I’ve housed the sick, the feeble, the weak, and the profane. I’ve welcomed the mad into my embrace and have seen the worst of humanity. I am terror and fear. I am the souls of the abandoned, the abused, the unwanted. I am Bedlam.
The girl didn’t know what a lobotomy was when she first overheard her parents talking to the doctor. She heard their murmured conversation, the mother, the father, and the man in the white lab coat. The mother nodded and looked over at the girl, waiting just outside the door, before turning her back. She’d seen her daughter listening at the frosted glass that promised, but barely delivered, privacy.
Even that, a common-enough act of the curious young in society, resulted in the mother’s rebuke.
“You see? She’s always,” the mother waved her cigarette in the air, ‘there. Listening. Watching. Not like other girls her age.” This was true. There had been something wrong with her since childhood, or so she’d been repeatedly reminded. Doctors convinced the girl’s parents her brain was somehow to blame, that a part of it wasn’t working the way it should. There wasn’t much that could be done. No medications worked. Short stays in facilities did nothing. Various doctors called in with exotic treatments, potions, plants, poking, prodding. One even measured the girl’s skull and declared her insane based on the numbers. Nothing worked to cure what the mother referred to as the ‘behaviour’.
That the behaviour was the result of having been brought up by parents more interested in their social climb than their child mattered not. The father’s abilities fell short of his aspirations, but the universe had cruelly tricked him into believing the success he felt he was owed would someday be his. The mother encouraged the father in his beliefs, for his rise was also her own. She spent her days with book clubs, organising clothing and food drives, anything that would make an impression with the women who mocked her when she wasn’t around.
“This latest episode is the final straw.” The mother was in tears. “She’s cost father his job.”
That wasn’t quite true. The father hadn’t actually even begun the job in question, it was all still undecided. It had been the mother and father’s latest attempt at controlling what they saw as their child’s aberrant behaviour. The girl’s unsupervised youthful exuberance, only noticed whenever guests were over, was explained away as something she’d grow out of. But, as a young adult, her strong-will and difference of opinions caused the parents’ alarm.
Attempts to ‘guide’ the girl, subtle or otherwise, to a more malleable state proved futile. Once ignored, they now were intent on controlling every aspect of their child’s life. Her hair, clothes, shoes, voice, deportment, nothing was too small. And there were the ongoing arguments about what the girl would do with her life. The girl wanted to be an artist, to destroy convention and build them back up. The parents, horrified, suggested marriage and children as a more suitable pursuit.
One day the father invited a man to dine with them. The mother fawned over the man, using her best dishes and silverware, and enquiring often if he was satisfied.
“He’s quite the businessman. A hard worker with excellent prospects.” The mother directed her comments at her child.
The girl was unimpressed.
After the meal, the mother suggested the couple sit together and become better acquainted. “You just let me know if you want anything, our house is your house.” She winked at the man and left, sliding the French parlour doors closed.
The man looked around the room, at the kept-for-special pristine furniture, ten years out of fashion. At the pictures of the mother and the father, but none of their child. His eyes finally came to rest on the girl. They travelled without shame over her body. A smell emanated from him; the girl could detect stale cigarette fumes and whiskey. And a deeper odour suggesting the man didn’t bath as much as someone who is ‘quite the businessman’ should. The man moved closer to the girl, the settee upon which they sat creaking submissively. She re-positioned herself.
He smirked and raised an eyebrow. “What’s the matter, darling? You shy?”
“No, I have taste.”
The man laughed. “Yeah, your father told me you were a firecracker.” He grabbed her chin, turning her head back and forth. His grip tightened when the girl tried to struggle free. “Well, we’ll see what we can do about that, okay?” He moved her head up and down, making her head nod in agreement, enjoying her glare. She watched his face grow nearer until his lips were on hers, stopping her from crying out. His free hand ran along her thigh, groping for an entry. The girl held firm and the man tired of the game, forcing her legs apart and thrusting his hand between them.
A surge of rage enveloped the girl and she managed to break free from his grip. Before she could stop herself, she raised her fist and hit the man as hard as she could, running from the room before the evidence of her violence had presented itself.
“Whatever happened? Good lord, what’s going on?” The mother ran into the room, ignoring the shivering daughter lingering just outside the door.
“My god, what did she do?” The father had arrived and saw the rapidly swelling eye on their dinner guest’s face. Turning to the doorway, he saw his daughter.
