Asylum


Those of you who have been around for a bit know I do a project called Friday Fictioneers . A few months back (November 23, 2012 actually) I did one I called Assylum (<<<click here to read the first short short story. Or to find where that part fits in here.)

This is it’s photo.

copyright Joyce Johnson

copyright Joyce Johnson

I got a lot of response from it. Lots of people wanted to know more. I wrote out some more 1465 words more. I sat it aside, there are to many projects I’m working on right now. I thought I’d come back to it later on. I was chatting with Waiting For A Name yesterday and she brought it up. ( You should go and read her series about Angelique. It’s really amazing!) I was so impressed that she remembered it. I didn’t think my writing had that much of a lasting impression on anyone. I was thinking of putting up some short stories soonish, that was one of them.

A little bit of info before hand. (I know you all want me to just get to the story) When I searched the spelling of Asylum, I did a quick search and found a medical dictionary, it was spelled Assylum. I used it. After I published the post my daughter said I spelled it wrong. I looked for the online dictionary and couldn’t find it. I like it with the double “S” so I’m keeping it. I have an idea of what the huge secret is, but I’m not fully sure. Please don’t ask. I have way too much work to be doing, I don’t have the time to ask what exactly is happening. I just know it really isn’t good.
It’s still pretty raw. I’m sure there are some spelling mistakes and a lot of passive phrases.
so without further ado….

Assylum

I looked out the window. I took the envelope blade and ran it across my wrist. Of course, it did not cut deep enough. I poked at the small red line. I looked up and out the window. I wished the fog would engulf me. I wanted it to carry me away. These were not words or emotions I would be allowed to express. However, what they have done to me…

I pressed myself closer to the window. Could I throw myself out? There was a knock on my door, “Miss, your father awaits you at the table, to break your fast.” Her eyes darted from me to the bed.
“Miss, you still haven’t dressed.”
She walked closer to me and held out her arms. I felt the tears build in my eyes. She was so kind to me; could I trust her? She would side with them. They all would side with them.

“I am ill, ask my father to excuse me.” I said turning back to the window. She nodded once and went to the bed.
“I will tell him. Allow me to fix your room.” She gasped as she pulled the bedclothes. “Miss!” she shrieked.
I stood and walked slowly to the vanity. My legs were weak; I feared falling. I replaced the envelope blade.

She knelt in front of me. “Shall I call for the doctor?”
I shook my head. She reached for my hands, I pulled them away from her. She gasped again when she saw the red soaking through my sleeves.
“I will call for the doctor.” She stood and ran from the room.
I could see no point of bring him into this. He would not be able to help me.

I could not help me. No one could help me anymore. I was beyond help. My father and Uncle Tom stood in my doorway. My nurse pushed her way through and pulled back the bedclothes. She draped it over me and raised my hands for them to see.
“What have you done?” My father flew into a rage.
“Call for the doctor!” Uncle Tom bellowed down the hall.
I felt laughter in my belly. I must not let it escape. They must not hear it. I avoided their eyes. I could not bear to see them.

My father calmed as he paced. He held his hands behind his back. He stopped suddenly and looked up. “Bring her meal to her and see that she eats it. I will await the doctor downstairs.” Father said.
Uncle Tom followed on his footsteps. My nurse placed her palm on my head then left me alone. Could I avert this if I were to throw myself down the stairs? Death, where was he when I had need of him. When I was yet a child he come without invitation. He took my mother. Why would he not come for me now?

I looked at the bed. My stomach churned and my heart twisted within me. I knew why he did not come for me. I was not what he wanted. I pray, that nurse will bring a blade with her for my bread. I may still have a chance. Could I, do I have the courage to plunge it into my belly? I stood and paced the room. What took her so long? I could not stay in this house any longer. Would the doctor take me elsewhere? No. I felt my knees buckle under me. He would do as my father said, or take in to account Uncle Tom’s comments. They would not allow me to leave. I would be the old-maid; still under her father’s care. Would he have a bout of genius? Could he find a way to keep hidden the unspeakable?

My nurse returned with a tray of bread and tea. She did not bring a blade, she had brought honey not jam. I sighed as I sat down.
“The doctor will be here shortly. Would you care to tell me what ails you, my dear?”
I shook my head. She stood and pulled me into her embrace. She held me tightly, “My dear, child. I have loved you as my own.” The tears I had kept inside flowed down my cheeks. I felt my body tremble in her arms. “Oh, my child.” she wept with me. “I have no way to protect my beloved child.”

