The voice of one of the nurses. Now you’ve done it.

We of Ward 16 knew better than to draw attention to ourselves.

The nurses carried themselves with a certain indignation and slight air of superiority. Cherry lipstick, blue eye shadow, powdered noses, dark mascara, and pity masked the faces of these women, but the patients knew better. The nurses had sharp tongues and many times were more feared than the strong armed orderlies. Each nurse was well equipped with her own verbal arsenal, ready to let loose on any who dared question or challenge her authority.

They were the ones who ran the Ward, while the brutish orderlies looked on nervously and occasionally held down a foolish pariah that attempted to break the coveted regulations. The regulations and rules were the Ward’s Bible, methodically drilled into our heads from morning until night. Even in our dreams they echoed in our heads… “No roughhousing….no sharp objects…patients are to be supervised while brushing teeth or handling other potentially dangerous objects…patients are required to attend group therapy once every two weeks…obey all staff members…report any incidents to a staff member immediately… there is to be absolutely no violence towards other patients, staff, visitors….”.

I sighed and turned towards the sweet voice. The slender, youthful nurse was bent over me, inquisitively inspecting me to assure that I had not somehow been able to hurt myself.

“Honey, did you cut yourself again? You’re shaking… here…”

I stared blankly back into the glittering brown eyes.

“Nope, no harm done. Here, let’s get you down to Group. Won’t that make you feel better?”

I nodded out of reflex. As she led me away towards the double-locked doors, I turned once again to my window. There, in the window, was the face of a boy. He was smiling, his long blonde hair slick with rain and his eyes… they were the exact color of the blue walls of Ward 16. He held his wrist to the window, pressing it against the glass. I could barely make out the black symbol he had etched on the white flesh of his wrist….



The End

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