Humberston Asylum. An offshoot, if you will, of Connors' empire. Where those deemed too dangerous for the walls of my own purgatory dwell.
Read their stories.
I open my eyes and stare upwards at the blank stretch of ceiling above. I start my mundane routine, hauling myself up and walking slowly over to the mirror. I see what I see every day; a tired woman with blank grey eyes, heavy dark circles underneath emphasising the sockets, making the face appear skull-like against the white skin whilst lank strands of hair hang down outlining the gaunt features. A simple blue gown covers her body from head to toe, the only thing that brings colour to this place which is too white, too clean, too safe.
One night I woke up to find myself stood facing the white wall opposite my bed, except it was no longer white. My hands had smothered the wall with lavender oils and liquid pink soap. The I saw the red mixed in with it on the opposite side of the room. I felt faint and put my hand out to lean on the desk for support but as soon as I did I felt a sharp twinge of pain. Reaching my hand up to my face, I saw the ugly jagged line I'd cut into my hand. I took a step back and heard a soft crunch.. and looked down. Glass, glass shards as far as the eye can see and looked up and saw myself in the mirror, at least what was left of the mirror. You see I must have punched it for there were only the corners left where it had been tightly fastened to the wall with white plastic screws.
They've been very careful with me after; I hardly have any objects in here with me and my new mirror is just a scrap of flexible plastic with what seems to be a thin sheet of aluminium foil stretched over the top. They make sure they check on me at least every two hours. The worst one is Jeff; he thinks he's so funny.
'Hope you haven't had your potion Dr. Jekyll 'cos here's your breakfast.'
The worst thing is my name is actually Miss Hyde, Miss Angela Hyde. At least I think it is. You see that's the reason I'm in here. I have this... personality problem. At first it was Multiple Personality Disorder but but I'm not so sure that's what it is. To be honest, it doesn't really matter. The doctors all seemed very pleased when they 'identified' what was 'wrong' with me like a dog eagerly awaiting a bone for a trick they've just performed, but I think they're just fools. Just because you've given something a name doesn't make it any better.
I keep getting blanks in my mind where I don't remember what I'm doing. Like I said, I'll wake up and find myself somewhere I didn't know existed or, especially before I came here, I'd go out to do something like pick up my nephews from my sister's house but then I'd blank out and when the lights turned on again, I'd be at home having gone to the supermarket and bought a year's supply of peanuts. I don't know why, I hate them with a passion.
They've let me out of the room now. I'm with the others in what they call the recreation area. Julia isn't here. They say I'm not allowed near her because last time I broke her nose but I don't remember it. Madge is sitting as usual staring out of the window, I don't know what at; all there is outside is white, boring simple white. It's so hateful.
I ask them all the time. You know them! The people? The nice people, dressed in blue. Nice. Real nice people. But they no answer. I ask them! They say "Be quiet Travis and eat your food," or "Go to sleep Travis." Travis don't want sleep! Travis want answer! I get angry when they no answer, and they get scared. Why they get scared? Travis no scary! Travis kind! They... tell me, I'm bad, I kill. But, but... they wrong. Travis good! Travis no kill! Travis never did nothing wrong on purpose! He told me to do it!
It visits me, everyday. I... I thought it was my friend. My friend, nobody else's. We were close, real close. Went places, had fun.
One day, me... me and um, my friend, we went to park, sat, watched little animals run around. Travis want to run too! But it told me no. Told me to behave, it and wait. Travis wait, long time. Travis wait long long time!
But then, it got bored. Told me to go talk to pretty girl, sat by tree. Told me to make friends. Travis spoke to girl! Girl nice! Travis likes girl But then, girl wanted to leave. Me sad, but it told me to stop her leaving! So, I grab her! Hold her against tree. I smile, to show Travis is nice person! But she scream! Why she scream? She scream lots! Scream hurt Travis and friend's ear so Travis make scream stop. I stop her... put hand on mouth! It told me no let go... so I no let go! No let go till she no scream! Then... then scream stop. So I let go. Girl fell to floor. Stayed there. Eyes open. No scream. It said. It said to me:
"There you go Travis, she won't scream again any longer."
