Nightmare Utopia: In your Dreams - Chapter One 2/4

Nightmare Utopia: In your Dreams - Chapter One 2/4

A Chapter by Tabitha A. Rees

There is a new patient at Vanadaine Institute's teen program. And Cerina, someone who tends to avoid her crazy peers at all costs, must give her a tour of the facilities... if "rainbow girl" lets her.


Rainbow girl sat with her mouth gaping several inches, as if she had not expected such a sudden departure. The remains of her happiness were killed in the process, and her hand reunited with her mouth as tears flowed.


I exchanged a look with the rest of the room. I saw Sandra elbow Phil and whisper something, sneering. His response was annoying giggles - never a coherent answer.


They were heartless. All of them.


Dr. Hall patted the sobbing rainbow girl on her colorful shoulder. No one wanted to be here; it was rarely a choice. At least one doctor here was aware of that. The trauma counselor, Mrs. Hendricks, seemed to like putting blame on ones’ heritage, and of course, Dr. Caldwell, the permanent residents’ therapist, thought he could scare someone to health with that eerie, ominous mustache of his.


"So, Ms. Baxter, I’m sure you’ll need a tour…." His eyes searched the room, seeing nothing but distracted residents laughing or gossiping over our newest addition. Even Jessica was pointing and chuckling with her teddy bear.


The doc didn't notice the staircase. So, I doomed myself, and picked myself up, and deliberately went to the bottom step, where I'd be in the blinding, painful limelight.


"Ah, Ms. Venimoore!" Dr. Hall never seemed so relieved. "Why don’t you show our new friend around? Nothing farther than the cafeteria!"


The book slipped from my hands, where it was not greeted well by the tile floor. I was sure it wouldn’t be greeted well by Adriana either, once I gave it back to her with the binding already bent beyond repair, especially since it was just an act.


"Um." I paused, feigning hesitation. "Why…me?"


"Please stop questioning everything," Dr. Hall said, laughing nervously. "No wonder you keep to yourself so much. Just show her around, give her the rules. Oh, her room is A5, so she can drop off her stuff - "


"Hey!" Joyce Mandroy, our ward’s anorexic, shouted as she turned away from her friends (Amy Gomez, laxative-addict, and Dixy Fisher, deranged bulimic, completing the eating-challenged trio). "Dr. Hall, that’s my room - "


"And now it’s also Ms. Baxter’s," Dr. Hall said, wringing his hands together to control his temper. "Two to a room, Ms. Mandroy. And all the other girls’ rooms are full, so "


Joyce’s groan interfered as she, Amy, and Dixy all abandoned the sofa, likely to s**t-talk Dr. Hall in private. Not caring, I stuffed my novel into a pocket, and approached rainbow girl. She stopped crying to stare.


"You look…sane," she muttered warily.


Ha! "I get that a lot," I admitted, which encouraged her lips to twist upwards, though it looked off with her tear-smeared makeup. "Post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. I’m not uber-crazy or anything."


She nodded once, clearly filing my every word into her memory.


Dr. Hall gestured at the rooms. We embarked, rainbow girl carrying a thick, pink bag to drag along.


Knowing the ten girls-only rooms too well, I opened the third on the left. Joyce’s room looked exactly as I’d imagined; old cheerleader photos pasted on the walls, next to posters of disgusting Disney channel stars, and one picture of her family.


But the other side of the room, nearer to the window, was blank and lifeless. Even the bed and end table seemed dead.


"I’m guessing there," I told her, though she just threw aside her bags at random. Her eyes seemed to stray towards the posters, though not with fan-girl admiration.


"Uh, gag. I’m not letting those s****y Jonas Brothers watch me sleep." She ambled towards the wall, and ripped off the nylon paper. "There. What an improvement."


I froze where I stood, unsure if I should A) let it be her own problem, or B) warn her about Joyce’s prissy, anorexic symptoms. The former seemed easier for now.


"Okay…how about we move on?" I stammered. Rainbow girl nodded and skipped to my side again, happy again. I was beginning to suspect what her diagnosis was, at least.


Vanadaine Institute was rather simple to show off, when it came to the teen building. I pointed out every room’s surveillance, including the bathrooms and showers’, that ensured no one kicked it. It was a pain to know that someone was watching us in our most hush-hush moments, but whatever.


