She woke up with a start. Her heart was beating unsteadily fast. She was gasping like she ran a couple of miles. Her eyes were wide with the look of pure insanity. Her head was ringing like a bell filled with hopeless whispers. She did not notice the cuts she made with a blade the other night bleed again, more fiercely than the last time. She did not notice the cold sweat drenching her body, making her shudder and hug herself despite of the warm summer breeze that was coming from her open window. She did not notice the moonlight illuminating half of her face, nor did she notice it reflected on the mirror streaked with blood, her eyes were a golden dark brown filled with hatred, terror, coldness, and most of all----death. She did not notice the wild tangle of her chocolate brown hair plastered on her head with blood and sweat. She did not notice her thin red lips clenched in a mixture of terror and pain. She did not notice the blood dripping from her hand that went up to grasp her head in a tight hold making droplets of blood bloom like flowers in spring on the white blanket. What she did notice was the man sitting in the corner with the shadow hiding his upper body, she saw black pants over black shoes.
The man spoke. “You are very ill Miss Joy.” He hesitated when he spoke the word ill. “Your mind tells you lies, your eyes deceive you….you hallucinate, you’re crazy and you nearly killed your step-brother. You thought he was some evil monster with fangs out to get you. You grabbed a knife from your kitchen and tried to kill him. It’s a good thing I was there”
“What? I-I don’t know what you’re tuh-talking about.” Tears began to fall from her eyes. The blood mixed with her tears and they dripped in unison to the already soiled blanket.
“I didn’t do anything, I swear I didn’t.”
Then she saw the most horrible thing in the world stood up. Its long metallic claws scraped the hard wooden floor (Scree! Scree! Screeee!) , its skin was covered with yellowish and green scales and spikes tipped with blood that moved like they have their own life. It had a long snout like an alligator with enormous sharp teeth jutting out of its leathery lips. Its beady black eyes shifted in every direction like an experienced predator watching its prey with deadly intentions. It had a shattered skull spraying green, thick goo all over the place which trickled down the wallpapered walls with a sickening noise that made all her bottled-up screams come out with extreme force that the thing that stood there backed away to the comforting security of the shadows.
Then it spoke with a raspy, hollow, metallic voice. “We will take you to a safer place Joy, a place where we can treat you and make you better, do you want that?”
She gave a soft whimpering cry and folded herself into a fetal position where she rocked herself back and forth, shaking her head saying no over and over. She gave soft gasps and sudden hysteric giggles.
“Guh-go away, please duh-don’t hurt me…I-I swear I’ll be good, please don’t take me away. I like it here...that---that wasn’t my step-brother, that wuh-was a----a monster, yeah! It was…it was! It was, Joy. Shhh, it was.” She comforted herself and gave a short painful laugh that showed how damaged her mind was.
The monster pitied her.
A phone rang. For Joy it was the sound of bees, and she clamped her ears tight with her bloodied palms.
It rang twice. She gave a disgusted, terrified little jerk of her head.
Then it rang a third time. Her room was spinning and the buzzing forced themselves into her mouth, making her gag and claw at her throat.
The long claws dug something out of its scaly thighs. It was a black box that gave off a strange electronic light. The claws moved it towards its hideous face, illuminating the razor sharp teeth and the lolling black tongue licking its lips, and then the thing spoke to the box.
“Send them in.” That’s all it said to the box and it returned it back inside its scaly thighs.
Send them in? What does that mean…oh god, I didn’t do anything, I tried to protect my helpless little step-brother from that monster, and this is what they repay me? Send them in?
She panicked. She straightened herself again and looked at the man in the corner but he wasn’t there. He was standing beside the door.
It’s a good thing that thing didn’t kill him.
“Miss, is it fine if I turn on the lights?” The man turned and looked at her; a shadow of a frown danced across his lips and quickly disappeared when he forced a little smile.
She whispered her reply. “Yeah”
A blinding flash of bright light washed over the room and stayed, hovering like a bad memory. She covered her eyes and opened them again once her eyes adjusted to the brightness.
Then in a second the giant bees came. They weren’t those giant bees in cartoons that looked cute and adorable with their yellow and black stripes doing a dance routine with singing flowers, or sucking nectar out of a giggling sunflower. No, these bees looked mean, terrible and very very real. There were two of them, with hairs sticking out all over their bodies, fluttering in the win as they moved, their wings were buzzing noisily, their big eyes that took up most of the space intended for the face stared at her, their suckers moving curiously about, their stingers glinting maliciously, and they want her dead. They moved towards her, reaching out and grabbing her on the shoulders. She felt the hairs on their bodies scraping against her skin and she screamed this throaty scream of disgust.
