The room is padded, grey and locked from the outside. It smells like rat droppings and moldy old sweat, piss and shit stains smear the walls. It echoes with the screams of the crazy, the damned, people not like Samantha.
Because to her, this is happening, this is reality.
“I’m not crazy Doctor!” and she might not be crazy because she is here and she knows she did not die when her car went into the lake and it doesn’t matter what she intended, or whether she is disappointed to still be here or not.
“Then you need to calm down Samantha.”
The Doctor’s voice irks her, “I Don’t’ like threats Dr. Carlisle!.”
Dr. Carlisle is rigidly thin, blonde and over fifty. She smells of stomach gas and tide detergent, dandruff shampoo and not giving a shit, “Then sit down Samantha,’ as an afterthought she adds, ‘please.
“I don’t like to be told what to do either!”
“Nobody is trying to tell you what to do. All I want is to talk about what you are seeing.”
“Yes, Samantha tell me again about these hallucinations.”
Samantha snaps. Her mind breaks. He sanity flushes. One moment she is looking at the aging face of the bottle blonde doctor and the next she batting the doctor in the face with her bony knuckles. She hits her again and when the flesh along her knuckles open and the bones begin the crack she uses her palms. and when that doesn’t seem to do enough damage she rakes at the doctor with her nails through the soft flesh of both her cheeks.
The doctor flails in agony yelling for help.
Her face in ruin.
An obese orderly enters, a sliver of fat brown belly bouncing under the hem of his shirt. He grabs Samantha. She writhes under his pillowy embrace clawing manically at anything she can reach. Soft ribbons of the doctor’s flesh hanging from her fingers.
She screams, “I am alive! Doctor! No! I’m not crazy! I’m not hallucinating! No! Don’t take me back there! No! No! Never!”
A second Orderly enters with a syringe dripping with Thorazine.
Samantha feels the cold needle enter her shoulder. It hurts and she turns her attack briefly on the second orderly before going limp. Her last words were a severely slurred, “I’m alive!”
Samantha is back under water. She can taste the awful brackish warmth and feel the slimy hands and the waterlogged fingernails snagging on her clothes. They reach for her. As they claw, she strives for the surface. It twinkles in streaks of white moonlight. Her lungs burst. She wants to breathe so bad. Every kick feels thwarted. Every swing of her arms feels useless. She looks down and sitting below are the lights from her chevy malibu surrounded by a field of green seaweed staring up. Through the murky headlights, she also sees hundred of white arms reaching for her grabbing her by the ankles, the legs, the thighs, the hips, the waist, ribs, chest, arms, neck, hair, face. The claws dig into her flesh, her skin explodes with agony scraping down to bone as they pull and release looking for a better grip on her wet flesh.
And the cascading blackness.
She is dead.
And a deep booming voice demands, “No, go back!”
And she wakes and the room is padded and grey and remnants of the dream with the arms shrink back and the skin on face shrinks back to the way it always was.
And she screams and screams, “I died, I died, I died, oh God I died why didn’t you take me,” until another shot comes and it starts over again.
image by Dart Garry