Strange Things Happen
By Maddie H., Mulvane, KS
Chapter OneChapter 1
Day One: October 3, 2012 10:45 PM
I’m not insane.
Baine Yaxley sat in his new room, his knees pulled up to his chest with his arms crossed on top.
I’m not insane. They’re the crazy ones.
The room—no, it was more like a cell—was small with a bed in one corner, where he was currently sitting. A small desk next to it held bits of paper, a few pens, and a few sets of the psych ward’s uniform. He’d refused to wear it until they’d forced him into it.
How could they put me in here?
Blue eyes blazed with anger under bushy, reddish-brown eyebrows, half-hidden by thick, messy hair to match. Moonlight filtered through the small window that was too high for anyone to reach. His all-white clothes were prominent in the dark along with his pale face.
It wasn’t my fault it happened. I didn’t do anything. I swear I didn’t.
Something that sounded like a wolf howled in the distance. Baine closed his eyes.
I’ll find a way out. They’ll see they were wrong.
He pulled off his glasses and curled up under the thin, gray blanket, somehow feeling colder than he did without it.
Day Two: October 4, 2012 5:15 AM
Baine was jerked from an almost peaceful sleep by a loud bell, not unlike a school bell, ringing through the room. His door opened and slammed against the white-washed wall. With a groan, he pulled himself out of bed, clumsily grabbing for his glasses on the desk and ramming them onto his face. He shuffled into the herd of the other ‘inmates’, as he’d decided to call them. He ended up in the cafeteria line with a tall girl who looked about the same age as he was, 19, but sort of carried herself in a way that made her seem older. She was pale, paler than him, like she hadn’t gotten much sun or sleep in a few days. Her ice-colored eyes had dark shadows under them. The girl seemed to have a permanent scowl, like it was tattooed onto her face. She wore the same white clothes as everyone else, but unlike most of the others, who wore white slip-on shoes, she was barefoot. A dingy, tan (or maybe it had once been white), short-brimmed hat lay on top of her short black hair, which fell in her face and covered her ears. She caught him looking at her and paused while reaching for a gray-green tray and he averted his gaze.
Raising a thin eyebrow, she continued what she was doing, made her way through the line, filling the paper plate on her tray with what he assumed were scrambled eggs, and sat down at a round table by the window, alone. Once he’d gotten his food, Baine pretended to look at a few of the other tables that were scattered around the room before going to sit across from the girl.
She looked up at him for the briefest second before staring at the food on her tray.
“Well?” she said. Her voice wasn’t high- or low-pitched, but somewhere at a happy medium. It was, he noticed, very sarcastic sounding at the moment. “Can I help you, Kid?”
Baine frowned at her. “I can’t say hello?”
Baine picked up his fork. “So, what’re you here for?”
“What’re you here for?” she asked, not looking up at him.
“I asked you first,” he snapped, putting his fork down with a little too much force. Control your temper, he thought. She’s just trying to mess with you.
“I asked you second, Snippy,” she countered, finally meeting his gaze.
Baine sighed. “My parents decided bipolar meant crazy. Especially when this kid on our street went missing.”
“Oh? Good for you. You may be one of the normal ones then.”
“Normal?” he scoffed.
“Tch. Hey, you could’ve killed someone.”
Baine gulped and looked around. Come to think of it, a few of them did look a bit murderous…
“Okay,” he said, clearing his throat when his voice cracked. “Okay, your turn. Why are you here?”
“Schizophrenia,” she answered bluntly. “And I get these blackouts pretty often.”
“Don’t they make a pill for that?” Baine asked. She shrugged.
“My mom couldn’t afford it. Anyway, she thought it was a little weird that I was talking to my older brother.”
He looked confused. “Why’s that weird?”
“My brother’s dead.”
He didn’t press the matter any further, apart from, “I’m sorry.”
She just shrugged again. “Things happen. People come and go. People call you crazy then send you here to go through shock therapy…” her voice trailed off and she stopped pushing her food around.
“Sh-shock therapy?” Baine asked, trying to keep his voice steady. “Sounds painful.”
“Hurts like Hell…be careful about your anger issues, they might put you through it too.” She said vaguely, rubbing at a non-existent spot of dirt on the too-clean table. Then she met his gaze. “Just thought I’d warn you, Kid.”
“Hey, quit calling me ‘Kid’, Schizo!” said Baine, feeling his temper flare and starting to stand up. A muscle twitched under her left eye and she did the same.
“Watch your mouth there, Timmy Two-face!” she retorted.
“Why don’t you go have a talk with Brother Dearest?” Baine snapped back, sarcasm dripping from every word.
Something snapped inside her and her hand shot across the table, latching onto the fabric of his shirt. Her left hand pulled back to nail him in the face when one of the nurses from across the room shouted, “NO FIGHTING!”
She glared daggers at him before she took a deep breath and let him go, sitting back down. Baine stayed where he was for a second, one foot on the floor, the other on the table bench, hands half-raised in defense, and stared down at the girl. She not only seemed far too strong for her build—she may have been tall, but she was built thin and petite—it looked like anyone could easily snap her in half, but he could’ve sworn he heard a low, feral growl coming from somewhere deep within her chest, and, just for that tiniest second, her pupils had become black slits in pools of ice.
“You gonna sit down? I won’t bite…if we’re done with the nicknames.”
Her voice brought him back to earth and he scrambled back to his seat.
“If we’re going to stop with the nicknames, we may as well introduce ourselves. I’m Baine Yaxley,” he said, reaching a hand across the table. She regarded him for a second, her head cocked to the right, before finally cracking a grin and shaking his hand. He took notice right away that any time she did flash a smile it was a sarcastic and almost condescending one.
“Alice Collins. All right, Baine. You wanna know my secret?”