All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
The Girl in the Wall
Dr. Furman stepped into the building, closing his umbrella and shaking the water off his soaked trench coat. The sky was dark and gray. The clouds and smoke that poured from the pipes of the factories that lined each street-corner of London mixed together and created an ominous smog that loomed over the entire city. Rain flooded from the skies and thunder quaked the city on that cold, dreary October morning.
Dr. Furman was a criminal psychologist on his way to meet with a new patient at the Victoria Institute for the Criminally Insane. He heard the nurses gossiping about her in whispers up and down the echoing corridors of the sterile mental ward. “Cold-blooded murderer,” he overheard. “Delirious. Positively mad!” Furman trudged up the stairs to his office and shuffled through his drawer to find the patient’s files. “Mary Beckingham,” it read. “Seventeen years old. Psychotic episodes. Charged with fratricide.” Dr. Furman raised his right hand and massaged his temple, ran his fingers through his hair, a harsh, jet black softened by white, feathered pieces like fresh snowfall on pavement, and let out a labored sigh. “Here we go again,” he thought to himself.
Every day, Furman interviewed a new deranged criminal. Every day, he heard a similar story about how his patients kidnapped and tortured someone, or stabbed someone, or drowned someone. It was becoming quite routine and mundane. Each twisted criminal and savage murderer he sat with desensitized and detached him even further. Dr. Furman taught himself that these patients were not people, but monsters, which meant he shouldn’t let his emotions interfere with his decisions. He went to school. He studied psychology for years. Each patient exactly fit a textbook definition of a mental disorder: schizophrenia, multiple personality disorder, drug addiction. He had seen it all. And he was sure that this one would be no different.
Furman walked down the silent, barren hallway towards the patient’s wing. He fumbled with his key ring and unlocked the door. Then, he took a deep breath as the door creaked open and he stepped into Mary’s room. The examination room was just like any other he had sat in before: clean, white tile floors that smelled of antiseptic and bare beige walls that felt like they were closing in on you. The only clue that there was a world outside the rooms were a small, barred window, so high up on the wall, you could only see the sky. Each room had a cold metal chair and a wooden desk in the center.
Dr. Furman observed Mary sitting in that chair. She was trembling and shaking- rocking back and forth in her chair. Her wild red hair was a frizzy, disheveled mess atop her head, with uneven ends, as if strands of her auburn locks had been ripped from her scalp in distress. Mary’s thin blue gown was worn, shredded, and stained yellow in some places. Her wrists were strapped to the arms of the chair she sat in, and her hands were clamped tightly into fists. She squeezed until her knuckles turned white. Her vacant green eyes looked as if they were fixated on the floor, but she was looking at nothing. Her lips parted and moved slightly, but her voice was silent.
Even though he had been doing this for so long, Dr. Furman was always twinged with a small unsettling feeling each time he met a new patient in such disarray. Furman inhaled deeply and composed himself. “M-M-Mary?” he stuttered. “My name is Dr. Furman.” No response. Nothing changed, except sound- barely audible mumbles- came out of her trembling lips. “Maybe she didn’t hear me,” he thought. He cleared his throat. “Mary, I’m Dr. Furman,” he said in a more assertive tone. Mary grew still. The trembling and mumbling stopped. She bit her lower lip, clamping her teeth down so hard, it started to bleed, yet, she was unfazed. Her eyes remained staring vacantly at the ground. “Mary-” Furman snapped at his wit’s end, but he was cut off by a blood-curdling scream.
That scream vibrated throughout the small interview room and resonated down the hallway, startling nurses and doctors in the opposite wing. The scream impaled itself into Dr. Furman’s eardrums and stabbed at his brain. He doubled over, clutched his throbbing ears, and groaned in agony. Mary kicked her legs, stomping her bare feet into the ground until her heels were eclipsed with obsidian colored bruises. She thrashed her arms, scraping her forearms on her bonds and bashing her elbows against the arms of the chair in a desperate struggle to break free of her bonds.
Still seizing his ears, Furman limped in farther to the room. He sat opposite of Mary, a safe distance away with a large mahogany desk as a barrier. “Well, that is certainly new,” he thought.
“Mary, let’s cut right to the chase,” he yelled, interrupting her screaming. The silence of the small room was loud. Furman’s ears still rang, as if Mary’s scream lingered. “Did you or did you not kill your brother, Henry?” Mary started shaking her head violently from side to side.