She wriggled and threw her body out of their reach. She landed on her face on the bed and jumped out of it like an escaped rat, the bed looked more red than white now and the air smelled faintly of blood.
Blood! My blood! They did this to me. They should die. Yes, oh yes! They should. And I will kill them. Oh yes, that’s a great plan, oh yes.
She gave a faint laugh that made the bees look at each other and shrug their shoulders in a comical way. She laughed again; she pointed at them and burst into real laughter. She held her stomach with both of her arms and threw her head up, her hair twisting then falling back into its original plastered state. She laughed and laughed until the bees disappeared into a hazy fuzz and were replaced with two normal men in white uniforms backing away and contemplating on the thought of just getting the hell out of there and maybe buy some beer later to cool off and relax.
“What the hell are you two doing? Do your job and get on with it already and don’t hurt her.” The man turned away and walked past the door and into the hall.
“What a dick! Come on, Roy…let’s just get this done.” He sighed and turned towards the girl.
She was silent now. Her eyes darted from one face to the other. She felt trapped, trapped inside a dark room with whispers dancing and pushing all around her. The air in that room was metallic and rusty and she spat out the taste that clung in the back of her throat. Her eyes burned in that room and everything was spinning, everything was out of control.
“Hey, uuumm…are the bees gone?” She said as she hurled herself out of that nauseating room and into the nauseating world she’s dying in.
“What’s she talking about Al?” the shorter one whispered nervously. He looked up and around expecting to see bees in the room, ready to sting their eyes out.
“I don’t know but it sounds like we should say yes,” Al said.
“Yeah… oh sure… yuh-yeah… they, uh, they flew away and they said that, they’ll never ever come back, right Roy?”
“Huh? Oh, oh yeah, yeah!” He smiled enthusiastically. “This is stupid” He thought and narrowed his eyes at the girl.
She was wearing a white shirt, now almost red because of the blood but the print was still visible, it read,
ironically enough, IM WITH CRAZY with a printed arrow pointing upwards. Her black shorts had ridden up to reveal white thighs that were scarred with caked cuts and yellow bruises.
What happened to this girl?
Then he remembered what the doctor said that she had a traumatic childhood, she was bullied, beaten like a thief by her father, deprived her food, she was dying inside. Poor girl, a bright future ahead ruined by the people around her. He shook his head and looked at his companion, it seemed like he was thinking the same thing too.
There was a long silence that filled the room, it stayed and stayed, mocking them like a bully would mock its victim.
“What are you doing here?” She broke the silence. She inched towards the bedside table and took out something they did not see because she quickly hid it inside her pockets.
“What was that?” Al said nicely but with a hint of irritation and curiosity.
“Oh, that was my mirror.” She looked at him without any expression.
“Really? May we see it?” Roy blurted out.
She narrowed her eyes. “I don’t know.” She moved a step backwards; her arm went straight to her pocket nervously touching the cool surface of the mirror.
“Aw, come on! We won’t take it away from you, promise!” Roy said impatiently.
“Well, okay.” She said but hesitated for a while.
She touched the rough edges of the mirror, felt it pricking her skin delightfully as she grabbed with all her force. She felt a newer strength surging in through her arm and into her body, it felt like euphoric strength, like waves of ecstasy. She snorted out a laugh as she showed them the mirror. It was a ragged piece of mirror that was almost a triangle; the sharp edges were buried in her palms and fingers. Her blood trickled down and formed around the mirror, glinting maliciously as the light struck the mirror and illuminated the blood like a bulb. It was fascinating and horrible at the same time, like pain and sweetness dancing together in one melody of death.
The men gasped a choked breath. This girl is crazy, crazy as shit!
“Do something, Al,” Roy stepped backwards and pushed Al towards the girl. He’s not dealing with this type of crazies, the senile ones are easier to handle.
“What am I supposed to do? Grab her?” Al said turning back, giving his partner an angry glare.
“Well, obviously!” Roy said with an irritated huff.
“The doctor said that we shouldn’t hurt her!” Al whispered leaning forward.
“Bullshit! Look at her! She’s hurt already.” Roy grabbed his shoulders and forced him to look.
“Damn it, I know that, you idiot.” Al said, shrugging of Roy’s hands from his shoulder. “I just…I feel sorry for the poor kid.”