It was right.
They say I am insane, they say I have problems. The only problems I have are the decor in the asylum. It needs to be a bit more creative. The white it's dull all the rooms just blend into one I don't know if I am coming or going. In this place there is only is one room to me and it has been cloned. They could vary the colours a bit brighten the place up make it a bit more lively, give it more life.
I shouldn't be here my husband says I'm not insane but he's too busy to spend time with me so maybe he doesn't know enough about these things. I don't think so though I have a baby inside me I really do, I have had many babies inside me but they never come out. I have had all the symptoms of a pregnancy, cravings, increased stomach size, the stopping of periods but I go to the doctor who says there is nothing there that I am imagining it again. I've been here for what many days now. I lost count after 99 as all the days blend into one I don't even know what day it is most of the time. I keep getting pregnant though I really do you believe me, don't you? My husband Sam he believes me he feels the baby kicking too. We have been married for 15 years now and all we want is a baby a family of our own.
Did you know the doctors say I can't have a baby? Many years ago when I was only a child just 7 years old in fact my uncle he picked me up from school he has this sparkle in his eyes it used to keep me entertained for hours. Now looking back on that day his eyes; they looked different as the thoughts flash through my head I remember those menacing stares those quick glances he would flash towards me as we drove home that day. He told me my mum and dad had gone on holiday without me that they didn't love me anymore but he did, he loved me more than anyone else could ever love me. He said we could have a special time when we got home do something I had never done before a new experience I was intrigued. As I walked in the house he ordered me to go upstairs to his bedroom and to lay on the bed this was the moment he walked up the stairs a bottle of whiskey in his hand swigging as he launched towards me tearing all my clothes off. I wondered what was going on I was scared I could not think of what to do so I just moaned I was cold this was the point he told me he would warm me up. I didn't know how but at this moment I felt a force within me a massive gush of pain one I had never felt before one that made me scream and shout.
These 'special' times as my Uncle Jimmy would call them happened repeatedly until one day I felt an enormous pain within me. By this time I was 12 years old I began to have more of a voice telling my mum I didn't want to go out with my uncle but she no longer cared for me she was longing too much for her precious time alone with my father. That's when I felt it that summer I felt a surging pain within my stomach begrudgingly my mother took me to the hospital I was in unbearable pain that was the day they told me I was having Braxton Hicks. That was the day my life full of dreams ended and a new one full of pain began. The baby inside me had developed in the Fallopian tubes I was rushed to theatre nobody would tell me what was happening. All I knew was that the baby that had developed had died that a life had been ruined and lost. From that day forward everything seemed to go wrong and I didn't know what I had done to deserve it. After weeks in hospital I was put with people who couldn't even remember my name taken away from the people I knew and loved.
Years passed and I would stare out the window hoping to see my mother walking up the driveway to take me home but she never did. Years passed by and I led living in a misery. As I grew up I never spoke about my experiences and still don't today Sam still doesn't even know why I need a baby but I do! I need to make up for that life lost, I need to replace that baby as I feel a part of me has never been returned. Since the day I came out of that operating theatre and I had been told that they had removed that dead baby from inside of me I needed to make up for mistakes I spent those years longing for something I was never going to have.
My life changed things grew more difficult I never spoke to people as much as they pressured me to I stayed isolated refusing to make friends with anyone that passed by. I thought it would be better if nobody knew what had happened they couldn't hate me like I hated myself. I felt they would stare at me I felt they would not want to be friends with me anyway but they did stare because people learnt to think I was weird the way they think I am now!
I met Sam and a year after we got married. I pressured him for a baby I hounded him for the next month until he finally agreed. We have tried time and again and I really do have babies but I have been back so many times they sent me here. The doctors they said they were worried that I would get hurt that I would take too many risks. They put me here people asked questions but I refuse to talk this is my escape writing here. I write many of my secrets down it makes things easier to deal with.
