Asylum

Lindsay, a Notre Dame University graduate, drags along three of her friends for a fun, end-of-the-year journey. She forgets to mention that she is trying to dig up the mysteries of her past. Oh well. They'll get with the program soon enough.

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2. Chapter 1

 

“Come on Jacklyn!” A tall girl, very athletic looking, with golden strands of hair tied back into a ponytail was grabbing a taller, burlier man by the arm and trying to tug him into a dented, rust colored minivan. As two grown adults and in front of a public college, this was quite a scene.

“Lindsay, I-I told you I don’t want t-to come! And i-it’s Jack! Stop calling me that.” His voice was a surprising stutter, as though the voice didn’t belong to the body. Lindsay still persisted, and obviously winning as Jack got nearer and nearer to the car. After long moments, another man came out of the car to aid her. He was a bit shorter than both of them but had a more stern appeal. His arms had long burn scars stretching down them like a snake. His eyes seemed like they had sunk deeper into his eyes but pulled along his cheeks with them. Deep black hair, presumably dyed, swung over one of these eyes, giving him an air of mystery.

“No Laurence, get back in the car. I almost have him in,” said Lindsay, still struggling to pull him in.

“You’re taking too long,” he said, his deep voice a mocking tone. And with this, he tugged on Jack’s brown hair to get him to stand up. Jack stood up with a large yelp, and as he did so, Laurence swooped him off his feet and carried his squirming body to the car. People passing by stared at this wondrous image, hurrying their children along as they did so.

“Aww! You guys could almost be married!” Another man, sitting in the car with a cocky stance laughed at this. He looked more attractive laughing, as some of the many lines in his face connected. While he was only in his early twenties, he looked about forty and laughing made him look his age.

“Shut up Tommy. You wouldn’t be laughing if you had to carry this whiny baby. Look at him! He’s buffer than all of us but acts like he’s ten!” Laurence said bitterly as he shoved Jack into the van.

Lindsay couldn’t help but to give a small snicker to this as she jogged lightly over to the van. “Well, at least we can go now.” Her voice had an air of exasperation but it was quickly overcome by excitement. She swung open the door and sat at the wheel, Laurence in shotgun. Jack and Thomas sat in the back, giving each other playful punches, getting harder and harder as the game went on. “You two cut it out back there. We’re going to be in this car for a while so you better get used to each other’s presence. We all packed some clothes, so we should be okay. I have a few hundred bucks that we can use for food. I don’t know where we’re going or how long it’s going to take but since we just graduated, it’s not like we’re missing anything.” She said all of this in very quickly, in an almost motherly tone.

And with this final sentence, the four of them looked at Notre Dame, admiring the buildings as if it were an old friend. But Lindsay plunged the key into the ignition, the car giving a small grumble and then spiting to life. They were off.

 

In the first few hours of the road trip, excitement was buzzing in the air. They had just graduated from college! After this small, obviously meaningless trip, they would go east from Indiana, maybe get an apartment in New York City if they had the money, or Jersey if they wanted to live close to Philadelphia or the shore. Their real life would begin.

Lindsay had brought a GPS, not for going somewhere but for getting back. She had told the others they would be going out to the Rockies, but unbeknownst to the others, she had an ulterior motive for this trip. A hope, a need for closure. She hungered to find out who had abandoned her on the steps of Martha, her foster mother’s, home. Because of this, Lindsay hated nostalgia. When others thought back to all of their family, the games they used to play, the park they would run in. It made her sick. She couldn’t remember, anything. And she wanted to. She wanted to so much that it made her stomach ache with sadness. She was told that her memory block was shock-induced, traumatic. But Lindsay had a small trail to begin on. Martha said that when she found Lindsay on her steps, there was a boy with her, but he had left once he knew she was well. That boy, Lindsay knew, must know who she was. But it was a cracked twig in an entire forest.

With Lindsay’s determined foot down on the pedal, Laurence began to regret that he let her drive. While Lindsay was sort of a hippie, she wasn’t going to believe she had to go slow. One of her mottos was, “if you’re going to do it, do it fast”. She had first heard this at one of her track meets when she was in high school. Her coach would slap her on the back and tell her this before every race. To her, it was like a good luck charm. Many told her that luck was unnecessary, as she had exceptional skill and ran very fast but she didn’t dare forget , for maybe her luck would break.