She held me until I stopped shaking.
“You must eat, you will need your strength.” She let go of me and handed me a kerchief. She broke my bread and dipped it in the honey. I nibbled. I would not cause her more grief. I had been robbed my mother, but my nurse took her place. I tried to drink and be merry.
Uncle Tom passed the open door, “May I enter your chamber, dear niece?”
Nurse nodded.
“The doctor will be here shortly. It is good to see you eating. Your father will be content to hear the news.”
I looked up to see his grin before he stroll out of my room.

The doctor entered; nurse on his footsteps. He looked over the bed and at my wrists. He examined me. My wrists were wrapped.
“You are well.” He said as he left to find Father.
“Will you please listen to what he tells Father?” Her mouth fell open.
“No, my dear. I cannot do that.”
I understood the fear she felt. I would not have granted that request. She made my bed as I sat trembling. She helped me to dress. I sat with a book to pass the time until Father came to me.

My father returned some time later. “It is good to see you are dressed. The doctor recommends you have fresh air.”
I stood, put the book away and followed him to the door. Uncle Tom awaited us. He nodded to me. When they were ready; we set off for the walk that was to do me good.

Father and Uncle Tom each held on of my arms. They dragged me down the sidewalk.
“It should be around here,” Father said.
They continued to drag me farther down the road. Uncle Tom tilted his head towards the bronze figures in the wall.
“Just a little farther.”
I looked up. “No!” I screamed, “Please, do not take me there.” I tried to pull away from them. They both gripped my arms tighter.
“Please behave,” Father said, “If they do not think you should be there, you will be released quickly.”
“No! Please, Father, I’m not crazy.”

It was of no use. Uncle Tom rapped the door with the head of his cane. The door opened slightly. They hurriedly entered.
“Please,” I pleaded.
My father handed me to two men in white coats.
“I will see you shortly.” He reached to kiss the top of my head.
I felt his lips burn into me. I was not prepared for this, yet how much worse could it be. How much worse could this place be then my nightly sufferings in my own sleeping chamber? I tried to keep in pace with the men. They tossed me at a woman dressed in white, and slammed the door behind them.

She handed me a pile of clothes. I expected her to turn while I undressed. she did not. I tried not to look at her as I continued to undress.
“Hold still,” she said when I was fully nude. “Turn.”
I slowly turned a circle. When I looked at her, she had tears in her eyes. She helped me to dress. She pulled my arms out towards her and unbound each wrist, then wrapped them again.
“You will have a chance to speak with your father before you are taken to a room.” I shook my head. “I am sorry dear, I cannot stop it. He has the right to see you one last time.” She tenderly took me by the arm, and knocked on the door.

The two men had waited for me. They walked with me back to a small greeting room. My father sat on the window seat. He stood and embraced me.
“You must keep quiet. Do you understand?” He whispered in my ear.
I nodded.
“I will get you out of here as soon as I can,” he whispered again lingering longer than needed. I nodded again.
“You will have to stay for a small time, but I will get you out.” He kissed my cheek.
I did not move. I understood it was much faster if I held still when they touched me.
“Your time is over.” One of the guards said.
He pulled me by my arm. The rough treatment here would be much better than the treatment they gave me.

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25 thoughts on “Asylum

  1. tedstrutz says:

    I remember that story. I think you may be related to Franz. The stilted speech was very effective… but Father’s changed with his last words… I thought that even more frightening. I liked your story… and the 2 S’s.

  2. I agree with Ted about Father’s voice. What’s he trying to pull off? Very intriguing story, Mari! 🙂

    • mari wells says:

      All I know is Father is evil, and so is Uncle. Which is worse than the other, I’m not sure. I’m not sure if one is worse than the other. I think they are both evil. I hope you weren’t disappointed, Waitingforaname. I’m sure it isn’t were you would take it, but I hope it met your expectations.

  3. Also, I love the circularity of this. It is a bit raw – at times I had a little trouble following who was where – but you’re weaving an emotional (and excessively creepy) tale here. Something isn’t right, and at this point I’m not sure what it is (which is good, suspense and all that). I like how the story is kind of disjointed and foggy, truly conveying the narrator’s state of mind, whether she is perfectly sane, terrified, or a little bit mad. (Again, my not being sure which is a good thing).

