Terrors Of A Chair And A Dog

            I hated that stupid chair. I always dreamed of chopping it up into little bits, but after seeing Fantasia I was terrified the pieces of the rocking chair would come back to life, just like the broom Mickey Mouse tried to chop up. Maybe I could burn the pieces immediately after I chopped it. Of course, I wouldn’t have time to carry the pieces outside and the chair, as a whole, was much too heavy for me to carry. I didn’t really know how I’d chop it or burn it, anyway. I wasn’t allowed to touch the ax or play with matches. Besides, if I burned it, I was afraid all the little ashes would come back as tiny individual chairs.

            Wind blew in through the open window and pushed the rocking chair—a bully on the playground—forcing it to rock back and forth, forcing the creak to disturb my nap.

            I didn’t want to take a nap anyway. Sleep took up so much precious time. I wanted to go outside, to get away from the rocking chair. Outside, to play with my shovel. My dad said I could dig and sift through the dirt to look for gold and hunt worms to feed my turtle. I never found any worms, so he usually bought some from the bait shop for Fred.

            I whined and pulled myself from under my sheet to close the window. I fought with the blinds and curtains masking the sun’s beautiful shine from my room and uncovered the window below. Mom said if we closed the window, it would get stuffy, but anything was better than the movement of that stupid chair. The window wouldn’t close. I tried as hard as I could, but it was stuck. There would be no closing it, no relief from the creak of the old chair.

            I never liked that chair. It taunted me and always had. It was a monster coming to get me. When the lights were out and the shadows hit the chair, it looked like Death, himself, had decided to reside there. I’d pull the covers over my head and pretend the blasted hunk of wood wasn’t there.

            When I was playing in my room and a toy got too close to the chair, I would leave it there until a brave soul ventured close enough to Hell to get it. That creaking chair was pure evil and I knew it, even if no one else would believe me. When the chair creaked, it wasn’t the wood moaning, it was souls, trapped under the varnish, moaning, souls the chair had claimed and refused to release. They cried to me for help, for release from their timber prison.

            I grunted at the window refusing to close. I had to be quiet, lest my mom found out I wasn’t sleep. I couldn’t have that happen.

            I climbed back into my bed, wrapping myself in my blankets and sheets, protecting myself as I watched the chair and cried.

            It wouldn’t stop creaking. I couldn’t get away.

*****

            I still remember that day like it was yesterday, even if I am no longer a young child. I still don’t like that chair, but at least I was finally lucky enough to get away from it. Though, I do have to credit a lot of who I am to the chair. I grew up with it taunting me every day and night until I was fifteen. I’m paranoid, skittish, and terrified of just about everything now. When the little boy in the apartment above mine drops a glass, I jump ten feet. When someone knocks on my door—expected or not—I wield a kitchen knife as I look through the peephole and unlock my six padlocks and three chain locks.

            I don’t own a TV or radio for fear of the news and laziness. I’m also afraid of hidden messages in music putting things in my head. My curtains are always drawn and I never leave without sun block. I know it may all seem silly to you, but you wouldn’t understand. I never expected you to. It’s difficult for even me to understand, but somehow I do.

            I hate leaving at night and only do when absolutely necessary. I hate leaving during the day, as well, but at night there’s creatures crawling in the dark that I can’t see. I leave during the day, anyway, even if I have no errands or anything else to do; I fear becoming a hermit. I’m afraid of people, but also afraid of being alone. My room is the only place I really feel secure, and even then, I’m lonely, afraid something will break the window, and terrified I’ll be smothered by my blankets or pillows. I understand I go to the extreme with some things—I won’t eat chips for fear they’ll cut my throat on the way down.

            I’m terrified to handle unsheathed knives, nails, screws, thumbtacks, etc. Someone once told me to wear gloves when I handle sharp objects, I told him that I was afraid of the gloves getting stuck on my hands and having to go to the hospital.

            I will refuse to go to the hospital at all costs. I have a lot of fears, but nothing measures up to that of the hospitals. There are so many sicknesses, and knives, and tools, and equipment, and people, and everything else bad in the world. That’s where the creatures crawling in the dark live. They love hospitals and feed off of the sick, diseased, and dead.