While Lindsay’s mind was occupied on driving, Laurence kept himself staring out the window. He had graduated with a major in Arts and the scenery captured his mind. In no time at all, he had begun a sketch of the land.

In the back, Tommy continued to snore, giving small shudders every few minutes. His hands would fly out, almost slapping Jack in the face. Jack seemed to think that Tommy’s aim was quite deliberate. With silence settled in the car, time began to ease itself by.

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“So, Richie, your mother tells me you’ve had something interesting happen to you lately.” A woman with brown hair tied neatly in a bun, and a young face with light eyes sits in a brown leather chair, legs crossed. She gives an expression that is welcoming but only invites the truth. Across the coffee table, siting in an identical chair with feet dangling above the floor is a young boy, Richie with blonde bangs shyly hiding his eyes. He has been here many times with this woman. He nods vigorously. “Do you want to explain what happened?”

“Well, Daddy’s been gone, Dr. Cosse.”

“Did something happen with Daddy?” Dr. Cosse’ tone goes soft.

“Well we were sitting…” He pauses, uncertain, “And then I saw Daddy come back! And then I told Mommy, but she said Daddy was still gone. But then Daddy came back again and Mommy believed me. I’m like a superhero that can see into the future!” A grin spreads across his face. The psychiatrist nods and scribbles something on her clipboard.

“Has this happened before?”

“Oh yeah! Tons and tons and tons of times! Every time I see my friends or Mrs. Melvin.”

“Your teacher?”

Richie nods his head slowly but the smile disappears from his face. “But sometimes what I see doesn’t happen. Like once I saw Mrs. Melvin screaming at someone and then it was all red and then the screaming stopped. But then that didn’t happen though.” The woman’s eyes widen and she scratches something else onto her clipboard. “Mommy thinks I’m being silly but I swear! It’s like magic!”

“Well, do you think you could show me a trick?” Dr. Cosse gives an encouraging grin and reaches for a cup on the table. Richie closes his eyes, a grin on his face, as though in a dream.

“Your cup’s gonna fall Dr. Cosse, you gotta be careful!” His eyes open just as the cup slips of the coffee table, the hot liquid pouring spilling out. Richie reaches to catch the glass but ends up with the scalding coffee dripping down his arms, burning through his skin. The glass shatters on the wooden floor.

The woman’s once welcoming smile has turned sour. She hurries out of the room, closing the door with a smack. Richie crawls down from the chair, tears dripping down his face, and wobbles behind her, going through the door and out into the waiting room.

“Mommy!” The boy wails, his arms opened out revealing melted red skin stretching down them.

A pale, lanky woman with long silver hair, his mother, stands talking with the doctor. As Dr. Cosse keeps talking, his mother’s expression goes from grim to miserable. Tears begin to stream down her face and she spits out, “My son… he’s… a monster. A monster!” Her eyes lose any light they previously had and glint of insanity. She does not go to help her crying son.

“Mommy, don’t fall!” Richie yells, confused. The lady stares at her son, then collapses on the floor, and the therapist stares agape as the boy says, “Mommy, why have you fallen?” 

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The day passed and tempers began to worsen, due to the long hours spent bent over in the car. They pulled over into a motel and checked in. “A true trip of luxury,” Tommy remarked.

“Oh c’mon. What are you? Three? You signed up for this knowing that we’re not gonna be in five star luxury.”

“Point of clarification. You signed us up and dragged us along with you.”

“Don’t be difficult. You can share a room with Jack.” The motherly tone had come in again while she spoke. Tommy gave a growl and hastily grabbed his room key from the attendant, dragging Jack with him down the hallway. The attendant, quite flustered, gave Lindsay her room key and turned back to her work. “Let’s go Laurence. You’re sleeping with me.”

“My pleasure.” A sly grin crept across his face before Lindsay smacked him on the shoulder.

“Not like that you dope. Don’t make me drag you down the hallway. Let’s go.” With Lindsay’s back turned, Laurence cracked another grin.

 

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