“Do you realise what you’ve done? Do you have any idea?” The girl had never seen the father so angry; he was usually so very quiet. She turned and walked to her room, curling upon the bed to wait.
Fifteen minutes later the mother walked in and stood over her daughter, staring. “Idiot child, do you realise what your behaviour this evening has cost us?”
The girl looked up at the mother. “I didn’t do anything wrong. That man attacked me.”
“In what way?” The mother raised an eyebrow.
Feeling her face burn, the girl replied. “He forced me to kiss him, and put his hand where he should not.”
The mother laughed. “Is that all? He was to be your husband, you foolish girl.”
“He needs a respectable wife. Your father needs a job. And you need a strong hand. It’s the perfect solution. Or was.”
Bewildered, the girl remained silent.
The mother went on. “But you’ve ruined everything. All your father’s hard work. Your behaviour will end today.” With that she left, slamming the door behind her.
So here she was.
The hospital was ancient yet still similar to any of the other more modern facilities in which she’d stayed, with vast grey cement walls and peeling white paint and water-stained ceiling tiles in every room but two: the reception hall and the head physician’s office. These were where all the money had gone in creating this place; both had plush carpets, leather furniture, and wooden tables and chairs that smelled pleasantly of lemon polishing oil.
The girl’s room was small, more a cell really. A single bed, a small sink, and a plain chair kept her company. A worn teddy bear had accompanied her, but the doctors politely suggested it wasn’t a good idea. The parents placed a cursory peck on their child’s forehead as they departed, taking the bear with them.
The mother had told her she was there for a break, to recover from the incident with the man. But the girl knew the truth and said nothing, so resigned had she become to her fate. For days, she wandered the halls of the grand old building, waiting for the inevitable.
As she walked, she unconsciously absorbed her surroundings. Cracked walls, plastered over repeatedly, were everywhere. Victorian lights, rewired for modern use, ran along every corridor. The patterns on the mottled marble floors made it difficult to tell if the surface was ever really clean, despite the appearance of a mop woman every few days. Lace curtains, delicate and beautiful, couldn’t hide the shadows of the iron bars on windows through which shaved patients in dingy grey hospital gowns stared, imagining they could see something through the decades-old dirt, dried drool, and greasy fingerprints.
The girl never went in the basement, but heard stories muttered by other ‘guests’, and saw the looks of those who’d managed to sneak down to the bowels of the building. Vacant, staring, empty.
It was done for the girl’s own good, or so she’d been repeatedly told. You’ll feel better, they said. But what they really meant is THEY would feel better. If they’d truly meant to be sympathetic, they would have told the girl exactly what was happening when they’d strapped her to the operating table. Instead, her questions, growing ever more frantic, were met with condescending glances and noises one makes to calm a crying babe.
“Hush. It’ll be over soon, and you’ll be cured.” Still, they wouldn’t tell her what ‘it’ was.
Her questions were silenced by the guard put into her mouth, lodged firmly between her teeth. The foul taste of the hard rubber, the breath of hundreds who went before, made the girl gag. Tears ran down her face but still no one spoke to her. A strap pulled tight, and her head was now secure. The girl felt two cold discs being secured to her temples with surgical tape.
A face suddenly appeared, looking down at her. “Nearly there. You’ll feel some pain and then you’ll go to sleep. Then we can make you better.”
The face disappeared.
The girl waited.
The world exploded.
The girl wasn’t aware of what they did to her next, but I was. After they inserted the knife into her eye socket, they took what amounted to a surgical sledgehammer and rammed the knife into her brain, more and more deeply with each strike. They said it was done scientifically but anyone could see that it would only take a fraction of a millimetre to damage the girl. As many had been damaged before her. When the knife was inserted far enough into the girl’s brain, it was jiggled to the left and right, up and down, to ensure all the purported abnormalities that resided there were destroyed.
I watched until it was over, and the girl was placed, still unconscious, into a bed. I witnessed her spasms, the thrashing and rolling in the product of her involuntarily voided bowels and marvelled at the blankness of her mind.
It all started innocently, and with the best of intentions. I was created as a place of refuge for the poor, as well as a place good Christian men and women could give alms in support of the knights who fought in the Crusades. Over hundreds of years, ownership changed. Charters were signed and re-signed, purses of money traded for positions of power. Until, eventually, my original purpose was lost to time.
My residents changed too. No longer did the poor shelter within my walls, rather, those designated ‘mente capti’, the insane, were now the occupants. The rooms that had once contained beds, blankets, and pillows now had only manacles, chains, and straw. I was transitioning from a hostel to a building to house the unstable. By the mid-1400s, this process was complete. Even my name became synonymous with madness: Bedlam. I was now a refuge for those whom nature had created using her nightmares as a template.