“No!” she cried. “No, no, no, no, no, no, NOOOOO!”
“Mary, they found your fingerprints on the knife he was stabbed with. If you didn’t kill him, then who did?” he interrogated.
“Amelia,” she whispered, her eyes overwhelmed with fear.
Mary mumbled something inaudible again.
“Mary, I can’t hear you when you mumble like that,” Dr. Furman said, annoyed.
Mary looked him dead in the eye, for once not avoiding his gaze. “The girl who lives in the wall.”
Lightning flashed and the lights flickered before they completely turned off.
“Oh great,” Furman thought. He dug around in the desk until he found a candle and a box of matches. He struck the match and sparks went flying across the desk, glowing slightly before they fell flat. As he ignited the candle, the small flame dimly lit the room and cast shadows across Mary’s face.
“Now Mary, please tell me more about Amelia.”
“No!” Mary yelled, shaking her head adamantly.
Keeping his cool, Dr. Furman reasoned, “Please, Mary. The sooner you tell me, the sooner we can both leave. Isn’t that what you want?”
“O-k-k-k-kay,” Mary stammered while shaking. She too “Amelia is a little girl,” she started. “Quite little, in fact, but she looks very old.”
“How’s that?” the doctor inquired. “Textbook schizophrenic,” he thought to himself, rolling his eyes. “Unrealistic hallucinations. She probably hears voices, too.”
“Well, she’s awfully small. She plays with my old dolls, and she wears large satin bows in her hair. But her hair is gray and brittle, and her skin is wrinkly and sags off of her bones. Her voice is high, like a little girl, but she has a large vocabulary, like an adult. Her eyes are completely dead, though,” she said, trailing off at the end. Her eyes darted around the room and her cheeks grew a flaming red to match her hair. She seemed like she was looking for something. Someone, maybe.
“What do you mean by that, Mary? The ‘dead eyes’ part?” the doctor said, growing a bit uneasy.
Mary snapped her eyes back towards the doctor. She leaned in as close to him as her bonds would allow. “They are totally black, like the living daylights were sucked right out of them. There is no trace of white or any other color. But you can tell she’s looking right at you when she speaks.”
Dr. Furman furrowed his brow. When patients told him similar stories in the past, he instantly wrote them off as pathological liars or cocaine addicts. But all his experience was telling him that something seemed different about this girl. He felt it in his gut that there was a chance she could be telling the truth. Mary was acting different than other murderous patients. She was so rigid and resolute. No Freudian slips. No holes in her story. She seemed truly haunted. “Mary, does Amelia speak to you often?” he asked, concerned.
“I’d rather not say,” Mary stammered, biting her lower lip and avoiding eye contact once more. She started tremoring ferociously again.
“Mary, please?” he pried. He had to know more. No one had avoided answering that question in the past. Previous patients always had some elaborate story fabricated, and they were eager to share it. No one ever seemed this terrified. Maybe she was different. Not a liar. The doctor tapped his pen on his notebook, ready to document what she was about to say.
Through tears, Mary quivered and muttered, “She only comes out in the middle of the night when I’m all alone. She stays lurking in the shadows, pressed up against the wall. The wall that she lives in.”
“What has she told you?” the doctor asked, trying to mask his own discomfort. A chill ran up and down his spine.
“She made me swear not to tell a single soul,” Mary sobbed. She squeezed her eyes shut and she contracted her hands back into staunch fists, draining her knuckles of color again. “She said if I did, she would kill me!”
“Mary, what did she say?” Dr. Furman begged, trying to mask his own cowardice.
Mary and the doctor sat there in absolute quiet, their eyes locked, unwavering. Mary’s chest rose and fell as she inhaled muted breaths. Silent tears streamed down her cheeks as her eyes glassed over. Dr. Furman’s chest felt heavy, like an elephant was sitting on it. His heart dropped into the pit of his stomach in this intense silence and it tied in knots. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. The only sound in the sterile room was the hushed, monotonous ticking of Dr. Furman’s wristwatch. The watch kept time as the seconds of silence grew unbearably into minutes.
“Mary, please say something,” the doctor said as his voice cracked, shattering the silence like fragile glass.
