A/N: I would like to pause and disclaim Alice and Wonderland. All brilliance goes to Lewis Carroll, and to Disney for bringing it to life for all the children who have not read the book. Still don’t own Twilight, although I find I am being infected with the Twi-fic fever. Or whatever it’s called.
“Admit it; you lost. You might as well quit and keep your dignity.”
I kept my eyes on the cards fanned out in my hands, refusing to exalt him with a response. Emmett merely laughed. It was Wednesday, which meant they expected us to socialize with the other members of our group. I was pretty sure the grouping was random, because I had found no common ground with any of these people. Emmett made alright company, on his good days. On his bad days… I wasn’t even going to go there.
Playing Rummy had sort of become our tradition. I wasn’t quite sure when it had begun, but it was a quick way to pass the afternoon. It offered us both a way to distract our minds, to focus on something besides the ghosts and the shadows. I looked down at my cards in dismay. Emmett was right; I was going to lose. But of course I couldn’t let him know that now.
“Dammit, Rosalie, I’m not using that card yet. I’m saving that one,” Emmett muttered, shaking his head as he spoke. There was no response. There never would be a response. Emmett was schizophrenic, and Rosalie was his delusion. He talked about her as if she was the only thing keeping him alive, and sometimes I thought she was. I never bothered to comment when he was talking to her. That was what made him happy, and who was I to take his happiness? No one. We all deserved a little, and Emmett was lucky enough to have found some.
Eventually he laid down his card, one I had no use for. And on it went. We spoke every now and then, but it was always meaningless chat. Neither of us liked to talk about our current stats, and I had next to no memory of a past As for the future… well, it was looking bleak. Gray. Dead.
“Mister Whitlock, it’s time to return to your room.” A woman spoke to me, her voice clear and soprano. She was a younger woman, probably in her late twenties or so. Red hair framed a slender face. Pretty. Not beautiful, but perhaps someone who would earn a second glance. I knew her only as one of them. One of the enemies. She would assist them in locking me up forever.
I rose to my feet, setting down my cards on the table. I didn’t look back to see Emmett’s reaction as his eyes fell upon the royal flush. All in hearts.
I thought that Fall may have been moving in. Out my window I watched a slight breeze begin to stir up the trees nestled around the dungeon I called home. Leaves broke free from their branches, their final, feeble attempts to hold on failed. I was sicktiredsickandtired of this all. Unless idleness was a disease, there was nothing wrong with me.
I closed my eyes, imagining that I was laying in a bed of roses. And I was happy there, really, truly happy.
I was not alone. Beside me there lay a girl, one I did not recognize. But she was slender and soft and everything I was not. And beautiful, too, with long hair of the darkest brown and eyes like amber. Her smile could have put angels to shame. It was only for me.
An ear-splitting scream from down the hall shattered the fairytale. My eyelids opened to reveal the same room, with its white walls and broken spirit. Like me, only my soul was far from clean. Taintedstainedblack. Self-condemned.
With a small sigh, I leaned myself back against the cold wall. In a matter of time, it would be dark outside. The world would fall into slumber, a few hours without the woes the daylight heaped upon their shoulders. And I would be here, awake, alone but for the ghosts and the monsters that were me.
Another scream sounded. Usually I wrote them off, and I was about to do the same with that one. This place was but a breeding ground for madness and darkness, so these types of things were not out of the ordinary.
But this one was different somehow. It was filled with a terror so real even I had a had time ignoring it. It was raw, and it scared me. The voice belonged to a girl. Some part of me wished that I could run to her, save her. She was clearly broken, and possibly on the verge of shattering beyond repair. Maybe I could take her and hold her, fix her.
Or maybe not. Broken does not heal broken.
Then it all was silent again. Perhaps they had managed to calm her. Perhaps they had knocked her out. I did all I could to push it from my mind. It was not for me to think of. I had my own things to worry about. Things like getting out, like proving to them I wasn’t crazy. However one went about that. In that place, everyone claimed they were sane, even those who weren’t. But, I thought, that maybe some of them were. Who defined insanity, if it all was relative? Who was given judgment, if we all were sinners in our own way? Insanity did not exist, but neither did salvation. So maybe I was better off in here than in the next hell.