Afterwards, I led rainbow girl to our the scene of the action: the therapy workplace.


"Pretty basic," I told her, holding open the glass doors. "You’ll come to these group therapy rooms, depending on your situation, every morning and night. It’s how they check progress. And it’s for taking attendance, sort of if you don’t show up for group therapy, they’ll just assume something’s happened and go haywire."


"So…if you show up just for the group therapies" rainbow girl said slowly, examining the hallway, "then they don’t know if you’re around the rest of the time?"


"I guess." I never really thought of it. "But there’s this technology called cameras "


"Fixable." Her eyes, a dark golden color, fluttered at the black box just above us. "So, Cerina, go on with that lovely tour of yours, why don’t you?"


"I wait, how do you know my name?"


She snorted. "It’s called a name-tag you’re wearing on your chest, genius."


Oh, right. Duh. "Uh…yeah. So, this is the medical center…water fountain…rec room, it’s really boring, just avoid it…psychical therapy room. People hate that, too. They have us do these irritating aerobic exercises in there. And - hey! Jessica!"


Behind the second water fountain was a tiny, brunette girl, teddy bear in hand.


"Sorry," Jessica whispered, pointing to her stuffed demon. "He was curious."


"He?" rainbow girl said in wonder.


"My bear, Moe. His soul was stolen by a monster living at the institution, so he has me supervise human communication for him." She then whispered, "I speak fluent fiend."


"Oh, so do I!" cried rainbow girl, a smiling exploding onto her face as she glared at the teddy bear and mumbled some sort of gibberish. I swear I heard the words "Lady Gaga" among the nonsense though, and coughed back a snort.


Jessica, and Moe the teddy bear, listened. Then she looked at him, and told rainbow girl, "Actually, Moe says that is not how the fiends speak. He also says you smell like cookies, and says he’ll forgive you for insulting his kind if you give him a cookie."


I had to press a fist over my mouth to prevent laughter now. Rainbow girl merely shrugged in defeat.


"Sorry, Moe-Moe." She threw up her arms. "Cookie-free zone."


"He says he’d let you live if you stop calling him Moe-Moe. It’s just Moe, he says."


Rainbow girl sighed, and dropped her arms. "Fine…Moe."


"That’s better." Jessica hugged the bear to her chest, and skipped back to the living room. I waited until she was gone to start snickering, and it took a few minutes before I could eventually stop. Rainbow girl watched my laughter with interest.


"Sorry," I said. "She’ll…do that."


"She seems nice. Just confused," rainbow girl commented. "It’s attachment to inanimate things. It’s obvious she’s hiding some sort of emotion inside that teddy bear."


"Geez, I didn’t know you went to college for this or anything," I joked, but she didn’t react. I turned away, blushing at the bad timing, and pushed on the exit doors. "Fine. Then what’s the diagnosis they gave you?"


"I happen to be a volatile and bipolar sociopath," she replied, matter-of-fact, and walked right past me to the great outdoors (though there’s not much great about the courtyard of a mental institution). "Oh, don’t worry though," she added at my expression. "I’m only volatile towards…certain people."


Rolling my eyes, I followed after her, walking on the path to the cafeteria. The sidewalk was fresh and clean, as patients were rarely allowed outside.


"So…what certain people are you volatile towards?" I said. What a pitiful topic choice.


Rainbow girl thought about that for a moment, as if it was a serious interrogation. "I tend to act violently towards ferrets, toddlers, interns, and people who wear skinny jeans." She paused to check my choice of pants. "You’re safe."


"Um…do you like hurting people or something?"


"Volatile, Cerina. Not sadistic, that’s rash."


Yeah, I definitely hadn’t been the best person for this job. I sucked in a breath and opened the cafeteria doors anyway. The place was vacant, being only three in the afternoon.


"So, this is "


" actually, I guess I would hurt people in some situations," rainbow girl muttered, more to herself as she ignored my tour stop. "You know, if they piss me off or something. Like, if you decided to call me by my real name. Grrr…."


"But I don’t know your name," I pointed out. "So….?"