            I remember the last time I was in a hospital. I was a young child and broke my arm—the rocking chair fell on it and fractured my radius under its weight—and my mom drove me to the hospital. I cried and screamed the entire way, not because of the pain, but because of the fear. I refused to go in when we got there; my mom had to carry me. Even then, in her arms, I was kicking and screaming, and ultimately, they had to induce me with a shot. I don’t remember anything after that until I woke up the next morning with a cast enclosing my arm.

            That was the chair’s fault.

            The chair was also responsible for many cuts, hundreds of splinters, and even some scars. I remember when I got rid of that stupid rocking chair. It went out with a fight and brought something else down with it. I was fifteen years old, and had had it with the chair. It pushed the limit when it snagged and ripped my favorite shirt. Right then and there I opened the window of my second story bedroom, lifted its heavy frame, and shoved it out the window like a bag of garbage down a shoot. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize my dog was currently down there, digging around in the yard. The rocking chair fell directly on him, causing him a slow, painful death. I was truly traumatized.

            I was still having nightmares of that chair when I was seventeen. That’s when my mom decided to have me see a psychologist. She was beginning to worry about me. That chair had been gone for two years, and I still woke up in the night, screaming because of it. I often saw the shadows of it cast on the wall and heard the moaning of the wood. Even now I hide under my covers from the phantoms of it.

            Dr. Lipsch said I was delusional and wanted me to see a psychiatrist to see about getting medication. My mother refused, saying she wasn’t going to pump her child full of drugs. I wished now she had; it would’ve been easier. I still see a psychologist. Unfortunately, it’s no longer Dr. Lipsch. I liked her.

            Now, it isn’t just the chair I talk to my doctor about; there’s more going on in my life other than that, of course. There are all my fears, even some phobias. There’s my deep seeded regret and hate for my own life. I’ve even contemplated suicide, only I’m afraid of failure, bleeding, asphyxiation, heights, and overdosing. Not to mention my fear of death, but I think that’s a normal one.

            This week, my doctor suggests admitting myself into a hospital. I look at him horrified. He knows my phobia of hospitals even if it is a mental hospital. It’s still a hospital full of sickness, just a different kind of sickness. I was also repulsed that he thought I was actually sick enough to even consider one of those.

            “Just think about it,” he tells me, reassuringly. “Just for a little while. They can help you more than I can. Isn’t that what you want—help? To overcome all these fears and be able to live a normal, productive life. At least consider it. Give it a chance.”

            “I won’t ever see you again,” I complain. I had grown rather fond of Dr. Thorn over the years. I’d come to think of him more as a close friend in whom I confide everything instead of a psychologist.

            “I can come visit you in there. I’ll still be your doctor. Don’t worry. Everything will be okay. Give it some thought. That’s all I’m asking.”

            I agree to at least think about it. I’m deathly terrified of medical hospitals, but I never really thought about whether I’m afraid of mental hospitals or not. I guess if I don’t know if I’m afraid, I could alter it and tell myself that I’m not. It’s worth a try.

            “I’m not afraid,” I tell myself on my way home. My seatbelt’s securely fastened, as are all the others in the car. I’m not only afraid of everything, but I have certain Obsessive Compulsive Disorder traits, like buckling all the seatbelts in the car before driving. When I get home, I’ll unbuckle them all just the same.

            I would like to consider the hospital. I really do want to get over some of these stupid fears and phobias. I know they’re ridiculous, but I can’t help it. I know I’ll get more help at the hospital than what Dr. Thorn can provide me once a week. I’ll even get to see him in there. That’ll be nice. I decide I’ll tell him I’ll try it. I can always back out if I change my mind.

            “Have you given any thought to what I said last week?” Dr. Thorn asks me the next time I see him.

            “Yes,” I simply answer. My heart begins to beat a little faster and I start feeling very anxious.

            “Well?” he encourages me to answer.

            “I’ll try it,” I manage out.

            A grin forms on his lips. “Good. I’m glad you’re going to try it. I think it’ll be really good for you. I’ll make all the arrangements. I’ll get all the paperwork and everything. Just read it and sign it when I get it. We can go visit it next week if you want to see it before signing anything.”

