I rolled out of bed on my fourth day in Blackrock Institute. Most of the previous days I had spent in my room, leaving only to get food in the canteen. I had seen no further sign of the brunette, and had had no contact with my other inmates. Today was the day of one of the group therapy sessions.
I had deliberated long and hard over the last few days as to whether I would attend or not. I saw no benefit from it; discussing myself in front of a group of other people was not something I did, or something I enjoyed. All that happened was a bunch of people got together and sat in a circle. They stared at anything but one another while everyone waited for someone else to start speaking. All that people offered were a few non-committal words. On rare occasions, someone would actually divulge their problems and receive a few encouraging words and sympathetic glances. The whole process was a waste of time. And I certainly wasn’t going to tell a bunch of people how fucked up I was, or what had landed me in there. But there was a chance the brunette would attend. I wanted to see her again. In the end, I decided to attend.
The group session took place that evening in one of the ground floor rooms. I strolled down five minutes before it was due to start and entered the room. Dr. Evans smiled and welcomed me when she saw me enter. There were three other people in the room; the blonde boy from the common room, the girl with the violet hair, and a black boy who had a shaved head. None of them were sitting beside each other, instead leaving spaces between. The black boy saw me enter and gestured to the empty seat next to him. I walked over and sat down.
“New eh?” he asked.
“Yeah. This is day four”.
“I’ve been here nine months. Name’s Jonah”.
“Logan”. I shook his hand.
A red haired boy wearing glasses shyly walked in and sat alone next to Dr. Evans.
“He’s the youngest here” Jonah said, “He’s only fourteen”.
“Who’s next youngest?”
“Zoey, she’s not here yet, she’s sixteen”.
“And what age are you?”
Two more people entered, these two hand in hand. A tall boy with jet black hair and a bit of a swagger, holding the hand of a blonde haired petite girl. They sat together and continued holding hands. She leaned over and whispered something in his ear and then planted a kiss on his lips. He placed his free hand on her knee. Dr. Evans glanced at her watch, and was just about to get started when the brunette walked in. She glanced around the room and then quickly ran over to an empty seat next to the girl with violet hair. The violet haired girl smiled at her, and then Dr. Evans got to her feet.
“This isn’t everyone, this is actually a good turnout to group” Johan said.
“Right everyone, shall we get started?” Dr. Evans asked. There was no response. “Okay. You may have noticed, we have a new face with us. I think we should all introduce ourselves so he feels welcome. He’s already met me, so why don’t you start?” she asked the boy next to her.
The redheaded kid cleared his throat. “I’m Zach. I’m fourteen. I’m here because I’ve got severe depression”. He looked at Dr. Evans who smiled. The blonde boy from the common room spoke next.
“I’m Michael. I’ve got PTSD. I’m seventeen”. Michael sat back down. I could feel the tension in the room. We all knew how unnecessary this was.
Next up was the boy from the couple. He stood and puffed out his chest. “I’m Damien. Nineteen. Sadism and lack of empathy apparently”. He sat down and the girl with him giggled. She glanced around us.
“I’m Sarah. I’m seventeen and they tell me I’ve got Stockholm Syndrome”. She turned back to Damien and they started whispering to one another again. The violet haired girl came next.
“I’m Camilla. I’m eighteen. I’m a histrionic arising from depression”. She looked over at me and winked. The brunette was next. She glanced up shyly. “I’m Alyssa. I’m nineteen. I-I’d rather not say what I have in front of everyone”.
“That is fine Alyssa” Dr. Evans said. Jonah was next. He said his bit, stating he was also a PTSD sufferer. And then it was my turn.
“Why don’t you stand up and introduce yourself to the group?” Dr. Evans asked. I nodded and stood. I could feel eight pairs of eyes staring at me. I cleared my throat.
