I felt so cold. My body was shivering, yet I was sweating bullets. It felt like someone was piercing my body with a thousand needles at once. I wanted to scream but I couldn speak.
Everywhere around me I looked, I found the same faceless shadows coming for me with malicious grins. I tried backing away from them, out of reach. But it was no use, I was cornered.
Their dirty hands touched me everywhere. All I could do was cry and try to shove them away. But it was useless, they were too strong. They grabbed my hands and legs roughly. I screamed, I think, but there was no sound.
Everything was black and white. The colors had disappeared, the noises disappeared. I was back in a nineties, silent movie. Only, I was the victim this time.
I opened my eyes. My heart was beating at an irregular rate. Beads of sweat trailed past my fast. The room was dark, except for the moon. I turned towards the window on my right, as tears slipped out of my eyes.
The moon was beautiful tonight. It glowed and shone down on me, covering me in its ethereal light. I wanted to get up and sit on the window ledge, but my body was numb.
I was frozen in fear, or maybe it was just the handcuffs. At this point, I wasn sure about anything anymore.
I stayed awake all night, sleep had forsaken me tonight. I listened to the noiseless whispers echoing through the thin walls of the asylum. I heard the heavy footfalls of the monsters as they worked within the darkness of the night.
It had been almost three hours since I had been awake. I felt her presence even before I heard her voice.
Miss me? I turned towards her glowing form. She truly looked more and more like a goddess every night she visited. It was like a slap in the face.
I scoffed, You wish.
I turned away but I felt the bed dip near my feet as she sat on the bed. I knew she was staring at my face when she said next, Aweh, you had a nightmare.
It was a statement, and I didn bother correcting her. I didn even turn to look at her when she said it. This irked her, and I felt her cold fingers grip my chin tightly. She sharply turned my head towards her as those blue eyes looked at me in disgust. In that moment, she had lost all her angelic beauty, and I smirked, feeling at ease once again. This was the best friend I had known since childhood.
She spit at me, Look at you, crying like a weakling. You deserve it.
I swallowed. It hurt but Id never let it show, especially not in front of her. My smirk widened, and I shot back, Look whos talking. Didn you jump off the roof just because daddy didn love you enough?
It was a low blow, so I expected the slap. But the cool smirk remained on my face as I looked into the pale face of my dead best friend.
She stood up in anger and looked back at me, You deserve everything that comes your way.
With that, she vanished, and I was left to stare at the spot she had been standing in. I knew shed be back in a few days, but it didn make things any easier.
My best friend, Cassie, had committed suicide at the age of ten. It was just a few days before I had been taken away.
We had been close since birth, practically like sisters. Her parents had always had trouble with their marriage, so Cassie would stay at our place almost all the time.
Unfortunately, the fights got worse. It was to the point of a divorce. Cassie had always loved her dad more, so she wanted to stay with him. But he refused. Instead, he ran away and never got in contact with Cassie again.
Cassie never got over it. It only got worse over time. Fast forward to two years later and her mom found her hanging from the ceiling. She only found a goodbye letter from her afterwards.
I only found this out after her death that she was being bullied in school too. I hated that she never told me this. Cassie had become awfully quiet after her dad disappeared. I was always hanging out with her, but it just didn feel like Cassie anymore. She was just an empty shell of the person she used to be.
It didn help that we were in different schools. I begged my parents to let me go to Cassies school, but they refused. Cassies mom couldn afford the private school I attended, so it was a hopeless case.
But we dealt with it as best as we could. I thought Cassie was getting better, but I shouldve known better. I hated myself for not knowing what my best friend had been going through.
Truth be told, I still wasn over it. Especially when Cassie appeared in front of me all of a sudden. The first time that had happened, Id cried and begged for her forgiveness. But shed been merciless.
She blamed me for her death. It was the same every time. So I hardened myself against her words. Instead of taking her blows, I started delivering blows of my own.
Each time she visited, it was an intense battle of words. Only one of us could come out of it unscathed.