            “Okay,” I tell him. I’m shaking a little bit, but it’s okay. I can handle it.

            Dr. Thorn tells me more about the hospital and the next week we go visit it and tour it. It’s a very nice place, but I still feel queasy walking its halls.

            The walls are a nice calming pale blue instead of the white I usually see depicted in movies. There’s a nice lounge, with a TV, a foosball table, and other nice things. The cafeteria is decorated with flowers and plants to bring it alive. Even the rooms are a lot nicer than I would have pictured. The nurses and doctors all seem very nice and friendly. It’s not nearly as scary as I thought it would be. I’m glad of this and eagerly sign myself as a patient.

            My room is in the west wing. It’s simple and resembles a hospital room—which I find a little sickening, but ignore it. There’s a bed, a dresser, a chair, and a bathroom attached. Because I’m not one of the sicker patients, I get a nicer room in the west wing and more benefits.

            My first night there, I barely sleep a wink. I’m so terrified and alone. I’ve never felt so alone in my life. I was locked in my room. There was no one for me to talk to. And it was freezing. I gathered the blankets around me as best as I could for fear of hypothermia. When I did sleep, I had nightmares, mostly of that stupid rocking chair. Oh, how I hated it.

            I fall asleep and dream of when I pushed the chair out of my bedroom window. Instead of my dog being at the bottom for it to fall on, I was there, looking up at the chair, screaming.

            Screams woke me; they were my screams. I tried to stop, but I couldn’t. The chair was in the room with me. My mangled dog sat in its seat, growling at me—a monster of a black blood hound, now covered in blood. His spine was broken and there was a shard of wood going through his belly. Yet, he still growled at me, baring his teeth, foaming at the mouth. I continued to scream, terrified of him.

            “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” I sobbed between my screams. Oh god, I’m sorry! I didn’t know he was down there. I was just a kid. I didn’t know any better to look and make sure there was nothing in the path; nothing the chair would fall on.

            The door opens and the light flicks on. My dog and the rocking chair are gone.

            “What’s going on in here?” one of the nurses asks.

            “It was in here, that damn chair!” I tell him and wipe my face.

            He and the other nurses look at the simple plastic chair in my room before giving each other skeptical looks. Maybe they should’ve put me in one of the rooms for the sicker patients, they silently tell each other.

            They soon leave me alone and I drift back to sleep. This time, dreamless.

            Dr. Thorn comes to visit me the next day. We sit in my room. He’s in the chair and I’m bundled up in my blankets on the bed.

            “They tell me you woke up screaming last night, something about a chair,” he tells me, jotting down notes.

            I nodded. “I dreamed about the rocking chair. When I woke up, it was in my room. My dog Ben was there too.”

            “The one that was killed by the chair?” He regrets what he said as soon as it’s said. He implied that it was, in fact, the chair’s fault my dog died. He’s continuously tried to convince me it was a simple accident; that the chair wasn’t out to get me and my little dog, too, but he messed up. He said my dog was killed by the chair.

            “Yes, him. He was growling at me. Hating me for what I did to him, wanting to chew my insides into mush.”

            “Was this your dream?”

            “No, the dream was me dropping the chair out of the window, and then I was under the chair, where Ben was. I woke up right before the chair hit me. And when I woke up, Ben was there, sitting in the rocking chair.” I point to the corner to show Dr. Thorn exactly where it happened.

            “I see,” he says, jotting down notes. He thinks I’m a nut case. Admitting myself was a mistake and I see that that now.

            “I want to leave here,” I tell him. “I can’t stay another night. I want to go back home.”

            “You should give this place another chance. You often had dreams like that at home, didn’t you? This place isn’t so different or so bad. Just give it a chance.”

            “No, I want to go home,” I argue. I don’t care what he says, I need to go home.

            “I’m your doctor, and you can’t leave unless I sign you out, and I’m not going to do that until you give it another chance.”

            “What? I put myself in here. I can leave anytime I want.”