I don't know if I am insane may people question it. Who know what insane is? I don't? You don't? Many people think they do but I don't think there is one definition for it. There are too many different cases of insanity and these places these asylums they make things worse.
Amy Wells and Rhiannon Whittleton
They want you to believe this is a hospital, to help us, to fix us, cure us, but it's not. It's a prison, to contain us, mute us and hide us from the world.
Slithers of light break their way through the gaps in the wrought metal bars that secure the window. The harsh metal bars are there to keep me from from getting out - as if I could without the bars, the window being the size of a small book. Once in a while a bird will soar past the window and I long to be it, that small insignificant creature that is free without a care in the world.
Everything is plain, bare and white. We are too locked up in our own minds to notice the furnishings. We are too mad to appreciate colour.
Deranged voices ring like ghostly echoes through the cold, cruel corridor. Some shriek, scream and whimper like they are being tortured - whilst others mutter reassuringly to themselves in disjointed whispers.
Footsteps are heard every now and again when the white-coated 'doctors' walk purposefully across the hallways, immune to the insanity that surrounds them, which threaten to pull them under, too.
They want you to believe this is a hospital, to help us, fix us, cure us, but it's not. It's a prison, to contain us, mute us and hide us from the world.
I watched them pack up my furniture, my belongings, and my life. I stood at the window and I stared as they packed boxes into vans and drove the contents of my past away. Gone. Next came the taxi, I was led down my garden path and bundled into the vehicle, the vehicle which took me to the asylum.
* * * * *
White walls, white corridors, white sheets, white everything. I think it's tranquilising, makes me feel calm. The voices have calmed down since I moved here, I think they like white things to. I mean they still control me, I still listen but I don't know, I feel more like me again. Does that sound odd?
Everything here has a routine.
Wash time: 9:30
TV chance: 10:30
When I lived at home, I didn't have a routine for anything. I'd be stood there peeling potatoes and then I'd just have an impulse to do something else. I'd go out, maybe to the local supermarket, and then things would take a turn for the worst and I'd do things that I'd never thought I'd be capable of. Like last month, I walked into Tesco to do an ordinary food shop and I ended up leaving with a knife. I walked along the canal and then I saw him. A young foundling skipping along the lane whistling a tune as he went along. I don't recall what happened, I just remember the voices screaming at me to 'do it.' he next thing I knew, he was lying on the floor and I was surrounded by a pool of his blood, its red colour so deep.
They play music. The people in white outfits play music. Not bad music, classical with violins, pianos and sometimes the odd cello. Every day it's new. The music isn't normal, it makes me want to do things, good things. Things I wouldn't normally do. I know what they are trying to do, they want to change me, but I don't know why. All I know is that I can't let them get to me, at least not yet.
I have to get out.
There is a reason, I know that. I just don't know what it is yet. I have to find out, but the only way to do that is to escape.
* * * *
Sometimes I get visions. Mostly normal. Faces, places... Things from my past I think. I see people, just blurs or mixed colours but I know they are people, and they are familiar. There is one face. The face of someone with dark hair, crimson lips and a pale face. The face of death. I never imagined Death would wear make-up and have one dimple, or any for that matter. I never imagined Death would be a woman, or even a person at all.
I have to find this woman and soon, but how?
What is this place?
The walls are just white.
They are plain, simple and emotional. Like me I suppose.
I am sure I have lost those after being locked in this box for so long. It's like being a caged animal; animals probably are treated better than me. I'm almost always alone. Well, unless they come, do you know who 'they' are, well I'l tell you. They are the voices in my head. They keep me company and talk to me.
The people, some call them 'doctors' or something. They make me eat. I don't want to eat, the only thing I want to do it die. They give me drugs and say they make me better, they lie, they drug me to shut me up because they know I better than them.
