The Present

I jumped almost theatrically at the sound of the opening door in Dr. Christianson’s office. A male nurse, one I knew well from the several occasions I had been engaged in of being dragged through the hall by my arms, leaned his head into the room through the crack between the door and the doorway, nodding first to him, then me. Neither he nor I had noticed that the timer had gone off until I was expected back in my room to be accounted for by the attendants. I didn’t shrink in on myself like I had once done around the over-muscled nurses. My parents had had me admitted to a semi-decent hospital, where they didn’t beat their patients or electrocute them to rid them of any insanity they had been diagnosed with.

“Until tomorrow, Eric,” I giggled nervously, losing the high the medicine had bestowed upon me. I felt almost depressed by the loss of my happy feeling.

“Uh…” his eyes darted anxiously behind the veil of his glasses in a way that only he could do, like a fish trapped in the eye of a shark. “Oh! Oh, yes, yes,” he coughed into his fist, then continued in a fake voice, trying to be manly, “tomorrow, then, Ms. Taylor.”

I felt like laughing at the façade he had put up in an attempt at impressing the bigger man in the doorway, (the reason of which I was clueless, for what did I know of men? After all, in the time he spent breathing, meeting the man’s gaze in his counterfeit predatory smirk, he had probably made his entire year’s salary) but I held my tongue; Dr. Christianson would not have appreciated it. Though I was near-positive that he lacked the nerve to make my following appointments miserable, I would have felt guilty about emasculating him in front of another man. The testosterone-fueled tension was thick in the air as it was.

Standing noisily, I stomped out the door, followed closely by the nurse. He opened the door and I slid in. The sun was setting outside the single barred window in my colorless room. I suppose that made it nine o’clock, a half hour had passed since I usually got out. Lights out came in another thirty minutes, but I was eager to just get through another terrifyingly eventful night.

I went to sleep cold on the single, thin mattress and, for the first time since my admittance, I dreamt of nothing.

I woke early, as I usually did, the sun had barely risen, for breakfast. There were people down there already, no one slept here. I took a tray, the woman in the hairnet piled slop onto the flimsy slab of foam, and I sat down far away from everyone. No matter how far away I sat, I could still hear the conversations of everyone in the room. Whether it was the room’s bad acoustics, or the patients lacked volume control, I didn’t know, or care; I just wanted it to stop, badly.

“Ew, look, Taylor’s sitting by herself again today,” some nasally girl across the room from me giggled to her friends, which, in turn, caused them to laugh hysterically, like hyenas.

“That psycho! Remember what happened to her friends? I bet she is screwed up!” her friend replied, trying to catch her breath from all her laughing.

“How could I forget?” the first one smirked. “I don’t need to remember that, though, to think she’s not right in the head.”

Oh, please. First of all, all of us were here because we’re not right in the head. Second of all, I didn’t understand. Once you leave High School, everything is just like High School; everyone hates you, and talks about you behind your back. No one here ever grows up. I pulled a newspaper from the top of the stack they left for us and skimmed the black and white text, occasionally shooting glances at the people who continued to talk about me from across the room, still clueless that I could hear them.

I stopped paying attention to what was being said when one headline caught my attention; Margaretville Massacre to be Made Movie? I gagged on the slop and flipped the pages to where the article would be.

 

Margaretville Massacre to be Made Movie?

By: Christopher Petersen

Early this morning, Wes Craven was seen, accompanied by several agents and well-known producers searching town for what most people think to be the set of the rumored future film on the Margaretville Massacre of last May. The film was said to have been highly adapted because of survivor, Paige Taylor’s, lack of cooperation in giving out details to the director and his team of writers. Ms. Taylor is currently receiving treatment in the Anne Klein Forensics Center for the Criminally Insane. She is expected to be released sometime in another two years or more, when her therapist deems her sane enough to return to civilization. When Mr. Craven had first learned of the events to have transpired in Margaretville, he told Ms. Taylor of his plans to adapt it into a script. She refused to tell anyone of the details to the killings, even the police, who had her sent to the Forensics Center pending her collaboration in explaining her side of the story.

When asked how far from the story his movie would be, Mr. Craven had this to say:

“The writers are under strict orders to keep it as close to the story as our source told it to us. We hope to start filming in the very near future, hopefully two months at the most. The cast should be heading down here at the end of the week to look around and get into character.”