            “Yes, you put yourself in here, but it was in the contracts that as your legal doctor, I’m the only one outside of the hospital administrative who can release you. I have to sign for you. I told you that.”

            “I don’t remember,” I tell him, pouting. Who cares if I’m too old to pout? I sure don’t. I don’t remember reading that or Dr. Thorn telling me. I want to leave.

            “Just give it another night, okay?”

            Reluctantly, I nod. I hate the idea of staying another night.

            I don’t leave my room all day, afraid of the people, the crazies, the sick. I’m not one of them. I’m not crazy. I don’t belong in this place!

            I lay awake, sleepless at night. Someone else was screaming this time. I hate this place. It was scarier than I thought it would be. It seems so nice during the day, but at night, it’s a whole new world. It’s a world of screams, and banshees, and monsters, and mangled blood hounds sitting in old rocking chairs. It’s a world of pain and suffering and torment. It was hell in a building.

            Why won’t they stop screaming?

            I want to run away. I get up from my bed and creep to the door. I look out the little window in the steel door, crossed with chicken wire so it wouldn’t break as easily. I can’t see anything, except a few dim lights in the hall and doors to other rooms.

            The screaming stops and another strange noise takes its place. A much different and terrifyingly close noise. I realize what it is and turn around. Ben is there, my old blood hound. The rocking chair is in the corner, again, covered in blood and hair from Ben’s beautiful coat. He’s chained to the chair, growling and snarling at me. I press myself against the door as tight as I can. The shard of wood sticks out of his belly and he drags his lifeless hind legs. His entire back half is dead. He probably can’t even feel the wood in his belly or his leg broken in half.

            He’s mad and crazed. Perhaps the chair gave him rabies. He slowly drags himself closer to me, relentlessly trying to get me. He barks and his bloodshot eyes roll back in his skull for a moment.

            Oh, God!

            I turn around and begin to beat on the steel door, screaming. I can barely hear my own screams over Ben’s growls and barks. He inches toward me, pulling tight on the chain between him and the chair. Somehow, he begins to pull the heavy chair with him.

            Oh God! I’m going to be mauled by my dead dog!

            I continue to scream and beat on the door. My hands become raw and one begins to bleed from the constant contact on the rough, hard surface. I’m sobbing and crying, begging for Ben to stop. To be a good boy. He never bit anyone before. Why should I be the first?

            “Please! Someone help me!” I beg out of the door. “He’s going to get me!

            They’ve forgotten about me. They forgot they have a new patient in this room and are too busy watching TV or reading to hear my pleas. Oh god, they forgot me.

            “Ben, please, please, I’m so sorry, boy. I’m sorry!” I beg him. I even reach a hand out to touch his bloody face. He barks and snaps at my hand, missing it by not even and inch. I scream and sob, begging someone, something, anything for help. I slide down the door and hold myself in a fetal position, covering my throat. Isn’t that what I was always taught as a child when dog mauling was high; cover your throat, that’s what they go for first when attacking.

            I’m pushed over as someone opens the door. I scream as I near Ben.

            Oh, thank god! Someone heard me.

            “Help me, please,” I beg. “He’s going to get me. Ben’s going to get me!

            Ben barks and snaps at me again. I scream and clutch the nurse who came to rescue me. It’s the same one from last night. He tries to calm me down, but Ben’s still there. He’s still crazed. I can see it in his eyes. He wants my blood. He wants to spill it on the tile floor and mince my insides with his teeth. I know he does.

            “Can I get some help in here!” the nurse yells out the door and tries holding me down.

            I push him back and try to get up. Why isn’t he running away from Ben? Why isn’t Ben trying to eat him? Of course I know why Ben isn’t trying to eat the nurse. The nurse didn’t drop a chair on him.

            “Please, god, help me. He’s going to eat me!”

            I push the nurse back again and try to get up to run out the door. He isn’t going to hold me here for Ben’s daggerish teeth. I’m not going to be shredded by my childhood pet. I refuse.

            The nurse holds me down again before I can get to my feet. Other nurses and doctors rush into the room and sedate me. Everything slows down, even the flapping of Ben’s drooling jowls. His growls and barks fade out along with the shouting of the employees. Everything fades out into blackness.