"Real name? Breanne." Her tongue stuck out in disgust, which brought a smirk to my face. "I prefer Bree, so you use that, unless you enjoy pain." My face drifted between awe and horror, which brought a smirk to her face. "Well, on with the tour then!"


"Right. Well, this is obviously our cafeteria." I gestured dully at the vacant tables, dim lighting, and kitchen lining one of the wall. "We have a regular, state-provided menu. Nothing creative. I think the wildest food here is macaroni and cheese, really."


"Do you guys have ice cream?" Bree blurted out.


I snorted once, then noticed her sincerity. "Well…no. This is a mental hospital, Bree. ADHD and psychopaths galore. Sugar’s bad here."


"Oh. Right," she muttered, her tiny and young features twisting. "Hmm. That’s not going to work for me. First, they say I’m a maniac. Then they put me in a place where a six-foot tall boy is giggling like he’s in pre-school, and a little girl believes her teddy bear is a vessel for the underworld. But then they have no sugar?" Her fists clenched, though they were too tiny to mean anything serious. "Where’s the nearest fence?"


I stopped in my tracks. "Fence? What?"


"A fence. This place has a fence surrounding it, I saw it. I need you to take me to it, like, now!"


Her tone was so demanding. I just found myself walking outside. She trailed along, and after a short walk through some trees, we found ourselves standing in front of a tall and metal gate. Bree hesitated, taking it in, then walked up and grasped one of the rods in her hand; it did nothing in her grasp. I mean, it was sorta steel….


"This seems easy to get past."


She continued to feel the bars, then backed away. One of her blue sneakers soared in the air and clashed against the metal. I gasped as, somehow, the barrier broke under her foot’s weight, and created a hole just accessible for our sizes.


"Come on," mumbled Bree, already crawling through.


"Are you serious?" I hissed, and pointed at one part of the fence. "You know those camera things we discussed earlier? Would you look at that, there’s one right there!"


"Well, then we’ll have to be quick, won’t we?" With a loud squeak, she toppled to the other side, and started to run. "Just follow me, okay?" she said, shouting.


I hesitated, then realized if I stayed I’d just have to go in for questioning and all that boring stuff. I could just chase after her, and find a way to bring her back before she got too far.


Most newbies were desperate to escape. Well, everyone was, but the older residents had better sense. I lost count of how many times Sandra and Phil had attempted to climb the trees and jump over. We were supposed to stay, heal, and then we’d be release, though in my two years at Vanadaine Institute, I’d seen six teenagers total actually leave. Most took years; even then it was sometimes because of budget cuts and the occasional bribe.


There was of course, the famed Ramona. I hadn’t known her myself; she’d been the previous resident of my room, and apparently from the misty-eyed accounts in my therapy group, also the toughest and most audacious patient around, fleeing every other night and having to be brought back from two towns away the Angelina Jolie of the hospitals’ warped "Girl, Interrupted" scenario.


Of course, then the suicidal part of her diagnosis had kicked in, and…now it was just a legend in my therapy group.


What I did not need was Bree, a sociopath who was in my care, to become a legend for unpleasant reasons. I could prepare an explanation for the doctors…. "Well, Dr. Hall was convinced that if I just had some social relationships with people other than Adriana or the nurse, I might heal, so I had no choice but to give her a tour. By the time we get to the cafeteria, she had this major epiphany about her being in a mental institution, and finds a way through - uh, over, over the fence…."


Yeah, either way, I was screwed and looking at a few hours of room-only suspension, and no makeup rights. So, forcing myself through a mess of barb wires that would probably leave their mark on my skin, I followed.

© 2010 Tabitha A. Rees

Author's Note

Tabitha A. Rees
Same as before, I'd appreciate any advice, editing errors, compliments, insults. I just want this out there as much as possible

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This is great!! Awesome! I can't wait to see what happens when she follows Bree. Will she bring her back, or will Bree and her end up in the world again, taking care of themselves? This is EPIC. XD

Posted 11 Years Ago

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Added on June 11, 2010
Last Updated on June 11, 2010


Tabitha A. Rees
Tabitha A. Rees

Lake Havasu City, AZ

Hello, strangers. I am a young author who enjoys writing about insane asylums and unique worlds and characters. My current YA/urban fantasy series, NIGHTMARE UTOPIA, is about to enter the publishing w.. more..


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