“She… she said… Amelia said that her brother killed her and hid her bones in the wall of my room 70 years ago,” Mery whispered. ”He strangled her and stabbed her to death while she was playing with her dollhouse. She says he stole her childhood. That's why she comes out at night and plays with my dolls. She is so loud, she won’t let me sleep.” She drew her knees close into her chest, balling herself up as if to become smaller. She looked like she wanted to disappear. Mary reached her hand up as far as her bond would let her and she started yanking at her hair in distress, ripping it off in chunks from the roots. “ But my mum and papa don’t hear her. They say I’m making it up. They say I’m just hearing voices, but I’m not insane, I swear!” Mary was sobbing uncontrollably by now. “Amelia told me she wanted revenge. She said she waited until a family with a brother and sister moved into the house. It was a long wait, but she told me it was worth it. I was the one she was waiting for. The one that could carry out the deed.”
Mary’s nose started running. She tried to wipe it, but her restrains prohibited her from doing so. Dr. Furman felt sorry for her. He wanted to offer her his handkerchief, but he figured it wouldn’t help all that much. There wasn’t anything he could do to console her. He was supposed to remain strictly professional. Usually, he didn’t have any problems remaining neutral, but this girl was making him soft. Mary was so young- about the age of his own daughter- much younger than any of his previous patients. She seemed so confused, so lost, so innocent- much too innocent to be tarnished by such mental hysteria, or whatever this was. He couldn’t help but imagine that it was his daughter sitting in that chair. It made his heart hurt. Furman wasn’t sure what to believe anymore.
“Mary, dear? Take a moment. Breathe please,” he said tenderly. His humanity broke through his professional, deadpan exterior.
Mary sniffed sharply and drew in deep breaths. Her chest rose and fell heavily as she inflated and emptied her lungs. She looked back at Dr. Furman with widened eyes. They reminded him of a lost, lonely puppy. He wished he could take her in his arms and comfort her like a father would do for his daughter. He wanted to protect her from whatever was going on within her delirious brain. He longed to tell her that everything would be okay, even it it wouldn’t be. But he refrained. Mary’s green eyes were bloodshot and her cheeks were blotchy and red.
Tears started pouring out of her inflamed eyes and her palms sweated profusely as Mary whispered. “Every night, Amelia stood in the shadows near my bed, rocking a porcelain doll in her arms. She would just stroke the doll’s hair and whisper in my ear.” She yanked at her auburn hair again, rocking back and forth in her seat.” ‘Kill him. Kill your brother! If you don’t kill Henry, I will slaughter you. I’ll cut you up into miniscule pieces!’ That’s what she told me every night. But I kept telling her no. That I loved my brother. I told her to leave me alone!” Mary yelled.
“One night, she did! Amelia didn’t wake me with her playing or whispering once! I slept so soundly and peacefully.” A pained smile grew across Mary’s face as tears streamed down her reddened cheeks. “When I woke up, I thought, ‘Finally, this is all over. At last I am free!’ I should have known better. I really should have,” she said in a forced laugh. “How could I have been so stupid? When I stood to get out of bed, I noticed dry blood stains on my nightgown. I didn’t know where they came from. It wasn’t my blood. I ran down the stairs and Henry was there, lying dead on the floor! She killed my brother! Amelia murdered-” She couldn’t bear to finish that last sentence.
Mary stopped. She instantly started wheezing and gasping for air. She let out another ear-piercing shriek and whipped herself about more demonically than ever before. Her legs pounded against the desk, pushing it sharply into Dr. Furman’s gut, knocking the wind out of him. Her fingers reached forward and grabbed at the air in vain, like she was reaching for Dr. Furman to help her. Her head jerked backwards and she writhed and groaned as if she was in excruciating pain.
Clutching his hand to his gut and gasping for air, Dr. Furman yelled, “Mary? Mary?” in a frenzied panic. He staggered out of his chair and released one of Mary’s arms from the bondage with his key ring. Suddenly, she stopped thrashing and screaming. She glared straight at the candle, reached her free arm out in front of her, and extinguished the flame with her bare palm. Simultaneously, her eyes rolled backward and her head fell limply towards her chest.
When Dr. Furman re-lit the candle, Mary’s head was lifted again and her eyes were staring straight at his, as if she was piercing right into his soul. Dr. Furman jumped and gasped. “Good bloody heavens, Mary. You frightened me.”