“Screw that, she’s done that to herself. Either you do your work or resign and become a preacher or whatever the hell you want. I think the first one’s a good choice considering that you’re shit at everything you do, now do me a favor will yah? Be professional and do your goddamned work or I’ll break your legs,” Roy said poking Al’s chest with his beefy fingers.
The men separated. Circling her like vultures would encircle a rotting corpse. She was trapped, oh so very trapped that the only thing she could do was go back to the past and relive her most terrible nightmare.
It was a Sunday and she was ten.
Sundays were the worst for her, the rain was pouring hard and everything was dark and grey like molten steel. She couldn’t see what was outside; the rain was obscuring her vision and chilling her to the bone. A cup of hot chocolate (her favorite) was on her bedside table, steaming against the cold air, and it was untouched. Something about Sundays were special…she doesn’t know why but Sundays were always the days where she would see blood, decay, and cracked skulls.
It wasn’t till noon when she heard the shouts and the banging started up again, everyday was like that and not a day would pass without those two lightening up the house. Today was special and the more the special the day, the more the screams of her drunken father and the wails of her mother would go up like blistering fire, setting everything it touches into flaming agony. She was in her room and if it wasn’t for the rain, she would’ve heard the desperate choking cry of her father as the kitchen knife pierced deep into his stomach. She was numb to all that as the sound of the rain and the smell of her hot chocolate imprisoned her in a comforting shell. Lately she was feeling weird, weirder than usual. She started to enjoy the feeling of killing something weaker than her, bugs were her favorite and so were cats. Cats were always a delight, especially when they’re boiling in a hot pan.
She was trying to draw something but she got lost in the sound of the drumming rain that she forgot about what she was trying to draw. The paper was full of black crayoned squiggles and there was a red thing beneath all that. That red thing had claws and a tail, other than that, she saw nothing.
Her mom started calling out her name but she chose to ignore it. She was better off ignoring everything and that often worked. She flinched as the coldness pinched the blooming yellow bruises on her legs and arms. She was ignoring the pain but it was screaming to be noticed. She traced a delicate finger on the biggest bruise on her leg and bit her lower lip, the sound of the stick as it landed on her leg brought back the pain the night before.
There was a knock on the door, an urgent one but she merely looked at it and imagined it disappearing out of sight. She wanted to disappear out of sight too but the only thing she could do was hide under the covers which was never a good idea because her father would always drag her out by her hair and start smacking her on the face. She didn’t know why he did it, the only possible explanation was that, it’s what adults do; they hurt little kids and get away with it because they were bigger and stronger.
“Joy!” Her mom yelled. “Joy, listen to me, I did something horrible and we need to fix it right now, come down and help me, please.” She could hear the soft scratching of her Mom’s fingernails on the door. Scratch scratch scratch…scree scree screeee, like talons digging away at the door. Dig dig digging away her only protection, her only shield from the monsters (please save me from them, the monsters are coming, please!).
“Open the door, sweetheart. Open the door and come help me, please,”
The monster was dragging her on the stairs, the black scales on its body was rippling and moving about like weed dancing on a cold breeze, and she could feel its claws digging into her skin. The monster was roaring something and it turned back to glare at her with those red eyes. It roared once more and tugged at her as they neared the kitchen.
Their kitchen was a mess; it looked like a bomb site. The floor was blanketed by broken pieces of ceramic plates and cups. The monster dragged her through all of that like she was a ragged doll and couldn’t feel any pain. Flames of agony shot through her feet as the sharp pieces scraped, throttled, and pierced it without mercy. She was scrambling for safety but the monster was still there, holding her in a vice grip, and she felt tears stinging her eyes. She felt hopelessness taking a hold of her in its cold grasp. She didn’t know who to turn to, if only her mother was there. She didn’t particularly like her mom but she was her only hope and as if in prayer the demon vanished like an apparition and was replaced by her mother.
She was sobbing because of the pain but she endured more painful wounds, deeper wounds and the glass was just something that’ll disappear and leave a mark one day just like all of her wounds.
Then she saw it, the bloody scene that would hunt her dreams for such a very long time. It was her father’s body spread eagle on the floor. He stank of booze and vomit and it repulsed her to see him like that. She hated him and he hated her with the same loathing she had for him. Her hate was more than two stars exploding in a supernova. How could she not hate him? He hurts her and mistreats her like she was a dirty puppy. She wanted him to die and rot in hell and that wasn’t a healthy thought for a girl her age. She remembered the times where he slapped her senseless, the times where she deprived her of her food, the times where he forced her to do difficult chores, and most of all the time that he would deliberately wound her with a needle or with one of the kitchen’s bread knife.