You’ll think me misguided or deluded when I describe the practices that went on beneath my roof. Perhaps I’ve become confused, you’ll say, and am describing a prison, or a torture chamber. I forgive you for thinking this, for the tools once used to extract names and information from men were similar to those designed to extract lunacy.
When the girl woke, she was alone. She stood, the smell of her own bodily discharges nearly overpowering her. The room was quiet and dark, the barred window shaded to block out the light. The girl felt heavier, like she carried an invisible extra weight. Stumbling to a small nearby table, she poured herself water and gulped it down, her stomach lurching as the liquid hit it. Her mind was confused, the images before her hazy and insubstantial. Shaking her head to clear the fog only caused pain.
She felt no emotion. Her entire consciousness was like a music stave, with five lines rolling off into eternity. The notes that made up her life used to fall all over the stave, up then down, short notes, long notes, high and low notes. But now, all the tones were in the middle, a repeated pattern of note after note, played the same way, over and over. The girl could no longer feel the highs and lows that used to delight her. Instead, her brain was filled with the long play of a single sound.
The door opened and the doctor came in, the glare of his white lab coat hurting her eyes.
“Ah good, you’re awake. How do you feel?” He walked over to her and took her wrist with one hand, lifting his other to view his watch.
The girl remained silent.
“Do you know where you are?” The doctor took her face in his hand and turned it back and forth, peering into her eye. “Is the bandage okay?”
She frowned. Sure enough, when she concentrated, the girl realised she was wearing a patch over one eye. Raising her hand to touch it, she was shocked when the doctor slapped it away.
“No. Don’t touch the bandage. I’ll take it off in a few days.” He donned a large smile. “Now, can you speak?”
“Excellent. Do you know where you are?”
“Very good.” The doctor turned to leave, throwing instructions to a waiting nurse as he left the room. The door closed behind him and the girl was left alone again.
The doctor stopped by every day, leaving instructions for the nurses as to the girl’s care. After a few days, the bandage over her eye came off.
“There you go, how does that feel?”
The girl blinked and looked around the room. “Fine.”
“Good. One more day and we’re sending you home.” The doctor smiled widely. “You’ve done very well.” He turned to the ever-waiting nurse at the door. “Incontinence has ceased?”
“Then yes, we’ll send our patient home tomorrow.”
“But Doctor, the seizures…”
He cut the nurse off. “Will stop with time, thank you Nurse.” A glare reinforced his words. It was still there when the doctor turned his gaze back to the girl. She saw his focus, and the facade he wore of a caring physician, one hiding his fear and relief that everything had worked. This time.
My sweet, my dear, let me sing you to peace.
I hummed a song I’d heard centuries ago. An old woman, chained to my walls for nearly a decade, sang it to comfort herself. Before long, it was no longer a comfort but a compulsion.
Jesu Cristes milde moder
Stud, biheld hire sone o rode
That he was ipined on.
The sone heng, the moder stud
And biheld hire childes blud,
The girl didn’t understand the words but fell asleep before my song was finished. I watched over her while she slept.
“What’s wrong with her eyes?” The mother walked around the girl, looking her up and down, before resting her critical gaze on her daughter’s face.
The doctor leaned over and stared into the girl’s eyes. “That shine? It’s nothing. It’ll fade. A result of the treatment.”
The girl knew the truth.
When she arrived home, she was sent to bed immediately. More rest was needed, the mother delivered authoritatively.
“I trust you’ll do as I ask and keep to your room.” The parents had a bridge game that evening and the mother still hadn’t picked out the ‘right’ outfit. The father’s suit had already been chosen for him.
The girl heard the lock slide into place, a new precaution the parents had insisted on. Lying on her bed, smelling the familiar scents of the washing powder the mother used, the layer of perfume, and long-dead candle, she felt a tremor deep within herself. A nudge.
The seizure hit, wracking her body, stretching and wrenching every muscle at once. The girl’s eyes rolled back, and a million sparks of light assaulted her. Just as it seemed her frame could take no more, suddenly it was over. The girl sank heavily back into the bed, unconscious.
I didn’t want to hurt her but I needed to get a better idea of my surroundings. I’d only done this twice before in my long history, both with questionable results. This time would be different. The girl was willing.