“Hi everyone. I’m Logan. I’m nineteen”. I looked around at them for a second. “And I’m a veritable cocktail of fucked up, you really don’t want to know”. They all laughed and offered back a chorus of ‘Hi Logan’. I sat down and Dr. Evans smiled.
“Very good. Okay. So how was everyone’s week?” The rest of the hour passed slowly as she coaxed small details from members of the group. No one willingly offered to share. Dr. Evans asked Camilla how her urges were.
“They’ve been good for the last two weeks, I’ve been able to control them. But I think they might be getting stronger again”. She winked at me again. Alyssa kept her gaze on the ground.
Zach seemed to share the most of anyone; the younger ones often did. He appeared to be close to Dr. Evans; he obviously felt more comfortable if she was around. Damien and Sarah just whispered to one another the entire time.
“Logan” Dr. Evans said, “Would you like to share some more about yourself before we finish?” I could feel their eyes on me again; waiting to see if the new guy was a sharer. I shook my head. “Very well then. That’s all for today everyone. We’ll meet again same time next week”.
Everyone gradually filed out of the room. Damien and Sarah were the first to go. Zach was talking to Dr. Evans, Michael was still sitting in his chair. Jonah and I stood and waited by our chairs. I watched as Camilla and Alyssa left the room.
“Do you want to go to the common room?” Jonah asked.
“Yeah sure” I said. We left the room and walked down the corridor.
“A veritable cocktail of fucked up?” Jonah asked. I smiled.
“Like I said. You don’t want to know”.
“Go on, try me”.
“Maybe another time”.
“Yeah okay. Whenever you’re ready”. I nodded. We turned into the common room and went over to the beanbags. I sat in the red one again, he sat in the blue. “So what do you make of the wonderful Blackrock Institute so far?”
“It seems alright” I said, “They don’t seem to be too strict, which is a nice difference. The last place I was in, when I was fourteen, they were very strict. I was only there for six months though”.
“Yeah I like that about this place. They give you the freedom to do your own thing, once you attend the one on one therapy sessions, and once you don’t break the rules”.
“Dr. Evans seems friendly”.
“She is. She is actually quite good at what she does, unlike some therapists”. I nodded. The door to the common room opened again and Camilla walked in.
“Hey Jonah!” she said, and she came over. “Hey new guy”. She sat down on the purple beanbag.
“Hey Camilla” Jonah said, and I added my own ‘hey’. “Where is Alyssa?” Jonah asked.
“She’s gone back to her room. I came down here to see if anyone was around”.
“She spends too much time alone”.
“Leave her be. Anyway, what’s up new guy? Logan isn’t it?”
“Yeah Logan. Still settling in to this place”.
“Know anyone yet?”
“No, only just met Jonah before group”.
“Well now you know me too. Allow me to properly introduce myself. I am Camilla Roberts”. She held out a hand.
“Logan Matthews”, I shook it.
“You’ve got a good grip there” she said, smirking.
“So what got you in here?” she asked.
“I’d rather not talk about it. Not now”.
“I get you, you don’t know anyone enough to tell us right?” I nodded. “That’s totally fine. I was the same when I first got here. Would you like to know what brought me here?”
“If you want to tell me”.
“Everyone else knows it so why not you?” she smiled. “Like I said, I suffered from bad depression out there. It got real bad a few times. And the depression led to me becoming a histrionic. My parents sent me here in the hope that it might help my depression, and that would then stop me being a histrionic”.
“I’m sorry about the depression” I said.
“Thanks” she smiled, shuffling her beanbag closer to mine. “It’s not so bad anymore. Most of the problem now is the fact that I can’t always control my sexual urges”. She winked again and placed a hand on my knee. Then she stood up. “I’d better go check on Alyssa. I’ll see you guys later”. She turned and walked away, bouncing out of the room.
Jonah was laughing. “You’re going to have to get used to Camilla” he said, “She’s very forward sometimes”.
“Did she try the same thing with you?”
“A bit at the start, but I made it clear I had no interest. We’re good friends now”.