I still didn truly know what she was, or how she was able to visit me. My first thought was that I was hallucinating, but hallucinations couldn touch me. They were just that, a figure of my mind. So I didn know what was going on.
The only thing I knew was that it was me against her. Living in this asylum for the past five years had given me a tough skin. It was only me now. I had no best friend or family. It was safe myself or die.
Cassies memory kept spinning around my head when morning rolled. I watched the sunrise, it was peaceful.
Exactly at eight, my guardian came. She was bright and cheery as usual. It was all a fake exterior, I could feel her disgust radiating off of her.
She said something- her usual morning greeting, but it went over my head. My cuffs were unlocked and she grabbed me roughly. As usual, she was wearing her latex gloves as if we were some diseased creatures.
My vision was hazy. I saw the same white walls and floors, but at the same, I saw nothing. It was all just a splash of white nothingness. There was not a single colour in this bland place. Even our sickly pallor matched the white walls.
Honestly, if it were up to the asylum, they would shave off our heads, or even dye our hair white. I was surprised they hadn tried it yet.
I was pushed into a thin chamber. They made us breathe different gases every day in here. I had long since stopped protesting, I knew it was no use anyway.
The gas had no smell. It filled up the entire chamber until I couldn see anything past the glass door. My heart rate sped up as I breathed in the gas. I felt sort of dizzy and my vision spun. My hand reached out towards the glass in front of me, anything that would help me stay upright.
Finally, when I felt like I was about to throw up, the door opened. I staggered forward and two guardians grabbed each of my arms roughly. They pushed me towards the examination table, and I laid down shakily. I felt like my body was made of jelly and it would collapse at any moment.
I think my body started convulsing at some point but I wasn sure. The ringing in my ears was too loud. Just before I passed out, I felt a small prick in my arm. I wasn sure if I was grateful for the darkness that enveloped me.
I woke up, feeling as if someone had run me over with a truck. My body felt too weak, and I wasn able to use my powers. Even blinking and breathing was too much effort.
A dark form appeared above me. They shined a light into each of my eyes, and I winced.
Someone raised the bed I was lying in, so I was able to see something other than the bright lights. A table was kept in front of me. I tried to focus on what it was, but my vision wouldn focus.
I think I asked someone what it was, but my voice was too slow, or I was slurring my words. I wasn sure. Then I felt something cool touch my lips, I took a few sips and sighed. Even water felt like honey right now.
It gave me the strength to at least focus on the objects on the table. I had never been so glad to see stake bread and water before. My hand moved slowly, it was an effort to grab one of the slices of bread.
I took a tiny bite, which felt too loud in my mind. I winced but kept on chewing slowly. For a second, I worried if my teeth were about to fall out. I was surprised when I tasted something sweet alongside the bread.
Usually, it was just that- stale bread. But it tasted like jam or butter, I wasn sure. My vision was still not perfect, but it was certainly improving.
By the time I was done, I felt a lot better. At least my vision and abilities were working now. Plus, I didn feel like my arms were made of lead.
As soon as I took the bite, someone took away the table. My cheery guardian from earlier came by and said something. Again, I zoned her out, or maybe I still wasn able to make out the voice.
It didn matter because the next thing I knew, the woman was dragging me across the room. I say drag because it was hard for me to stand straight, let alone walk.
The rooms were a blur in the corner of my vision as I was dragged somewhere. Multiple shadows came into my sight as we entered a room.
No one bothered looking up as we walked inside. They knew better.
I was made to sit forcefully into a chair. Two more people sat at the table. Upon my interruption, they looked at me in disgust. I simply rolled my eyes and looked up at my guardian. I figured I should try to listen to her right now.
-will get along very well. Don cause trouble. Ill be back to check up on you in an hour. It was a warning. Anyone who made a wrong move was sent to the torture room.
It meant exactly as its name. The mad scientist that worked in there electrocuted us until we begged and pleaded then for forgiveness. It was their twisted strategy to keep up all in line.
