Insane

Gaebler's Children's Center. A place for the mental children. Horrible things always happen there. But nothing compares to the things that start to happen after Tammy arrives...

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1. Lizzy - 1958: Welcome to Gaebler's.

     Children were always screaming at Gaebler's. Children as young as six, locked in rooms only two metres square. Imagine being snatched away from your parents, being deemed insane, and being thrown into a hospital with all the other crazies that no-one wanted to know.

      I was locked in Gaebler's for thirteen years, underfed, and with no social contact. Children were allowed to see their parents once a year, but most didn't even get that. I didn't. We were rejected by our families, and even when we left, if we left before we were eighteen we ended up in orphanages or sometimes the boys ended up in the military.

     I remember the day that my parents took me there. It was the day after my sixth birthday. I knew I was different. I could hear people that no-one else could hear. They asked me to do bad things, but if I didn't do them, then they would be really horrible to me. They would leave me out and not talk to me. To a six year old, that's hard. Anyway, my parents took me to see a doctor. He was a cruel man, he prodded me and poked me and then deemed me insane. The 1960's wasn't the best known decade for it's incredibly scientific diagnostic methods.

     The day that my parents left me there, they packed me a little suitcase with a few pairs of underwear and three dresses. It wasn't until we were pulling up outside Gaeblers that I realised what was happening. I was only six and couldn't read everything but I could manage the word 'mental' and started screaming. My parents dragged me out of the car that my uncle had lent them and dumped me in the arms of one of the nurses.

"Don't worry, she'll be well looked after here!" the nurse said, a kind look in her eye.

"Run, Lizzy! She wants to hurt you!" the voices screamed at me. I wriggled in her arms, and caught her face with  my little claw-like nails. This surprised her and she dropped me on the muddy ground. But before I could manage to stand up and run away, she caught my dress by the scruff of its neck and held me. I turned around, biting her arms, kicking her, hitting her, scratching her, but she didn't let go. At the time, I thought she was just tough, but actually, she dealt with children like me everyday. She was used to it.

"Lizzy, we'll be back for you very soon, my darling. You'll have a lovely time! Goodbye!" That was the last time I saw my parents. The last thing they said to me was a downright lie. A deliberate lie.

     After my parents were out of sight, the nurse picked up my suitcase and took me by the hand. I continued to scream.

"Come on, you little monkey! You're parents can't hear you, so there's no point in screaming. You'll only hurt your throat. I'm Nurse Minnie, and if you don't behave, you'll get a nastier nurse than me, and I can tell you now, you don't want that. Now, are you going to carry on biting and screaming and end up locked in the seclusion room, or are you going to be quiet and let me take you to your room?" Nurse Minnie said, wiping the tears off my face.

     I didn't say anything, but I stopped screaming and let her take me to my room. I didn't have a room to myself, I had to share with nine other girls, all insane and all aged six to nine. I had a little metal bedstead and a little trunk at the bottom of the bed. The bedsheets were a nasty faded white, with a dark brown eiderdown, and one thin little pillow. The only nice thing I could see was the brand new teddy bear with the pink bows on its head. Nurse Minnie opened the trunk and emptied my suitcase into it, then took out a pale blue dress that I knew wasn't mine and a pair of knickers that also weren't mine. They looked far too big and baggy to be mine.

     Nurse Minnie then led me down an extremely dark corridor that was terrifying. I clung on to Nurse Minnie's hand through fear and she gave my hand a little squeeze.

"Come on now, don't be such a silly billy," she said.

We finally got to the end of the corridor and there was a choice to go either left or right. There were several wails and screams coming from the left, but Nurse Minnie led me down the right to a bathroom where she ran a hot bath for me and helped me out of my clothes and into the bath. She scrubbed my body and washed my hair until I was sparkling. I hadn't had a bath for weeks because my parents simply locked me in my room and left me there. I needed my nails trimming, and my hair cutting, and so after my bath, Nurse Minnie towel dried me, dressed me in the blue dress and unfamiliar underwear, and then sat me down and cut my scraggly blonde hair and put into two plaits.

"Can you plait your hair, Lizzy?" she asked. I shook my head. I'd never been taught how to plait my hair. For the entire eight weeks of summer that i had been granted from school, I had been locked in my bedroom. Eight weeks of no washing, no combing my hair, and trimming my nails, being fed through a cat flap... I'd looked awful when I arrived, but at least my mother had the decency to comb my hair the morning of taking me to the institution.

"Well, it's time you learnt. I won't be around all the time to pamper to you. You'll have to do some things yourself," she said, slipping a pair of plimsoles onto my feet. She didn't give me any socks.

"I haven't got any socks," I said, looking at my shoes.

"I know. Now, come on. Back to your dorm."

     Nurse Minnie was lovely to everyone she came across, staff and patients alike. She stood for no nonsense, but she was lovely. Everyone said it would be the death of her. They were right.

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