*****

            “Why are you holding your hand like that?” Dr. Thorn asks me in my room in the East Wing. It’s not as nice as the room I had in the West Wing, but they said I need special attention. Most of the patients in the West Wing take care of themselves. The padded rooms, bindings, straightjackets, and such are in the East Wing. I’m in the East Wing.

            “Ben bit me last night,” I told him, holding my hand out for him to see it.

            There are puncture wounds on both sides of my hand. There’s blood smeared everywhere in my room, but Dr. Thorn and the others pretend not to notice it. They don’t ever see Ben or the marks he leaves on me. He bit my side once, dug in so deep I was sure he punctured my kidney. I screamed all night, holding my side. It wouldn’t stop bleeding and no one would help me. They don’t come running to screamers in the East Wing. We scream all the time.

            “There’s no mark there,” Dr. Thorn tells me.

            “Yes there is, you just can’t see it.” I argue with him like I always do. He didn’t believe me when Ben bit my side, either.

            “Does Ben still visit very often?”

            “Two or three times a week, sometimes.” He takes a moment to write down what I say, “I thought you said they’d help me. I thought you said they’d make the chair go away. Instead, they brought Ben with it. I never saw him before I came here. When can I leave this place?”

I’ve been here for two months. They moved me into the East Wing the first week I was here. I went willingly only because Dr. Thorn said Ben and that stupid rocking chair wouldn’t be able to get me there. He promised me, but he lied. I’m starting to not like Dr. Thorn so much. “I want to go home,” I tell him, pleadingly. “Please.”

“You’re much too sick to go home right now,” he tells me. “You wouldn’t be able to take care of yourself.”

“I could take care of myself just fine before I came here.” I’m offended by his remark. Sure, I have some odd fears, but right now, none of them concern me as long as Ben is involved.

Dr. Thorn doesn’t say anything.

I rotate my wrist, looking at the circular bruise around my arm. “I’m tired of the bindings when I sleep. Why can’t the just let me lay down without tying my wrists and ankles to the bed? Look, I’m bruising.”

“You know they can’t do that. When you get scared in the night, you beat on the door and throw stuff around. You’re a risk to yourself, the staff, and the room.”

“I don’t just throw things around, I throw it at Ben.”

“You’re delusional. Ben isn’t really there. Ben didn’t bite your hand. You haven’t seen Ben since you were a fifteen year-old kid.” His words hurt, but there’s some truth to it. I know he’s telling me the truth, but I can’t believe it.

Dr. Thorn grabs my injured hand. I curse at him and cradle it. It begins to bleed again. “What’d you do that for?”

“To show you it’s not really hurt. It’s all in your head.”

“Thanks a lot! It’s bleeding again,” I growl at him and wrap my hand in a bed sheet. There’s blood all over the sheets. I don’t know why they won’t throw the sheets away. I keep asking them to, but they just wash them. I keep telling the nurses and orderlies that my sheets are stained in blood, but they won’t listen to me.

Dr. Thorn and I talk awhile longer. I try to convince him Ben is real and he tries to convince me otherwise. He says Ben was real.

It’s dinner time after Dr. Thorn leaves. During the day I’m allowed in and out of my room when I please to visit the lounge, cafeteria, crafts, yard, or any other part of the hospital open to patients. It’s during the night that I’m locked up, strapped down, and supervised. I’m only crazy at night, when the monsters no longer have to hide in the shadows because everything’s a shadow. During the day, I’m mostly normal. Most of my other fears are gone, replaced by the night terrors, the terrors of a chair and a dog.

Ben terrorizes me twice the next week. He knows I can’t escape with the straps around my ankles and wrists. I know if his spine wasn’t broken, he would leap up on the bed and gnaw my arm off, or maybe my leg to match his. Over the months he begins to look worse, like he was rotting. Ben, my mangled dead dog, with the broken spine, twisted leg, and shard of wood impaling his belly, was rotting before me. He begins to bring with him a stink of death, of rotting meat, and moldy leftovers, or urine and feces as his paralyzed back end begins to crust with waste.