I looked back at the table. We were playing cards today. They started a new round, and I knew even before picking up my cards that they had purposely given me bad ones.
If they were going to cheat, then so was I. As soon as the girl distributing the cards placed the deck on the table, I leaned in and whispered, Did you see that new guy sitting in the corner of the room?
The other one immediately took the bait and asked me excitedly while looking around the room, What guy? Where?
I jerked my chin towards the corner of the room where a black-haired guy was sitting with his back to us. He wasn new in fact, just very low-key. So only a handful of people knew his identity. I only knew because I made sure to keep tabs on all the people within this building.
Both the girls were busy glimpsing around, so I quickly exchanged my cards with the girl whod been distributing the cards. People were too easy, especially dumb girls like them. I mentally scoffed at their stupidity.
When both the girls frowned at me and whisper-yelled, We don see him!
I quirked a brow and pretended to search the table I had been pointing at earlier. Oh.. I began in a sheepish voice as I looked at the girls, ..I guess I mightve been mistaken..\
They glared at me so harshly, that for a second I worried if they had laser beams or some similar supernatural power. But then they abruptly turned away from me with loud huffs and picked up their cards. I hid my face behind my cards and smirked.
It was no surprise when I won. The girl who had distributed the cards threw her cards on the table, pointed a thin finger at me and screamed, Cheater! You cheated!
I blinked at her shyly and murmured in a low voice as if I was scared of her sudden rash behaviour, C-cheated? But you distributed the cards..
e a cheater, you freak! She lunged for me but two guardians grabbed her arms. She kept on screaming and trying to land a hit on me, but the guardians were stronger. She was dragged out of the room kicking and screaming as everyone stared after her in silence.
As soon as she was gone, another guardian clapped her hands. Her voice echoed around the large room as she said, Shows over. Back to your tasks.
Everyone turned away and focused on the mind games they had been given to play with. Every two days we had to sit around and play board games. It could be anything: chess, cards, puzzles. They claimed it would help sharpen our minds. But almost every week something like today would happen.
All of us had short tempers. We felt like caged animals who were bound to snap at any point. This just happened to be the hour when almost everyone lost their temper, including myself.
In the past five years, there had been multiple incidents of one of us being dragged away from the common room kicking and screaming because one of their teams had provoked them. We got a kick out of it.
Sometimes, it was just a case of severe anger issues. The latter was understandable but shouldve been directed at the guardians.
I had snapped when I was eleven. It had been almost two years since I had been trapped in this place and no one had come to save me yet. I was a lot less patient back then.
The others mostly strayed far away from me because I was known for my fierce temper. Whenever theyd force me into this room, I would try to convince the others to escape from the asylum. My plan was raw and entirely based on fighting.
It mightve worked if most of us weren so weak from the lack of food and the overdose of unknown drugs we were given on a daily basis.
I was young and naive back then, I thought we could do it. All I had to do was convince the others. But they all disregarded me and ignored me. It was the same all the time until they actually acknowledged my presence and it wasn pretty.
I had had a nasty encounter with Cassie that day. It was one of our first fights. We had exchanged insults, and fists and rolled around the room like two crazy people. Thank god it was around dawn or I wouldve been in a lot of trouble.
I had been angry after the fight. Cassie had laughed at me and told me that I would be stuck in this place forever. At the time, it struck a nerve. I took her words to heart and started thinking about them.
The words weighed down on me all day long, and I worried that they were true. I had always thought that I would get out of here someday. But reality hit me like a trainwreck, and I didn take it lightly. My eyes were wild and my mind was a storm.
I kept thinking to myself that I had to get out of there right now. My mind was frantic, in a panicked state. I didn think things through when I decided to smash the tables in the common room.
It was unusual, no normal person wouldve been able to do that. It was a mistake that I realized too late.
As soon as our board game time rolled around, I went around the room smashing everyones table and blowing the games to pieces with my mind. That was when my peers finally noticed me. I was sure they heard me and my words.