“Mary isn’t here anymore,” Mary sneered in a different voice. It was much higher and more juvenile than before. Like a young girl, maybe seven or eight, was speaking.
“Mary…” the doctor trembled.
“Are you incompetent, you stupid, simple minded imbecile? I said Mary is gone. She is no longer with us,” the shrill, mocking voice squealed. She tapped her toes on the ground like an impatient child.
Thousands of thoughts flew through Dr. Furman’s mind all at once. High, youthful voice. Big, educated words. Then, he looked back at Mary and caught sight of her eyes. They were black- dead, even- but they were staring right at him. Then, he put it all together.
“Took you long enough, idiot,” Amelia whined. She stuck out her tongue and spit at him.
“Where is Mary? What have you done with her?” he yelled at the demon.
“Shut up, nitwit. I haven’t hurt her. I’m just using her body like I did that night- the night I killed her brother,” Amelia giggled, raising her free hand over her mouth as her cheeks blushed an innocent, rosy color.
“So she was telling the truth this whole time…” Dr. Furman whispered under his breath.
“I suppose she was,” the demon mocked. “You know far too much, doctor. That is why you must die now.”
Dr. Furman’s heart started pounding against his chest. He could feel it clobbering against his ribcage. He bolted straight for the door, tripping over his own feet as he attempted to flee. As he fell, Amelia reached out and snatched his key ring with her free hand, rendering him helpless. Furman pounded on the door, hopelessly yelling for someone to come to his rescue. He twisted the cold iron doorknob with all his might, but it wouldn’t budge. He couldn’t escape. Amelia unlocked her other bond with the key and hopped out of her chair, black eyes staring directly at him.
Other doctors and attendants came running down the hall when they heard murderous screams and lethal pounding against the wall. Dr. Furman’s partner, Dr. Wellington, managed to open the door. As he swung it aside, he stood speechless, staring at the horror in front of him. Furman was lying face down, dead, in a crimson pool of his own blood, and Mary, collapsed on her knees beside him, bloody keys in hand. She was screaming in horror, burying her face in her hands and ripping out wads of hair. She was nearly bald. “I didn’t do it! I didn’t do it! I swear!” she screamed over and over again.
Attendants rushed into the room to carry Furman’s body away and restrain Mary with handcuffs. As they were dragging her away, Dr. Wellington stopped her, grabbing her shoulder. “Do you mean to tell me that you did not kill this man?” he screamed in her face, enraged. “Do you think I am stupid? I can see his wet blood on your hands. If you didn’t kill him, then who did?”
Mary was beaten down physically and emotionally. She couldn’t look the doctor in the eye. She was absolutely scarred. Even though Amelia had control of her body and actions then, Mary was still present and witnessed the whole ordeal, unlike when Amelia killed Henry. Mary watched her own hands, controlled by Amelia, reach out and snatch Dr. Furman’s body and bash him against the wall. She saw her own hands drive the keys into Furman’s heart and gut barbarically. She tried to stop, but Amelia’s dominance was too strong. She tried to block it all out, to be comatose, but Amelia forced her to watch. Amelia forced Mary to witness her own hands performing a ruthless murder. “Amelia,” Mary whispered. Her eyes were glassy and vacant. A single tear ran down her cheek.
Mary was dragged out of the examination room. Dr. Wellington just stood there for a moment. Then, he ran to they desk and scrambled around until he found the notes that Furman had written. Wellington quickly scanned his eyes down the scribbled paper. As he read, his eyes grew larger and he gasped. He immediately ordered a search warrant of Mary’s bedroom at her home.
Dr. Wellington stood to the in the back of the bedroom, clutching Furman’s notebook tightly to his chest as he watched the police rip back the bedroom walls. Tentatively, he walked towards the wall and peered over an officer’s shoulder. He was stunned. They found a small, frail skeleton. On the ground next to the heap of bones, he noticed a purple satin hairbow covered in dust. He picked it up and held it in his hands as if it were a priceless artifact, staring at it in disbelief. The police found rusted golden locket. They opened the locket and showed the contents to Wellington. Inside the locket was a picture of a young girl, no more than seven or eight years old. The girl had a large purple bow, the very one that Wellington was holding. There was a name labeled under the picture. As the read it, chills ran up and down his spine, and he felt a cold breath on the back of his neck. The label read, “Amelia.”