“I wasn’t thinking, honey. I stabbed him and I think he’s dying…I’m so sorry. I didn’t know what came over me,” her mom said, tearfully.
A small pool of blood was under her father and it was getting bigger. The smell of blood was detectable now and it mixed in with the smell of booze. Her father coughed up blood and groaned in anger. He moved but the knife stuck in his fat stomach prevented that. He gained consciousness and snapped his eyes open, “What did you do to me, you stupid bitch? Now look at this! What are we gonna pay for this huh?”
He tried to sit up again but he slumped back as a sharp bolt of pain in his stomach rack him. “What are you looking at you little bitch? You want a knife in your tummy-wummy too? Come a little closer, why don’t you?”
And she did just that.
“No honey, please don’t tempt your daddy. He was just kidding…come here to mommy, please,” her mom said, opening her arms for the expected hug.
But she ignored her mother and frowned down at her father.
“Why, daddy? Why do you like to hurt me?” she asked him.
“Because I hate you, you fucking bitch…I hate your guts. You ruined my life, you’re a curse to this family,” he screamed at her.
She sniffed, kneeled down, and ripped out the knife out of her father’s stomach. He screamed and bolted upright but the knife struck him again, this time it stuck in the lower part of his ribcage. His eyes bulged and stared at his daughter who was holding the knife in her bloody hands.
“What are you doing?” he asked, angrily.
“Die, daddy! Die!” she shrieked and pulled out the knife, then stabbed it again in his stomach. He screamed and gave a choking sound as he coughed up a wave of blood.
Her mother screamed and flung herself towards her daughter, hauling her away from her father.
“You---you killed him!” she screeched in a hoarse voice and slapped her daughter.
She only grinned at her mom and shrugged.
He was coughing more blood and he laid on the floor in an awkward position. He didn’t have the strength to move as the knife wounds vibrated with agony. He felt the life slipping out of him and he was angered about the fact that he died in the hands of her hated daughter. Then a wave of sickening yellow light washed through him and then complete darkness swallowed him in.
She spent an hour scrubbing away all the blood, but it was worth it, it was all worth it. She smiled as she dumped the last bloody rag on the water bucket. Then it all went wrong when she kept seeing her father, looming above her with a knife in his hand. She gasped and crawled away from her vision but a flood of blood washed over the room, covering her. She could taste the blood and booze together in her mouth.
She screamed and screamed in the kitchen as her mother put in the last clump of soil in her father’s hole.
The men didn’t know what to do. This was their hardest case and they were absolutely mortified by this sixteen year old girl. Her pain inside was greater than any of the other patients they had. She had some kind of nuclear explosion inside her that was erupting every second, immersing her in an emotional downpour.
Then the bees appeared again, they looked meaner, rougher, and their eyes glowed red with bloodlust. Her eyes bulged like they were trying to escape from their sockets; tears stood in her eyes and poured down in heaps as she crumpled on the floor, trembling like a wet pup.
The bees zoomed towards her, their buzzing noise filling her up like acid, and grabbed her roughly by the arms.
“Please, please…don’t kill me! Duh-don’t!” She wriggled but they were too strong. Their buzzing made her head ache; her head throbbed with the insistent buzzing, like it was ready to explode and she can’t stop it. For the first time, she noticed the pain on her arms. The pain was something new to her, she did not realize the full capacity of it and she felt like her arms were shredded to pieces, leaving just curtains of rotten skin hanging from her ragged, strikingly white bones.
One tall bee pulled out its stinger. It was a funny move, removing that sharp thing out of its butt, but she wasn’t laughing, oh no she wasn’t laughing at all. How could she in this time of insane horror? She was about to get stabbed by that stupid stinger, and all she could do was squirm and plead for her life. She felt anger boiling inside her; she tasted it in her mouth, felt it going up to her head, and giving her the needed strength to cause more trouble that was expected of a crazy rebellious teenage girl.
Wait! I can still kill the bees! Oh yes! Oh yes I can! My mirror is the answer to everything. Yes and I can go back to my normal life! The life I’ve always wanted, the life where no one will ever harm me again.
She searched for her mirror then realized that she was holding it. She looked down and what she saw were five fat ribbons of skin laced around the mirror, blood and the occasional pus were dripping from the tangles of flesh. She stifled a scream and it came out like a man dying, taking his one last breath. She shook her head and gulped down the bile that burned her throat.
No! This can’t be right, no! no! no! no!