Some part of me felt that I wouldve been able to get out of here that day if only I had had more time. But the guardians were on me as soon as they had seen my little performance. I was a traitor and traitors had to be punished.
That was the first and the last time I had been electrocuted. It was the day I swore to myself that I would kill them all. Yet it has been almost four years, and I was still trapped in here.
But, as soon as they shut me in my room after my punishment. I had sat crossed-legged on my bed, staring at the wall. I had erased the memory of me smashing tables from everyones minds. It was necessary and had to be done. So all they remembered was me stirring trouble as usual and then getting punished for my traitorous actions.
My powers weren as strong back then, so it took a huge drain out of me. I was exhausted by the time I was done because I had had to sweep the minds of almost five hundred people.
I was busy staring into space when I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was the other girl and she was looking at me with a pleading look in her eyes. It set me on alert, and I straightened up. My eyes narrowed on her as she said, Please, I don want to be punished. I won do anything to you, I promise.
I stared at her in surprise, but my expression remained neutral. Honestly, I hadn been thinking of sending her to the mad scientists laboratory but she didn need to know that. Instead, I could make a deal out of this. Something that would be beneficial in the future.
I mentally smirked, and pretended to look at my nails, Oh, really?
Out of the corner of my eyes, I could see her bob her head up and down. Her eyes were wide, looking like a deer caught in headlights. Please..
I looked up at her sharply and said, Okay, but only if you do something for me in return.
She hesitated, I could see it in her eyes. So I continued as I picked up the cards, Or I could just..
The panicked look was back in her eyes as she shook her head, No, no! Ill do it.
This time, I didn bother hiding my smirk. You never made deals with anyone around here. It was suicide.
Ashley, right? I turned away from her and picked up the deck of cards, adding both mine and her cards to the decks before shuffling.
Yes.. Her meek voice sounded. It was too slow, and I had to strain my ears to hear it.
Ill let you know when I want to cash in my favour.
With that, I distributed the cards. She was opening her mouth, no doubt to ask something stupid so I glared at her. She shut her mouth and picked up her cards dejectedly.
Ashley and I hadn bothered talking since the favour. She kept eyeing me still as if I would turn into a she-devil and suck her soul any minute. It was a nice image in my head, though.
We were on our third game when a shadow fell on the table. I, of course, had won the previous rounds. I looked up in annoyance and saw my guardian standing with an annoyingly, wide smile. I wondered how shed look if I stained her teeth with blood.
Having fun, I see. Unfortunately, its time for you two to partake in your other extracurricular activities. I exchanged a glance with Ashley, we both knew what extracurricular activities meant. It was just sugar coating that we
e going to feed you some more drugs.
I had no idea how any of us hadn died of a drug overdose yet. Another guardian came by. She grabbed Ashleys arm as the cheery one grabbed mine. I wish I couldve exchanged with Ashley. Her guardian looked a lot more interesting with a forced smile that even an eight-year-old could tell was fake.
We were both dragged in different directions as soon as we were out of the room. She took me to another room that was the same as earlier. Only this one had no cylindrical machines, only several beds with an overhead machine. An fMRI I think it was called.
I was asked to lay down on the bed and not move. I had been in this machine only thrice before. Afterwards, my vision had been severed for about a few hours. So I groaned mentally thinking how long it was going to be this time.
None of the drugs so far had affected my powers. Or maybe they had, and I hadn noticed. The machine started, and I entered the machine. The insides were too bright, and I squinted, unable to keep my eyes open.
It lasted for about a minute then I was out again. I blinked but my vision didn clear up. I sighed, here we go again. Luckily, instead of everything being covered in darkness. I was able to see, but my vision was very blurry.
So the guardian grabbed my upper arm and took me somewhere. It was the same white walls so I wasn able to tell if we were in the same room or a different one.
My guardian made me sit on something, and then shine a light into my eyes. I winced, mentally cursing them for shining lights into my eyes all the time. I was pretty sure I was going to go blind at this rate.