I waited until I heard the parents return from their card playing. Their bickering voices carried through the whole house. The father was in trouble, having apparently drunk too much, and was ordered to sleep on the couch. The mother stomped up the stairs and slammed the door to their bedroom, muttering to herself. Soon the sound of running water reached me.
Rising, I quietly opened the door to the bedroom and peered out, the foolish lock sliding open at my suggestion. The hall was dark, but a light shone from beneath the bathroom door. Walking toward the glow, I stopped when I heard a noise from downstairs. Just the father, snorting in his alcohol-induced sleep. I continued.
“What are you doing in here? Get out right now.” The mother was soaking in a large cast iron bathtub, a glass of gin balanced on the tub edge beside her, a cigarette in her hand.
I continued toward her.
“I said, get back to bed. I thought you were cured of this nonsense.” The mother waved a hand, causing ash to fall into the water with her.
I saw the girl’s hands on the mother’s shoulders, pushing. I urged her on. Push, harder. The mother’s face beneath the bath water went from shock to anger to panic. Struggling, she nearly managed to free herself, but I encouraged the girl, giving her strength by sharing my anger.
Specialists came and went within my walls, with new ones appearing to ‘improve’ whatever they personally thought needed to be changed. Strangely, for such caring individuals, it was never the cleanliness of the excrement-smeared cells, or the maggot-ridden food, or the near-nakedness of the patients that needed to be amended. Nor were the indiscretions, both minor and horrific, perpetrated on innocent patients by visitors who’d been invited to gawk for their Sunday afternoon entertainment considered serious enough. These specialist men came only to perform experiments. To improve treatments, as they called it. Cure one soul and fame awaited, no matter the ten others whose bodies rotted in shallow graves behind my walls.
Immersion therapy was one of the tools a specialist brought with him. A chair, set high upon a platform and to which a patient was strapped, was mechanically lowered backward into a tank of ice-cold water so the sufferer was immersed to the point of death before being raised up again in a twisted parody of baptism. I’d seen it used many times and achieve nothing. But I made sure the mother felt the chair, the straps, the desperation, and terror of those who’d been forced to suffer this barbarity.
Finally, the thrashing stopped and all that was on the mother’s face, bloated and distorted through the dirty water, was surprise.
The police were called. While the father could provide no proof of his actions, he was still sufficiently intoxicated the next morning to plant a seed of doubt into the minds of the constabulary that he’d been in any shape to walk last night, never mind commit a murder. And his grief seemed genuine. The only fact that could be securely established was that the girl had been locked in her room, with no way out. All night.
Verdict: accidental drowning.
The father tried burying his grief in bottles of alcohol. When this didn’t work, he threw himself into the automobile project he’d been promising the mother he’d finish for years. Now he would. For her.
The father avoided the girl. She’d always been the mother’s domain.
The girl welcomed the solitude, barely noticing her remaining parent’s lack of attention. It had always been this way. Instead of the sadness she used to feel when left to her own devices, now she was at peace. She saw herself as one of those saints, whose pictures she’d seen in a museum, depicted with an angel watching over them, keeping them close, protecting them.
The girl could feel the angel with her.
I waited for just the right opportunity. The girl’s nights were still restless, and the medication they plied her with did nothing to stop the seizures. They provided me with an escape.
The father had been nearly absent from the house. Instead, he chose to spend his days, and even his nights, in the garage, ferociously working on an old automobile.
The girl forgot to take her medicine.
I crept through the house, watching through her eyes, seeing her in the mirror as she passed through the living room to the passage connecting the house to the garage. The door creaked.
“You scared the hell out of me.” The father turned quickly toward the noise. I saw the red blear that were his eyes, and the skin hanging from his alcohol-infused frame. “Jesus.” He turned back to the engine he’d been working on, the large chains that held the motor suspended above the car swaying slightly.
I advanced, feeling the cold of the cement floor on the girl’s bare feet.
“What do you want? I have nothing for you.”
“Get out of here. Just leave me alone.” He grabbed a bottle that had been hidden in the bonnet, amongst the mechanics of the vehicle, and took a long swig. “Go. Get the fuck out. I don’t want you.” The man staggered, waving the bottle. “You’ve always been a little bitch. Fucking everything up. Little cunt.”
I stopped and stared. This was the good part, the event horizon, the point of inevitability. I stepped forward. Watching. A play, just for me. Us. The girl’s arms raised and suddenly her hands encircled the father’s neck. His eyes widened in surprise, then a small smirk played on his lips. He actually thought he could escape this.
