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I remember what the doctor did to me. She must have taken me somewhere. I look at the outside of my arm to see where I got the injection. My arm is bruised where I was stuck, but it does not hurt. I touch it but I cannot even feel my hand touching my arm. My whole body is numb. I try to pinch myself but I don’t feel it. What is happening to me? What did they do? I go to the door of the room. It is locked. I look up and see small black video cameras at every corner of the room. I start to pound on the door with my fists. I scream with frustration. No matter how hard I hit my fists against the wall I cannot feel pain, and the door does not open. My knuckles start to bleed and the white door now has red handprints on it from my fruitless efforts. I give up and sit with my back against the wall, hugging my knees. Tears start to roll down my face. I am trapped here in this miserable place and I have no control over anything.
A nurse walks into the room with a metal tray. It is the same one that was in the creepy doctor’s office. She is wearing white scrubs. Even though I do not trust this person I am so relieved that someone came in. I explain what is happening to me. “Something’s wrong with me! I can’t feel pain.” I hold up my hands to show her the fresh blood dripping down my arms.”
The nurse does not offer any explanation. “It looks like you need some more Anxiety Away,” she says firmly. She pulls out a red shot.
”No.” I stand up and move as far away from her as possible.
She pulls out a walkie talkie and speaks into it. “Backup needed.” Two large men come running in. They grab both of my arms and legs and pin me down on the floor. I try to kick them or bite them, but they have to strong of a hold on me. The nurse shoves the needle directly into my neck. I do not feel it. Suddenly all of my fear goes away. My adrenaline is not rushing. I am calm. The men let me go and walk out of the room.
I turn my attention toward the nurse. “What did you do to me?” I say, bewildered.
“We fixed one of your problems.” She smiles at me and walks out, locking the door behind her. I am confused. I know I should feel scared but I am not. I cannot think of anything that gives me anxiety. I actually don’t feel much at all. I feel like I have lost a piece of me.
The doctor with the bob cut walks into the room holding a piece of paper. She reads it to me. “I am here to explain things to you. What we are doing here is reshaping you. We will turn you into the best version of yourself. The perfect child. You will no longer be in control of your mind or body, but just go along with it because we are doing what is best for you.”
I start to feel a dull sense of fear rising inside of me. My breathing is shallow. “Stop fighting it,” the doctor commands. I need to get out of here before it is too late. The doctor sees the fear in my eyes and quickly pushes another needle into my shoulder. My mind goes numb.