Then, I felt something wet on my upper arm. Our paper dresses had cap sleeves, so my guardian didn have to bother with pulling up the sleeves. I felt something sharp in my arm followed by a heavy sensation.
It spread into my body and rushed to my brain. I felt hot from the inside out. Then I felt something wet on my face. I lifted a finger and touched the area beneath my nose. My vision was still blurry but I was able to make out the red colour.
My guardian didn do anything about my nose bleed. But the blood loss was making me dizzy. Then just when I felt I was able to pass out, I felt another pricking sensation in my arm.
My guardian pushed my head backwards, so my nose would be up in the air. My body felt normal again, and I felt my guardian clear up the blood around my face. She handed me a wet tissue to clean my hands.
When I wasn having any more nose bleeds, she took my temperature. After that, I was dragged away and locked into my room again. I guessed it was 10 a.m. already.
This was our mandatory sleeping time, but the drugs were making me nauseous. So I stayed awake all night, staring at the ceiling. My not-so-perfect vision brought my nightmare to life, as shadows swarmed all around me. But it didn feel scary anymore, because the shadows were basking in the moonlight.
It wasn the first time Id been called a freak. Ever since I had started middle school, my classmates picked me to be the odd one out. Maybe it was because I liked to isolate myself from the other kids, and I was kind of a loner.
But it wasn like I wanted to be alone. Nobody wanted to be friends with me for some reason. They thought I was too boring and lame. I was pretty sure someone had called me lame in the second grade. Even then, Id tried to participate in group activities, hoping that one of them wouldn run away from me as if I was some creature from another universe.
I never knew why they did it. It wasn like I was ugly. But I was thin and kind of a brainiac. Anyone who qualified as a need deserved to be bullied. It wasn my fault they were so dumb.
Reading was something I was very passionate about. The libraries were my solace because you seldom found anyone in there. Our librarian was an old, haughty woman. But she never treated me rudely, and I appreciated that.
I always wished that I could just stay in the library all day long, but Mrs Teal would forcefully kick me out almost every other day. She was fed up per se.
Unfortunately, my peaceful time in the library didn last. Most of my bullies were the popular kids in my class. They thought they were too cool just because their daddy was a millionaire. Rich kids annoyed me.
Mostly, they would just push me around until I fell to the floor. Sometimes they would throw random stuff at me, pencils, books, anything they could grab.
Honestly, I couldve knocked them all out with a swipe of my hand. But I never used my powers in school because I was scared of getting caught.
Although I never fully understood where the nickname freak originated from, I had always had a lingering suspicion that it was because of my powers.
There had been a few times when Id been forced to use my powers. I thought I was being careful at the time, but there was a possibility that someone had caught me.
I remember this one time in third grade. We had a surprise test, and I wasn prepared at all. But the kid next to me was. She had been writing and filling out the pages furiously. Our teachers never collected the test sheets before the given time was up, and the girl next to me had finished within ten minutes.
So she kept her test on her table and took a nap. Our teacher was roaming around the class to make sure none of us would be able to cheat. But as soon as she turned her back on us, my classmates would start exchanging answers.
Of course, none of them would ever share their answers with me. So I waited until only two minutes were left for the quiz time to be over. Then, as soon as the clock struck ten, I shut off the lights in the room and snapped all the doors and windows shut.
The room was enveloped with the scared and angry voices of the students and our teacher. No one took any notice as I swapped my test out with my neighbours.
I decided to remain calm and seated for a few minutes in the darkness as everyone ran around wildly. Despite the noise, it felt peaceful.
Then, I snapped my fingers and the light turned on. The doors and windows were unlocked but I didn bother throwing them open.
As soon as the lights had been turned on, I had stood up in my seat with a distressed expression. So Id mimic the other students standing all around the room and not stick out like a sore thumb as the odd one out.
That was only one of the incidents I had caused. At the time, I hadn bothered looking around the room. I had been too absorbed in feeling satisfied with my abilities. Unfortunately, that was a mistake.