Broken Toys

Can a childhood occurrence ruin a person's life forever? What can a simple event do to a damage a child's view on life and people? Eight year-old Elizabeth has a normal childhood until those seven days of March 1994 damage her life forever.

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9. Broken Bars

 

Thursday 4th February 1998

It is one o'clock in the morning and a storm is battering the world outside. The rain is lashing against the thick plastic windows, thunder rumbles and the lightning flashes across the sky. Hail begins to pound against the window sill outside, sounding like hundreds of peas falling into a plastic bowl.

It is the perfect opportunity to escape here, to run from this place where I don't belong. I discovered last week that my bed comes apart, the thick steel tubed legs come off the main bed frame. These are the perfect tools to attempt to smash the window.

I wait for a particularly loud rumble of thunder before yanking the legs off the bed. Although there are security cameras in here, the attention of the staff is distracted by the other patients who are screaming down the corridor at the loudness of the thunder and sharp flashes of lightning. In here, I am ignored.

 

Daniella looks up from her fresh cup of coffee and says "did you get out?"

I look at her in exasperation, "er, yeah."

"Did you not get caught?"

"Oh, oh yeah. They found me three days after I had escaped. You see, I was stated as being a missing person from the mental asylum. The posters of me said that I was dangerous, should not be spoken to and should be avoided at all costs. It also said that if someone was seen talking to seemingly themselves, but didn't really look like me, should be reported anyway. I was wandering the streets when a couple of police parked their car up next to me, climbed out and claimed that I looked like the girl who had gone missing. They started talking to me really slowly and gently because they thought that I was completely off my head. The woman gripped my hand and put me into their police car. They called someone on their radio, someone spoke back and next thing I knew, we were at the hospital. Not the mental hospital, just a normal one for check-ups and interviews, stuff like that." I pause to take a sip of my coffee and look up at Daniella who is transfixed in my story.

"They gave me some brain scans and all sorts of medical stuff before saying that I was free to go. However, after all of that I had no idea where to go. I started off at my auntie's. She welcomed me back, a little reluctantly and a little scared I guess. But she received a phone call from the hospital to say that I was fit to go back to a normal life. She relaxed a huge amount after that, and when I came home from walking her beagle, she gave me a proper welcome back hug. We had a lot of fun together, it didn't matter that I couldn't find work at my age, it didn't matter that school was out of the question. I was out of that place, and that is all that mattered."

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