“What source would that be?” we [Margaretville Observer] asked him.

“She has asked that we not disclose her identity, for reasons of a personal nature.”

“Would that source be Paige Taylor?”

“No, as much as I sympathize with her situation, I pestered her quite a bit over the story, but she never gave in. We apologize to anyone who may be offended by the making of this film, but we do think that Paige will enjoy the movie as much as any other fan. We really have brought it to life. We really do think that this movie could be a great opportunity for her. I have even offered to give her tickets to the premiere in Los Angeles if she would only give us her side of the story. It would be very appreciated if she did.”

“Thank you for your time, Mr. Craven. Good luck with your work.”

I believe it is safe to say that everyone in Margaretville will be eager to attend the showing of this movie when the time comes. Until then, everybody look out for the cast and crew, they will be around for quite some time now.

 

“What!?” I shrieked, standing, keeping the paper at an arm’s length, as if it could burn me. I crumpled it into a ball and threw it at the girl’s head across the room. She held her bleached blonde scalp dramatically, screaming her protest. I ignored her, stomping down the hall and toward my room. I had planned on going to my room, but I somehow ended up outside Dr. Christianson’s office. I didn’t care if he was busy, or if he was eating, I was just desperate to have someone listen to what I had to say.

I stormed into the room, pushing the door open so hard it slammed against the inside wall. Eric jumped about a foot in the air, while his patient burst into a crying fit, but I pretended to be oblivious to his existence.

“They are making it into a movie!” I growled. “Don’t they realize, or care, that this is gonna hurt people?! Marshall’s mother has been in therapy for months! She sends me letters from her therapist’s office telling me about her feelings and how she feels about me! And I thought the old bat didn’t like me before! This is gonna destroy her!” I continued, stomping my feet fervently, childishly.

I turned around to face them, but they were completely silent. Suddenly feeling bad about interrupting this guy’s session, I put on the false empathy front and raised my fingers to my bottom lip. In a sweet, innocent, baby voice, I apologized, “Oh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize…!”

Eric rolled his eyes, while his patient sniffled, “No, it’s okay; I just felt a little…vulnerable.” He stood, grabbing a teddy bear from the desk, and sidestepped out the door. “I’ll, uh, see you tomorrow, Dr. Chris.”

He shut the door behind him and I threw myself into the chair. It was such a shock that I had come here of my own free will that I almost laughed, until I saw the newspaper lying limply in front of him. I narrowed my eyes at it, and he got the message quickly.

“I take it you read this week’s article on the Margaretville Massacre?” he assumed.

“Hell yea I read that stupid article. A great opportunity? How could this in any freakin’ universe be considered a great opportunity for me?”

“I agree,” he nodded. “He was completely out of line to say those things about you, and you should know that I hope you take him aside when you get out of here and knock out a few of his teeth—don’t tell anyone I said that—okay?”

I laughed loudly and lay back lazily in the chair, “I’m starting to like you, Dr. Eric. What happened to you?”

He blushed sheepishly, casting his eyes down at the ground. “Therapists can go to therapy, too,” he mumbled. “Self-help books, and stuff. Y’know?”

“Ah,” I nodded, still smiling.

“Anyway,” he lifted his head, though it seemed to take some effort on his part. “Since you have scared away my eight o’clock appointment, why don’t you tell me how this movie is making you feel?”

“I’ll give you three guesses,” I said. “I’m pissed, I’m upset, and I’m…”

We sat in silence for a few seconds while I mulled over what word to choose. “I guess I’m…confused?”

“Confused about what?” he murmured, clapping his hands together and wringing them absentmindedly.

“Just confused. I don’t understand how they could think that way about what happened. It was a tragedy, not a business deal in the making.”

“I understand, Paige. You were very close to the victims and it hurts you that other people don’t care as much as you do.”

“It’s not even that. It’s just not human for them to do that!” I argued. “Exploiting the memory of all those deaths for money, it’s disgusting.”

“One day you’ll be able to watch it without so much pain, Paige, I promise.”

“I don’t think so. But since I’m here, I guess we could continue with the story,” I shrugged, watching his face brighten.

“If you feel up to it,” he shrugged as well.

“Where did we leave off?” I asked, simply as a joke.

“They couldn’t find Cody after the shooting,” he answered without missing a beat, as I expected.

I knew he was too excited about this story.

Alyssa Adamson 

 

 

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