That was what brought me here, she died and I couldn't cope. When I say she died, I mean I murdered her, well that's what they say anyway. Did I kill her? Not even I know that. She's just a voice in my head now. They said I shot her, maybe I'll shoot myself.
The walls are just white.
I like how clean and plain they are. No more clutter and mess, The mess that I made. I hear shouting and screaming of other patients at night, people talking about breaking out, they'll never break out. I know that because I've tried. That's why I'm locked up now. I tried to run away but they caught me. I guess I will stay in here forever.
Time in the Asylum
hi my name is limb DON'T KNOW WHY I WAS IN THERE, could have been because I tried to kill my mum when I was young. She never looked after me and my dad died was 3 I don't have much memory's with him. I must have been crazy IT MADE ME WORSE BEING IN THERE, the small white rooms nowhere to go, food was awful everything so dirty, I have to run away I said to myself BUT HOW, I do not know
it was the third year of being there in my walls was pealing the toilet stunk well I bonded to it now. The rain was falling on the roof of the building I just wanted to get out and look for the rest of my family THAT'S IF I HAD ANY LEFT. The wood round the window was starting to rot. I heard a big bang all of a sudden the window fell out. It was still pouring down with rain the pipes on the wall was all wet here's my chance to get out.
IM OUT AT LAST NOW WHERE TO GO?
The Edge of the World
The edge of the world? Well, not entirely. It's strange to think that just two hundred yards away from the buzz of everyday life, the overpowering swarm of people, uncaring as to anyone else's situations, their feelings and opinions; there is an escape I lose all knowledge of my true whereabouts and I'm swept into a place where my thoughts are in control. Looking out across rolling fields I am on top of the world, this belongs to me, and no-one will change that. As the wind brushes my face I turn to the sky, a rumbling sound floods my eardrums and the heavens open.
Rain pounds against my face as I march, my strides full of determination. I am invincible. Well, not completely. The recognition of my surroundings causes me to hyperventilate, my heart attacking my ribcage with each powerful thud. I know every rock, every hole, and every exposed tree root that possesses the potential to trip up any newcomer to the dirt track. The trees rustle as I pass, inviting me to stop and take notice of them. Nobody takes notice of the small beauties in life. We travel half the world in search of natural beauty and ignore the little pleasures that life holds. I can't. Not today anyway. I need to find my peace; I need to think things over. It's all we ever seem to do isn't it? Think?
My feet sink into the mud, every step I take helps me to clear my head. The repetitive sound is somehow therapeutic. I will walk I will keep walking, through this small paradise of mine, wrapped in amongst a mad world full of blame and despair, distraught faces on the covers of newspapers, leaflets created by tortured parents, pleading for any information you may have about their missing daughter. Who wouldn't be searching for peace in a world like this?
I am sane, others stare
Charlotte Cowling and Maifay Harper
Nebulous. I am sane, others stare. I feel their eyes seclude me in remorse, it's daunting, intimidating, horrifying. Screams alert me, the bitterness of the room juxtaposes with the fury inside me. The white walls appear smaller; caressing me. Enclosed.
Sudden silence falls upon me. Leaning in towards the colourless wall, my mind spins. I am sane, others stare. Blurriness in the distance, the sound of footsteps gather like stampedes of torrential rain pounding faster than my heartbeat. To what could this be?? Whispers surround me, sharp disturbed breaths quicken as they suffocate me. Intensifying. Drowning sound cleanses me To what gets closer?
Footsteps build, volume bursts in my ears; is this death? Footsteps jump,
until the pulse ends.
Fear breaks me enough to make titanium crack. Finally, composure. The anonymous split in the door in front of me moves in my mind. Slowly but vigorously. Screeching movements pierce against the wall as it moves towards the Gods. Eventually smashing to a halt. To what is the opposing side?
I am sane, others stare.
The stories featured here are the creations of the wonderful students at Humberston Academy. I did a writing workshop with Year 8 and Year 10 and they produced some excellent results. The school and the parents should be very proud and it was a privilege to work with them.