She felt like the earth was parting beneath her feet.
In a single moment, she swore the ground opened up. Like swollen lips parting in a grotesque grin, the world around came apart. Pristine, reflective walls stretched, pulled further and further away. Vast emptiness, a world apart from the restraints seemingly biting into her pulse. She heard the others, close enough to whisper sweet nothings in her ears. Lies, everything was a lie and their mocking words were utter desolation to the flame of her singular belief.
‘I’m not crazy,’ She told herself. ‘I’m not!’
No one heard her mental plea. No one turned, the doctors passing by with clipboards in hand and white robes fluttering around them. She twisted her wrists, tugged against the hard cord binding her wrists to the arms of her chair. Lank hair clung to her neck, the ends curling loosely. A sheen of sweat glittered on her forehead, catching the pasty light above.
An old man hobbled by, slow on crooked feet. His coat hung loose, belt dragging across the ground on either side of him. He swayed as he moved between the nurses, sightless eyes staring at something only he, himself, could see. She wanted to curse him for leaving her there, for not pulling her along behind him. She wanted to scream, to cry, to shout.
She yanked on her wrists, instead. Grunted as pain lanced through her arms, grit her teeth as pale skin broke and red bubbled over the bruised, puffy skin. She glanced towards the doctors – I’m not crazy, I’m not crazy, I’m not crazy – as she pulled on the restraints, a tint of blue starting to bloom across her lips. She was cold, suddenly. Her heartbeat was sluggish as if submerged in ice and water.
A woman with a swollen middle was wheeled down the hallway, her screams echoing as she lurched upward. She was restrained to the bed, ankles locked at the edges. Blood pooled between parted legs, a crown of dark hair peeking out of a nest of blonde. The girl felt a wave of dizziness wash over her, eyes wide as she watched the doctors vanish with the pregnant, screaming soon-to-be-mother.
“I’m not crazy,” The girl whispered to herself as she slumped in her chair, limbs heavy.
“I’m not crazy…” There was a flicker, then. An overhead light caught between light and darkness, leaving the hallway around her white-black-white. Lights on, lights off. The staff in the hospital didn’t seem to notice, so focused on their paperwork. The girl felt a sense of unease cut through her, swallowing hard as the end of the hallway turned into a watery, mist-like wall of nothing. “I’m not crazy. I’m not crazy. I’m not!”
She yanked on her restraints with renewed vigor, desperate to get out of the chair. Her gaze darted back to the shifting, mist-like wall. It was closer, now. Smoke was creeping across the floor, thick and dark and ominous. Closer it came, steady and slow as she pulled and yanked and thrashed in her seat.
Then a hand closed around the back of her neck, so cold her blood froze. Lips brushed the shell of her ear, teeth bit into the soft lobe and tugged. She cried, silent heaves that fought for control of her vocals. A hand ghosted over her shoulder, gentle compared to the tight grasp on her neck, and then there was a voice.
The restraints fell, clattering loudly against the floor.
She threw herself forward. She did not hesitate, did not turn to confront whoever had stood behind her moments before. She ran, hospital gown fluttering over her skin with each sharp movement. Laughter followed her down the hallway, followed as she barreled to the right and shouldered her way through a door. It echoed as she raced down the stairs, a river of dark fog billowing down the steps after her.
She did not stop until she was throwing herself through the front doors of the hospital, warm light washing over her cold, shaking form. She hit the ground, bloody hands clutched to her gut. Behind her, the ruin of a building mocked her. Dead memories watched from the windows, unmoving as she sobbed and cried.
In the doorway stood a silent figure, seemingly made of darkness. It smiled.