She looked again and saw her normal arm with all their cuts and saw the mirror reflecting a part of her tainted face.
Is that me? Oh God, I look terrible. She saw gloved hands wrapped around both of her hands.
“You two lied to me! You said the bees were gone! Did you know that they attacked me again, huh?” she screamed at them. The two men looked at each other.
“You have to let me go! We have to get out of here! If they return we’ll die! We’ll all die, come on! Let me go! Come on!” she urged them, pulling their hands and looking directly into their eyes, it seemed to them that she was looking directly in to their souls and it was painful for them to just stand there and look at her.
She didn’t understand what was happening, what is wrong with these people? I know there’s something wrong with me but I’m not that broken to be a liar. What the hell is going on?
Alfred McMillan felt sorry for her. He wanted to say “Yes, you can go, get out of here”, but the words that came out were:
“I’m sorry, but we can’t do that.”
“What the hell are you talking about? We should go!” She screamed.
“No! You’re crazy and you’re going to a mental institute!” The shorter one screamed at her and tried to force logic into her already rotten, destroyed mind.
“What the fuck are you talking about? Those bees will come and kill us! You’re the one who’s crazy!” she pulled her hands free and the man let go of it.
“You know what, girlie? You can go ahead and be crazy I don’t give a shit about you anymore, you take care of her Al.” he pointed an annoyed finger at her and walked away.
“What’s he talking about? What? What?!” She turned to look at the other man who was fidgeting and can’t look directly into her eyes.
“It’s true…you are crazy, I’m sorry,” he said that with a hint of sadness in his voice. He felt sorry for her, he felt more sadness for her than for his dog that died when he was young.
She laughed, desperately. “No I’m not, I’m not! How could you say such things! How could you!” she yelled at him.
Confusion turned to anger, anger turned to a desire to hurt someone. To slice the flesh of another, to feel that sharp edge of the blade cut into skin and feel the blood gushing out in spurts of hopelessness. She slowly gripped the mirror, feeling it on her throbbing hands. She relaxed her hands and twirled the mirror around it, waiting for the right moment to strike.
“Do you want to know something I learned today?” she asked him, smiling.
He was taken by surprise so he stared at her and said, “What?”
“That you guys are nothing but filthy liars!” She screeched and in a sudden flash of movement she held his left hand and sliced the thickest part of his forearm. She grinned and licked her lips as she took a close look of the blood that coated her mirror.
“Do you like that? You like that you stinking liar? Huh? Tell me! You want more?” she grinned at the man who was howling in pain
“Liar!” she shouted at him with her shard of mirror high above her head ready to taste his flesh again. She blindly sliced at him. The mirror glinted and shone as it sailed in the air like a faint mirage.
He dodged her easily this time, still holding his bleeding arm as he did so. This girl is going to kill me if I don’t get to her first.
He clasped the needle of diazepam that was still in his hands, nestled gently on the folds of his palms, out of sight of the demented girl. I have to do this fast, shit! She cut me deep.
“Hey look! The bees are here!” he pointed at the open window and put on the best scared face he could manage. He tried not to laugh but it was hilarious.
The girl screamed and tried to run but she tripped on a pink pillow that was given to her last year by a friend of hers. A frenemy actually, no one ever liked her and high school was a hell hole she suffered a lot in.
“Don’t let it kill me! You have to protect me!” She hissed at him while he shook his head in a disapproving gesture.
The man came towards her with the needle ready.
“I’m sorry,” he said and grabbed her left arm, yanked it up, and injected her with the diazepam.
For her it was the bee’s stinger so she screamed herself hoarse until the tranquilizer worked. She slowly slumped into the man’s arms, her eyes closed and she breathed slowly like she was dying. She was carried gently into the waiting ambulance, its glowing red and blue lights alternately splashed on the surrounding area, the grass seemed to burn and turn into ice every second. She was strapped in and the ambulance rumbled and drove off leaving her mother, step-father and step-brother with relief and agony on their faces. The man with the black suit put his hands inside his pockets and watched the ambulance go until it was out of sight. Her mother clasped her face on her palms, cried in it, and leaned on her husband’s shoulder. Now the evil is gone, what’s going to happen next?
Then she remembered her dead husband rotting under her garden and the knife that was stuck on his stomach.
The man smiled and pulled his cell phone and dialed the number’s hospital. A croaky voice answered him and he said, “She’s coming, are you sure she’s going to endure the experiments?”
The croaky voice answered, “Yes, she’s the perfect specimen.”