She lifted him into the air. I gave her the strength, forcing her muscles to the point of tearing. The father began to struggle, his eyes now betraying his alarm. Looking around, I saw a tube emerging from the engine, hanging so tantalisingly close. Using all of her energy, the girl swung the father as hard as she could and slammed his back into the tube. With one hand still holding the man in place, she used the other to grab an excess of chain and loop it around his neck.
The girl let go.
The screams were tempered by a gurgling as the punctured lung sent blood up the man’s throat and dribbling from his mouth.
I told him a story.
The story was about a man, an American military man, who’d gotten himself into a minor scrape and was brought to me. With no questions or investigation, the man was chained to my walls: an iron ring riveted about his neck, a strong iron bar around his torso which was fashioned to pinion his arms to his sides, a bar across his shoulders which attached to the one on his waist, and leg irons to restrict any movement still left available to the man. Naked, with only straw on the cement floor. Day after day I listened to his laments, his shouts, his cries for justice. Then for sympathy. Then for food.
The visitors came, paid their fee to view the insane. A lesson in morality, some said, struggling to justify the exercise. Show your family the effects of immoral living. See it for yourself and live a more holy life. But the supposed gravity of these public viewings did nothing to wipe the smiles from people’s faces. The chained man was a favourite with visitors. They pointed, laughed, mocked. The most depraved were permitted special sessions to view the man alone, without supervision. He couldn’t run from them.
When they found him, fifteen years later, his body had already been feasted upon by rats. The creatures avoided the running sores and infections that years of abuse had caused, but still found food enough.
In his dying moments, the father lived through those fifteen years. Lived every single moment. I forced the pain into his mind, the sights and sounds and smells. All of it.
Anyone driving home late that night would perhaps have been surprised to see a lone female wandering the streets. But no one saw.
The girl knew where the man lived. The mother had bragged about his neighbourhood, his fine home, and new furnishings. He was quite the businessman, after all. The address had been mentioned, more than once, one of the many selling-features presented by her parents. Her route was easy, short, and the girl walked calmly and sure-footedly, her purpose clear.
She didn’t remember what happened during her seizures, not exactly. While aware they had happened, her brain was closed to her during the episodes. But the sense of calm she felt afterward, the peace her angel gave her, made her almost look forward to them.
The double doors to the house were painted bright white, the brass knockers shining in the light of the nearby streetlamp. After a few minutes, the man appeared in the doorway, his face puffy from sleep, his eyes half open, his body covered by only a pair of boxer shorts.
“What the fuck do YOU want?”
The girl looked at him, then down at her feet, shuffling them on the step. With a sly glance up again, she hinted at something.
The man took in the girl’s appearance. Her sleeping dress, made of thin cotton, allowed the light from the street to pass through, revealing the shape of her breasts and thin waist. Aroused, the man’s anger faded, his instincts taking control.
“You’ve come to apologise. You were a bitch to me before, but I see you’ve changed your tune.” He put his arm around the girl’s body and guided her into the house, glancing up and down the street to see that none of his neighbours were watching.
I feigned compliance as the girl was led into the house. The man sat her on the couch in his large living room, poured them both a drink, and returned. He placed himself so close his bare thigh was touching her cotton-covered one. But still, I could feel the heat, of both his body and his longing.
The living room was a carpeted monstrosity of taste, a clash of colours and textures that the idiot must have thought fashionable. As he forced the girl back onto the couch, I spied a large green soapstone ashtray. The girl picked it up and smashed it into the back of the man’s head as he lay on top of her, trying to force her legs open.
When he woke, I’d moved him to the basement, where I’d found an old metal washbasin and other materials. I had the girl tie him to a chair, binding his arms behind him around the back of the chair, and his legs to the legs of the chair. His calves and feet were submerged in the now water-filled wash tub.
The man’s groan told me he was conscious. I watched as he became aware, then alarmed. He struggled against his bindings, rocking the chair back and forth, becoming more and more frustrated.
“What are you doing? You fucking bitch, let me go!”
Ignoring his shouts, I went upstairs to the kitchen to get the last piece I needed. I had another story to tell. This time I used the girl’s own voice, instead of forcing the pain into the man’s mind.
“There were many at the asylum who were deemed incurable. No amount of chains or water torture or deprivation could cure them of their demons. Then, one day, a very special guest came to call. He brought with him a device, claiming it had already saved hundreds of people in his own country. The asylum managers were impressed, and immediately ordered a device of their own. Soon, patients were being treated, and successes were triumphantly announced. But no one thought to talk to the actual patients.”