    Good work, Mari!

    P.S. You might want to read Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White. It’s been several years since I read it, but it might be inspiring. Or just fun. 😉 Also, thanks for linking to my page!

    • mari wells says:

      In the 1800s and the early part of the 1900s very little of “private life” was talked about openly. It works for my story, in leaving pieces out. The MC isn’t sure what she is either, she might be insane. What else is there to explain what’s happening.

      I will look into The Woman in White, it sounds very intersting.

      I had to link to your page. I love Angelique’s series and you were the one to inspire me to put this piece up.

      • Other good books, in addition to Wilkie Collins, to familiarize yourself with this type of story might be My Cousin Rachel (Daphne DuMaurier) and a new release I haven’t read yet, The Madman’s Daughter (Veronica Rossi, maybe… not sure). The first two (Collins and DuMaurier) are probably similar in time period. Not sure about Madman’s Daughter.

      • mari wells says:

        I will look into these novels as soon as I have a chance. I’m reading a few books for some writing friends right now. I have some Sherlock Holmes books on my desk waiting for me too. I’ll look into your suggestions first. Thank you.

  4. I tried to post earlier, but had trouble. The only disappointment – and do take this as the compliment it’s meant to be – is that I think the story demands more than 1500 words. 🙂

    You have a great concept here, with several elements that could work together to make this a fascinating full-length novel. You’ve given us this hopeless, terrified, confused, desperate young woman who can’t make sense of anything (and given her a voice that conveys ALL of that beautifully)… a sinister pair of brothers trying to keep her from telling the truth to the wrong person… maybe they’re doing experiments on her or something, I don’t know… but then, maybe Father isn’t as sinister as Uncle, but Uncle has some hold on him – who knows? You could throw in a romantic interest if you wanted, maybe some outsider who sees her and is intrigued, or her father’s new assistant who somehow learns of her plight (and perhaps Father’s plight, if he is under Uncle’s control) and works to save her from her enemies and her own confusion/madness. Or it could be just her struggling for freedom and clarity. Or even, for a wacky twist, slowly reveal that she is indeed insane… (I’ve always thought a first person narrative of a descent into madness would be chilling). Whatever you want to do with it, you could really fashion it into an exquisite work of beauty. You mention other works in progress, so I don’t want to push too much on THIS story, but I do think if you let it simmer, give the details time to sort themselves out, etc. you’ll have a gem of a period thriller/horror.

    So, no. Not disappointed… except that I want to see this fully fleshed out! Good work! 🙂

    • mari wells says:

      Thank you so much for loving this story so much. Your encouragement and love of it will keep in in the Working folder. I will come to it once the others are done. I have 3 novels and a sequel to one novel, I’m working on. A few short stories and two series stories…
      There is a lot to do before I can give this story the love it deserves. 😀
      Thank you again for loving and believing in it.

      • I know the feeling! My first priority (writing-wise) is a YA Fantasy trilogy. I’m about halfway through it, and have a spin-off outlined. I want to at least get through the trilogy before getting Angelique all put together. It’s a wee bit frustrating, but on the other hand, taking it slowly, week by week, allows me to get a better grasp of how the novel (Angelique, that is) will need to flow. So I’m good letting it sit and develop, adding little scenes each week until I have all I need to weave it into a whole.

        Wait and give this story the love it deserves. Some stories tumble out. Some we have to drag, kicking and screaming, onto the page. Others must ferment for awhile before they are ready to be put into words. Just know you have a great story brewing, and the skill to write it well when the time is right!

  5. yerpirate says:

    Now THAT is a coincidence! Am just writing a story now, based in an Asylum…for the Picture It & Write challenge – oh dear! Will read yours now…!

  6. Abraham says:

    Very good.
    I’m glad you posted. Not to pressure you, but I am also wondering if there is more to come.
    Good work!

    • mari wells says:

      I will work on it more when I have the time. I have 3 WIP novels, 2 short story series, and writing short stories as they come to me right now. I’m working as assistant editor at another website, working on a short story for a friend’s site. On top of all of this I homeschool 4 kids and I’m a homemaker. I just don’t have the time to work on it. 😀

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