I’m in my room, reading a book when I hear those familiar growls and the chain clinking. That’s not right. It’s two in the afternoon. This shouldn’t be happening until later, much later. I don’t understand. Hesitantly, I peek over The Old Man and the Sea and see exactly what I feared: Ben dragging himself toward me, chained to that old chair. He doesn’t always come with the chain. Sometimes it’s just him and the chair. It’s easier for him then; he doesn’t have to drag the chair with him. When he appears sitting in the chair, I know I’m safe. It’s still scary, but he can’t get out of the chair; he doesn’t have the strength with just his front end.

His skin hangs loosely on his bones. He’s nothing more than a skeleton covered in rotting, ripped skin. I’m terrified and repulsed by his appearance and stench. I fight my stomach to keep my lunch down.

“You’re not here. You died,” I tell myself, like Dr. Thorn told me to do. It doesn’t work. It has no affect on Ben. He comes toward me, crazed and angry. “You’re dead.”

It’s day and my door is unlocked during the day. I cautiously move toward the door. As I open it, Ben tries to jump for me. He forgets he has no use of two of his legs and only manages to fall. I close the door behind me and casually walk down the hall. I walk up to the Nurse Desk and inform them there’s a large, angry dog in my room. I decide to not mention the part about him being dead. They disregarded me when I mentioned that.

They ask for my name and look up my file. After reading through it, they decide to disregard my complaint, whether the dog is dead or not.

“Why don’t you people listen to me? Ben is in my room, right now! He’s only supposed to be here at night,” I yell at them. “I wish he wouldn’t come for me at all,” I add, sadden.

“I’ll go,” one of the nurses sighs and comes from behind the counter. She follows me back door to my room.

I peek in the window before opening the door. I don’t see Ben, but the chair is still there. He must have gotten off the chain, because it’s gone.

“He’s hiding,” I whisper to her.

She ignores my comment and opens the door. Before she even makes it halfway in the door, I stiffen as Ben’s growl enters my ears. “He’s behind me, isn’t he?” I ask her, almost in tears.

She checks behind me and gives me a skeptical look. “There’s no one there.”

“I can hear him. I don’t want to turn around. I don’t want to see him. Make him go away, please,” I beg her.

She frowns and wishes she could help me. She reassures me nothing is behind me. I don’t believe her; I can’t. I know he’s there. “You don’t smell him? You don’t hear him?”

She shakes her head and I gag from the stench. She takes a step back. I gag again. This time, I can’t hold my lunch down. I throw up from the rank smell mixed with fear. Ben barks and drags himself toward me a foot or two.

“He’s going to get me!” I tell the nurse, hide behind her, and throw up again.

I grow extremely light-headed and prop myself up on the wall. I slip in the mess I made on the floor and fall. Ben is right on me. I scream as he digs his teeth into my belly. The nurse attempts to help me up, but I fight her off as I fight off the giant, decaying blood hound. I manage to pull his head from my abdomen and slam it against the wall. He drops a chunk of flesh as his head makes contact with the hard wall. I look down at the hole in my stomach, blood covers the floor. I scream as I realize what he’s done to me.

The nurse continually asks me to calm myself and attempts to hold me down. I’m torn between covering the hole in my gut and keeping my insides inside or fighting off Ben.

Please, help me!” I beg and reach out to the nurse with my bloody hands, leaving myself exposed to the dog.

Suddenly, I feel like I’ve been sedated, only no one stuck a needle in me. I pass out—from pain? Fear? Lack of blood? I’m not sure. Perhaps all of the above. All I know is that I’m sent to a very dark place and I feel nothing.

*****

“I’m never leaving this place, am I?” I ask Dr. Thorn.

“You’ve become a permanent resident until you’re better.”

I know I’ll never be better. It’s been a year now since I was first institutionalized. Ben still visits me. I throw up from the smell and sight every time he comes.

“I’m going to release you now, okay? If you do anything to endanger me or yourself I’ll have no choice but to sedate you and secure you back in bed. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” I answer. Anything to be able to move for a little while.

I’m now permanently strapped to my bed and I’ve been moved to special padded room. They still tell me Ben’s a delusion and he’s never really there. I know he is though. I even have a bite mark on my leg to prove it. They were deep puncture wounds that resulted in scars.