It was true. But I knew how they felt. I continued my story, once again forming the girl’s words as I looked for an electric socket.
“Electroshock therapy is used to induce seizures. Agents to induce seizures have been around for nearly five hundred years. The culmination of those years was this machine. Sleek, modern, built to purpose.”
The man started to scream now, fully and without a break. I saw an old rag and had the girl stuff it into his mouth, smiling as the screams became panicked gagging. As the tears flowed down his face, I found a socket.
“The device is quite simple, really. Two electrodes are attached to the temples, through which vast amounts of electricity flows when the machine is turned on.”
The girl had had her back to the man as I searched for the socket, but now I turned, holding the toaster in her arms and smiling. “Isn’t it marvellous how humans strive to perfect their torture?”
The man struggled so furiously now the water splashed from the wash tub. Nearly finished.
“Of course, all the observers see is a body on a table twitching and convulsing, then stillness. But the patient, oh, the dear patient. The pain they feel shatters their brains, the white light so bright it’s blinding, searing a furious path of agony behind the eyes and into the head. Then the body reacts, quite of its own volition, the current forcing the muscles and tendons to contort themselves into excruciating convulsions. Then nothingness.”
It was time. I looked deep into the man’s eyes, this ‘quite the businessman’, but saw only defiance. I dropped the toaster into the water.
When the doctor woke, he found himself strapped to a bed, the leather restraints pulled so tightly they dug into his flesh.
The hospital was dark, with only a single light illuminating the operating theatre. It had been easy enough a task; while the hospital was prepared for a possible ‘escape’ by one of its patients, the idea that someone would try to break in wasn’t even a consideration when it came to security. And the girl had learned a few of the building’s secrets during her stay there. Locks held no sway for her, her angel had seen to that. They simply opened for her. She knew where all of the medications were stored, including those that would quickly subdue a violent patient. The girl also knew that the doctor often worked late into the night, devising self-deprecating speeches for the imaginary awards he believed he deserved for his work. It was here where he also altered patient records and amended entries in the official hospital ledger, all to ensure what he saw as a smooth running of the facility.
He felt the sting of the needle as it pricked the back of his neck, then nothing.
The girl had done her job. I released her mind but kept control of her body. She’d done well and deserved the rest.
The doctor’s soft moaning made my heart leap. He was finally awake. Now we could begin.
“You! What are you doing? How did you get in here?”
I ignored the man’s questions, instead focussing on gathering the tools I would need. Such a selection!
“What’s going on? What the hell are you up to?”
The man’s struggles grew worse, but I had ensured the leather straps were tight, and would hold. I continued my preparations, paying no heed to the physician’s growing alarm.
The threats started.
“Let me go or so help me god I’ll make sure you never leave this building again, as long as you live.”
Then the bargaining.
“Look, let’s talk about this. Whatever you’re doing, how about you let me go and we’ll go back to my office and have a nice cup of tea.”
I began to hum.
Jesu Cristes milde moder
“Listen, you don’t have to do this, whatever it is you’re doing.”
Stud, biheld hire sone o rode
I turned and held up the orbitoclast, a small surgical ice pick, along with the surgical sledgehammer used to perform the operation.
The doctor began to scream, his voice falling to a whimper as I approached, still humming.
That he was ipined on.
“No. Please. No.”
The rubber bar strapped in his mouth stopped the noise.
I hit the doctor’s eyeball on my first attempt. With a soft popping sound, the vitreous matter dribbled down the side of his face. I shook my head, preparing to try again.
The sone heng, the moder stud
My second attempt was much easier, now that there was no eye around which to navigate. I placed the pick at the top of the gaping socket and hit it with the sledgehammer. The doctor’s moans had stopped, and all that came from his mouth was wet gasping, and a deep choking noise from the back of his throat. When the pick was embedded far enough into the man’s brain, I jiggled the handle, watching the physician twitch each time the point moved. I stopped the movement and the man’s body eased its straining. Another wiggle and the tension started again. Amused, I did this a few times, until the doctor’s responses became weaker. He’d had enough and I was satisfied with my work. He’d live, but no longer as a doctor. I’d left him barely human, and now he’d reside within my walls, forever at my mercy.
I left the physician where he was and guided the girl back to the room where we’d found each other. It hadn’t been assigned to another patient. As we climbed into bed, I smiled.
And biheld hire childes blud.
Copyright Kelly Evans