I slip my eyes open and see a woman dressed in pure white. Her face is a little blurred to me, my head rocks back and forth as a great migraine plagues my mind.
"Oh…my…my head…" I mutter.
I try to rub my face but I can't move my hands. I look down to see my hands clamped down onto the chair, as if I were in an asylum. I try to break free from my bonds but to no avail.
"You'll…you'll get used to it," the woman sighs, "it's just for your safety."
I glare at her.
"Where am I?" I gasp, "Wait…who are you?"
I look around the room but it is empty. The walls are padded. It is just me and the woman.
"You are in the Safe House…" the woman says in a shrill voice, "I am…I will be your guide."
The Safe House. It is all so familiar to me. But why was it so familiar?
"The what?" I grumble, "Why am I here?"
The woman crouches down so we are eye level.
"It's okay," she whispers, "we are here to help you, my love."
Those words vibrate in my head. They repeat over and over again. The hairs on my body stand on end as I realised where I was. My worst nightmare.
I look up at the woman and look into her eyes, a reflection of my younger self staring back at me. She was scared, shivering, agitated. It wasn't something she wanted to relive and I could understand.
The woman brushes her nails, painted blood red, against my bare skin, leaving a light scratch mark. I scream and turn away from her, scared to even look at her face.
"It's okay, my love," she hums, "it may all seem…scary to you at first. Believe me, everyone is at first. But you will get used to it. Eventually."
The woman turns my head harshly in order for me to see her face. Her eyes were replaced with black buttons, a large slash across her cheeks sewn up lazily, her blonde hair slicked back into a ponytail. She smiles devilishly before pushing my face back. All those memories flood back into my brain, making my heart heavy. I vaguely recognised her, although it was so long ago. I had disfigured her face with nothing but a butter knife in order to escape with my brother. It was out of self defence. That was what I kept telling myself. To not feel the guilt. I was only twelve then.
"Don't you remember me, darling?" She asks, "Or am I too unfamiliar now?"
Hot tears flood down my cheeks as I try to squirm out of my bonds. This is the true effect of the Laughing Gas. In the real world, you seem hysterical, joyous, crazy. But you're mentally unconscious, having to relive your worst nightmare. A moment in your life that you fear so much. I guess it was what I deserved. It didn't feel nice being on the receiving end. What do they call it? Karma? Or is it justice being served?
No. Even I don't deserve this. I double forward and cry.
"This isn’t real," I mumble under my breath, "this…this can't be real. Just take me back. Take me back!"
I sob sadly and the woman tilts my head up to face her.
"You poor child," she mutters, "I will be your saviour. It is what we do."
I pull away from her touch.
"You're a liar!' I scream, "You people are monsters. Monsters! How can you be able to do things like this? To young and vulnerable children? You're sick!"
The woman pulls back and frowns.
"Whatever do you mean, my love?" She asks innocently.
"Your so called 'work'?" I gasp, "You tell people that you look after orphans when all you do is manipulate them, use them as puppets!"
The woman tilts her head slightly.
"But my love," she interrupts, "does that make us any worse than you are? You let innocent families fall victim to the Laughing Gas. It's not so fun when you're the victim now…is it? Besides…this isn't real. This is all in your head. At the end of the day, this is all your fault. Hundreds of children died that night. And for what? For your own selfish reasons? To save one child? Maybe you deserve this dream. To really reflect on how pure you think you are."
She gently strokes my cheeks, leaving a cold and ghostly feeling behind.
"Such beautiful eyes," she admires, water crawling out of her buttoned eyes, "like diamonds. How precious. And such smooth skin and plump lips. Such a beautiful face."
She gasps as she touches her disfigured face. She screams as she realises her beauty is forever gone. This hurts me so much as pain and sorrow flood my mind. I know this isn't real. Itnis just the effects of the Laughing Gas. But it feels like the aftermath of my actions. What would have happened that day if I was caught. If I didn't join the circus and went back to the Safe House. To own up to my wrongdoings instead of running away. And it hurt me deeply. Why do I feel guilt for those who pained me? Why do I still fear them years later?
In the distance, a loud bell chimes loudly, its bellows echoing in my eardrums. Twelve chimes. It is play time. One of the worst times in the day.
"Oh, playtime," the woman smiles, "such a fun time. I'm sure your friends will be…delighted to see you again, my love."
I shake my head slowly.
"No…I don't…I don't want to see them," I whimper.
"But you should!" The woman clasps my hands together, "They are so eager to see you! They were worried. It is best to not keep them waiting any longer."
The woman walks behind me and wheels me out of the padded room, only to enter an empty white corridor.
"Oh, how the human mind works," she says, "so intricate, complex. The Laughing Gas truly is a superior drug. A complex drug for a complex being. A drug that makes the mind suffer but the heart bleed with joy. It sounds like fun."
She continues to wheel me down the corridors of my mind as she chats on and on happily as the vines of fear wrap around my heart, choking it, poisoning it. I was trapped, who knew for how long. There never was something to counter the drug. I never stuck around long enough to see what happened to the victims or see if it ever wears off. I felt like it wasn't my business so I didn't care. And I will pay for it. Could I even survive my own mind?
Merci pour la lecture!
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