Of course, the doctors and nurses didn’t look into it much and said I stabbed myself with a pencil or pen to try and prove that Ben was really there when I said he was.

Dr. Thorn releases me and I slowly get up, making no sudden movements so as not to alarm him. The rocking chair is the only furniture in the room beside my bed, all the bars and hard parts padded. Dr. Thorn had to bring his own folding chair into my room.

The rocking chair rocks back and forth, innocently, as if nothing happened. I say none of this Dr. Thorn. He wouldn’t believe me if I did tell him about the chair.

I stretch, keeping my eye on the chair. Dr. Thorn follows my gaze behind him and he knows I’m seeing something.

I stretch and sit back down on the bed. We begin to talk and he takes notes, like always. I pace around the room, stretching my muscles and working my bones, steering clear of the chair.

“Make Ben go away,” I beg before he leaves.

“Only you can do that,” he tells me. “I’ll see you next week.”

I know I’ll never see Dr. Thorn again. I wait enough time to make sure he’s down the hall. I’ve been waiting for a day like today, a day he would come, release, and forget to strap me back down before he leaves. I roll up my bed sheet and wait. It wouldn’t be long before an orderly came in to check on me. I stood against the wall by the door, waiting for the clicking of the lock, the rotating of the handle, and the stepping of the man.

Finally, he came. Echoing footsteps stopped outside my door. The clicking of the lock opened the passageway between my prison and the outside world.

“Hey, what are you—?” he demanded, seeing me out of my bed.

I cut him off quickly though, wrapping the bed sheet around his neck. I held it tightly, but not lethally.

“You’re going to stay quiet, okay?” I whispered in his ear. The man nodded.

I moved the bed sheet up, gagging his mouth and held it firmly at the back of his head, hurting him some. Awkwardly, I pulled his lab coat off and then proceeded to bind his wrists and ankles with the sheet. I led him over to the bed and strapped him down as best as I could, then pulled his lab coat on, picked up the keys that had been tossed to the floor in his struggle, and casually exited the room. There was no one in the hall and I began to briskly walk down it, avoiding halls with voices coming from them.

I knew my way around the institution well and found the exit with no problem. No one even noticed me.

*****

In nine months I haven’t seen Ben—not since I left that horrible place. They never found me. I never even saw any sign that they looked for me. I stayed in the city for a few days, going back to my old apartment. The owner of the building had no choice to rent it out to someone else, but he kept some of my personal possessions in case I ever came back for them. I got several of my old clothes back and all the money I had stashed away.

He was a real nice man and put me up for a few nights, while I figured out how to get back on my feet. I kept waiting for Ben and that stupid chair to come back, but they never did. I’m still a little uneasy, knowing it’ll happen sometime. Other things aren’t so bad though. I’m no longer afraid to take risks.

I got a train ticket and moved to the other side of the country. I found a cheap apartment and a job—a hard job, but a good paying one. I’ve even been able to find a few friends. In a place where I have no history it wasn’t hard to fit in.

12-13-07


Comments:
 
Bitten2ice   Bitten2ice wrote
on 4/1/2009 9:13:59 AM
Hi Ronnie, I really liked your story... The changing perspective from child through teenage years. The story was constantly moving and the perspective always changing slightly. I will say that I did get hung up on one sentence for a minute... "...I fought with the blinds and curtains masking the sun’s beautiful shine from my room and uncovered the window below" The concept of fighting with the blinds almost changed my perspective on the child's age. I began focusing more on my assumptions of age rather than the relationship with the child and the chair. Just one perspective... The twist to the Schizophrenia was a nice curveball. I love how the story ended.

Ronnie_Elliv
Short Story
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writing Ronnie_Elliv
Writing; my anti-drug.
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Synopsis
(6089 words) What happens when you've been tormented by an inanimate object all your life? Would you go crazy? Would you be able to hang on to reality when this one object, a chair, perhaps, has ruined your life and taken away all of your freedom?
A Word from the Writer
I wrote this when I was seventeen in my high school creative writing class.
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