I'm looking at sending this in for a short story competition: 1500 words.
My body feels numb and the room I’m in is painted cocaine white. I shivered as a cool draft tickled my neck making me wrap my arms tight around my upper body. I placed my left foot on top of my right foot to keep it warm but it felt strange. I looked down and saw that my feet were bare and that my toenails were not painted the normal red color that I like. I rubbed my arms trying to get warmth and feeling back into them.
I had a hard time adjusting my eyes to the albino brightness surrounding me. I wasn’t sure where I was but I noticed a mirror in one corner and a box in another corner. I walked over to the mirror and went to pull it off the wall but it wouldn’t budge. I continued to pull with the determination of a stalking lioness but I broke a fingernail. I wanted that mirror off the wall because I never liked the way I looked and my ex husband told me I was ugly.
The room had no windows, no furniture, no TV which was weird because I remember lying on my bed watching TV earlier in the day. I ventured over to the box in the corner, knelt in front of it and lifted the lid. I looked inside and there were magazines, toys, puzzles, and face paint. I jumped excitedly when I saw that the paint was red. I sat down on the floor, opened the paint dipping my finger in and started to paint my toes.
I raised my foot and blew on my toes to dry them faster accidentally knocking over the paint. I started to cry as I saw the paint puddling on the floor. My tears dripped in the glob on the floor which thinned the paint out giving me more to work with. I drew a smiley face on the floor and wrote the name Jessica above it which I believe is my name. I stopped crying and smiled.
I got up off the floor and looked in the box again and pulled out a cell phone. I turned the phone on putting it to my ear and heard a dial tone. I dialed a number that I was familiar with but the number came back and said that it was no longer in use. I dialed it again and the same message came back which confused me because it was my mother’s number. I was getting scared.
I went over to the mirror pointing the phone at it and raised my hand ready to throw the phone. I looked at myself and saw how my face turned red. I lowered my hand and tried another number. The phone wouldn’t even give me a dial tone which was frustrating me like pants that won’t stay up. I walked over to the mirror, drew my name on the mirror with my non-painted finger and stepped back admiring my work. I stepped over to the box in the corner and sat down beside it resting my elbow on it while I rested my head in my hand. I started to feel very groggy as my eyes started to get heavy yet I fought the urge to fall asleep. I remember being stuck with a needle, I’m not sure why but the feeling was wild.
I jumped up to evade sleep so that no one would invade my person with any more needles. I wasn’t about to be controlled like my husband had controlled me those twenty-two years of our marriage. I got down on all fours staring at the floor with my legs outstretched ready to do some pushups. I did them like a Navy Seal where you go down half of the way, then the rest of the way, then back up half way and then all the way up. My whole body was racing like a greyhound chasing a rail rabbit and I felt good.
I was ready to take on the world as I started to do jumping jacks as I waited for time to go by. I noticed there was no clock anywhere in the room and that I had no watch on. My wedding ring was gone too and I had kept it on all those years even through the abuse. I always felt that everything would work out since that is what my counselor had told me but deep down inside I wasn’t sure. I had wanted to move on with my life by getting divorced but a lot of my family wouldn’t hear of it because it’s not what the family does.
I don’t know how I remembered that since all I remember was watching TV earlier in the day. Maybe I was trying to remember things so my mind wouldn’t turn on me but that wasn’t helping me very much. I started to count each stone that made up the structure of the room just to give me something to do. I got to number one hundred and ten, laid down on the floor on my back and stared at the ceiling. I had to arch my back because my gown got caught up under my back making my butt get very cold on the concrete floor.
I wiggled sliding the gown back down around my butt and legs while tapping my toes. I started counting the cracks in the ceiling finding some that looked like my veins in my arms. The cracks appeared to pulse as though blood was pumping through them which made me yell out.
“Hey, is anyone there?” I yelled cupping my hands around my mouth.
No one answered my call causing me to scream as though I was a prisoner of war. I shook my head hoping to get the image out of my head but the pulsing was still there. I rubbed my hands through my hair pulling at parts of it to straighten out the tangles.
“Why do I look like this?” I asked hoping for a friendly reply.
I wasn’t happy with my appearance and picked up the phone and dialed a number that appeared on the screen. No one answered.
“Hey is anyone there?” I asked. “Why won’t anyone talk to me? I’m not sure what is going on?”
“Jessica, how are you doing?” asked the mysterious voice.
“Who is that?” I asked nervously dropping the phone.
“This is Dr. Norman Caruthers and we’ve been watching you for about two hours.”
“What do you mean watching me?” I asked. “I want answers and I want them now.”
“I will answer whatever questions you have.” Dr. Caruthers said.
“Where am I, how come this phone doesn’t work, and how are you talking to me?” I asked walking back and forth.
“You are at the Blanton Sanitarium, you don’t have a phone in your hand, and I’m talking to you through a speaker that is hidden behind the wall.” Dr. Caruthers said
“I don’t believe you because I have been talking on this phone at different times.” I said angrily.
“I’m sorry to disappoint you but there is nothing in your room.” Dr. Caruthers said. “You can’t have anything around you with the observations we’ve made within the last few months.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked. “I’ve been digging around in a box that is in the corner.”
“Again, I’m sorry to disappoint you but you are in an empty room.” Dr. Caruthers said.
“I don’t understand.” I said. “I haven’t done anything wrong and why am I in here?”
“Every few months we do our observations on you in the very room that you are in.” Dr. Caruthers said. “
“Why would you do this to me?” I asked. “You don’t have the right to do this to me.”
“Due to our observations you haven’t made any improvements and we don’t want any harm to come to you.” Dr. Caruthers said.
“I’m not going to hurt myself.” I said. “I would’ve done it already by bashing my head on the wall of bricks.”
“Ms. Jessica, the room is padded, there are no bricks.” Dr. Caruthers said.
“I want out of here now.” I said. “I need to get my police uniform back on and get back to work.”
“Your police uniform is put away in storage.” Dr. Caruthers said. “All of your gear is safely stored.”
“Well, I need to get back on the street.” I said.
“You’ll never be a police officer again.” Dr. Caruthers said. “Your mental state is unstable and has been since your husband and little boy’s death.”
“I am stable.” I said. “What happened to my family?”
“You murdered them with your service weapon ten years ago.” Dr. Caruthers said.
“I did no such thing.” I said.
“Oh yes, Ms, Jessica, you were convicted and have been a patient here for ten years. Dr. Caruthers said.
“No!” I yelled as long as my voice would carry.